A very lightly loaded mixte was parked out front. Turns out it was Larry's, who wasn't part of our group, but who recognized me from meeting on some other ride. I traded him a pair of colored valve caps in exchange for running to the post office to drop off a Netflix movie.
Ed loaned me a two-way radio, "in case of trouble" and I handed out cue sheets. We requested riders help us to help them by leaving their bike somewhere visible if stopping and warned them we couldn't keep track or chase down riders who went ahead of the group. I may add this to my regular ride leader speech and kiss chasing inpatient folks goodbye.
By 9:00, we were rolling eastward. It promised to be a scorcher and this time, Mother Nature stayed true to her word. Before we knew it, we were blowing by Dodge Park, and the Kid, who has requested a new nickname that I cannot remember for the life of me, was entering a magical land known as Bonk World. Elif and I welcomed him back to the land of the sane by insisting we all stop on the way uphill and breathe and grab a snack.
We enjoyed the wonders of Shipley and Marmot and the Barlow Trail until at last we arrived at Zig Zag. We skipped eating at my favorite store, since they didn't have beer, and instead went to the pizza joint across the street. This place was heaven. Beer, lemonade, pizza, fries, salads, whatever you want. Lots of pitchers of cold water. Electrical outlets! Pinball machines.
Finally after a quick stop at the Welches store, where I handily procured Raddlers and Ramen, we began our foray into the wild section of the ride - Still Creek Road. I wish I'd had the energy to climb and climb and climb and see it all, but we were tired and it was hot so we stopped at the second camping spot we found. I promise to go back with a faster bike and less stuff and more time one day.
Sunday morning I woke up to the sound of birds singing. Not campers. Not zippers. Not pots and pans clanging. I poked my head out and saw that all of the tents were still in place. Could I be the first one up? A historic moment! I gathered my breakfast supplies and headed over to the creek to start making my coffee.
The get the heck back to town group found Vista Loop Road and, much like the poppy field outside of the Emerald City, almost stayed there. Blackberries, apples, views like crazy. We didn't want to go on, but we did. We split again, into a jumping the train group and a get the heck back to town group. The town group almost beat us back and Josh taunted me via text.
Then, most of us happily reunited at Velocult, dirty and fat and happy as if we'd been gone for weeks instead of just a mere weekend. These Cycle Wild trips are a special place within themselves, and it's amazing to be a part of it. Thanks you guys. Literally.