The Last Long Ride of 2013.

I am REALLY not sure how it is I signed up for 5 big rides this year.  3, the Mayday Metric, Reach the Beach and Crater Lake were true Centuries, Flying wheels was 95 miles and to was 92.  This is a first for me, in the past the most I did was 2.

I had had a hard time getting fired up for this one, and it resulted in my training lacking.  Even though I got 45 miles in last week, I hadn’t really done a big training ride since before the Crater Lake run.  For some reason I got in my head that this wouldn’t be a hard ride.  Folks I was incorrect.

Today’s ride was the Ride Around the Sound.  A charity event for the lung association.  It started in West Seattle, went south to Tacoma, across the Narrows Bridge

IMG_4061And onto Southworth where we ferried back.

It was supposed to be hot and sunny today.  But as you can see from the picture of the bridge, it started foggy.  The clouds and fog stayed with us for most of the ride!  This worked out well for me!

The route for this ride was a bit different.  The normal route gave 73 miles.  But then there was the Alki “Lungbuster” loop (full of steep hills) that added 15 miles, and the “Legbuster” loop at the end that added 19 miles.

I just really did NOT feel full guns when the day started.  I decided to skip the “Lungbuster” and went straight into the main route.  I am not sure why I hadn’t considered this, but I was surprised by how hilly the route was early on.  This was NOT smart of me, as it hugged the coast a lot, and here in WA, our coast is hilly!

We went south through Burien, Normandy Beach

IMG_4054and past the Des Moines Marina.

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After Des Moines it got boring for a while, into Federal Way, and past the ugliest lighthouse known to man, the Browns Point light house.

Now in my past, I used to be a Southender.  I did a LOT of cycling on the route they used to take us to Tacoma.  They had 2 “mandatory” dismounting areas over some tracks that angle badly across the road.  I have taken these and worse in driving rain.  I really have never understood why cyclist have problems with tracks.  So I skipped the dismounting.  Someone else tried a bit later and crashed hard….

Tacoma added MANY more STEEP hills, and a route planner with a sadistic sense of humor.  We were zig zagging all over the place.  Then just to be cruel, he took us by the Rosewood Cafe.  MIGAWD the Italian food smells coming out of there were amazing.  For a fleeting moment I considered ditching and having a GREAT brunch.

I can’t tell you why, but since I was a kid, I have always wanted to walk or bike across the Tacoma Narrows bridge.  It was noisy but fun!

IMG_4066

IMG_4065IMG_4067

IMG_4064Then, when we got across, we were stuck with rolling hills and rural roads.  Nothing really to crow about.  I did score at one point.  In Gig Harbor was a big dog walk festival.  Booths, crafts and every kind of dog you could think of.   As I left town I saw a Taco Time truck.  They were giving away free beef burritos and mexifries!  Beats PB&J!

Throughout this ride, I was doing something I never do.  I stopped at each food stop, and sat and talked with people.  I usually fill the water bottles, grab something and go.  Today, it was just fun to talk?  I even got to give some serious feedback to the project manager of the ride.

Every turn was marked well, but there were long stretches without confidence markings.  That extra Dan Henry, pointing straight, that tells you with certainty that you are on the right road.

Generic Dan Henrey's

Generic Dan Henrey’s

One lady turned around and was heading back the way she came until I stopped her and kept her going.

Well I got to the part where the route split.  I could either head for the ferry or do the leg buster.  I just didn’t sign up to do only 75 miles, as tempting as it was to head for the boat, i just couldn’t.  So off I went and it kicked my but.  BIGGEST hills on the route!  But I also ended up with 10 miles of beach riding.  A good trade-off.

IMG_4069

When I got to the ferry, I was the last bike to load onto the truck.  it was a MUCH later boat than I planned on, but 2 minutes later I woulda missed that one too!

Not that it matters, but I want to slide in the nature I saw on this ride.  Blue Herons, a Pileated Woodpecker, loons, king fishers, sharp shinned hawk (chasing a king fisher) and, for the first time in my memory around here, a jelly fish bloom in Puget Sound.

Traffic sucked getting home, so I stopped and got a Subway sandwich, listened to my COUGS win, and just sat knowing my long rides are over for the year.  I met every goal I set this year.  MUCH later I will ponder next years goals.  Each year I wonder if its time to retire, and Michelle makes sure to tell me I am WAY to young to do so….

Thanks for “coming along” for each ride!

 

 

 

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5 Responses to The Last Long Ride of 2013.

  1. “Lungbuster” type routes are seldom designed by guys with a few extra pounds on them (just based from my experience).

  2. echo says:

    You met all your goals for the year? Fantastic! Although, it’s only mid-Sept. What about the rest of the year!

    Either way, Congrats!

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