Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Sneak Peak at the Tour de Kitsap 2010 route(s)

My original plan was to participate in the Munchen Haus bike ride over in Leavenworth, however circumstances were such that I was home in Kitsap County on the morning of the ride.  Despite being home, I was still mentally prepared to do a century ride that day, and so decided to check out the Tour de Kitsap route, which is coming up July 25th. I've ridden most of the sections before, except for the loop out to Scenic Beach and around Kitsap Lake. It's a gorgeous, hilly ride in every direction.

I started out from home and hopped on the route in reverse at the junction of Totten and Widme roads out near Suquamish. From there I had mostly cloudy skies through Suquamish, Indianola, and Kingston. As I approached Port Gamble, though, the skies cleared to mostly blue and I took the opportunity to sit and have an apple, a blueberry muffin and a Red Bull while watching the bustle of people at the farmers market.

"What a great day for a bike ride," one lady exclaimed to me, as I sat. I smiled and replied, "we'll see what it looks like by the time I'm done." I was 26 miles into my ride and had many more miles, and hours of riding left before reaching my brother-in-law's house in Tracyton, where I would meet my family for dinner and catch a ride home.

From Port Gamble, I headed along the highway past the Hood Canal Bridge and turned off toward Memorial State Park, riding through Lofall and the surrounding communities, heading towards Finn Hill in Poulsbo and then on to Clear Creek road, which leads all the way into Silverdale. From there, the route jumps over to Old Frontier, which led me to Newberry Hill and out to Seabeck Highway.

It was on Old Frontier that the torrential downpour began. I kept hoping it would abate, as I was determined to make it out to the Seabeck Highway loop, as well as Kitsap Lake....the portions of Kitsap I had yet to explore on bike.

Newberry Hill is actually at the very start of the Tour de Kitsap ride, which begins in Silverdale, and is a very long hill, with a roller in the middle. I put it in an easy gear and kept a steady pace and didn't have much of a struggle with it at all. At the junction with Seabeck Highway the course goes right  and I enjoyed the looooooong downhill that loops around toward Scenic Beach State Park. In fact, it was such a long hill that pedaling was a waste and as it was raining buckets on me the whole way down, I got quite cold and stiff  and looked forward to pedalling again by the end of it.

Along the canal I stopped at a little store near Lone Rock that was closed, but had a covered patio with a picnic table, to get out of the rain and respond to the ringing of my cell phone. It was my husband, offering to come rescue me from the downpour. I declined. I could see a large patch of blue sky heading my way over the canal and had a good feeling. I would be riding in the sun again soon, I just knew it.

Or maybe not. The rain continued and I began to get quite hungry. Shorty after turning off onto Holly Road I came upon a Texaco/Food Mart with a sheltered store front. Inside, the clerk eyed me with much concern and encouraged me to stand by the food warmer. I laughed and ordered a burrito. Yum, chomp, and I was on my way again.

I decided to skip the Kitsap Lake portion of the ride and turned left onto Seabeck Highway from Holly Road, heading back to Newberry Hill-where the sun did come back out to greet me! Despite the reemergence of the sun, my hands were wet and cold and I was having difficulty shifting from my small chain ring in front to the big ring, so I spent the last several miles spinning at a slightly higher cadence than I would have normally chosen. Such is the dangers of riding in the wind and rain, but it was all worth the effort.

Newberry Hill led me down to Old Town Silverdale, where I turned and headed along the bay, up Bucklin Hill to Tracyton Road, arriving finally at my brother-in-law's place and the promise of dinner and a hot shower. My husband was kind enough to bring me some dry clothes to change into.

What a gorgeous ride, even in the rain.
72.6 miles, 5 hours 12 minutes of cycling

Tour de Kitsap  - July 25, 2010 offers 32, 46.8, 71, and 100 mile routes with aid stations and support. It is part of Silverdale's annual Whaling Days Festival.

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