Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ben Country X

Date: May 9th & 10th, 2015
Distance: 160 miles (over two days)
Song of the Day: The Boys are Back in Town - Thin Lizzy

Well, it is time once again for Ben's annual birthday ride. Full of the same kind of joy and shenanigans as always. This year we had 63 riders and a few more in support cars. It is so fun to be ridding around in such a big group and having fun on bikes.

Like last year the route headed west onto the Olympic Peninsula. That meant a ferry ride to Bainbridge island. I have crossed the island a few times on a bike. We must have had a good tail wind because that was the easiest/fastest I think I have ever done it. What fun.

From there the group headed north and crossed the Hood Canal bridge. Then a few back roads, finally onto some gravel forest roads. I stopped to wait for one of the guys to fix a flat. So there were four of us who were left behind. I had to use my tracking skills to figure out where the group went. Fortunately the gravel roads showed the bike tracks pretty well. We met up with everyone at the Quilcene.

After that it was a big climb and a decent south along the 101. We took a right onto the Doeswallups road, and stayed on that until it turned into gravel and then vanished into the river. Ben is good at finding washed out roads where bikes can pass, but cars can't. This time though, the bike path involved a bunch of steep switchbacks. I can't say that I minded too much, but I know there were a number of other people who at the end of a long day weren't feeling it. But everyone made it, and there weren't really any complaints.

Plus the camp site was great. Big enough for us to spread out, which is important when you have 70 people. It was also right along the river. As soon as I was done hauling gear around, I went for a dip. Cold but refreshing. The evening had the usual camp craziness. Three different fires and a bunch of goofing off.

The next day I was the last one up. Everyone else had already packed up. For a second I almost wondered if I had dreamed the whole thing. But Mike, Kara, Ross, and Sweeny were waiting for me. We rode back into town and got a bit of food. After bunch the group headed south along Hood Canal. Kara, Ross, and Sweeny went off to spend one more night at a cabin in that area. Mike and I headed for Seattle. I split off from him at Belfair to bust to Southworth. That road was longer and steeper than I expected. In total I did 88 miles on the day. Still it was a lot of fun. Great weekend all.


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