Thursday, September 25, 2008

Coffee Ride

Triple latte - Bremerton Starbucks

Don Boothby posted a plan for a "play hooky" permanent on Wednesday on our 215km South Hood Canal route. I met him at the ferry dock in Seattle for the 6AM Bremerton ferry. At the Starbucks in Bremerton, we met Steve Davis who drove up from Olympia and Jon Muellner who drove down from Port Townsend. We caught up over coffee and pastries while waiting for our 7:30 start.

Three shots propelled me through our first 67.5km to Hoodsport. Despite the dreary, rainy weather forecast, we had a beautiful ride along the Hood Canal from Belfair to Hoodsport. Light skies with occasional sun breaks. We commented on our good fortune and hoped not to jinx it. Although 22.5km/shot was pushing the high end of tolerance, our favorite summer coffee stand just west of the Alderbrook resort was closed for the season, so we pushed on.

Triple latte - Hoodsport Coffee Company

Bypassing the convenience stores in Potlatch and Hoodsport, we made a beeline for the Hoodsport Coffee Company. This cozy, friendly coffee shop has long been a favorite ride stop for me and well worth the extra time off the bike. I opted for a cookie, but thought Don's apple danish looked awfully tasty.

The 40km north along the Canal from Hoodsport held a nice surprise for us. The highway department appears to be in the late stages of a road improvement project. We found nice new pavement and much improved shoulders. Jon thought the work was in preparation for the planned set week closure of the Hood Canal bridge next spring. We also encountered a few one-lane sections that had the salutary effect of bunching up motor vehicle traffic and leaving nice gaps when no cars and trucks would come past us. A section of roadway that normally mixes scenic views with stressful riding was remarkably pleasant. Although the rain finally showed up, we made good time on this stretch and arrived at the turnaround in Brinnon before noon.

Canned Starbucks "DoubleShot" - Brinnon Tesoro

The cashier at the Brinnon convenience store has seen many permanent riders over the years, so she was quick to profer receipts for our proofs of passage. In addition to my can of what Kent Peterson once called "nitro for cyclists" we fueled up with a few munchies to get us back to Hoodsport. The rain started to let up on the way back and the kilometers flew by, especially after Don and I crafted a plan to make the best use of our Hoodsport stop and rode all the faster to put the plan into place sooner.

Triple latte - Hoodsport Coffee Company

Don and I arrived back at the coffee shop a bit ahead of Jon and Steve, which allowed time for plan implementation. To accompany our espresso drinks, we ordered fresh apple danishes and a big cup of their locally made premium vanilla ice cream. With judicious application of the handy microwave to our pastries, we soon had big dollops of ice cream melting into warmed apple yumminess. Jon and Steve arrived to see the tail end of this blissful consumption and immediately put their own similar plans into place.

The ride back along the Canal to Belfair was a bit of a buzz-killer. Twenty miles of relentless chipseal and increasing rain put us in a "let's just get it done" frame of mind.

20oz iced mocha - Michelle's Espresso in Belfair

Though less than 25km from the finish, Don needed a nature / water stop. I took advantage of the opportunity to fill my water bottle with an iced mocha from the friendly espresso stand on the corner. The bottle proved to be the perfect tonic as the rain approached car wash intensity for the rest of the way to the finish. Back in Bremerton, we had time to kill waiting for Jon and Steve and then for our ferry. Coffee had done its duty for the day, so I switched to beer and food at the odd, but cheerful Fritz European Fry House near the ferry.

Kept close to 15km/espresso shot, a fine randonneur pace.

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