Just Make sure you follow the Orange Markings

Well if you read yesterday’s post, as well as Friday’s, you know I was looking at a wet ride today.

I will tell ya that I DID complete it.  But on Facebook, I posted:  This was NOT the hardest, nor the wettest Century ride ever.  But this one gave it a good shot on both!  I won’t tell you anything more just yet, otherwise why read the rest of the post!  So let me fill you in on the day!

The alarm went off at 445 as planned, though it just seems WRONG to have it do on a Sunday.  I looked outside and the Monsoon from last night had stopped!  COOL! maybe it won’t be so bad!

I was loaded up and on the way at 515.  Last night I made my self a turkey, salami and cheese bagel sandwich for breakfast.  It took almost the whole 36 miles to the starting line to finish it!  Perfect!

However, NOT so perfect, I hit major patches of rain on the way down.  Gullywashers I tell ya!  I looked at the bike and saw I had put the seat cover on it, so I had hopes of a dry seat when I got there.

By the time I got to Phil’s Bike shop in Federal way the rain had stopped and it was half way nice.  My seat though, soaked, the rain was too much (time for a new seat cover) I checked in, and got my number (136) and attached it the bike. I was ready to go, when I remembered my recent stint on the McClinchy mile.

There was one point when I hadn’t seen a dan henry (road marking telling you which way to turn) for quite a while, and I was concerned I had gotten off the route.  I went to check the turn by turn directions, only to find I had forgotten to get a copy.  BACK to the sign up to grab one, and the ladies said, “Don’t put too much stock in those, we had to make some last-minute changes.  Just go where the orange markers tell you!” (I grabbed one anyway!)

I was off and running at 630!  I ran into Auburn Liz from last year, who was riding with her hubby and two other friends.  I waved as I passed them and headed down the road!

For the first 20 miles or so, it spit rain off and on, but nothing major.  I actually had to shuck a layer as it got too warm.  The route takes you off the hill in Federal Way and then down into the valley heading for the mountains.  Each time I got stuck at a stop light for longer than a minute, Liz and Travis would catch me, they were making good time.

However, I am a better climber than they are, so when  steep hill hit, I would hit it hard and steady, and next thing I knew I lost them again.  This was only the second time I’d done this ride, so I didn’t remember each ride, but let me tell you, Liz has them burned in her memory.  That lady can also cuss like a sailor when explaining what the next one is!  Made me giggle!

After the first food stop in beautiful downtown Orting (famous for Lahar (volcanic mudflows that wipe out towns after an eruption) drills (one is scheduled for Cinco de Mayo) the route got MUCH more scenic.  Phil does his best to keep us off main roads (foreshadowing here) and as we got closer to the mountain it got more rustic and prettier.


The bridge over South Prairie Creek.  As the road climbed up toward Wilkeson (an old mining/logging town) I rode right by this.


That was about a mile climb, not too overly bad but it gained my attention.  The nature around me helped.

At the top of the climb, the route leveled some and headed into town.  However, you first had to pass this old house of ill repute .


Miners and loggers got lonely, and the ladies were there to help rescue them from the loneliness, for a cost.

There was another food stop in town and that was the turn around for those who were doing the 7o mile loop.  Most people turned around here.

A few hardy souls like myself (and the Liz/Travis power house later) continued for the 15 mile climb to the “Redneck Rest Stop” near the Mt. Rainier entrance.  It was a helluva lot tougher this year though.  In addition to the climb, there was a killer headwind.  It took me over an hour.

But this is the favorite part of the ride.  Its two lane road surrounded by forests and streams.  I used to go up there to hike long ago, and I liked the drive almost as much.  Birds sing, trees rustle, there are steep cliffs, and canyons, as well as uncounted streams you cross.

Sadly I was too focused on fighting the head wind, so I didn’t get photos I wish I had, except for image


Both of these were going over the bridge of the Carbon River Gorge.

The route was starting to wear on me (and remember I had to turn around to go home) when I finally hit a mile long downhill that took me to Red Neck Rest Stop.


Complete with campfire, hot water and cup a noodle soup!  YUM!! Hit the spot.

Before I could stiffen up, I hit the road again.  Sadly, a mile down hill to the turn around is a mile UP hill to leave.  The tail wind helped some though.  Just as I crested the hill, Liz and Travis were coming up the other side, tired but determined!

The downhill to the valley was fun at times, and MUCH easier, and soon I was traveling along the Foothills trail.  Last year this was 20+ miles of headwinds this year the wind was at my back.  Though it spit rain from time to time.  I made good time!  And I found an Emu!


At the end of the trail, we had to get back on the road to finish. Remember when I said Phil tries to keep us off busy roads?  I think he may have overdone it here.


Yes they hacked a path through weeds so we could get under and overpass and back on the roach.  If out look close you will see the arrow pointing this way.  Phil, there has gotta be a different way.

Then 15 miles from the end my luck ran out!  The clouds opened up and it was a steady rain.  I got drenched!  Of course, during the wettest, I had to climb a very busy road (Jovita) to get out of the Valley.  Our normal route was wiped out by a mudslide.

Yep the rest of the ride was head down, and just keep moving.  Damn good thing they marked the route well, or I might still be there!  Of course, 5 minutes from the end, it stopped!

I pulled in dripping wet, and starving! (I ran out to Michelle’s snacks) However there was free pie at the end.  Apple and Cherry.  And since the weather was ugly, there were fewer riders.  This meant I got a piece of each!  Damn good!

I am very glad I did this one.  It went a long way to getting me ready for the STP in a day.  That route is much easier, just longer.

The ride took me just over 9 hours, one of the longer centuries for me.  And I am pretty sure somehow I lost a set of sunglasses I like! (but not my best ones.)   Also wet bike seat adds to saddle sores (sorry for TMI)  I will feel this tomorrow, but since I will be sitting most of the day, I will survive!

Thanks for all the support y’all!

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