During the four-day drive to this year's MS-150, I grew less and less enthused about riding. Sitting in a car for eight hours a day for more than half a week really takes a toll on my attitude, even when the scenery is gorgeous. On the bright side, I do think the entire trip was easier than past Pacific Northwest treks because we broke the trip to Washington and the trip home each into four days instead of three.
Once we picked up our MS-150 packets, my ride adrenaline serged. The Deception Pass Classic in Burlington, Washington, is a GREAT ride, and I'm so thankful we were able to participate! Especially as a team!!!
I raised more than $1,000 in the battle against multiple sclerosis, and that won me a brand new jersey. Thank you, donors!
Look! It's Dieter and Wolfgang!!! (We forgot to take them.)
If we ever drive long distance to another ride, we've decided to give ourselves a day to recover from driving instead of riding the next morning after such a long journey. But I think next time we go to Washington, we might be tourists instead of participating in another ride. We want to experience the naval museum, more of the Olympic Peninsula, North Cascades, Mount St. Helens and maybe even Rainier (again) and spend more time with our dear friends, the Goatparents. This is yet another of those vacations that just wasn't long enough!
We couldn't have asked for better weather. September in the Pacific Northwest gives us a combined taste of late summer/very early autumn we don't get to experience in Colorado because our Rocky Mountain seasons generally change too fast. A few flowers remain in Washington, and the autumn colors are just beginning to radiate. It's been a dryer-than-normal year along the Pacific Coast, not dipping below freezing yet at sea level, making colors quite vibrant.
Riding along the coast is so much different than riding the high mountain passes of Colorado. At home, oxygen comes at a premium. Out west, there is plenty of air, and a salty, moist breeze to boot. Hearing the waves lap up against the beach is another stark contrast to the whistling winds and quaking aspen leaves of Colorado.
A lunch stop along the beach at Deception Pass also was a treat. Not only did we have incredible views while we replenished our energy, but the food was terrific! Sticky rice, veggie wraps and teriyaki chicken!
We wore our team jerseys on Day 1. Newbie team member Michael (a.k.a Mr. Micawber) doesn't have a team jersey (YET! It's coming, one day!), so we posed him in the jersey I crafted for The Lizard back in 2011 so we could all be flakes. Ha ha!
Michael, once an accomplished cyclist and now inspired by his wife Sue's participation in MS rides with us, pedaled 22 miles on Day 1! He spent years battling the after-effects of a brain tumor and, later, a pulmonary embolism, which together made riding very difficult. The effects have not gone away, but he has worked hard to get back on the bike and slowly build his mileage. We were utterly thrilled when we learned he'd be joining our team this year!
Day 2 fell on Patriot Day, or September 11. The Lizard and I always wear red, white and blue when we pedal on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Patriot Day and Veterans Day. We didn't think to coordinate with Michael and Sue. Imagine our surprise when we saw Sue on Day 2 sporting her own red, white and blue.
Even Michael's handlebars stood at attention on this special day!
Day 2 typically begins with no fanfare. Cyclists take of as they arrive, not en masse. There are no formalities, such as the national anthem.
My little team had traveled about four blocks when Sue realized we had not sung "The Star-Spangled Banner." I broke out into singing as we pedaled away, and not three words later, Sue was harmonizing perfectly with me. We'd never sung together before. The guys said we sounded great. This was such a great way to observe Patriot Day!
The Lizard's favorite leg of the entire MS-150 was a very long bridge across a tide pool. A sign at the start of the bridge warned cyclists about tire-puncture potential from broken seashells. A volunteer kindly swept the entire bridge before most riders arrived.
My favorite part of the ride was reaching Deception Pass. The bridge stands a mere 177 feet above the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We started at sea level, and the terrain leading to the pass is quite hilly. My friends and family were astonished to see I had climbed nearly 3,000 feet during the ride. Lots of ups and downs, and making it to the top felt tremendously satisfying!
Getting to ride with Team Snowcatcher was incredibly awesome. Getting to ride the entire second half of Day 1 with The Lizard was one of my favorite rides ever. Typically, I send The Lizard off to ride his own speed because I know he'd be miserable slowing down to my pace. I tried to tell him he could ride on, but he wanted to ride this epic day with me! He waited for me atop Deception Pass, and spent the rest of the day riding my turtle pace. He even told me I'm riding much stronger than I ever have before!
My camera battery died the second day of the ride (I was so exhausted after Day 1, I forgot to charge it overnight), and I foolishly didn't carry a spare, so I didn't get many pictures during the second day. However, we toured Whidbey Island after the ride and made up for the shortage of recorded visual stimulation.
I'll feature more photos from our ride tomorrow in Wordless Wednesday. And more vacation photos for probably the next three Wordless Wednesdays. Yes, this adventure was THAT amazing!