We woke up to beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures for our final day of the ride. We were getting a slightly later start, 11 AM, since it would be a fairly short day. We just had to ride the 8 miles between Diamond Point Road and Discovery Bay, then get shuttled over to the four corners area where we could finish today on the Larry Scott Trail, a lovely section of the ODT. Everyone was in good spirits as we loaded up the vehicles to head out to the trailhead. Jimmy was ready to continue running, and Josh Sutcliffe decided to join him for the first 8 miles.
We arrived at the day's starting point where Shannon, Kenny, and Marsha had their power wheelchairs charged and were ready to ride the 15 miles into Port Townsend. Our good friend Raquel joined us again on her bike and brought her pet bearded dragon. With the cage mounted to the back of her bike, and a few other cyclists, we were looking like quite the motley crew.
The ride from Diamond Point Road to Discovery Bay is not technically on the trail. It cuts between little segments of Highway 101 and a nice quiet street called Old Gardiner Road. This road was very pleasant for us to roll on. It was wide enough where we could roll next to each other and chat. There were lots of views of the Puget Sound and the warm day had us all smiling. I'd like to comment about two people who had been with us for the entire length of our ride, Lori Schneider, and Chuck Leber. These two are close friends of mine. Lori is the main reason I currently have over 1000 consecutive days of rides. Her current streak dwarfs my measly 1000 days. She and Chuck have been great competition on many fronts, be it trivia, number of beers rated in a year, or miles on the trail. I always get a smile when I see either of them, and I was honored to have them ride with us for the entirety of the weekend.
We continued along Old Gardiner Road until we hit a point, which I knew was coming, where we would have to get on the shoulder of Highway 101 for about a mile and a half. Now I am comfortable with riding on highways. I'm always doing it on my long rides and I have complete faith in my team in maintaining visibility and keeping me informed with what's behind me. It turns out that comfort level drops significantly when I know there are three other power wheelchairs riding along in tow. I love all three of those chair users and I certainly didn't want anything to happen to them. We slowed it down a bit, got in a big single file line, gritted our teeth, and charged forward. It all went fine, we made the mile and a half without a hitch, however we all expressed our dislike of that 1.5 mile section and were happy to get back on the quiet road. One big danger of riding your chair on the shoulder of highways is the rumble strip. If our tires hit this strip, it immediately slows that side of the chair down and forces you into traffic. We all avoided that rumble strip like the plague.
For the final half a mile before our first stop we were on a recently completed section of the ODT with beautiful views of Discovery Bay. We rolled up to that first aid station of the day to lots of smiles and cheers. We all ate more than we needed, our good friend Buddy brought much appreciated honey sticks, and we chit chatted with some folks who had showed up to cheer us on.
Everyone was then loaded into a shuttle and driven the 8 miles of sketchy road that is Highway 20 to the Milo Curry Trailhead. A couple people met us there to do the final leg with us. The final 8 mile section of the ODT, called the Larry Scott Trail, is just stunning. It is not paved, but the surface is very smooth and you go between dense forests, open meadows, to finally finishing with your last mile right on the shore of the Puget Sound. We all headed off from the trailhead, I took up the rear with my delightful girlfriend Celina. We'd been so busy chatting with everyone all weekend we hadn't had any time to ride together. We embraced the opportunity, reflected over the past couple days, and soaked up the beauty around us.
When we arrived at the final aid station of Sea to Sound 2019 we found our good friends from The New Moon Craft Tavern. We all started to snack and tell our tales of the day to the volunteers when Rick, the owner of The Moon, came over and surprised the heck out of me with a beer he brewed to honor my accomplishment. It had a fancy label with my face all over it. I was grinning from ear to ear. It was the most thoughtful gesture and it reminded me how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life. Let's just say we "admired" the beer and hung out at this final aid station a little longer than the rest before heading off to the finish line.
The last 3 or 4 miles were a breeze. We did have to tolerate the smell of the paper mill for the first couple miles of this final section, but our excitement made us not notice it so much. When we finally made it to the last half a mile we had stunning, clear views across the Puget Sound and a perfect view of Port Townsend. Marsha was the first chair to cross the finish line, followed closely behind by the rest of us. Jimmy, of course, ran the entire distance. Over 75 miles for the three days. The ladies decided that after watching his glistening muscles over the past 50 miles, they deserved a picture with him. Jimmy obliged.
We celebrated briefly before we rolled off to the watering hole for the evening, The Pourhouse. It was the perfect weather for outdoor seating, and The Pourhouse has one of the best views around. Lots of people showed up to congratulate us and hear the stories we had to share from the previous couple days. Three people in wheelchairs, who I had never met, joined us and we made some great connections. The Sea to Sound Session IPA was on tap, cornhole was played, and the soft, melodic sounds of a flugelhorn were being played by a talented musician. We couldn't have asked for more. We were surrounded by friends, had spent three glorious days outside, and got to finish each day with a tasty beverage. We all agreed that Sea to Sound 2019 was a huge success and expressed excitement about S2S 2020.
All in all, we had over 20 wheelchairs participate in at least some part of the ride. Two stand up scooters, a couple of ebikes, one (sometimes two, thanks Josh S) runner(s), and somewhere around 50 cyclists had all been involved. Dozens of volunteers insured everything ran smoothly in the background. Then there was my amazing family. Between my mom coordinating everything, my grandmother raising money, my dad and stepdad shuttling people around, and my grandfather always being there for encouragement, I realized, once again, just how lucky I am.
Check back in the next few days for my take on the accessibility of the ODT. Overall, it was outstanding, but there's always room for improvement.