Sunday, June 24, 2018

2018 Leon Matz: Puyallup to Colorado Trip

4:30 PM on Saturday, June 16, 2018

Last real ride before ride to Colorado Springs!

One of my favorite rides is the Skate Creek loop ride which was scheduled for today! 11 Cyclopaths showed up! The ride goes from just outside Ashford to Paradise then down Stevens Canyon over Backbone ridge and loop around to Packwood then up and over Skate CreekRoad back to the cars! It is a very scenic but challenging ride!I was tempted to do the full ride but with my wife and I leaving Thursday I thought riding only to Paradise and back to the cars would be best! I will leave it up to the group to post info on the ride! I want to focus on my upcoming ride! Thursday about 5 am I will start riding from Puyallup to see my daughter Heather and her husband Frankie in Colorado Springs! Because of some other commitments I have only 12 days to cover the 1,430 miles. A pretty ambitious plan. This adventure is clearly the most difficult thing I have ever tried! Needless to say I am excited to get started but very nervous about it is going to go. My biggest concern is about my neck. I have been in Physical Therapy for 4 weeks and am even trying Accupuncture! The pain usually starts at about 49 miles and gets progressively worse the longer I ride! I have ridden 3 days back to back 100 miles plus but have suffered for several days afterwards. Trying to do 12 days in a row of 120 miles daily probably is unrealistic!Fran and our dog Baxter will be meeting for lunch and overnight so I have that security! If I can only ride 50 each day then that is what I will do!When the weather forecast for next week came out and 90 degree temperatures expected here I was not too excited! That probably means 100 degree temperatures through Eastern Washington Idaho and Montana. Heat like that will make the days longer and harder!My route follows I 90 all the way to Butte Montana then south through Yellowstone and the Tetons. Then angling Southeast to Rawlins, Wyoming then south into Colorado through Breckinridge and over Hoosier Pass 11,500 ft and then east to Colorado Springs .I hope to do a daily post! Your positive thoughts and prayers are greatly welcomed!

4:01 PM on Thursday, June 21, 2018

I Hope today was an Omen for the rest of the trip!

The ride went better than I could have ever expected! Started at 4:50 and road smoothly up 167 to 18. Traffic was heavy but no real issues until I was heavily hocked by a transit bus for absolutely no reason!I am on the shoulder bothering no one and the bus driver just felt it necessary to vent his dislike for cyclists ! I wish it wasn’t that way! It didn’t seem to take long and I was to Tiger Mt. It started to mist and the roads quickly turned wet. The 3 mi climb went smoothly and it wasn’t long and I was on I 90. Lots of trucks went racing by and soon the mist stopped!I spent time reflecting back on the ride Tom Peterson and I did a few years back when we did the Old Courage Classic route! I even remember talking at length about Tacoma Tennis Club and what it was like managing it! It would have been great to have his company!To my amazement my average speed for the trip was over 15 mph when I reached the top of the Pass.Fran and I hand planned on meeting at the Cle Elum exit for a quick lunch and bottle exchange! I had only 30 miles to go and I had over 2 hours to get there and a gentle down hill. I will be early!About 1/2 way around the lake I was waved down by a lady construction worker who explained that I could not ride through the next 4-5 miles because of construction and very limited space!Luckily she offered to give me a ride through that area! A good friend of hers is a cyclist!After I started riding again I started reflecting back 44 years ago when in my little KARMAN Giants I drove this route regularly when I was a student at Central. Doesn’t seem like it was that long ago!As a tennis player in college I hated how the wind would blow every day and always from the NW ! Today it was a huge blessing! The wind was blowing me to Ellensburg!!At the exit before Cle Elum I saw a car pulled over and two people looking my way! I assumed they must be looking at something behind me!I checked my mirror and saw nothing. After I was passed them (going 27)I realized it was a teacher at my school and his son cheering me on!I felt bad I wasn’t able to stop! I stopped at the Cle Elum exit and called Fran! She had been detained and hadn’t left yet!Luckily I had enough food and drink and just kept riding! With the wind and slight decent it was like being in a paceline with the Cyclopaths! It was exciting and fun! I tried not to put in too much effort knowing I have 11 more days of writing!I bet the drivers going by could see my grin!My average speed kept going up and up! Finished in Eburg at 17.5 !From the top of the pass I averaged over 22 mph! Unreal!!!The next was stiff and painful but not horrible so I have survived one day! Won’t be so lucky again!Thanks for all your positive thoughts and prayers! The adventure is off and running!

