Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back to Back E-Towns

For the time being, I have shifted my riding focus to training for July's Seattle to Portland Bike Ride (STP). Yes, I have a two week tour of the Olympic Peninsula coming up before STP, but I don't really need any additional training for that. I'll be doing STP in one day as I did in 2009. That's 204 miles...in one day. For that, training is most definitely required!

I've done a few upper 30s mile rides a 50 miler and, last Saturday, a 62 mile ride with my friend Lorraine who is also doing STP. All these have been on my road bike (a Trek Pilot 1.2). I've been working on staying in the aero position (aka praying mantis) for extended periods of time as well as increasing my average speed (needs to be 15-17mph to finish in one day--I'm aiming for 17 which I did in '09).

At least three of my rides have ended up in the rain and/or cold weather. Well, yesterday we finally got some awesome (Saturday was nice too) warm weather; mid 70s! Perfect weather for a long ride!

I like to ride out of Olympia on Hwy 8 toward the Coast. Once I get up away from the water, the road becomes flat to rolling...and fast! I was easily cruising along at 23mph! Even though it's the highway, the shoulder is wide and mostly debris free (and easy to maneuver around what debris there is because the shoulder is so wide). I had decided I would ride out to Elma, have lunch at Subway (of course), then ride back the same way. I figured it would be somewhere between 65 and 70 miles roundtrip. I had a picture in my mind of a Subway in Elma. As I got closer though, I realized the "picture" was actually the Subway in Montesano. That's 10 miles further down the road. After the first exit to Elma, I resigned myself to riding to Montesano to have Subway (REALLY, Subway SHOULD sponsor me!!!). However, as I came upon the second exit, I saw the Subway sign! That's right! There IS a Subway in Elma! I don't think I'd ever eaten at that one though. So, I didn't have to ride to Montesano afterall.

The ride back wasn't quite as fast as the ride out, but still, over 71 miles, my average speed was 16.4mph! Not 17, but getting there.

Today, the weather was again looking good. Hmmm...where to go???...well, there is always Eatonville! Oh, hey, Eatonville starts E just like Elma! AND...there is a Subway in Eatonville! That settled it. Off to Eatonville I went! A couple of things about the ride to Eatonville, one is that it is a general climb once I turn onto Hwy 702 in McKenna. Afterall, it is on the way to Mt. Rainier! The other thing is, almost every time I have done this ride, I have had a nasty headwind coming back (even the general downhill doesn't help). Today was no different. Consequently, my average speed was only 14.7. There are also a number of granny-gear hills. Still, it was a great day, and I did 76 miles!

Now, for tomorrow...Elbe? Enumclaw? Nah, I think I'll pass.

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