Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Most Excellent Ride

Peter McKay, Vincent Muoneke, Mike Richeson, Rick Blacker, Ward Beebe, Charlie White, and I rode #342 Bainbridge - Port Townsend - Bainbridge. It was a most excellent ride.

The weather was pretty good - there was blue sky and some sun most of the day ... given this is the Seattle area in February that is pretty darn good.

The scenery and roads were outstanding. Sure, we crossed the Hood Canal bridge, twice ... which is a pain in the best of times. Today was no esxception ... broken glass on the narrow (2-3 foot) strip that bikes need to ride on at the grated section it a bit entertaining ... and then a driver blared on his horn for half a mile or so as he approached us when we were coming up to the bulge and the section where bikes need to swing out to cut across the seam without getting the tires eaten by the bridge. Other than that this ride was a real pleasure.

We pretty much all rode together the first half of the ride ... albeit with some gaps at times. While it was a bit chilly there was no ice, and with all the hills we weren't cold. Marrowstone Island on the way to/from Fort Flagler was particularly scenic, with little car traffic. We heard and saw a couple of eagles at Fort Flagler. Mike had a flat as we left the first control, but with a little help we were back riding in a flash.

At Port Townsend we broke up ... Charlie, Vincent, Ward, and I ate at the Courtyard Cafe; Peter went to Subway, and Rick/Mike went to Safeway. We tried enlisting a new recruit ... he was enthralled with the route sheet, but wasn't quite ready to ride ... maybe in a few years :) Those wide tires would have come in handy last week though!

We caught up with Rick & Mike at the next control - Fort Worden - but Peter was way out in front. The stretch after Port Townsend has lots of information controls, which on our full stomachs was a good thing. Climbing too, but a couple of great descents ... I hit 42 mph on one of them.

We saw a flash of Peter as we struggled up the 18% grade to Lake Gibbs ... he yelled "enjoy!" as he zipped down the other way. Soon it was our turn to do the same, as we passed Mike/Rick on our way out of this little out & back.

At this point we were almost in the home stretch ... certainly the toughest parts were behind us. After a brief respite at the Marina Mart in Poulsbo - a somewhat eclectic 7-11 type store with a scandinavian flair ... pickled herring anyone? After a potty break at the park on the way out of town we headed off to the ferry. about 11 miles to go. The next ferry leaves in forty-two minutes ... the next one is an hour after that. Yes, we've already ridden 120 miles with 7,000 feet of climbing. Can we make it? We push it, averaging almost 18 mph in spite of another 700 feet of climbing and a few red lights. We didn't load at the front of the boat, but we made it!

What a great way to finish the ride. A well deserved cold one on the ferry topped it off. Peter was also on the ferry, having arrived about 20 minutes before we did.

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