Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Afternoon Ride

Today my daughter and I were supposed to do a 20 mile ride when she got home from work. But when she walked through the door a little past noon she said that she had a really bad headache. She also said that her fall allergies were starting up again. So I told her to rest and take a nap. She didn't need to ride in today's heat feeling the way she did. And it certainly was hot this afternoon. In fact according to this morning's weather report today would be our hottest day this week. But I wanted to ride. So I decided to do a short quick ride alone.

I quickly got dressed and got on my bike and out the drive I went. It was warm at 1:03 PM when I left, 82 degrees according to my house thermometer. I filled both water bottles and hoped that would be enough for my ride. Here is my route: Out my door to Alan York Park, left onto Bonney Lake Blvd, then left onto Locust. At the traffic light I went left onto Old Sumner Buckley Hwy until I reached Angeline Road where I turned right. I went down the hill but instead of going into Orting I went towards Sumner. When I reached the on ramp of 410 (near Riverside Ford) I pedaled onto the the ramp and started cycling up Eli Hill! I made it to the top and stopped at the Park and Ride behind Wendys for a water break. Downing one and half bottles of water I continued home. I reached my driveway at 2:08 PM and got 14.26 miles in. That climb up 410 (Eli Hill) was 1.91 miles! It was HOT but I kept on pedaling. Traffic was pretty heavy and there was a lot of debris and glass on the shoulder of the road. I don't think I will ride up this hill again! I wouldn't recommend it to other cyclists. There are plenty of other hills that are better and safer and with less rubbish on them.

Tomorrow I think I will do my Sky Island to Orting, Buckley, and back home route. About a 35 mile ride. Jackie said to just cycle in the morning without her. She said it's better to ride before the heat of the day. So I think I will. But she has Friday off and we plan on riding the 45 mile Headwater Century course before the heat of the day. The problem is where to park. Enumclaw High School, our usual start point, is in session. Yes, they went back to school today. Maybe we'll park at the Enumclaw QFC.

Late Afternoon Ride . . . HOT!

Because I had to work yesterday that meant no morning ride. But I did get a ride in plus I finally got to meet another cycling addict who lives only a few miles away from me! We have been corresponding right here on my blog page.

We met at the local park at 4:30 PM. The lake in the park was full of kids swimming, lounging, and hanging out with their friends at either the lake or the skateboard park. I guess they are trying to grab those last few summer days of fun before school starts next week. And just like them I was doing the same thing, trying to enjoy my last days of summer, because I start back next week too.

But anyway back to my ride. We met in the parking lot next to the Snack Shack and introduced ourselves. He is a very nice guy who rides a nice Specialized bike. Yes, I always notice peoples’ bikes. In fact when Joe and I talk about someone we have met on a ride we will say something like, “Yea, you remember that guy on the Giant, what was his name?” We remember the bike he/she was on but not their name! LOL

Introductions done and both of us eager to ride we left the park and pedaled around the south end of the lake then headed east towards Buckley. The traffic was pretty heavy and the county I live in, in my opinion, has the worst county roads in the state. No shoulders and chip sealed roads. The course was rolling. There were a few steeper hills thrown in to keep it entertaining. I do not know how many miles we got in as I forgot to start my cyclometer when we left the parking lot. I only noticed that it was not on when we reached Old Sumner Buckley Highway. It felt like I may have gotten in about 17 or 18 miles. And my friend probably got a bit more mileage as he lives a few miles away from me. But I did have a fun ride! And I was very happy that I got out for a ride especially after being inside all day long.

Today, Wednesday, my daughter and I are supposed to go for a ride when she gets home from work. She gets off at noon and is usually in the door by 12:30. Then she will have to eat and then we will load our bikes and drive to Black Diamond because she likes to ride King County roads. We are planning on doing our upper 20 mile loop starting from Black Diamond. It’s going to be even hotter today so claims the weathermen. Maybe even 80s! I’ll post a report on our ride tonight.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

No Bike Rides This Weekend

This weekend was a washout as far as mountain biking or road cycling goes. I did neither and I am very depressed about it. But my husband and I had "house" chores to do and they had to be done. But I did get a new bright neon green Canari cycling jacket. People should see me coming from miles away. It's so green with reflective piping along the sides and sleeves. The sleeves can be unzipped and removed turning the jacket into a vest. I like it a lot.

I have a full day of work tomorrow. On Tuesday I only have to go in for a morning meeting. My summer break officially ends next Tuesday the day after Labor Day. Yes, another school year begins in a week. This time of year always depresses me. Not because I have to go back to work (okay, maybe it's one of the reasons) but because right after fall is winter, which is my least favorite season. The cold, darkness, and gloom are so depressing. I am a sun person and the lack of it really affects me. But I seem to get through it every year, even though it seems to get harder and harder with each passing year.

