29 May 2010

Flat and Fairly Fast 400 km

Finally getting around to writing a bit about the 400 km on May 15th! It was one of those really fabulous spring days, warmish with a hazy sun above and lots of very anxious randonneurs at the ferry terminal in Bremerton. We got a bit of a late start and everyone rolled off quickly. Poor Peter Liekkio had a flat right after exiting Hwy 3 and Wayne shot past the exit completely and had to climb over the barrier to get back.

I quickly settled into a great conversation with Mike Huber and we rolled through the first few km on our way to Shelton. He eased back and I took my usual solo jaunt. Near McCleary I got pulled into a paceline with a few folks who were attempting a rather stringent paceline routine...it was pretty functional, but these sorts of things are never quite smooth enough and required too much attention from me. When we hit the Cosmopolis control I made a quick exit and promptly overshot the first turn - I've done the route before and knew where it was, but the brain just sputtered.

Heading to the coast we took some of my favorite roads paralleling Hwy 12 and eventually made it to the Westhaven State Park control where I had a big sandwich and had to battle cars and chemically altered surfers both in and out. The next leg to Raymond is really sweet and takes me along the coast which was pleasantly calm with only some headwinds. It felt really good to be riding!

In Raymond I somehow mis-read the cue where it said "US 101 and Heath St" and proceeded to take a left and up the climb to the top of the big hill - it was then I saw Mike Richeson and a few others who I knew were ahead of me and I had to go all the way back down and get my card signed in the right place. Back up the hill for a second time I barked at myself for being too scatter-brained, but then laughed it off as another lesson.

The tailwind from Raymond and on SR 107 to Potlach was fabulous and I gained back some of the time lost. Bill Dussler and a few others caught up with me and we hung together till just before Potlach when my quads just about burst. I've never had cramps quite that bad but the sustained 46-32 km pace for a few hours had burned them up. Wasn't sure how the last 60 km would be, so I foolishly let the gang head out before me as I finished a cup-o-soup, Coke and a couple ibuprofen. Surprisingly, when I got back on the bike I felt great and enjoyed a really splendid night ride back to Bremerton along the Hood Canal's great hook.

Cruised in at 18:03, only a few minutes past my goal, but still the fastest 400 km I'd done in 10 years. After chatting with Peter Beeson, Maggie and Eric and consuming a few slices of pizza I headed home and finally flopped into bed at 4AM. What a lovely day!

04 May 2010

NW Crank!

Always one of my favorite times of the year, NW Crank in Wenatchee brings together a fabulously fun group of riders for all over to revel in the excellent riding in Eastern WA in the month of April. Last year I only did support as I was recovering from surgery, so this year I could ride! I got a room at Inn at the River too as the bus was in the shop and I needed to do some work while there, so lots of comfort this time around.

First day was the classic Colockum, Malaga, Stemilt Hill with the added bonus of Mission Ridge. Very cool ride which provides over 8000 ft of climbing in about 75 miles and the views are stupendous! Amy and Nicole provided a nice break in the woods and everyone was looking very happy with their day.

Thankfully, Bob Brudvik kept me company and the way up and there waited the whole gang anticipating the descent, which is one of the best downhills around. I was the last one up, and had to beat tail to be the first down...I love my orange Eddy!

Now that's a happy group of riders!

On Saturday I embarked on another one of my fav rides - the Rock Island Grade ascent with 20 miles of gravel road, a bit of wind and some really expansive views. We made it through numerous snow squalls on our way to the Badger Mtn. support, which I needed as I was famished. Most of the crew took off early and I needed to finish the massive sandwich that Nicole so graciously made for me. Delicious...

At the top of Rock Island Grade ready to cruise through the gravel toward Waterville.

By Sunday my arm was spasming so I took the day off and strolled along the river for a few hours, had lunch and a beer at McGlinn's Pub and came home for a nap. Drove out to the end of the 200 km to help Wayne out and haul some happy riders (Jennifer, Eric, Maggie and Bill) home before dinner and the white elephant exchange at Garlini's (what fun!). A very pleasant day all in all!

Monday I met up with the always cheerful Jennifer Chang in Leavenworth and we tooled up Chumstick Canyon to Plain where we enjoyed a break and chat with Maggie and Eric. Cruised back to our cars and then went to Red Bird Good Mood Food and ate and talked for a couple hours. A perfect end to the weekend.

A big thanks to Mike McHale for organizing this event again and all who helped make it happen. I will be back again for year 6 next spring with the orange VW bus! (And thank you Jennifer for the parrot - Peri loved it!)