Once again, Bill and Melody called the route. We were going to ride to Littlerock, up to Mima Rd, then to Bordeaux, and over to Oakville. Initially, they wanted to continue south to Garrard Creek, then back in on Independence Valley. However, most of the group felt that was a little too long, so a shorter route (for those who wanted it) was proposed. Basically, it just cut out the Garrard Creek and Independence Valley parts. Maria and I thought the shorter route would be just fine.
I was happy with the route because I have been wanting to go over Bordeaux to Oakville for a long time. Awhile ago, I rode Stella up Bordeaux thinking I would end up in Oakville. Instead, I ended up at the Cedar Creek Correctional Facility. Bordeaux dead-ended there. Turns out there is this road off Bordeaux called the D-Line. The D-Line comes out just west of Oakville.
So, we're riding along at a blistering pace (27-30mph--I'm barely hanging on) on Mima-Gate Rd. We get to Bordeaux, but we don't turn. What? I heard Mark say, "What happened to Bordeaux?". All I heard was something about the wind...that's the thing about bike rides--they are very "fluid" and can change at any time. I didn't really have time to be disappointed--I was working too hard to stay on the wheel in front of me!
Just when I couldn't stay with them any longer, one of the guys passed me and said Maria had dropped off the back. Ahhh...perfect! Now I can slow down and wait for Maria (she was without her flat repair kit, so I didn't want to leaver her behind). She caught up and the two of us continued at a much more doable pace. When we saw that the group did not turn onto School Land Rd, I figured what they were doing was riding the opposite direction of the route. Yippee, we would still get to do the D-Line!
At US 12, we caught up to the group (they had to wait for a bunch of traffic--good for us!). They took it easy for a short while which allowed Maria and I to rest. Once they picked up again, we were able to stay with them. We came into Oakville parallel to US 12 and then out onto US 12. Shortly after leaving Oakville, we turned onto Elma-Gate Rd. I've been by this road, but never taken it. Although it was pretty rough chip seal, it was still far better than being on US 12. For one thing, 12 goes up a hill that Elma-Gate does not. Also, the shoulder on that section of 12 is not the greatest. I'll be doing E-G from now on (okay, well, when I happen to be out for a long ride in that direction--not an everyday occurrence by any means).
We took a right onto Shelton Rd. (funny, since it is nowhere near Shelton). That took us back to 12 (but past the nasty part). We had to backtrack a short distance on 12 to get to the D-Line into Capitol Forest. I think all of us except Maria made the left before the traffic. That was okay for me because I knew the group would out pace me on the hill into Capitol Forest. Maria would eventually catch up as she is much better at hill climbing than me.
I made it up the first climb, and down the hill. As I was riding along the creek (Cedar Creek?), I was thoroughly enjoying myself. It reminded me of one of my other favorite roads, Old Cascade Hwy just west of Steven's Pass. I was actually glad to have been dropped by the group. I could enjoy my surroundings instead of just trying to stay on the wheel in front of me. Maria did catch up with me and we enjoyed the road together.
There were about three more long steepish climbs before the top. On the third one, one of the guys came back for us. He was worried we might have hit one of the potholes. He said they are hard to see in the shade. I told him at the speed we were going we could see them just fine! But, it was very nice of him to be concerned.
Everyone was waiting at the top. They indulged Maria and I a quick break where I was able to snarf down a mini Luna bar before starting the descent to Bordeaux Rd. Once we hit the flats of Bordeaux, I was once again dropped off the back (sometimes the guys are like "barn-sour" horses--in a hurry to get back to the stable). This time Maria was able to stay with them. I saw them make the turn back onto Mima Rd, but I couldn't catch them. No problem--I knew which way they were going.
After awhile, I could see Maria had slowed to wait for me. I caught up to her, and we both remarked how we were officially tired of doing hills. Still, we had a few more to go but, fortunately, some good downhills too.
Maria was out of water, and I was pretty close. We opted to stop at a little mini-mart on Black Lake Blvd. We split a bottle of water which allowed us to make it back a tiny bit hydrated. We very much enjoyed the new pavement on Sapp Hill!
So, finally, I have done the D-Line! I should have stopped and taken a photo. You'll just have to take my word that it is a beautiful ride. Oh, and on the D-Line, I think I saw just one car! Also, since it is in Capitol Forest, there are several camping spots. It might make a good Sub 24 bike tour...