The R-12 is complete. I didn't NEED to do another Rando ride this month. But there it was - the SIR Fall 200km. Starting in Olympia and heading west. The Kitsap and areas south. Bill wanted to ride, but was undecided about going up the night before or driving up in the morning. Portland Timbers game the night before, so I'd have to drive up. We joined forces.
Due to the aforementioned Timbers game (they won!) and pre-ride preparations, I had a grand total of 3.5 hours of sleep when my alarm went off at 3:30am.
Collected Bill (who had an alarm clock mishap) and started north, only 45 minutes past our planned departure time. Would we make it before the 7am start? Yes indeed, arrived at 6:45am, fell out of Shiny Red Element (Bill now covets my car. He can get in line.), registered, pulled on my shoes, jacket, helmet and reflective gear, and pulled out with the group at 7am.
Of course, 5 miles into it, that was mostly the last I'd see of anyone else. The first part of the ride had us working our way up to Steamboat Island. Saw a pack of riders headed back. It was grey and gloomy, and after Steamboat Island, it commenced to rain. I had a rain jacket. I did not have booties, and I was wearing my Keen sandals. My feet did get cold and wet.
Then more riding around Kamilche Point and the Little Skookum Inlet (I think) by Taylor Towne, where I checked the route sheet and elected to press on to Arcadia before buying any food. I had plenty. The controls on this route were mostly info controls in remote locations. Only two on-course timed controls.
Rained off and on, finally giving it up a bit before Arcadia. I felt the lack of my usual coffee intake. But wait! I had Penguin Caffeinated Mints! Time to give them a try. Not only were they tasty, and perked me up a bit, but my poor frozen feet warmed up as well. Found another rider at the store in Arcadia, which the map reveals as just SE of Shelton (hey! I've been THERE!). I also found an Industrial Size Payday Bar, which kept me going all the way to the timed control at 75 miles.
After Arcadia-Shelton, it finally warmed up enough that I took off the jacket and started taking a few pictures. The sun came out a few times.
Long stretch on Cloquallum Road, followed by another long stretch on Cloquallum-Satsop Road, and finally at 75 miles, the timed and staffed control at Schafer State Park.
Found Ian and Mill and lots of food. I stuck around for probably longer than I should have, but it was nice to have a conversation with someone other than myself for a bit. Ian did tell me that there were 8-10 riders still behind me. He also said there would be a fun descent from the Satsop (never finished) nuclear power plant, which we'd ride right by.
Satsop road was pretty, if long. Lots of long stretches on this route, most in what seemed to be pretty remote areas. Not hardly any traffic. I had to keep eating. Still working on that Payday bar. Yes, it was that big.
Through the town of Satsop, across Hwy 12, and the flats to the last real climb up to the nuclear plant.
Not a hard climb by any means, but after the wind and rolling hills and chipseal, I was starting to fade a bit. Paused at the summit to get a picture or two, take some Ibuprofen, and eat. The descent was every bit as wonderful as promised. I don't believe I have EVER seen nicer pavement.
Another long, mostly flat and headwindy stretch to get to Hwy 12, a couple miles there, and the next timed control in Malone. I was definitely tired, bought Fritos and a Doubleshot, sat on the store steps and consumed them. Mox Chehalis road wound its way through a valley. More chipseal and headwinds. And some idiots in a pickup with the entire road wide open, who felt the need to pass with less than a foot of room between us. They were the only ones all day - every other driver was very considerate.
Finally popped out for the 10.9 mile stretch on SR 8. Slight climb for the first 5 or 6 miles. But I had my very own lane (a very wide, non-chipseal shoulder) and no headwind. And then... a descent. For the rest of the SR-8 leg, and the next bit on Old Hwy 410.
Finally, crossing (I honestly don't remember if there was an overpass or underpass) Hwy 101, and back onto Mud Bay Rd. Past the Blue Heron Coffee Co, up the hill, and into Olympia. About a mile from the end it started to rain with extreme prejudice, so a brief stop to pull the jacket back on. Past the Safeway where we started, looking for Division St and the pizza place.... And there it was.
Mill came out and grabbed my bike, pointed me inside, and got me some hot tea. Enjoyed visiting with the other riders and volunteers and Narayan (who dropped by). Pizza. Hot tea. Listening to many PBP stories. Gradually feeling less disoriented. Rode back to the Safeway with John and Jesse to get the car (and the dry change of clothes). Back to Vic's Pizza as Bill arrived. Dry clothes, more visiting, and negotiating with Bill on who would drive. More to the point, if I drove first, Bill could have a beer.
The drive home was interesting. It was pouring and dark, with the attendant limited visibility. I finally had to give it up at the rest stop around exit 45. Bill took over, and, of course, it stopped raining. Brief stop for refueling (both the car and us), and home. I kept conking out once we crossed the I-5 bridge, but did get alert enough to drive the 1.2 miles from Bill's home to mine. I didn't even unpack the car. Shower and bed.
So, 11:06 total elapsed time, 127.52 miles, 13.09 avg (oh, that's slow), 6240 vertical feet.