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!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What Am I Doing Here?

Saturday, June 16
Minneapolis to Marysville, Washington

Have you ever washed your hands in a lavatory in England? My experience has been that there are sinks there with dual water controls and a single spout where, when you place your hands under it, you feel not a flow of warm water but two distinctly different streams, one quite cold and the other hot. No mixing out to an average at all. That’s kind of how I felt about the ride. On one hand, I was confident. A lot of miles and a lot of hills around La Crosse should have me ready. On the other hand, there were so many things I had not done…over 600 miles in one week, 7 straight days of riding, multiple near 100 mile days including 3 in a row. And mountains. Not bluffs. Mountains. Hot and cold. Equal measures of confidence and apprehension.

As we descend into Seattle the pilot reports broken clouds. I didn’t know they were that fragile. He manages to manuever through them with no damage to the plane, however. We get our bags and bikes and wait for the Cycle America transportation. It shows up at more or less the appointed time although we do have a bit of a wait for others arriving on different flights. Here I am, sitting in the second row of the van, surrounded by people (who I would later learn were “tour junkies”) on their third or seventh or whatever cycling tour. Three ladies are sharing experiences. One cannot remember how many marathons she has run; another has done several triathlons, including the Ironman in Hawaii. The third is apparently just warming up by riding from Seattle to Boston. In January she plans a big ride: Cairo to Johannesburg. Africa. The thought runs through my mind, “What am I doing here?” Well, I think, I’m here to have fun, to see a good part of the Pacific Northwest and to find out what I can do on a big ride.

We reassemble our bikes and set up the tents at Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, about 45 miles north of the Seattle airport. After signing in, we take the vans into town for dinner at a local restaurant. Our first lasagna meal. It will not be our last. It is Strawberry Festival time in Marysville and there is a big parade. We thought everyone had come out to welcome us and see us off on our big adventure. Oh well. Later, an organizational meeting in the gym where we meet each other and the staff. The routers describe tomorrow's ride and hand out the first of our 7 queue sheets, detailing the route. Something else to learn. Then, to the tents. I wake up during the night to the sound of rain tip-tapping on my tent. It doesn’t matter. I’m ready to ride.

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