Sunday, September 28, 2008

Club Ride to Mount Rainier

Riders checking in with ride leader.

Today Joe decided to go hunting instead of going on a bike ride with me so I went on a Cascade Bike Club ride. When I read about the ride on the club's website it sounded like the perfect ride for a beautiful autumn day. The day was very sunny with clear blue skies and afternoon temperatures in the mid 70s. The ride started from the park in the town of Orting and climbed up to the Carbon River Ranger Station on Mount Rainier, returning through the farmland of Buckley and back into Orting. Total miles for today's ride was 62! I had to ask another rider at the end of the ride for the mileage as my cyclocomputer died on me. Probably needs a new battery.

The ride time was listed as 9:30 AM starting from the Orting City Park. When I arrived there were lots of cyclists already there. I parked my car and got my bike ready. Then I went over to meet the ride leader. I introduced myself and told him I was here for his ride. He said he would be giving a description of the ride as soon as everyone signed in. After about 10 minutes everyone was finished signing the ride waiver. Gary, the ride leader, introduced himself and then quickly went over the route for today's ride. He also handed out cue sheets. We were almost ready to leave. Final count, 23 riders, Wow!

Our first brief stop was in the town of Wilkeson.

Yes, it was going to be a beautiful day for a bike ride but we had a chilly start. Overnight a marine layer rolled in but it was already beginning to burn off as we started the ride. The sun was breaking through the mist and fog. It was chilly enough at the beginning that I wore my jacket. By the time we reached our first stop in the town of Wilkeson the sun was out, the fog was gone, and I was ready to put away my jacket. The steady climbing also helped warm me up. We were making good time, everyone was in high spirits, and all agreed that this was going to be a special ride. And it was!

Bridge over the Carbon River just half a short distance from the Ranger Station.

After we left Wilkeson we passed through Carbonado the last town before Mt. Rainier. The ride was a steady climb from Orting. Some climbs were very steep. The climb out of South Prairie must have been a 9 or 10 percent grade (if not more?!!!)! You could feel the burn in your legs on that hill. Finally, after one and half hours of climbing we reached the ranger station where we all took a bathroom break and enjoyed our lunch. Stomachs full and legs rested from the long climb up we were ready for the ride down! And wooo hoooo did we ever fly down the hills! All 23 of us! For me it felt like I was in the tour or a bike race. All of us screaming down hill together like one long living creature coming down the mountain at very high speeds! On our climb up, from the town of Wilkeson, it took us, I believe, an hour but on our way down we were there in half the time!

On or way back down we stopped in Wilkeson to buy water and/or powerade and snacks.
After our rest stop in Wilkeson, to replenish water and snack foods, we were ready for the farmland part of the ride through Buckley which would return us to Orting. This part of the ride was up and down rolling hills with stretches of flat roads where we picked up the pace. Just about 7 miles before the finish we had one winding, swooshing, downhill which dropped us back down into the valley where we jumped onto the Orting Trail where we cooled down on the leisurely multi user trail. After 5 1/2 hours we arrived, all 23 of us, safely and happily back in Orting. What a day, what a ride! I really enjoyed today's club ride and the people I met and rode with. Kudos to the ride leader Gary and to his helpers who made sure everyone was present, doing okay, and not left behind. I'm still smiling from the ride and will save the memory of this ride for when I need it on an especially gloomy winter day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Perfect Weather For A Ride!

Today Joe and I left at 11:30 AM for a bike ride. The sun was out and shining brightly. The sky was a clear blue. The air was cool and the temperature was, perfect for a ride, 62 degrees. We wore shorts and short sleeved jerseys. I put a vest on but really I did not need it. We did a little over 25 miles today. My legs felt a bit heavy but that's probably because I have not been on my bike since last Sunday's hard hilly metric in the rain. I should have gone to the Tuesday and Thursday spin classes after work this last week to keep my legs in shape. Oh well, definitely this week!

