Saturday, July 12, 2008

RUSA 241 Crystal Mtn Climb

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.

1 comment:

Shan said...

Hi Geoff,
You have a nice blog. A quick question. Does the route sheet on the SIR site for this permanent now incorporate the changes you mention (ie. QFC and Wax Road)?