One of my favorite views on the route at Elk Heights!
Waterfall going up Snoqualmie Pass!
Who is this old guy ready to get on his bike and try and ride 1400 miles in 12 days?

4:15 PM on Friday, June 22, 2018

Day 2 Ellensburg feedlots to the Ritzville wheat fields 114 mile and 3,566 ft of gain and 18.6mph

After yesterday’s fast ride I didn’t expect today’s ride to top the 17.6 mph average but it happened and I am grateful it did. Started a little later today to be more sensitive to Fran and left at 5:35. The sun was already up and warming the air. Just 6 miles down the road we passed the small town of Kittitas. It is where Fran grew jump and her mom lived there for many years and memories of trips to see her. She was a very special lady who survived the concentration camps in Poland ! On the decent I tried out a new technique .I sit on the top tube but instead of crouching down like you see some of the pro riders do I just sat upright! My neck enjoyed the position as it gives it a rest from stretching out. Controlling to bike especially as it hit above 45 mph is a little more challenging. I did hit the brakes a few times to control the speed some!The long gentle climb to the top of ridge rewarded me with views of the massive wind turbines! The visitors center didn’t open until 9 so a tour was not an option!After crossing the Columbia river I was treated with a long gentle climb but a nice view of the iron horses on the ridge! Fran went up to get a closer look later but the route is pretty sketchy.Once up on the ridge the road flattens out! Wonderfully smooth pavement and the suction of trucks and cars flying by kept my speed higher than normal. My average speed kept climbing and climbing and topped out at 18.9 before the hills outside Ritzville slowed me down . I was lucky to go that fast because by 10;30 it was already 80+ degrees. Fran stopped and gave me a new water bottle but I failed to put on my ice neck tube sock! I regretted not putting it on as the temperatures continued to climb and the heat started to really tire me out! I put in a greater effort at the end than I had wanted to!Tomorrow I finish crossing Washington state and entering Idaho! I hope for a cooler day!I hope all the Cyclopaths have a great ride tomorrow up to Sunrise! It is one of my very favorites! Enjoy the no car day and do let your ice chest get stolen!Leon

The wind farm.
My new invention to block the sun from my face and yet not trap the heat!
Iron horses looking over the Columbia River.

6:20 PM on Saturday, June 23, 2018

Day 3 Ritzville to Kellogg Idaho 122 mi 3,593 ft of climbing and 18.0 mph

The weather forecast was for 54 degrees to start the morning! I was shocked to see it 46! Headed out no real wind and not much traffic!In 2 hours the temperature was only up to 54 but for me that was fine and much preferred over the 80 degree temperatures of the previous day!Was making good progress hitting Spokane in 3.5 hours. Then my luck changed! A state trooper pulled over yelled at me and demanded I get off the freeway even though it is legal!In the meantime Fran drove by where I was! Luckily she came back and found me and gave me a 3 mile ride to the outskirts of town!Back on the bike cold and stiff! Soon I was warmed up and rolling along! Took a few pictures of Post Falls! Tomorrow they are having an Ironman race there. I wonder if Lanny is here!Beautiful area! Soon I had a 2 mile climb followed by a 4 mile climb! The temperatures stayed in the low 70’s so it was pretty comfortable !Found out today a total now of 3 Orting Hs staff have now seen me on the ride!My neck really bothered me today I hope tomorrow is better!Take care All!

Lakes on the way to Spokane!
Post Falls
Site of tomorrow’s Ironman!

