13 February 2012

Worst Day of the Year Ride?

The second Sunday in February is a pretty "blah" time of year in many places.  In Portland, Oregon, it is the day of the annual "Worst Day of the Year Ride", commemorating the anniversary of the coldest temperature ever recorded in the state (-54 degrees fahrenheit, in Ukiah in 1933) and the Great Flood of 1996, when the Willamette River rose over 10 feet (3 meters) following a record 28 inches (70cm) of rain over a few days in the nearby hills.

On this day, 4000 cyclists get their bikes out of the basement, don costumes, and ride out, usually into nasty, wet and dark weather, all for a good cause, and with frequent rest stops that include coffee, cocoa, cookies, bagels, even soup.

I did not participate, but I saw streams of riders at various places in town as I took my own separate Sunday morning spin.  It seems that the Worst Day of the Year Ride is a chance for riders to laugh at the miserable wet winter conditions, and raise their voices to the heavens and dare God to "bring it on".  This year, Heaven blinked.  And the pavement stayed dry all day.  Not the worst day of the year.
Not many costumes in this stream of riders, just a few funny hats.  I did see some more impressive efforts before I thought to pull out my camera.
I took a ride this morning out to North Clackamas County, where there is a pool I may try to use a few times while I am in town, then over to United Bicycle Institute on the opposite side of town, where my class will be over the next 2 weeks.  A little over 40km, almost all on bike lanes or bike paths -- enough to stretch my legs before an afternoon of shopping and social obligations.
P.E. Approved Rest Stop, though in Japan you don't see any GMC Denali SUVs in the parking lot.
The blue metal bar is a bike rack -- they are everywhere in Portland, even here, in front of a bar that caters to truckers and workers in the Freightliner truck factory just down the hill. 
Of course, in some U.S. cities where the challenge of early February is more cold than wet, they have come up with some different charitable traditions for this day.
Not the worst day of the year.  Blue sky!

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