Saturday, June 4, 2016

2016_06_04 University Place, Olympia, Tenino and Back - 100 miles (almost) with Dwaine, Les, Rex, and Kurt

Author:  Mike Hassur

After our “Westside Road on Mt. Rainier Ride” was cancelled last week due to road closure, Dwaine Trummert suggested an alternate ride for Saturday, June 4th.  Dwaine outlined where the ride would take us and said that he thought that it would be a 75-85 mile ride.  Most of the ride info was foreign to me (and we were vacationing in Whistler), so I just said “I’ll be there” and signed off. 

I showed up at Les Becker’s house at around 6:00 AM on Saturday morning thinking it would probably be just Les, Dwaine, and me and that I would just follow them since I had no idea where we were heading.  I set about taking my bike out of the van and getting my gear together.  Soon, Les was opening his garage door and coming over to greet me; and Dwaine was walking over from his house to say “good morning”.  Shortly thereafter, Kurt Maute and Rex Batson showed up. 

Our group of five got rolling around 6:45 AM.  We cruised along Grandview Drive (just above Chambers Bay Golf Course where the 2015 US Open was held), made our way down and through the coastal community of Steilacoom, climbed out of Steilacoom,

 and made our way past the Fort Lewis firing range.  It always freaks me out a little if the soldiers are actively firing their weapons as we ride by.  Intellectually, I know that they are firing at targets; but…  Les, Rex, and Kurt were really moving through this section.  Dwaine and I were riding pretty briskly as we visited – we looked up and discovered that we were 100 yards or more behind.  Dwaine took off to catch them, and I followed.  We were gradually catching them, but I was worried that we were wasting a lot of energy when we still had 70 to 80 miles left in the ride.  I eased up and let Dwaine continue his pursuit alone.  Eventually, everyone slowed down, and I was able to catch up with the group without burning too many matches.

We cruised through DuPont and began our descent into the Nisqually Valley.  This descent is long and gentle.  It is a good opportunity to relax, take a drink from the water bottle, and eat something.  

Our path through the Nisqually Valley proved to be a mystery to me.  Dwaine led us on roads with which I was unfamiliar.  We cruised along and visited; and, before I knew it, we were passing through the southern fringes of Olympia (which was a surprise because somehow we missed Olympia almost entirely).  There we connected with the Western Chehalis Trail (a rails-to-trails creation) which we followed south from Olympia.

Once again, my description of our route will be a little vague.  All I know is that we eventually left the trail and rode on country roads until we arrived a the small town of Tenino where we refilled our water bottles. 

From Tenino we headed back north toward Olympia.  It was in this section that Kurt started to have significant pain in his right foot.  He’d had this “hot foot” pain before on long rides, and our suspicion was that it was due to the fit of his cycling shoes.  Rex had some time constraints, but he wasn’t sure how to get back to Les’ house in University Place.  We decided to send Les with Rex, and Dwaine and I would accompany Kurt back.

I always carry a supply of ibuprofen on rides.  Kurt, Dwaine , and I stopped so that I could access my ibuprofen and give some to Kurt.  The three of us then made our way back to Olympia retracing most of the route we had used earlier in the ride.  Eventually, we came to a country store.  We stopped, got a plastic bag, filled it with ice, and “iced” Kurt’s ailing foot.  Before long, Kurt was significantly more comfortable.  We hopped back on our bikes and resumed our return trip through the Nisqually Valley and up through Dupont, past Fort Lewis (the firing range was “popping”), through Steilacoom, and up the final climb to University Place and Les’ house. 

That should say "Negotiating one of the last traffic circles before arriving at Les' house"...

Dwaine had underestimated the mileage of the ride a bit, and we ended up riding 97 miles.  All of us agreed that it was a wonderful and beautiful adventure, and we appreciated Dwaine’s willingness to share it with us.

Our next official ride is “The Skate Creek Loop Ride” in two weeks (June 18th).  Here is hoping that our recent hot weather is gone by then.

Can’t wait!!

Click on the following link to see all photos associated with this ride:

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