Sunday, March 15, 2009

Honest, the crow took my card !

Having pre-ridden the Populaire a couple of weeks ago ... in fairly nice weather if I recall correctly (at least relatively), I helped out at the Populaire today. I also got in a bit of entertainment as I watched some of the riders slog their way up 90th in the snow ...

Go Andy go!

Are we having fun yet?

Oh My God ... there's more?

"You'd better not take that picture !"

Kole and Ryan get their cards signed by Robin at Lincoln Park.

Vincent pulls into Lincoln Park.

Peter and Wayne at Lincoln Park.

A few minutes earlier it was hailing ... now a bit of sun as several riders pull into the Seward Park control.

More riders at Seward Park ... wait, what does RUSA say about drafting baby carriages?

The wildlife at Seward Park was very interested in the goodies we had at the control. Besidea a host of squirrels, this crow reached into Chris Heg's bag and ran off with a plastic bag that had the route sheet and, yes, his Brevet Card. We chased him down and, after posing for the picture, the crow dropped the bag and Chris was able to finish the ride with his card!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Now That's Stupid !

Nine of us rode the 10th Annual Chili Feed 200K yesterday. It was cold and wet as we started. Not snowing where we were at the start, but it was where we were headed - at Greenwater along 410 on the way up to Mt.Rainier. The forecast was for improving conditions right? Wrong.

Within the first mile we passed a group of walkers in the rain ... they had no hats on, no umbrellas ... and they called us stupid as we rode by ! Well, we might be planning on riding our bikes all day in the cold and rain, but at least we dressed for it! Well, some of us did. Not naming names here though. I did notice that Bob Brudvic and Mark Thomas were dressed much more warmly today as they helped out on the Populaire.

"This is the stupidest thing I've done in a long time." "How stupid is this?" and statements to that effect were heard at the Black Diamond Bakery as the cold and wet riders slowly brought feeling back to their extremities.

A muffin or turnover, a jolt of caffeine, a bit of warmth and we're almost as good as new. Since we started a quart low, we didn't know any better and were soon back on the road. It actually stopped raining for a bit and what's that? A spot of dry pavement! If you're going to have a flat on a cold & rainy day, wait for the dry stretch. So that's what I did. First flat in a long time, so can't complain at all. Since my regular Rando bike is still in the shop, I was riding a bike with narrower tires ... higher pressure tires (100 psi)... vs the wide ones on the Green Hornet (75 psi). But my pump is a mountain bike pump not designed for that. Stupid! I get it to about 70 psi and am struggling to get more in. Fortunately Bob comes to my rescue with some CO2. I'm back in business and we hit the road again ... and make the turn on 410 up to Greenwater.

We got lucky on our way up to Greenwater ... no rain and, better yet, no snow. It was cold though, but not frozen cold ... there was slush, not snow/ice on the sides of the road for the last few miles into Greenwater. We went inside and refueled.

Proving that we were not at the very end of the stupidity bell curve (just very close to it), we had just missed someone who left the store a few minutes earlier. This person was walking to Yakima over a closed mountain pass ... probably over 10 feet of snow ... in tennis shoes. Now that's stupid !

We were in the home stretch now ... a quick stop in Enumclaw and then the last twenty miles back to Greg's house. Of course it was rainy most of the way. When we arrived, Mary had a great welcome for us with hot soup and pizza. Thank you Mary!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

But it's sooo cozy!

Ralph, Mark, Steve, Vincent, and I rode the Hood Canal South Permanent on Wednesday. It was coold. It was below freezing at the start. Fortunately there was little ice on the roads. Unfortunately our fingers turned to ice ... or at least that's how they felt. Well before the first control we made an unscheduled stop at Alderbrook. Hot coffee, warm bathrooms (indoor no less!), and a toasty fireplace. Heaven sent. All good things must come to an end though. (Why?) We pulled it together and headed out ... reluctantly.

The sun was out ... and so was the wind. We had a strong headwind as we headed up the canal. After we got to Brinnon (the turnaround point), we looked at the flagpole and wouldn't you know it, the wind changed ... it now was coming from the south ... would we have a headwind both ways? How does it do that? Fortunately it was just messing with our minds and shifted back.

We had a nice stop in Hoodsport at the coffee shop ... both times.

We planned to just miss the 5:30 ferry on the way back ... that way we could have Sausage & beer at Fritz's. The plan worked well ... we made it to the ferry terminal at 5:39. Catch was that the ferry was late! Oh well. Ralph took the ferry, but the rest of us went to Fritz' anyway. It was pretty good.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The bluest skies you've ever seen are in Seattle

Okay, we weren't in Seattle, but riding north of there on Permanent 357 Camano Island - Bellingham - Camano Island. It was a gorgeous day. A bit brisk ... starting out below freezing ... but a fantastic day for riding. Mark Thomas, Joe Platzner, Vincent Muoneke, and I thoroughly enjoyed a great day out on the bike in the SUN!

Wanting to ensure we didn't get too much sun, we had to periodically stop and go inside ... the bakery in Edison was a great place for a break. Lemon Bars were nummy!
And of course no ride to Bellingham would be complete without a meal at the Mambo Cafe! A special treat was that Dan Turner joined us. The Lasagna was perfect ... kept me going almost all the way back.
With views like this it was hard to keep our eyes on the road!

We ended with a stop at DQ ... there's nothing like a Cherry Blizzard to top off a perfect day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Where's the bottom?

Mark Thomas, Ralph Nussbaum, and I rode the Redmond - Carbon River Permanent today. Partly sunny was the forecast and that's what we got ... part sun, part clouds, part rain, part hail. All in all though, I'd say the weather was pretty decent for this time of year.

The ride heads up the Carbon River at the base of Mt. Rainier. When the sun is out, you get a great view of Mt.Rainier. We used our imagination to see it, as the sun was nowhere to be seen when Mt.Rainier could have been. While looking up wasn't very productive, down was a different story. It was quite a ways down to the bottom and the Carbon River as we crossed this one lane bridge ... described as rickity by the barista in Buckley.

We saw several Elk on the way up to the Ranger Station's a view of the bottom of one. Not a great shot, but they wouldn't pose for me.

It was an enjoyable ride ... except for the last twelve miles or so. My bottom bracket started disintagrating. It sounded like an ice machine crushing ice and began wobbling more than the Hubble telescope. Ralph & Mark were patient with me as I nursed it in. Conveniently the ride ended right by Sammamish Valley Cycle, so it is now being resurrected.