Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Ride

Today was a very beautiful day. It was a sunny comfortable day. The temperature was in the upper 60s lower 70s. I began my ride at 12:30 PM and got a good 65.8 miles in with an average speed of 15.38 mph. Tomorrow rain arrives. We had a good run of sunny days (no rain since the 4th) and I guess we need it. The grass is brown and the leaves are falling from the trees because they are in much need of moisture. I hope the rain only lasts just the one day. I want to ride on Wednesday and Thursday before Joe and I leave for our trip to Montana on Friday. Of course we're taking our bikes along with us! :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Ride

This morning Joe and I got up at 6:00 AM. We were going to ride with our friend Jim this morning. Joe called Jim last night and told him we would pick him up at 7:30 and drive to Enumclaw for a nice early morning ride. Joe went out to the garage to get the bikes ready while I started breakfast. After eating, dressing, and loading the bikes we got into the truck and drove to Jim's house to pick him up. Jim was up, ready, and waiting. We loaded Jim's bike into the truck and off we went. First a stop at Starbucks for my morning ride's mocha. I always get a mocha on the days I ride. I swear it gives me energy. Laugh if you want but it's true I've tested this out on numerous occasions and on the days I skip my mocha my legs feel like lead and I have no energy at the start of a ride. On the days I do get my mochas I feel energized and ready to go from the start! So laugh if you want but it really works for me! Joe says it's all in my head but I tell him it's all in my legs and feet! LOL

We finally arrive in Enumclaw and unload the bikes. I try to decide whether or not to wear my vest. The guys, Joe and Jim, say it's nice out and there is no need for a vest. I on the other hand say it's cold and wear my vest. After we start off I'm glad I decided to wear my vest. The air is chilly early in the morning and once I warm up I just unzip my vest and I feel fine.

Enumclaw is so peaceful on an early Saturday morning. The only ones up are the cows, birds, and deer! Hardly a car passes us. We enjoy the scenery and casual conversation. We try to decide how long of a ride to do. Should we bike to Black Diamond and stop at the Black Diamond bakery, a 45 mile loop? Or should we just stay up here in the Enumclaw area and do the 25 mile loop. In the end we compromise and cycle to Kanasket Palmer State Park. Making our ride 33 miles long.

We stop at Nolte State Park first. It's a beautiful park. There is a lake there, Deep Lake, that is very peaceful and beautiful. There is also a trail that goes around the lake. A favorite trail for the local runners. When we arrive the first thing we did was head to the bathrooms! Then we sat for about 5 minutes talking. There were people setting up for a picnic, people out walking their dogs, others arriving with fishing poles. It seems everyone was out having a good day like Joe, Jim, and me. Refreshed and releaved we set off again. We decide to bike up to the next park four miles up the road, Kanasket Palmer State Park. We reach the park entrance in very little time. We cycle into the park and descend towards the river. At the bottom we hear the river but we don't see it. We find a dirt path through a thick patch of trees that leads to the Green River's edge. We walk our bikes to the river and lean them against some trees. The river is pretty low right now but it's still very fast. This is the point where hard core kayakers launch to run the river. The category here at the Kanasket entry is category 4. The hardest river run. Not a place for amateurs or intermediate people to be getting into the river with their float tubes or kayaks.

After enjoying the Green River we walk back up the dirt trail to the road and begin our climb out of the river valley. We reach the top and leave the park. We decide to turn around here and head back to Enuclaw. We turn right into a nasty headwind. It was hard going but we make it. We arrive back at the truck around 11:30 and load up the bikes. Starving we decide to go to lunch. Our first choice, The Mint, would have been nice but it so happens that Enumclaw is having some sort of big celebration. First there is the fair going on at the fair grounds but there is also things going on in downtown Enumclaw. Roads are closed, parking is full, and there are people and vendors everywhere. So we decide to drive over to the next town, which is Buckley, for lunch.

We arrive and enter the bar/restaurant. I don't remember the name of the establishment. I'll have to ask Joe or Jim. Anyway we place our order and relax and talk. It was a great ride. We should do this more often. Our food arrives. My goodness but the onion rings were delicious. Greasy and delicious! I will surely pay for eating these greasy onion rings tonight or tomorrow but at the moment they were so good!

