I didn't race the Ballard Crit, I didn't race mountain bikes in Chelan, I didn't race track at Marymoor … What I did do is camp on Saturday north of Cle Elum Lake with my wife Erin and about 12 others in celebration of a birthday…
Oh it went there
Each year we do something similar and in a similar location so I usually ride from Cle Elum back to Seattle via the Iron Horse Trail / John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Trying to pace myself all day on Saturday and having absolutely no luck with that, it ended up a long day of games and deeerankin… And maybe even a couple of lips full of Grizzly chewing tobacco (when in Rome).
Woke up on Sunday with one of the worst hangovers to date, and had serious doubts about riding back to Seattle, but I said I was going to do it and brought my bike, so … I powered up on Perrier and fruit and faced that brown bottle flu the best way I knew how - by pedaling.
I hopped on the trail feeling lousy and then flatted within 15 minutes - I opted to take my Fondriest SF2 after I mounted some 28s on it instead of my usual ride, the Gunnar Crosshairs due to some brake issues I was having while getting it ready for the ride. After a dizzying tube swap on the side of the trail, I then spent the following four hours crawling on rough gravel into a headwind, pulling over frequently to almost vomit, which I came close to doing numerous times but managed not to. I can usually "pedal away the poison" but it didn't seem like the day was going to see me through it…
Trail side repair stand
I took a short nap behind Lake Hyak, when I got call from the wife wondering how I was doing (she was back in Seattle by this point). A pathetically toned, "Not so good," was my reply and I seriously thought about having her pick me up at that point… I instead decided to give it another go and let her know my progress periodically via el telefono.
Opting not to travel through the Snoqualmie Tunnel, as riding three miles in a cold dark lightless and damp underground cave seemed torturous. I opted on descending the old highway between the East/West I-90 split, which was a great call - if you've never ridden it, I highly recommend this stretch: switchbacks, narrow and smooth pavement, and overhead tree canopy are all involved.
Once down from the old highway I crossed over and took Tinkham Road, which is considerably rougher than the Iron Horse, complete with giant rocky potholes and a water crossing. I rode this for the next few miles before being dumped onto the interstate where I dodged road debris for the next 15 miles with giant trucks doing 75 mph screaming past my left shoulder.
Eventually making it to North Bend around 5:30 p.m., Erin called asking where I was … she wasn't impressed with my progress and insisted meeting me in Issaquah at Rogue Breweryhouse … I agreed and hopped on the parallel road and motored it until it spit me back onto the interstate for more death-defying fun. I exited at SE High Point Way, which led to the gravel path that runs by Grand Ridge Trailhead and finally made it safely into Issaquah for fish and chips.
Stats: 70 miles total of mostly vitamin G (gravel) with a wicked dehydrated hangover on a sunny day. I wish there could have been more enjoyment during the adventure, but my head was too busy pounding itself to the rhythm of my heart.