|Time to build more condos!|
I rode Tacoma Wheelmen’s Daffodil Classic again this year. The ride starts in Orting, WA, a town northwest of Mt. Rainier. Signs labeled “Volcano Evacuation Route” abound, though the routes don’t look like they’d be the easiest to follow. As Gardner noted, the infrequent, but highly-destructive mud flows have not had any impact on people constructing homes.
|Orting relative to Mt. Rainier|
I was a bit slow in getting out of the house and arrived around 8:00 a.m., by which point parking had overflowed. I found a spot in the adjacent church and picked up my registration info. On the way out, one of the TWBC marshallers was telling people they shouldn’t park in the church lot (for it was Sunday) and helpfully suggested the nearby park was handling overflow. This was just as well because I found a spot across from the public restrooms, and there was no queue.
After my bio break, I noticed my lot was full and overflow had shifted to another, adjacent street. I did my usual pre-ride prep, including winning the melee with the recalictrant zipper on my neoprene shoe cover. Ready to ride, I looked up: there were hardly any clouds in the sky. I pulled off the heavier things and stowed them in the car.
Packs of cyclists were streaming in conflicting directions, some towards registration, some towards riding, others to coffee. I found the most expetiious route out of town, missing most of the stop signs that plagued Gardner’s start. The road continues a couple miles where it then forks into the north 50 and south 50 routes. I chose the south, hoping to score some good views of Mt. Rainier.
There is a gradual climb that helps me get warmed up. The first rest stop, which I’ll be coming back to on the way back, is at mile 10. This is a bit too close to the start, but is chosen because it’s a convenient place for them to set up. I take another bio-break and wolf down some pretzels and apricot bars.
The next 12 miles is very quick and involves several rolling downhills before turning back and climbing again. The second rest stop is at
Dogwood Park. Quoting Gardner:
[…]the park was built because of accidents caused when people turned the corner, saw the fantastic view of Mt. Rainier, and would pull off the road to take pictures. The “Dogwood” name is explained by the Dogwood Flower Club that maintains the landscaping
There are some low-lying clouds, and we are denied a view of the mountain. There are a couple of porta-potties and a small tarp with refreshments. Again, I fill my shirt pockets with pretzels and continue on.
The next several miles are a lot of fun with straight roads and rollers.
I’m having so much fun and going fast, I nearly miss the turnoff north.
Now we’re in the Twilight Zone. On the left are piles of junked cars, homes
and random garbage interspersed between the clear-cut patches of land. It’s
pretty fricking ugly, and is a horrible contrast to the earlier portions
of the route. If it were 30°F warmer, I’d think I was in east Texas again.
I can’t help but wonder what the hell people are thinking when they choose
to live in this squalor.
Fortunately, we turn east again and start a gradual climb back to the rest stop
we visited earlier. I stop in long enough to pee and then am back on the road
eager to get back. There is another series of climbs before a five mile descent into town. I keep up with a pack of younger racer types until we hit a bridge and I choose to duck behind a slower biker rather than cut in front of an SUV coming my way. Six SUVs pass, all coming from church, before I can duck around the slower
rider and zoom back into town.
Overall stats: 52.2 miles, 3:38 riding (4:00 total), 14.7mph average, 1,821′ ascent.
|Profile and geeky HRM data
I get home and punch in the results. I’m astonished that I’ve knocked over an hour off of last year’s time. Looking closer, it appears the biggest “gain” is in my time going up hills.
Also notable is I now have 1,000 miles for the year to date. 🙂
For anyone reading this far: I love my Brooks B17 saddle. However, I’m having problems with the seat post occasionally losing its grip on the seat. At mile 6 my seat got wobbly and I had to pull over and retighten it. It was fine the rest of the day, but I’m worried about trying to eek out as much riding as I can for the longer rides. Do I need a new seatpost? Any suggestions?