Sunday, October 21, 2007

Alternative S240

The over-the-shoulder shot

The plan: my buddy Jon and I would leave Spokane at around 3:30, ride to Cheney via the trail, get room at the Willows Springs Motel, eat, then ride out to Sprague the Columbia Plateau Trail for drinks at the Rusty Rail. Forecast: high winds, rain, and low-30's.

This was a great twist on the S240. The drinks and motel idea seemed like a nice alternative feature to the S24O.

(Aside: We took the Fish Lake Trail out to Cheney. Take a look at this picture here: someone did some trail work on Thorpe road. I think we were the first to ride it. I had been on this section a day previous with Patrick and this trail was not here. It's nice work.)

After a great dinner at a little Mexican place in Cheney, we headed out on the trail. It was 6pm.

The Columbia Plateau Trail is mixed surface: a lot of rail rock, some crushed gravel, and a bit of hard pack for small stretches. It runs through the Turnbill Wildlife Refuge. It's a beautiful ride.

About 2 miles into it, my gut began to tell me this was not a good idea. At about 7:10, after a solid 70 minutes of riding, we were only about 9 miles down the trail and I flatted.

As I fixed the flat I started doing some math. We had another 9+ miles of trail, which would likely take us another 1h 30m. Then we had 8 miles of road; figure an hour assuming we took a rest from the pounding trail before we got on the road. That put us in Sprague at about 9:30. Assume an hour or so for food/beer, then we'd be arriving back in Cheney at about 1 AM.

Instead of rain, the skies began to clear and the temperature was dropping quickly. I was prepared for all of this, but for some reason I just wasn't wanting to do the ride. I was nervous and I couldn't put my finger on it, but my anxiety was making the ride a chore. This stuff is supposed to be fun, not some kind of ultimate challenge.

After I mounted my fixed tire, I apologized to Jon and asked if we could go back after Amber Lake. I spend a mile or so trying to rationalize my anxiety, but it wasn't really squaring up; it was irrational anxiety. I think he was disappointed, but he was very accommodating and cool. We got back to Cheney at around 8:30 or so, had a few beers at a local bar and hit the sack. I didn't sleep well at all.

Strange night for me, but it was fun to hang out and chat with Jon. He's one of these guys that has just a really broad scope of interests and knowledge about music, culture, sports, and politics.

We rode back to Spokane this morning on the Cheney-Spokane road, which is basically all downhill and a great ride on a cool Sunday morning in October. We had breakfast, then went to the SE Blvd Ride, where 62 cyclists showed up and rode up to Great Harvest. That was a nice way to cap the strange night.


13-b122 said...

Holy Smokes! I was surprized to see that it was 62 people that's great! Once again I am reminded of my complete inability to estimate numbers. Every one who has asked me how the turn out was heard from me " oh it was good I think there were about 30 or so" Wow I am not good at that.

Ken Paulman said...

When a crazy bastard like John says turn back, you should probably turn back.