Riding buddy Amy Pieper, who bills herself as a weather-wimp (and who is anything but), decided that she (1) wanted an R-12 award and (2) wanted to do all the rides on nice days. Living in the Pacific Northwest, with its 8 rainy months, makes this an audacious goal. Achieving the "Fenderless R-12" would require both a dedication to randonneuring and a keen eye on the weather forecast. In October, the Sunrise Climb fit the bill nicely.
This past week was dreary and wet in Seattle, but the Friday forecast looked promising. For the November installment of the Fenderless R-12, Amy first suggested the Crystal Mountain Climb, but a rain induced landslide closed the road to Greenwater (and high points beyond). A backup plan was hatched and the call went out for riders to come ride the Hood Canal Loop permanent on Friday instead.
Waiting for the 6:10AM ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, I met Amy and Robin Pieper, Ralph and Carol Nussbaum, Matt Newlin, and Jack Brace. Robin was fresh off the plane from England the night before, so he was nice and jet lagged, offering hope to slower riders like me. (As it turns out, jet lag just makes Robin look tired; he still rides fast.)
But for a major coffee crisis, we had a great day. I had coffee in Bainbridge before we started, espresso at Port Gamble after 18 miles, and a bottled coffee drink in Quilcene after 38 miles. I was prepared to tough it out for the next 37 miles to the Hoodsport Coffee Company. But, I was not prepared for the sign on the door - "Closed. New Owners. Open Soon." Not only did this dash my dreams of a warm apple danish with vanilla ice cream washed down with a triple latte, I had to contemplate the darkness of an uncertain future of Hood Canal cycling coffee. Despite the nice lunch we had across the street, it took me miles and miles to regain any sort of equilibrium. A Starbucks DoubleShot in Shelton steadied my nerves, but barely, for the ride to the finish.
Thanks to Jack, Matt, the Piepers, and the Nussbaums for their good company. A nice (and hilly) day on the bike. No fenders required.