Wednesday, July 7, 2010


That’s Same Roads, Different Day.

Summer seems to have finally swallowed that too big bite of rainy, cloudy, cool and overcast that was stuck in the throat like one of those original power bars of days gone by. Remember those things? Like chewing on a rubber sink stopper …. Only a little less flavorful.

With deference to my friends in the east who are suffering the ridiculous heat and humidity which occasionally descends upon the land I’ll just say, it’s sunny here too, actually hot (supposed to get to 90 today) but we’ll take it. Give it a few days and folks will start to complain but so far it’s smiles all around.  Now, if rides were out trying to navigate the Cascade 1200, there might be stories to tell.

Monday I pre-rode the populaire route we have planned for next Saturday. It was cloudy, overcast, and in the low to mid 60’s, you know summer in the PNW. Knowing that it was supposed to warm up, I planned to ride home from work yesterday. When my calendar started sending me reminders that I had a dentist appointment that afternoon I weighed my options: Postpone with the dentist or just ride over there and parade into the waiting room in shorts, jersey, and cycling shoes as if the king was actually wearing clothes. I chose the latter and by the time I got to the dentist’s office I had that Dr Codfish ‘glow’ going. Two sweatbands were barely enough to keep the rivulets of sweat from running into my eyes and ears as the tech tipped me back in the chair of torture. It all went well and I think I have discovered a new strategy for keeping those dentist appointments short and to the point!

The dentist office is in the hospital district which is way on the other side of town from my office and my usually commute route. I realize ‘way on the other side of town’ does not mean quite the same in Olympia as it does in NYC, or Chicago, but still, it was early afternoon and what passes for rush hour here was already in full swing, so rather than ride back across town, I elected to hop on the Chehalis Western trail and take the long way home. It wound up being about 45 miles.

It starts out urban,

but gets rural pretty fast.

It is true that I could have gotten off the trail at a number of places and shortened up the ride considerably but I didn’t. The trail is a recently paved rail-trail and on a Tuesday afternoon all the baby stroller moms and big dogs on long leads (most anyway) were home either changing the baby’s diapers, or pooping inside the fenced back yard (you figure out which). It made for a pleasant ride and once out of Lacey there are long stretches with almost no competing traffic and few road intersections.

I actually did abandon the trail for a stretch on Rainier road, about the nicest part of the Populaire route I had ridden the day before, but there was a pretty stiff breeze blowing so I reconnected with the trail which offered shelter from the wind and shade from the sun.

I stopped in Tenino and had a little carton of cashew chicken and lo mein. Then, on the run in from Tenino to Rochester, the wind picked up (see those flags at the race track?).
 Here is the truly inexplicable part: It was a tail wind. Bizaar! All cyclists know that the bicycle is a dual purpose invention: Yes it is a functional mode of transport, but (non riders generally don’t know this) it is also an uncanny windsock! I don’t know, perhaps my bike is a little defective, but whatever the explanation, I’ll take it! Sunny and 75 with a tailwind? Oh yeah, the cruel joke becomes a sublime reality.  Riders have a good chance of finding this on the populaire next Saturday.

The Mountain is out.

In this neck of the woods that means you can see Mt Rainier. No big deal in other parts but we can go for long stretches when the mountain is hidden away behind the clouds. But on days like this, when it looms visible from so many places, it’s almost as if the mountain is watching you. It’s easy to see why some native cultures assign names such as 'the watcher' to the big mountains.

The weather predictions for the next few days suggest temps in the 80’s and 90’s here. The weather will dominate the news, and then about next Monday I figure we’ll start hearing people complaining about the ‘heat wave’. There will always be something to complain about.

Alpaca's along the way.
Obviously, there is money in Alpacas.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds (and looks =D) like a grand time! =)