The Green Girl's Tour DaVita Report

The Green Girl and Lexa rode 255 miles through the Willamette Valley agricultural heart of Oregon over the course of three days and completed their third Tour DaVita.

This year's tour raised over $900,000 to benefit the DaVita Village Trust organization which aspires to improve community health, wellness and vitality, including chronic kidney disease education, prevention and treatment.

DaVita Village Trust combined two kidney care non-profit organizations - Bridge of Life-DaVita Medical Missions and The Kidney TRUST - under one umbrella.

Combining these two programs has enabled the DaVita Village Trust to provide a full range of kidney care services, including international medical missions that deliver dialysis treatment to patients who would otherwise not receive care, and free, rapid screening programs to identify those in the United States and abroad who have signs of kidney impairment.

In the past 8 years, the Bridge of Life program conducted more than 46 Medical Missions in 15 countries.

With the money we raised, we were told for every mile we cycled, 33 kidney patients around the world were granted access to kidney dialysis treatment.

The theme for Tour DaVita is always 'The Spirit of the Ride'. We were asked to 'Create the Spirit of the Ride', 'Respect the Spirit of the Ride', and 'Remember the Spirit of the Ride'.

Tour DaVita 'The Reason Why We Ride' sign at the DaVita Woodburn Dialysis Clinic
There were a total of 506 Tour DaVita participants, including:
  • 62 family members
  • 8 Nephrologists
  • 9 patient riders
  • 366 teammates/vendor participants

Tour Davita is a fully supported endurance event for participants of all abilities and experience. Each year, DaVita partners with an active travel company, Backroads to make the 'The Moving Village' come to life.

Backroads provided bicycles fitted with rear bike racks and generously sized Topeak trunk. bags.

The sun setting over 'The Moving Village' at Centennial Park
Backroads also provided the tents, self-inflating sleeping pads, and sleeping bags.

While we were out riding on Day 2, the Backroads crew tore down the campsite and transported everything from Waterloo County Park in Lebanon to the campground at Centennial Park in Woodburn.

Upon arrival at the second campsite, our bags were waiting for us in our respective tents along with the sleeping bags and pads.

Potable water refill station
Each campsite had potable water filling stations and mobile shower trailer facilities.

Forks & Corks Catering catered the event. The majority of the food was sourced locally.

Amenities such as a Village Store, charging stations, and laptops were available provided at the campsites.

Tour DaVita Cell Phone Charging center
This year, I opted to bring an 8000 mAh battery pack so I could charge my mobile device from the convenience of my tent. The 8000 mAh charger provided enough power for all 3 days.

Tour DaVita - Day 1 was a 73 mile loop ride with a 1,076 foot elevation gain starting and ending at the first campground at Waterloo County Park in Lebanon.

The Green Girl and Aaron at the Tour DaVita - Day 1 start
Lexa and I took it easy to preserve ourselves for the century the next day.

Coming from the dry, brown, fire-prone state of California, I was looking forward to enjoying some rich Autumn colors but we were disappointed to learn that the drought had spread to Oregon.

There was even a fire about 40 miles away from our cycling route. I was relieved to see that the air quality wasn't as bad as I'd feared.

The weather was also pleasant - warm but not too hot or humid.

Pumpkin patch in Willamette Valley
We were able to catch a glimpse of fall colors mixed in with the brown here and there.

We also managed to get a taste of the upcoming holiday season as we rode by Christmas tree farms, hazelnut trees, and pumpkin patches. We also saw organic cattle.

The Green Girl saw a traveling sprinkler for the first time
I saw a traveling sprinker for the first time. It was a cute little yellow tractor slowly moving across a lawn. Teammate Aaron explained the tractor follows the path of the water hose.

The Backroads crew set up well-stocked aid stations along the route. They also drove around in 'Spirit Vans' offering support and picking up weary riders.

For lunch, I enjoyed a tasty grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.