It was a great ride! I hope we really do ride a lot more and enjoy more rides like this one!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Much Better Ride Today!

Yesterday I only rode 15 miles because of some major road work being done on a section of highway on my route. I made up for it today and rode 65.7 miles! I started my ride from the East Puyallup Trailhead at 9 AM this morning. I followed the trail into the town of Orting and then continued on to South Prairie where I jumped onto the now freshly paved highway and climbed out of the valley into Buckley. I cruised around the outskirts of town keeping to the back roads. On my ride today I saw 4 deer. My first encounter was a doe and her twin fawns as I was climbing the long hill out of South Praire. They were on the side of the road and we noticed each other at the same time. I broke into a smile and they did an about face and went back into the woods. The second deer sighting was in Buckley. She was in the middle of a big corn field. I bet she was one happy deer with all that corn surrounding her! And I bet she had little ones too. They were probably hiding in the corn.

Oh did I mention I did not ride the entire 65 miles at once?! I rode twice today. In the morning by myself and then again in the afternoon with Joe. On my morning ride I got 53 miles in by 2 PM. I went out again at 3:30 PM when Joe got home from work. He wanted to go out and ride the bike that he just finished building. He had ordered this beautiful SOMA frame. He worked on it all week long and finally last night he finished, it was beautiful. We did a short 12 mile ride to see how the bike performed. It performed beautifully; we had a really nice ride.

Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Short Ride

This morning when I left for my ride at 9 AM it was a chilly 53 degrees. The sun was shining brightly in a perfectly clear sky. And even though both of my arms were displaying hundreds of goosebumps within 10 minutes they were all gone. The sun shining on the Carbon River created thousands of dancing, glittering, diamond reflections on the water. There were a handful of early morning joggers, walkers, and other cyclists who were also out enjoying the early morning peacefulness along with me. We nodded as we passed each other or waved or spoke a friendly, "Good morning". Little did I realize that my plan to ride 60 miles today would not come about. What's the say? Something about "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry" well they sure did about 8 miles into my ride today.

Summers are great for us bicyclists. The weather is finally nice, the days are long, the temperature warm but summers also means road work! It's also good weather conditions for the state, counties, and towns to get all their road work done. Yes, one of my favorite routes was having some major road work being done on it. When I arrived at the "hill" there was a long line, twenty plus vehicles lined up waiting for the pilot car to take them through. I didn't want to deal with it so I turned around and got almost 16 miles in. Whooo Hooooo! I went home and showered and took my son out to lunch. Tomorrow I will ride a different route and try for that 60 miles that I didn't get in today.

As Dorris would sing . . . Que sera sera!

Oh during lunch with my son I learned that Star Wars the Clone Wars will be coming to theaters August 14th. He is very excited about this movie animation of the Clone Wars. Hey I may go and see it myself.

May the force be with you . . . and ME! Tomorrow I want to get a 60 mile ride completed!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Ride

I went out at 11:30 AM for a ride. My bike ride was great except for the road crew that I ran into at mile 9 of my ride. They were resurfacing a section of the highway I was riding on this afternoon. I had to wait in line along with the cars and trucks for the pilot car! Even so it was still fun! I had a great time and got a 30 mile bike ride in by 2:00 PM.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Movie and a Bike Ride

Joe, our son Aaron, and I woke up early this morning so that we could go to the 9 AM matinee to see the new Batman movie The Dark Knight. It was great! It is by far the best movie I have seen this year! Heath Ledger was great as the Joker. It's sad that he is not here to claim his star!

