This ride, The Carbon River Entrance to Mt. Rainier Ride; starts in Orting and proceeds through South Prairie, Wilkeson, and Carbonado before reaching its final destination: the ranger station at one of the entrances to Mt. Rainier National Park. It is consists of about 50 miles of riding with approximately 2400 feet of climbing along the way. It is not a long ride nor does it require a lot of climbing; because it is early in the season, and most of us are just starting to get into shape.
Everyone met up for this ride in Orting at the usual starting point (the parking lot in front of the bike shop). We didn’t quite make our projected start time of 6:45 AM, but we were close. Thankfully, there was no rain and the temperature was in the mid-forties . We had a good sized group: Leon Matz, John Winter, Les Becker, Dwaine Trummert, Conor Collins, Mark Delrosario, Tom Peterson, Gab Scott, Rob Critchfield, Martin Katzberg, Rex ?? (need to learn Rex’s last name), and Mike Hassur. Before we left, Erik Barrett showed up with three other riders and said that they were doing the same route and would be on the road ahead of us.
The ride from Orting to South Prairie went by quickly lots of conversation and a brisk pace led by Conor, Rob, and Rex. Just outside of South Prairie, the group split up as everyone pushed the pace on Tubbs Road Hill and had varying degrees of success (the hill, also, made it clear to many of us that we were over-dressed). We proceeded in small groups to Wilkeson, where the entire group reformed – only to split apart again on the climb up to Carbonado. From Carbonado, our band of cyclists mostly stayed together out to our destination: The Carbon River Entrance To Mt. Rainier. When we arrived, we encountered both Erik Barrett and his group as well as the only rain of the ride. It didn’t last long, but it made us start back before taking the traditional photo of our group on the bridge near the ranger station.
The ride back was fast and fun as detailed in the following video:
** Hint: when you start the video, do the following:
1. Expand it to full screen by clicking on the "box-like" icon in the far right corner of the video frame
2. Make sure it is on "high def" by clicking on the "gear-like icon in the same area and selecting "1080p)
The dynamic of having a good bunch of guys together for a ride is very energizing. This was a ride that should have been at least a little tiring (especially this early in the year), but it wasn’t. If I had done it by myself, I know I would have felt some fatigue; but, at the end of the ride, all I felt was the excitement of having seen some of the guys for the first time this year and the giddy realization that we have plenty more of these rides to come this year. Can’t wait ‘til the next ride.