...For a great day on the bike!
First, there was 0% chance of rain. Yay! I can ride Tessa! Next, I chose the perfect combination of clothing to keep me warm, but not cooking. I do so much better if I don't get too hot. I also brought just the right amount of nutrition to keep me fueled for the whole ride. Finally, there was a large group, including 6 of us women. The guys were generous in not going at race pace the entire time. We also regrouped a number of times (and I wasn't always the one having to catch up!).
The route for the ride seemed like it should have been longer in miles. In looking at the map, we did cover a rather large chunk of Thurston County. We started in Tumwater, worked our way up to Capitol Forest, came down back to Delphi, then kind of cut across all the way over to Hwy 99 on 113th/McCorkle. Then it was a short jog over to Waldrick, where we continued our cut across the county. About half of the guys did the Tempo Lake loop. The rest of us just stayed on Steadman.
On Spurgeon Creek Rd., we all did the Sun Lakes loop. This was a new road for me. I had actually looked for it when I rode Tessa for the first time on Friday (Brad had mentioned it on a night ride a few weeks ago). I thought it went off to the right, but it was the left. It was a hilly little number, but still kind of fun. It came back to Spurgeon Creek. We took the briefest of breaks, then continued on to Yelm Hwy. After a short section on Yelm Hwy, we turned at Meridian, then right at Mullen. I thought to myself, I know this section and it has hills. Fortunately, there are good enough downhills to get a decent run on the uphills. I kept up just fine!
On Hwy 510, I stayed pretty close to Jo, Jean, Michelle, and Derik up one of the longer hills of the day. The rest of the guys circled around until we caught up on Reservation Rd.
Coming down Old Nisqually from Reservation, I was already thinking about (read...DREADING) the next hill we would be climbing. It was the Steilacoom Rd. hill (a segment on Strava called Salmon Lane). Years ago when I started riding more and training to do the STP on my Giant Cypress DX Hybrid, I mistakenly went up this hill. That bike had a really low gear, but I still had to stop at a driveway about half way up as I felt I was going to have a heart attack at any moment. I rested, then rode the remaining section but, since then, I have never gone that way again. I've come DOWN it many times. Coming down, it is one of my favorite hills to see how fast I can go (I think my top speed is 47.9 on my Trek). Well, no amount of dread was going to get me out of doing the climb. I dropped down to the small ring in the front, and progressively shifted the back until I was out of gears. Tessa has a pretty decent easy gear on the back. Still, I was popping little wheelies as I pumped up the hill. Strava puts the hill at either an 11.4% grade or 12.7%, depending on whether you look at the Salmon Lane, New Version segment or the Salmon Lane Climb segment. All I can say is, it felt like about 27%! I was most definitely last up that one (BUT...at least I could still see the other stragglers ahead of me!)! AND, I did not have to stop and rest!
Now, you might think we just continued straight on Steilacoom back to town. No, no we did not. We turned on to Dutterow and crossed Martin Way in Hawks Prairie. We worked our way over to Willamette, came around by Jubilee, and over to Marvin. At the next roundabout, we swung right on to Hawks Prairie Rd, and followed that to South Bay Rd.
Where South Bay Rd. crossed the Chehalis Western Trail, that was my cue to leave the group and head for home on the trail. I must admit, my butt was getting tired. The saddle on Tessa is different from Star. It doesn't have a cut-out. However, since I am able to comfortably ride somewhere around 60+ miles, I'm not going to change it out. Besides, it perfectly matches the rest of the bike! My butt will just have to get used to it!
According to Strava, I rode 70.7 miles. The ride time was 3:55. My average was 18.0 mph! There was 2146 feet of elevation gain. Aside from being a little tired (no duh!), it was a perfect ride. The planets were definitely aligned to make it a great day!