We got back to the house just before 1:00 PM. Joe and I decided to go for a ride and Jackie our daughter joined us. It was a leisurely ride. The sun was beating down and very hot. There was a headwind during the entire ride. We got 20 miles completed by the time we returned home. Tomorrow I will get a longer ride in and I will start much earlier in the day, before it gets too hot.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Ride With Joe

This morning I woke up to a cloudy and chilly morning. Over night a thick marine layer had come on shore and was still hanging around. When I looked at the thermometer the outside temperature was 51 degrees. So Joe and I decided to wait until noon to begin our ride. We were hoping that the sun would burn through by then and begin to warm things up. But noon came and still no sun. Not wanting to waste the day or let a little marine layer get in our way of a ride we decided to drive into the city of Orting and start our ride from the city's park. We arrived at the park a little past twelve and unloaded our bikes from the truck. We were almost ready to go except for the fact that Joe and I were having a difficult time deciding whether or not to wear our jackets. It was still quite chilly but we also knew that once we began to cycle we would warm quickly. And the weather report did say clearing in the afternoon with full sunshine. After much debate we decided not to wear the jackets. And 5 minutes into our ride we were both quite happy with our decision.

After 7 1/2 miles of a gradual climb out of the Orting valley to South Prarie we reached the "climb"! A 2 mile hill with a 6 percent grade. We ascended the hill on new pavement. The work crews had been busy these past two weeks. The road was so very smooth, every cyclists dream road. Oh the descent back down would be sweet!

After the climb we were about 2 miles from the town of Buckley. The ride from the top of the hill into Buckley is beautiful and it has very little traffic. Once we arrived in Buckley we rode around the perimeter of the town and then headed back down the big hill to South Prarie and then to Orting. Total mileage for this route is almost 29 miles. Exactly it's 28.87 but I always round up.

Oh I almost forgot, on our way back this guy on a bike passed us and Joe decided he just couldn't allow this. So the last 4 miles of our ride Joe, me, and this guy were in a sort of three person Tour de France. We were the sprinters racing towards the finish. Happy to say Joe and I won! We passed this guy and left him in our dust. We put a lot of distance between us too. Joe was happy. He gets like this occasionally and it actually was fun. I guess Joe was feeling pretty good on our ride today. I felt pretty good too. It was a good ride. Oh and the sun did come out. Finally about 1/3 of the way through our ride it started to burn those marine cloud layers away. We finished with full sunshine!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cool Morning Ride

This morning I went for a 30 mile road ride. During the night a marine layer came inland from offshore. I actually had to wear my jacket on this morning's ride. The temperature when I left my house was only a chilly 53 degrees. Add the wind chill factor and it was a brisk ride. At least in the beginning. After about 5-10 minutes of constant pedaling it's amazing how warm you will get.

It was a quiet ride. Not many people were out this early especially with the cool chilly temperature. I'm sure many riders were waiting for the sun to break through, which it did around 1:00 PM, before going out for a ride. I had a great time on my bike this morning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Club Ride on Vashon Island

I went on a Tacoma Wheelmen ride today. We rode around Vashon Island getting a little over 40 miles in this afternoon. It seems that all the islands around Seattle are hilly and Vashon is no exception. If you want to ride hills just catch a ferry to Vashon (or Bainbridge). Both will give you great hill training for rides like RAMROD and Courage Classic. In fact two of today's riders are doing the RAMROD in two weeks.

There were six of us that showed up for the ride today. We met at the Point Defiance Ferry Dock and caught the 9:15 AM ferry to Vashon. As soon as you disembark from the ferry you have two big climbs waiting for you! You can turn left or right off the ferry. Take the right turn and you have a short steep climb and left is a longer less steep grade, but still a pretty good climb too. We opted left and off we went. If you want to warm up quickly just find a hill and climb!

The day was beautiful. We had a great ride. Around noon we stopped in town for lunch. We decided to give this new Indian restaurant a try and we weren't disappointed. The food was delicious! After lunch we rode for another 1 1/2 hours before arriving back at the dock to catch the 3:10 ferry back to Point Defiance.

This is Erin. We met him while waiting for the 9:15 AM ferry. He joined our group for a while. We learned that he will be leaving in a week to do a cross country bike ride. From Bellvue to Key West, Florida. We asked to be put on his mailing list. I wish him good luck and look forward to reading all about his adventure on his blog.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Morning Ride

I went for a short road ride today. My legs are still recovering from Saturday's hard mountain bike ride. They felt like lead on today's ride. I did a lot of spinning. I did enjoy the ride. The temperature was 61 when I started at 9 AM and only 67 when I finished at 10 AM. I got 15 miles in with an average speed of 15.09 mph. My ride was an out and back. I had a gradual climb at the start and a nice gradual descent on the way back. My legs were starting to feel good when I finished. I think they will be fully recovered by tomorrow. So where shall I ride tomorrow? Come back and find out.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Epic Mountain Bike Ride