On the bright side, on Tuesday afternoon Jackie and I plan to do a road ride. We are thinking about doing the upper 20 mile Black Diamond Loop. Wednesday I am not to sure about at this point. I am debating on either doing a morning ride (about an 8:00 or 9:00 AM start) or an afternoon ride (about a 3:00 or 4:00 PM start). Thursday another afternoon ride with my daughter and Friday a possible club ride. Cascade Bicycle Club has a Vashon/Maury Island ride scheduled for 9:00 AM. We are to meet at the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal where we will catch the 9:25 AM ferry to Vashon. Once we are on Vashon we are going to circumnavigate the islands stopping to have lunch before returning by ferry to the mainland. Whether I ride with the club on Vashon or with my daughter one fact is certain, I will have fun! And hey after all isn't that what it's all about?!

Point Robinson Light House, Maury Island, Washington

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Beautiful Day . . . Great Ride!

This morning my daughter and I woke up at 7:30 PM. What greeted our eyes when we looked out the kitchen window were sunshine and a clear blue sky! So we quickly ate breakfast and then got ready for a bike ride. I pumped air into our tires, lubed the chains, and filled our water bottles. I stuffed a few power bars into my back jersey pocket, packed my gloves, sunglasses, bike shoes, and helmet into my tote bag and off we went. We decided to start from Enumclaw and ride to Black Diamond and back.

We arrived in Enumclaw and parked and then we got ourselves ready. We were on our way by 9:30 AM. Jackie wanted to wear her jacket but I told her in 10 minutes she would be hot and then she would have to carry it for the rest of the ride. She listened to me and left her jacket in the car and sure enough I was right, by the time we completed our first mile she was warm. The morning air was nice, the pastures were beautiful, and the roads quiet with hardly any traffic on them.

I was initially going to follow the 45 mile Headwater Century route. The Dan Henry markings were freshly painted on the roads for the upcoming September 9th Headwater Century. But Jackie did not want to go down one particular hill. It is a steep and winding hill that drops you down into the valley and takes you to Flaming Geyser. She had a terrible crash about 1 ½ months ago on a similar steep and winding hill and she said she just couldn’t handle a hill like that just yet. So, I had to change my plans. When we came to the left hand turn that would have taken us to the steep winding hill we instead continued straight and crossed hwy 169. We climbed a steep hill and came down a steep but straight downhill that placed us at Veazie-Cumberland Road SE. We turned left onto Veazie and after pedaling for 2 miles we reached Nolte State Park, our first rest stop. After refilling our water bottles eating our power bars and visiting the rest room we were ready to continue on. Jackie and I were really into our ride. Before we knew it we were passing Kanaskat Palmer State Park then we were crossing the Green River. This part of the ride was very hilly. Like a roller coaster, up and down. I think it's a great route for building up the strength in your legs. I absolutely loved it! After about 4 more miles we reached a “T” in the road where we turned left onto SE Retreat Kanaskat Rd. Shortly after passing Retreat Lake we turned left onto SE Kent Kangley Rd. which took us into Ravensdale where Jackie and I pulled into a park for a rest. We decided to turn around here and go back. Jackie was getting tired and did not want to continue on into Black Diamond which was only 4 miles away. So, we turned around and went back the way we had just come.

By the time we got back to our cars we had cycled over 40 hilly miles. If we would have continued on into Black Diamond we would have done over 50 miles. Oh well perhaps on another day we will do the 50 mile ride.

Well, we left at 9:30 and we were back by 12:17. After we got the bikes loaded and all our gear packed up we were ready for food. We were both very hungry. I suggested we have lunch at “The Mint” in Enumclaw. Jackie thought that was a great idea so off we went to the Mint. The food tasted so delicious. Isn’t it amazing how hard exercise enhances the taste of food?! And the ice tea was so cold and refreshing. I’ve never tasted a better glass of ice tea! After our delicious lunch we drove back home. We pulled into the driveway a little before 2:00 PM and we both agreed it was a great ride!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Last Minute Change of Plans

This morning Joe and I were planning to do a 25 mile road ride. But at the very last minute Joe changed his mind and said, "Let's go to Lake Sawyer and ride our mountain bikes instead." I agreed and said, "Ok!" The last time that Joe was on his mountain bike was Saturday, June 30th when we rode Tiger Mountain with a bunch of friends. The last time I was on my mountain bike was on Thursday, July 26th when I met a friend and we hit the trails at Banner Forest. So today turned into a trail ride instead of a pavement ride!

