Saturday, October 16, 2010

Last Months 3rd Annual Cycle the WAVE

I completely forgot to write about my ride last month. The 3rd Annual Cycle the WAVE on Sunday, September 19th. I have been participating in this ride every single year since the 1st Cycle the WAVE in 2008. It's for a great cause and it's totally FUN! Yes fun even this year in the rain! Riding in this event was a great way to finish the season. Wonderful people, great support and people, fabulous rest stops, cheerleaders, hot firemen, and a finish line that was totally out of this world. I look forward to the 4th Annual Cycle the WAVE!

Here is what I posted at the Cycle the WAVE facebook page:

I had a great time on Sunday! My applause to all the friendly people working at the fully stocked rest stops, to the hunky firemen offering hot tamales and cheers, to the cheerleaders at the start and throughout the course, to the guys posted at turns and bad sections on the roads, to the police officer who helped cyclists turn at busy intersections, to the kids at the finish line handing out the medals and candy, the vendors with their wonderful food, to everyone who helped in any way, you all counter balanced the rain. I had the best time and was happy with my decision to ride on Sunday morning. I can't wait to ride the WAVE in 2011!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

2010 RAMROD (Ride Around Mount Rainier In One Day)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

It was an early start to a very long day! I was up when my alarm went off at 3:00 AM. I got dressed, got my bike into my car, stretched and then I was out the door for the 10 mile drive to the start at the Enumclaw H.S. At the high school I enjoyed a hearty breakfast, courtesy of the local rotary and lions club, of scrambled eggs, sausage, juice, waffle, hot oatmeal, and coffee. It was a foggy morning. The marine layer was thick, seems to be the weather pattern this month, causing condensation on my glasses as I rode. So I had to remove them for the first 58 miles of the ride.

I left the start with the rest of the riders at 5:00 AM. The streets were quiet and the traffic, well there wasn't very much. At each major intersection though we had a police officer there making sure we crossed without difficulty. The route continued through the towns of Buckley, South Prairie, Orting, and finally arriving at our first rest stop in the town of Eatonville. I was averaging almost 16 mph when I reached Eatonville but the course was downhill to Orville Road (mile 13) and then flat and then a very gradual rise to Eatonville. But this would soon end.

A "hill" greeted me as I left Eatonville. From Eatonville (elevation 800 feet) we had a gradual climb for the next 25 miles. Our second rest stop was at mile 58.2 (elevation 2010) just half a mile from the Nisqually entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park.

Mounthaven rest stop mile 58.2 just half a mile from the park entrance. The fog begins to clear just as I leave the rest stop.
Approaching the park entrance and the start of the 18 mile climb to the summit near Paradise. Next rest stop is 18 miles up at Inspiration Point. This was also our first checkpoint. As we entered the park we had to show the ranger and members from the bike club our number.

The ride from the park entrance to Longmire (6 miles to Longmire from the entrance) was beautiful. The climbing began as soon as we entered but it wasn't too bad . . . yet! The ride up was along the river and through the most beautiful lush forest I have ever seen. After 6 miles I reached Longmire and here the climb stiffened up. Plainly put, it got pretty steep! So from the park entrance we went from 2010 feet to 4800 feet in less than 18 miles. But the rewards upon reaching Inspiration Point were well worth the effort of the climb.

This picture was taken about a quarter mile from the Inspiration Point rest stop. I just had to get this picture of my bike with Mt. Rainier in the background!
Approaching Inspiration Point and the third rest stop at mile 75.1.

And this is why it's called Inspiration Point but this picture does not do justice to the real thing!
I reached the summit around 11:30 AM. That 16 mph average quickly went down once the climbing began. But I made up some time on the sweet 13 mile descent from the top of Inspiration Point. As I cruised down I passed Reflection Lake and was so tempted to stop and take a picture but I didn't; I just enjoyed the view as it went by. After the thrilling downhill the three mile climb up and over Backbone Ridge began followed by another sweeeeet five mile descent to Box Canyon and our fourth rest stop.