5:51 PM on Sunday, June 24, 2018

Kellogg to Missoula 128 mi 4,900 ft of climbing 15.5 mph

Wow can things happen from one day to the next! I was used to smooth shoulders and lots of traffic to help drag me along and favorable winds or no wind! All of that changed today! After leaving Kellogg I faced a headwind, bumpy shoulder and an uphill grade! By the time I got to the top of Lookout Pass at 4,700 ft I had been riding two hours and covered only 24 miles!Yesterday I had covered 37 miles at the two hour mark!From there my average speed did increase but far below the other days! Less traffic, no favorable wind, bumpy road and perhaps a tired Leon!In addition my neck was a big issue today!at 45 miles my neck was really hurting and nothing seemed to help! I was real discouraged and not sure if I was going to be able to complete the ride. Fran luckily came buy and I took some Advil and put on my neck ice sock to cool me and possibly help the neck! Within 30 minutes the pain was much less and I was able to concentrate on riding!The bumpy roads and unfavorable wind continued but was able to finish the ride!Tomorrow will be a real tough day with 145 miles and a Major climb in haystack pass near the end!

Gold creek before Lookout Pass
Big Sky Country!



Saturday, June 23, 2018

2018_06_23 Puyallup Cyclopaths': "Sunrise Triple/Quad Ride

Author:  Mike Hassur

Up at 3:50 AM, got dressed, quick glass of chocolate milk (large), reviewed my list of items needed for a bike ride to make sure that I had gotten everything in the van the night before, and walked out the front door to see - RAIN!!  Oh well, we weren't starting this ride from Puyallup.  The starting point was in the mountains and the weather forecast continued to show a low chance of rain where we planned to ride (which was the 10 mile climb to the Sunrise Visitor Center on Mt. Rainier).

I hadn't gone even a mile when I received a text (at 4:45 AM) from Nick Iverson that said "It's raining".  I responded that the weather forecast continued to look good.  I drove on, and it continued to rain - through Sumner, Bonney Lake, Buckley... as I was passing through Enumclaw (in the rain) I received a phone call from John Winter.  He was concerned about the rain and wondered if we were still going. I responded that I was already in Enumclaw, that it was still raining, and that the weather forecasts blah, blah, blah.

5:10 AM above Enumclaw near the Mud Mtn. turnoff from hwy 410 - still raining...

I'd been watching weather forecasts for Greenwater, Sunrise, and Paradise all week, and all week they had said the same thing - "slight chance of scattered showers around 6:30 AM and low chance of precipitation thereafter".

By the time, I got to Greenwater - still in the rain - my confidence was slightly shaken.  When I finally got to the starting point of our ride at 6:15 AM, I found - DRY ROADS!!  It was misting slightly, but this was trending in the right direction.

Soon the other guys started arriving and unpacking their bikes.  We were on the road by 6:40 AM heading up the climb to Sunrise and into the mist...

Kyle, David, Scott, and Dwaine getting ready...

Nick Moffitt unloading his gear...

6:45 AM: Some of the group heading up into the mist early on our first ascent of the day...

Our first time up this 10 mile climb went well.  We visited and kept up a pretty good pace as we climbed.  The temperature was in the mid-40's when we started the climb and things got cooler as we got higher.  We had no problem staying warm, because we were working fairly hard and generating a lot of heat.  By the time we got up to the Sunrise Visitor Center, it was cold (34 degrees), and we were a little damp due to the light mist.

Mt. Rainier shrouded in clouds as seen from the empty parking lot of the Sunrise Visitor Center...

Sunrise Visitor Center - no cars allowed up here until June 28th...

After a brief stop in the parking lot of the visitor center, we were getting cold as we started the long descent back to our vehicles.  The official opening for cars on this road to Sunrise isn't until June 28th this year, so we had the road all to ourselves.  The descent was really fast and COLD; but, with no traffic to worry about, it was still fun.

