Road Trip: Ashland, Oregon

I was already on the fence about going to Astoria for the weekend. It was a long trip and a lot of money that could have easily been spent on other things, like the delicate lemon shortbread cookies from the New Seasons bakery. For the same price as my trip to the beach this weekend, I would probably be able to buy enough of these cookies to fill up a large plastic childrens swimming pool. Then I would climb into the cookie pool and try to eat my way out. For a cx racer of my limited abilities, this seemed like an equally rational alternative to driving 2 hours each way and spending 2 solid days riding and discussing bikes and bike racing. But there was one thing that swayed me towards Cross Crusade races #4 and #5: Bob’s Red Mill oatmeal*.

It’s not that I’m lazy, but I just don’t like to make oatmeal. It’s too passive to be considered cooking but takes too long to be considered instant. It lies in a culinary limbo. So there is something heavenly about having someone ask you unprompted if you would like some oatmeal, handing you a warm bowl, and asking nothing in return. It’s a magical feeling, on par with putting on brand new socks. When you vote this next Tuesday, it’s obvious who you should vote for President. But if you don’t have strong feelings about one of the other positions, like 3rd District Plumbing Management or 2nd Chair County Commission on Duck Rehabilitation, consider writing in Bob.

I drove to the seaside hamlet of Astoria on Friday night in an early 80′s conversion van, packed deep with bike gear, that may as well have had “child molester” spray painted on the side, with it’s bubble windows and conspicuous dents and faux wood trim. Astoria is the famous locale of a number of movie classics including The Goonies, Short Circuit, and Lawrence of Arabia, and the motel where we stopped to sleep (read: get drunk) was the same motel from Kindergarten Cop where Ahnuld and that red haired lady stop so she can puke after eating bad Chinese food. Before the part where he says “I’m a COP you EEDIOT!”. But after the part where he says “Dammit Cohagen. Give dem AIR!”. The hangover I woke up with that morning was an indicator of the pain I would be feeling for the rest of the weekend. It’s not a TUMAH!

The course on Saturday was a cruel design, with a cratered traverse that felt like the pockmarked beaches of Normandy, minus the war and death, and an uphill barrier than broke the will of all but the few who bunnyhopped it. Everyone seemed to agree that it was one of the more difficult courses they had encountered, and I think it was exhaustion that made the bonfire on Saturday a low key affair.

Sunday’s course was easier, but the race difficulty was multiplied by the addition of the costume shrapnel that littered the fairgrounds. At one point during the race, I passed Jesus and a sniper who appeared to be in cahoots, working together towards some nefarious ends that I will never begin to comprehend.¬†While the sixpack proved dangerous, it was The Tron Ultimite Frisbee Team that drew first blood, with their discs finding (then incapacitating) DB Cooper on the bridge of his nose.

In the end, it was a weekend well spent, though I’m keeping that cookie pool idea on the back burner.

* Again, Bob’s Red Mill is not a sponsor. We just love their oatmeal with all of our heart, especially when we don’t have to make it ourselves.