I remember summers when Joe and I rode every single weekend! One day of the weekend we would mountain bike and the other day we would do a road ride. I remember epic rides, all day rides, riding with a dozen friends, and campouts. This summer has been a very sad one when it comes to mountain biking and road cycling. Hopefully we can get this "very little riding" turned around and back on course to “lots of riding!”

But we sure had a lot of FUN this afternoon! I forgot how much fun the dusty, rooty, rocky, steep, sweeping, technical, forested trails can be. It's a totally different experience and a different workout then road cycling. Oh don't get me wrong I love road cycling but I also love mountain biking. Each has their own unique and special qualities. And please don't ask me to choose between the two because I won't be able to do it because I LOVE doing both.

Ok back to the fun! Once we entered the woods we headed straight for our favorite trails like Black Bear Trail, JLG Trail, Ed’s Woods, Toy Trail, and Mistress. As we were swooshing along the trails we ran into some friends that we used to ride with. So we stopped to chat. They asked us to join them but we declined. We did not want to hold them back. Remember it’s been quite some time since we did any mountain biking and these guys were pretty good and in better shape than Joe and me. They would have killed us! We told them that we would ride with them when we were back in shape again. So we said good bye and continued on.

Finally after 3 hours of riding we left the woods and returned to the truck. We were very tired but also very happy. It was a great ride. I'm glad we went.

I wish we could get a road ride in tomorrow but I know we will be starting our "big house painting" project. Until that task is finished there will be zero mountain biking or road cycling on weekends. Sad, sad, sad but sometimes sacrifices have to be made because of other obligations. But I'm calculating that by the time we finish our house painting project Joe should be starting his new job which should mean more time to ride! So once we are finished painting the house it should all be good!

And I still have two weeks left of my summer break before I return to work. I will definitely take full advantage of these remaining days and ride my road bike as often as I can. In fact I'm thinking about leading a couple of training rides for my MS 150 Team this week. I'll probably ride on Tuesday and Thursday morning. If no one shows up, oh well, I'll still ride. There are only three weeks left until the MS 150 Ride. I'm ready! I hope the rest of the team is also ready. I would love to do the 75 mile course.

Here are two pictures that I shot today with my cell phone's camera. Sorry they are not that great.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Morning Ride With My Daughter

The weather report called for a chance of rain. But when I looked outside my kitchen window this morning it said otherwise. So, Jackie and I got our bikes and went for a road ride. And it turned out to be one of the best rides of the week. We rode through Enumclaw on beautiful back country roads that were almost traffic-less. We saw maybe a half dozen cars the first two thirds of our ride. And on the last one third maybe a tad bit more. We rode at a leisure to moderate pace. The course we rode on this morning was hilly and even so our average was still 14 mph. Both of us felt strong. We both agreed that we could have done a 50 mile ride easily. About a mile before we finished we stopped at Starbucks for venti iced teas. It really hit the spot. Then we finished the last mile and headed for home. It was GREAT!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ride Report

It's almost midnight and I thought I would quickly compose a brief recap of today's ride. First off it was much nicer than yesterday's ride. The reason it was nice was because I started the ride before it got hot. I left my house at 8:20 AM and was home before noon. The first half was all downhill into the Orting Valley. The second half was all uphill. The scenery on this morning's ride was beautiful. I rode past the Carbon River with fantastic views of Mt. Rainier, fields of corn ready to be picked, and fields of diverse and bountifully colored flowers. There were also the familar cows and horses grazing in lush and overgrown pastures. Very picturesque.

I rode 36 miles today. I would love to get a longer ride in this weekend but it does not look like it is going to happen. Hopefully I can get a 50 miler in next week. Probably on Tuesday or Wednesday.

If you've been reading my blog you know that I am riding in the MS 150 that is scheduled to take place the weekend of September 8th and 9th. I would like to ride the 75 mile route, but more than likely it will have to be the 50 mile route. I just haven't been getting enough training rides in these past few months. But I do feel strong so I'll just have to wait and see how I feel on the day of the MS 150. I will also have to take into account that my daughter is also doing the ride with me. And she really has not had the opportunity to ride. She has been busy with her summer job and working as a counselor at summer camps. So we will probably ride the 50 mile course. But it's all about having a good time and raising money for a great cause. I am looking forward to the event very much.

Tomorrow I am taking a day off from cycling to spend it with my son who is home from college for the summer. A good mother son day. He will be going back to EWU in September to finish his last year. He graduates June 2008!

On Thursday I want to get another morning ride in or perhaps a late afternoon/early evening ride. On Friday morning my daughter and I want to ride about 25-30 miles. She has Fridays off from her summer job and is also home for the summer from college. And like her brother she will be returning to school, CWU, in September. She graduates the year after her brother.

Well I guess that about sums up today's ride. It's now past midnight and I am very tired. So with that I am signing off with a good night and happy trails tomorrow!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Early Autumn! What was I thinking?!

Yes it was warm and sunny today, yes I said it felt like fall, yes I said the breeze felt cool BUT I was not riding my bike at the time when I made these statements.

I left my house today at 1:30 PM and 30 minutes into the ride the sweat was running down my cheeks as the sun baked my head, back, arms, and legs. The 25 mile route I had planned on doing turned into a 19 mile ride. Why you ask? Because my two bottles of water were empty, drained, depleted, dry at mile 18 and the sun was just too hot. I guess I am not conditioned for warm weather riding this summer as in previous summers. This can be attributed to a bad cycling year for me. Yes, 2007 has not been a good biking year for me but hopefully it will end better. Tomorrow I will go for an early morning ride. Oh well to be positive I at least rode my bike!

Early Autumn?

Today is Monday, August 10th isn't it? It feels more like September 10th to me. A day with clear blue skies and white fluffy clouds drifting by. A slight cool breeze. The sun is warm on your skin but the air is chilly and when you walk into the shade there is no warmth. The humidity of summer is gone. It's dry. There are other signs too. My butterfly bush has had dozens of hummingbirds surrounding it these past few days. All hungrily attacking the purple flowers and chasing at one another. I believe they are stoking up on energy for a long flight. But one thing is clear, it is perfect weather for a bike ride. So let me end here for now so that I can get ready for a wonderful afternoon bicycle ride. I will post a report of my afternoon ride later today. I hope everyone else is enjoying this gorgeous day.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Exactly Two Weeks Since My Last Ride!

Yes, it's been two weeks since my last bike ride. To the day! Finally, this morning I got to ride my bike again, Yippee! Initially I was going to do my regular route. The one straight out my door down into Orting to South Prairie into Buckley and back to Bonney Lake which is between 30-40 miles depending on different loops and streets I take. But I felt adventuresome this morning so I winged it and let my bike take me where it may.

I began my ride following my regular route. Which is straight out my door to Alan York Park to Locust and then across 410 to Sky Island and down the hill. But instead of going left at the "Y" which would take me to Valley Ave (Hwy 162) and into Orting I went right and pedaled towards Sumner. I passed Riverside Park continued on and found myself riding by the Texaco station (which has great soft serve ice cream by the way) and Corliss' on the right. At the traffic light I turned left and continued riding until I reached Valley Ave. in Sumner. I turned right onto Valley and cycled by Fred Meyers and Sumner HS. At the end of Valley I turned right onto East Valley Hwy and then turned left at the next traffic light which took me into the Sumner Industrial Park. I meandered through the Industrial Park and came out in Auburn and saw Pacific City Park on my right. I knew I was close to the Boeing Plant in Auburn and sure enough came to the light where I turned right. At the next light I turned right again and was on A St/East Valley. When I reached Auburn White River HS I turned left and started the long climb up Lakeland Hills Way East. I wish I would have looked at my odometer because I would like to know how long that dang climb was! But I made it without stopping. I continued through Lakeland Hills until I came to the traffic light that intersects Lake Tapps Parkway. Craving a mocha and water I stopped at the Lakeland Starbucks for refreshments, rest, and a potty break! After my rest and a lovely chat with a very nice older gentlemen and his beautiful dog, which he said was a Shiloh Shepard, I started off again knowing I only had about 6 or 7 miles left until I was home. I turned left onto West Tapps Dr. E. and as I bicycled past Crestwood School I noticed that the road was very bumpy. The chip seal was terrible. Next time, I thought to myself, I will go to the next light and turn onto South Tapps Dr. East instead. I did not get my 30 miles in like I had planned. I only got 26.67 miles BUT that climb up Lakeland Hills Way East more than made up for the missed miles! In fact I really enjoyed today's ride. I plan on riding it again next week.

Tomorrow my daughter is off so she and I are going to drive to Enumclaw early in the morning and do a ride starting from the Enumclaw HS. So I will have two good rides in by tomorrow afternoon. Sunday Joe, Jackie, and I are going to drive to Tenino and ride in the TRYBR. I hope the weather will be nice. The countryside there is beautiful!

Hey NO headache after today's ride. I took advice from a friend and ate protein plus I drank a ton of water. I feel pretty darn good right now. Too bad I have to go and do laundry now.