Thursday, September 25, 2008

Catching up on this summer's rides

So, the last post was the STP. I've done a few rides since then--okay, six to be exact. Let's start with the Seattle Century on July 27th. A notable ride in that I did the whole 100 miles with the flu. I'm not talking about the respiratory infection type. It was the stomachache version...and it wasn't pleasant. With the help of ranitadine (Zantac) every 4 hours, I was able to get through it without tossing my cookies (or in this case, my bananas and pretzels as that was the only thing I could eat) until I was on the way home in the car (another sordid part of the story that I won't go into). I was doing okay until the last 13 miles along Lake Washington Blvd. The road was very bumpy which just isn't good with a stomachache. Only good thing was that I lost 10 lbs. I guess if you ride 100 miles burning about 5000 calories and you only eat about 500 or 600 calories and there is that whole vomiting and runs part, you're bound to drop some pounds.

Of course, it didn't all stay off, but some did...for awhile anyway...okay, about a week because next up was the Courage Classic. It is 3 mountain passes in 3 days and some of the best food you could ever want on a ride! This year I raised over $1200 so I get the jersey!! It was a great ride even though the first day, from Snoqualmie to Cle Elum, was rather chilly. Actually, it was so dang cold that the only thing that kept me on my bike was that my feet were attached to the pedals! It was a bone-chilling 42 degrees at Snoqualmie Summit. Now, that may not seem all that cold, but when all you have on is spandex, bike sandals and a light, not so waterproof, jacket, then it is pretty darn cold! It did warm up on the way down the pass and the rest of the ride was plenty warm enough. The cookies at Mineral Springs were the best as usual! Riding Stella was fabulous. Managed to make it up all the passes without ever using my smallest chain ring on the front--even up Steven's!

Another week later, found Leandra, Amy and I heading to Crater Lake to ride the Crater Lake Century. Hands down, the MOST BEAUTIFUL RIDE EVER!!!! It was a rather long drive down there, but worth it. We stayed in Klamath Falls the night before then drove out to the start at Fort Klamath Museum. The first section was not thrilling as the miles were pretty much gratuitis miles (added merely to make the ride a 100 miles). The only event of note in that section was when Stella got knocked over by the rider that came careening off the road at the first rest stop. Of course I made a show of making sure the rider was okay, but I was more worried about Stella. Her chain got knocked off as did her pump and water bottle. She sustained a little damage to her handlebar tape as well. Frankly, I was just glad I wasn't on her when it happened (I was waiting in the ever-present potty shack line). Had that been the case, it would most certainly been the end of my ride for the day! As it was, Stella was okay and we continued on. The ride up to the rim was good even with the long climbs. I left Amy and Leandra behind at the second stop. I met a gal named Becky and we pretty much rode the rest of the way together. The weather was hot--95 degrees at the rim (unusually warm) and the butterflies were everywhere. Several sacrficed their lives in the spokes of my wheels. One learned quickly to keep the mouth shut when descending or add a little butterfly protein to the day's food intake!

After the ride there was a nice BBQ and then we headed home. Again, a very long drive. I was just thankful I didn't have to do the driving (thanks Matt!).

The weekend after Crater Lake I did the Rapsody (Ride Around Puget Sound in one day). Most of us did the ride in 2 days with the overnight at Shelton H.S. The first day was really beautiful with a nice long section along the water. I could even see the skyline of Seattle in the hazy distance. I got to Shelton pretty early. I guess that means I could have either done the whole thing in one day (170 miles) or I could have slept longer in the morning! I'm thinking sleeping longer would have been the better option. The second day was on roads I had been on before so it was a bit boring. I even stopped at home since the route came 1/4 mile from my house! I used my own potty shack then returned to the ride with 30 miles to go. I caught up with a guy named William who I had seen various times and passed him. He stuck close behind me, drafting for awhile, then pulled in front so I could draft off him. He then got behind another gal and we drafted off her all the way to the freeway. William went ahead of her, but she didn't stay behind him so I pulled around her and caught back up to him. We got off the freeway and got behind a kid and his dad. The kid was riding pretty fast, but we were able to keep up. When we turned off of Dupont-Steilacoom Rd., William got behind the kid, I got behind William and the dad got behind me. We cruised along N. Gate Rd. going 25-26 mph. At the stop sign, the kid looked back and realized we had lost his dad. William and I continued to the next light where we were stopped.I told William that was CRAZY FAST riding! He said he was never so glad to get to a stop sign! We continued on into Tacoma with one last really big climb (which William stood up to pedal the whole way up!!!). William and I talked about touring and I told him about touring with my oldest son. He asked how old my son is and when I told him he was 20, he said, "Were you 13 when you had him?" Really, I think he just didn't want to admit that someone my age could keep up with him! But, I accepted the compliment anyway. We managed to finish the ride moments before it started to rain (I told William it wasn't going to rain on us!). Strangely, the kid and his dad were already there when we got to the finish. Me thinks they took a short-cut.

