Saturday, September 20, 2008

Welcome Back, Seattle

After an amazing 3 weeks of sunny skies and warm temps, fall arrived in Seattle on Thursday, coincidentally the same day my dad flew into town. All of a sudden, it's very dark, as the cloudy/rainy skies highlight how much shorter the days have gotten. The last two times my dad visited were in November and December, so I was hoping to show off how nice it can be here, but it is fall and it is Seattle.

We had amazing weather for the High Pass Challenge two weeks ago. Last year, when the ride was in late September, the riders (including Jeff) faced temperatures in the upper 30's, gusty winds, and fog as they rode through the blast zone of Mt. St. Helens. This year, it was sunny and calm, with temperatures in the 60's at the summit and the upper 70's at the base. This is a very good thing, as I was nervous enough riding on roads closed to traffic because of the rock slides and the huge cracks in the road on the downward slope as the road was breaking off down the mountain. The views were amazing. In addition to the drama that is the blast zone, we had gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Adams. This was my century ride, and it was a doozy, with 112 miles and 7500 feet of elevation gain, but I felt really strong on the climbs. Originally, my goal was just to finish before the course closed at the 10 hour point, but then I got a bit competitive and decided that I needed to get one of the medals being offered for finishing within a certain time. The gold and silver, for completing in < 7 or 8 hours, respectively, were way out of reach, but I pushed for the bronze, and made it with time to spare: 8 hours and 38 minutes. Jeff, of course, got gold, finishing 2 hours ahead of me and being on of the first 10 riders to reach Windy Ridge.

Now, it's rest time; I'm going to take things relatively easy until December or so when we start ramping up for Couer d'Alene IM. Good thing, as things are crazy at work and the basement bathroom remodel has begun - thus, Dad in town to help with the plumbing, tiling, and purchasing of tools.

Happy Fall!


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