Monday, May 28, 2007

Weekend to Remember

Got back real late from Pismo Beach on Friday night, so naturally stayed up a bit later getting settled.

Went in Lake Whatcom for the first time on Saturday morning and boy o boy was it cold, I have no idea what the temp was, but think it will be close to what we get in Lake Coeur d'Alene. I wore my new swim booties and it certainly did help and once I got moving and generating some heat it wasn't too bad. I'm sure the guys fishing were looking at me a bit funny, but I got training to do. The condos out at the end of the lake tore down the gazebo but I still swam two loops to the gazebo and back. Actually, you can see the old railroad bed at the bottom of the lake and that is where I turn around, so don't need the gazebo anymore, but it was nice to site off of.

Saturday afternoon had me riding the Ski to Sea mountain bike course as it is only open to pre ride the one day from noon to 4:00 and we got to Hovander Park about 3:30 so we had to hurry, at least to get past the one section that goes over private land. Very nice flat course, with three bridges that you have to get off and push, carry, pull, or whatever to get your bike under and over the obstacles. Once past the bridges the course goes down to the beach and is a combination of river sized rocks and sandy sections, not a spot to ride, so I carried a bit and pushed through the sandy sections. Back on dry land, we weave our way through the waterfront area to Zuanich Park to tag our kayaker, but today was just a test run. I get to do the real thing on Sunday.

I was planning a run Sunday morning, but slept in and took it easy for a little while. I left about 11 am to meet John and carpool out to Hovander for the biker meeting at noon. Got my bike inspected and got the low down on the ins and outs and the rules of the race.

Then I waited... and waited... and waited...

While I was waiting, I was able to hold John's bike as his canoe team came in pretty early and he was off, I held another acquaintances bike for him and as I was waiting around a bit more I saw a couple co-workers doing the mountain bike course for their teams. Jody was going to hold my bike as I heard my number called (that meant Nancy and Wendy were already under the Fairhaven bridge WOW!).

As I got my bike up to the loading area, Jody was going to hold it but once I was on the beach I heard his number called, so per our agreement he was going to leave it where I set it down.

Before I knew it Nancy and Wendy were in sight, I went to the beaching area and they had another team in the way but they came right in and I stepped into my mid calf deep and grabbed the boat and pulled it up onto the beach as Wendy and Nancy got out. Per our pre race talk I started running with the boat and they were going to carry the back, but they just got finished rowing for two hours and I was running a bit fast, so we had a couple missteps and drops, and Nancy actually fell right at the end, but I was under the exchange banner so I was off and running to my bike.

Swiped the timing chip and off on the course. The first part is on grass through Hovander park to get up onto the river dike which is part gravel and part packed dirt, with overgrown side grasses and bushes the whole way. I had passed a couple and was about to pass another but the first bridge came up so is kinda first in and no passing while under, once under and back up on the dike you have to lift your bike over a cable blocking access to the dike, not fun with a 35-40 pound monster steel mountain bike.

Back underway I quickly made a couple more passes and then there were a few diversions to avoid some sink holes and then the next bridge, this bridge has huge rocks underneath so I carried my bike over my head this time, ug!

Passed a couple more as we transitioned from this bridge to through the private property up onto Marine drive and back towards Bellingham, this road section can be fast, but it felt like I had a flat, it didn't look like a flat, so I kept on slugging away, man it was hard. I kept this up for about 5 minutes (maybe one mile) and had most all those people I passed come up and pass me. I started to hear some noises so I stopped and as it turns out my rear brakes were rubbing and that is tough to do with cantilever brakes, once side got lodged under (over?) the rim and up next to the spokes. It took a couple really tough tugs and pulls but I got it loose and was off and underway again.

I passed about 5 or 6 people on the road section, but we were only on the road for a bit and then we had to carry our bikes over a road barrier and back under a bridge, this bridge has a 14 inch pipe you need to lift your bike over and then onto a short (100 yard) section of gravel path down to the beach section and I was actually able to pass a few on this section as well.

Back on solid ground I was off and into the parking lot and pulled out the timing chip to hand to my kayaker and man was it fun!

Not counting the time I was stopped I don't think anyone passed me and I counted a total of about 10 that I passed. Looking at the results online, our team was 212th out of 425+ teams, we were 12th out of 49 in our division (recreational mixed - rec and must have 4 women). I was 4th out of those 49 mountain bikers, not bad for my first experience with the Ski to Sea!

What a weekend to remember!

Oh yeah, I got a 90 mile 5:30 ride today with John, Mike and Scott! Great ride as we rode Chuckanut Drive south to Samish Island and then headed towards Laconner to turn before we go there to head east and north up Colony road towards Lake Samish and then back into town as we all split up and headed home.

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