Aug 22 2013

Pirates, the cannibal, and sharks!

At the last minute I decided to join Eddie to ride half of the RSVP. I was going as a pirate. We started out from Marymoor tempting the rain by ditching our jackets. I must have run over something ‘cause I got a flat just at the entrance to the Sammamish river trail. I swapped out the tube but I was already dripping with sweat-yuck! We hit the trail at a decent clip staying at 18-20 to catch up with the main line. Sure enough at the big climb out of Woodenville we caught some riders.

As we got near Maltby we both thought of the bakery. Somehow I got another flat in Snohomish. Just as I took off my rear wheel, Eddie spotted a bike shop right across the street. A few $$’s later we were back on the road.
We made it to the first rest stop on the Centennial trail. They replaced the gates with posts- much friendlier to cyclists! Shortly after our stop we saw two cyclists lounging on a bench – it was the sharks! We stopped and chatted and waited for their support. Like me, they were pirates.

After they got some food and grog we set off. The ride intensity went up a notch. We rode and chatted on the trail and got to one section where Eddie started to ride faster…16..17..19..23.. I kept pace with the sharks, keeping Eddie in sight. Eddie was riding like his last name was Merckx!

We got to this weird section of the trail that nobody remembered and took a wrong turn. Eddie thought we could take a short cut – I didn’t know Eddie was so adventurous. At the last minute, we decided to turn around since we might miss shark support. Plus, shortcuts almost always involve a horrendously steep climb. We ended up putting in an extra mile or so getting back on track.

We were entering the part of the ride known as the infamous shark bait hill. I was the bait before and I tried to keep an even pace; but I felt the sharks sitting behind me. Then there it was; the theme from “Jaws” as the two sharks easily passed me. Shark bait again!

We stayed on the route for what seemed a long time until we finally caught up with shark support. Eddie and I shamelessly plundered shark support! The sharks were relentless and who wouldn’t be with such a great support team! We soon got back on the road heading toward the windy chip seal portion of the ride. I figured I’d take my time- the sharks flew out of sight and I started to feel a twinge in the leg. Just then a paceline of big riders passed me- how could I resist not leeching off of that? I wouldn’t call them whales, maybe more like groupers…there were two riders in gray- they looked like sharks too. I drafted off them until one of them saw me and they jumped on their pedals dropping me like a sack of potatoes. Fortunately the windy valley wasn’t as windy – but a lot of chip seal!  We met up with the sharks and took a break.

After the break, we knew the ride was nearly over- another 15-20 miles; through a valley and up Chuckanut. We wound through the roads – I kept the lead at 17 or so into the cave-like entrance to Chuckanut. Just over the bridge, some guy in a blue jersey passed me – his legs spinning along; I figured I could try to keep up. Just as I was going to catch him he veered off to the scenic overlook.

I kept looking in my mirror for the sharks. I knew they were lurking back there waiting to pounce. In my mirror I thought I saw a glimpse of one but then someone else popped into view. I kept watching in my mirror – I’d see a shark, and then he would disappear behind a rider. Then out of the blue, the shark music started up. “Sharks! Sharks!”, I screamed. This spooked the riders ahead of us. One lady shouted, “What’s all that noise back there?” She must be a mom because I remember my mom saying that in the same tone of voice.

The sharks chased and then passed me…but not fast enough to break away. I sped up and stayed on their tail grinding away. Just then shark one started to ease up a little but then I saw shark two jump out to the lead! They were going to tag-team! I figured I was as good as cooked shark bait. Then, the unthinkable happened – shark two looked like he seized up! It was time for me, shark bait the pirate, to take the lead – nothing was really hurting yet so I hammered away! I passed the sharks and felt them slowly slide off as I pushed on the inclines and pounded through the downhills.

As I was starting to run out of gas, the blue jersey guy passed me yet again! I chased after him but he flew away – I was able to just keep him in sight; but by then what I was really looking for was the lemonade signs. Where were they and could I get to them before the sharks caught up again and before I ran out of gas?

Finally the signs started popping up and no shark music! I passed one sign and another and finally hit the top! I almost fell off the bike but managed to hobble to get the lemonade. The lemonade people at the top of Chuckanut are Amazing!

After a very short time, the sharks appeared followed soon after by Eddie. We regrouped at the top and made our way down to our pick up point. Thank you to our support team and to our ride home. A great way to end a ride!