Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tsunami 600K Pre ride

Looking back on the Narrows at Tacoma presented a photo op and Mark took it, after all it had only been raining since we left Tokeland after a good night's sleep. I could not help but wonder if Tsunamis get named, hurricanes do, and the bridge that once stood here had one. That was before the climbing began, I decided that if this ride were a Tsunami, it's name would be "Annie". "Annie Tsunami" kinda has a ring to it.
 We started 0715 at the Starbucks in Bremerton, Rick and I had arrived Via WA 3 and waited for Mark who arrived shortly by Ferry in time for the timely departure. We went down Burwell to WA 304 and to avoid the drama of getting to Gorst via WA 3, we made an early right on  Rodgers to climb a little and come down with a lower heart rate getting on Belfair Valley Rd.
 The weather was good and Mark and Rick stopped repeatedly without as much as a glance at the watch to make copious notes to craft a reliable Cue Sheet. At Belfair we joined the WA 106, it's a bit early but services are available. We did not run all the way to the Purdy Cutoff, but took an earlier left on Trails End Rd. just after the place with curios placed in front. This provides a more direct route to Shelton through Mason Lake. We signed our cards and refreshed at the control; The Airport Grocery and Deli and headed to Matlock.
 We Ignored the store at Matlock, which will be there if you need it and continued straight towards Deckerville, turning right on Cougar Smith to tackle the the Gravel Climb. I had 28's, 32's would have been better. Now in the tracks of the "Watery 600k" our next stop was Humptulips, a control and a number of service options; a Grocery Store(the control) and a Gas Station. We leave the US 101 at the Gas Station, making a left onto Kirkpatrick that will bring you into the heart of the Tsunami Zone.
 At the next control at Pacific beach there are a few options, We choose the restaurant and have a sit down meal, we inquire from the locals what the road is like between here and Ocean Shores, we get two opinions. "It is twisty, up and down". "It is beautiful".
They will be both correct, a fog is rolling in now from the Pacific now, so we get rear lights on.
We have to find and answer 2 questions in Ocean Shores before returning to WA 115 then WA 109 that brings us to Arbedeen via Hoquiam. We prepare for the last leg of the day in the Aberdeen Safeway and then catch the WA 105 to Westport and Tokeland.
 Morning in Tokeland, the sky is crying, the streets are full of tears, the rain will come down till we are close to Tacoma. We dash for Raymond for something to eat, The Chevron is 24hrs and the clerk is super cheerful that early, it is the control. We then tackle the 4 rollers of the 101 in the wet. We decide to stop for a real breakfast after the rollers at Artic, good breakfast, but we did bring a little Tsunami of rain water into the shop.
 We pass Montesano, watch the first set of railroad tracks into Monte, they have a bad angle, we ignore services here and in Elma on our way to the control at Mcleary. We run parallel to US 12 and over the Satsop river on the way to Mcleary and it is possible that the bridge over the Satsop will be under construction. It will be straightforward to shunt that section by getting on US 12 and then returning to the service roads past the construction.
 After refreshments at Mcleary we went up to WA 8 which we left to enter Old Olympic Hwy that brought us to Delphi Rd. which took us to Littlerock, control and refreshment here and we went down Littlerock Rd. to Tumwater where we caught the Yelm Hwy to Yelm. Another control at Yelm and from there towards Lacey to catch the Old Pac Hwy and a very short strip of 1-5 to Dupont, by now you are consistently seeing the Dan Henry's for "Rhapsody".
 Dupont to Steilacoom, there's also pretty bad rail tracks just past Steilacoom if you hit it wrong. From Chambers Creek, climb "snot nose hill" into the University area of Tacoma. 6th ave in Tacoma meets Jackson Ave on the steep side. Jackson is busy and to turn from Jackson into the trail (Scott Pierson) that crosses the Tacoma Narrows may be tricky. Use Caution here or consider using the side walk (on the wrong side of the road) on Jackson from 6th to get to the trail.
 Across the Narrows we can smell Fritz's in Bremerton, Beer and Brats. but hold unto your horses buckeroo, Annie is Bottom loaded, with climbing I mean. The Cushman Powerline trail which runs parallel to WA 16 gives a taste of this but it gets worse after Purdy, careful turning into Purdy Dr. just before Purdy, as it exits off one freeway to connect others and was quite busy on Friday of the Memorial Day weekend, should be better next weekend. Now in the Kitsap a few steep one's before we are screaming down WA 3 to Gorst again and then up Burwell to the finish.
 Annie is OK
Thanks Mark, Rick, and SIR

Thursday, April 3, 2014


In the Tasmania hills and wood
I held her as long as I could
But the Universe said and held No
With no goodbye there she Go
I will betray Flux and Fire
And even wait the coming of a Messiah
Who would lead us to Poatina
Then Valley-Forge on to Miena
Where I will lay down my body
Sad, smart, self-saving parody

So seven hundred days go by
There’s a gal, and a fish to fry
But he looses a little each day
Will his strength or the universe make the play
Will he make a chance
To do a crazy dance
Maybe by then they will make her “Dame”
Perhaps he will not even remember her name

I really want to thank Andrew Johnson, who helped me get my bike from Hobart airport 9hrs before the ride, after making several arrangements for borrowed equipment, then driving me from Miena to the second sleep stop. Then graciously committing for a re do in 2016. Wayne Hickman and Alison, for driving me through the second 600k of TDT, and trying to show me the Platypus and tender loving care. Tim Taylor for unparalleled support between Westbury and Miena.  Gavin Hind for loaning gear and drive to and back from Hobart airport. To Mark, Rick and Jan, for sharing so much even the crud and all the riders who showed for a truly Audacious Ride.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Murray 1200K

With the kind permission of Ride Organizer Simon Watt and Audax Australia I was able to join my buddy Tim "We'll get there" Taylor on the Vollie ride of the Murray 1200k. In Seattle, "Audax Wisdom" (if that is not an oxymoron) holds that if the pre-riders have good conditions then that spells doom  for the actual ride and vice-versa. So reader beware! also consider the phenomena of rando-nesia (forgetting the hard-times) and rando-phoria (a certain sense of great wellness) after a successful Audax ride.