Today was a great day! One, the weather today was perfect, low 80s with very little humidity. Two, Joe and I rode on one of the Pacific Northwest’s most epic mountain bike trails with a group of good mountain bike friends. The day began when I woke up at 5:30 AM. I went down to the kitchen and started my coffee. Joe woke up about 20 minutes later. He said he would get the bikes ready and then load them onto the truck while I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and filled our hydro packs with water. We decided to stop at Starbucks for swirl mochas and then Burger Kings for their sausage croissant breakfast sandwiches. Joe also had an orange juice which he shared with me. Finally, with our breakfast sandwiches and Starbucks purchased we drove out of Enumclaw towards the Dalles Campground in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest to meet up with our friends. About ten of them were camping there in the Dalles Campground for the weekend. But a few of us, Joe and me included, could not do the campout. But we couldn’t miss out on today’s ride, so we drove there for the day just to ride this epic trail.

The Dalles Campground is 26 miles east of Enumclaw up highway 410. We arrived around 8:30 as our friends, who were camping there, were just finishing their breakfast. We were the first “day riders” to arrive. We had to wait for 5 more people who were driving in to do this ride too. While we waited we sat around and talked and caught up with bike rides. Who did what ride, who was doing what ride, new bikes, crashes, friends doing the STP this weekend, etc. Finally around 10:30 AM the last rider drove into the campground. Half of us were going to shuttle to the end of the road and the other half were going to pedal up the forest road (8 miles) to the trailhead. The ones riding up set off while the rest of us got our bikes loaded onto the two vehicles that would be shuttling riders up the forest road. The road was very steep and winding, I give those riding up a lot of credit. Maybe if I had been riding a lot more than I had been I would have rode my mountain bike up the hill today but today was not the day. After about a half hour in the truck we reached the end of the road. We unloaded our bikes and began pedaling . . . up! Yes, we still had to climb 3 more miles before we could begin the awesome descent which starts on the Suntop Trail. It was a very steep and hard climb. Why is it that the last few miles before a crest are always the steepest? But our hard work soon paid off. We reached the top and the view from there was eye popping! There was Mt. Rainier in all its glory! With a clear blue sky for a backdrop! Just breathe taking. After much oohhing and aahhing we set off and picked up the Suntop trailhead and the single track.

Some parts of the trail were smooth but other parts were rocky and had some pretty difficult drop offs from water bars, roots, and rocks. But everyone was in the “zone” and we swooshed effortlessly down the mountain. After about an hour of riding we stopped on a gorgeous section of the trail for a break. Food, water, rest, and a good stretch break. We sat around and talked about our ride and how great it was so far with yet more miles of fun ahead of us. Then we were back on our bikes and back to the rapid descent towards the river valley below.

The next few miles of the trail had some surprises for us. First the descent became a lot steeper. We were flying down the trail. To prove how hot a disc brake can get, Joe spit some water onto his brake and steam hissed off the disc. This section of the trail was also very dusty and rocky. I had to fall back because the dust from the rider in front of me was irritating my eyes. Then came the switch backs. Very sharp ones! And if you didn’t pay close attention you could fly off the edge to the trail below. We also had to stop and carry our bikes over some trees that had fallen over the trail. Next we encountered about a mile of trail covered with snow! We had to walk this part. We also had 4 streams to cross. I unsuccessfully tried to keep my feet dry but the rocks were slippery and no sooner had I started across I was up to my ankles in ice cold water. Finally we reached the bottom of the mountain! But our ride was not over. Now we picked up Skookum Trail and followed the White River to the Dalles Campground 11 miles downstream. This part of the ride was very difficult. Parts of the trail had been washed away this past winter and we had to detour it up and over roots, rocks, trees, and debris. After about 4 or 5 miles of this it began to get better. The trail returned and the final 5 or 6 miles were sweet swooshing, winding, up and down single track through a quiet old forest.

