Here’s a shout-out to all my friends traveling to Portland this weekend by bike: no parking, no stopping — just ride!
Some time ago, someone spray-painted the stop sign at the bottom of my street, blocking out the O with a surprisingly good match of red paint. Only recently, after helping with the Cascade Training Series, CBC’s months-long series of group rides to get people ready for the STP, I looked at that sign and realized its secret message.
As I went down the block to photograph it earlier this week, a cyclist rode by at just the right moment. He looked a bit confused and asked me what the heck I was photographing, so I had to let him in on it.
I won’t be on the big ride this weekend, but I fondly remember the course:
Day 1: Taking off at dawn from the Husky Stadium parking lot, skirting Lake Washington and then heading through Renton, Kent and Puyallup. Staying east of Tacoma and into Thurston County to ride the Yelm-Tenino Trail past Olympia, and then finally heading into Lewis County to hit the Centralia-Chehalis area and top 100 miles.
Day 2: Getting up early to slip out of town as the mist rises off the flat fields around I-5, then bumping through Napavine, Winlock and Vader before crossing into Cowlitz County and riding rolling hills to Castle Rock. Skirting the Kelso and Longview area, and tackling the last stop in Washington: queueing up to ride en masse across the Lewis & Clark Bridge, escorted by a motorcycle team. Navigating the bridge’s pits and expansion joints, especially on the thrilling downhill, quickly into Oregon, and after that, skittering along the border and into Portland.
May you have the wind at your back, cool days and a great party at Holladay Park once you pass the finish line and have the Finisher medallion around your neck.
Not tackling the STP?
Here are a couple of other diversions this month:
Tour de Whatcom – Saturday, July 27. Help the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition do their thing by riding 25, 50 or 100 miles through the beautiful Bellingham area, on routes going from the sea to the foothills of Mt. Baker.
Tour de Kitsap – Sunday, July 28. Enjoy strawberry shortcake at the finish line after riding 32 or 72 miles from start lines in Silverdale or at the Bremerton Ferry Dock in this ride sponsored by the West Sound Cycling Club.