2016 RAWROD Ride Report Part 3: Adventure Enough

05.18.2016 | 10:38 am

I have a key takeaway from the 2016 RAWROD: It doesn’t matter how beautiful something is if you don’t take the time to look at it.

And here’s another key takeaway: nothing’s so beautiful that it justifies getting your eyes and face sandblasted as you look at it.

Which is to say, for pretty much the entirety of this ride, I kept my head down and just rode. Giving about 60% of all my mental cycles over to a single thought: “I can hardly wait ’til this is over.”

But you know, that leaves 40%, and that 40% is worth mentioning.

I’d say I spent about 50% of that 40% (i.e., 20%) wondering, “Where is everyone?” We had started together, we had waited in the places where you wait, we had ridden at a reasonable pace. 

And yet, we were alone. And thanks to the wind, we just couldn’t make ourselves sit there and endure the wind any longer than we had to.

Which leaves me with 20%. And 75% of that 20% (in other words, 15%) I thought about how it was pretty darned cool that we were doing this amazing ride in a beautiful place in terrible conditions.

I thought about how weird it is to choose to do something harsh and difficult, for no reason other than you had decided to do it. Or in my case, because you like being with someone who had decided to do it, and know yourself well enough that if you don’t do it, you’ll kick yourself afterward. A lot.

I thought about how it was pretty cool that even though the wind was almost always in our face, we rode side by side, so we could hold a shouted conversation. By the end of the day, we’d both have hoarse voices from spending the day yelling everything we wanted to say. Usually at least a couple of times.

And in the end, we did it

Screenshot 2016 05 18 10 17 49

Screenshot 2016 05 18 10 18 11

Wasn’t it clever the way we wore our 100 Miles of Nowhere jerseys, seeing as how this route, according to my GPS is exactly 100.0 miles long — the only perfect natural century I know of or have ever ridden. 

Screenshot 2016 05 18 10 15 56 2


We waited for the rest of the gang. We waited while we changed. We waited while we ate and drank. 

But the wind was getting worse, and we had a storm to beat if we were getting home. 

So, without seeing anyone from our group arrive, we left. 

But we didn’t beat the storm. In fact, as we went over Soldier Summit, we rode through incredibly windy whiteout conditions. I slowed to thirty miles — and often slower — as I white-knuckled the steering wheel for the longest forty-five minutes I have ever driven.

I’m not a big fan of driving over mountain passes in blizzards. Especially when I’m exhausted from a long day of mountain biking for a hundred miles in a windstorm.

But we made it.

The next day, I texted Kenny: “Are you guys alive? What happened? Where were you?”

I expected a reply full of drama and adventure. What actually happened…was a little less interesting.

Basically, partway up the Mineral Bottom dirt road, they realized they had not brought their passes or money for the toll booth. Not realizing that neither were necessary on this particular day, they turned around and went back to the beginning to get their money and passes. 

And that’s it. That’s the end of the story, really. And I feel like I’ve let you down here. There wasn’t a lot of drama in this story. Just a lot of wind and a group separation due to pretty mundane circumstances.

But you know what? Not every story is going to have a lot of drama, outside what happens in your head. Sometimes, just deciding to start is the story. Then deciding to keep going. And then finishing a very hard day and getting a burger afterward.

Sometimes a plain ol’ difficult ride is adventure enough.

PS: Really, I should give better detail on how things went for the rest of the group. Ryan and Jaooaooaooooeeoooeeeooo finished about an hour behind The Hammer and me. I am not certain, but don’t think they finished together. Which means those guys suffered magnificently.

As for the Kenny / Heather group, they finished too, about an hour and a half after The Hammer and I did. My guess is that Kenny had a fun day and was cheerful throughout. 



  1. Comment by ClydeinKS | 05.18.2016 | 11:44 am

    So very true on this one, Fatty. There was much more going on in my head reading this report, it was like a “choose your own adventure” story but lacked the page turns to get there. My imagination ran wild as to what happened to Kenny, Heather, and Jeieio (until he caught up) – thanks for sharing and bringing back the “kid” in my reading imagination!

  2. Comment by Casey | 05.18.2016 | 11:45 am

    I may have missed something of the story. When they went back to the beginning to get their passes and/or money for the tool booth (that they ended up not needing), did they stop for the day? Or did they end up finishing the route after all?

    This is a terrific question, and I should have answered it in the story itself. Short version: after they returned to get money and passes, they re-started the ride. By then, however, they were already more than an hour behind us. I’ll include a PS at the end of the post with more details. – FC

  3. Comment by Leedo | 05.18.2016 | 12:13 pm

    Whatever happened to Ryan and Jaaooaoooeooeooeoo?

    They finished about an hour behind The Hammer and me. – FC

  4. Comment by leroy | 05.18.2016 | 12:51 pm

    My dog won’t stop pestering me until I ask if you’re marketing the hair replacement system you’re modeling in that last photo.

    He says it’s not for him. It’s for a friend.

    I told him he’s not fooling anybody. He’s the one who sheds.

    And anyway, I wear a cap.

  5. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 05.18.2016 | 1:38 pm

    Wasn’t the absence of their vehicles at the parking lot when you got back something of an indication that they’d bailed on the ride?

    Their vehicles were still there. They hadn’t bailed on the ride, they had just gotten way further behind than we would have expected possible. – FC

  6. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 05.18.2016 | 5:04 pm

    And, you just convinced me to go get ready for the group hammerfest. Because I’d kick myself later if I didn’t go. Thanks!

  7. Comment by Shugg McGraw | 05.19.2016 | 3:19 am

    I expect they laughed when they got to the booth and found out it was a free pass day.

  8. Comment by wharton_crew | 05.19.2016 | 11:31 am

    Actually, I’d like to request a write-up from Kenny on this ride….for a couple of reasons….

    1. They were riding a tandem? Is their relationship strong enough to withstand a 100M tandem bike ride in the wind? Unless they are perfectly compatible riders, one of them was doing more work than the other – which leads to bitterness and couples counseling 90% of the time.

    2. When the sand-blasting was really bad, did Kenny do the ‘chivalrous’ thing by riding behind Heather to ‘power the bike’ while really just using her as a human shield?

    3. What happens on a tandem if you’re going up-hill and one of you needs to stand up to pedal, but the other one can’t/won’t? How do you keep your cadence aligned??

    4. On a tandem, does the person riding behind ever sneak a drink from the front-person’s camelbak? I would do that….

    Kenny – we need answers….and a picture!

  9. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 05.19.2016 | 3:20 pm

    I’m picturing a Camelbak with two “straws.”

    I know that the cadence is linked on a tandem, but can’t either person do essentially no work other than allowing their feet to be pulled around by the pedals?

  10. Comment by Jimbo/Rumpled | 05.19.2016 | 4:48 pm

    @Shugg McGraw – In my mind, Kenny and Heather would have been closer to crying than laughing when they got to the booth.

  11. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 05.21.2016 | 10:27 am

    Regarding tandems… We’re riding ours. A lot. No therapy in our future (over that anyway).

    You can tell when the other person is slacking or applying power, no way to hide.

    Getting the coordination for standing, stopping, and other bike handling skills is the best part. Real teamwork.

    Here is what I’ve learned: The stoker has to have unwavering trust in the captain. The captain has to continuously earn that trust.

    I’d LOVE to hear Heather and Kenny’s story. Do it!


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