Tour2011

Tour 2011 – Day 1

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A lucky, late Start

I set off from Olympia around 1:30 which is a petty good start for me. The days ride was short, which was a good way to ease into it as I hadn’t been riding too much of late what with the moving and such. It was about perfect riding conditions: partially cloudy, temps in the mid to upper 60s.

About four blocks from my friends house, as I gently squeezed the brakes to stop to take a photo, there was a snap and my front brake failed. I thought that the cable had slipped at the straddle wire and as I didnt have a second wrench to hold both nuts I rode to a nearby hardware store and bought this tiny pair of vice grips. I got the cable adjusted right and only then did I figure out that it had broken at the lever.

So I rode it about four more blocks to Old Town Bicycles where there were a couple wrenches available. They told me the cable hadn’t broken but they were in fact shifter cables (which I should note I had not ordered) which have a smaller stop and had pulled through. So they replaced both, the straddle wire and adjusted my brakes. Glad it happened here and my brakes are now safe and more effective than they’ve been for some time. And I can definitely recommend Old Town.

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Of course it was now a bit after three and all my cushion was gone. Still I didn’t have far to go so I set off though Oly to Mud Bay Road. A bit of a climb up to West Olympia but then a good descent into Mud Bay. The riding in Oly is great, with well marked routes and bicycle lanes everywhere. The cars also seemed comfortable around bicycles which is a sign of a place with good cycling infrastructure.

Mud Bay is pretty much the end of Puget Sound and is a neat mud flat and estuary. Riding the back roads down there was scenic and great riding as it wound around the inlets. But soon enough it was onto 101. I’ve written about that highway before: it has a wide shoulder, is relatively flat, but heavily trafficked and exposed to the sun. But today wasn’t bad on it, not too much traffic and it wasn’t too hot. I took a couple of side roads but rode on it for about 20 miles total.

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Near Shelton there is a sign indicating that the Freeway Ends and from that point on the 101 is one lane in each direction and not bad riding at all. It was mostly downhill with a few gentle rollers. The last few miles were the best; a mile and a quarter downhill though the woods by a stream. At the bottom one enters an Indian Reservation with shuttered fireworks stands, some with quite clever names.

Not too much later I was riding on the Sound again and arrived at Potlatch State Park. The Campground was full, but I rode around until I found the hiker/biker sites, one of which was occupied. They told me that the other was spoken for then offered to let me stay with them which I accepted. They are a couple of Seattle based tourons on Trek 520s and we swapped stories of all the different tours we’d done and talked gear a bit.

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The campsite was super rocky but I cleared out a space and set up in a reasonably flat place. Dinner followed in which I cooked with my new Trangia Cookset which I have to say kicked ass – much more efficient than my old setup. I brief visit to the beach in the gloaming and then I retired to the tent.

So everything all worked out, but I have to say I was real lucky the brakes failed when they did and not while screaming down a mountain pass or some such. I don’t mind basic brake work, but I’m definitely going to leave the major work to the professionals.

Miles ridden today: 34.6
Miles ridden To date: 34.6
Some pictures from the tour

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