On Labor Day weekend, I decided to take the opportunity to get in one last "mini-tour". I loaded up the panniers and headed out alone to Lake Sylvia State Park in Montesano for the first night. My goal was to stay off of Hwy 8 as much as possible. I rode up Old Hwy 410 (after the obligatory stop at Blue Heron Bakery to stock up on some goodies--see, that's why I don't lose weight on these rides). Then rode for abit on Hwy. 8 to the Summit Lake exit. Got off and rode by Summit Lake and the Boy Scout camp then returned to 8. After a number of miles along the Hwy, I was able to get off at Mox-Chehalis Rd. and ride into McCleary. From McCleary, I was able to stay off the Hwy all the way to Montesano. The campground was full, of course, for the holiday weekend but, the Hiker/Biker sites were empty. I went to my site, set up my tent and went to take a shower. When I returned, there was another guy on the other site. His name was Kelvin and he was riding from Vancouver, BC to Ashland, OR. We chatted for abit, then he went back down to Montesano to buy some dinner fixins. After he returned and had showered, another couple came in on bikes. Kelvin asked if I had room on my site (it was rather large--Kelvin's was small) for this French couple. I said sure, and they set up their tent on the other side of the site. They were Sebastian and Sarah and they were riding from Anchorage to Argentina! They had started in Anchorage on June 9th. There plan was to take 20 months to do the ride. I asked how 2 people their age could get away for almost 2 years. Sarah had just finished university and Sebastian's employer said they would hold his job for him. France seems like a great place! Later on, as we were sitting at the picnic table (Kelvin too) and talking about various route options a young Korean kid comes up and asks if we have room. We asked how big his tent was. Turned out we had plenty of room. Sammy was a student at UW and he was biking from Seattle to San Francisco before he started school. He was riding a mountain bike he had got off Craig's List for $75. Kelvin remarked how the chain needed alittle lube. So, here I was in this small state park with a Canadian, 2 French kids and a Korean kid. They were all getting to go much farther than me. I was envious!

The next morning I packed up my stuff, said goodbye to my new biking friends and headed toward Rainbow Falls State Park via Raymond and Hwy 6. I would have waited for Kelvin as he was headed to Raymond also, but I had more miles to go that day then he did, and he was awhile from being ready. The ride to Raymond was mostly through clear-cut forest areas. I got rained on briefly, but not enough to put my rain gear on. When I got to Hwy 6 in Raymond, I notice there was a bike trail along the Hwy. I got on it thinking, "Wow, this is great!". About 2 miles down the trail it turned to gravel. At the next opportunity, I got off and got on Hwy. 6. I stopped at a little gas station/mini-mart because I needed to pee. On the door was a sign that said, "No Public Restroom". As I was abit desperate, I said to the gal, "I know you don't have a public restroom, but can you tell me how far to the next one?" She said about 25 miles. I winced and said, "Oh, that's not good!" She graciously let me use her bathroom! I bought an ice cream bar. I got back on the road and continued riding toward Rainbow Falls. As I was getting closer, I saw a sign that said "Rainbow Falls State Park" with an arrow pointing left. I didn't think that was the way I was supposed to go, but the sign said so, so I turned. I kept following the signs and following the signs and following the signs with still no sign of the park. I did, however, see a donkey by the side of the road. He wasn't behind a fence or tethered or anything. In my best Mike Meyers as Shrek voice, I said, "Donkey! Where's the park?" He didn't respond (not even in an Eddie Murphy voice). He just ran down the driveway. Well, about a mile later I finally got to the park. It had been a 65 mile day and I was tired. I got my site and set everything up. As I got out of the shower, I heard a noise. It was pouring down rain! I ran back to my campsite because, although my panniers are waterproof, that only works when they are closed...which they weren't. I closed them up, threw the one that had my rain gear in the tent, got in the tent myself and zipped the rainfly closed. It rained for awhile. I put my rain gear on and went out to retrieve the other panniers and put them under the rain fly vestibules. I thought about trying to cook my dinner under the rain fly, but abandoned that idea when I realized there really wasn't enough clearance to not burn down my tent! Anyway, it stopped raining. I went to light my stove for my dinner and the matches were damp so they wouldn't light (lesson learned--don't bring matchbooks). The camp host gave me a small box of wooden matches so I was able to heat up my dinner. After dinner I cleaned up and retired to my tent to read and listen to music. There wasn't anyone else in the Hiker/Biker sites, so no one to talk to.

