Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day 3--Hey! I Found the Snow!

For Day 3 of the Festive 500 Strava Challenge I decided to head West. I looked at the weather and it seemed to be pretty decent in that direction. I planned to take it a little easy today insofar as I wasn't going to go all out pounding the pedals. Counting the 69 mile ride on the 22nd (that, unfortunately, didn't count for the Challenge), I have ridden 172 miles in the last 4 days (really just 3 riding days--I didn't ride on the 23rd).

Once I got past Cooper Point Rd on the Westside, I started seeing bits of leftover snow from yesterday. It was about 45 degrees, so I wasn't really worried about it being icy, but I went down Mud Bay Road a little slower than usual because there was still some snow on the shoulder and, well, I felt like being just a little cautious.

I headed out toward Steamboat Island Rd on Madrona Beach Rd. I even stopped at the Subway at Steamboat Island to use the restroom (apparently, if I'm not pounding the pedals, some of the fluid I excrete actually ends up in my bladder and is not just sweated out--go figure!). From Subway, I got on Hwy 101 heading toward Shelton. I was noticing more and more snow! Still, the temps were in the 40s. Although I didn't try plowing through any big clumps, the little bits I did go through we're pretty slushy.

I had chosen a route that I have not done except once before, a long time ago. I got off 101 at Old Olympic Hwy to the right. At first I thought I might have to stay on 101 because Old Olympic is not a major road. Turns out it had been plowed too, and was fine. There was a good amount of snow on the side of the road, but the road itself was clear. There is no shoulder anyway, so I was mostly riding out in the fairly deserted lane. Below is a photo of Old Olympic not too far off 101. It's funny, because the other time I went this way, I remember going up a really steep hill just past Hurley Waldrip (the part on the water side of 101). Today I went up a rather long hill, but it didn't seem nearly as steep as my memory of it!

As I was going up the hill, I noticed it was getting really foggy. I almost stopped to take another photo as it was quite pretty. As I came around the corner, I could see it wasn't fog in the air but, smoke. There were several emergency response vehicles taking up the other lane. At first I thought it was some major house fire but, I think it was a controlled burn exercise. For one thing, the "house" was just a small mobile home. And, for another thing, they had a table set up across the street with coffee and snacks. Unless this is some new thing where, when you report a fire they don't just come put the fire out, but they also serve coffee...I think it was planned. As I rode by the coffee table, I said to the fire fighter, "And here I thought it was getting foggy!".

I continued on Old Olympic to Bloomfield Rd. There I turned and followed Bloomfield around Totten Inlet. This is quite the up and down road and also rough chipseal. This might be a good time to mention a little risk I was taking today. Last night when I was cleaning and preparing my bike for today's ride, I noticed that the rear tire was delaminating from the sidewall. This is the third Specialized Armadillo tire that has done that. I returned both the others and will do the same with this one. I've only been running this tire since mid-October. I've had good luck with the Armadillos on Stella, but not so on Star. The risk, of course, is that the tire could blow out completely and then, well...I'd be screwed. Not much one can do if that were to happen. So, you are possibly wondering why, when I knew about it, did I ride anyway? Chalk it up to two things--one, I needed to get miles in for the challenge, and two, it was a calculated risk. The last two tires that this has happened to were much further along in the delaminating process, yet those tires didn't blow. I just kept checking the tire for increased delaminating. Yes, it was a little annoying when I was riding on smooth pavement and could feel the whomp, whomp, whomp of the slight bulge in the tire, but it was holding up well.

Bloomfield comes into Kamilche Point Rd. I remembered this, but when I actually got there, it seemed that I should turn right. As I began to turn, I noticed a "No Outlet" sign. Hmmmm...I guess I should go left. So I went left. As I rode along, I could see water to my right. Later, when I looked at a map, I saw that was just another finger of Totten Inlet. I was going the correct way.

I eventually came back to Old Olympic Hwy. This time I did turn right. I went under 101 where Old Olympic then becomes Hwy 108. I took 108 to Hurley Waldrip, and rode Hurley Waldrip back to 101. From 101 was another little bypass on Old Olympic again, then back to 101 to the Steamboat Island exit. This time I stopped at Subway, not only to use the restroom again, but to also eat some lunch (I thought it might look kind of bad to stop twice in one day at the same Subway just to use the restroom).

From there I came back down Madrona Beach to Mud Bay. Instead of going to Tumwater Hill, I came through town. I thought about stopping at the bike shop to exchange the tire, but I was wet (big was raining!) and more interested in getting home.

Total Miles for Day 3--55 (88.5 km)
Total Kilometers remaining of the Festive 500--244 (151.6 miles)

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