I got hacked off with work, so I decided to ride my bike. My natural inclination was to pound out repeats on Baker Hill. Instead I went exploring and found another park on the north end of the island along Madison Bay.
The park entrance is on the north side of Madison Bay Road off Route 305, about a mile from the Agate Bridge. The road meanders through forest and past farms before ending at a driveway. There were no cars in the small lot at the park entrance.
I walked about 200 yards from the entrance, along a freshly groomed trail through a forest of Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Sword Ferns, Red Elderberry, Oregon Grape. The trail eventually split in two directions, presumably making a loop that wound past Madison Bay.
The mushroom like growth on the stump at the left is called Conch. It’s a fungus that grew inside the tree, eventually killing it. Second growth Western Hemlock erupts from an old growth Red Cedar nurse stump shown at the right. These cedars flourished on Bainbridge Island before it was logged in the mid 1800’s. Madison Bay was one of the first logging settlements.
My plan was to ride from home on Bainbridge Island to Stevens Pass and back for a good long climb. Unfortunately, the smoke from the fires in eastern Washington made the air thick and hazy. It seemed to get worse the further east I rode. I turned around in Sultan, just a little past the halfway point.
Sultan is and old logging and gold mining town established at the confluence of the Sultan and Skykomish Rivers in the 1880’s. Today the population is a little over 4500. Most weekends, streams of slow moving traffic creep through Sultan along U.S. 2, one of the few roads leading to passes over the Cascade mountains.
I ride with a great group of people most Saturday mornings from Bainbridge Island to Port Ludlow and back. Like most people I find on the island, everyone has a friendly attitude; most have had a lot of experience riding. We usually start at a pretty good clip north on 305 to the Kitsap Peninsula. The pace eases and people chat more easily once we turn off the main highway. Most weeks we follow the same route.
I like this group because, in addition to being friendly people and good cyclists, we enjoy pushing the pace at times. Right now I’m one of the stronger riders in the group, only because I’ve been riding more frequently. When I was riding with them last year, I was not as strong but the rides were still fun. Most people in the group have ridden long enough they can share similar experiences of up years and down years.
Most weekdays when I’m riding alone, I ride at a much slower pace so that I’m primarily burning fat for energy. With this group, I’m frequently tapping more glycogen stores. Round trip for this ride is 43 miles. Strava says I burned 1638 kCal on the ride. That’s about equal to the total caloric capacity of the glycogen stored in my muscles and liver. A good indicator of fitness is that I could enjoy the entire ride without eating anything and arrive home not feeling trashed.
I’m hoping to do a longer ride tomorrow, hopefully a long climb up a mountain pass. A key check on my condition is whether I’ll be able to recover to start fresh tomorrow and enjoy back to back hard rides.
They provide active recovery, essential respites between hard days of climbing.
They sustain my “ride every day” plan. Often the most difficult hurdle is just starting. Short rides make it easy to start, because it’s always ok just to ride a few miles. On the other hand, often what I expect to be a short ride turns into a longer ride because I’m having fun.
They invite me to look around, pay attention to stuff. Incredibly relaxing.
Yikes! My favorite roads on Bainbridge Island are being chip sealed, all at the same time, all during primo cycling season. No one consulted me before doing this work. What’s worse than riding up a hill on chip surface? Riding downhill. Front wheel feels like it’s on the verge of skidding with the slightest shift in weight. Oh well, Levi’s ride promises some steep climbs on crappy roads. Guess we can call this training.
I broke the cable stop off the top tube of my bike by carelessly clamping it into my work stand. Now I must take the bike back to Bill Davidson to have it welded back on.
Welding titanium is not a simple process. Because titanium oxidizes in the liquid state, the weld needs to be performed in an oxygen free environment. After stripping and cleaning the frame, the tubing is filled with argon gas, and the weld is done in the presence of a steady stream of argon in the region of the weld. A poor weld would easily fracture. A good weld exhibits evenly spaced crescent shaped bands where the filler rod was dipped into the titanium puddle.
Davidson bicycles, not to be confused with Harley Davidson motorcycles are hand built by a small team working with Bill Davidson in the Fremont District in Seattle. I purchased my ti frame in 2001 to replace an older steel frame that Davidson built for me in 1986. The old frame had developed rust pinholes from too many hours of riding in the rain. One of the many properties of titanium is that it’s impervious to rust. It’s also much less dense than steel, providing a similar stiffness with less weight. The elongation and tensile strength of ti make it a highly durable and reliable frame that can be expected to last a lifetime.
My frame has over 20,000 miles, accumulated on three trans-continental trips, (9,000 miles) three up and down trips (4,500 miles), and the miles needed to train for those trips. The bike used to have a computer/odometer. Last time I looked at the odometer, it read 13,000 miles. When the battery wore out, I took the computer off the bike and never replaced it. That was several years and several thousand miles ago. Also, that was the second computer on the bike. I don’t know how many thousand miles I rode on the first one.
In the years since I purchased my bike, titanium has lost appeal as a material for high end bike frames. Carbon fiber frames are much lighter and currently much more popular. They’re also more expensive.
My first Chro-moly Davidson cost $2,000. I earned the money to buy the frame by delivering Dominos pizzas, and used the bike for my first cross-country bike ride in 1986. In 2001, I hesitated paying over $4,000 for a new titanium bike, thinking that at age 51, my cycling days were mostly behind me. Little did I know they were barely beginning.
Today’s ride took me to the north end of Bainbridge Island, where I stopped to investigate Hidden Cove Park, one of many small parks along the coast. A dirt and gravel road wound through the forest down the hill to a small parking area and high bank grass field overlooking Madison Bay. From there, several flights of a narrow stairway led to this dock. Several teenagers were hanging out on the dock, laughing, diving and splashing in the water. Summer time on the island.