Yesterday morning, a small gathering of usual suspects and new victims assembled in a grocery store parking lot in Covington to ride the Crystal Mountain Climb permanent (RUSA #241). Bob Brudvik, Mike Richeson, Ralph Nussbaum, Steve Davis, Don Jameson, Ole Mikkelsen, Alan Bell, and I met for coffee and to start the ride up to Crystal Mountain. Rick Haight, still recovering from a recent spill, joined the group with plans to ride partway with us and then head home.
The ride started well - the occasional drizzle never turned into anything substantial. The route took us to the first control at Cumberland via Black Diamond and the wonderful road down to and across the Green River Gorge. We battled a headwind up to Greenwater, where we stopped for coffee at our new favorite spot (the place that opened up to serve us ice cream the previous weekend) before pushing on to Crystal Mountain. The ride up to the ski resort offers glorious views down the valley. At the top, the others were lounging on the steps waiting for me to arrive. The wait was long (I layered a full-on, rookie-mistake, no-breakfast bonk on top of my already weak climbing), but I heard no complaints.
On the way back, we stopped again in Greenwater for some really good sandwiches. Steve had a reprise of last week's ice cream. On the way back to Enumclaw, the route turns south along Mud Mountain Road. We warned the new riders that the long descent demands caution, with sharp turns many of which are littered with sand and gravel. We forgot to mention the morons.
Given the twisty descent, we single-filed and spread out. The lead riders noticed a car driving too fast up the hill. On its way to a particularly sharp right (for him) turn, the car started to go wide, missing Alan by three feet and aiming for Bob and me (the last two of the group). With too much speed, the driver did not navigate the turn at all and came skidding over to our side of the road. (Note the skid marks all the way to the edge of the pavement on our side of the road). Bob had no place to go, but turned his bike toward the side in time to avoid a full head-on. The car hit him broadside and sent him up over the hood and onto the road on his back. Bob says it played out in slow-motion for him, but from my vantage point right behind, it was quick, ugly, and very painful looking.
Moron rolled his window down for a perfunctory "are you ok?" and then started to drive off. We loudly and vigorously suggested that he not leave the scene of an accident. Apparently convinced, moron pulled over. The neighbors, who couldn't have been nicer, called 911 for us and brought Bob a chair. Ralph and Don rode back to the start to get Bob's truck. The rest of us waited quite some time for the arrival of law enforcement; the neighbor observed that their corner of the county wasn't known for quick response. We're lucky that Bob was not more seriously injured. The deputies took our statements and chatted with moron. In addition to his traffic transgressions, moron was cited for expired plates and lack of insurance. Charming.
The others headed back on their bikes and I waited with Bob for Don. We loaded up and headed back to the start. The other riders were just pulling in, so we had coffee and cookies and lamented moron's intrusion into our lives.
I spoke to Bob this morning and he feels better than yesterday, but pretty sore. We're probably lucky that the incident wasn't much worse. Bob's bike isn't too happy. Front wheel and saddle are broken; other damage will probably show up on closer inspection. Tough Bob also left an impression on moron's car, breaking his license plate holder and dimpling his hood. The original plan: