Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tono Hills 100

Brian came down for dinner last week. We had a nice meal and good conversation, that guy can tell a story! We reminisced about the old days, before randonneuring when we would just get together on a Saturday and go for a ride. Organized rides were club centuries: Ride Around Clark County, The Gig Harbor Double Metric, and of course STP. No controles, no registering, no cue sheet. Down to Centralia for coffee, up to the Blue Heron Bakery for a pastry. The Tono Hills, Garard Creek, Michigan Hill, Bordeaux hill, Summit lake. Lots of scenic local JRA routes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not turning anti-rando, still a ton of fun but every now and then it’s good to simplify.

I’ve been patching together some of these segments to produce routes of about 100K which I’ll nominate as permanents to RUSA. This will give us the option of riding these routes as we used to or we can plan ahead and ride them as perms for RUSA credit if we want. (see?  I'm still rando-correct)

The weatherman said things were looking relatively good for Saturday: Freezing over night, morning fog, but sunny and high of 41(Woo Hoo). Wind out of the NW but most important, no rain in sight! I sent a note to a couple pals saying I was going to test ride the Tono 100K route and would be glad for company. Brian shot a note back saying he’d meet me at S’Bux in Centralia about 9:00ish.

I laid out my gear the night before, and Chairman Meow was on that stinky wool jersey like a duck on a June bug.

I continued to round up cold weather gear but he never budged. I guess he just wanted to make sure the riding togs were nice and warm for me in the morning. What a pal.

I was purposely vague about the start time for a couple reasons: In case it was icy (which it was)

we’d want to maybe have a later start and let that weak winter sun do all it could to soften up the roads.  And too, this was not to be a rando event; No cards, no cue sheet, no time cut offs,so no official start time. With the route being only 100K we shouldn't have to push to complete the ride in the light of day

We met up at close to nine, but had a cuppa and a little talk. The roads looked good in Centralia but out in the sticks; Hanaford, Skookumchuck, and Johnson creek roads would probably take a little longer to thaw if they were going to.

We rolled out probably closer to 10:00 than nine, and though we were putzing and chatting along, in no time at all (or so it seemed) we were at the steam plant.

Steam plant/Mt Rainer)

I dressed just right, never overheated much (this route is pretty flat) but the wind on the cheeks was ‘bracing’ shall we say.

I forgot my helmet again!

I‘ve taken to hanging it on a peg in the garage over the bike, guess I’ll have to go back to hanging it on the brake hoods.

(Global warming?  Their snowman hasn't even melted yet!)

Past the Steam plant we turned onto Tono road, known for its series of rollers.  It's generally thought that they are easier coming from this direction rather than from the north.  They warm me up either way.

Coming into Bucoda I needed to eat. I had a Clif bar in my H-bar bag that I think might be older than me. Something a little more fresh was appealing. We went into the store and about the times I started perusing the chips and candy bars Brian said “You know, we could go next door to Joes Place (the local watering hole), they have good food.”

A small town redneck tavern? Oh yeah, I’m all over that. It was warm and the owner was civil, she was a little slow to warm to us but we got her chuckling. I had a fried ham and egg sandwich (with cheese), Brian had a patty melt. Warm, convivial conversation, there is no way we could be confused for hot rod cyclists, clearly we were just two geezers out on bikes for the fun of it.

Two cups of coffee later it is always just a bit of a shock to step from a cozy nest (did I mention it was warm?) out into the chill air of a winter morning; the first few minutes back on the bike seem more challenging than the start. Soon enough we were headed up Skookumchuck creek, generally into the teeth of the wind that had been building through the morning. Not gale force by any means but a steady if gentle headwind always feels like you are riding with your brake rubbing, or there’s sand in your hubs; No coasting or you come to a stop.

Into Rainer we elected not to stop, the day was going by a little faster than we were and Brian wanted to get back in time to take in the Apple Cup.

At the junction of Waldrick and Old 99 we decided to short cut the course and head south. Soon enough we were back on SR 507 rolling into Centralia, and for stretches we even had a bit of a tail wind. Our short cut saved us about 7.5 miles, still we got in just short of 60 miles, and had a good time at it.

I will do a little editing and then send this off to our club permanent coordinator. It is going to need a few information controls but navigation should be pretty simple.

Next up the Centralia Bordeaux 100.


  1. Not quite yet ready to lead the counter-revolution, eh?

  2. Today, be glad you are not a permanent-route-owner. The e-mail has been filled to over-flowing with many, many, many e-mails on a thread about returning cards and charging fees and what-not. And people noting that the RUSA perm coordinator does a great job, and next phrase is "I'm sending in some more perms". You'd think some of these people NEVER did any JRA.

    I do JRA. It keeps the rando fresh. As I noted, I do JRA, and I'll bet I have more RUSA credit kms in the last two years than all but about 35 people.

    I'm thinking of copying and reproducing your various JRA posts, intermingled with mine, for the next several weeks. Clearly a pointless exercise -- suggesting JRA to some.

    Don Quixote