My training group(AR) has done a really neat ride starting at the community center in Renton on the Cedar River Trail and riding towards Enumenclaw and then on towards Crystal Mountain in years' past. I have always wanted to this ride even before I had ridden all that much. In total the mileage would be anywhere from 30 - 100 depending on where you started from but I was happy to plan for a half century.
Truthfully, I was quite nervous about this ride. I had the handlebars replaced on my fast bike and was still getting used to the feel. I'd had a little tweak on my back from the first time riding and wasn't sure if 50 miles would quite work.
I need not have worried.
I woke early. (Thanks dex the cat.) Got up around 5:15 so had plenty of time to putter around, have two breakfasts and get things ready. I did still manage to forget my phone but did well with everything else. I had also loaded the course onto my garmin so I could follow. That was something new for me and I'm glad I did it since I didn't have a phone (or money) as someone with a helpful jab at my stupidity pointed out.
I was so stiff in the morning from the previous day off yesterday that I decided to go running in the early am. Yep, I trotted around the neighborhood for just an easy mile and saw two raccoons up to no good strolling about. That worked very well and then I stretched well. Hips and back felt much better for that.
Got down to Renton and Dave was there with the van and his very fancy bike - a colnago. He was really hoping to ride and I was egging it on because I knew the day was going to be great - it was clear and a very comfortable mid-50's already. T held me back so I started around 8:30 instead of 8:15 and I was riding alone. While I had been looking forward to riding with someone that was also part of the nervousness. I'm not at all used to riding with other people so it was fine with me just to ride.
Cedar river trail is really fun on bike. I just zipped along saying hi to everyone. I had long sleeves on at that point and was very comfortable. Made it to the Hwy 18 crossing lickety split and from there you have to cross the gravel lot (I walked) and cross the hwy there (busy) and get on the road. Very shortly, you come to a turn and you are on a very peaceful rolling road. Lately when I hit the first hill of any ride, my legs feel like lead and I worry about what is going to happen for the rest of the ride. Same thing happened here as last week where I hit an uphill and legs complained and I though "uh oh" but I guess I'm just waking them up! I was fine the rest of the ride.
And I just rode. I had put the garmin to auto lap at 5 miles so that worked well and had loaded the course. Passed Dave in the van around 15 (just waved) and he was following making sure I made one turn which was a detour. Evidently a bridge is washed out along 169 so we went on this different road through who knows where. It was a bit disconcerting to have the garmin tell me I was off course. I didn't realize that there had been a detour but then I made the connection with all the detour signs which I was following. And now that I think about it, the detour was probably better than staying on the main highway.
There was a really fun downhill section (I almost hit 40 without trying) and then we crossed the Green River and then a really challenging climb. I didn't think I was going to make it up. But I stayed focused and kept at itand 3/4 way up remembered I have a triple crank.
:-D That made a difference and I was past the worst of the climb and congratulated myself for not giving up. there was just rolling farmland then. I saw a horse lie down and luxuriously scrub his back. I saw cows and llamas and peek a boo views of Mt Rainier. Amazing!
The nice thing about the 5 mile laps alert with the Garmin was that each lap was around 20 minutes so that was a good reminder to eat and/or drink. In total, I had two gels, on packet gu chomps, one large square of my energy bar and 1/3 bottle of powerade which Tony had at a fueling stop and I was eying. Good. I was only hungry towards the end when I remembered I had half a packet of chomps left. I had stopped to take off my long sleeved thing and wrap around waist around Maple Valley (mile 15). It was definitely warming up but not at all uncomfortable.
At 30ish, we went back to hwy 169 and around 132 Tony and the FJ were there and I had caught up to a lot of riders. I came up to T with a huge grin and said it was pretty much the best ever! T said everybody else was bitching and moaning about the heat and hills. Whatever. Unlike with running, I'd rather be too warm when biking. T refilled my water (I only have the one cage on the bike) while I chugged powerade. His question, am I riding to 50?
Hell yes, I'm riding 50.
Passed three AR riders again almost immediately. one of the gals was riding so poorly up a not so big hill that she was really wobbly and I was nervous about passing her. I made sure to yell at her way before I was coming to let her know. I passed Laura E and she shouted at me "You biking?"
Hunh? I then spent another 5 miles trying to decode this one. :-D I have no idea what she meant! Could be:
- Are you biking today? (well yes but maybe she meant the whole thing)
- Are you injured and only biking?
- I didn't know you biked!
- You call that pitiful turning of the cranks biking? (this was Tony's helpful suggestion)
Hit Enumenclaw and some traffic through this area. Narrow streets through there but I'm going fast enough with traffic for it not to be a big deal. I waited at the light to turn off the Crystal Mountain hwy with a couple of motorcycles behind me. It just struck me as funny and compared to their prominent guts, I felt super strong, fit and studly. Snort.
And then the hway towards Crystal. This had made me nervous. I know you are just on the road to climbing towards passes around Mt Rainier and I expected it to be hard. It just looks like you are heading up a mountain but it really is more rolling and flat feeling than I was expecting. At 40 I had to take a break as my back muscles were tightening up. Dave showed up then with the van and we chatted a bit more before I went rolling off. Poor Dave never got to ride and only did course support. I think he'll have to go back and ride it!
Really, I was feeling amazing. Back tight but everything else great. AT 50 (just past Green Water) i had decided to turn around and head back to 45 as there was a good access to the white river and I really wanted to sit in the river. but T caught up then and thought there was access farther up. Ok, but it would be fun to go downhill! but no biggie, so i turned and started up again. Got another 3 and T said that he was mistaken. D'oh! but at that point I was only a few miles from a turn off to a view point to Mount Rainier and thought that would be perfect.
56.4 miles and I am so happy. I had some time to hang out and stretch on teh grass there (not lying or stepping in the deer? poop). chatted with tourists from ? who were amazed I had biked up the mountain 56 miles.
After 20 minutes or so Les and Steve show up. they still had about 12 or 15 miles to go still for Steve to hit 100 (he's training for Coeur D'alene IM in a few weeks). T showed up right then and they got their bottles filled and off they went. T had my food! So he snacked and I chowed (pancakes with pbj or nutella, pasta salad, orange, chips) and we chatted for a while. It was really nice and peaceful and gorgeous.
we went wandering up after a while to get Steve and Les. we went by all the trail access for the white river run and we were wondering if the pedestrian bridge has been replaced. (here it is in 2006)At the sign by Crystal, I guess Steve was done with uphill and they had 3 miles left so they went back downhill. At that point I realized, I could get a quick look at the trail to the pedestrian bridge as that was about 3 miles! T was agreeable to this so pushed me out the door with my running shoes (ha!) and I went trotting off. It had been a while since I'd biked and legs felt fine. I'm sure i was very slow but it did feel good and the trail was so nice. Super squishy and gorgeous. Lots of trees down to scramble under and over. T had made some crack about K would not appreciate me being lost to bears so I was thinking about that the whole time. :-D
I got down to the river (trail is not even half a mile I think) and wow the force of the river and the rocks all over. No trace of a bridge. Poof gone. You could see the guide wire there still. I took more photos and trotted back up. T had the bikes and now Les and Steve were running a mile I guess because I was! :-D I changed. I had gotten so hot running that little bit and we went off to load everybody and come home. Detour in Enumclaw (bike race) which took a while and then lots of traffic through Auburn so didn't get home until 4.
Biked 56.4 miles in 3:43 (average pace 15.3) - runsaturday.com link
And then the challenge will be doing a fun trail run the next day in the cascades. Did I push it too hard on the bike ride today? Did I fuel well enough during and after to not feel like a zombie runner? We shall see.