Mark and myself took it upon ourselves to represent Synergy in some races down south and so we loaded up his fine American automobile and booked it out of Cowtown Friday after work. Our destination was Portland, Oregon and then, ultimately, Bend, for the USGP there. It would be Mark’s 5th and 6th race in the USGP series this year and the first time I’ve raced my bike outside of Canada. He was racing men’s Pro/Elite, and I had signed up for the CAT4 races and their 8:00am start. I think Mark’s best finish at the USGP, which is raced by the strongest guys in North America, was around 34 or so. When half the field has UCI points and a lot of them get a call up to a more forward start it can tough to crack the higher ranks – something that I would learn with absolute clarity: in ‘cross, you kind of tend to finish where you start.
We cruised it down to Sandpoint, Idaho in seven hours and stopped there to crash for the night. After an early start we made super good time to Kennewick, WA, where we stopped in Safeway to get some eats. Perhaps its a response to a depressed economy, but they were given’ the food away in this joint. By the time we ordered up some sandwiches from their deli-thing we were half full. As we went through the process of paying for said sandwiches I’m suddenly startled by this crazy alarm klaxon going off. Sirens and the whole lot. A dude gets on the PA and announces, to the entire store, “We’ve just had another $25 prize winner!!”
So, thank you Safeway of Kennewick for your prize.
I collected my gift card and sandwich and a few people politely clapped. McConnell captured the first win of our trip, which was used for some delicious microbrew beers.
So, thank you again Safeway of Kennewick for carrying cool beer.
We arrived in PDX the next day, with enough time to go straight to River City Bikes. Like, straight there. No checking in to our place, no bathroom break or food stop. We breathed about two lungfuls of Oregon air after being in a car for another seven hours and we were promptly back inside again. But what a store. I could spend hours in that place. They gave us espresso and, coincidentally, we watched some live footage from one of the track World Cups where fellow Albertan Monique Sullivan was racing. The girl helping us with the coffee goes, “Oh, she’s really fast, she has our track record.” Aw yeah. This would be the second time it was apparent that Alberta came to represent.
So we spent some money at RCB then found our place, a cool house right off of the Alberta Ave district. It was perfect and we where psyched, which was a good thing ’cause I was racing at 9:30 the next morning, in Washington, a 45 minute drive away. This would require being out of the door by 7:30ish.