Monday, April 7, 2014

A Beautiful Day to do Tons of Hills!

Granted, we are only a week into April, but I think it's rained everyday (yesterday's hilly 61 miler started out good, but ended up raining). I'd just get my shoes dried out, only to get them soaking wet again. But, not today! Today was a spectacularly beautiful day! One would think summer was here, except the leaves on the trees are not fully out (some trees do not have any leaves yet).

I wore capris today, thinking, no way would it be warm enough for shorts (I should have worn shorts and leg warmers, so I could have taken the leg warmers off). I did go with a short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, and a vest. I took the arm warmers off and unzipped the vest. I had long finger gloves on, but threw a pair of fingerless in my jersey pocket. I switched to those too.

Dennis planned this route. I think he made a list of all the hills in the Bucoda/Centralia area, and figured out a route that would take us up every one of them--some, more than once. By the way, there are a lot of hills in this area! I joined him, Steve, and Melody (all older than me, yet so much faster).

The first hill (really just a molehill compared to some of the others) was Hwy 99 heading to Tenino. I apologized for my turtle-like progress up the hill, but they said that was fine. Melody said she was on her umpteenth day in a row of 100 mile rides (still, she seemingly flys up the hills).

The next, more substantial hill was Tono, outside of Bucoda. Tono is more like two hills. You go up and up, then a decent descent, only to go back up a steeper, but shorter, hill before finally coming down the other side to Big Hanaford Valley. 

We had a lovely cruise in the glorious sunshine along Big Hanaford Rd to Halliday Rd. Then we started up Halliday. I'm not sure if Halliday is longer than Tono, but it seems steeper. I chug-chugged my way to the top, hoping the dogs that like to give chase would opt not to (I'm too out of breath to yell at them). One thought he would, but his owner called him back. The ride down the other side was awesome--steep with just the right amount of curves to keep it interesting. It was at the bottom of Halliday where I shed arm warmers and long finger gloves. The warm air on my arms felt fabulous! 

Now on Little Hanaford Rd, we came to Loop Rd. I've seen this road before, but have never taken it. Now I know why. It's another steep little sucker that goes sharply up, then comes back down to Little Hanaford. But, it wasn't too long.

Back on LH, we skipped the first part of Seminary Hill in favor of an equally challenging ride up Grimes from Salzer Valley Rd. Grimes came into Seminary where we continued left on up to the top. The descent down Seminary was another fun one. Even though I always fall behind going up the hills, I can usually catch up on the downhill.

At the bottom of the hill, we were in Centralia. We rode around the base of the hill to Ham Hill Rd. which, of course, we rode up. Once again, I did not see any pigs while I was wheezing my way up that little porker of a hill (maybe it was named after someone named Ham, and not after a pork product).

Ham returned us to Seminary where continued back up to the top. Coming from the other direction, we had seen two deer crossing the road. On the way back, the rest of the family had joined them to make 5. This time, we stayed on Seminary all the way back down to LH. We did the Loop Rd from the other direction (still a hill, but much easier). 

I thought we would continue into the northern part of Centralia, get on 507, then do Zenkner Valley (another doozy of a climb). No, we did not. We went back over Halliday. It's just as bad as from the other direction. Running out of steam, I was way behind. Even the downhill didn't catch me up (although, I have to say, coming down that side of Halliday is a little more sketchy, with sharper turns and rougher road). No problem though--they waited for me. 

Back at Big Hanaford, Dennis asked if we wanted to do Zenkner Valley, or do Tono again. I asked if those were the only options. Steve was in need of getting back for work. There was, indeed, a third option--Hwy 507 straight back to Tenino. Steve said he was going to do that. I said I would go with him, but then we decided we would all go that way. Whew, no more major hills!

As we came through Tenino, we heard a loud pop and hiss of air from Melody's rear tire. Not only was it flat, but there was a sizeable hole in the tire. She put a patch in the tire, but even with that, when Dennis inflated the tire, the tube started to bulge out of the hole. She would have to ride with a little less pressure, and hope the patch inside held. Fortunately, it did.

We did the last few hills over to Tilley, and came back into town. We left Steve and Melody. Dennis, who lives beyond me, and I rode the rest of the way home together. I'm sure I had the shortest ride today since we met at the bridge over Yelm Hwy. My ride was 81.9 miles. Melody will have done another century today. Before we parted, I told her to take a break tomorrow--maybe only do 50 miles!

Even with all the climbs, my average was still 16.1 (all the downhills helped). My arms have a touch of redness, but it was worth it to have such a beautiful day for doing tons of hills! Oh, and the temperature had to have reached, at least, the mid-70s!

I apologize for no photos--we didn't stop long enough. Had we stopped at the top of Seminary Hill, I could have taken a photo of Mt. Rainier, St. Helens, and Mt. Adams in one shot! 

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