Moving On

The original purpose behind The Fourteen Percent Ride has long since been fulfilled. So, I've decided that Mighty Proud will be the last posting. It just seems right.

But, don't worry. Or maybe you should. In any event, I plan to continue. I'll keep riding. And writing. Click here to come along in my new blog ~ The Long White Line. <-- check it out!


As I've ridden for the last two years, I've picked up on the fact that Shirley, my darling wife, has been more worried about my safety than impressed with my "accomplishments." How do I know this? Well, when I'd come back and tell her, for example, that I'd hit 53.6 mph going down FO, she'd reply, "I don't want to hear it." Being the sensitive sort I figured out, after many such comments, that just maybe we were not on the same page here. But last week, she told me that she would "greatly reduce her focus on the 'fear for my safety' issue." We talked about the tour, looked at some maps, researched nutrition suggestions on the internet, and so on, just enjoying the idea of the ride. How nice is that? Thank you, Shirley!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bigfoot Country

Sunday, June 17
Marysville to Skykomish

Part way through today's ride, I come to a walk-up/drive-through (and now bike-up) espresso stand on the highway up into the Cascades. This place is all right. There is a large wooden carving of Bigfoot there - the Harry and the Hendersons version, anyway. Part of the movie was filmed here. There is a sign in the picnic park adjacent to the coffee stand: Pet Area. I think Bigfoot put it there.

It had rained off and on, mostly on, all night and it was cool and damp when we got up about 5 a.m. Tights and jackets were in order. The ride started with a short jaunt to the restaurant for breakfast followed by a 10 mile ride south and west to Everett where we dipped our rear tires in Tulalip Bay before we headed east. (Read about the Tulalip Indian tribes by clicking here). The rain came and went as we rode out of town. We ride through Everett, Snohomish, Monroe and Sultan before lunch, getting farther and farther from the cityscapes. Lunch was just past Sultan and there was quite the spread. It was 36 miles into the ride and it felt good to get to get off the bike and eat. However, it did not take long to start feeling really chilly, so it was back on the road. One of the hardest parts of any ride are the first 2 miles after a 20 minute stop on a cool day. It is tough to get limbered up again.

Shortly after leaving the picnic stop (PS on the queue sheets) we go through Startup, Washington and, not too surprisingly, start the trip up into the Cascades. After Startup, we pass through Gold Bar then Baring. Baring is the second H2O stop, where we find water coolers and two canisters of powdered Gatorade. We are now climbing gradually and there are lush forests and rushing rivers. It is raining and I'm wet, but I could not be enjoying the experience any more than I am. It is just great.

It was in this stretch that I had gotten ahead of Bill, something that doesn't happen too often. So far ahead, in fact, that I could not see him on the few longer, straight stretches of road here in the foothills of the Cascades. I kept going, climbing more now until I reached the aforementioned espresso stand. Here, I clean off some of the muck from the bike, use the facilities (Port-a-potties we saw all during the trip were called Honey Pots. Cute.) and get a cup of espresso, all the while sneaking peeks down the hill for any sign of Bill. A mini-van pulls up and the driver says that if I'm looking for a rider in a yellow jacket then he was working on his bike, but would probably be along soon. I was relieved, figuring it wasn't any worse than a flat. Soon I see a yellow-jacketed rider coming up the hill; it is Philip, not Bill. We chat for a bit and he continues on. Finally, Bill pulls into the parking lot. A flat (which isn't too big a deal) stopped him. But then the problems started. First, he had only one tube and the repair failed soon after it was installed. I don't have a clear memory of the sequence of events, but it involved one of the other riders, a second tube, a failure of Bill's pump to inflate the tire prompting said other rider to offer use of his CO2 inflator and a realization that the rear tire was not in good shape, a worn through spot probably pinching the tube and causing the flats. Everything seemed in order and we rode on together. A short while later Bill’s tire softened. I used my pump to reinflate it and we rode on. Just a couple of miles from Skykomish, the tire was pretty flat again and I attached my pump, but to no avail. I could not get any air in and succeeded only in releasing much of the little pressure left. After a brief discussion, we decide I'll take off for Skykomish and Bill will walk. I expect to get a pump and come back. It is a short ride to the school which will serve as our overnight home. I cannot find a frame pump to carry back so I mount up to ride back and walk with Bill. Just then, Kathleen and Larry roll in and tell me Bill has gotten a ride; he pulls in just a few minutes later. A lady out walking her dogs near where we parted saw the situation and offered to carry Bill and his bike the remaining 2 miles into town.

Skykomish is a very small town just west of an 8 mile rail tunnel built in the 1920's. The railroad was the town's economy, but in recent years it has moved its operations farther west. It left a lot of the town saturated in fuel oil and the cleanup has only just begun. It was "indoor camping" tonight where we had the gym to roll out our sleeping bags. Some of us pitched tents in the hallways to allow them to dry. Having done that, it seemed logical to sleep in them. So, when the time came, some of us did. Dinner was served in the school cafeteria by the local Lions Club and we got a lesson on town history after the meal. That was very interesting, but the only time during the trip where this was offered. A folk-rock band entertained us after our meeting and we learned that the multi-talented Victoria (Cycle America staff) could also play the bass guitar. To bed early, to reflect on a truly amazing day for me.

Today’s ride ~ 71.1 miles
Trip total ~ 71.1 miles
Ride time today ~ 4 hours 40 minutes

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