Sunday, August 3, 2008

8/3/08 Hills of the West Coast Ride Report

Another day of marginal weather (at least in the morning) produced another small group for the Sunday ride. Ramrod occurring just three days ago likely also had something to do with our small group number of five.

We rolled across the I-90 Bridge before 8am, fully intending to be nowhere near the bridge late in the morning when the crowds were massing for the Blue Angels show. After doing some nice short climbs on deserted roads through Bellevue and Medina, Scott put down a strong pace for us up Juanita Hill.

The real story of today’s Hills ride, thankfully with a happy ending, occurred as Bill stood up on the pedals on the initial part of the Juanita descent. Scott was in front of me, and Bill and the others were behind me. I heard a loud metallic crunching sound, and instinctively suspected the worst. Imagine my surprise when I looked back to find everyone upright. According to Bob, who witnessed the incident from close range, Bill pulled off an incredible recovery to get back on to the bike after his fight foot banged hard into the pavement, and he pushed down to use his leg as a lever to right himself. While Bill gave most of the credit to good luck, I suspect that there was a fair amount of skill involved as well. He did mention that he’d been doing a lot of mountain biking lately…hmmm…enough reason for me to give it another shot? No, I think not!

If there is a lesson to be learned from this near tragedy, I suppose it is that one should never take for granted that very lightweight cycling equipment has an unlimited lifespan. Bill’s crank set was around 10 years old, but it looked like new, and he had never crashed on it. For peace of mind, I have always changed out handlebars and stems whenever I feel they have produced a long service life for me, regardless of cosmetic appearance. One would think that a crank arm would have a healthy dose of over-engineering built into the design, but obviously the service life of this particular arm had been exceeded. Bill intends to ship the arm to the manufacturer for inspection. For peace of mind, I intend to even more closely and frequently inspect my bicycle frames and forks, as well as all components.

While we were all tremendously relieved that Bill had managed a miraculous recovery to stay upright, the fact of the matter was that he now had a one pedal bike. We wished him well as he headed back up the road to look for his half sheared off drive side arm with Speedplay pedal still attached. Luckily for him, he had ridden to the start of the ride, and he wasn’t too far from home.

So we were down to four. We made our first stop at Tracy Owen, and two others decided to take a short-cut back to the ride start. Bob had just come off of a hard tour in the Colorado Mountains, and Scott had to make sure he was home early to entertain a guest from out of town.

So it was just Reg and me, and Reg had just done Ramrod for the umpteenth time three days ago. Reg is well known as someone who rides like a lot younger man, and once again he was to prove how tough he was. Recovery…who needs recovery?

Reg and I completed one of the classic counter clockwise routes we use a lot on summertime Hills rides. We climbed up through Brier, and then headed west to near downtown Edmonds. After climbing up Woodway Parkway, we descended to Richmond Beach, and then took 175th through Shoreline. Both Reg and I agreed that we would have done the Innis Arden climb if the whole group were here, but we figured why spoil the good time we were enjoying with a really steep climb? We totaled 61 miles with 4394' of climbing for the day.

We finished by looping around Magnolia in brilliant sunshine, after spending most of the day in clouds with temperatures between 54 and 58 degrees.

Perhaps next week summer will arrive for the Team HPC Powered by Cycle U group ride!

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