Thursday, September 18, 2008

RUSA 320 Mountain Loop Highway

Thursday ... not normally a long riding day, but the weather was going to be nice and the calendar was clear, so why not. The ride started in Snoqualmie and I took the counter-clockwise route. In retrospect, I think the clockwise approach is better, as that has the advantage of having the unpaved portion as a climb rather than a descent. I suspect that would be faster, at least for me, as I took it slow on the descent to stay in control on the dirt portion.

Not going to say much about the ride other than it was very enjoyable ... very little traffic on the Mountain Loop Highway and lots of greenery, mountains, and river views.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mountain 600K: They're Miserable Dad!

My daughter Jessica and I helped Ryan out at the Naches overnight control on the Mountain 600K this weekend. In addition to it being a nice time together I had hoped that she would get to understand a bit of the Rando experience … my family tends to think I’m a bit nuts and thought this might help give me some slack. So after the Control closed and we were in the car, I was curious about her observations. When she said “They’re miserable, Dad!” I went into denial.

Well, yes, they’re exhausted, physically drained, and some are in pain … feet, butt, muscles – there was a run on Ibuprofen…and I suppose many appear mentally wiped … some are almost catatonic, dazed. And yes, we’ve had at least three riders taken to the hospital on long brevets this year, including one at this overnight. So perhaps they appear miserable, but they’re not really … I’m not when I ride … or am I? Are we miserable? Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it “because it feels so good when we stop (well, not right away)?.”

I don’t think so.

I ride these long brevets because of the challenge – both physical and mental – and the adventure. I ride because of the beauty I get to see. I ride because of the camaraderie – the shared experiences, such as the ditch nap or Post Office snooze. I ride because it makes me feel good – in spite of the pain. I ride because it’s fun – and being a bit miserable is probably part of that in a perverse way. So, yes, I suppose they are miserable, but loving it!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

100K Mountain Populaire

The word Mountain in the name is a clue about this ride. While it doesn't really go up into the Mountains (i.e. Cascades or Olympics), it explores the "Issaquah Alps" ... the local hills such as Cougar Mountain and Tiger Mountain. There is plenty of climbing even though the maximum elevation is only about 1,200 feet. I had never ridden on a few of these roads ... they've inspired me to create a new Permanent "The 10 K" with lots of climbing over these hills and a few others.

It was a very enjoyable, albeit tiring ride!

Thanks Kent!