Alas, PPP is over, but I thought I'd wrap up this year's race with a few stories.
LEW AND ROGER
On Friday morning before PPP, I was standing in line at the race check-in and Lew Hollander was right in front of me.
"Hey Lew, are you and Roger going to win for ten age groups down again?" I asked the 79-year-old stud muffin. I saw the disappointment in his eyes, which were following Roger Daniels approaching behind me... on crutches.
"Roger, what happened?!" I gasped. "I saw you out skiing on the Nordic course just last weekend and you looked great!"
"I planted my pole between my legs and crashed. I broke my fibula," Roger replied.
"Oh, what a bummer," I said. The glumness sunk in during a silent pause as the line moved forward.
"Hey! You guys should still do pairs!" I said. "Lew can do the whole thing and then Roger can crutch the sprint into the amphitheater! You guys will still win and it will make for a spectacular finish!"
I could see the idea spark in their eyes.
"Well, I've only been on these crutches for a week. I'm not sure about the uneven ground," Roger contemplated.
I had almost convinced them when we reached the front of the line.
"Well?" I implored.
"Next year," they said.
On Sunday morning after the PPP, I was standing in another line - the cash register line at the annual Pine Mountain Sports Rep Sale. Sarah Max was standing behind me with a pair of ski boots in her arms.
"Hey, Sarah," I said. "So tell me the story." The two-time winner came in second this year to Stephanie Howe after capsizing twice in the paddle leg.It was a great race," she said. Stephanie was a real darkhorse and I am really happy for her, Max said. It just took a lot out of me to keep up with Kristina on the Nordic and then I had to ride really hard to put time on them. Stephanie caught me in the run and we basically got in the water together. She was in a downriver boat and I have a really tippy surfski. When we got to the first buoy, I just went over. I got back in, ` but after something like that you're kind of flustered and not sitting in your boat right and I went over again at the second buoy and there was no way to catch her.
Max tried to buy a more stable surfski this year, but ended up letting a friend have it. "I don't know if the Murphy's Oil I put on the bottom of my boat had something to do with it," she added.
"So, what about next year?" I asked.
"I was thinking it might be really fun to put together a women's team composed of past winners," she said.
Last week I mentioned that Kirsten Munck was literally knocked over in her kayak by a TV helicopter. Apparently, the pilot was so apologetic that he offered her whole family a ride in the chopper. I hope they have a great tour!
Best wishes to Brad Bond, who will be undergoing knee surgery. Someone crashed into him on the downhill ski leg and he proceeded to finish the event solo on a torn ACL. That's a hard-earned mug.
Stephanie Howe continued her winning streak this past weekend, pairing up with Zach Violett to win the Spring Chicken adventure race in Redmond on Sunday. The two were the first team to complete a course that involved about five miles of orienteering, 15 miles of mountain biking, a rappel off of a climbing wall and paintball target shooting. The victory, probably not quite as high profile as the PPP, was good retribution for a DNF at last summer's Flaming Chicken that almost involved Search and Rescue, from what I recall.
Somehow the PPP race director Molly Kelley ordered up perfect conditions for the PPP in the midst of the worst spring weather I can remember in ten years. "Third year in a row that I predicted the weather in February to be what it was on race day," she boasted.
So what now? Well, the skinning and skiing on Mt. Bachelor was super creamy this past weekend, the mountain bike trails are shaping up nicely and paddling season launches this Wednesday evening with the first Pickin' and Paddlin' boat demo and concert of the summer at the freshly renamed Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe (formerly Alder Creek). See ya out there!