05 March 2011

Spring Populaire Ride Report - By Mimi Torchia Boothby

I invited my "guest writer" and best friend, Mimi, to write our ride report today as it is her second SIR populaire, and first one in the spring series. On the way home, I tried to coerce her into doing a 200 with me this year.....she ain't bitin'.....anyway, here's what my best stoker in the world has to say about our ride:

After the changeable wintry weather of the last few weeks, the sunny sky at dawn this morning seemed like nothing more than a teaser. Just two days ago, I was gazing at a sky just like that and 20 minutes later, it was black and hailing. But the weather report was encouraging, and I knew I could always change my mind and go home if it became too miserable. To make my commitment, one 100k ride a month for a year to get the coveted P12 award, I still had the rest of March to do it. And maybe then I could wait for Spring to actually occur.

I agreed to do this ride on the back of the Boothby tandem because I am not yet quite back in shape to tackle hilly rides longer than 20 miles and Donald is an incredible powerhouse. I am certain I could sit back there with no pedals and he could still get us around the course, so I was in. We got to the parking lot where the ride began and it was amazing. Almost every cyclist I knew was there, and oh, the bikes! This was starting to look better than Bike Expo.

These were the bikes that people actually rode, not just the shiny flashy ones. Oh wait, some of them WERE shiny and flashy. I saw a gorgeous ALL chrome Davidson, and what about the big orange tandem, or the bike with the cool screaming yellow spokes?

The sky was filled with billowing clouds, and the parking lot was filled with handsome cyclists all wearing a glowing array of colors. After counting more than 6 tandems, I was certain that this ride would definitely be good on a tandem, that many teams could not be wrong. I also was happy to see Jan Heine, this is the first ride I've ever been on that he was also on. OOO I was with the big boys. And the tires of his bike looked just like the ones on my own, that made me feel rather cutting edge.

And we were off. After being told to ride socially down the trail, we were left behind by many while going 20 miles an hour. Oh, this is going to be good, if 20 is taking it easy, gasp!

Right off the trail we had to go up a nasty hill. But we did it easily and it warmed me up. Yes, that's what I like about hills. That's the only way to stay warm when it's in the 40's and the cold winds off the nearby snow covered hills pass through you.

I was wearing many layers of wool covered by a Rainy Pass Jacket and neoprene booties. (ed. note: not to mention matching orange polka dot socks!) Would this be enough? Turns out it was. As we zipped down the road, I watched the miles, 15 miles, that's 25% of the ride done already! YES! The mood of the other riders seemed festive as the miles increased and we were still not getting wet.

I grew up in a very modest family. Toileting was done behind closed doors and you blew your nose in a handkerchief. Riding with Randonneurs has finally inured me to these notions, I no longer gasp when I see a man with his back to me and a bright strong stream of urine launching in front of him. I no longer offer people hankies when I see snot dripping from their noses, although I admit I still cringe at the sound of people launching snot rockets right in front of me. I will admit however, I like the soft spot on my gloves meant for wiping my nose.

Donald has a riding method that really works for me. We are not a fast tandem team, so in order to get to where we need to go, we cut corners at all the stops. Unfortunately for Donald, my bladder is almost 60 years old and that means more stops. But this system works so well, we get off, we eat, fill out bottles and empty our bladders, and this enables us to keep up with faster riders. We both know that we can lounge and rest at the end of the ride.

We passed through Carnation and had a nice 15 minute or so stop at Sandy's Espresso, once again surrounded by lots of bright colored bikes and happy cyclists, and got our cards signed by Joe and his daughter Lizzy who came out to enjoy the day with Dad.

Lizzy even made us a "WELCOME BANNER" that she was very proud of, and rightfully so!

But alas, after hubby and a friend stood around admiring the socks they'd stolen out of their wives' drawers, it was time to move on down the road.

Some of the tandems had already rolled out, even ones with mismatched booties.....

Out of Carnation, we met more than one unpleasant driver. Clearly they were not having as much fun as we were and they showed us with horns and middle fingers. But I cheerily waved at all of them, glad that no one was any worse.

Finally THE HILL....

Donald announced it, this is the one. I asked him twice, "and when we get to the end, they will be cheering us, right?" He assured me that that was the case (we'd listened to Ride Director Peter Beeson very carefully before the ride).

So I knew, as we got to a summit, that no, that wasn't the last one, because where were they with the smiles, a control, and maybe some muffins? I had worried about this hill for two weeks, and it had been on my mind for the entire ride up to then. I don't know what I was worried about, I'd done Hurricane Ridge, and just to get to my own house there's switchbacks of 12% and greater that I have been going up for years now, but somehow, the winter lag and my lack of riding made "THE HILL" seem insurmountable. But we did it. My calf that threatened to cramp never cramped and I remembered to relax my shoulders. We started heading down, and then finally I saw them, a smiling Mark Jackson and a bunch of other familiar faces. And there was Narayan. How did he get ahead of us?

I didn't care, we were DONE with the hard part. The rest of the ride was going to be a snap. I could handle my sore butt and my grouchy hubby, the fact is, it STILL hadn't rained!

We rolled into the finish line in record time (we were 15 minutes earlier than expected, and that was with all my potty breaks!)

We'd seen cormorants, red hawks, blue herons, a bald eagle, and a raccoon with a very short tail and been treated to lovely views of Mt. Si, Lake Sammamish and lovely rolling farmlands and barns.

No dogs had chased us, no cars had splashed us, and we didn't have a flat. We spent the last 15 miles in the company of two other tandems, and it felt so exhilarating to know that we were so strong to be able to do this kind of ride.

A couple minutes after we got our cards signed, Sue came rolling in and the three of us got to celebrate our "P-12" ride together, her 2nd and my 3rd. Donald? Well, he's already talking about some crazy 300 or someting.

They gave us medals as we munched down our bananas.

Even though it wasn't really Spring, it truly was a great ride.

mimi torchia boothby

(ed. note: She really DOES seem happy, doesn't she????)


Sue said...

Great write up Mimi and super pictures! My quads did cramp on the the climb. I had to stop five times and rub the cramps out. But when I got back on my bike and "pushed" on the pedal the cramps came back. I didn't think I was going to make it. But thank God I did. A wake up call. Too long off the bike! The "hill" is on the Flying Wheels Summer Century in June. And I've flown up that hill (in June) but on today's ride I was hurting.

carmentosca's blog said...

Great pictures -- especially of MY daughter! the guest blogger.

You make it sound so easy