Tour DaVita 2014 – Oregon (Ride Day Three)

Blog Entry 10/4 for Tuesday, 9/16.

Day Three of Tour Davita 2014 dawned clear – the wind that blew all night had cleared the smoke out of the local atmosphere, and while I wasn’t thrilled about having a headwind (it’s *always* a headwind), I *was* glad that the air was clear. For the first time in the Tour’s history, we had two loop days (Day One and Day Three), so I didn’t have to pack my tent this morning. We also had two distance options – 64 or 82 miles – for those of us who were either tired from the century yesterday or masochistic enough to want to actually ride the full 250-mile distance. Well, I hadn’t chosen the century on Monday, but I also wasn’t up to the longer distance on the final day, so I ended up riding the shorter route – but only partly because I was tired (more on this later).

The Tour visits at least one local DaVita Dialysis clinic every year. This year’s visit was on Day Three, so we all rallied for another 8 AM mass start:


The clinic was under two miles from the park where we camped, so by the time the final riders left the camp, the first ones were already at the clinic. Thank goodness for police escorts! We tied up traffic all through Woodburn that morning. All the riders were encouraged to tour the clinic if they wanted to, and to greet the patients, who all had huge grins on their faces (at least when I went through). After the tour was complete, there was a short program outside, including a plaque presentation from DaVita’s CEO (and Village Mayor) to the clinic’s Facility Administrator. Eve, Rick and I posed for a picture in front of the clinic:


After the tour and presentation, the riders all climbed back on their bikes and started the day’s loop, which included two ferry rides. Now, ordinarily this wouldn’t be a big deal, but as the ferry was only about 13 miles from the clinic, and we all started from there at the same time, there wasn’t a lot of chance for the crowd to spread out before reaching the ferry. Thus, about 400 of us all showed up at the ferry at more-or-less the same time. This picture shows a loaded (?!?) ferry taking TDV riders across. As you can see, it’s not full. We all wondered why they didn’t put more riders on it – we couldn’t have been *that* heavy! We found out later that the ferry was limited on how many people it could carry at one time due to Coast Guard rules on such trivia as personal flotation devices. So we weren’t all allowed to cram onto the ferry in one or two mass transports. As a result, plus the fact that the ferry had to accommodate its usual weekday morning traffic, some of the riders were stuck on the near side for up to an hour and a half before getting across. Good thing the first rest stop had been set up on the near side! I was in line for about an hour, myself, which definitely contributed to my deciding to take the shorter route when decision time came.


Once we got across the river, we gradually spread out due to our varying abilities. The next obstacle was a long hillclimb – most of us ended up calling it the first “spike” (of two) because on our route maps the elevation change showed as a spike in the graph. I rode up as far as I could, which wasn’t very, and then walked the rest of the way to the top. On the other side there was a good downhill and then a lot of fairly level (relatively speaking!) ground to cover before returning over the ridge (via the second “spike” on our elevation graph) to get to the lunch stop and then, ultimately, the ferry back across the river. I didn’t even try the second spike, and neither did a lot of others. I was reminded of the “chain up” areas you sometimes see near ski resorts, where you have to pull off the road to put on tire chains in order to continue. Except, in this instance, we were all stopping so we could dismount and walk up the hill.

Once at the top, of course, there’s another downhill – but this one was cruelly aborted when we had to slow down for the left turn into the lunch stop! Lunch was at the St. Innocent Winery (, an absolutely breathtaking location! As always, the food was excellent, and the winery provided free tastes of their products with the option to buy bottles if you so desired. (I passed.) After lunch, I had my by-then-customary nap, and finally left the winery about 3:30. [They kept the lunch stop open much later than originally planned because of the snafu back at the ferry in the morning. It was supposed to have closed down at 2; it was still going strong when I left, although the 3:30 Spirit Bus was the last one.] There were a few more ups and downs, including one where I reached 37.7 mph simply by coasting, and then the flat back to the ferry. After the ferry ride it was another 14 or so miles back to camp.

The final day’s ride to the finish line is always special, because KT (the CEO / Village Mayor) is there to high-five you and wave you in, and because you get your medal and picture:


Eve and Rick were their usual lovey-dovey selves:


And, of course, there’s the obligatory picture of the entire group I “ride with” (we all actually ride at different speeds, so we all came in separately, but we’re a group anyway):


After that, you’re free to go shower, change, and all that. Most of the riders stick around, or come back to, the finish line to cheer the rest in – no matter how long it takes. In fact, dinner was delayed on both Day Two and Day Three because some riders were still out on the route and so many folks were waiting at the finish lines to cheer them in.

The evening program featured the final four “We Are Here!” cheers, as well as the Open Mic session. Green Team didn’t win the night’s competition, but the team that won had to be judged against Day Two’s winner. I forget who won, but each member of the winning team got a $50 gift card to spend however he/she wanted, as long as it benefited their teammates back home somehow. (The Black Team, which Toni and I were on, won in 2012. I used her and my gift cards to help pay for the photo I gave to her unit in her memory.)

The final night also features a performance by the DaVita Blues All-Stars, who played until around midnight (I think). I didn’t stay for the festivities, but rather went to my tent for some well-deserved rest.

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