We arrived back at our cars, restocked with food and drink, put on some warmer clothing (at least, I did) and headed back up for our second time up of the day.  By this time, it was getting warmer; and the mist was pretty much gone.  I think that it was this second trip up where we encountered a bear about half way up.  Kyle was riding a little ahead of the group when he looked up and saw a bear by the side of the road about 30-40 feet in front of him.  Thankfully, the bear moved into the trees a little way.  We stopped, briefly, to gawk and take a few photos.

Bear encounter...

The descent on this second trip was noticeably warmer.  We really enjoyed flying down the road through the curves and not being uncomfortably cold.

We ended up doing this climb four times which was a first.  David Crawford, whose goal was to get in at least 10,000' of climbing ended up with 11,316', while the rest of us were in the 9,000' range.

Martin, David, Scott, Dwaine, Mike, and Les at Sunrise Point (4th time up)... (photo by Park Ranger)

This turned out to be a great ride.  This climb (and descent) is always spectacular, and the weather just got better and better through the course of the ride.  Most importantly, we had a really enjoyable group of riders (Nick Iverson, Nick Moffitt, John Winter, Les Becker, David Crawford, Dwaine Trummert, Scott Wagar, Martin Katzberg, and Kyle - sorry, Kyle, I don't know your last name yet).  That would be an enjoyable group with whom to ride be it on The Climb or this climb to Sunrise.

Our next scheduled ride is in two weeks.  It is listed as "Triple-ByPass".  There is some road work on that route, and we may have to change the ride... so I'll keep you posted.

Can't wait!!!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Skate Creek Picture Post -- by Dwaine

Self congratulating ourselves at Longmire. It seemed a little early for such joy and confidence. But the weather was looking to be better than expected. Our legs still felt fresh. We were in denial regarding the self inflicted suffering that would commence all too soon.

A good way into the climb to Paradise a quartet of Cyclopaths took a scenic side route past Ricksecker Point that revealed this view. I promised to make the photo as quickly as possible and Les promised not to fall off the cliff directly behind him. Success.

Saturday was not the first time this particular stretch of pavement captured my camera's attention. By this part of the ride we were working enough to feel it but not enough to be hate it. The sun was out. The group was in high spirits and the scenery was spectacular. Climbing to Paradise never gets old.

Leon claimed he was 'taking it easy' and only completing a portion of the group ride. His moderated pace was no piece of cake. The photographer would like to say 'thanks' to Leon for slowing for this photo.

This guy. So much power. When Adam is leading the first group up any given pitch I'm proud of myself if I can hang with the second group.

Is Mount Rainier photobombing a capture of Scott? Or was the photographer capturing a selfer making a selfie? While we regrouped, snacked, and chatted at the top of Backbone Ridge (Pass?) we were feeling confident. Two climbs were completed. Just one more to go.

This unscheduled stop allowed us to take in some scenery. Stevens Canyon road above Ohanakaposh is beautiful.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2018_05_19 The Alder Lake Loop with The Climb Option

Author:  Mike Hassur

The plan was to be on our bikes leaving Orting by 7:00 AM on Saturday morning.  My wife, Kathy, and I arrived home on a trip back from Tofino on Vancouver Island, BC at about 7:30 PM the night before after an 11.5 hour drive, ferry ride, congested border crossing, and even more congested romp through Seattle traffic.  We were exhausted and cranky (at least I was), and I was concerned about how much energy I would have left for our ride the next morning.  That's when it dawned on me that may van was not going to be available to drive to Orting the next morning.  We drove Kathy's car to Tofino, so I had the bright idea to leave my van with our mechanic for an oil change and tune up while we were gone.  Luckily for me, Kathy was kind enough to offer to drive me to Orting the next morning.

You never really know exactly how many people will show up for a ride; but from the RSVP's that I had received after sending out the ride reminder, I suspected that we would have 13-14 riders.  It ended up being 14.  We got started a little after 7:00 AM, and the temperature was nice (mid to high 50's).  It wasn't long before guys were peeling off layers of clothing.

