Back on the bike.
It was time to get back in the saddle. After the 600K, riding around lake Superior, and the Cascade 1200, I needed a bit of a break from the bike. More specifically, my butt needed some recovery time. Ten days off the bike, other than a quick 15 mile ride around MI, was enough time. Being a bit of a glutton for punishment and wanting to get in a 200K ride to keep the R-12 string going, I decided to skip the 100K Populaire and get some more miiles/climbing in. Since I hadn't riden the Crystal Mtn Climb before, it seemed like a reasonable choice.
Since it was going to be warm, an early start was in order ... I got to the Kent QFC and hit the road by 6:30 AM. The initial part of the ride was quite pleasant - still cool, so I put leg warmers and my jacket on ... yes, I'm a wimp. The ride on Lake Sawyer Road was new to me and quite pleasant, as was the ride through Black Diamond ... the smells from the bakery were verrry tempting, but I resisted. The Green River Gorge was quiet ... no traffic at all other than one cyclist who passed me by. I reached the Cumberland Grocery - the first control of the day - and had a V-8. The cashier was friendly and we chatted about the weather and their broken a/c. It was time to take the jacket and leg warmers off ... and put sun screen on. Then the road beckoned and I was off.
I hadn't brought a lot of food for today's ride ... not quite sure why, but I ate my last banana and second to last breakfast bar before riding past Greenwater. Blue sky, green trees & mountains .l.. gorgeous riding. Lots of motercycles and cars on the road today. Then finished my last breakfast bar before the turnoff to Crystal. The ride up was faster than I expected - not because I was fast ... I wasn't, but because it really isn't that much of a climb. Six miles to the lodge. The first 3 miles or so were a 6 % grade that I plodded along at 6 mph, then much less of a grade for most of the rest.
I was at the top before noon (not much before) and found an open restaurant. The food was pretty good - I had a Philly sandwich, but the rest of the patrons were somewhat annoying. I don't like stereotyping, but they were motorcyclists and were drinking (Bloody Marys, ice tea & vodka, etc.) and swearing up a storm. I was glad to get out of there.
The ride down and then back to Greenwater was slower than I expected. Part of it was my not being able to find a comfortable way to sit on the bike (new bike seat and my butt probably hadn't fully recovered from prior rides), but part was a bit of a headwind. While the wind on the way up wasn't much of a factor, it tended to be a headwind then too ... why did it shift? Oh well.
After a short stop at Greenwater for a V-8 and some Gatorrade, I was back on the bike. Soon a rider caught up with me and we chatted most of the rest of the way until I turned off at Mud Mountain Rd. Thinking of the experience of Bob B and crew a few weeks back on the roda I was a bit apprehensive, but the ride down was uneventful. I soon was in Burnett for the final control of the day. After that it was a short 21 miles to the end, reaching there by 5:15 PM ... again uneventful and quite pleasant aside from the brief stint on 410 (traffic) and then the ride up to get out of the Green River Gorge (quite a hill).
Since there is a Dairy Queen a short ways from the end, I headed over and ghad a Cherry Blizard with Chocolate Chunks. Yumm!
Note to self - change the route to/from the start ... the current route is way more convuluted than it needs to be. It should go straight to/fom Wax Rd from QFC.