Upon completion of the 73 miles, I pulled a number, showered, and then patiently waited my turn for a complimentary 15 minute massage.

I explained my lower back tightness to the masseuse and she explained that discomfort was actually caused by tight psoas muscles.

I focused on yoga breathing as she worked on loosening my psoas - the left side was much more painful than the right.

Tour DaVita - Day 2 was a century with a 2,400 foot elevation gain from Waterloo County Park in Lebanon to Centennial Park in Woodburn.

Christmas tree farm
Given my lower back situation - even though I was feeling significantly looser post-massage, I was relieved to see that the century course was mostly flat.

One of the highlights of the century route for me was going over historical covered bridges.

Oregon has a total of 50 historic covered bridges - more than any other U.S. state. The majority of the covered bridges in Oregon were built between 1905 and 1925.

The Green Girl and Lexa rode over their first covered bridge Photo Credit: Aaron Schmidt
The first covered bridge we crossed was the Hoffman Bridge over Crabtree Creek. The bridge was a mile northeast of the town of Crabtree. Both the town and the creek were named for John Crabtree, a pioneer who settled in the area in 1845.

The nearby fires created a smoke and ash blanket across the sky. The air quality remained tolerable and the thick cover actually shaded us from the potentially hot sun.

The Tour DaVita course was clearly marked with signs
Copies of the daily route maps were handed out at breakfast but the course was also clearly marked with signs.

Potential hazards were also marked with signs - including any significant traffic crossings.

At lunch, I opted to take some ibuprofen to help ease my lower back tension.

We cycled past multiple pumpkin patches before arriving at our new camp site at Centennial Park in Woodburn.

DaVita Woodburn Dialysis Clinic
Tour DaVita - Day 3 kicked off with a visit to the local DaVita Woodburn Dialysis Clinic.

Day 3 was an 83 mile route with a 1,900 foot elevation gain.

12 miles into the day, our route crossed the Wheatland Ferry.

The Wheatland Ferry is a cable ferry connecting Marion County and Yamhill County across the Willamette River. The ferry travels approximately 580 feet (178 meters) across the river.

The ferry was powered by two electric motors connected to a diesel generator and supported by two steel cables, one under water on the downriver side, and one overhead on the upriver side. The overhead cable was also used for steering the ferry.

Each time a replacement Wheatland ferry is launched, it is always named Daniel Matheny, after the person who originally established the ferry, followed by its number as a Roman numeral. The current ferry, launched in 2002 is Daniel Matheny V.

Steve Priest discussing the backlog of riders with a Wheatland Ferry worker
Unfortunately, a ferry ride with a maximum passenger capacity of 45 due to life jacket availability 12 miles into a ride was less than ideal. Since all the riders attended the clinic visit, we all started the ride together - and 12 miles wasn't enough to spread us out so we all arrived at the ferry at around the same time.

The ferry also had to accommodate locals - so that meant less Tour riders on each ride.

The Green Girl and Lexa's first ferry ride. Photo Credit: Deb Marshall
Lexa and I ended up waiting 1.25 hours to board the ferry but that could not sully my first time riding a ferry with Lexa excitement.

After realizing how much time was lost in the ferry queue, I decided Lexa and I needed to pick up the pace in order to make the time cut-off for the full 83 miles.

Instead of going at my usual comfortable 14.4 mph, I pumped my legs are hard as I could and managed to do between 17.5 - 18.5 mph on the flats most of the way to lunch.

A field of beehives
When I was riding with teammate Kelly, we passed a field of pastel colored beehives.

I shared my interest with in beekeeping with Kelly and mentioned how I'd read that when a beekeeper dies someone must go tell the bees about his/her death or they will fly away and leave the hive.

There was a giant, seemingly never-ending hill right before lunch - and it was one of those hills where you think you've reached the top but it curves and keeps on going. I felt like we were doing the entire 1,900 foot elevation gain up this incline.

