Portland Century

Monday, August 28, 2006
August 28, 2006

Portland Century:

My husband and I rode the 60 mile, toting our 18 month old in a Burley trailer. We read on the brochures that the rest-stops would be well-stocked, and they were not. The stop just before the Marine Drive stretch only had water, and one of the three pumps was broken, with long lines for bottle refills at the 2 remaining pumps. There were no Cliff Bars as promised at any of the stops. We saw empty boxes, but no bars to take with us were provided. We were promised at the water stop that there would be lots of food at the next stop (Roselyn), 15 miles down the road, so without food, I hauled my baby in the Burley for 18 miles in the beating hot sun on an empty stomach before collapsing from severe dehydration alongside Lombard somewhere. I felt completely abandoned & unsupported on this ride. At the point I stopped along the way, I realized I had lost my husband, who had had to stop miles back due to hypoglycemia unbeknownst to me, and ended up having to get water from a hose at a house along the way. Because of the lack of nourishment along the way, we were unable to complete the last 13 miles of the 60 mile stretch, which was devastating to me.

I was so excited about this ride, and had been looking forward to it for weeks. As it turned out, I was hauled back to PSU in a SAG vehicle. By the time I arrived there, I was so sick from dehydration that I couldn't physically get out of the van. Shortly after that I started vomiting & was unable to keep fluids down. My husband sought medical attention for me at the tents in the park blocks, but there was none to be found. One man with a first aid kit gave my husband a blank stare & was completely unhelpful, doing nothing to help us or point us in the right direction.

This was a century ride in 95 degree weather, and if there was medical support available, we were not pointed in the right direction. I ended up in an ambulance & transported up to OHSU where I was given IV fluids until 8:30pm at night. Needless to say, we did not get to enjoy the finish line dinner, pick up our gift bags of beer & coffee, or commemorative posters. We also paid extra for t-shirts, and do not have those. My husband left his helmet in the SAG vehicle. I feel like I was gypped on this ride, and that my health was compromised by poor planning & lack of food & medical support. I would appreciate a full refund.

As a side note, this was supposed to feature the best of Portland. We were taken along routes featuring the worst of Portland. I-205 & I-84 are an eyesore, and the neighborhoods along there are run-down with no gardens or trees. Aside from the beginning of the route, I was riding along busy interstates or roads. If you are going to market this ride as "the best of Portland," perhaps there needs to be some planners that actually know what the best of Portland is--because this ride was not it! Also, the sign markings were good in some areas & poor in others. In fact, we rode past the Roeslyn rest-stop because there were no signs, and it was out of sight from where riders were riding. There were many riders who were lost & riding in the hot sun going in the wrong direction or that passed much-needed rest-stops due to poor markings. Other 40 milers accidently got onto the 60 mile route, unsure if they would be able to make it or not. There were some 60 milers gypped because they were on the 40 mile route. I don't know if it was a lack of volunteers or poor planning, but it would have been nice to have volunteers directing & supporting riders or at the least, signs pointing us in the direction we were to go. There were some areas that were completely unmarked, which is where many riders got off track or bypassed rest-stops.

I am emotionally & physically recovering from what happened yesterday. I won't let this deter me from future rides, and plan to learn from this. I would appreciate it if you take this e-mail and use it to improve future Portland Century rides. I would also appreciate compensation for what my family and I endured yesterday due to lack of food, water, & medical support on the ride.



Brenda said...

I'm glad I skipped the ride. I had planned on doing the 40 miler, but had something else come up....an invite on a boat...so, saw riders along the Columbia, but didn't get to ride. Hopefully suggestions like yours will get back to the ride event planning people and maybe it will be better next year.

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