After leaving the rest stop I continued downhill past Ohanapecosh to the junction of highway 123 and the start of the last steep climb of the day, Cayuse! This climb was 11 miles long, very steep, with no shade, and starting 99 miles into the ride! Talk about a long 11 miles . . . it was brutal. Like I said there was no shade at all on this climb up Cayuse. The sun was beating down, and the hill just kept on going and going. I had to rest a few times because I was getting very over heated. I passed a few little waterfalls on the climb up and they created a very cold breeze as I went by. I was tempted a couple times to jump into one! :D And my water was quickly disappearing but 7 miles into the climb there was a water and sanican stop at the Deer Head Trailhead. Thank God because my two water bottles were almost empty. There was this wonderful man spraying riders with a spray bottle and I tell you it felt wonderful! And a wonderful older woman filling our water bottles for us. Refreshed and with full water bottles I continued up the last 4.1 miles to Cayuse Pass and the junction of highway 410. Oh I forgot to mention that we passed through three tunnels on the RAMROD ride. The bike club put up these neat signs that said Bikes In Tunnel but I didn't stop to get a picture. The tunnels were cool and dark but thank goodness not too long. The final tunnel was just 2 miles from the top of Cayuse . . . onward and upward!

Finally I reached the top of Cayuse Pass at 3:07 PM! Woot woot! It only took me just under two hours to climb Cayuse! But the downhill from the top of Cayuse to the Deli stop 8 miles below only took me 12 minutes. It was one thrilling ride from Cayuse Pass to the Deli Rest Stop. The road was in great shape and there was hardly any traffic! I was flying down at 40+ mph! My overheated body quickly cooled and I felt like I was flying. It made me think of the Tour de France, coming down a steep mountain stage in the Alps or Pyrenees. It was wonderful, exhilarating, and it made me smile from ear to ear! It was pure pleasure and excitement. Finally I reached the park's exit. After exiting the park, a few yards ahead, I turned right onto Crystal Mountain Blvd and into the Deli Stop.

The people were great and the food tasted wonderful. After a day of cookies, fruit, bagels, and peanut butter, a ham with Swiss sandwich, with lettuce tomatoes and a side of salty chips and a bunch of grapes . . . I was in heaven! I stayed a little too long at the Deli stop, leaving at 4:11 PM.

Only 35 miles to Enumclaw and the finish line. You're probably thinking all downhill to Enumclaw, well that's a half truth. The first 15 miles were nice. But after Greenwater there were a few little climbs left to do. Nothing bad but after a day of climbing through the park they were tough. And there was a headwind . . . of course there was! Finally 27 miles after leaving the Deli stop I saw an officer at the Mud Mountain Dam turn off waiting to help us cyclists make the left hand turn off of highway 410 onto Mud Mountain Dam Road. He yelled out encouragement as I turned, "You are almost there, only a little over 9 miles to the finish!" I thanked him and continued on. There was a sweet fast downhill off mud mountain onto the Enumclaw plateau and then I was on the out skirts of town.

About half a mile before the finish there was one more officer stationed at a busy intersection to help us again cross highway 410. And then it was just two and half blocks to the finish line. Finally there was the school where it all began only 13 hours and 11 minutes ago! As I approached people were clapping and cheering and woot wooting for me as I entered the finish and crossed the line. I made it! I crossed around 6:11 PM and a great guy handed me my official 2010 RAMROD patch! He told me job well done and reminded me to go and get my ice cream, which I did! It was delicious! The perfect treat at the finish line! :)

Total miles 148.13, average speed 12.9, ride time 11:28, total time 13:11, and elevation 10,127 feet of climbing.

A BIG THANK YOU to the Redmond Cycling Club for a day of cycling I will not soon forget! It was an A+++ ride and all the people involved, support, rest stop folks, officers, just everyone were great! You made my ride a very memorable one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

2010 STP

On Saturday, July 17th I rode in the 40th annual STP (Seattle to Portland) bike event. You can do the ride in either two days, 102 miles a day, or you can go for the gusto and do the ride in one day, all 204 miles. I chose the latter. I've been training for this ride since early March and all those weekend training rides paid off.