There are actually 13 riders pictured (though it is difficult to see everyone) as we are leaving Orting...

Looking ahead as we approach the bridge that spans the Puyallup River...

...and now behind, Scott and Isaac with a rider or two hidden behind them...

With Adam, David, Erich, and Rob leading the way; it wasn't long before we were riding by the turn off to The Climb.  Les peeled off for a minute to drop off a water bottle for later, while Dwaine yelled "don't slow down - we'll catch back up"... and they did.

From there, it was up the hill to the four-way stop by the Kapowsin General Store where we turned left and headed along the west side of Lake Kapowsin toward Lake Ohop.  There was a lot of visiting on the way to Lake Ohop, but that didn't seem to effect the pace which remained brisk.

Soon, we were at the Lake Ohop "bathroom break area".  Leon, who had fallen behind figured that we would be waiting for him at the stop sign where Oreville Road meets the highway up into Eatonville.  He rode by the Lake Ohop area where we were taking a short break without noticing us.  When he arrived at the stop sign and didn't see us, he figured that we had gone ahead without him; so he headed up through Eatonville and proceeded toward Mt. Rainier.  That was the last we would see of Leon.

After a short break, our group took the Ohop Valley Road to where it met The Mountain Highway.  It was at this point that Rob Critchfield headed back due to a prior commitment, while the rest of us began the climb up to the Alder Lake Dam Overlook.  This part of the ride was sort of a blur for me.  I was trying to follow John Winter's wheel, and he was riding well (which is another way of saying that I was feeling oxygen deprived for much of that stretch).  Somewhere past La Granlde, I told John and Isaac (or was it Dwaine??) that I was going back to check on Les and Scott who were somewhere behind us.  I rode the rest of the way up with Les and Scott.  This is a fun climb; but, if you are trying to go fast, it can seem to go on forever!!

Alder Lake Dam Overlook: 
(L-R: Dwaine, Isaac, John, Nick, Scott, Les, Erich, David, and Adam)
(not pictured: Rob, Lanny, Leon, & Mike - taking photo)

Dwaine "photo-bombing" on the left...

After a short break for photos, food, drink, and removing layers of clothing; we headed to the Alder Lake Cutoff road and made our way back through Eatonville.  From there, we retraced our path past Lakes Ohop and Kapowsin to the turnoff to The Climb.  Everyone - except Lanny - opted to do The Climb (which adds 10 miles and 1,000' of climbing to our route).  Lanny's excuse - he was running 3 miles when he got back to Orting, AND he was doing a half-marathon the next day.  I, for one, thought that was a pretty good excuse.

The ride up The Climb was fun and uneventful except for the fact that it was beginning to rain when we arrived at the top.

At the top of The Climb... Dwaine (far left) once again "photo-bombing"...

It seemed like the rain increased on the way back down.  It was pretty warm, so getting cold wasn't much of a concern; but I had a nice little Sony camera in the back pocket of my jersey, and I didn't want it getting soaked.  Fortunately, the rain had subsided by the time we reached the bottom of The Climb, and it was not a factor during the rest of the ride back to Orting.

Speaking of the ride back to Orting, it was fun!!  We were in a paceline most of the way with David, Adam, Dwaine and Erich sharing the pace setting duties.  It was fast and left most of us with a "wow, that was great" feeling when finished in Orting.

Les and Dwaine packing up the bikes in Orting...

For those of you asking "do we have GoPro footage of parts of this ride" - of course we do.  The following link will take you to 36 minutes of video for this ride.  There's no music - just road noise, the clicking of shifters, and muffled background conversation.  Enjoy...

Our next scheduled ride is June 9th:  "The Skate Creek Loop".  Can't wait!!

