Well life is definitely different right now. Marty is “sheltering in place” with me in Bremerton, WA and we’re trying to do our part and stay home as much as possible. The weather is perfect to start our bike camping season, but parks are shut down at the moment. So, we decided a day ride around home would suffice.
We peddled off from my house and headed out noting some cute little bird taking a bath in a water-filled pothole :), which is a nice reminder to set up a bird bath in the yard! We turned downhill and ended up on Illahee road which was pleasantly traffic free, a blessing since this road stinks as far as shoulders go. A nice steady climb greeted us for about a mile plus (if you’ve ridden it, it’s a bit of a challenge). We were graced with some beautiful water views and someone’s amazing hillside farm which I had never noticed before, but included goats, chickens, and some sweet greenery! Marty and I practiced a natural social distancing as we continued uphill. I wish I could say I was the one that pulled ahead, but Marty has been kicking my butt up hills lately… not okay. I’ll be working on that for sure!!
We continued into Manette, a nice little neighborhood filled with some really creative and custom gardens and a mixture of craftsman and saltbox homes. I’m definitely coming back to take more photos and get some ideas on decorating my outside; trying to convert a former stale yard into a cottage garden with lots of fruits and veggies. I will say, Marty is getting quite a few garden projects underway with three new beds, and I’m sprinkling sunflower seeds in random places. I figure we could all use some sunshine in the coming months.
Anyway, back on track. We headed back northward following Lebo Blvd, and Tracyton Blvd. This was wonderful! Even though parks were closed along the way, the ride was on such a friendly road (both with shoulder and decently flattish) complete with views of the inlet and snow-capped mountains in the background, gorgeous trees, farms, a donkey, all right where I live! Awesome!
We reached Silverdale and made a right turn on Bucklin Hill (which for those who don’t know, is true to it’s name, and we were lucky to start it half way up). This started our trek back home and we hit Wheaton Way, a bigger 4-lane road which is usually heavily driven but has a nice wide shoulder. Nothing too exciting in my opinion. A few commercial buildings, blackberry bushes taking over the side of the road, a few not-so-well-maintained homes here and there. Although, always interesting to see what people like to collect in the front yard :).
More so, this stretch of road is 3-4 miles of mental battleground; where I concentrate and hope I don’t get stuck at a light and lose momentum. It’s the last leg of my commute when I bike to and from work so I know it well. It’s a slight uphill at times, enough to wear me out and wonder if I have enough gas to get up the final, steep hill, my constant nemesis, John Carlson. It’s relatively short, maybe half a mile? But it’s got bursts of continuously difficult grades. It’s where I first beat Marty uphill (he had to walk 🙂 ). My success rate in making it all the way up is probably 75-80%. It depends on the length of the ride, the bike I’m riding, and how much gear I have on me.
This day, I’m on my gravel which has a great granny gear, only packing a rain jacket and some bananas, but I’m totally out of shape. My strategy is as always to attack in stages. The first incline gets to the Bremerton fitness club, I’ve never had to stop there and I’m still on a decent gear. But things go wrong when Marty shifts and his gear comes off and has to stop to fix it. He bravely tells me to carry on. I go. The second incline is tricky and is where I shift down again, and then all the way down to try to make it to the third incline which is also a convenient crossroad with Clover Blossom Ln. I have only the toughest 4th incline after that. Will I make it?!! No… I detour, cheat and take right onto Clover Blossom Ln, breathing like crazy annoyed with my wobbly legs. I take advantage of a bit of flat road, do a short climb and meet back with Marty who is at the top waiting for me. What the heck? He stopped, fixed his bike and still beat me up. Whatever.. really need to get back into shape!!
All in all we did a nice ride, a little over 16 miles. The weather was sunny with some slight headwinds here and there. But it felt great to get out and go! With reduced traffic, it’s certainly enticing to try some roads we normally wouldn’t!!