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!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

Wednesday, June 20
Electric City to Spokane

I would call Shirley from the road, several times a day; this to share my excitement, let her know how things were going. During one conversation she asked me what time it got dark out here in the Pacific Northwest. I replied, “I don’t have a clue.” It’s true. I was asleep before nautical twilight. Well, before civil twilight. Actually, it was before sunset. Even at the end of the longest day, I felt pretty good after a shower and our mid afternoon refreshment, but once dinner and the evening meeting were over, it was time to go to bed. And sleep. Very well.

It was the second long ride of the tour, 94.4 miles it turned out. It started with, you guessed it, a 3 mile climb. Just out of the town of Grand Coulee where we had breakfast at the same restaurant that served us the latest of our string of lasagna dinners the night before, we found ourselves above the backside of Grand Coulee dam. Even from this vantage point, where you could not see its height or expanse, it is an impressive structure.

Shortly after this we start the climb. When I reached the top, I realized that this was the best climb I’d ever done. How do I measure this? Bill did not go by me on the way up. He is a very good rider and a really, really good climber. I gauge my climbs by how long he has to wait at the top for me to arrive. This has never happened before, didn’t happen again on the tour and might well never happen again. So, it was a good climb to be sure.

It wasn’t long after we gained the top that Bill broke the cable for the rear-wheel gears. Stuck with only the three chain ring options, he rode for nearly thirty miles, luckily a section of rolling hills with no long, steep climbs. At the picnic stop Niall, the tour mechanic, had a new cable installed before Bill was through with his sandwich. Knowing that the “sag wagons” were cruising the course and that we had a fully equipped mechanic made for some peace of mind as we rode the open road.

One good climb does not a good ride make. As we turned to a more easterly direction, we met a headwind. This and the long stretch of rolling hills slowed me down and I was glad for the lunch break. Still, it was a pretty stretch of road. At one point there was this amazing expanse of green near the road with another field of dazzling yellow farther back.

It went better after eating and resting a bit and I was off for Spokane. Along the way Neil, the Irish riding machine, went by me. He goes by everyone. An amazing rider. Shortly thereafter I look up just in time to see him take a tumble off to the right of the shoulder. When I get to the scene of the accident, he is up, looking at his bike. He says he’s OK, that he had a momentary lapse in attention and got into the sand off of the shoulder. “Happens all the time,” he says. I know why, too. When this happens to me -- when I start drifting to the edge of the shoulder -- I have time to assess the situation, ponder a few alternative courses of action, choose one and execute it. Neil, on the other hand, at the speed he rides, has very little time to react.

Getting into Spokane means riding on a very nice bike trail for a while. Then, it is a tour of the western end of the city before finally rolling in to the Gonzaga University campus where we have dorm rooms for the night. Rooms! With beds! And “bed-wetter” mattresses as Carol would note later. They were covered in a plastic material that, in addition to Carol’s view of their primary function, served to make them very warm to sleep on in the non air-conditioned rooms.

We have plans to go out with Bill’s friends Rex and Susan. Rex picks us up at the dorm and on the way to his home we discuss dinner options. “Anything except pasta or potatoes,” Bill suggests. I discover that these are real friends when later, Susan suggests that we dine on spaghetti. Bill tells her we have opted for pasta-free dining tonight. She laughs and suggest that we’d best be on our way to the brew pub for hamburgers, then. We didn’t do so well on the potato thing, however. French fries, a necessary accompaniment to the hamburgers, you know.

Back to the plastic beds which provided, in spite of the above mentioned issues, a good night’s sleep.

Today’s ride ~ 94.4 miles
Trip total ~ 348.7 miles
Ride time today ~ 6 hours 49 minutes

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Just the "second long ride of the trip"? You could have fooled me!