Tomorrow Joe is going hunting with our son but I'm ready for another ride. A longer one so I signed up to do a club ride tomorrow. It starts at 9:30 AM and is listed as a 62 mile loop. The ride description says that this ride is a very special fall loop which will start in Orting then on to the Carbon River Ranger Station on Mt. Rainier. Then back to Buckley along low traveled country roads. It says the scenery will be gorgeous so I will take along my camera for this ride.

Check back tomorrow evening for a report on tomorrow's club ride.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wet Ride

This morning I was up at 4:30 AM so that I could be in Issaquah by 6:30 AM for the first annual Cycle the WAVE. A ride for Women Against Violence Everywhere. There were two courses, the girly girl course a 30 mile ride and the burly girl course a metric. I signed up for the burly girl ride. I arrived by 6:30 and riders were arriving by the minute. I parked and then went to the check in and picked up my number and packet. I got my bike ready and then rode over to the start. The burly girls were scheduled to leave at 7:30 AM and the girly girls at 8:30 AM. We were a little late starting but finally at 7:50 we were off. It was misty and wet. The course was very very hilly. There were some pretty steep and long climbs and a couple of long fast descents too. One descent had a 10% grade and the hill was over 2.5 miles long. There were three fully stocked rest stops on the metric course. The ladies working the rest stops were awesome. Even though it was raining off and on all morning and afternoon long I still had a great time. I rolled back in around 1:24 to cheers and applause. I was given a ribbon by a young girl as I crossed. I'm very tired but very happy I did the ride. I will sleep very soundly tonight.

My Tshirt and medal with purple ribbon. Given to me by a little girl as I crossed the finish!
I will treasure it always.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gorgeous Weekend!

Joe and I rode on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Both days were exceptional! A beautiful Indian Summer weekend! The morning was chilly and cold but once the sun came up it warmed up nicely. We reached a high of 75 on both days, just perfect for anything outdoors!

On today's ride we saw eagles flying overhead, people fishing along the Carbon River, trees just starting to turn red, yellow, and orange, and dry fallen leaves across our path. Mt. Rainier was majestic against a clear blue sky. Many people had the same idea as Joe and I on this gorgeous autumn weekend. We saw people cycling, rollerblading, walking, jogging, and just out having a good time.

Yesterday Joe and I did a 67 mile ride and today we did a 33 mile ride. I know that this weather will soon be a distant memory but right now I am enjoying every single perfect day. These are the kind of days to treasure and save in your memory. The memories you save on days like these will get you through those miserable, rainy, cold, dark winter months that will be here all to soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Week In Review

A new school year has begun and once again fall has arrived and with it my return to work. We are having exceptionally beautiful weather this fall and it sure makes it hard for me to go in to work. And when I do get home between 3 and 4 each day I have so much to do that my weekday rides are few and far between. I have started walking after dinner but I did ride on one day this week. I went on Wednesday. It was a short ride, 15 miles, but it was a gorgeous ride. I started at 5 PM and the sun was casting long shadows through the trees. There leaves on the trail, a true sign of autumn, and the air was clean and clear. The autumn sun's shadows were dazzling off the water on the Carbon River and through the leaves on the trees. I felt like I was in another world. It was an awesome ride. Too bad it was so short.

My long rides will now be on the weekends now that I am back at work and the days are getting shorter. So here's to those fall and winter weekends. Hopefully mother nature will hold off her bad weather for the weekdays this year and save the nice days for the weekends. I can only hope!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Headwater Century Bike Ride

Parking lot of the high school where the ride began and ended.

My bike ready to go!

