...Sounds like a song from awhile back. In this case, the long and hilly road led to Shelton.
I wanted at least one more long endurance ride before we start training (more like learning how to race). I roped Debbie into this ride because, well, she is agreeable to just about anything I throw at her (even though she whines about the hills--but, I don't mind because it's entertaining! Even though she is whining, she doesn't give up! That makes it all fine in my book!). I can't ask for anything more in a biking buddy!
The fast boys (and maybe a girl or two) were doing the same route with an added loop that Debbie and I would skip. They were leaving at 9:00. We left at 10:00. We actually started with 8 of us, but three wanted a much shorter ride due to other activities. The 5 of us that were left, headed out Madrona Beach Rd. to Steamboat Island Road. We went just a short way toward Steamboat Island before turning and heading over to Oyster Bay Rd. It is really just an alternative route from getting on Hwy 101 at the Steamboat Island Rd. exit/entrance. It adds a small amount of distance, but it's much more pleasant.
We returned to 101 and rode the highway to Old Olympic Hwy. This is the route I did back in December on the day after Christmas (when I found the snow). This time there was no snow. The weather was quite decent. I even unzipped my rain jacket, which I later took off when we got to Bloomfield Rd. We did the Old Olympic/Bloomfield/Kamilche Point loop back to Old Olympic. We were supposed to go up a road called Simmons Rd. that went parallel to 101 on the right side of the highway. We saw the sign for Simmons, but there didn't really seem to be a road. If there was one, it didn't go far--certainly not all the way to Lynch Rd. like the map said it did. Instead we went up Kamilche (parallels 101 on the left side). Interestingly, I have never gone UP Kamilche. I've only come down. The reason I haven't gone up is because once you get to the top, you have to cross the highway. Usually, I just stay on the highway. Going up Kamilche was okay. It wasn't too difficult to get across the highway.
After crossing 101, we continued on Lynch Rd. to begin our second hilly loop. If you looked at the Old Olympic/Bloomfield/Kamilche part and the Lynch/Arcadia/Old Olympic part and used 101 as the spine, this part would look like a capital letter "B"...sort of. The three guys, who were kind enough to keep us in their sights, didn't want to do the whole route Debbie and I were doing, so they cut off at Cole Rd. We would eventually ride Cole Rd, but first we were doing the rest of Lynch and then Arcadia. We would do Cole from the other direction back to Lynch.
Once we were just the two of us, we slowed down a bit. Afterall, it was, very much, an up and down roller coaster route. At one point it started to rain. I stopped to put my rain jacket back on so I wouldn't get soaked (and then cold). Awhile later the rain stopped and the sun graced us with a little warmth.
We came back to Old Olympic Hwy (also called Hwy 3 at this point) on the edge of Shelton proper. We didn't go on into Shelton, but headed back toward home. Hwy 3 is a road not well suited for the amount of growth that has occurred in Shelton. It is also not the greatest to bike on. There is just a narrow shoulder and it is full of debris and cracks. Fortunately, we weren't on it for much more than a mile.
We took a left onto Craig Rd. which quickly took us to Cole Rd. Of all the roads we went on today, Cole was the only road I have not been on before. It was a nice road. Seemed to trend more down than up heading back to Lynch Rd. I'm glad we did it in this direction.
Of course, when we returned to Lynch, we had to go up all the hills we had come down on the way out. The first one after Cole was a long one. Both Debbie and I employed our granny gears (not the first, nor the last time for the day). I thought to myself, "Yes, this was a nice hill...coming DOWN!"
Back at Taylortown, we stopped for a short break and to refill water bottles at the minimart. I inquired about this so-called Simmons Rd. the clerk had no knowledge of such a road, but she was from Olympia and didn't know the area (what do you know! So were we!). We did a cursory check around the area, but did not see anything that resembled a road. So, once again, we crossed 101 to, this time, go down Kamilche Point Rd. Of this I was very familiar!
Since the whole idea of today's ride was long distance, we didn't just come back on Hwy 101. We threw in the Hurley Waldrip loop as well as the Old Olympic Hwy (on the other side of 101) loop. Once we completed those loops we were back on 101 to the Steamboat Island exit.
We stopped for some real food at Subway. Up until then I had subsisted on Hammer Perpetuem, a Balance Bar, and a shot of Hammer Gel--Mountain Huckleberry, my new favorite flavor! I was doing okay, but the idea of real food and a break was mighty appealing.
The rest of the ride was uneventful. I rode with Debbie back to the park (to her car) before heading on home. When I got home, I had clocked 82.4 miles! I'd say that was a good, long endurance ride! Overall, despite a little rain, it was a great day to be out on the bike. I can't say that, before today, I have ever done an 82 mile ride in...JANUARY!