May 15 2011

Issaquah-May Valley-Black Diamond-Renton Loop, May 14

28 — that was the number of riders that we had on today’s ride.  This was one of the biggest group rides yet and as we were to find out, quite a challenge to keep track of everyone. (But everyone made it back  — sore maybe – but safe and sound).  The weather was wonderful too – 10 weeks or so of weekend training rides with no rain!

Although this route is a pretty flat ride, the intent of this ride was to train at or near an STP level riding pace and to get used to riding as a group.  Some have not been out in a group ride yet, for others, this would be just their first few rides over the past few years.  In fact, this was my first long ride of the year so I was wondering how it would go.  Still, having heard Heather’s admonitions about hydrating and fueling I made sure to bring lots of drinks and food and I was glad to see others doing the same.

Leaving Sunset Elementary School and turning down Newport way to towards Issaquah, our group got split.  Not more than an few hundred feet from leaving and we were already in two groups!  Was this a harbinger of things to come?  Still, it was a nice road to start to warm-up our legs and bikes.

As we sped towards Issaquah to Tibbetts Park, we all made it and regrouped there.  Of course, it was only a few miles, but I’ll take the victory while I can.  Leaving the park our group continued down towards May Valley and there we had a nice long stretch of road to find out that we can get quite strung out.  I thought I would never say this, but it was a good thing that we had traffic lights to help keep us together!  We were still definately learning how to ride together as a group but as the ride progressed, it really did come together.

As we started to descend toward the Cedar River trail, I someone who looked vaguely familiar riding the other way — but a few seconds later I saw him pass me on the way down.  Hmmm… need to see who that was — and so the pursuit started.  It was nice to stretch out the legs and swoop down the hill.  At the bottom of the hill it turned out to be Jason on his Litespeed.

Going along the Cedar River Trail was uneventful.  We ended up splitting into 2-3 groups and as I was on the last group we quickly lost sight of the other riders.  Moseying along, we eventually caught up with some of the riders who were ahead of us; but only because they had a flat.  Well we caught up didn’t we?

As few of us stayed behind to help while the others, including those on the tandems, continued on.  We fixed the flat and took off.  In a few miles we met up with the main group- but no sight of the Tandems or Susan who was riding a mountain bike.  It turned out that they took a more “scenic” route.  Like another 10 more miles “scenic” route.

We finally arrived at Black Diamond Bakery where I was about approach by someone asking about jerseys.  An opportunity to talk about IJM!  I even was able to hand-out some information cards that Jon put together.

While we were parking, there was the sound of something that sounded like an explosion.  It was.  It was Heather’s tire exploding, fortunately fixed in due time.

Refueling with a nice big cinnamon roll that Daniel, Lucas and I shared, we made sure that we got our carbs in.  Others had a full hot sandwich, and there were cookies, chocolate milk and other dessert items being consumed.  This is why you ride isn’t it?

As we regrouped outside, we were able to contact the wayward tandem and mountain bike riders.  We found out that they were a few miles out and we decided to depart and meet them on the road.

We quickly found them, pulled off the road only to hear another explosion.  This time it was Heli’s tube that exploded, but it also blew a gash in her tire itself.  Not having a tire boot, Daniel put a tire patch on the inside of the tire — makeshift but it seemed to be okay for now.  The Tandem and Mountain bike team continued onto Black Diamond to refresh themselves before turning around to ride back. 

Starting back again, we eventually got on the Cedar River Trail but Heli’s makeshift boot started to give way and with the tire carcass twisted and the tube bulging out.  We had to come up with another solution.  We ended up creating a multi-ply boot.  The inner core was made with a piece of clear polyester plastic from a patch kit blister pack.  This provided stiffness and resistence to bulging.  Next, we wrapped it in a soft wrapper that use to contain Clif Shot Blocks.  This provided a softness for the edges of the plastic core.  Finally we enclosed that in a a metalicized wrapper from a Luna bar.  This provided tough and inelastic wrapper to keep everything together, to provide another level of punture resistance, and to add another layer to help prevent the inner tube from being cut by the plastic core.

We started off again moving smoothly as a group.  That is until Jason got a flat.  But I thought that Litespeeds were not supposed to get flats… :-(

As a few of us stayed with Jason and lo and behold, the Tandem and Mountain bike team caught up to us.  We must have been the world’s slowest flat fixers :-) .  As we were way behind the others, we rode together as a group to continue on.  We also saw along the way a bald eagle soaring among the wetlands.

When we got to Renton, I eventually took off alone because I had another committment to get back to.  Passing by Fry’s, then Coulon Park, the Seahawks training facility, Honda hill, eastgate Albertson and then back to Sunset Elementary School I wondered if Daniel would have been waiting a long time.  It turns out no — Doug got a flat and Lucas got a flat so I ended up getting there not long after they arrived.  Although I was supposed to go, I ended up chatting — long enough for the last team to roll in!

All in all, a good ride, although with 6 flats, this ride really did turn out to be a flat ride!


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