Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cycling can be addicting

This year I've done more long distance road riding than I've ever done (except for bike touring).  I kinda had an attitude about it because of the traffic.  But living just north of the border has given us the opportunity to ride in northern Washington.  Other than the "let down" of riding the additional 15 km coming back up the busy Hwy 3 from Midway, most of our riding is in REALLY quiet backroads.  So needless to say it's been a pleasure tor ride.  So I signed up with Mark for the Chelan Century to really have something to ride for.

Greenwood Weekly Times April 7, 1900
 Lady bicyclists were made honorary members - Does that mean they have a domestique like I do?
We arrived in Chelan the day before and had some time to spend at the lake.  Mark wanted to ride a bit, so he picked a road with an incline while I waited with the dogs.  I figured that if I wasn't ready by now...

The ride itself has three loops, each one being very different from one another.  The loops are between 30-40 miles long, each loop has an elevation gain of more than 2,500 feet with all three loops totalling almost 10,000 feet elevation gain.

First Loop - I rode the first loop primarily by myself.  I was worried about riding with a bunch of people on the downhills, so I got my wish.  The loop went through beautiful country where people have slowly worked to bring high mountain desert into grape orchards, wineries and multi-million dollar houses.  The views were great, the hills to ride up scenic and the air cool in the shadows before the sun gained height.  My toes were cold.  Stunning views up north and I can see why someone would work really hard to own an expensive home there.  I guess cause I wasn't as fast as the fastest and I wasn't as slow as the slowest I never hooked up with a riding buddy.  One woman offered to team up but after being on her wheel for a bit, she got on someone else's and I just didn't want to keep up.  I purposely promised Mark that I wouldn't bring my camera, but I still wanted to look around and enjoy the ride.  Really good mailboxes on this loop, note to self.

Second Loop - I didn't stop back at the park though cause I felt good and was feeling good.  The great part of the second loop was of course climbing the McNeil Canyon road but in addition when I was out on Apple Lane I sighted coyotes trying to cross the road and heard them yipping above me.  Plus bear scat.  Only a few people passed me and I was all by myself.  When I hit the river I was able to do a little drafting with people, but mostly they were big boys and not willing to work with me.  There were very few girls.  The best part riding was passing people knowing that I had trained.  By the time I reached the top I was tired but not exhausted.  I hung out with the camaraderie a bit in the cool air and tried to let the sun dry my jersey and watched a guy manipulate a drone camera.  I think the Tour de France could use drone camera's instead of helicopters.  They sure would save a lot of fuel and would probably be a lot quieter for the riders and spectators.  I had fun going downhill and seeing everyone else coming up and sure was happy we started at 7am.

Third Loop - I left with the Grand Forks Cycling Club but I think I need to invest in the black and yellow bumblebee jerseys they have because they sure seemed a lot quicker than me.  Thanks to Astrid for encouraging me to join them.  My legs were feeling the way everyone else's were she said and the third loop was a "take it easy" pace.  I attempted to accompany them up the first big climb, but got left in the dust.  Luckily the day didn't have hardly any wind and the clouds kinda came in high so it wasn't too hot.  Conditions were perfect.  It was neat after passing through the tunnel seeing where my sister lives across the river and having a sense of "home" to the ride.  After hitting the river I met up again with "Greg" from the Seattle area who I had first met at the rest stop on 97.  He let me use the port-o-potty before he did at the rest stop on 97.  He called himself a gentlemen and after I finished peeing I told him he would be a real gentlemen if he pulled me up the hill, on the McNeil loop.  Later on the loop he had called me something funny like a "handmaiden" when I rolled past him with my braids and I told him I'd throw him a rope. So when I saw him for the third time I waited for him and asked him if he wanted to ride together cause I knew I was going to need my "own pulling." I'm spoiled riding with Mark as my domestique but I knew that by then Mark was probably finished with the ride way ahead of me. Drastic action was required.   I was wearing out and it was still a long ride back on the lake to Chelan.  After we got something to eat at the last aid station, he really perked up and we went back to Chelan according to his GPS at 17-21 miles per hour the last 10 miles and I was on his wheel. He was a real inspiration as he had only cycled for the past year and was really getting in shape.  He lost 10 lbs and was expecting to lose another ten before the end of the summer.  His list of future cycling epics was impressive.  The STP, Tour de Peaks, RAMROD, the Crater Lake Century, and probably something else that I don't remember.

At the end of the ride, I met up with Mark and Nipper and hung out and raided the food tent.  And then I did "an Eddie" in the lake without a pinecone.  It was very refreshing.  Thanks to Darcy and John for being such great hosts and watching the fur children.  They are crashed out on the couch like I am!

I hope I get to do it again in 2015 on Saturday, June 20th in Lake Chelan! It's a fundraiser for rotary club scholarships.  There's a web page I found that lists all the big bike rides.  It looks like a one stop shop for bike riders.  It's got a link to Crazy Guy On a Bike that is just excellent place to read about bicycle exploits!
PS - I know that I'll have an addiction if I get on ebay...  tickets to that one day bicycle ride around Rainier. Guess I'm not going to buy a motorcycle!

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