Monday, May 21, 2018

2018_05_19 Picture Post from Alder Lake Loop -- by Dwaine

This year's Alder Lake Loop ride was well attended with 14 riders starting the route. With a few new faces in attendance I worked to be near the front to prevent any wrong turns. Knowing the route was easy. Staying near the front wasn't. The group was strong, the pace was elevated, my heart rate was up and my camera stayed in my pocket until we reached the Alder Lake Dam lookout. At the end of the climb we leaned our precious machines against the Armco, chatted, snacked, and tarried just long enough for me to capture this image of our leader.

Capturing speeding Cyclopaths with a pocket camera was tougher than expected. As the group peeled off from the Alder Lake Dam overlook I captured and counted knowing that after the tenth cyclist passed I needed to remount Huckleberry and chase back to the group. Only four of the ten cyclists were photographed at blog level quality. This particular Cyclopath, John, was easier to catch with the camera than with the bike. I was able to start the climb with him and end the climb with him in sight only after he stopped to assist with a dropped chain. We might have another 'Quiet Killer' in the making...

It is always a joy to catch up with my friend Scott. In 2015 Scott was kind enough to guide Les and I from Seattle to Portland. The three of us trained together for hundreds of miles and created a formidable STP team. To this day I can't help but think 'Holy Cow, we crushed that ride'. It was truly a team effort. Chatting with Scott as we whizzed past Lake Kapowsin refreshed so many of the grand memories from that day.
Two Cyclopaths descending. New blog readers may not realize that Les and Mike make up a large portion of the Cyclopath glue. These group rides don't create themselves. Thank you gentleman.

Monday, May 14, 2018

2018_05_05 Picture Post from Kitsap Peninsula Ride -- by Dwaine

I am the self appointed unofficial Puyallup Cyclopath photographer. On our latest ride I asked the group to stop mid span on the Eastbound Narrows Bridge for a group photo which did not turn out the way I hoped. But this frame isn't a bad substitute.

Staged bridge photo number two turned out a bit nicer. Ollala Bay is in the background and Al's convenience store is opposite the bay. Just around the corner from Al's are the bottom pitches of the Banner Road climb.

Doctor Nick is happy and strong and ready to 'ham it up' for my camera in Manchester. Seattle looms far on the horizon.

Late in the ride Les and I guided the group up a few steep climbs on the Cushman Trail. Look closely at this photo and you might see into the soul of the 'Silent Assassin' and discover his climbing secrets.

After starting the day with thirteen riders the 'long route option' group has been winnowed down to just six. (Dwaine was piloting the Puyallup Cyclopath sponsored photocopter and was not available to be in the picture.) All riders completed a post-ride comment form and checked the 'success' box. It appears that Dwaine and Les, this ride's co-leaders, will be granted at least one more year of conditional Puyallup Cyclopath membership.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

2018_05_05 Kitsap Peninsula Ride (Mike Hassur)

Author:  Mike Hassur

We expected about seven guys on this ride – thirteen showed up.  We were hoping for decent weather – it turned out to be a beautiful day with temps that varied from the low 50’s at the beginning of the ride to the low 60’s toward the end of the ride.  We wanted the ride to be flexible; because some of the guys had time constraints – Les and Dwaine had it designed so that five of the guys could peel off early and still get in a beautiful 35 mile or so ride (the main ride was around 60 miles long with about 4,000 feet of climbing).  I could go on…

Kudos to Les and Dwaine for organizing such an enjoyable and scenic ride for us.  I don’t see how it could have gone better.
Here are some photos from the ride as well as a video of the ride:

Click the following link to see the ride video
(speakers on please):  

Our group getting ready to leave the Park-and-Ride where we met near the Narrows Bridge in Tacoma...

The "orange peloton" heading toward Olalla...

Leaving Olalla after a short "bathroom break"...

Waterside lane accessed by our "secret path" by the coffee shop...

Manchester city limit (by this time, five of our group had left due to other commitments)...

Port of Manchester...

View of Seattle as seen from Manchester...

Heading back toward Olalla, Gig Harbor, and the Narrows Bridge...

Our next ride will be in 2 weeks (May 19th) - The Alder Lake Loop with The Climb (or Climbs) Option.  Can't wait...!!