After a cup of hotel lobby coffee, which was quite good, Mykenna and I set off into the misty wet morning in search food (a common theme on this trip). The Egg McMuffin is a perfect blend of fat, carbs, proteins and convenience and when we saw the golden arches we rolled in. The dining room was closed due to COVID, so we lined up with the work trucks in the drive-through. The high school gal at the window reported that she was the only employee to show up that morning and that she was sorry for the delay. She also said that strictly speaking she shouldn’t be serving cyclists in the drive-through, but to that she said “fuck it.” Later in the day, when the going was getting rough, Mykenna would comment, “well at least it’s not as bad as working solo at a Sequim McDonalds.”
All that I can say about that first paved climb out of Sequim is who builds roads like this. The road went up the mountain straight to the vanishing point, no reprieve. At the top we met a local utility worker who said, “you rode up that?”
We were now on some nice gravel, but the liv’n wasn’t easy as we had three major climbs between ourselves and Quilcene. At the bottom of the third climb we hit the Lower Quilcene River Trail. It’s a narrow, wet, rocky, rooty mostly footpath and with my loaded Hakka gravel rig I was definitely underbiking. Between the two of us Mykenna is the better technical rider and he had to wait often and long to keep me in his sights. In my defense I was taking no risks here, as tumble could potentially cost us hours over the course of the race.
On the outskirts of Quilcene we met up with Brook who was handing out cookies and water to all racers as he followed his brother along the route. What a cool dude.
We pondered going in for a sit-down meal at place that might have been a restaurant, but instead opted to grab ‘n go at the local quickie mart. Much to my disappointment the guy in front of me bought the last hot dog; I had to settle for some chicken strips, a turkey cheddar croissant of unknown vintage, banana bread and peanut M&M’s. As I was sitting on the curb the lead woman, Jo Lister, rolled up. I was feeling a bit hazy but Jo seemed totally focused and dialed in.
As I was getting ready to roll out I opened my top tube bag and low and behold my Garmin Inreach was gone. As I searched through my rear jersey pockets saying “what the heck what the heck” Jo said “did you lose your Garmin because the guy behind me found one.”
Rick Massey had just passed by, so Mykenna and I took off to try to catch him before the Kingston Ferry. As we approached the Hood Canal bridge my phone rang, it was Brook, he had my Inreach. Evidently Rick had given it to Brook who sent a message to the stored emergency contact – my wife Melony – who gave him my phone number. The dude is smart. Ten minutes later Brook met us on the eastern side of Hood Canal and I was reunited with my tracker.
At Port Gamble we took a little detour into Steilacoom and then as we neared Kingston we took another single track detour. The detours were a bit frustrating as we were so close to Kingston but as I said to Mykenna, “if it was going to be easy there would have been a thousand people on the beach instead of forty.”
We finally arrived at the ferry dock only to see the green and white boat pulling away. The second ferry wasn’t far behind and soon we were moving across the water. I thought that this would be a good chance at some rest, but before I could finish off my vending machine Ginger Ale the boat was pulling into Edmunds.
We opted for a big Mexican meal at a new place close to the terminal and then decided to knock off half of the urban portion before bedding down in Bothel. We left Edmunds in the dark and arrived at the Anderson School at quarter past midnight. We were going fancy tonight.
Once again, we felt kind of bad (kind of) staying in a hotel but I don’t think that sleeping on the concrete streets of suburban Seattle was a realistic option. The bummer about staying in a nice room was that we would only be there for about five hours.
As we were rolling towards Bothell our buddy Ben sent a text, holy shit, you guys are still going!” This was the first time I felt the positive influence of folks watching our dots on trackleaders.com. People are watching us move across the state, they actually care. In the days to come I really felt the positive vibe from all the people watching our little dots.