Baker City hasn't seen this many shaved male legs since... oh, last year about this time - that is unless a lot of pickup driving cowboys are hiding something under those Wranglers (hell, Brokeback Mountain had to start somewhere). The place is crawling with minivans, bike racks and aerobars - and one can only wonder at what locals think, even in this 8th year. There are a few well established hangouts and Jenn and I found one of the prime spots - Barley Brown's Brew Pub. With a choice from nachos to burgers to eggplant Parmesan, with loads of linguini on the side, its definitely a cyclists eatery - oh, and they have their own half dozen brews as well. They have one IPA at 9.8% - I'll save it for Sunday night after Stage 4 to wash away the climbing pain.
I'm really psyched about this race - partially because of the course - its incredibly gorgeous here. It's just not that often you are going to pack up the ride and head 5 hours east from all we have in Portland to wander these back roads, but the race is a great excuse. Driving in late afternoon really made me want to jump on the bike and ride - seems I'm not alone. Race check-in was 6-9 tonight and seems half the riders road to the Baker City High School - jitters, you could feel the legs wanting to spin. In front of Barley Brown's riders cruising up and down mainstreet on every two-wheeled race configuration imaginable. And for those who had spun enough to put the jitters to bed - they were lining up for a table at Barley Brown's. Those jitters will all work themselves out on the road for 72.9 miles and 6,515 vert tomorrow.