Kitsap Color Classic
On the morning of the ride, Dad drove up to Edmonds, WA to the Cascade Bicycle Club Registration Point. After failing the impromptu test regarding his bib number, he was still able to remember his name, and the registration people gave him his t-shirt and bib. At least now, if anyone asked his bib number, he could turn around and they could read it off his back. Then, with a slight squeal of the brakes, Dad was rocketing down the hill towards the ferry dock.
When he arrived Dad remembered that he had not picked up a map for the ride. Since Dad does not have a GPS for the bike, maps are often key to successfully following the route. He considered the risk of riding without a map and decided he could follow the other cyclists. There were bound to be dozens of them along every stretch of the route. What could possibly go wrong?In fact, the ferry dock was filled with bicyclists. They were easy to pick out. Even if they had not all been standing next to bicycles, their sport preference would have been obvious from their dashing headgear and spandex attire. (Note: If one plans to randomly wear a bike helmet and spandex shorts in public, it is always good to have a bicycle nearby to serve as a handy excuse for the garb, and to mitigate people’s awkward tendency to stare.)
On the ferry ride over to the Kitsap Peninsula (which is the peninsula between the West Seattle Peninsula and the Olympic Peninsula), Dad began running through his Senior Cyclist Anatomical Checklist…
Shoulders – a little sore
Back – not too bad
Hips – slightly tender
Knees – Right; OK , Left; pretty sore
Ankles – could be worse.
After completing the audit, Dad whittled down the mileage options on the ride from three, 57 mi., 39 mi., and 25 mi., to just one, 25 mi.
After disembarking from the ferry, Dad followed the flock of cyclists onto the roads and onward towards Hansville and Norwegian Point.
Dad arrived with a group of group of cyclists, and took some pictures of the scenery, recharged with snacks and gatorade, and prepared for the return leg of the ride to the ferry. Looking at he watch, he figured he would be back at the ferry within another 45 minutes. On that note, he swung his leg over the saddle and joined the steady stream of cyclists cruising down the road.
Dad was zipping along down the roads, when eventually he came to Port Gamble. Dad was confused by his arrival here, since Port Gamble was not one of the stops on the 25 mile route. Dad looked at his watch. It was way past 45 minutes since he left Hansville. Apparently Dad missed a turn, and just followed the rest of the cyclists along the 57 mile route. His knees and hips would hate him in the morning, but it looked like he was going to make the 57 mile ride. He rolled his eyes at having failed to procure a map before leaving Edmonds, though it didn’t matter anymore; he was committed.
At Port Gamble, there was a small general store to stock back up on Cliff Bars and soda. They did not have a gatorade. Dad was careful not to wander too far from his bike, as he did not want to experience the Smith Paradox (Named for the eminent cycling enthusiast Brad Smith). The Smith Paradox states that a spandex clad cyclist’s total amount of cool, drops exponentially the further said cyclist wanders from their bicycle. Since Dad was not feeling particularly cool that day after having missed his turn, he decided to stay VERY close to his machine, lest he lose what little coolness he still had.
Dad downed his soda, and then saddled up again. This time however, he wished he had some idea of how far it was to the end of the ride from here. A map would have been most useful. Dad sighed.
Next stop on the ride was Poulsbo. The bicycle club had PB&J’s, bananas, and snacks waiting for the cyclists. There was also water to refill water bottles. Poulsbo is a cute little town, and Dad made a note to come back here one day when he was not quite so exhausted. Poulsbo has a vibrant Main Street, and a pretty waterfront.
Dad had a seat at the picnic bench in the pavilion to eat his PB&J and take a quick inventory of his body parts. Fortunately, his knees and hips were holding up, and his calf and quad muscles were also holding together. It looked like he was going to make all 57 miles.
He headed out of Poulsbo, and started down the road, when he realized the number of cyclists had grown rather thin, i.e. none. Now Dad was faced with several different roads to pursue, and not clue as to which was the right one. Clearly this would have been a good time for a map.
Instead, Dad had to wait for a group of cyclists to come along, and then Dad following them. It might not have been the optimal method for navigation, but it had gotten him this far, even though this far was actually a lot farther than he had originally planned.
Dad was actually making good time along this last leg. There had been some long flat stretches and Dad was clipping right along, until he came to the final climb into the Kingston Ferry Terminal. As he made his way up the hill, the number of other cyclists thinned out, until Dad’s little pack consisted of just him and a young couple.
Dad was looking at the time, and the little group had about 10 minutes left to catch the next ferry. Otherwise, they would have to wait another hour for the next one. As they closed on the terminal, Dad heard these terrifying words from the young man in the front of the pack.
“I know it’s around here somewhere…”
Dad’s blood ran cold despite the sweat pouring from his brow. Finally, all three of them huddled together for a brief bit of navigating, and then they decided to follow the stream of cars zipping past them. After all, in a little town like Kingston, where else could all those cars be going?
After another five minutes of anxious riding, they could finally see the ferry docks at the bottom of a long hill.
Down is Dad’s specialty, so he curled up on the bike into a tucked position, and breezed down the hill and up to the crowd of waiting cyclists, just as they began boarding the ferry. Dad was relieved. He pulled off his helmet, and stripped off his outer jersey, and found a comfortable seat on the ferry to relax, and savor his 57 mile triumph.