Author: Mike Hassur
Every year, these “early season” rides fool me. These are not the more attention grabbing rides that come later in the summer. They are not very long (~70 miles), they are not very demanding (<5000’ of climbing), they are not up on some mountain pass (or passes), and we do them every year so they are not new or creative – and yet – almost invariably, after the ride, I feel exhilarated and think “man, I really enjoyed that”!!! Yesterday’s “Alder Lake Loop and The Climb Ride” was a good example.
When I got up at 4:50 AM, the first thing that I did was check to see if our deck was wet – it was!! Bummer!! I had known that there was a 40% chance of rain, and I was hoping for a little luck. I told myself that there was still 90 minutes before our scheduled start time of 6:30 AM which was plenty of time for the roads to dry out if the rain stopped. I took a quick shower, threw on my cycling gear, drank my chocolate milk, took Winston (our chocolate lab) out for a pee and poop (him not me), and was heading out of our driveway by 5:30 AM.
I monitored my van’s windshield on the way to Orting. There had been a few, small drops of rain scattered on the windshield as I left our driveway; but I was relieved to see that more drops didn’t accumulate on the drive to Orting. I didn’t even have to use my wipers. The roads were still wet; but, at this rate, they would dry before long. Because of the questionable weather, I was wondering how many guys would show up for the ride. I shouldn’t have worried.
I arrived at Orting at about 5:50 AM. Not long thereafter, other folks started arriving. By 6:30 AM, we had about twelve riders (Les, Dwaine, Kurt, Adam, Chuck (his first ride with our group), Leon, Lanny, Aaron, Erik, Martin, Scott W., and me). When we headed out of Orting, the roads were still wet; but it wasn’t raining. As usual, everyone had paired up and were talking as we rode. We turned onto Orville Road with Kurt and me leading the group. We were travelling at about 16 mph. Not long after we left the lead of the slightly disorganized paceline, the speed gradually started to pick up. By the time we were passing Camp 1 Road (The Climb), we were going 20-21 mph (and the roads had pretty much dried out).
On the section from Lake Kapowsin to Lake Ohop; Martin and I were visiting, cruising along at a nice pace, and not really paying attention to our surroundings. Finally, we realized that the rest of the group was out of sight. Geez, they must have done most of that section at over 20 mph.
|Dwaine, Aaron, Chuck, Adam, Les, Lanny, Martin, Erik, Scott, and Kurt...|
We regrouped at the Lake Ohop boat launch. From there, we passed through the Ohop Valley (a beautiful area if you haven’t seen it) and on to highway 7 which took us on a gradual climb up to the Alder Lake Dam. There, we regrouped at a scenic viewpoint overlooking the dam.
From there, we made our way back to Eatonville via the Alder Lake Cutoff Road. By this time, the pacelines were getting more organized, and the trip to Eatonville went by quickly. There seemed to be more traffic on the road than usual which was probably attributable to the fact that this was Memorial Day Weekend.
After Eatonville, we retraced our path past Lake Ohop and back to Lake Kapowsin. At Lake Kapowsin, most of our group opted to head up The Climb to add approximately 10 miles and 1000’ of climbing to our trip. A few of the guys had to get home and skipped this portion of the ride. The Climb, as usual, was beautiful and quiet (I think we encountered one car). We took our time riding up, so it was pretty easy, and the ride down is always fun.
After The Climb, it was pacelines all the way back to Orting. Aaron and Adam got way out ahead of the rest of us, and I didn’t think that we would see them until we finished. That was before Chuck got to the front of our paceline. He took a really long and fast pull (almost the entire last half of the trip back to Orting) which had us pulling into Orting alongside of Aaron and Adam. That was really fun.
I thought about this ride for most of the rest of the day – how much fun it had been to see and visit with the guys, to ride with them up climbs and in fast pacelines, and to see the weather surprise us with a dry roads and pleasantly cool temperatures. It was awesome (IMHO)!!
Can’t wait for our next ride.