In the morning I packed up my wet tent and headed for home. Riding by the South Chehalis river, I noticed all the houses were new. They had all been destroyed in the floods last winter as was the park. That was the reason for the long detour to the back entrance of the park. The bridge to the front entrance had been washed away and not rebuilt yet. I saw a house under construction that had a sign out front that said, "Coming Home Soon". I also saw many "For Sale" signs...

I stopped at a market in Centralia and picked up some lunch (where is a Subway when you want one???). I took it around the corner to Schaffer County Park. After I was done eating and was packing stuff up, a young couple came up and asked if I was travelling far. I told them I was on my way home and where I had gone. After awhile, they introduced themselves as Greg and Susie. Then Greg said they were from Calvery Christian Church and would I like to come over and talk to them about God? I politely declined saying I needed to get home and get my wet tent dried out before nightfall. I found it interesting that they were out trolling for converts at a county park on a holiday! I guess you never know!

I made it home without any other incidents. My next ride was this last weekend. It was the Tour des Lacs from Spokane to Couer d' Alene, ID. Julie, Theresa and I drove to Spokane on Friday and stayed with Annette. We started the ride in the morning from the Red Lion Inn. I did the longer route. It was supposed to be 110 miles. Then the route guide said 108 miles. It turned out to be 102 miles. It was a very nice ride. I headed south out of Spokane (up the South Hill) toward Pullman. For a long time I was closer to Pullman than the end of the ride! I came into Idaho at Plummer where I had lunch at the reststop. Then it was onto the Trail of the Couer d' Alenes and the best part of the ride! It started out with a 2 mile 3% downgrade! Then I got to go over Lake Couer d' Alene on a bridge that was the part of the trail. I spent about 15 miles on the trail before the route departed from it. As I got to I-90 (and went on I-90 for a short bit) I picked up the Centennial Trail. This was the trail that Julie, Theresa and Annette had ridden on (not the same section, but the Centennial Trail goes all the way to Spokane). I finished with 7 and a half hours of ride time at 2:51PM. I rode to the hotel where we were staying and met up with the rest of the gals.

The next morning we woke to rain. Fortunately, I had packed my rainpants and my helmet cover! It rained the entire 40 miles back to Spokane on the Centennial Trail. I spent time riding with each of the gals. Toward the end I got ahead with the idea of taking their pictures as they finished. Because of the rain, I hadn't been able to take any pictures that day. Anyway, I followed the signs to the finish and waited for them to come in. I waited and waited. Finally, I started seeing people I hadn't seen at all that day. I gave up and went around to the front of the hotel. There was Julie's bike parked at the front door. I noticed her suitcase was gone so I went inside to look for her. Couldn't find her anywhere so I finally went into the restroom and started changing out of my wet clothes. Julie came into the restroom as I was changing. She had been in room 104; a room they had opened up for people to change in. Annette and Theresa had just come in and were there changing too. So, I didn't get my finish line pictures of them. They had come in the way they had left the day before which was different than what the signs said! I did get pics of everyone with their baked potatoes!

So, that's it for the rest of the summer. I did lots of great rides and enjoyed all of them! I'm looking forward to doing more touring next summer. Julie and I are hoping to do a two-week ride down the Pacific Coast to celebrate her turning 50. I would also like to do the 3 National Parks route loop that I got from Adventure Cycling. So many little time! Oh yeah, and I want to go to France too!!!

Here's some pictures:

Courage Classic
Crater Lake--The most beautiful ride!