We kicked it from the wine producing town of Robinvale from the Caravan Park on the Murray River, a spot that I am sure has endured many fish-tales of Murray cod as large as the journey we were about to embark. Joined briefly by ACT toughie Peter Heal, we started at 0500 and immediately crossed the bridge into New South Wales. Unmolested by any issues, we put time in the bank while enjoying a magnificent sunrise en-route to Balranald. We enjoyed baked goods from the bakery on the left and took care of nature at the toilets across the street. We pedaled to make hay before the sun really started shining. We skipped stopping at the town of Kyalite but the Pub appeared closed that early, Moulamein the next controle presented us with an IGA and close to the store was the Wattle Cafe. Bellies full and bottles filled we took on the Riverina, almost 90k of hot arid exposed riding that brought us to the Pretty Pine Pub AKA the Recovery Room. Here we cashed some of our time in the bank with a sit down meal and fluid and electrolyte replacement. The place is fully equipped with toilets etc, please give them my regards. With some trepidation we set out after a good while to pass Deniliquin which had available services and push on to the Conargo Pub preserving as much banked time as possible. Excellent services here too and toilets in the back, watch the doggies there though they may snatch your meal. Putting on my shoes to leave I noted something sharp in my shoes, we call those "Goats Head" in the Northwest (USA) but Tim referred to them as Bindi eye prickle. A few minutes later we were fixing his rear tire flat. I like it cool, I like night riding, I like to find the city glow of a town we approach from a distance. But nothing can describe the southern night sky, and no photo can capture its feeling. Rolling into Jerilderie with very fluid plans we used the toilets on the right as we entered he town, passed the Caravan Park and wound up at the Caltex Motel just as we were about to leave town.
Fried chicken from the gas station adjacent to the Motel under same management, fried late and probably not enough at that late hour , that would be a mistake for me. A few hours of sound sleep and it was time to ride again.

A klick down the road from Jerilderie Tim has a front flat, and ooh! a back flat too, no worries! but are  we going to be short on tubes? We have more tubes at drop bags in Rochester, worlds away! Lucky no more flats the rest of the ride. We see Peter briefly again as we are fixing flats but not again till the end. We pass Urana at the wee hours of the morning, I see a sign for shopping center and Tim uses the towns Public toilets but not even the bush-fly are up at that hour. That's OK with me but I have packed and ate some of the suspect chicken. That is not good, nothing is going good for me now and there are significant headwinds to Corowa. We retire into Brocks Cafe in Corowa, antacids, ginger and lots of hot tea help a little, I am able to keep a little food, fluids and electrolytes down. The wind is changing now as we change direction, going west, we pass the town of Yarrawonga after crossing the Murray again, a local cyclist advises us to use the Pedestrian Path on the bridge. Just, after the bridge we use public toilets on the right side. There is no ill that a tailwind will not cure as we are blown from Yarrawonga to Katamatite. Here there is a convenience store on the left and I tolerate food and drink, well on the way to recovery. The road from Katamatite to Shepparton is a little busy, so we take a little more time. In Shepparton, Tim recommends the Noodle Box, I highly recommend it too. I got my mojo back. We called Matt at the Rochester Motel, real great guy, he kept our drop bags and Pizza waiting for us in room 2. Enjoying a spectacular sunset on the road to Kyabram, the travel is easy again, I spotted a fish and chips place at Kyabram on the right side but our mission was Rochester, Grand Ole Oppy! Pizza feast and bed.

Nothing like fresh shorts and top after good sleep and shower, it is Boort or bust, we know it's going to be a hot day too. Great Brekkie at the Boort Cafe, we make our next moves with unusual deliberation. Gingerly into the Mallee we will attempt full recovery at all the steps. Wycheproof at the Mt. Wycheproof cafe, Birchip at the Bakery, at Birchip the temps are approaching what I refer to as kryptonite, then the big move. Southwest to Warraknabeal I note clouds up front and sprint for the clouds, my feet get so hot I actually spill some precious water on my shoes. Getting closer to Warrack, my savior clouds are actually part of a wind storm from the South that blows us almost to a halt. I am so glad to see the inside of the Roadhouse in Warrack and yes we will ride through. So we load our bellies and our bags and head North with the wind at our back. The cloud cover has kept the heat in, it is muggy and I cannot see my beloved milky way. There are water faucets at Beulah and Hopetoun. Tim does his ditch nap at Hopetoun and Sea Lake, I am too wired. He urges me on and I pass a sleeping Manangatang and we both manage to finish early the hottest day of all; Tuesday.

I enjoyed this ride (I know what you're thinking) but I get the logic of the R/O.
Hope all the riders enjoy it too, with tail winds and great weather.