30 March 2010

Centennial Trail of Beauty

This past weekend was another volleyball tournament weekend that took us to Spokane, Washington.  We hit the road just after 6am (all of you shaking your head thinking that isn't possible for me, quit now - it's true!) with my bike packed in the back of the car.  Thanks to the convenience of my daughter's team playing in the afternoons, I figured I'd still be able to ride Saturday morning even though I wasn't with my team.
I set out from River Front Park in downtown Spokane on the Centennial Trail.  This is a paved trail for pedestrians and cyclists that follows along the river out to the Idaho border.  (The trail actually continues in Idaho under a different name that currently escapes me and because it's early morning, I am too lazy to Google it for you.  Sorry.)
It was a fairly flat ride the entire way.  For a section of the trail that runs along Upriver Road (they are so darn creative with their naming system there), cyclists are directed to use the bike lanes on the road.  I apparently missed the signage that directed me to turn back onto the path, though and wound up in a soccer/baseball field sports park.  I figured the trail must continue at the other end or something, but after circling the park and finally looking at the park map, there was no Centennial Trail to be found.  So, I backtracked a bit and found the trail.  This little side trip added a bit of mileage and a short hill.  Gotta love that! 
Back on the trail.  After you get about ten miles out of the downtown area, there aren't many on the trail and with the incredible weather that day, the scenery was amazing.  If I had a bottle of wine with me at the time, I very well could have pulled off and sat by the river enjoying a glass - to get my antioxidants, of course...they were feeling a bit low at the time.  I really did think about this as I was riding, but alas, did not have a bottle of wine with me - maybe next time.  What I did have was a speed limit.  This cracked me up.  On our trip to Spokane for last year's tournament, I got a speeding ticket.  Everyone seemed to remember, as before the trip this year, I received many comments about driving safe and avoiding any tickets.  So, as I passed the 15mph speed limit sign on this path that doesn't allow motor vehicles, I looked down to see that I was currently just over 20mph.  I wondered, "Do they actually patrol this?  Could I seriously get a speeding ticket on my bike?"  Well, I did not, but I am still curious - how do they enforce that speed limit? 
When I got to the Washington/Idaho state line, I had logged 25 miles.  I wasn't sure how much my "detour" had added, but almost hoped I was looking at my first 50 mile ride.  I crossed the bridge into Idaho just to say that I had been to Idaho and back, got a few pictures and headed back.  (The blue sign in the picture on the left is the Welcome to Idaho sign - my proof.)
Even without the added miles of losing the trail, I knew I was about to log my longest ride.  I had no idea how the trip back would be.  Would I run out of water?  Would I run out of energy?  Would my seat be way too sore to handle?  I was taking it easy most of the time, not really pushing speed, but just trying to keep a decent cadence.  Apparently, that was the way to go about it because I was back downtown before I knew it.  No issues.  I ate a PowerBar on the way back and made sure to keep drinking water, but never ran out of anything. 
Total trip came in at 48.25 miles.  It took me 3 hours, so I was averaging 16mph - a bit low for my goal, especially considering this was a flat course.  However, I was fine with it because I haven't gotten a lot of riding in lately and wasn't even sure how I would do completing it.  So, I was happy with the result and it felt great to be out riding on such a lovely, sunny day.  I have never really enjoyed Spokane in the past few years we have gone to volleyball tournaments there. This time, I enjoyed it and even saw why people choose to live there.  No, I won't be moving there, but visiting will be nice.
The next day, I expected to be sore, but was pleasantly surprised.  The girls played in the morning and then we were to head home.  While they were doing some ref'ing duties, I headed out for a quick ride before we hit the road.  It wasn't quite 15 miles and felt EXTREMELY short after Saturday's ride, but it was great.  Rolling hills, nothing terribly steep, but more than I'd had on the Centennial Trail.  I was back after 50 minutes.  The girls had just finished up, so I ran into the bathroom to change and we headed back to Portland.  Home again, home again, jiggity jig.  Great weekend, beautiful rides.  63 miles total and considering we were busy out of town this weekend, I'll consider that good mileage. 
Have you seen my fundraising thermometer?  It's totally up there!  So, I dedicate the beauty of this weekend's ride to all of you that have supported me.  I'll even throw in dedication of the glass of wine I got to have when we finally got home Sunday night.  Mas des Chimeres 2007.  Yum, yum, super yum.  Haven't had it?  You probably should.  Cheers.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!!!
    Reading this post, I almost wished I was on that ride with you!! Sounds lovely...especially the part about sitting by the river with a glass of wine...
    So proud of you Heather! A beautiful woman, doing a beautiful thing, for such a wonderful cause!!
    Sending you much Aloha!!