Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Off to the Expo! But Stop for Bunnies...

It's Sunday morning and we're heading to the Bike Expo! I switched our usual Saturday morning bike ride to Sunday due to a conflict I had this past weekend on Saturday. So following the 9 a.m. service, four of us--Ken, Johnny, Jeannette, and myself--met in the EFC Parking Lot, shared a brief devotional, prayed, and hit the road. The weather was in the low 50s with an overcast sky, but the rain stayed away all day for us. As we reached Juanita, a fifth rider, Kimberly, met us and joined our train. I think Jeannette was pleased to have another gal riding with us, especially since they are friends.

We continued through Kirkland and into Carillon Point. I realized it was odd for me to be on a ride on a Sunday since I'm usually in church service. I discovered that there's a lot of Sunday morning walkers out at this time of day! After Carillon Point, we turned west and climbed the big hill that parallels I-520 and leads into Yarrow Point. I found that the hills today were not going to be kind to me. (I discovered later that I was just beginning to get a viral infection and should have been at home sleeping instead of hammering out this ride!) As we turned south through Medina, I saw more morning walkers and joggers. Upon rounding Meydenbauer Bay, I enjoyed the pretty view across the water of downtown Bellevue. Despite the overcast skies, it was an attractive view.

We rode through Old Bellevue and then turned south on Bellevue Way stopping at the Park and Ride just north of I-90 for a brief breather. The pace was good for everyone and so far, the ride and route were going well. We hit the paved and winding trail that connects to the I-90 bike trail and began our ride over Mercer Island. The Mercer Island Half Marathon happened earlier in the morning. While we didn't see any runners, we saw the road markings and signage for the race. Halfway across Mercer Island, Jeannette called for us to stop. We had just passed a funny sign announcing an upcoming "Rat Show." Who participates in a rat show, I'm not sure. But this sign prompted her to recall that she was caring for a friend's show rabbit and had not watered or fed said rabbit since Friday night.

Now, I've had to stop for riders in our bike groups for lots of various reasons: flats, chain problems, bathroom stops, food stops, clothing adjustments, and the like. But I have never had to stop in order to check on a bunny! Jeannette pulled out her cell phone and began making frantic calls to friends and family to find someone willing enough to check on the show-worthy rabbit. To make matters more challenging, she didn't have an exact address and had to describe the home's location. After a 20-minute break, she finally resolved the issue and we could pedal on. We learned later that the rabbit was safe and sound and still very much alive.

After Mercer Island, we crossed Lake Washington on I-90 and ventured into the I-90 bike tunnel. A few of our riders had never experienced the tunnel. That's always fun to take a rider someplace new. From there we went through the Rainier Valley, along Dearborn and the International District, to Safeco and Qwest Fields. Now it was just a short distance along Alaskan Way to the Expo at the Cruise Terminal 30. Plenty of people were walking from their cars to the Expo and a few were biking there. We parked in the bike parking area and ventured inside.

I enjoy the Bike Expo, but also find it to be a sizeable temptation. New bikes, new products, new rides and events, new accessories, all begging to go home with me. Last year, I brought a backpack. This year, I removed the temptation and left it at home. We surveyed all the exhibits, purchased lunch, enjoyed Ryan Leach and his crazy Mountain Bike Trials exhibition, and then departed around 3:30 p.m.

We shortened the route home by riding directly through Bellevue and bypassing the scenic Clyde Hill-Medina route. But, it was on the route home that I realized just how lousy I was feeling on the hills. I could pedal fine on the flats, but once I started climbing... I had no power. Fortunately, I was able to complete the ride and when we all returned to EFC, I was thanked for leading the ride and selecting the route. That's a good feeling, but the best feeling was being done... and knowing that the bunny was okay!

Time: 3.29.19
Dist: 43.48 mi.
Avg: 12.4
Max: 34.2
Temp: 55F
Total Ascent: 1885 ft.
Max Elev: 213 ft.
Riders: Bob, Johnny, Ken, Kimberly, Jeannette

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