Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Two-fer Post--Road and Gravel

Post #1--Even Road Rides Can Be An Adventure (I would have written this yesterday, but I ran out of time.)

My new riding buddy, Eric, and I set out to set out to ride to Centralia via Tono Rd, Tzietzal to Little Hanaford, and on into Centralia, where we had lunch at Berry Fields Cafe (my favorite take-myself-to-lunch place). All of that was awesome. The valley along Tzietzal was beautiful, even in the fog. 

After lunch, for the ride back, we opted for Zenkner Valley. After rather heavy lunches, Zenkner was a bit of a struggle, but we made it to the top of Flumerfelt. After the flying descent down Flumerfelt back to Hwy 507, Eric told me he just about crashed. I apologized for not warning him of Flumerfelt's steepness and curves.

We headed back to Tenino on 507, and Crowder Rd. As we were leaving Tenino, climbing up Hwy 99, all of a sudden my rear wheel came to a screeching halt. When I looked down to see what was wrong, I discovered KITT's rear derailleur hanger had snapped, and the derailleur was firmly tangled in the spokes. Hmmm...not good. Eric caught up to me, and I gave him the bad news. He said, "What do we do now?" Realizing we were nowhere near a bike shop, I told him we would flag down a pickup, and get a ride, at least into Tumwater where we could catch a city bus home. After a busted spoke on my race bike a year or so ago, I always carry a bus ticket for a day pass as well as a single ride ticket. So, if we could get a lift to the nearest bus stop, we could put the bikes on the bus bike rack and get back to town.

I commenced to flagging down a pickup. The first pickup went by, then slowed down, but kept going. As I was trying to flag down another truck, that went by without stopping, I noticed the first pickup was turning around. Yay! He came back! We told him the situation. Now, you might be thinking I was the only one who needed a ride. There was nothing wrong with Eric's bike. But, Eric is new to the area, and had no idea where we were. In addition to that, his phone battery had died. So, I didn't want to leave him to try and figure out the route home. Our hero, Terry, was happy to give us a ride. He is also new to the area having recently retired from the Navy, and moved here from Mississippi. He lived just up the road a ways, but was willing to take us into Tumwater, and the nearest bus stop.

Terry dropped us at the stop for the 13 bus in front of the State Library. Fortunately, the 13 comes every 15 minutes, so we didn't have to wait long. We loaded the bikes on the bus, and rode to Tumwater Square. Here, we needed to change to the 68 to get out to Lacey. As the 13 pulled up to the stop, the 68 pulled away. Dang, just missed it! Eric had to go get change as he had used the single ride ticket. When he came back out from getting change for the bus, I told him we had just missed the 68, and there wouldn't be another one for an hour. We were both getting cold when I had the bright idea to call my friend Debra. She doesn't live far, and she has a Tahoe. Fortunately she was home, and able to come get us. We threw the bikes in the back of the Tahoe. Debra drove us to Eric's car (at Starbucks in Lacey), then took me home (after stopping for pizza at Mod Pizza). 

We still managed to get in 50 miles. KITT is now at Joy Ride being repaired. It should be on warranty as he is less than a year old, and has never crashed or even tipped over. Plus, I didn't even ride him most of the summer! Even road rides can be adventurous!

Post #2--A Gravel Ride With Even More Gal Pals!

Today should have been a Joy Ride scheduled gravel ride, but the guy in charge is out of town. No worries! Tim called a ride. Basically, the route was the reverse of the last JR ride (without the hike-a-bike to Kennedy Falls). We were meeting at Skep and Skein. On my way over to Karen's to ride with her to the Skep, I noticed my front wheel wasn't turning very good. I looked down at the tire and saw that it was going flat. I was running a little late, so I didn't want to stop. However, when I got to the neighborhood next to Karen's, I stopped, because there is a downhill, and I was worried I would roll the tire off the rim. When I stopped, I noticed a sharp little rock embedded in the tire. When I flicked it out, the tire went completely flat. I had about 1/2 mile to Karen's so I just took off walking as fast as I could (I even ran for a short bit--it felt very much like cyclocross!) I got to Karen's and loaded Hal onto her rack. I would wait until we got to the Skep to change it. Once there, I had the tire changed in a jiffy. Brian was nice to hold Hal for me.

It was another great group of riders, but the best part was the 6 of us gals who showed up! Jean was our only regular gravel gal who was missing. We even got Sarah, Chris, and Cindy to join Karen, Jen, and I! I've been trying to get Chris and Sarah to come, so I was thrilled when they said they would. It was also another Norco Threshold party. There were at least 9 of us riding various colors of Thresholds (5 of the 6 of us gals were on our Thresholds).

This ride started with some miles on the pavement. We went up to Steamboat Island via Madrona Beach Rd. Hopped over to Oyster Bay Rd, then got on 101 to Old Olympic Hwy where we picked up the gravel. While going around the gate, one of the guys snagged his shoulder on this sign that sticks out, and went tumbling off his bike down a short embankment. He was okay, but remarked that he would probably feel that tomorrow. Ouch!

After we were rolling again, we had to be careful of the horses. Fortunately, at the first turn, the horseback riders went left while we continued straight. At the junction of 2700 and 2705 (now I know where 2705 comes out!), those wanting steeper climbing and more elevation gain took 2705. Basically, that was the guys, with the exception of Steve. He still has cross gearing on his bike, so a steeper climb was not a good idea. So, Jen led us gals and Steve, continuing on 2700. Although we didn't do as much climbing as the others, we still had to climb. Before too long, we passed by 2710 (where Karen, Jan and I had gone last Saturday). I pointed it out to Karen. 

We rode the rest of the way back to the gate at South Shore Rd. The guys weren't there. We figured they must be ahead of us (even though we had planned to meet them there), so we continued on the pavement. At the Rock Candy Trailhead, Jen texted Tim. She thought it would be a good idea for her to wait there in case the guys were behind us. The rest of us began the climb up B-8000. This was a first for me. I've only come down B-8000. Although it's longer than B-8400, it's not as steep. Since the temps have gone up some, the road was muddier. It wasn't too bad though. At one point we could hear a vehicle coming down. Turns out, it was an 18-wheeler pulling a flat bed trailer. We all "yielded the right of way", pulling over to let him pass. 

The rest of the climb was uneventful. Without the easier gears, Steve had to walk a bit, but he wasn't that much slower walking than those of us who were riding! We continued on to the descent. Steve's water bottle went flying off his bike, but Karen retrieved it and got it back to him. When we got to the top, near where B-8400 picks up, we stopped to enjoy the view. It was the farthest we've been able to see since the gravel rides started this season (sorry, I didn't take a photo)! All that was left, gravel-wise, was the descent down B-8400. Strangely, it was much more fun than going up! 

We did the hike-a-bike through the bushes out to Maple Valley Rd., then rode the last 4 or 5 miles back to Skep and Skein. We were a little worried because when we got back, T-shirt Bill's car was gone. If the guys were already back and gone, then Jen would be riding the whole way back by herself (not that she is not totally capable--she definitely is). About 30 seconds later, in came the guys (T-shirt Bill had cut it short, and ridden Hwy 8 back in, however he was still there, or maybe he went home, changed, and came back). So, they were behind us! Apparently, Henry had a flat.

A bunch of us had sandwiches and celebratory drinks at the Skep. Once again, it was a great gravel ride! All of us gals had a fabulous time! It was so much fun to have so many of us! Thanks to Tim and Jen for planning this great ride!

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