Daffodil Classic 2005

South route map

Guest ride summary from Claire Petersky , reposted with permission.
Route: Kapowsin Loop from Orting
Distance: ~53 miles
Time: 6 hours
Weather: Temps – mid 40s to lower 50s; morning rain turning to partial afternoon clearing with showers; winds S-SW 5 – 15 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph
Terrain: rolling hills (profile, map

The Daffodil Classic is two approximately 50 mile loops, with a shorter 20 mile loop, so you can do a 20, 50, 70, or 100 mile ride. We drove down with my friend Steve, and our plan was for us to do the slightly longer of the two 50 mile loops, and he would do the century. We would average about 9 mph and he would average 18, and it would take about the same amount of time.

We set off from the start point in Orting in a light rain, following the Puyallup River upstream. The river was swollen from recent rains, and a light chocolate color. This river valley is where the mud is going to flow when Rainier erupts again (not in our lifetimes, I hope), and the volcano evacuation routes are well-marked along the road. As we pedalled along the steady but not steep uphill it began to rain harder and harder. By the time we pulled into the rest stop at Kapowsin at about mile 10, it was coming down very hard. The volunteers were under the tent, but we stood out in the rain, eating fruit and peanut butter bagels.

We left the rest stop at the Kapowsin grange, and continued along a very pretty route along Lake Kapowsin, Clear Lake, and Ohop Lake.  Rose’s hands got very cold due to the wet weather, and we had been trading out gloves periodically — I would warm the gloves with my hands, then trade. Then she found a better way to warm her hands on a tandem — to stuff her hands on mom’s bare back under her jersey. The first time she did this I yelped in surprise, but since I was overheated anyway, I told her she was welcome to do this anytime, *with warning*. Soon her hands got thoroughly warmed on my back, and I didn’t mind the coolness, once I knew what was happening.

After a bit, the rain stopped, the sun began to burn through the thick cloud cover, and soon the pavement began to dry. Then there was a big climb, and we were really looking for the hill to end and the rest stop to appear. By the time we reached the second rest stop, at Dogwood Park near Eatonville, it was dry and there were patches of blue sky. Mount Rainier, which would look magnificent from this park, was completely obscured by clouds. We ate more rest stop food (bagels, fruit) and I broke out the big chocolate bar and we had a few squares.

The route after the rest stop had more traffic and big rollers, and we had to be a bit more alert both to cars and our teamwork pedalling. I was happy to turn off of Highway 702 and be back on a more obscure country lane. About 10 miles from the Dogwood Park rest stop I pulled the tandem off, halfway up a long-ish hill into a driveway. I set the bike against the barbed wire fence and we sat in the gravel for an informal break. Rose suggested we split a clif bar, but I told her the ride was long enough, we could each eat our own. Just as well, as I had cranberry apple cherry and she had cool mint chocolate, sort of polar opposites of flavors when it comes to clif bars.

We took off, and then there was more rollers, now rolling us up instead of down, and again, increasing numbers of cars. We were very pleased to find ourselves back in Kapowsin, and back at the grange rest stop. It immediately began to rain again.
The final 10 miles back to Orting includes a long, snaking, steep descent into the river valley below. As we swooped back and forth, I was cautiously feathering the brakes, lightly shearing the rainwater off of the rims. I had a few stomach lurches as I feared that I might be taking it a bit too fast, but each time I applied the brakes hard I realized that I was still in firm control of the bike through the descent. Maybe a more experienced pilot would have been able to take that drop faster — I think I was at the right speed for my experience and abilities.

Soon after this drop, the rain stopped, we were back in town and then, over the finish line. We gave ourselves the High Five, called Steve and left him a message on the cell, and ate our free strawberry shortcake they serve at the end of the ride.

We pedalled back to the car, about a quarter of a mile down the road. The City of Orting thoughtfully provided a saw horse hazard sign right next to my car. While the City thought this was to indicate that people would be parking there for this annual event, for me, it was a godsend as a prop to get the tandem on the roof of the car. Rose steadied the back end of the bike on the saw horse while I secured the fork. Then, it was easy to hoist the back end of the bike on top. I returned the sign to its original location. We drove to the start/finish line (unlike when we arrived, there was plenty of parking very close by), and called Steve again. He was only a few miles from the end, so we hung out and looked for his distinctive orange helmet. We waited maybe another 15 minutes and he came into view. He threw his bike on top, and we were ready to return home.

Rose and I first did this ride, just the 20 mile loop, three years ago. In 2002, it was our first organized ride together. We have come a long way as tandem team. My abilities as a pilot have improved immensely, but even more startling is Rose’s ability as a stoker. She is now able to pedal 50 rather hilly miles without complaint or much difficulty — the 20 we did when she was nine was rather like the Bataan Death March for her, I’m afraid.

I think we have a good chance at a successful STP this summer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Claire Petersky
(See the books I’ve set free)

(Reposted with permission — jim)