Monday, July 6, 2009

SIR 1,000K Washington Coast Pre-ride

Am I more tired now than after the Portland - Glacier 1,000K two weeks ago? Geez, I don't know. I'm tired, no doubt about it. If I look at the pictures of the three of us - Mark Thomas, Vincent Muoneke, and myself at the end of each ride, I'd say we're more tired now than at the end of that ride. At least we look more zombie like. A midnight start, a 440K day one, and then it being the 2nd 1,000K in two weeks (on top of 2 600K's shortly before that) probably give the nod to this ride.

So where did we go? We started out at the Bainbridge ferry terminal at about 11:30 PM on Thursday and headed west to Port Townsend, and then around the Olympic Peninsula, ending day one a bit before 11 PM in Aberdeen. We had a nice breakfast in Sequim and enjoyed the great views of Lake Crescent (left) from the very narrow, curvy shoulders of US-101. A not so pleasant climb up from the Lake in the heat and searing sun ... probably only mid 80's, but we're used to the cool, cloudy, rainy NW ... before a late lunch in Forks. The heat was especially hard on Mark ... he almost lost what little of the lunch that he did eat.

From there it was down the west side of the Peninsula ... we made it to Kalaloch ...and I nearly froze. It was cloudy and cool ... the ocean was probably there somewhere, we did hear it...and eventually saw a little of it. It was a long stretch from there to the day's end in Aberdeen ... with one more stop at Amanda Park near Lake Quinalt where it was hot again ... 85 or so. One of the high points of the day was a surprise when we got to the motel ... Trudy had left us some cold bears and Arby's sandwiches when she left the drop bags ... they hit the spot! After 440K and 23 hours of riding, we were wiped.

Day two was trouble ... a cumulative lack of sleep (3:45 AM wake-up) and horrible coffee at Denny's almost put Mark over the edge. Starting the day with almost losing your breakfast is not a good way to start. Fortunately Mark's stomach eventually settled down and we were able to pick up the pace shortly after Westport. However, that was when Vincent's bike started making more noise. It came and went, our diagnosis was a possible bottom bracket problem. Vincent was not a happy camper, as he had just taken the bike in to have that very issue looked at. When we reached Raymond, Vincent called his son to have him bring a replacement bike to the next control. of course this was the farthest distance from Seattle at Ocean Park on the Long Beach peninsula. But it all worked out ... the bike held out till then, his son made it there with the replacement bike, we had a much needed lunch, and we were back on the road. If our pace on the 2nd half of the day was similar to the first half, we wouldn't finish until 1:30 AM. Ugh.

We did pick up the pace though. The rollers that were so tough when we rode south were not so bad going north ... don't know why. We rolled into Aberdeen around 11. while Lacrosse had thrown us a parade two weeks earlier, Aberdeen welcomed us with fireworks ... it was distracting to say the least ... but spectacular and memorable. No Arby's for dinner tonight though. we had stopped and eaten in Raymond, 25 miles earlier, so we weren't famished. I did have an Ensure and a beer before bed. 770K of 1,015 K done. Great progress.

Day three was by far the shortest day, with "only" 245K to go. And we got to sleep in ... til 5:20 anyway. Don Jameson, the ride organizer had driven down to pcik up the drop bags, so we were able to take care of that detail before we left ... thanks Don!

Aside from starting on empty, the day would be relatively easy. It didn't feel that way though. Lots of rolling hills and that nasty, nasty chip seal took its toll. Here are Mark and Vincent at the top of Walker Pass (right).

We were back on familiar roads ... the ride from Aberdeen to McLeary was much of what we had ridden on the Fleche back in April and then the ride north from Shelton on US-101 to Quilcene along the Hood Canal was one we've ridden on permanents several times this year alone. From Quilcene to Port Hadlock on Center Road ... with chip seal, sun, and hills was one we were glad to get behind us... now only 37 miles to go! The ride across the Hood canal bridge was much more pleasant ... and safer, now that the east half of the bridge has been replaced ... but it is still a stressful experience. On the way to Poulsbo, up an 18 % grade my Garmin insults me by "auto-pausing" as I climb ... apparently so slowly (3.5 mph at one point) that it thought I was stopped and it should stop recording.

We make it to the end with time enough before the next ferry to stop at a convenience store for a beer and chips for the ride back to Seattle ... what a nice way to end.


Mark said...

Fastest blog in the west! Thanks for the ride and especially the reminder picture of just how perky I looked at the end.

Joe P said...

You guys sure like riding your bikes! Joe P

Robert H said...

I don't even have any snarky comment to make. You guys are amazing.