Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rajasthani Nights

Oh! Mharo Rajasthan
Does it matter day or night
Use the third eye for sight
Feel me, hold me
I pine for your embrace
I came from far to see your face
Give me life, don't let go
You send it in the form-Chiro

Many, much I ask of Shiva
In the desert night, flow like river
Flow around all that comes in your way
My skin, the night. to Krishna  pray
So I move, oh! how you move me
With your dark and subtle mystery
You gave me life, you never let me go
I wish I could claim you Mharo

Forever Indebted to The incomparable
Delhi Randonneurs

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.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Black-Spoke The White Knight

With childhood heroes like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, with biplanes suspended from my ceiling, like Icarus I had a dream to fly, but dreams die first. No rules would keep me grounded while my thoughts could fly away, I was regressing to that childhood at the thought of finally seeing Kitty Hawk. I did not fly into Kitty Hawk, but limped in, not on two wings, nor even two good wheels. Having spotted a cracked rear rim earlier and benefiting from a loaner from ride organizer Tony Goodnight, any sense of redemption was immediately marred by problems with the loaner. Luke "Skywalker" Heller stuck with me, through hope and despair, finding the right spacer for the cogs, after the anxious ride to the control for the exchange. As we headed into the outer banks my senses were ablaze with foreboding,  the wheel was not up to the job. By Kitty Hawk the wheel was so out of true that the tires  rubbed the stays, I had broken a spoke, not even 100k into the loaner wheel.
Strange that 8 has always been my self appointed lucky number, no evidence, but are we not a superstitious bunch?  My eighth Grand Randonee of 2013 would crash in Kitty Hawk. Not if Young Skywalker had any say, he knew of a Bike Shop in Kitty Hawk. Young Wilbur (I have no idea if that is his name) looks at my bike, I look at his wheels. I am pretty nihilistic, I feel pretty powerless. He listens to my flight plans, he discourages me from buying his best wheel available, my best chance is the wheel I have. Yet we need a spoke, after an apologetic gesture that the spoke is not available, he pulls out a black spoke from a potpourri of parts and goes for a fit. No fit, he does not give up he modifies the spoke by cutting off a small piece of the threaded end and trues the wheel. I am now a true non-believer, but still powerless. At the Nags Head, Control Joel Lawrence has set up for us, I try but fail at not being a party pooper.  

Why this intensity? it starts back at Port Campbell in Victoria, Australia in November 2012. I had as the Aussies would say "punked out" of the GSR. I termed it The Great Southern Debacle. I knew not in Port Campbell if I could ever fly again, it would not be from lack of trying again and again. Gary Wall had given me a ride to Anglesea and Peter Donnan had picked a good number of us Americans from Anglesea and kept us at his home in Melbourne. Peter and Family, Mark Thomas, Mike Dayton, John "Cap'n" Ende, and Spencer "Roomie" Klaassen, they all lit a candle in that poor heart of mine. I set my eyes on the Wagarratta Wahine but there was a lot to figure out, eek!
Nine Grands in 2013 was not a plan, it was like the falling of dominoes, a chain reaction. I commence the story at Kitty Hawk merely because it was the weakest link.
A frigid 600k in North Carolina with the NC Randonners in February is the first test, I bloom the first day but wilt in the wind on the second day, bitter-sweet uncertainty.

