Monday, May 26, 2008

And then there were three...

A group of eight SBC members plus one Interloper started out from Kirkland's Marina Park, ready to climb some hills on the 7 Hills of Kirkland Ride. They had already been spurned by the Italian Job who sized the group up and muttered that he would ride with his friend instead of joining the group. Once the first few hills had been summitted  (Market, Juanita, Seminary), different sections had started to form. Starting from the back, the Big Guys. These guys would drop back on climbs but, due to their weight advantage, would zoom past everyone on the downhills. In the middle was a Laugher (I kid you not), the new Orbea and the Naked Wool Jersey. Up front was the Interloper, She Who Must Climb and the Secret Weapon who were pushing the pace and trying to jump on the wheels of others.

Although everyone had agreed beforehand to take minimal breaks at the food stops, lingering was inevitable. At the first food stop, the Young Gun was spotted in the crowd and She Who Must Climb had to be restrained. Pedaling off with bananas and cookies in bellies, two more hills would be ascended before reaching what would later be named the best descent of the day. Hoots and hollers were heard as the descending speed increased, with the Big Guys showing everyone else how it was done. The next section of road seemed hauntingly familiar and the Interloper and She Who Must Climb felt a pull to go east from the Woodinville-Redmond Road but instead followed the arrows and went west as the road tilted upward to climb Winery HIll. Some cursing could be heard as the road steepened and continued to climb but it was soon drowned out by the bagpipes being played up at the summit. 

Somewhere along the way, one of the big guys fell prey to the desire of a downhill closer to the finish and was never seen again. Then there were eight. As the route headed up Novelty Hill, the Interloper saw a wheel ahead of him that he could latch onto and off he went, with She Who Must Climb following close behind. To their surprise, they still had company at the top, with the Secret Weapon showing his talents. It was fortuitous that those three could climb at similar speeds because at the break-off point for the Century ride, the Laugher departed tearily and with her went the Big Guys, Naked Wool Jersey and the Orbea.

And then there were three. These three had more in common than the ability to ride long and climb strong; they were also all on the same team: The J-Team. Oy!

The Interloper quickly took his position at the front, a place he was used to and would stay for most of the ride. She Who Must Climb followed behind closely and, while willing to take pulls up front, was much better suited to the job of following. The Secret Weapon stayed within close proximity, occasionally going to the front to stretch his legs. The food stop in the Valley was of much higher quality, with the addition of mysterious powders and chocolate delights. It was noted that the Racer Chicks and Dudes seemed to take a long time at each stop, then they rode really fast to the next stop, where they would eat and trash-talk until the slow people caught up.

At the Stop of Holy Scenery, Crashmaster James made an effort to join the group but, upon realizing he had no yarmulke, stayed behind.

With one hill left to go, J-Team headed strongly up Rose Hill with She Who Must Climb trying to edge out the Interloper. It just wasn't to be so she got on his wheel one more time, just before the long downhill into Kirkland. Once there, they enjoyed strawberry shortcake on the grass in the shade and then parted their separate ways.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Laughing all the way to Seabeck

When Greg and I rolled off the Southworh Ferry with the Rabid Rabbits of Goosebumps fame, we were so caught up in the frenetic pace that we just went right along with it 

and were swept up by it, too. Who wouldn't be with all those team 

jerseys, shaved legs and high-tech frames. But we were secretly wishing 

that we could take time to look at the gorgeous scenery and not just 

the wheel that was 5 inches from each of ours. 

After a death-defying 

leap across two lanes on the highway, we were into the hilly country, 

a new route that would keep us off of Hwy 3. Yes, it was my new route 

and, though I was warned that we would be grazing the "sex and 

violence of Bremerton", I preferred most anything to riding 5 miles on 

a highway. I think I was still within Laugher boundaries in making 

that choice; I'm not a Princess Laugher, after all, just a regular run- 

of-the-mill Laugher. 

After getting my heartrate into what surely must have been the "red
zone" (since Laughers don't much care for monitoring such things), I
dropped back significantly from the Rabbit pace. As the Rabbits nearly
vanished from sight up the road, Greg and I couldn't have been
happier, showing our true Laugher attitude. No one to chase after and
we could ride at our own pace. We laughed with a sigh of relief. Then,
when we spotted David the Deranged waiting for us at the next turn, I
worried that he had notions of eating the dead so we laughed and
chatted happily, showing him that we were not dead Rabbits; we were just very
alive Laughers. We were convincing in our demeanor and, to allay any
further attempts, assured him that we could find our own way and there
was no need for him to wait for us. 

We rolled in to Seabeck, home of Barbie's Cafe and some darn good pie
in time to see the Rabbits gnawing on some carrots. Since we Laughers
are serious eaters, we went inside to a table at Barbie's and feasted
on a three-course meal that included pie, of course. After lunch we
were off to pedal some new roads that David the Deranged had laid out
for us. There were many miles of enjoyable riding along forest with
some climbing, though gentle, and we became very optimistic that it
would be the easiest 80-miler we'd ever done. And then the real
climbing started up, up and up steeply and seriously but, being good-
natured Laughers, at no time did we curse the course creator. In fact,
we managed to add 10 miles of nearly flat to the route just because
the road looked nice and stayed away from heavier traffic. Plus, our
earlier hard efforts were rewarded when we spotted a sign marking a
pass we had attained. Now, this might not seem like Laugher attitude
but I will say from experience that this was the easiest pass one
could ever hope to attain on a bicycle. 

On our return to Southworth, we came across two Rabbits, one of the
chocolate milk variety. We couldn't tell if they were shell-shocked or
just waiting for a lagging Rabbit but we moved on so as not to get
caught up in one of their schemes. We took some time on the return to
gaze out at the scenery that we had missed earlier in the day. Then,
to our surprise, who should be at the ice cream stand at the ferry
dock but those rascally Rabbits, many of whom seemed to have lost
their hop and were trying to regain it with ice cream. We Laughers
passed up the cold treat for the more substantial energy replenishers
that awaited us on the West Seattle side. Yes, it was time for another 3-
course Laugher meal: wine, steak and cake (to be followed later by
Ibuprofen, of course). 

By the end of the meal, we were already thinking about our next ride
with the Laughers, sitting behind Bill's wheel, chatting and laughing
through the countryside.