My day on Saturday began very very early. I wanted to get a head start on the other riders. I did not want to deal with the 10,000+ riders that would be starting at 4:45 AM. This year I just didn't want to deal with it. It was surreal being the only one on the road so early in the morning. But I wasn't alone for too long because apparently other cyclists had the same idea. I met a few riders who like me also went for an early start. I chatted with a few of them but we mainly pedaled alone in those early hours. Except for me and the other lone cyclists we had the entire streets to ourselves for quite some time. It was so peaceful riding during those early hours.

Our weather for Saturday morning was pretty chilly. We had the typical pacific northwest marine layer that rolled in over night. It was pretty thick too and would not burn off until 1:30 PM. It actually made riding nice. Not hot or wet but very comfortable. In fact I think it was the perfect kind of weather for such a long ride.

I was in a "zone" those first few hours and didn't stop for quite sometime. In fact my first rest stop was the Yelm ministop at mile 71.4 just before we jumped onto the Yelm/Rainier/Tenino Trail (Okay okay I did stop a few times at convenience stores and a gas station). I refilled my water bottles and drank a large bottle of powerade, ate two cookies, and a bag of trail mix before continuing on. I got onto the trail and was on it for 13 miles before returning to the road. At mile 86 I stopped at the Tenino ministop to use the bathroom and all the fast riders were beginning to appear. I was no longer alone but was quickly seeing more and more cyclists on the road with me.

I reached the half way point in Centralia just before 11:00 AM. As I rolled in I was offered a large chocolate milk which I drank down quickly. It was delicious! In Centralia free food was offered to the one day riders. Good thing for me because I was hungry! I devoured a turkey and cheese sandwich and a rice crispy treat, filled my water bottles, drank a large bottle of powerade and used the sanican before getting back on my bike and continuing on.
I skipped the next two ministops at miles 105.85 and 113.55 and finally turned in at the Winlock rest stop at mile 120.3. Here they were selling hamburgers, hot dogs, polish sausages, and all kinds of goodies. Hungry again I bought a hamburger and a drink and found a table and sat down and enjoyed my feast. I talked to this really cool guy who was doing the STP for the 31st time! Wow, I was impressed. He told me about some years where it was so hot you wanted to die and other times of pouring down rain. He experienced it all! After we both finished eating we said good luck to each other and I continued on. I left this rest stop at 1:30 PM. This was also about the time the sun finally burned through the marine layer and blue skies appeared giving us sunshine for the rest of the day.

I stopped quickly at mile 143.9 to use the sanican again. Only nine miles to the Oregon border from this stop. Crossing the Lewis and Clark Bridge was a bit scary. The bike/pedestrian path was narrow and there were huge, rough, expansion joints on the bridge too. They were pretty bad but I managed to get across. I wanted to stop and take a picture of the "Welcome to Oregon" sign but the decent was fast and the turn too sharp making it pretty difficult to stop so I just continued on.
At mile 173.85 I reached the final rest stop at St. Helens H.S. Here they were serving some great food so I helped myself to a delicious mini turkey wrap and a white chocolate chip cookie. I rested a bit longer here but finally was on my way again. Only 30 miles left to go! It was the longest 30 miles of the day but finally I saw a sign that said "10 miles to Portland" I was excited. I could also see the bridges of Portland in the distance. I was getting close! The sun was getting low and the shadows were getting long. It was a beautiful evening. The sky was blue and clear and the air "shimmery". Cyclists were beginning to accumulate as I approached the city. With 5 miles left to go I was swallowed up by a group of about 15-20 riders. Together we cruised through the streets of Portland. It seems we hit every single red light once we entered the city streets. We were all laughing and chatting and passing our energy on to each other. We were almost to the finish and we were all excited!

At mile 201.9 we reached the Steel Bridge and rode onto the lower-level pedestrian walkway. We were lucky because there was practically zero pedestrian traffic on the bridge as we crossed.
With less than two miles to go we became electric and animated. As we passed people on the sidewalks of Portland we could hear them clapping and cheering for us as we rode by. Then there it was the finish line! I made it! I did it! It was thrilling, exciting, and totally rewarding as I crossed the finish line. I could hear the announcer call my number as I crossed and I could see the smiles and hear the cheers. A man handed me my 1 day rider patch and congratulated me. And there was my husband waiting for me. As sweaty and stinky as I was he came over to me and gave me a big hug and kiss and told me how proud he was that I did the STP in one day. I crossed the line at 7:37 PM. Over 15 hours ago I was in Seattle and now here I was in Portland. My ride time was 13.49, my average speed was 14.7, and my total miles was 203.19. What a day, what a ride, what an experience.