Taiwan in February, ready or not! A few hours after my arrival in Taipei I get hit as a pedestrian by a moped walking to the hotel from a soup shop. I am somewhat protected by my carry-on bag which takes the direct hit, my left knee and right shoulder are questionable, I religiously apply heat for the remaining days. I will be riding with my SIR buddies Mark Thomas and Rick Blacker. A bullet train ride and a bus brings us to the Pingtung Province. Amidst pomp and Pageantry from the local officials we kick off at night from "The Bridge" in Dapeng Bay in the South China Sea. It is hot and extremely humid, I am so so nervous. Mark looks at me and says "relax, this is what you do". I drink two gallons of water as they go through their speeches, I stare at the mountains off in the distance.
The small island of Taiwan has 10,000 24hr convenience stores, they are the secret to any success, sleep and soup. We hit the Mountains in the heat of the following day and it takes its toll. At our first overnight the ride sponsor has a life band going, we are not going to make our planned sleep stop a little further down the road. Mark and Rick try under the circumstances to get a few hours. I stay awake and drink three gallons of dilute Recoverite, wake up the boys and we are off. Night riding had shielded us partly from the crowded islands traffic, after what seems like all night climbing I think we have obtained the admiration and respect of the Taiwanese riders, most succumb to sleep in a 7-11 store, we push on. We arrive Taipei through a howling wind storm. Lack of sleep is weighing on me but I will not admit it. Traffic is just nuts until we go into the mountains again. four hours of black nonexistence at the next overnight in the mountains, we start back towards Pingtung. We pass a completely different Taipei at night to find strawberry fields and then more mountains and then more traffic. I will take the mountains any day and it was still waiting for us, but this time with a huge wind and rain storm. The roads are closed for two hours due to fallen trees and branches, but we have already squeezed through. Back at Pingtung  I have to take off my shoes to dismount as I cannot twist to unclip, we know there has been carnage in the finishing numbers. Rick summarizes with the words; "Just because you can, does not mean you should", but I will miss the duck with noodles.

Texas Stampede had a whole posse of gauchos in blue shirts this year. Dan Driscoll encourages me to join. I feel honored. We all show in Waxahachie Texas, Mayday! here come the cattle drovers, we move em out in one huge herd. Texas is big, Texas is flat, Texas is windy. Dan Driscoll and the Lone Stars, their hearts are as big as Texas. The herd covers the first 100k in just over three hours.  This is insane, the heat is killing me. I feel unworthy of my perennial K-hound status. Day two brings the Hill Country and temperate weather, I go for redeeming myself to myself, gotta quit all this me, myself and I. I find my spot back in the herd. Hiding in the Peloton with Bill Olsen I learn that he plans to pre-ride Endless Mountains, "sign me up" I chimed and the promptly forgot about it. Day three was perhaps a record low temperature in those parts in quite sometime. "Born and bred in the briar patch" I thought to myself, lets pedal hard for heat. Day four was the big warm up, I am edgy about this and itchy to decaffeinate the ride. A crash splinters the herd and I broke off  and ride em in with the Olsens and Mike Fox. Now! Now! Vinny, life is a marathon not a sprint.

The "Two-Step"  loomed large and ambitious, it was definitely a dance, though not of Texas. Its originator I am sure, was Mark Thomas, though it all seems so blurry now. None of us brothers in arms (Mark Rick and myself) had completed such a feat before, or so I believe, yet we embraced it like a long lost lover. We would ride from Belgium through Brussels into France, through Paris to the Champagne growing hills and back. Four days later we would start the Trans-Danube 1200k in Hungary. Mark arranged a great logistic through a lot of emails, the lime in the Corona would be the company of Spencer Klaassen, Cap'n Ende and Mike Dayton on the first step. Flying from Seattle and Kansas was easy enough, but the North Carolina boys had weather problems. Fortunately all arrive in time for a drizzly start in Herentals, I always have fenders. We had several flats that caused us to pull up the rear, not that we missed any of the beauty. We ride into Paris with the Brazilians, The Germans; Herr Kaminski and his stoker, Spencer and the NC boys. They have all slept a couple hours more due to our late arrival at the overnight just before Paris, but we will all sleep well on this one. We see Orleans, and on the way to the next overnight, the rain takes out my Edelux. I have a spare light but I fret this "two-step". Day three was a day spent with my room-mate Spencer. He plays a fixie like a fiddle, he even rode back 13 miles to find his lost passport, no sweat. We rode through the Champagne grapes to dine and sleep just outside Eparnay, that was a good day. On the way back to Herentals we rode with Serge Maraquin and Alain Caron, seems I remember the Randos more than the Eiffel Towers or Moulin Rouges. The Mayor of Herentals and Organizer Jan Geerts has arranged a welcome for us, The Mayor's secretary is to be our podium girl with two kisses for each rider. All the Americans have gone to our hotel to shower leaving me to collect their medals and their kisses, twelve in all. One day for Laundry and the next day we all fly out, but on laundry day I acquired Serge Maraqiuin's Edelux, Lord Maraquin said; "let there be light".

