Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hot Time in the Mountain Climb!

Courage Classic 2009--What a warm one!
This was my 4th Courage Classic and my hottest one! We were barely out of Snoqualmie (the town not the pass)on Day 1 and it was already 84 degrees! It was about 8:15am. For the first time, I was only wearing shorts and a jersey (no arm warmers or knee warmers this year!). This is in sharp contrast to last year when it was raining and freezing cold. Going through Denny Creek was heavenly as it was all in the shade. That is, until we started the switchbacks up to the summit. Now, I usually don't sweat that much, but sweat was running down the side of my face by the time I got to the top! I was even a little lightheaded (remedied by eating spaghetti, salad and delicious garlic bread). The ride down was great, but the temperature continued to climb. The banana splits at Lake Easton were a welcome treat! When we got to Suncadia in Cle Elum, the wind was blowing as usual, but it was a warm wind. Leandra and I tried to rig up some shade with the rainfly from the tent, but the wind kept messing it up. I don't think I actually got into my sleeping bag until early the next morning.

The next morning we got up at o'dark hundred to get to breakfast and get on the road as early as possible. We had heard the temperature was going to be 101. Getting going by 6:30 (on the road after breakfast) was the way to go. It was nice and cool for most of the climb up Blewett. I even had hot chocolate at Mineral Springs (in addition to all the tasty cookies). At the summit, after we had eaten lunch, we met a guy named Cloyd. He told us to look for him later and he would give us candy. I said, "Candy? I love candy!". Then he noticed my trunk bag and handlebar bag and said he would give it to us now. He gave us each a bag of Pecan Brittle and his card. He is the sales rep for a company out of Lynnwood called Cornell Confections. Of course, it was all I could do to not eat it right there! BUT, I put it in my bag to save it for later.

It was really heating up as we came down off Blewett Pass. We had our snow cones at Ingall's Creek then headed down the road to Leavenworth. As we came into Leavenworth along US 2 (we didn't go into Peshastin this year) it was stifling hot! When we checked in at the day's finish, they said it was 109! Leandra and I grabbed our bags, staked out our spot and then hopped back on our bikes and rode to the river. There we parked the bikes and just walked right into the river in our bike clothes (Leandra even had her bike shoes on). Now, that felt good! There were a few others in the river in bike clothes too. After our dip in the river, we sat at a bench in the shade and ate our Pecan Brittle from Cloyd. It was very tasty! Buttery, with lots of pecans (my favorite nut)! It definately hit the spot! After dinner, we went to the Beer Garden (I managed to get in even though I didn't have any ID with me--you mean I look over 21??? I had left my wallet and my phone in the car at Snoqualmie). Leandra won a New Belgium jersey in a raffle. The best way to get a jersey is have it given to you!

The next morning we got up even earlier (o'dark dark hundred) because our fearless team leader, Jon, wanted us to be at breakfast by 5:40am for team pictures. We left the park at 6:30 and got to Plain at 7:50. I had gotten one of my Ponderosa gal's number by a roundabout way (remember...no phone with me) and was able to call and arrange to meet them in Plain. We had a nice chat and then we were onto Rootbeer Floats! Along the way, just outside of Plain, there was a dog who decided she wanted to do the Courage Classic too. She ran alongside me for about a mile. We kept telling her to go home, but she just kept running. We heard later that someone finally took her back. I'll bet she just started running with other riders.

The climb up Steven's wasn't too bad. There was a headwind, but, although it was abit defeating at times, it did serve to keep us cooler. We got to the summit at about 12:30ish. Our baked potatoes with all the toppings you could imagine (and then some you wouldn't) were delicious. The ride down was great. I would have been faster if there hadn't been the headwind, but it was still good. Old Cascade Hwy. was a blast as this year we just let it fly with very little braking. The finish was in Skykomish this year at the school. It was somewhat chaotic since there was also a bunch of construction right next to the finish. Lots of big equipment in addition to all the Courage Classic trucks and buses! It was actually more fun this year at the finish with all the hubbub. Usually at the finish, it is sort of anti-climactic. We actually took showers this year and got on the last bus (supposedly--I think there were still more people). Oh yeah, before we got on the bus, I ran into Cloyd, the candyman, again. He asked me how the ride was. I told him I was done and now onto the next thing. He asked what the next thing was and I told him I was leaving for France on Wednesday. He said that was good, but there was no Cornell Confections in France. I asked if the candy was sold in Olympia and Cloyd said no. I said that was too bad because I would have bought some and taken it to France with me. He pulled his last bag of Pecan Brittle out of his pocket and gave it to me! Then he said he had one more bag of popcorn left. He went to his car and brought it back to me! So now Cornell Confections is going to France! Thanks Cloyd!!!

Anyway, it was another great, albeit hot, Courage Classic! Onto France!

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