Friday, January 23, 2009

Walla Walla, I Sing to Thee....

Well here I am, back in Seattle. It's wonderful. The weather seems to be trying to help with my transition back to the bike: it's been mercifully dry (albeit bitter cold). I went on a long ride today, over three hours of rather brisk riding, with a trip up Cougar Mountain. I'd forgotten how amazing it feels to be tired like this! I'd forgotten that near-delirium immediately post-ride, that pleasing, dreamy fatigue that lasts the rest of the day. I'd forgotten how it feels to have a hard ride in my legs, in my lungs, throughout my whole body -- I feel like a junkie going into remission! No wonder some guys have *cough* such a hard time quitting this sport.

But before I made it to the Emerald City, I took a day to reconnect to the place where it all began: Walla Walla, Washington. Yes, that charming, historic town east of the cascades, home to the sweet onion, a booming wine-industry, and of course my alma mater, Whitman College. My sister is now a student there, and since I was absent over the holidays, I was excited to see her. I spent over twenty-four hours in the tiny hamlet, and I've collected a few of Walla Walla's top cycling-related news stories:

Allegro Cyclery Moves
New Main Street Location Sure to Boost Business

The Allegro Cyclery has moved to a much larger corner location at the intersection of Spokane and Main. The exact timing of the move has yet to be determined, but it most likely took place before the new year, an area man guessed. Formerly crammed into a shared-space further down Spokane street, the Allegro Cyclery is undoubtedly Walla Walla's best full-service bicycle shop. Their new location boasts roughly three times more floor space, and upon entry feels like a real bike shop, instead of a strange carbon fiber and aluminium meat-locker.

Whitman Cycling Team Kicking So Much Ass
If I Weren't So Proud, I'd Feel Threatened By Their Success

The Whitman College Cycling Team is absolutely thriving. This news is a great relief and a source of great pride for former team president Sam Johnson (and undoubtedly every team president since the team's inception back in 2002). After graduating in the winter of 2006, Sam was naively concerned that the team would suffer due to his absence. "I just remember how much work I put into the team when I was at the helm; I was worried that nobody would step up and keep the program healthy and strong," Sam lamented. Current team co-president (and total badass) Colin Gibson thought Sam's concerns were wildly misplaced. "Sam totally underestimated the team -- we're doing just fine. In fact, we don't like to tell him this to his face, but he was kind of a crumby president. Things got much easier once he was no longer there to slow us down," Gibson said. The team is more organized than ever before, as evidenced by their sweet new website (complete with shoutouts to alumni like me!), their full calendar of both USCF and collegiate races, their multiple community service projects, and their unwavering commitment to helping those newer to cycling learn the ropes quickly and easily. Whitman College Cycling Team, my hat is off to one request is that you please join Hagens Berman once you graduate -- you know what they say: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Tour Of Walla Walla Course Changes
Washington's Best Stage Race Now Even More Awesome

The Tour of Walla Walla stage race has made some exciting changes. Remember, you heard it here first folks (unless you didn't):

Stage 1, Kellog Hollow Road Race: Friday's stage will kick off the racing unchanged from the last two years.
Stage 2, (unnamed) Time Trial: Saturday morning everyone will be treated to a new time trial course. Starting at the Walla Walla Community College, racers will head east up Mill Creek road to Five Mile road. After climbing up and over a short, feisty little hill, the course winds its way through scenic wheat fields for a total of ten miles (two miles longer than previous years).
Stage 3, Walla Walla Crit: The new crit course is crazy! From what I can tell, the new course starts right in front of the Allegro Cyclery on Main Street, continues up Boyer Avenue, past the Reid Campus Center on the Whitman College campus, before turning right on Park st. (which will showcase the college's brand-spankin'-new art building). Another right turn on Alder st. will lead racers to 1st street, and a final right will bring them back to Main. This means there will be a LONG start/finish straightaway (roughly five blocks), so the sprint will be longer and the speeds will be higher. I'd expect a closer GC going into the crit than in years past, giving guys who might not make it up the tough hills of Sunday's road race a chance to snag the leader's jersey thanks to time bonuses. Yippie Kay-Aye motherfuckers.
Stage 4, Waitsburg Road Race: Finally this epic final stage will be where it belongs, at the end of this epic race, the decider, the capstone. Last year, the GC has been solidified before the final stage -- the crit more of a festivity than an opportunity, a chance for redemption, but not a chance for retribution. Not this year. The Waitsburg road race will shuffle the deck (as usual), and what a sweet spot for a podium presentation: atop the mighty Lower Waitsburg Hill.


LAV said...

thanks for the link to the whitman cycling team site! oh, how I miss that team & those days of revelry.

Colin said...

waaaaaa hooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

Mandel said...

can people still wreck hard right in front of their dad's on main street?

Perhaps a Parrot said...

Lav, I was sad to see the old website go (with all it's photos of my poodle-haired antics), but the new one rocks, so I can't really complain.

Mandel, I'm sure that can be arranged.