In Hungary a van took us straight from the airport in Budapest to our lodging in Vezsprem. The ride starts here, the gateway to Lake Balaton, the sea of land locked Hungary.  This is a beautiful tour of the great cities and monuments that speak to the lasting influence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We feast on Goulash with Paprika of course. and our eyes feast on the natural beauty of this land. On the last day, Mark and Rick are ahead and I spend the day with Jan Erik Jensen. The next day Akos the organizer gives Jan and I a ride into the twin city off Budapest, We find a pension to stay in and he drops us off at Hero Square and we take in the city. Jan flies off the next day and I have a day to kill, some off it is on the internet, where I learn that my "Roomie" Spencer is riding the Big Wild Ride.

Alaska Randonnuers RBA Kevin Turinsky makes it so easy, "you are welcome" he writes, though the ride is now less than four days away, I am scrambled in time anyway with all the flying. With the help of the girls in my office, I find myself flying into Seattle, working one day and on the evening of the same day taking the last flight from SEATAC to Anchorage. At some point in Seattle I found time to swap out the contents of my bike case. I took out the Hampsten Travelissmo (Khaleesi) and packed the Thompson 650B (Wahine) . I get to the hotel in Anchorage in a cab just past midnight, after waiting an hour for a hotel shuttle that never came. I hurriedly put Wahine together only to find that the dynohub powered light does not work, so I break it all down to find where I have created a short in its internal wiring. By the time I fix this it is time to go get breakfast with Spencer, Rod Geisert and Joe Edwards.
I get a late bike inspection, check in my bike in the truck and board the train to Whittier. A picturesque train ride, the train is buzzing with Randonneurs, I am too pumped up to crash out at this point. Bill Olsen informs me that there will be no pre-ride of Endless Mountains, we will have to do the regular ride we decide. At Whittier we pick up the bikes and board a ferry to Valdez, we sail with whales and all kinds off marine wildlife, I crash out on the ferry in a most uncomfortable chair. I am dead to the world. Next day we flesh out the bikes and struggle to bank sleep, midnight we are off with what seems like the who's who of RUSA. I am riding with Dan Driscoll, Pam Wright, Lois Springsteen, Kitty Goursolle, John Lee Ellis, Debra Banks, Greg Conderacci, Ron Himschoot, Karel Stroethoff, Jim Solanick to name a few of the Randonneurs I know, not already mentioned above. Heading north through a mountain pass in the dark to Delta Junction where there is barely any darkness past twilight. We roam with wildlife moose, bear, wolves and Randos. Next day we continue north to Fairbanks and turn south, from Fairbanks to Nenana is memorable climbing in the heat. As the day cools off we hit a long patch of bad road before Healy, I am glad Wahine is with me, Healy to Talkeetna is by the Denali Park and Mckinley is out. Last day through Wasilla, we are back in Anchorage.

Endless Mountains; "I remember a lot of climbing at night" I said to Mark. But four years ago it was in September, now it is in August with more daylight, this one will also be hotter and more humid. This will be my fourth 1200K in just over a month and my sixth for the year, caution is prevailing over exuberance by now. A pattern is emerging, I will add the first the first couple of days, to the recovery phase and exploit the training effect in the last two days. I resist any temptation to follow a very strong group in the first two days. Mark flies off with Joel Lawrence and Vinny Sikorski, I barely see them the whole ride. I ride with John "Endless" Pearch and Ian Shopland my SIR roomates also the Olsen brothers and Mike Fox. The last day I spend almost exclusively with Jos Vestergren (the Flying Dutchman). The climbing is unparalleled and endless, the support is awesome as expected of Tom Rosenbauer and his group of Volunteers. Jos leaves the next day to ride to Canada for the Granite Anvil, Bill Olsen will join him, I will pass on this one, I travel to Africa for family matters.