Friday, July 25, 2008

STP 2008--Piece of Cake (and other assorted good food)

This year's STP (Seattle to Portland) bike ride was a piece of cake. Riding everyday has definately made a difference in my level of fitness. New this year was NOT having to get up at 3:00AM to get to Seattle (thanks to Leandra's mom for taking us up the night before and thanks to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for letting us sleep at their house). Also, camping in Chehalis and riding for Team Parkinsons. The food from Team Parkinsons was delicious and filling! No lines to wait in (for food anyway--potty shacks? a different story). Took to heart the addage of "Eat before you are hungry--Drink before you are thirsty". Wasn't exactly ever hungry (even gained 5 lbs!!!). Stella (my Cannondale t2) was fabulous. She sure climbs the hills easily! That hill in Puyallup? No sweat (and it was a hot day!). People were nice this year. Didn't see any crashes (did have to detour due to an earlier crash).

Next year I'll be riding the STP in one day!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Final day of Super Biker Woman's Epic 4-day Bike Tour with Eldest Son

June 28th, 2008: Day 4 of our Epic Bike Tour again begins with a flat on Kyle's bike. I fixed the flat and we were on our way by 9:45 (we'll work on Kyle fixing his own flats another time). It takes longer to pack everything up when you have to take down the tent and you have to fix your own breakfast (Terry fixed breakfast for us yesterday).

We rode back to Hwy 3 and headed toward Shelton. There was only one small town between Belfair and Shelton called Allyn. Not much there. The only gas station didn't even have a public restroom. Fortunately, didn't need it quite yet. We made it to Shelton and decided to eat at a restaurant. We were looking for a Subway, but there wasn't one in Old Town Shelton so we ate at Dairy Queen. Afterward, we were both REALLY FULL. We rode slowly out of Shelton to give our food time to settle.

We got onto 101 and headed for home. We did take Kamilche Rd. off 101 and Old Olympic Hwy. just for a respite from the sun and traffic on 101. We got off at Steamboat Island Rd. and headed back down Madrona Beach Rd. One more hill of note to climb up Mud Bay Rd. We decided to go through town and come home on the Woodland Trail and Chehalis Western. It was nice to finish our tour on that which we are so familiar (plus is was very shady and cool on the trail).

Total mileage for final day: 58.38

Total ride time: 4:58

Total time for day: 6:45

Average speed: 11.6 mph

Total miles for 4 days: 218.06

Day 3 of Epic Bike Tour

June 27, 2008: Day 3 of our 4-day Epic Bike Tour starts with a flat tire on Kyle's bike. Must have been a slow leak because it wasn't flat yesterday when we parked our bikes. Our plan was to leave around 8:00 since it was Friday and we wanted to be sure to get a camp spot at Belfair State Park. With the flat repair, we got on the road at 8:30. Not too bad. Terry suggested we take Oak Bay Rd. to Hwy 104. It would put us right at the Hood Canal Bridge. Also, Oak Bay Rd. followed the water and was much more scenic. Still doing the rolling hills, but Kyle was getting better. We got to the bridge just as a sailboat was going through. That was great because we cruised past all the traffic and got to the front just as the bridge was opening to traffic again. Here is a picture of Kyle behind me going across the bridge.

Okay, not the best picture, but, hey, I was trying to ride at the same time! Kyle did not like the bridge so much (a fear of heights...and bridges?).

We continued south on Hwy 3. It definately started to warm up once we got away from the water. Kyle finally took his long pants off. We pulled off at Silverdale to find a place to eat our lunch. We found the Silverdale Marina and Park. Quite a lovely place for a rest and food. We had blueberry bagels (yes, bagels again...they travel well) with White Chocolate Peanutbutter (like I said, not losing weight on this trip). We filled up the water bottles and rode back to Hwy. 3 (about 1 1/2 miles). Riding through Bremerton was not too fun, but riding through Gorst was worse. At one point, we got off the highway because there was absolutely NO SHOULDER! We were able to get back on about a tenth of a mile later. Then we exited to continue on Hwy 3. We had a long climb out of Gorst. I entertained Kyle with a story of my last dreadful trip through Gorst (let's just say it was one of the worst days of my life).
We stopped in Belfair at Safeway and got some food to supplement our dinner (we bought food in Port Hadlock the night before--Parmesan cous cous and canned chicken breast). I got a bagette, some carrots and some fruit. Oh yeah, and some cocoa cranberry granola. It was only 3 miles to the park from there.
We pulled into Belfair State Park about 3:30. We got a hiker/biker site for $14.00 and we each got 2 3-min. shower tokens. The park was nice. Our site backed up to the creek. By the end of the night, most of the sites were filled, but not the hiker/biker sites. We walked down to the beach. Kyle thought the beach was pretty solid until he started walking out and squished into the mud. I declined the walk through the mud and instead waited on the grass. After the beach, we cooked our dinner then played a little DS.
Total mileage for day 3: 59.88 miles
Total ride time: 4:53
Total time for day: 7 hours
Average speed: 12.1 mph