What a perfect day for this event. When I woke up this morning it was just getting light. I looked out my kitchen window and there wasn't a cloud in the sky! I started the coffee and Joe walked in and told me he was going to load the bikes into the truck. When we finally left the house at 7:20 AM the sun was shining brightly and the air was beginning to warm. We arrived at the event's start and picked up our ride packets. My friend from work Jennifer arrived about 5 minutes later along with her friend Brook. The four of us were ready for a great ride on this gorgeous September day. We were on our way at 8:11 AM. The cool September air was chilly but all of us decided to leave our jackets and vests in our vehicles. Within 10 minutes we were warm and toasty. There was zero traffic on the back country roads. We decided to do the 45 mile course. At mile 15 we arrived at our first rest stop in Flaming Geyser State Park. The stop was stocked with cookies, bananas, cantaloupe, peanut butter, bagels, granola and yogurt, water, gatorade, trail mix, well let me just say it was very well supplied! The four of us took a bathroom break and then walked to the food! We chatted and stretched and ate! We were having a great day! After our break we continued on the ride.

Flaming Geyser Rest Stop
Joe and his bike at the first rest stop.

Right outside the park entrance we took a right and began to climb! Yes, awaiting us after our first rest stop was a 1.6 mile steep, winding climb! We all made it and continued on. We had a straight away for about 4 miles and then an awesome downhill with another steep climb. The next 5 miles were hilly. Ups and downs. Finally, we reached our second rest stop in Ravensdale. Again well stocked.

After our second break we were ready for the last 20 miles. More straight aways, hills, and this time a headwind. We made good time though. Joe was setting a 25 mph pace on the straight aways. We were flying and slicing through the headwind. We made good time on the last 20 miles averaging 17.5 mph.
We rolled back in exhilarated! We loaded our bikes into the truck and then walked to the high school to claim our strawberry shortcake dessert. One thing about the Tacoma Wheelmen, they always serve you strawberry shortcake after all their events. And it was DELICIOUS!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

River, Mountain, Fishermen

I went for a bike ride around 1:30 this afternoon. The day was beautiful. Clear skies, sunshine, and very windy. Rainer was out and he was looking mighty fine. I set a casual pace because tomorrow Joe and I are riding in the annual Headwater Century Bike Ride. Today I just wanted to get out and stretch my legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy the beautiful late summer early autumn day. It did not disappoint me.

I rode the Orting Trail. It's a beautiful trail with a lot of trees on either side of it. It was also very busy. I guess I wasn't the only one who was out enjoying the day. There were moms and dads with their kids. People on roller blades and skateboards. There were walkers and hikers and of course a ton of bicyclists.

There were also a lot of people fishing on this fine day. As I rode by the Carbon River I saw dozens of men, women, and kids with poles in their hands. The king salmon run had begun and people were out casting their lines in hope of catching the big one. The Carbon River is very silty from the glacier run off from Mt. Rainier. It is also very cold! I stopped and watched for a while and then continued on with my ride.

I got a good 29.77 miles in and finished around 4:00 PM. It was a good day and a good ride, I hope there will be more rides just like this one. I'm ready for tomorrow's ride. Check back for a report on it. Tomorrow is supposed to be as gorgeous as today.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beautiful Late Afernoon Ride

Well it's happening. Summer is coming to an end and and as summer ends work for me begins again. Yep, I went back to work today. And what a beautiful day it was. Warm and sunny making it very hard to go to work when all I wanted to do on such a beautiful morning was jump on my bike and ride. Finally the dismissal bell rang and 30 minutes later I was off and on my way home. Joe went to work early today so he was home early too. We decided to go for a ride before dinner. We got dressed, got our bikes and off we went. The sun was casting long shadows, a true sign of the end of summer and the introduction into autumn.

Joe and I rode past the Carbon River and both sides of it's banks were full of fishermen. The king salmon run had started. We stopped to watch for a while. The sun sparkled and danced on the water. There was a splash and one guy had caught himself a large salmon! We watched as he reeled it in and then released it. After a few more minutes Joe and I continued on. It was a wonderful ride on a beautiful day. We rode only 15.5 miles but it was the most wonderful ride. It's just hard to describe. Days like the one today are exceptional.