Last Chance was spent totally in the company of Theo Roffe. We mingled with other riders in random fashion, including the very impressive Andrea Matney. Our trip from Boulder to Kensington was uneventful enough, though I could not sleep much at Atwood on the way out. For a brief while in Kensington it got quite hot and humid, and I was glad that for cooling showers as we headed back to Atwood. At this time we ran into Andy Albershardt and Gary "Jens" Sparks. Sleep deprivation was a problem then, not much thought given to the weather. I had better sleep at Atwood on the way back, but still we did not prepare for the storms that lay ahead. By Bird City; another flat had us hiding in a dairy to fix the flat, when we saw Andy and Gary fly by, they were chasing us down. At the Bird City Diner the farmers asked where we were going in the storm, "I hope you have a canoe", they joked, when they learned we were headed for Colorado. Then it got worse, at Idalia we bought thrift store clothes for reinforcement as 30mph wind gusts drove the rain in our face and sometimes stopped us in our tracks. At Byers we ate and slept a glorious four hours. Gary had skipped this and Andy rode in with us on a modified course through the flood devastation to Boulder, but I digress.

Before I digressed we were at Nags Head on the Taste of Carolina, we started in Lumberton and it was mostly wet the first day. We had done the first overnight and we were now headed for Engelhard. I thought; there is not much city form there to Lumberton, perhaps I should quit there, not in the middle of nowhere. Reaching Engelhard it looked pretty much like the middle of  nowhere so I went on with much of the wolf pack (Mark Thomas, Dan Driscoll, Rick Blacker, Greg Courtney, Luke Heller. Thomas Droege, Michael Shmit and Bob Bruce) to a sleep spot eleven miles down the road. Exhausted and exasperated I fell into REM sleep to find Orville Wright Admonishing me to "take this broken wing and learn to fly again, learn to be so free", then he morphed into Leonard Cohen:
"Ring the bells that still can ring
 Forget your perfect offering
 There is a crack in everything
 That's how the light gets in"
And that was it, I rode in with  Black-spoke and the wolf pack to Lumberton.

Next was the Sydney to Melbourne Alpine 1200k, the return to the scene of the crime.
"Just gotta learn to live with what you can't rise above"..... Bruce Springsteen.

Thanks Pat Leahy
For asking me to write this.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stealing Home

This year I was lucky to see so many lands on a bike, came back from Africa to find that I could ride a 400k North and 600K South, that's stealing home plate.
The 400k was lovely, Noel Howes one of my Roomies gave us a Samish treat. Though I have no great taste for raw oysters, there was plenty of Tabasco to make this one go down smooth. Got to see a lot of old friends; Andy Speier, Ken Carter, Kathy and Charlie White, Elaine and Don Jameson, Tom Brett, Steve Davis, Bill Gobie, Jeff Loomis, Peg Winczeski, Steve Davis and More. Much Thanks to the Organizers and Narayan For Very Witty company for most of the ride and Chris Willett for the ride home. East or West Home is Best.
I volunteered to Pre ride the 600K with the Kind Permission of Organizer Albert Meerscheidt.
I met up with Mike Richeson at the start, but for the first time this year I was to ride this Brevet solo.
Started Pedaling from the GuestHouse Motel in Auburn and soon into the warm up climb; Peasley Canyon, a clement one. Ran along the ridge to find a nice bike trail that Albert had thrown last minute into the course which was quite pleasant. Oh boy the first leaves have started falling, and I had a crescent moon.
Through Fife, I get to Tacoma, the Sunrise in Ruston is spellbinding. Then I crossed the Narrows and drop into Gig Harbor, this I have missed. Heading through Olalla towards Port Orchard Ah! I have forgotten how rude Orchard can be. Stopped at Waterman Point a little Pier and Viewpoint, I can see Bremerton and Sailboats enjoying Labor day weekend.
Up from Port Orchard towards Gorst, nice rollers after a little climb, I find the Belfair Valley road to Belfair then the Hood Canal to Purdy Cutoff then to Shelton. No! Wait! cannot blow by the farms just before Purdy Cutoff without Ice cream on a warm day.
Shelton to Matlock  to Brady, look for the Satsop Towers ominous looking. Elma to Montesano (you know the drill). Through Blue Slough to Cosmopolis, I push on toWestport, You cannot miss the Shell station its in your face but you will miss the ocean at Westport. No Worries! continue on SR-105 'cos the ocean lies this way.
By Raymond it is getting a little dark and I load up my Bags and Bladders and get into SR-6. I have been fighting a wind from the west for much of the day, hoping for a big push in the Chehalis Gap, it was not to be, the wind died down. Nothing reasonable open in Pe Ell, no Manna falling in Rainbow Falls, No problem! I was stocked, did not even check at Chehalis,
Had enough left for a night cap at the motel in Centralia. 4-5 hrs sleep, ignored the 24hrs Gas station and Subway facing the Motel, stuffed a couple of pastries from the breakfast hall into my back pockets and gulped a coffee, filled bidons with water and went out to tackle Centralia Alfa.
Now in Cascades foothills, Big meal in the Thriftway in Morton. Sustained Climb and Descent brings me to Elbe where you will meet the worst railroad tracks ever. A segment of DORMAR (reverse RAMROD) brings me to Enumclaw and yes! its Home when I an hating on the flat Green Valley that brings me to the Finish.
Mike Richeson is waiting for me what a Dude! He furnishes me with a cold one applied immediately to the palms to alleviate numbness then I sink it to instigate generalized numbness, good to be home.
Mexican dinner and a ride home what else can I wish for. Stealing Home!

