Kim and I decided it was time for her to conquer Tono. We set out this morning at 9:00. It was shaping up to be another toasty day. We decided we would treat ourselves to lunch at Berry Fields Cafe in Centralia. Nothing like a reward for conquering the hills of Tono!
Of course, this was taken on the way back
We took the trail to Tenino. We had a lovely tailwind going down Crowder Rd. and 507 into Bucoda. We stopped to inhale a gel each, then began the mile long climb up Tono. About 3/4 of the the way, Kim said she was going to have to stop. I told her no, she could make it. I turned on the Buckshot speaker so we could pedal to the music (nothing like a little Lady Gaga to make the legs go round). Sure enough, with Gaga's help, she made it to the top without stopping!
Unfortunately, there are two hills on Tono Rd.The first, although long, is not too terribly steep. The second one is a different story. It's a steep sucker! As we started up, before long, Kim said she was going to have to stop. Since I knew this would be the case before we even got there, I just said, "Yep." Kim stopped. I kept going. When I got to the top, I turned around and went back down a ways. She was walking up the hill. Whilst walking, she discovered it's almost just as hard to walk up a steep hill as it is to ride (at least the chances of tipping over are reduced).
Of course, she made it, and we continued down the other side. So much nicer! I told her she had just completed the hardest part, hill-wise, of today's ride. Why not the hardest part of the day, you ask? Because we all know sometimes the hardest part of the ride is the last 10 miles when you're tired and hot.
We rode along Big Hanaford Rd past the Steam Plant.
Kim riding by the Steam Plant. Proof that she made it over Tono.
Before too long, we were pulling into Centralia, and locking the bikes up at Berry Fields Cafe. It was just coming up on noon. As we walked in, Kim noticed that all the people (and it was quite busy) turned and looked at us. Well, of course they did! I'm sure they were admiring our kit, complete with helmets and gloves (or, I suppose...they could have been wondering what the devil we were doing out in this heat. Afterall, a good chunk of the customers were of the silver-haired age bracket). We snagged a table where we were able to keep an eye on the bikes (to make sure the poor things didn't melt in the sun--the bikes did fine, the lip balm, however...).
When it was time to order, I told the waitress I wanted the "Side-ache Sandwich". I told her it was also known as the grilled crab and provolone when she looked at me like I was a crazy lady. I also got a glass of strawberry lemonade.
I think no actual strawberries were harmed in the making of this.
Our sandwiches were delicious. For dessert, I was going to have the chocolate cake, but instead opted for the Caramel Apple Crumble with ice cream.
This is deceiving. It looks like it is a huge slice of pie. Really, it's on a very small plate (great marketing strategy). Still plenty, though.
While we were eating, Kim said, "We should just make it 80." (She did add a caveat that she might change her mind). Not one to turn down a challenge, I said, "Uhhhh...okay." So we planned, instead of just going straight back up 507, we would go over to Old 99, and go that way. I wasn't sure it would be 80 miles, even going that way, but we could see.
Kim was very generous and picked up the tab for lunch. It was her way of thanking me for putting her through such brutal rides, and promising to do CPR if she should happen to have a heart attack. Now, of course I would do CPR, but this way, I wouldn't be pondering whether I should have had the chocolate cake instead.
Before we left to attempt our (okay, her) record-breaking 80 mile ride, we soaked our buffs and sun sleeves in the cold water in the restroom. Putting on nice cool buffs is refreshing (even if it only lasts about 10 minutes out in the sun).
Back out on the road, I think I might have figured out why Kim was so gung-ho to do 80 miles. We had had a lovely tailwind going south. Going north...not so much. One feels invincible with a tailwind! However, even when I said it was not going to be 80 miles, she didn't give up. She suggested going back to Tenino and taking the trail back. Hmmm...that might get us close. Since we were already going toward 183rd, we just continued, then followed 183rd back to 99. From Grand Mound to Tenino, it is 8 miles of mostly open prairie. From 183rd we probably had 6.5 miles to Tenino. It sure was toasty out there on the prairie! We did encounter one spot of shade to take a little break.
We rolled back into Tenino, and stopped to refill our water bottles with cold water at the park. From there it was 17 more miles for me, 19 for Kim.
Did we make 80 miles? As Maxwell Smart used to say, "Not quite." BUT, Kim came very very close at 79.6. Since she knows how to round up, she's calling it 80. Sound good to me!