Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kim and Dad Doing 112 mi. Ride in Walla Walla

On June 20th I headed out to see my daughter Kim and to do a 100 mile ride in Walla Walla with her. Like a true Cyclopath I couldn’t resist the chance to do some riding in the Cascades on my was to Kennewick.  I decided to park at the beginning the Crystal Mt. Rd. and TT up 6.1 mi. to the resort.  The road isn’t very steep but it does gain 1650 ft. My intensity was pretty good as I tried to improve my Strava time. Only 1 car interrupted my race up the hill. When I later checked my time I was happy to see at 3 + min. improvement. I rocketed up to #2 for my age group.  I must admit I was little perplexed to find out #1 on the list (beat me by 55 sec). was a female by the name of Sheila Walsh.  She must be a heck of a rider.

After returning to the car I planned to drive to the top of Cayuse and TT to the top of Chinook.  When I arrived at the parking area I noticed the temperature had dropped to 38 deg. The wind was blowing and light rain was falling.  I reflected back on the Cyclopath ride form Paradise to Longmire a couple weeks ago and decided I would skip the segment.  Instead I drove over the pass and down 8 miles into Eastern Washington.  The sun was out and the temp had improved about 10 deg.  As I was parking 4 cyclists road by heading up the pass. It took me about 10 min. to get on my bike and by then the 4 riders were long gone but like a true Cyclopath I headed out to try to at least get within sight of them. Within about 10 min. I saw the last rider of the group and quickly caught him and with the thought of catching the front rabbit I surged on.  I made good time and with 4 miles yet to climb I caught the first rider.  Found out they were doing a 3 day ride from Portland through Yakima and back to Portland.  Realizing they were riding 90 + miles that day and I was only doing 16 tempered my enjoyment of catching them.  When I did get to the top of the pass the temperature was in the high 40’s and no rain.  YEA!!! Good choice Leon!!  I quickly returned to the car and headed to Kennewick.

Kim and I had a quiet evening together knowing we had get up early. Up at 5 we had a quick breakfast and headed out to Walla Walla and the Ann Weatherill Cycling classic.  I found out the ride is named after a 6th grade teacher who was killed while riding her bike with a group of riders by being hit by the mirror of an oncoming pickup truck that was passing another car. I was happy we were supporting a ride in her memory. The event had 3 distances 30,60, and 100 mile routes.  As Kim is preparing for her first Iron Man race we were doing the 100 mile ride. We headed out at 7:15 with the temp. around 60 deg.

My daughter Kim and I getting ready to head out on our first 100 mile ride together in Walla Walla

The ride quickly headed out onto country roads with few cars but lots of rolling wheat fields. Kim and I enjoyed the scenery and the quiet roads.  Soon the wheat fields changed to alfalfa fields in all directions. The green of the alfalfa contrasted wonderfully with the golden wheat fields.  Soon we saw huge fields of a plant similar to the alfalfa except that it had purple flowers.  We also noticed that there were 3 sided wooden huts (perhaps every 75 yards) in all directions in the fields.  We were perplexed on what that crop might be and what the huts were for.  We then noticed frequent signs asking drivers from 8 am to 8 pm drive at 15mph.  WHAT???  Well down the road the puzzle became less confusing.  Near the side of one of the roads was one of these little huts and they were filled with bees.  The bees as I now know are called leafcutter bees and are used to pollinate the alfalfa flowers to grow alfalfa seeds.  The speed limit was to prevent cars from killing the bees, which were busy at work in the fields. It has been fascinating to read about this after the ride.

The route then headed into Oregon and took us through a variety of fruit orchards. We only stopped at two of the rest stops but they were full of lots of fruit and other edibles. Eventually we headed towards the Blue Mountains (actually by our standards they were hills).  They were very beautiful with a wide range of colors (including blue).  As we approached the last 20 miles Kim asked me if I would be willing to do add 12 miles at the end so she could get to 112 (the distance on her Iron Man ride).  Sure!
                                               Kim and I head out towards the Blue Mts.

At the end of the ride we were treated to a spaghetti and meatball meal with brownies too.  I think I ate way more calories than I had burned but having ridden 112 mi. I felt I could splurge.  It was so good to get off the bike and have a wonderful meal. 

It is always great to go on a ride with my Cyclopath buddies but it is even more special to do a ride with one of my daughters.  I can’t imagine a better way to spend a day than riding with one of my family.  I was so proud of Kim riding fast and hard even though her longest ride this year had been 60 miles.

After loading up we drove out to part of the route to stop and buy a bike that was for sale at a house. It was a Trek Lexa SLX with 105 components.  It had been ridden for only 40 miles and was bought for $1,700.  We were able to purchase it for $650 for one of my other daughters.  I don’t know about you but getting a great deal is always special.

On my way back home I couldn’t resist a chance to be one of the first cyclists to ride to Sunrise this spring.  It was a glorious day with temps in the low 60s at the top. I was so happy at the top I couldn’t even close my mouth.  Not too good at doing selfies.

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