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I had the pleasure of the company of John Pearch and Doug Migden on the Seattle to Glacier Pre-ride.
We Departed from QFC in Mercer Island and rode up to Tully's. We decided to start the ride at Tully's instead and we were off @ 0500. Riding west across the I-90 bridge we figured the "Info Question" and rode down Seward Park to Renton where we found the Cedar river trail to take us to the Mountains. Pretty soon we were ascending as the white river was descending, our objective Chinook Pass. 
Not too many controls on this Brevet but just a good amount of services, we stopped at Cliffdell, Whistlin Jacks for refreshment, cold drizzle was ebbing and Eastern Washington weather was on.
Riding through Yakima reflecting on C1200 of old as we passed through fields of Hops.
After Flat and gusts of wind we made the Vernita Bridge and headed East for Othello.
Just Before Othello Best Western, I made a little detour to the right to the 24hr Burger king for Dinner.
By the time I got to BW the Boys had already gotten their pre-mailed packages and Doc was already in bed. I grabbed mine, took out the fresh shorts and wore them after a shower, then dinner.
A little overconfident I might add, after a good nights sleep we left for Lind almost at Othello closing time. Immediately hit a ten mile stretch of  fresh chip-seal and was glad that I had my Thompson 650B with Hetre's, though I had suffered one flat earlier and put on a brand new tire.
Then we hit Lind Hatten road which my Buddy's joked was a "Pre-Road" So the control at Lind is three hours and change away,  What me worry? We were determined to, and we made it. Type 2 fun Sir Hugh would call that stretch, no worries we re-routed. 

After refueling at Lind it was on to Colfax and the rolling Palouse, we pushed to make time in the bank.
Refueling at Plummer Idaho, we hooked up with the Couer D' Alene
bike trail, 55 miles of flat in the beautiful lights of the dusk.
Destination Kellogg, John and I stopped just before the GuestHouse Inn at Walmart where we find all kinds of microwaveable stuff for late Dinner
Rise and shine the last day, two hours before Kellogg closing time, we back track on the trail to the Town of Enaville.
And follow a river grade before it kicks up to Thompson Pass.
Then down to Thompson Falls where Minnies never disappoints.
After filling the bellies with good stuff, roll down the MT 200.
To Wild Horse Plains.
To catch the MT 28 to bring us to the Lovely Flathead Lake.
But it is not over yet there are some killer rollers on US 93 to Kallispell.
Geoff  "GPS" Swarts has found some ways to limit the harshness of traffic, rumble strips. and debris on the shoulder of US 93 but there is some loose gravel and a little more navigating involved and perhaps in the dark. 
We make Lakeside to find Dairy Queen closed but the gas station is open, still a little too early to start celebrating.
The Motely crew make Whitefish, morning rental car to Glacier.
Effing Monarchs!
Big Sky!
Retreating Glaciers!

Thanks Geoff for invaluable help with routes, John for immeasurable energy, photos and enthusiasm, Doc for constantly preaching safety and Kole for help with Excel.

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