Cattle along the Tour DaVita route
About 10 feet from the top, my body decided it had had enough. I was about to throw in the towel when a girl behind me said 'Mary* you cannot stop! You've been the only thing keeping me going up this entire hill!'. That comment gave me a burst of energy and I manage to push out a few more pedal strokes.

Unbeknownst to me, Willamette Valley's mild climate provides optimal growing conditions for grapes and is home to over 300 wineries. Willamette Valley is also known for its world class Pinot noir.

Tour DaVita - Day 3 lunch was at the beautifulZenith Winery
I thoroughly enjoyed the Day 3 lunch at the beautiful Zenith Winery.

I had a tasty BBQ sandwich and yummy macaroni and cheese while I sat on the patio and enjoyed the view.

With my lunch, I took a serving of ENERGYbits spirulina algae tabs to help maintain my energy levels for the second half of the ride.

Sun setting over Willamette Valley
Once my lunch digested, I was able to maintain a steady 15.5 mph. I was thrilled when I got to the cut-off point and the Red Shirt volunteers let me know I could still complete the full distance.

Around Mile 65, Kelly caught up with me and rode to the finish together as the sun began to set over Willamette Valley.

Tour DaVita finisher's buckle
At dinner, each rider received a Tour DaVita Oregon 2014 finisher's belt buckle.

It was my first ever belt buckle - I was so excited.

The buckle was especially meaningful to me because I'd gone outside my comfort zone and pushed myself to make the time cut-off. Day 3 was much more challenging for me due to the lost time waiting for the ferry than the century.

DaVita Blues All Stars
After our final dinner, the DaVita Blue All Stars provided musical entertainment to help us celebrate a successful Tour.

I want to thank everyone who helped me raise money for the DaVita Village Trust.

I also want to thank my team - the eGate team - for their support and encouragement.

The Green Girl and Kelly at the Tour DaVita finish line
Here's a link to the official Tour DaVita 2014 Recap Video.

We ride so others can live...

* I have no idea who that teammate was - she only knew my name because it was on the bib attached to my hydration pack - but thank you Hill Angel Teammate who helped me get to the top of that giant, killer hill!


Run Woodstock Hippie Half Race Report

The Green Girl and Angel Runners Dawn and Jason after the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
The Green Girl ran the Hippie Half and Flippin' 5k at Run Woodstock this past weekend.

Run Woodstock is a hippie-themed weekend of peace, love, music, tie-dye, camping, and run­ning at Hell Creek Ranch in Pinckney, MI.

In addition to 5k/10k, 5 mile, full/half marathon, 50k/50 mile, and 100k/100 mile races, there were also optional activities such as hiking, hula hooping, tie dying, yoga, and even 'natural' (sans clothing) runs.

F.A.S.T. Island Angel Runners at Run Woodstock
I joined Angel Runners Boyana, Dawn, Jason, Krishna, and Timothy at this event to raise awareness and money for the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST). Dawn and Jason's daughters, Bella and Kaylee, also joined us.

FAST provides grants and fellowship programs to encourage research aimed at finding a cure for Angelman Syndrome. The organization also provides education and advocacy services.

In honor of the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, the Angel Runners coined the term 'F.A.S.T. Island' in reference to our campgrounds.

Angel Runners F.A.S.T. Island at Run Woodstock
The Angel Runners started arriving at Hell Creek Ranch Friday afternoon. We pitched our tents and assembled F.A.S.T. Island for the weekend.

Shortly after I pitched my tent and set up my sleeping quarters, an air raid siren sounded. I quickly learned this was a tornado warning after I shocked everyone by explaining earthquakes 'just happen' in California - there is no advance warning.

A fallen tent at Hell Creek Ranch
Before I had a chance to panic at the possibility of a tornado, violent gusts of wind started ripping through the campground. Unweighted tents were violently ripped out of the ground and thrown up into the air - including the giant tent to the left of me.

