I learned hard lessons about planning, water capacity, and saddle position.
More after the break…
Part 1: To Ferry
I started at 05:00 like usual, and headed to the ferry dock. Rather than taking 2nd Avenue and turning back, I tried to find a good way down to Alaskan Way. Unfortunately, by following SDOT's signs, I found myself at an elevator that didn't open until after my ferry left. SDOT should really put notices on their signs in these cases.
SDOT should really put notices on their bicycle direction signs when a route is closed during some hours each day/night. #seabikes— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
I had to backtrack a bit and go on a weird, meandering route. In reality, I should've just used Broad Street.
I'm at Seattle Ferry Terminal in Seattle, WA https://t.co/Xos2gbZUfl— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
Part 2: Kitsap, Olympic, and Dabob
Climbing up from the ferry dock, it was obvious that the bike fitter put my saddle too low again, so I raised it in tiny increments as I rode across Bainbridge Island and the Kitsap Peninsula. I was amazed that the weather was so warm that early!
Once on the Kitsap Peninsula, I started seeing fireworks stands already open (though not operating as it was too early that day) for the 4th of July celebrations.
Fireworks peddlers are in force out here.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
When I got to the Hood Canal Bridge, I noticed something that was a literal sign of bad times as a cyclist.
Some construction workers decided to block some steep uphill shoulder I needed to use on the NW end of the Hood Canal Bridge.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
There was even a huge parking lot on the other side of the highway, which was where they were doing their work.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
I ended up having to walk up the opposite shoulder instead.
With my saddle high enough to take the strain of the fronts of my knees, my quads are getting tight more quickly.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
As I made my way over the two humps of SR-104 that I had expected, I made some final adjustments. I made the mistake of moving the saddle forward at all—which would later cause me to point my toes—and up a bit—which forced me to work harder. While I had no strain on my kneecaps, which is what I've been trying to avoid all this time, I ended up tiring out very quickly and not going very fast. I also eventually cause a bleeding friction burn on one of my Achille's tendons.
Around there, I also noticed that my route was to go along gravel roads through private logging land, complete with gates. Rather than doing that, I just followed the long way over to Center Road, then back along Dabob Road.
And so I went along this route. It was clear that I was ending up further and further in the middle of nowhere. Something I noticed as I ended up on chipseal was how these tires made it feel no worse than 'normal' asphalt (though not as smooth as fresh asphalt).
I eventually made a left onto Coyle Road, as Dabob was apparently barely a settlement. This involved a great deal of climbing, which didn't help my situation, and I burned through a lot of water.
The road eventually followed the top of a ridge, and dipped down and climbed back up frequently. These weren't your average rollers, either! Scattered about were CO₂ cartridges used by road cyclists. Buch of litterbugs.
I saw dozens of European sports cars on the Dabob Peninsula.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
When I saw a real road head off to the left, I made the turn to see if I could find some source of water—my bottles were nearly empty. Unfortunately, there was nothing to be found, but I finally found phone reception! Much to my chagrin, there was nothing on the peninsula at all. I had no choice but to turn back.
Nearly out of water, so I'm going to bail on going all the way to Coyle. Turning back.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
Considering my state even beyond dehydration, I probably wouldn't have had too much fun pressing on.
(1) I will start bringing the third liter next time. (2) I should've made this shakedown ride less grueling (another bike this time).— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
I had a very hard time getting back up the other road. I walked up all the long hills to reduce water loss via sweat. Even with that, I was getting a nasty pain around my left eye, which I attributed to dehydration.
When I found someone in a truck on the side of the road, I thought they might have some ideas. Unfortunately, I wasn't so lucky.
I asked a guy who was parked on the side of the road if he knew where I could find water. His response: "Hi" and nothing more.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
@BikeMath I feel like I learned a bit more about people who live in mountainous/forested America.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
That put me in a sour mood as I struggled my way further northwest, passing by all kinds of "NO TRESPASSING" signs that indicated how hostile folks in the area are. Thankfully, I did eventually find water at a hose faucet. Of course, I disconnected the hose while I filled my bottles enough to get me back to Port Gamble.
Found some emergency water from a hose faucet at a volunteer fire station (closed today). Need to rest to recover.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
I even made a point of avoiding caffeine, but it wasn't enough.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
I had a bit of a stomach cramp from all the water as I made my way back to the Hood Canal Bridge, and had to stop periodically. Of course, I wasn't instantly rehydrated, either, so I was still suffering quite a bit.
I'm at Port Gamble General Store and Cafe in Port Gamble, WA https://t.co/2mmEPBfECv— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
Dehydration headaches aren't fun.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
While at Port Gamble, I had an Italian soda and quite a lot of water, as well as some food. I had to stay away from any food while dehydrated, as I knew it'd only make it worse. And before leaving, I took a 15-minute nap to help aid my recovery, as my headache was still pretty bad.
I had a somewhat easier time riding towards Kingston, though my legs were pretty worn out from the abuse from earlier. I didn't have to walk any hills along the way, though.
I'm at Kingston Ferry Terminal in Kingston, WA https://t.co/fdHNHkXkfs— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
There were dozens of motorcycles waiting at the terminal for the ferry. The weather sure would be great for that kind of riding!
Convertibles try to emulate the open experience of motorcycles.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
Drinking some Sierra Mist to calm my stomach.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
Part 3: Return Home
While I had a very good start from the ferry terminal, that quickly wore off as I made my way to the top of the hill above the Edmonds waterfront.
Going to avoid caffeine today. I don't want to make myself sick.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 4, 2016
I did have to walk some of the steeper hills as my legs were worn out, but it became easier as I finally made it to the Interurban Trail and Interurban Route, which I took most of the way home.
I ended up going faster than someone on a road bike down the 8th Avenue NW hill, as I didn't have to slow down over the ruts and bumps with my 2.15" tires.
Today went basically as badly as it could've without injury or loss.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 5, 2016
Among other things, the long portion that didn't have any water was dangerous without carrying extra water.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 5, 2016
At least things went well enough for me to not do the over-caffeinating thing again.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 5, 2016
Also, my kneecaps weren't in pain, which means I've almost got it right.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 5, 2016
Going out on a ride on such a good day is always better than staying at home, though.— 竹下憲二 (@takeshita_kenji) June 5, 2016
After all that, I think I know what I need to do with the saddle. The "muscle feel" I was trying to replicate from my earlier touring is not what I should be targeting, as my saddle was too low back then, too. These shorter cranks should make spinning easier.
The next morning, I discovered bleeding abrasions on both sides of my left Achille's tendon, due to my saddle being too far back and low and my shoes being a bit snug. My previous low-top shoes didn't have puffy padding with abrasive stuff around the tops of their heel cups, so that had never been an issue before. What a pain!