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Day 2 of Epic Bike Tour

June 26, 2008: Day 2 of our Epic 4-day Bike Tour began with overcast skies. We ate a breakfast of multi-grain cereal with granola and banana. Quite tasty and filling too! Packed up the panniers and took down the tent. My little notebook list of where everything went came in handy as I was packing up my stuff. I think Kyle just stuffed everything in his panniers without much regard for organization. Seemed to work for him. I was carrying more stuff though so I needed the even weight distribution. Headed out on the road toward Port Townsend at 9:30. Didn't worry about getting an early start since we weren't going that far.

It was very scenic riding along the water even with the cloudy skies.
We took a look at Seal Rock National Park. Nice quiet campground, but no showers.
Then we started climbing up to Walker Mt.. Kyle was wondering if the hill would ever end. At least we weren't cold anymore. The ride down the other side was fun. I had taken the sleeves off my jacket near the top. Needless to say, arms were a little chilled coming down. We turned off 101 at Quilcene per Terry's directions and headed up Center Rd. I say up as it was more climbing. All the little towns are on the water so we go down to the towns then climb back up and out. After the 104 junction, the road was very rough all the way to Chimicum. I would ride out in the lane until a car would come then move back over to the rough shoulder. We called Terry in Chimicum as we were about 6 miles from his house where we were staying for the night.
We arrived at Terry's at about 12:45. After showering and starting a load of skanky-clothes laundry, Terry took us on a grand tour of Port Townsend. He was very informative.
We stayed in the "guest cottage" (the trailer). The luxury accomodations were very nice. Good sleeps were had by both of us.
Total mileage for day: 32.8 miles
Total ride time: 2:51
Total time for day: about 3:45
Average speed: 11.9 mph

Super Biker Woman's 4-day Epic Bike Tour with eldest son--Day 1

June 25, 2008: Day 1 of our first ever 4-day Epic Bike Tour takes us from home to Dosewallips State Park. The only thing I forgot was the bananas I bought the day before. No problem. Just stopped at Safeway and bought some more. Then stopped at my favorite bakery for some goodies for the road. Chocolate chip macaroons and Rebel Mud Bars--YUM! Probably won't be losing weight on this trip!

Headed out on the highway (lookin' for adventure...) at Steamboat Island Rd. Sunny skies but still a little chilly. Cruised along Hwy 101 until Shelton where we got off for a short rest and potty stop. Back out on the Hwy. Road narrows to 2 lanes after Shelton (and less of a shoulder), but a little less traffic. Made a couple of other short stops then stopped for bagels with peanut butter and honey at Potlatch State Park. Nice little rest looking out on Hood Canal.

After Hoodsport the ups and downs really began. Seems to be about the same amount of uphills and downhills, but the downhills go by so much faster (no duh). Kyle begins to ask how many more hills there will be. Since I haven't been on this road for about 35 years, and when I was, it was in a car and I didn't pay much attention to hills (and gas was alot cheaper then), I told him I had no idea.

Stopped at Triton Cove State Park (not much to it) for a potty stop. I'm getting ready to go into the potty shack when a little girl goes in ahead of me. So I'm waiting outside as they are one seaters. I'm waiting and waiting and waiting. Then I decide I don't have to go that bad. As I walk back to the bike, another older girl walks to the potty shack, goes in and comes out. Hmmm... what happened to the other little girl? How did she get out without me seeing her since I was standing there? A mystery that remains unsolved. So, I went in (no secret exit doors).

After more ups, downs and rest stops, we pulled into Dosewallips State Park. I had camped at Dosewallips a few times as a kid. It looked nothing like I remembered. I was thinking I must have a really crappy memory of my childhood or this place is different. Kyle and I asked at the registration booth if the park had changed. Turns out they had revamped it several years ago. Whew! I don't have a crappy memory (well, about that anyway). We ate our dinner of stew and bagels and walked down to the beach.

We hit the sack after Kyle beat me in Scrabble (great little travel set I have).

Total mileage for Day 1: 67.0 miles
Total ride time: 5:25
Total time with breaks: about 7 hours