When I got up this morning I fully expected to see rain. But, lo and behold, there was blue sky! While checking my email, I saw an email from one of the team guys. Basically, it said not to be fooled by the blue sky. We were still riding rain bikes.
I got to the park about 9:20. We were to meet at 9:30 to load our bags in the vehicle going to McMenamins. We could also put a bag in the sag car, but there was a good chance those of us not doing the long route would not have access to the sag vehicle (turns out it was behind us for most of the section to Centralia).
After Brad had everyone determine who was doing which route, we headed out. There were at least 40 riders. A group of us (most of the women) planned to do part 1 of the long route to Centralia, then part 2 of the short route loop from Centralia and back to Centralia where we were staying at McMenamins. That meant we would be with the fast guys for the first half of the day.
As usual, the ride started out pretty fast. We didn't formally regroup until Tenino. We lost a few riders who weren't going all the way to Centralia (other obligations).
We went down Crowder Rd and onto Hwy 507 (after a freight train went by--where Vaughn almost got hit by the gate coming down). At Bucoda we turned to go over Tono. This was the first big climb of the day (yes, there are hills on 143rd into Tenino, but not long ones). Debbie, Andy, and I brought up the rear on that one.
We rode along Big Hanaford past the Steam Plant. It started to rain. Once again, my rain jacket was doing a fine job of keeping the inside of my jersey pocket dry. The rest of me, however, got a little wet.
We turned off of Big Hanaford at Halliday. Usually I go Teitzal. Now I know why. Halliday is another long climb. Teitzal goes along the other side of the valley. Both roads come out at Little Hanaford.
We regrouped at Little Hanaford and decided we would continue on the route into Centralia. That meant another big climb over Seminary Hill. I had also never done this road (staying on Little Hanaford to Salzer Valley is much flatter). At least the rain had stopped. It was quite fun coming down the other side of Seminary.
We rode the last bit into Centralia. After a potty stop at McMenamins, we went over to Santa Lucia coffee shop. The long route riders were still there. I was surprised since they were doing 102 miles. I expected them to be long gone.
Brad did another talk about who was doing which route, then we took off. Debbie, Michelle, and Derik were done for the day. We were down to 5 of us doing the shorter route (well, 6 actually, counting Jo, but she was way faster).
We headed south out of Centralia to Salzer Valley Rd. We turned onto Centralia Alpha (I call it Alpha Centauri). This was the beginning of long climb number 4 for the day. Jean and Scott were first up the hill (after the long route guys left us behind). I was third, followed by Maria and Manek.
Once we passed Logan Hill Rd, I was in new territory for me. This time, there wasn't a big climb! We rode as far out as North Fork Rd. Then we rode through a valley (maybe called Newakum) with no steep hills. The sun was out, but I could see a big black cloud in the distance.
At Jackson Hwy, we stopped at a little market so Maria could get more fluids. That black cloud came over us and it started raining. I zipped up my rain jacket. We could see to the right that there was blue sky after the cloud. The route actually went left, but we opted to not follow the rain and went right instead.
Sure enough, soon, we were out of the rain and into some sunshine. We rode Jackson Hwy through all of its name changes back to Centralia.
We arrived just in time to check in at the hotel (3:00). My bag was already in the room thanks to Debbie. I carried Star up the stairs and put her in the room.
I quickly hopped in the shower. Funny thing, after I finished my shower, and was just starting to get dressed, the lights went off (blew a fuse). Since there was no window, the bathroom was pitch black. Fortunately, I had laid my clothes on the top of my bag. I managed to get myself completely dressed in the dark (I would be good at being blind--except, it would be kind of hard to ride a bike...).
A bunch of us went down to the cafe for some food since dinner wasn't until 6:00. The long route riders arrived at about 5:00. They reported a rather grueling ride.
We figured, out of our 70+ mile ride, we had a headwind for almost all of it (except the last part back into Centralia).
At 6:00 we all headed over to the Gibson House for the Team dinner. There were a number of presentations and we got our racing numbers. My number is 333 (better than 666!). We had a good dinner.
Debbie and I came back to the hotel so Jo could get her bike out of our room. We looked to see what the others were doing, but didn't find anyone. Debbie was exhausted, so we called it a night. Breakfast is at 7:30 in the morning.
It was a good ride today. New roads for me and okay weather (for February).