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Day 2 - Wenatchee, Washington to Spokane, Washington
162 miles
6420' climbing

The second day started out with a nice long climb, so I rolled out with the first group as I would do throughout the trip. There were two tandem teams on the ride, and I joined one of them for the first few miles. Dan and Ann were riding a beautiful Erickson tandem with a RollRPost for the stoker. We talked a while about riding and of course about tandems. I ordered a custom tandem a few months ago, but the builder hasn't started it yet, so I still have time to change my mind about things. Dan really liked his ErgoPower shift levers and highly recommended them. Just before reaching the start of the climb, they pulled off to remove some clothing and I dropped into my granny ring to began climbing. It didn't take me too long to get warm and decide to remove my leg warmers and take a few pictures while I was stopped. Almost everyone passed me before we reached the top. I'm not a great climber and I had no intentions of burning myself out early on a 162 mile day, 2 days into the trip.

I did ride with Marty and Lisa, two of the crew members for a while. They were riding a really great looking tandem supllied by Lon for crew use. I drooled over it for most of the trip. It was the Burley built for Lon and Bob Breedlove's RAAM, and was everything I want in a tandem. It had a 32 inch top tube in the back (by comparison, my Burley has 26.5 inch top tube), allowing the stoker to use aero bars, thus relieving palm pressure on long rides. The frame in the front was actually my size, at 18 inches with a seriously long seatpost to accommodate much taller riders. The attachment for the softride beam had been modified to give 10+ inches of range rather than the 5 normally allowed. This setup made a stiff light bike, that either Lon or Bob could captain or stoke. In fact, just about anyone could captain or stoke this bike. It was that versatile. But don't call Burley and ask them to build you one of these. They don't do custom orders ! I had already tried !

Anyway, Marty and Lisa, being crew could ride either every other day, or half days. This is how Lon and Susan get people to agree to go across the country hauling coolers in and out of trucks to be refilled, fixing lunch, manning snack stops waiting for riders to come through, and all the other work that the crew has to do. These folks are the first ones up in the morning, fixing breakfast, going out and painting the route where necessary, and the last ones to bed each night, preparing food and coolers for the next day, checking out the route, confirming hotels, etc. They do a spectacular job and my helmet's off to them.

After lunch, I started riding with a larger group of about 8 riders in a double paceline along the shoulder of Route 2. We decided to take 1 mile pulls and eventually started doing a rotating paceline, so riders weren't hung out to die in traffic on Route 2, where drivers have been convinced that there are lasers aimed down the yellow line that will cut their cars in half if they dare cross it to pass a cyclist.

Of course the police do have a little to do with this. We did have two patrolmen tell us we were absolutely to stay to the right of the white line on the shoulder so no one got killed. What they really meant was so no motorist would have to think about passing us safely. Prior to our lecture we had been riding on the shoulder, except when pavement conditions made it unsafe and then we rode single file to the left of the white line for those brief periods. We really were riding safely. I was quite surprised by the loud speaker advising us otherwise.

Just after the last snack stop, we could see that we were going to get wet again. Dark heavy rain clouds hung over our heads. We could see the rain falling on either side, but it almost looked like we might ride through the middle where it was clear. But, we didn't make it and the rain came down. We all agreed to stop and put on our jackets and then stick it out together. The rain came harder, colder, rounder and started to bounce off the ground. Why does it always hail on me when I ride in Washington State?

We gave up the tight double paceline during the rain, but did stay together. After a while, it cleared and we rode into Spokane under sunny skies. For 8 riders who didn't know each other before lunch we did a great job of riding together and decided to try again the next day. We named our group Team Extreme. We did get to know each other a little as we were riding along beside each other, mostly names, hometowns and occupations. I met Robert, a plumber from New York City, Bruce and Paul, two of his training partners, also from New York City, Ray, a retired 46 year old army colonel from southern Illinois, Sally, a corporate services manager from Denver, Marty, a lawyer from Denver, and Julie, who was apparently an heiress from Indianapolis (we never did get an occupation out of her, and she seemed to just travel around and do bike rides).