Vader ministop at mile 127. Only 25 miles to the Oregon border and 76 miles to Portland.

Me crossing the finish line in Portland.
I did it! Woot woot!
I'm proud of this, my one day rider patch!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flying Wheels Summer Century 2010

I forgot to write about my ride on Saturday, June 12th. I rode the century course in this year's Flying Wheels Summer Century. It was a great ride with perfect weather. The start was at Marymoor Park in Redmond. The ride took me through some beautiful scenic back roads and quaint towns. Some of the towns I passed through were Carnation, Monroe, Duval, and Snohomish. The course was VERY hilly. My first hill, Inglewood Hill, was 4.5 miles into the ride, with a 12% grade! And my last big climb was 82.5 miles into the ride with a 10% grade. But I made every single hill and finished with strong legs. There were five rest stops on this course and all were well stocked. It was an A+ ride. At the finish there was a lot of great food booths. The first thing I did upon finishing was grab a cold chocolate milk and drink it down. Then I walked over and bought a hot link with onions and sauerkraut. After a day of power bars, cookies, and fruit the hot link was like heaven. I got home around 6:00 PM and showered and then my wonderful hubby took me out for Mexican food. When I got home the day and ride finally caught up with me. Tired I went to bed and fell into a deep and wonderful sleep.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

28th Annual Lewis County Historical Bike Ride

On Saturday I rode the 72 mile course in this year's annual Lewis County Historical Bike Ride. The start was in Chehalis at Stan Headwall Park. I left my house at 5:40 AM and drove the 70 miles so that I could start by 7:30 AM. It was a cold morning, with a temperature of 38 degrees. But the sky was a crystal clear blue and the sun was shining brightly. After 20 minutes of pedaling I began to warm up nicely. By the time I reached the first rest stop at mile 15 I was peeling off my arm and ear warmers. The ride was through some of the most beautiful and scenic lands in this state. I had great views of Mount Saint Helens, Mount Adams, and Mount Rainier. The entire ride was on quiet low traffic back roads of pastoral farmland. And as the name of the ride says our rest stops were at old historical sites. It was fun, scenic, and educational. The course was very hilly and my partner of late my friend Mister Headwind was with me the entire ride. I finished a little after 1:00 PM. On my way home I stopped at a local Arbys and devoured a medium roast beef sandwich with horsey sauce. It was delicious!

Some of the historical sites where our rest stops were and some of the other historical sites I pedaled by were:

Jackson Prairie Court House just beyond highway 12 which used to serve as the first district court north of the Columbia.

We passed by the Lewis and Clark State Park which opened in 1923. It has the largest stand of old growth trees in western Washington.

Our first rest stop was at the St. Francis Mission which was first occupied in 1838 and the site of the oldest Catholic Mission in the state.

Evaline School, my second food stop, is one of the few remaining two room schools in the state. First through sixth grades are still taught in this building. The bathrooms were unique! Swinging doors and steps that lead up to the toilet!

Claquato Church, third rest stop, built in 1859 is the oldest standing protestant church in Washington. It is still used for special occasions.

Evaline School.
Claquato Church.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

