Saturday, April 11, 2009
Not every weekend features the perfect riding weather. This "Easter Saturday" ride was not so much wet as it was grimy. And gritty.
The rain earlier in the morning had done a great job of adding lots of mud, muck, grit, and gunk to the roadway. But, surprisingly, we had a great turnout of riders for today's jaunt out to Duvall. A few new faces were first to arrive and I thought my regular group had become fair-weather riders. But a moment later, Jim, David, Johnny and Ken pulled up and joined our group, now 10 strong.
We took off towards Woodinville and met our first challenge of the day, straight up Woodinville-Duvall Road. The weather was cool, gray, and damp, but fortunately the rain had abated. The traffic along Woodinville-Duvall Road was heavy at best, but I was able to pick up a conversation with Rod, one of the new faces, as we ascended the long hill. Only about 10 miles into the ride, I got a call from Drew and Mike, two new guys. They were turning off to take a different route as the hills were just too tough for them today.
We pressed on towards Duvall and soon saw our friend Gary drive past with his bike on the car roof. He found us in Duvall and caught us as we turned up Cherry Valley Road. The traffic was a little calmer out here in rural Duvall. The rain sprinkled a bit and the roads were wet, but the quietness of this rolling country road gave us a good opportunity to visit with one another.
I learned Jim, a new rider and friend of Rod, that he had done a cross-country bike ride when he was 18. We talked at length about my upcoming Ride for Impact (3800 miles across the nation from San Francisco to Portsmouth, NH). He gave me several tips on making the most of this adventure. I received the encouragement and enjoyed talking it all up.
We descended into Stillwater and turned north up Rt. 203. The grit and gunk was really flying off of people's wheels. Today's lesson was all about fenders. If you didn't have a fender, you were relegated to the back of the pack. And even with a fender on the bike in front of you, there was no guarantee you weren't going to get filthy. The only guaranteed position to stay dry and dirt-free was in front... Guess where I was? That's the dividend check for being the ride leader!
As we pulled back into Duvall, I found a great coffee shop for our stop. We were nearing 30 miles into this ride and I knew my group was ready for some caffeinated refreshment. I pulled into Tressa's Bakery and we posed for a nice group photo. We laughed heartily at Ken's face... covered in mud and striped across his forehead with gunk.
After hanging out for awhile enjoying the warmth of a latte and a pastry, we returned across the valley and back up the hill toward Woodinville. I turned the group onto Old Woodinville-Duvall Road and enjoyed the quiet peloton riding through the trees and pacing me up the hill.
While today's ride featured far more traffic than I typically prefer, and my bike was now fully coated in mud, spray, and gunk, it made for a great story to revisit as I saw my rider-friends at church during Easter services. It reminds me that while I can shower to remove the gunk of a day's riding... It was Jesus' sacrifice on the cross that removed the gunk from my heart.
Now that's an Easter message worth sharing.