Sunday, December 21, 2014

Braver Than the Elements Ride, and a Moon Cycle Ride

It's December, and that means braving the elements, and riding to see Christmas lights. Actually, those were two separate rides. 

First, was the Rapha sponsored Braver Than the Elements Ride. Jean and I headed to Seattle for the women-only ride. This was one of several happening all over the country. The ride started at Cascade Bicycle Studio, a bike shop (and the only Washington dealer of Rapha apparel) in the Fremont District. We arrived much earlier than we thought we would, and no one was there. It was raining, so we just waited in the car. Bit by bit, women started arriving. The bike shop opened, and we all gathered inside to sign waivers, and find out what the plan was. Some gals were buying rain jackets and embrocation to help them stay warm and dry. Jean and I, being very used to riding in the "elements", were well prepared. As were our bikes. Jean was riding her cross bike, and I was on Star, my rain bike. Both our bikes have full fenders and long buddy flaps. With the exception of Mindy, the ride leader, we were the only ones with buddy flaps. Several had fenders, but without the long flap in the back, your "buddy" behind you is not really protected from the spray. Some gals didn't have fenders at all. Yikes! We tried to stay away from them!

Twenty of us headed out into the rain. We rode north, up and out of Fremont. Our turn around point was a cafe in Edmonds. For a good chunk of the ride, we were on the Interurban Bike Route, including a nice bike path. After getting off the path, we had to negotiate some busy streets, and then the hilly portion of the ride. We regrouped frequently, as there were several levels of riders from Cat 3 racers to a gal on a flat bar commuter carrying a pannier.

All 20 of us descended on an already crowded cafe (but, they knew we were coming). I had hot chocolate and a cookie. By the time we were ready to leave, some were not looking forward to going back out into the rain, knowing we would be cold because we were all wet. But, hey, this was called the Braver Than the Elements Ride! And, we had a big hill to go up (several, actually), so everyone would warm up quickly. As we were about ready to leave the parking lot of the cafe, one gal realized she had a flat. Emily (a Cat 3 racer) had the tire changed for the gal pretty quickly, but we were all still cold and ready to get going. Sure enough, no one was complaining about being cold once we were heading up the first hill (except for some cold hands).

We pretty much returned the way we had come. The last couple of miles were mostly downhill. We were going pretty slow (not sure why), but we eventually made it back to the start. We all received Braver Than the Elements patches for our effort. The ride was only 28 miles, but it was still fun to ride with and meet some new gals. Of course, they were all Seattle gals. I think Jean and I were the bravest of all, coming all the way from Olympia (so, okay, we drove to Seattle, but we still had to get up earlier than any of them)!

Ride the Night to Christmas Lights

Today was the Winter Solstice, and a group called Moon Cycle (they apparently ride once a month on the full moon) planned a ride to see the Christmas lights at Ken Lake. None of my Oly Chick posse were able to go, but I decided to go anyway. It wasn't raining, and the temperature was warm. Besides, after just 28 miles yesterday, and only a 5 mile walk/run today, I needed to burn more calories. 

We met at 5:00 at the Tivoli fountain at the Capitol campus (I rode Stella). Eight and a half of us showed up (the half was the little 4 1/2 year old son of one of the women). A few had decorated their bikes with LED battery operated Christmas lights. This was definately a group of commuter cyclists. Not a clipless pedal in sight (except for me), and only one other bike with drop bars. But, great headlights and tail flashers!

 No one seemed to know the exact plan to get to Ken Lake (a neighborhood on the Westside). Well, of course, I knew how to get there. They seemed to prefer I lead the way. Well, alright, that's fine with me! 

We worked our way at a leisurely pace to the Westside. We arrived at the Ken Lake neighborhood, and started our ride around the loop. Years ago, when my boys were little, we drove there to see the lights. I remembered there being several houses with fairly extravagant light displays. Now, there seems to be only one that is over the top. Oh, there were several houses with lights, but nothing huge. The one house is quite worth the trip though. The light display is set to music. The program is about 10 minutes long before it starts over. They accept canned food donations for the Food Bank. After the whole program ran through, the guy who owns the place took our picture in front of the lights.
I'm fourth from the right.

We rode back through town, dropping people as we went. There were a couple going to a cafe/bar, but I opted to head for home. It was a nice 25 mile ride at a very leisurely average of 10.8mph. It was fun, though, and I may consider doing more of these Moon Cycle rides!

The best thing of all? From here on out, the days will be getting longer!

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