Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tea Party 100

Pre-Front Door Adventure cleaning. Likely the last big ride for the Trek 520 and I. Adventure Bike 1.0 is currently being put together. Stay tuned.

There are moments when riding for hours in the pre-dawn freeze with ice block hands and feet that you start to question your resolve for a winter bike adventure. Then there are other moments, like when watching the sun burn up the morning sky through a frozen orchard when you feel like you could ride for days.

Two wheels, snow and ice, a good attitude and a small brain.

Right to left: Pilchuck, Three Fingers, and White Horse Mountains over the Snohomish River Valley. (Abominable Snowman in the foreground).

Nature's sculpture park.

Salvation. A 30 minute break and a hot Chai do wonders for a man's motivation. The Java Inn Coffee Roasters in Snohomish is good place to grab a Cup of Joe from some local folks.

Terrible views and crowded bike paths.

Where the hell is Machias, WA?

Be on the lookout for horses in Machias...

...and trains near Silvana, WA

Sadie let me know that my Carhartts and Patagonia Fleece were not really "Handsome" enough for Tea. Since that was all I had, she agreed to let me stay.

Buffy, the very special Buffalo was also invited to the tea party. Last minute accommodations were made for Snowman and Duck.

60 miles in to a 100 mile day and all you can eat crumpets & tea. Livin' the Dream!

It is hard for me to reconcile the the beauty of this child and her striking resemblance to my brother. Madeline Wren at 8 months.

The Old Snohomish Library was built in 1910 with money donated by businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. One of only 2,500 Carnegie Libraries built worldwide, the Old Library is now home of the Snohomish Carnegie Educational Foundation.

This tree was growing in what we call Snohomish County 100 years before Columbus "discovered" the New World.

It is very important to be on the lookout for farmers on tractors when riding at night near Snohomish.

Mom's Bean Soup. Guaranteed to put hair on your chest.

I ride bikes quite a bit. Most of my riding just involves getting here to there and back again. I ride to work. I go on long trips with gear. I prefer short trips to the bar. I raced a couple of BMX races at the Monroe Fair Grounds when I was a kid. I have been riding bikes my whole life, but I had never ridden 100 miles in a day.

The last day of 2010 seemed like a great day to give the solo century a go. With a forecasted high temperature of 33 and snow & ice on the streets I suited up at 5 am for my best shot at a Darwin Award. Using Disaster Style Tactics and my hand drawn map, I got a little disoriented (I have never been lost in my life) in Clearview (again) and was couple hours behind by the time I reached Snohomish. I tried to talk myself into throwing in the towel as my hands and feet thawed at the Java Inn. Fred's Tavern called from across the street, but I had a very important date to keep with my Niece Sadie in Arlington. Back on the road, the Centennial Trail opened up 17 blissful miles of solace. Truly, this is a gem of Washington State and I look forward to the day it stretches to Skagit County and beyond.

Although grossly underdressed for the occasion, my lack of manners was excused with the promise of more 'handsome' attire in the future and I enjoyed the most precious time that I have had with Sadie in her young life. We talked of family and made future plans to visit links to her past over tea and butterfly sandwiches.

Too soon I had to be on the move as 40 miles and the short winter days threatened. A forced bivy between Arlington and Snohomish didn't sound as nice as a warm bed at Mom and Dad's house. The frigid wind pushed me south, cold beers and a hot tub at The Farm 4 miles short of the finish line proved the most dangerous objective hazard of the day.

Creeper gear up Fobes Hill, bean soup and corn bread, shower, sleep...deep sleep.

It wasn't all that long ago that the minute school got out for Christmas vacation I was racing off to climb frozen waterfalls in Canada or Colorado. While I am not quite ready to hang up my ice tools yet, I can't help but recognize that a bike ride, a tea party with my niece, and spending a little time with friends and family brings me a joy that can't be found on the side of a frozen mountain.

Livin' the Dream


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