I was still standing there in shock when a local fellow running blogger, Clark from Traveller's Running Log, arrived. After we determined F.A.S.T. Island was unharmed, he helped us reinforce the camp to guard against future wind storms.

The Green Girl and Clark from Traveller's Running Log in front of the still standing F.A.S.T. Island
The remainder of the day was uneventful but the Friday night Far Out 5k was cancelled due to the storm warnings.

It rained consistently through the night so we were prepared for mud when we headed out to the trails in the morning.

Boyana and Timothy's Freak 50k started at 6:00 am. Krishna's Mellow Full Marathon started at 7:30 am along with the Hippie Half Marathon which Dawn, Jason, and I were registered for.

Dawn and the Green Girl running at the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
Dawn, Jason, and I were pleasantly surprised by how much the earth had dried up by the time we headed out on a well-groomed, gravel covered dirt road.

The morning was pleasant but humid. The heavy foliage from the trees shaded us from the sun and helped keep us cool.

The Green Girl saw a deer stand for hunting for the first time
I saw a deer stand for hunting for the first time when Jason pointed one out on the course.

I also learned a new euphemism for poop - road apples. Except I kept getting confused and saying 'mud apples'.

The course was well marked with colored flags and directional signage.

Run Woodstock Aide Station Volunteer
The three of us were disappointed to discover the aide stations for the half marathon course only provided water and a lemon-lime sports drink.

Expecting more course support, the only nutrition I brought with me were EnergyBits spirulina algae supplements and a Smucker's Uncrustables from Boyana.

Halfway through the run, I decided to chew on my EnergyBits despite the instructions to swallow them whole. The taste reminded me of Japanese nori (seaweed) crackers. I quickly regretted this decision because I ended up with green residue on my lips which I managed to smear everywhere - especially my hydration bite piece.

Smucker's Uncrustable
I was absolutely amazed by the Uncrustable.

It was the solution to my quest for a sturdier portable peanut butter and jelly sandwich for long runs. The little crustless dumpling shaped pods come frozen in individually wrapped packages with just enough air to cushion the Uncrustable.

Muddy portion of the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
Once we left the main road, the course took us into the woods where we encountered the occasional mud pit. We would carefully squish along the edges and brace ourselves with each inevitable slip.

Presumably from the previous evening's windstorm, there were a number of what appeared to be freshly fallen trees on the trail.

Some sections had so many downed trees that we felt like mini hurdlers.

Angel Runners Dawn and Jason navigating the fallen trees at the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
There were a few rolling hills but the course wasn't highly technical.

The Hippie Half course crossed paths with the longer distance races so we had the opportunity to cheer on some of the Hallucination 100ers. (Unfortunately, we could not say the same for their aide stations.)

Dawn met an energetic 82 year old runner named Bob out on the course. We chatted with him briefly and then discussed how we hoped we would be in similar physical shape at that age.

Dawn and the Green Girl running in the woods at the Run Woodstock Hippie Half
My favorite portion of the course was the section through the tall trees. The dense forest shaded us from the hot sun.

Although my stomach growled and cramped with hunger, I was pleased to see the combination of the EnergyBits and the Uncrustable carried me to the finish.

After Dawn, Jason, and I completed our Hippie Half, we returned to F.A.S.T. Island and waited for Krishna to finish the Mellow Full.

Run Woodstock Mellow Full Age Grouper Krishna
We were thrilled to see Krishna received a mini Volkswagen Camper Van for placing third in his age group.

We cheered Boyana and Timothy upon their completion of the Freak 50k.

In the evening, Boyana and I headed out with our headlamps for the non-'natural' (fully clothed) Flippin' 5k.

Runners for both Flippin' 5k versions started out fully clothed (this was a family-friendly event, after all) but at some point out on the course, there was a split where the fully clothed runners veered in one direction and the 'natural' runners stripped and completed their race in the nude.

