Sunday, September 21, 2014

Roller Ski Field Trip

"Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year.
My soul is all but out of me – let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call."
Edna St. Vincent Millay

What better way to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall than with a roller ski/bike adventure with Rune and Augustina on a breathtakingly gorgeous day?

Kongsberger old-timers used to roller ski from Denny Creek up a forest service road to the summit at Snoqualmie Pass for a good training workout, and I wanted to do that, too.  So I sent out an email blast to six or eight guys that I thought would be up for an adventure outside of our normal training routines.  Surprisingly (or maybe not?), only two people even replied.  Peter thought it sounded like fun, but he was out of town this weekend.  Rune -- yay for Rune! -- was all in.  So we checked the weather forecast and made plans to meet at the gas station at the summit this morning.

At the summit, we organized our day, leaving one car and two bikes at the gas station, loading Augustina's bike on my car, and all three of us driving to the bottom, at the Denny Creek Road where it exits from I-90.

Then, with car keys in the right places and water bottles filled, we headed back up to the pass, Rune and I roller skiing and Augustina riding shotgun on her bike.  Rune quickly pulled ahead, of course, and Augustina yo-yoed between the two of us for moral support.

The course could not have been more perfect: smooth pavement every bit of the way, with gentle rollers from the beginning to the Denny Creek campground, then steady relentless uphill the rest of the way to the summit.  It was perfectly strideable, even for me, and I didn't have to slow to a walk on even the sharpest corners.  And sharp corners there were -- the undulating u-turns kept the road interesting!  Rune said it looked like Norway, which is always a good visual when you're roller skiing and dreaming of winter to come.

And mountain beauty?  Unbelievable, around every corner, another eye-catching view.

That road up there?  Yup, that's where we're going!

It was a bright sunny day outside, but shady and cool deep in the forest.  There were some cars, heading to and from a popular trail head, but they all were careful and respectful.

As I worked my way around the last u-turn, I saw Rune heading back down on his bike, ready for round two.


I continued on to the top, where I met Augustina at Rune's car, tossed my roller skis into the car and put my wheel back on my bike, and she and I rode back down the mountain.  Not far from the top, we found Rune on his way back up.  Augustina handed him the car key and a water bottle refill ...

... and we continued, Rune to the top and Augustina and I flying back down the mountain through the lovely swooping turns, breathing in lungfuls of sweet mountain air and filling our eyes with gorgeous scenery.

Back at my car at the bottom, we chatted until Rune arrived in his car, then divided up all the toys between our two cars and headed toward home.

Yup, we roller skied up a mountain!

I totally want to do this again, and next time I want to do it twice. It could not possibly have been a more glorious or fun day, or a better way to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.  Thanks, Rune and Augustina, for going on an adventure with me!

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