What a fine day for a ride! Beautiful sunshine to start the day and very alert volunteers were out in force for the once-in-a-lifetime RUSA 10th Anniversary brevet. There were nearly 50 riders ready to go and despite the previous week of hesitation on my part, I was really glad to be there. Test rides the week before took the Pereira out of the mix as an incessant creak from the front wheel was driving me crazy and I couldn't resolve it. Eddy O was the backup as there would be little need for fenders.
Eric asked me to lead out folks to the first turn but that lasted all of 10 seconds as I was swamped by the first half of the pack. With a number of friends back from bike tours and 1200s, I was out-gunned from the start. A couple of us, Al, Trudy and Lyn formed a little chase group and motored our way to the Bad Carb Control. It was a quick in and out, but I somehow got a few cookies and was conscripted into poem writing for the newsletter by the irascible Maggie...Peter Leikio and I got some time to chat before heading onto the shaded roads to Banner Forest. He flatted and that was the end of our conversation unfortunately; little did I know then I would be experiencing the same many times later on. Met up with James McKee and swapped tales of parenting...he's got a way more ambitious plan than I!
Rode too with Cindi who I met at PBP 2003 - nice to reminisce about an evening of pure adrenaline as we raced across France in the dark with a couple of BC women (which also did in my Achilles for the remainder of the ride). After the info control our group formed up again and we cruised into Belfair and the Good Carb Control at Twanoh State Park. I consumed a few potatoes, orange slices, an egg and V8 for extra go power. Started out a little slower this time and had to keep reminding myself that there was still 120 km to go and the day was getting hot already.
There was constant banter about the relative flatness of the ride. I must have been hallucinating because it sure seemed like a fair amount of climbing to me! I did enjoy going down Newberry Hill Rd and the generally rolling terrain though. Crossing north of Poulsbo I stopped to see the caveman at Valley Nursery who did not complain while I soaked my head under the water can. The mist was cold and very refreshing - it also amused the people in their cars who gave me a thumbs up. Hopping onto Bond Rd. and then Big Valley brought on more heat and a good headwind, plus the start of flats. None were blowouts, just a constant stream of leaks that kept me on the side of the road more often then I like. Made it to the Liquid Carb Control at Hood Canal Brewery and enjoyed some delicious brats and spuds with a handful of chips. What a perfect location! A regular outdoor BBQ with a shady spot to sit for tire changing too.
Even making it to the Liquid Carb Control was no respite as my tire went flat soon after leaving the control. This time I was out of tubes and then an angel on a Colnago landed nearby and graciously gave me a new tube - thank you Dan Turner!! That made all the difference and heading back into Bremerton on Central Valley Rd. and Tracyton Beach Rd was a joy. I didn't even know Bremerton had a bridge until I rode over Manette Bridge. What a spectacular end to the ride and I was good and tired.
Big thanks to all the volunteers: Peter Beeson, Catherine Monro, Eric Vigoren & Maggie Williams for organizing and providing such cheery support! I will try to write a poem...really....