Run Woodstock Freak 50k finishers Boyana and Timothy
Boyana and I were running happily when an oncoming naked guy ran past us. Even though we were aware of the 'natural' run option on the other course, it still startled us to see a lost rogue 'natural' runner.

After completing my first ultramarathon at last year's Freak 50k, I enjoyed racing a shorter distance and having more time to participate in the Run Woodstock weekend activities.

The Green Girl at DTW on her way home from Run Woodstock
Run Woodstock was well-organized and the volunteer 'roadies' were friendly and helpful.

One thing that impressed me was the exceptional porta-potty maintenance. Some campers arrived on Thursday but even on Sunday, the porta-potties were well-stocked and not overflowing.

I want to thank Boyana, Dawn, Jason, Krishna, and Timothy for another unforgettable Run Woodstock weekend full of running, camping, and laughs. I am already looking forward to doing this again next year.


The Green Girl's Tour DaVita Packing List

The Green Girl is updating The Green Girl's Tour DaVita Packing List in preparation for Tour DaVita next week.

The Green Girl's Tour DaVita Packing List

Clothing Personal Items/Toiletries Gear/Electronics Nutrition Travel Outfit/Carry-on Additional Notes/Tips:
  • I pack each day's outfit in a separate gallon zip baggie and then seal up the dirty outfit in the same baggie.
  • You will need some sort of bag with a handle/loop so you can hang it from a hook for carrying everything to the shower and hanging it while you shower - I'm using a mesh beach bag.
  • Tents will be provided.
  • Sleeping pads and sleeping bags will be provided so I plan on using the secondary sleeping bag as additional cushion.
  • I absolutely swear by the Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes Clutch and Clean Carrying Case because I can loop it around my wrist and easily hang it in the porta-potty.
  • One item I omitted from my packing list which might be useful is an extension cord for charging electronics since the charging stations tend to get crowded.
  • For cold mornings, stash your outfit in your sleeping bag before you go to sleep so you have warm clothing to put on when you wake up.
  • Don't leave electronics or anything you don't want to get wet on the tent floor because condensation tends to accumulate over night.
  • I would recommend not taking a CO2 cartridge onto an airplane due to increased security - I used to carry them with me but I no longer do this.


Run Woodstock Hippie Half Marathon Packing List

The Green Girl is updating her Run Woodstock Peace, Love & Freak 50​K Packing List in preparation for this year's Running Fit's Run Woodstock.

Run Woodstock is a weekend of peace, love, music and run­ning at Hell Creek Ranch in Pinckney, MI, with races of almost every imaginable distance - 5k/10k, 5 mile, full/half marathon, 50k/50 mile, 100k/100 miles.

The runners will be camping at the Hell Creek Ranch Com­mune.

The Green Girl's Run Woodstock Packing List

Clothing Gear Personal Items/Toiletries Electronics
  • Mini flashlight lantern
  • Mobile phone
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Camera
  • Spare camera battery
  • TIKKA PLUS² headlamp
  • Spare AAA batteries for headlamp
  • Mr. Green Garmin
  • Battery pack
  • Waterproof electronic bags
Nutrition Travel Outfit


Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap Winner

The Green Girl is thrilled to announce the winner of the Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap Giveaway.

The winner is Tiina from One Crazy Penguin!

Thank you to all the participants and a big congratulations to Tiina!

Tiina, please send an email to giveaway@therunninggreengirl.com to claim your prize.

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Please also consider taking a moment to vote for Orange Mud founder, Josh Sprague, for Entrepeneur Magazine's 'Emerging Entrepreneur of 2014'. In addition to offering locally sourced, innovative products with for endurance athletes, Orange Mud also supports and gives back to the athletic community.

If you'd like to save 10% off an Orange Mud purchase, simply use discount code 'RUNNINGGREEN14'. Code valid until 08/30/2014.


Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap Giveaway

The Green Girl loves her lime green Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap.

After I posted my review last night, Orange Mud generously offered one Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap for a giveaway to a lucky winner.

Orange Mud designed the Transition & Seat Wrap to function as both a towel wrap and a seat protector.

The transition wrap feature consists of a sturdy clip that fastens easily and securely to a laser cut belt. I like how the belt band gives the towel a slight stiffness so it doesn't stretch as you secure it around your body.

The seat cover feature consists of a section of the towel that zips into a hoodie. This hooded portion can be pulled over the headrest of your car seat. It's long enough that it drapes over and protects the edge/side of your seat from potentially dirty calves/legs.

The Transition & Seat Wrap comes in 16 fun colors:
  • Neon Yellow
  • Royal Blue
  • Neon Pink
  • Hunter Green
  • Navy Blue
  • Sunshine Yellow
  • Caribbean Blue
  • Turquoise
  • White
  • Burgundy
  • Orange
  • Tan
  • Purple
  • Lime Green
  • Salsa Red
  • Black
To enter to win your very own Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap in your choice of color, simply log into the Rafflecopter widget below.

You will have two options for logging into the Rafflecopter widget:
  1. Log in via Facebook - choose this option and a pop-up will ask for permission to access Facebook details. Rafflecopter needs to access email addresses via Facebook in order to contact winners.
  2. Use your email - leave a name and email address. Your email address is PRIVATE and I will not share or publish it anywhere.
Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 6th at 12:00 midnight Pacific Time. If you encounter any issues entering this giveaway via Rafflecopter, please let me know.

Good luck and thank you
for taking the time to enter this giveaway!

Winner will be announced on Thursday, August 7th!

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Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap Review

The Green Girl purchased a lime green Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap a few months ago.

Orange Mud designed the Transition & Seat Wrap to function as both a towel wrap and a seat protector.

I discovered the versatility of a full-sized bath towel while participating in Ragnar Relay multi-day races.

A single towel could serve as a body wrap when changing clothing, a blanket for warmth, a seat protector, and even a pillow if folded/rolled.

I was looking at triathlon transition towels and spa towels wraps in search of a velcro-less solution (I dislike how velcro tends to catch on fabrics) when a fellow Ragnarian mentioned the Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap.

Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap
The Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap measures 30" wide x 60" long.

The product is made in the USA.

The care directions indicate wash cold and dry cool.

The transition wrap feature consists of an impact resistant polymer clip that fastens easily and securely to a laser cut belt.

Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap
I like how the band of the belt gives the towel a slight stiffness so it doesn't stretch as you secure it around your body. The belt appears to be well made and reinforced.

The seat cover feature consists of a section of the towel that zips into a hoodie. This hooded portion can be pulled over the headrest of your car seat. It's long enough that it drapes over and protects the edge/side of your seat from potentially dirty calves/legs.

Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap
The towel is the thickness and quality of a typical beach towel.

I ignored the care instructions and washed my lime green Transition & Seat Wrap in hot water and dried it in high. This did not appear to diminish the integrity of the towel but the towel did leave behind generous amounts of lime green fuzz.

I highly recommend washing your towel multiple times before use - and with items that do not attract lint. The towel did eventually stop shedding after a few washes - and the hot water/high heat hasn't had any negative effects on it even after a few months.

The Transition & Seat Wrap comes in 16 colors:
  • Neon Yellow
  • Royal Blue
  • Neon Pink
  • Hunter Green
  • Navy Blue
  • Sunshine Yellow
  • Caribbean Blue
  • Turquoise
  • White
  • Burgundy
  • Orange
  • Tan
  • Purple
  • Lime Green
  • Salsa Red
  • Black
Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap
I love my Orange Mud Transition & Seat Wrap - it's become my 'go to' towel. In addition to outdoor sports and the gym, it's also great for recreational swimming or the water park.

The product was thoughtfully designed and well made.
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