On Tuesdays I usually do the Night Ride with the team but, since the other gals weren't going tonight, I opted to do my own training ride in the daylight. According to my workout plan, I was to do a 2 hour ride working on Force Reps (big gear--low cadence). I also wanted to work on Form Sprints and Intervals. My plan was to ride the trail to Yelm and the road back. After my warm up, I thought the trail with its upward, but never too steep, trend would be good for the Force Reps. It's also good for the sprints (there are several street crossings). So, I did all that on the way to Yelm.
At Yelm, I worked my way over to the 510 Alternate. Once I was on that, there was a pretty strong crosswind and occasional headwind. I worked on more Force Reps.
I had not worn, or brought with me, my rain jacket so, of course, it spit rain off and on. It was nothing too terrible and I was riding Star (my now designated "rain" bike) anyway.
When I got to the road that goes off to the right and onto Ft. Lewis property, I decided to ride it as far as the bridge over the river (Nisqually?) then back to 510. It means a steep downhill to the river which I would then have to come back up. I did it anyway. As I came down one of the steeper parts of the hill (the part with the curve in it), I got going pretty fast. Into the curve I got a little nervous and started to brake. Then, in my head, I was saying, "DON'T BRAKE! COUNTER-STEER! COUNTER-STEER!!! HOLD ON!!!". I made it through the curve holding a pretty good line. My max speed was 47.9mph. Whew!
I turned around, as planned, at the bridge. Coming back up wasn't too bad. I don't think I had the 12-27 cassette last time I came up this hill. Plus, last time, coming back up the hill was much later in the ride.
When I got back to 510, I decided to cross the Hwy and go on the road that goes on another part of Ft. Lewis property. The guy, Tim, had told me, while we were on the other ride out this way, that this road went over to Rainier Rd. He had said it was paved, but with potholes. I thought, no problem, I can dodge potholes. So, off I went.
There were indeed potholes--lots of potholes! I was dodging and weaving around them without problems. I had gone, maybe a couple of miles, when I came to a section with a lot of potholes and gravel. I picked my way through, then realized I was no longer on any kind of pavement. The dirt was packed and although I was still having to negotiate around holes and rocks, I felt I was doing pretty good. I thought, maybe the pavement picks up again down the road. Uh...no. No, it did not.
I continued on, thinking this road must eventually come out to Rainier Rd. It reminded me of when I took Stella to the end of Thompson Creek Rd and kept going onto Weyerhaeuser property because I was sure it would eventually spit me out onto Tono Rd. (not quite, but close). Only this time, instead of Stella's beefy 32mm tires, I was on Star's less than beefy 25mm tires. But, I was doing okay! Except on the downhill parts where I went VERY SLOW!
I came to a "T" in the road. My sharp instincts told me to go right. Right would take me to Rainier Rd. Left would take me...who knows where? More gravel, more dirt, and lots more potholes later, I started seeing signs of civilization. Well...bunches of garbage. I figured I must be getting close to the road as people would not drive too far down a dirt road to dump their trash. Sure enough, after I came down an awfully steep hill, and around a corner, I saw a car go by out on the paved road. Ta da! I had made it to...Hwy 510. I was NOT on Rainier Rd. In fact, I was only about a mile from where I had left 510!
I guess my instincts were not so sharp afterall. Where I turned right? Yeah...I should have gone left. Next time (and, yes, there will be a next time--I've got to do it right--I mean LEFT!) I'll go left at the "T". Maybe I'll take Stella. However, Star certainly held her own (makes me think maybe with some cyclocross tires Star could be a worthy cross bike???).