May Day Metric 2010

I forgot to post my May Day Metric ride. On Sunday, May 2nd I woke up at 6:00 AM and the first thing I did was look out my bedroom window to check the weather condition. It wasn't pretty. Gray low hanging dark heavy clouds greeted me as I parted my curtains. I decided to check the weather on my local news station and they said the rain would hold off until late afternoon. Always the optimist I decided to go for it. I made a pot of coffee, made toast and eggs, dressed, loaded my bike into my car and off I went. I stopped at Starbucks on my drive to the start and arrived just after 7:00. I registered and was on my bike by 7:23. It was chilly but after a few miles I began to warm nicely. There was a headwind (of course) and the route was very hilly. The ride was an out and back. Start was in Federal Way at Phil's South Side Cyclery and the turn around stops were in Orting (turn around here for the 50), next stop was in Wilkerson (turn around here for 75), and the third rest stop was in Carbonado (turn around here for 105 miles). I decided to turn around in Wilkerson. Passing through Orting on my return I did get a little rain but the majority of the ride was dry. Dry and WINDY! How is it possible to have a headwind both going out and coming back amazes me. Just my luck I guess. I would rather climb hills then ride against a headwind. Finally, after 74.5 miles I reached the finish. Next door to Phil's, in Johnny's Bar and Grill, they were serving peach and apple pie to all finishers. I had a slice of apple and my goodness was it delicious. I was so hungry I also ordered a Swiss and onion burger with fries too. What a great (and hard) ride. I slept soundly on Sunday night!

Rest stop at Wilkerson.

My beautiful bike.

Pie at the finish! YUM!

Monday, April 19, 2010

35th Annual Daffodil Classic

Sunday, April 18th was the annual Daffodil Classic Bike Ride. And what a great ride it was this year! The weather, the people, the routes, the entire ride was just wonderful. I rode the metric (but I got a few extra miles in because I missed a turn and had to back track). So my total mileage was 65.41 miles. It was a pretty hard course. Very hilly, lots of chip sealed roads, and I had a crazy headwind most of the ride. I began riding at 8:30 AM; it was a foggy start but the sun quickly burned away the fog layer and left behind beautiful blue sky and sunshine. The support was great! I especially enjoyed the second rest stop in Eatonville. They served beans and rice to all the riders plus there was a ton of cookies, bagels, peanut butter, jelly, Philly cream cheese, and fruit! Yum! The entire course had great views of Mount Rainier! And at the finish there was the famous TWBC's strawberry shortcake served with congratulations and smiles!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Ride

I had a personal day today and I picked a great day for it! Sunny, warm, and beautiful. I got a wonderful 40 mile bike ride in. Started straight from my home and did my Bonney Lake/Sumner/Orting/South Prairie/Buckley/Bonney Lake Loop!

I dropped down into Sumner from Bonney Lake on a 3 mile fast downhill WOW! I love coming down that hill. I hit 40 mph. In Sumner the daffodil fields were full of gorgeous beautiful daffodils. This weekend would have been a perfect one for the annual Daffodil Classic Bike Ride but it's not for another month. April 18th. By then all these daffodils will be gone. We have been getting unseasonable warm weather all winter long. No complaints from me! I took all of these photos with my cell phone camera. Not the best quality.

After enjoying the daffodils I continued on towards Orting. From Orting you have fantastic views of Mt. Rainier.

From Orting I head towards South Prairie. On the way I follow the Carbon River. I saw a lot of wild life today. Bald eagles over the river, mallards, and some domestic ones too. Horses, cows, sheep, and buffalo.
From South Prairie the climbing begins. Remember that hill I zoomed down at the start into the valley? Well now it was time to climb up out of the valley into Buckely. It was a long winding climb but it felt good. From Buckley I got onto Old Buckley highway which took me past farmland, fields and pastures, and some gorgeous homes.
40 miles later I was back home!

Tomorrow I begin my local bike club's training series. Tomorrow will be the first ride of the 16 week long series. 43 miles working up to our last ride on July 3rd of 168 miles with 9,000 feet of climbing. It's to get cyclist in my area ready for the big summer rides.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First Ride of 2010

I finally got my first ride in for this new year. A beautiful Sunday ride with the TWBC. We began in South Tacoma on Pacific Ave (hwy 7 just off SR 512). We had a foggy start but the sun finally came out as we crested the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. It was a great ride with beautiful scenery along the way. And a great lunch break in Gig Harbor.

Before we began our ride our ride leader Sue gives us instructions.
22 riders showed up today.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge this morning in the fog.

We broke through the fog just over the crest on the Narrows bridge.
This shot is looking back at the fog bank we just came through.

Tides Tavern and Restaurant in Gig Harber where we stopped for a lunch
break. I had the 2 piece halibut and fries. Delicious!
Shot from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on our return to Tacoma.

Fog is gone! Great ride. 40 miles.