This post was written by our board member Sarah Gelineau of Tonasket. When she and husband Paul are not traveling to bike rides, Sarah keeps busy with home and garden projects, and her involvement with the Tonasket Community Cultural Center.
8 Lakes Leg Aches. What a great name for a bike ride! I couldn’t resist and bid to ‘win’ this item at Washington Bikes’s annual auction in 2012. Now living in eastern Washington, having spent decades living in Puget Sound, my husband and I look for bike rides on our side of the mountains as another way to explore new back roads and landscapes.
I felt like a young kid waiting to open a Christmas package. I couldn’t wait. I kept gazing at the gift certificate we got in November, the ride not until August 3. 8 Lakes Leg Aches. Will our legs really ache? We wanted to make sure we’d be in fine shape and rode the Group Health Inland Empire Century in Richland in May (a beautiful ride along the Columbia River) and the Ann Weatherill Cycling Classic in Walla Walla in June (another gorgeous ride among sweet onion and wheat fields), in addition to our favorite rides near home in the Okanogan Highlands. And I experimented with riding with my left foot unclipped. I believe I have a neuroma and start getting very sharp pain in the ball of my foot at about 22 miles. I can unclip and ride with putting the center of my foot on the pedal and the pain will somewhat subside, but any further clipping back in will revert to an eventual more painful episode. Ibuprofen is pretty much ineffective at any point.
Finally the date arrived. We chose the 75 mile course which ran from the Airway Heights area in Spokane, south to Cheney, and back again by way of Willow, Granite, Silver, Medical, Clear, Chapman, Kepple and Fish lakes. The route also took us around the enormous Turnbull Wildlife Refuge.
We started the ride about 20 minutes after the official start time, with the majority of the other 75 mile riders ahead of us ( I began the ride with my left foot unclipped). We rode the way we like to ride, in the quiet and feeling like we had the road to ourselves. There was virtually no traffic for the entire day. We love being on the lookout for wildlife and weren’t disappointed. We saw an osprey nest with a mom tending her young, two Does and their respective fawns, a grebe with her brood, and of course California Quail chicks scattering everywhere as they try to get out of the way.
We stopped at each of the 4 reststops and were greeted and treated like we were special, so like all the other bike rides in this state. There’s something special about volunteers at these bike events. The fare included home-baked cookies and breads. Yum! I love bicycling hard and the guilt-free eating it allows. I made sure to sample each one. It was just an outstanding day. We rode past so many lakes I began to think there may have been more than eight.
This ride is organized by Lutheran Community Services Northwest as a benefit for their Sexual Assault and Family Trauma programs in Spokane. The organizers had traffic control at a major highway crossing and easy to follow route signage. And if that wasn’t enough, there was ice cream, salad and pasta and Roast House coffee at the end of the ride. What could be better? My foot didn’t hurt one bit!