After almost 6 hours of hard mountain biking we reached the campground. Both exhausted and exhilarated. What a ride! What a day!

A few pictures from my ride today!

I took a picture of everyone from this view point.

Fields of high mountain wild flowers.

Close up of Bear Grass

Friends finally on the trail and the descent down to the river valley

My mountain bike. She is a sweet ride!
Crossing trees that had fallen onto the trail.
Walking over snow!
Crossing streams. Brrrrrr but the water was icy cold!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hilly Ride

Today I rode one of my favorite routes, Enumclaw to Black Diamond and back. The roads are great, the scenery fantastic, but most import there are plenty of rest stops along this route where I can refill my water bottles and take a bathroom break. At mile 15 there's the Flaming Geyser State Park, mile 21 the town of Black Diamond with their famous Bakery, the Black Diamond Bakery and Restaurant, at mile 26 Ravensdale park, mile 31 Kanaskat State Park, and finally at mile 35 Nolte State Park. So lots of opportunities for water, food, and bathrooms! Very important to a cyclist!

I began my ride at 9:30 AM. The sun was doing a great job of warming things up. At 9:30 it was already in the mid 70s. It was going to be a warm day indeed. I started slowly allowing my muscles to warm and to work out some tightness from yesterday's hard ride. Today I more or less just wanted to get out and do a more leisurely ride. Why I picked this route I don't know because it's a very hilly one! With a few STEEP climbs thrown in to add a challenge for any rider. But my legs felt pretty good and I climbed every hill easily. I stopped for lunch at 11:30 at the Black Diamond Bakery, where else, and was back on my way by noon. I stopped more than usual today to take pictures. If my hubby were with me on today's ride he would be complaining! He hates to stop except to eat, refill his water bottles, or for a bathroom break. So lucky thing he wasn't riding today because I was in a picture taking mood. I finished my ride around 1:13 PM.

What a great week so far. Two great days of riding!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Enumclaw to Mount Rainier National Park

What an absolutely beautiful day today was! This morning I met Trish, a friend from my local gym, for a bike ride. We started and ended our ride in the parking lot of Enumclaw High School. It was an out and back ride. The out was all up hill. A steady climb with some pretty steep parts. The scenery along the highway up to Mount Rainier was gorgeous. Of course there was the mountain, always our constant companion and the river and the forest. Whenever we entered a stretch of forested area the temperature would take a dramatic dip which felt wonderful when you are climbing. We stopped at mile 21 in Greenwater for a quick break. We thought when we turned around to return that it would be an easy downhill all the way back. Brother were we wrong! We didn't think we would have a strong headwind but we did! So we had to pedal constantly just to maintain our speed! If we stopped we came to a crawl! So it was a beautiful ride but it also was a very hard ride!

I only took two pictures. One in the parking lot before we left and one of Trish in Greenwater.

After our ride we were both famished! So we stopped at Taco del Mars and had the best chicken taco salads ever made!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Early Morning Road Ride

This morning I went on a 30 mile road around. I started at 9:30 AM and finished at 11:30 AM. It was hazy and humid. The morning temperature was 71 degrees when I started but when I finished it was already 83. The humidity made it feel a lot warmer.

I finally got to ride my new bike up some hills. I was worried that I would not be able to climb going from a triple chainring (and 650 wheels) to a compact/double chainring (and 700 wheels). But I had no trouble climbing the hills this morning. In fact I found them easier to ascend then on my old triple ringed road bike. Better bike? Components? Stronger legs? Who knows, all I know is that I climbed the hills today a lot faster and without any trouble. Coming down the hills was also great! My new bike flies! I love her!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Evening Mountain Bike Ride

I met six other gals this evening in the parking lot of the Black Diamond Bike Shop for a 2 hour fun mountain bike ride. We started our ride at 6:30 PM and returned to the parking lot at 8:22 PM. We rode on some sweet trails at Lake Sawyer. The woods were gorgeous. The setting evening sun streaming through the trees was surreal. We came upon an open field with shoulder high grass and daisies. I wish I had my camera because it would have been a great picture. The sort of picture you would see in a bicycling magazine or vacation bike trip brochure.

We did a little exploring and got lost but we found our way back and got 9 fun miles in!