Sunday, April 20, 2008

Old Men In Tights

Old Men in TightsOld Men in Tights are Rick Blacker, Mike Richeson, Jim Sprague and John Kramer. The 2008 Fleche adventure began early Saturday, April 12th, assembling at Fauntleroy in West Seattle for the 6h05 ferry to Southworth. The weather forecast was excellent for the weekend so the OMIT team was in great spirits. The first 100k required only 5 hours of riding despite many hills and a 10 mile wrong turn. The OMIT boys arrived at Rick's house at 11h00 and feasted on samwiches and soda pops. The OMIT team continued south to Centralia, turning northwest toward Elma. The OMIT crew encountered stiff afternoon headwind riding to Toad's Express and Deli in Elma. The OMIT team followed Cloquallum Road northest assembling at US-101 as the sun set.

At Potlach, the OMIT boys stopped at the Lucky Dog Casino where they created a security incident asking if they could bring their bikes into the Casino. Eventually the OMIT boys, along with their bikes, were escorted by the security supervisor to the closely guarded beer and garbage storage area in the rear of the Casino.On the Ferry to SouthwickThe waitresses at the restaurant must have cast lots for the opportunity to deal with the OMIT crew who were resplendent in colorful yet manly spandex. The waitress, who was sporting a new tattoo of large zodiac symbols circling her left wrist, was certain they did not have such things as "eggs sunny side up" and the chef certainly would not know how to cook such a clearly preposterous request. The old geezers were obviously clueless about eggs. After what must have been a grueling eternity, the good waitress princess managed to suffer the food demands from the OMIT and amid tongue tics, eye rolls and snickers from the other waitresses, hurriedly left for the safety and sanity of the food order computer.

OMIT at ChimicumThe relentless hills along Hood Canal are a wonderful experience late at night and early morning. The OMIT crew arrived at the Post Office in Quilicene at just the right time because it was nearly mandatory nap time. At 3:20 in the morning, the local newspaper delivery lady stuck her head in the door of the Post Office. Waving a paper as if to ward off evil spirits, she called out in a high pitch and hopeful tone, "Does anyone want a paper?" The sight of four nearly dead old guys in spandex tights, sprawled on the Post Office floor was too much for the Quilicene Paper Lady. Rick was conscious immediately with the most important thought still stuck in his head from before nap time, answering, "Yes we will take a paper. Can you sign our cards?" The Paper Lady was relieved to see the OMIT crew were alive and not victims in a CSI multiple murder plot. The OMIT crew struggled to awake and furnish the fleche cards for the Paper Lady to sign. Eventually the boys resumed their deathlike state on the floor with Rick using half the Sunday paper for a blanket, Mike using the other half for a pillow and Jim exploring the technical aspects of deploying a brand new Mylar blanket.

At 3:50 the OMIT crew cheerfully climbed aboard their bikes for the ride up Center hill to the 22 hour control under the SR 104 overpass. At the 22 hour mark, the boys signed each others cards and cheerfully continued through the freezing 36-degree morning to finish the remaining 26 kilometers to Port Townsend. Barbara met the OMIT crew on the north side of Chimicum taking a historic photo of the effervescent OMIT crew in the freezing predawn hours.

flying in formation into Port TownsendThe OMIT crew arrived in Port Townsend at daybreak and wasted no time finding the Harbor Inn Hotel room for showers and several hours of blissful snoring. At 10:00 am Rick's phone rang. It was Barbara and the long awaited wake-up call for the NW Fleche banquet at Fort Worden. Jim and Mike carefully considered the feasibility of the 50 mile ride back to Seattle bolstered by a two hour nap. Jim was able to line up a ride at the banquet back to Seattle while Mike decided to tough it out amid various offers to split pieces of his bike in different automobiles.

When Barbara, Rick and John passed Mike riding SR 20 back towards Hood Canal, Rick and John shouted encouragement as they whizzed past Mike. Things were looking bad for Mike. All of a sudden, Maggie, the lovely, famous and talented writer, editor and Randonneur, appeared and gave Mike a ride back to Seattle. Maggie attended the banquet mysteriously without the famous horned bovine skull. While the fate of the famous skull is still largely unknown, there are dark and mysterious rumors from unnamed SIR sources involving the skull, a guy named Eric and Nabisco Fig Newtons.