Monday, December 29, 2008

RUSA 0531 MI-Redmond-Orting-MI

Guilty as Charged.

I sinned. I rode without a mud flap in winter. Fortunately I did not have to pay for my sins. Chris, Don, and Pam did instead, as they received what the mud flap should have stopped. Chris saved me from further damnation at the first control by giving me his front mud flap to put on my rear fender for the duration of the ride. I have since replaced my missing mud flap, so I am safe from further transgressions (and my fellow riders are safe from me).

Although I had ridden a short Permanent on Saturday, this was my first full Permanent since the snows hit and mostly melted. Having just ridden part of the route, I had a pretty good sense of where the problem areas would be and had arranged detours (where available) for the problem areas that we'd hit in the morning and hoped that the rest of the problem areas would melt by the time we got to them in the afternoon. So after walking part of the East Channel bridge through several inches of slush, we took a several mile detour into Bellevue and the Lake Hills Connector to get over to Factoria ... then another detour just past Eastgate. I knew where I was going on the detour (it wasn't on the route sheet), but forgot to tell Chris until I was about to turn and he was zipping past the turnoff. Oops!

Since this was a pre-ride of sorts, Chris, Don, and Pam were my Guinea Pigs for several of the information control questions. They survived, but not all of the questions did. What had made sense to me didn't always work on the bike.

Don had some great suggestions for route improvements also, so after a brief verification with the route owner, we tested those out and have incorporated those into the current route.

Running low on fuel, we made an unscheduled stop at the Safeway in Kent. Since we had stopped, I stuffed my face with an Orange Chicken Rice Bowl. Why not?

Shortly afterwards, we were almost blinded by a strange bright orb in the sky ... the type rarely seen in Seattle this time of year. It even dried off the pavement, at least in spots. It may have been the distraction of that bright thing, but just before the Orting control we hit a patch of broken glass (Heineken beer bottle). Don hit a big piece ... with a big crunch as he rode over it ... but no damage. Luck was with us.

After a bit more sustenance at the Safeway in Orting, we headed north, with the wind at our tail. We managed to miss the glass this time, but all the grit must have taken its toll, as squeaks were soon heard from several of the bikes. A bit of lubrication and the chorus was quieted.
We hit the Interurban trail and it was clear of snow, at least initially. Patches of snow, slush really, soon appeared, but not bad as long as you were attentive. Then one patch of a deep puddle ...pond? of 4-6 inches deep. Wow. At the end of the Interurban, at the intersection with the River trail, we stopped and put on lights, as it was now dark. Our reward was a gusty rain shower. Then when we got to Fort Dent, the trail was covered with slush. As it was only an inch or so deep, it was rideable ... and fortunately didn't last for long. The next few miles were hit and miss ... clear, then patchy slush ... and then relatively deep slushy snow when we got to E Marginal Way South. It was time to walk the bike and/or take our last detour.

A little more slush to go through before the I-90 bike tunnel and then smooth sailing. A quick ride around the Island and we're done. Pam and Chris get their R-12 ride in! I'm done too. My phone had rung a couple miles from the end. When I return the call from the QFC I get an offer for a ride home. It's only about three miles, but I snap up the offer!

One more ride to go. Three days to get it in. Hood Canal 2.0 on the 31st is it!

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