Thursday, February 5, 2009

Out of the woodwork

Mother Nature decided to slip a 60 degree sunny day into the midst of a Pacific Northwest February. Like a light coming on in a dark city kitchen, the sun shone on randos scurrying everywhere. Thirteen of us met for a ride of Permanent 401 - Leschi-Auburn-Redmond-Leschi. Dominique Blachon (sporting his soon to be famous (on RoadBikeRider) GPS setup), Steve Davis, Frank Kaplan, Martin Knowles, Vincent Muoneke, Thai Nguyen, Carol and Ralph Nussbaum, Amy Pieper, Mike Richeson, Kristie Salinger, Andy Speier, and I would be the beneficiaries of the glorious day.

My fourth ride with my new GPS started inauspiciously. I left my cue sheet on the printer at home. Rather than worry about it, I figured the GPS and the large crowd would keep me on track. I got caught flat-footed at the start, filing paperwork away in my car, and the crowd was gone. I realized, as I headed off alone, that I had no idea where the route went. South yes, but up and over I-90 or down to Renton? I just didn't remember. By the time I figured out how to zoom out on the GPS and get an idea of the route, the other riders were long gone.

As consolation, the pre-dawn sky put on an incredible color show, reflected in the waters of Lake Washington. My camera was not with me, but my photographic skills would probably not have captured the beauty anyhow. The Kodachrome of my memory ("gives us those nice bright colors") will just have to do. If I would be spending the day riding by myself, a gorgeous day would make it just fine.

A couple miles down the road, I ride past a cyclist staring at her bike. Stranded cyclists usually get a "you ok?" and almost not enough pause to hear the answer. This cyclist, however, looked truly baffled, so I stopped. A bag strap had found its way into her chain and cassette and turned into macramé. After a bit of fussing, I saw that the wheel would have to come out. I suggested that she release the brake. Blank stare. "I ride my bike, but I don't know anything about it." That sounds really odd from a cyclist, although it's true of most car drivers. Maybe the planet would be better off if it were the other way around.

Another rider stopped to offer welcome assistance. I looked up and saw that it was Dominique, who was catching up after a late arrival at the start. Even better, although a GPS user, he had a cue sheet! We made quick work of getting our commuter friend back on her way and started off.

A few miles later, in Renton, Dominique and I spot bikes and riders outside the cupcake & coffee shop. The last late-arriving rider had been located by phone, and all were waiting for her (and for us). Soon we were all caffeinated and reunited. We were also joined for a bit by fellow SIR member Urs Koenig, off for a training ride for his RAAM adventure this summer.

Although this permanent route leaves a bit to be desired in the lunch stop and coffee break areas, the company and the weather made for a great day on the bike. Two wonderful rides in the first four days of February. Not your typical Northwest winter experience, but I'll make do somehow!

Dominique had his camera out all day. See the pics here and here.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Added links to Dom B's pictures. See them here and here.