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Day 1 - Everett, Washington to Wanatchee, Washington
126 miles
5690' climbing

5AM. Beep, beep, beep. Ugh, this is way too early! I don't get up this early for work. I do see this hour occasionally for bike rides, but I would now have to do this every day for the next 24 days, so I was just going to have to get used to it. I took a quick shower, reorganized my bag, and carried everything downstairs. I put together a little bundle of clothing, including booties, warm gloves and a turtleneck to send to the top of Steven's Pass. I knew it might be cold there, and I wanted to be prepared. The infamous weatherliars™ had predicted no rain, so I foolishly left my rain pants in my gearbag, but I did carry my rain jacket instead of just the wind shell that many of the other riders were wearing. It was cool, so I started out in arm and leg warmers, as I would almost every other day on the trip. Just before starting out, I saw Terry and John. I waved and rolled out knowing they would catch and pass me quite soon. We had to pay close attention to the route card for the first 10 miles until we hit Route 2, our path for the next 2 and a half days. About the time we hit Route 2, it began to rain; steadily. A few miles later I had a flat tire. I've had remarkably good luck with not having flats over the past couple of years, and was quite disappointed to have two in three days. I hoped this wasn't a sign of things to come. Fortunately I only had one other flat for the entire trip.

I made it through the first and second snack stops quickly. I wanted to get up and over Steven's Pass. It was only 6% and not terribly long, but it would give me some idea of how I might do on the ride relative to the other riders. I must admit I was quite intimidated by the other riders, since I recognized many of the names from other long distance rides. And walking around the parking lot the day before I had seen many new and very good quality bikes, and many finely tuned bodies. This was not a race, but I didn't want to ride across the country alone, and I really hoped I could stay close to folks on the climbs..

Adrenaline pushed me up the climb without too much trouble. It was cold and wet at the top, so I changed into my warmer clothes, and then enjoyed some hot food under the shelter, out of the rain. Terry was waiting at the top, and took some pictures as well as the room key I still had in my pocket, so it could be returned to the hotel. Fortunately, I only did this once on the whole trip, and this time had someone heading back to return the key. We said our good-byes and best wishes there (him for BMB, and me for PAC Tour) and rode off downhill in opposite directions, me into the sun of the desert beyond the Cascades, and Terry back through the dreariness that has embraced western Washington for most of the summer.

The sun was a welcome sight, and when I reached the bottom, I removed my turtleneck and booties, and was dressed for summer again. Unfortunately during the screaming, white knuckle descent, my cue sheet blew away, but fortunately I found a small group still in possession of directions that I could join for the remainder of the day..

Upon reaching the hotel in Wenatchee, I got out of my bike shorts, showered, and then headed down to clean the bike, get my massage, and seek out dinner. Phil offered 20 minute massages for $10, and I told him I would be his best customer, and to expect to see me every night. ( I only missed 2 nights the entire trip!)

This would become a pretty regular routine. Although I often added a trip to the drugstore to pick up some aid for saddle sores, or headcolds, or saddle sores or stomach aches, or saddle sores...