Monday, April 9, 2012

Not-so-Big Dan's Ride

Dan and Lee
We used to call him "the big guy" or "Big Dan", but from the moment I caught sight of Dan on Saturday, I realized we would have to come up with a new nickname for our friend. This was like his coming-out ride for the season; the first time we had seen him on a bicycle since the transformation had begun, some six months earlier. He had lost 77lbs!

His ride, Indianola to Hansville, including the Point-No-Point (yes, that's the point) lighthouse, was a yearly tradition, much like Chilly Hilly on Bainbridge Island is opening season for the 8,000 or so cyclists who dare to ride its many hills. And, in keeping with his perfect record, the weather was shaping up to be absolutely spectacular!

Our first treat came while on the ferry, as the captain pointed out a pod of orcas on the port side of the boat. I though the ferry might begin to list to one side, given how many people crowded at the windows. We watched the whales swim, breach and frolic, all with a backdrop of Mt Rainier.

After disembarking, we met up with a couple more riders from the west side, swelling our numbers to 20, which is roughly 15% of our club's (COGS) total members. We all headed out toward Indianola, with a stop by the water for a scenic rest and a chance to doff some clothing, as they day was warming up. Up and down the hills we went, with me wondering when my energy would be gone, but knowing that lunch was only 25 miles into the ride.

Just 2 miles from our lunch stop, there was loud crashing sound; when I looked back, I saw one of the riders sprawled in the middle of the road. The loud sound had been the whack of Tom's helmet against the pavement but, other than a cut on his knee, it seemed he was spared from injury. We made sure he wasn't dizzy before he got up and offered him water and antiseptic for his cut, but otherwise he got away injury-free. We joked that with such a loud impact sound, the road was probably more damaged than he was, so maybe we should leave the scene quickly, before a Kitsap county official caught up to us and fined us for road damage. Off to lunch we went.
Mt Rainier presiding

The store in Hansville now has a restaurant, an improvement over the to-go sandwiches that have previously been available. We ate tugboats and cascades and freighters and all other relevant sandwich names for this beautiful spot on the peninsula, then headed to the lighthouse for more scenery. Once we were satiated with views of snow-capped peaks, we set off for the return trip to Kingston, a mostly non-eventful, yet thoroughly enjoyable part of the trip.

On the return ferry ride, conversation revolved around older riders and the concept of being fit in your 80s. With all the weight Dan has lost, he figures he not only has a chance of making it to his 80s, but of being one of those great guys who will be talked about.  Oh yeah, he already is one of those great guys that gets talked about!
always smiling!

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