Daffodil Classic 2005
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Daffodil Classic 2005
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:
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
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
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 )
Personal page: http://www.geocities.com/cpetersky/
See the books I've set free at:
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