Sunday, June 28, 2009

6-28-09 Hills of the West Coast Ride Report

Mileage: 72 Climbing: 4032’ Route: Downtown—Mercer Island—Honda Hill—Newport Way to Issaquah—Issaquah-Fall City Trail to Sammamish Plateau—Duthie Hill Rd.—W. Snoqualmie Rd.—Carnation Farm Rd.—Ames Lake climb—Rt. 202—244th climb—Inglewood Hill Rd—212th—E. Lake Sammamish—Frontage trail on north side of I-90--Eastgate Park and Ride—Factoria—Enatai—Downtown Attrition Rate: 0%

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that multiple incidents of discourteous motorists in Snoqualmie Valley were only thing that took any luster off of today’s fine HOWC. Every year I avoid the area for several weeks after the Flying Wheels event. Apparently, this year I did not wait long enough for the animosity directed at bicycles to settle down. It was kind of startling, because there were only five of us, we were not doing anything to block traffic like riding two abreast, and still people were irritated with us despite low traffic conditions. I don’t know if this year’s Flying Wheels was particularly irritating to the locals, but I do know I am not venturing out there by myself in the near future. Forewarned is forearmed.

In two weeks, Mike and Bob will ride the “Death Ride” in the Lake Tahoe area. The ride will take them to 8700’, and over five substantial mountain passes. The two of them were really the motivating force of today’s ride. All in all, it was a pretty mellow ride for a summer HOWC. Oftentimes, when there is a small group, we ride at a much more subdued pace than typical. Not only are there fewer people to share the hard work on the front of the ride, but the competitive forces that drive a larger group ride are absent. Today’s ride was the last hard ride that Mike and Bob were looking for before they start a taper for the event, and they were there to continually remind us that, yes, we did indeed come out to ride hard. Once again, the power of the group, albeit a smaller one than usual, was responsible for all of us getting a lot more out of the ride than we would have individually. I think everybody got their money’s worth.

Today was a reminder that the further one ventures from Downtown Seattle, the less bike friendly many areas are. While we never had anybody buzz us super close, we got the message loud and clear. When I do venture out there again, especially by myself, I’ll be using my little mirror and my super bright Dinotte tail light. That way I’ll see 'em coming, hopefully taming a potential fast and close pass situation by positioning myself a little out in the lane until they slow down. Then I’ll move right and give a friendly wave.

If they still run me into the ditch, I’ll sue their ass. It will be my word against theirs (unless there is a witness), but with the Dinotte they can’t claim to not have seen me.

Just like flying a single engine airplane, on a bike it can be hours and hours of stress free riding interspersed with moments of sheer terror.

I hope to see you on the Tarmac.


LB said...

Bob and Mike - got get 'em on that Death Ride. I know you guys have worked hard to prepare and I'm sure you will be glad you did! Sounds like it had some ancillary 'benefits' for the other folks that showed up for HOWC on Sunday.

Road rage in that area sucks. It is really bad with groups of cyclists.

Matt said...

my buddy lives on ames lake. we ride out there alot and when were planning rides we call the not so friendly area 'banjo country'

'hey you wanna do the snohomish loop?'

'oh yeah, i love going through banjo country'

Ill be doing my 3rd death ride coming up. its a great ride, i wish those rides luck

heres my take on last years DR