Espresso Training, or JC's Proper 40

For anyone that’s ever trained for a riding event, you know it’s a very individual thing. Usually it’s just you, off spinning or climbing or logging the XC miles. So it’s nice on those rare opportunities when two individual training goals can be met through a single group ride. Such was yesterday.

I’m in the “fine tuning” for my MS Bike Tour charity ride next weekend. I’ve been climbing a lot, and just needed some distance. John_Childs has also been training, working hard on his quest to maximize the number of double espressos he is able to take in over the course of a distance ride. Take those two goals–combined with the fact that JC did not get to “ride his age” for his birthday this year–and it was clear we needed to get in a “proper 40”.

JC enjoying Espresso #1

So, after knocking back our first doubles of the day, we set off from the cozy village of Fall City, WA, targeting our turnaround point for Duvall, WA, which was 20 miles out by the roads we’d be taking. The route loosely follows the Snoqualmie River, which runs through Fall City, and meanders out through dairy and floral farms on its way to Possession Sound. While we were committed to our mileage and espresso training goals, we didn’t want to be in such a hurry we couldn’t stop to check out any interesting roadside attractions.

JC, happy his GB4 36 isn’t bolted to the ground.

Thankfully, the sky was partly-cloudy, which kept it fairly cool. Nice sun breaks, but not so much sun as to over-cook the various roadkill fauna we encountered. That said, there were a couple short patches that warranted the holding of breath, and at one remote intersection, we even came upon a large trash bag by the side of the road with a deer’s leg sticking out of it. That was gross, and man did it stink. The good news: it was the only deer’s leg in a trash bag we came upon all day. The bad news: our ride was an “out and back”, so we had to pass it twice.

At about the nine mile point, we reached the little town of Carnation, so it was time for an espresso break. This time, they gave us proper ceramic cups rather than the usual disposables.

JC enjoying Espresso #2, in a proper cup

With renewed energy, we set off for Duvall. Just a couple miles outside of Carnation, a small climb brings you up to the Carnation Farm Overlook, where you can see for miles down the river valley. This is home to the picturesque farm that was the original manufacturing site for Carnation milk products, which has more recently been owned by Nestle, and is now in the process of becoming a Hole in the Wall Camp for chronically ill kids. A great new purpose for a historic landmark property.

Snoqualmie River Valley w/ Carnation Farm

This whole river valley is also home to what has to be one of the world’s highest “blackberry bushes per square mile” ratios. Every place we pulled over to stop, there were bushes by the side of the road, ripe for picking. This is the tastiest time of year to ride the back roads of western Washington!

Yep, yer in Duvall

Twenty miles out, we crossed the river once more into the historic town of Duvall, our turnaround point. A little restaurant on main street offered up both espresso and soft serve ice cream, and JC—ever the efficiency expert—had them load his soft serve directly into his cup of espresso. This made for more efficient consumption, as it wasn’t melting all over him the way my cone was melting on me. I should know by now to follow his lead on these types of things.

JC enjoying Espresso #3, complete w/ soft serve

On leaving Duvall, we focused on some heads-down spinning for the 11 miles back to Carnation. We found a very nice shortcut we missed on the way out, which cut through some small flower farms, all now in full bloom. Two days from now, much of it will be in the flower departments of our local supermarkets and Costcos, but this day it was there for our visual enjoyment.

JC crossing the Snoqualmie River a few miles north of Carnation

This shortcut also helped us reach Carnation—and our final espresso stop—a few minutes faster. That was a good thing, as JC was starting to look a bit dazed, his last dose of espresso clearly wearing off. This time we must have smelled a lot worse than on our morning stop, because they did not offer us the fancy ceramic cups. “Here’s your To-Go cups…now get your smelly selves out to the curb."

JC enjoying Espresso #4, without the proper cup

Final Stats: Miles: 40.02; Double Espressos: 4 for JC, 3 for TB; Soft Serves: 1 each; Trash Bags w/ Deer Leg Sticking Out: 1

Happy Belated Birthday to JC. Now he has ridden his age with a proper 40.

For more (and better resolution) photos, check out the “Espresso Training in Farm Country” gallery at my smugmug site.

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Gorgeous ride guys…No rain even? I get a hankerin’ for the straight-up java just thinking about your ride! Maybe next time I’ll actually join ya; I’m on the Tom J ride schedule of late.

Hey! Unfortunatel my reading is more frequent than my riding, gotta change that.

Sounds like a great ride. I wouldn’t be surprised if we need to start carrying Espresso Gels in case JC ever goes into withdrawls.

Did you ride any of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail (Maps 3, 6, & 9)? Or did you stick to paved roads?

We stuck to the roads, although we thought about doing the trail. JC suggested riding it from Duvall back to Carnation, but when we asked some locals whether the trail went out that far, they said they didn’t think so. Of course when we got back to the Carnation Starbucks, they had a county trails map on the wall clearly showing that it did. So, we have an opportunity for the next time out.

Thats my kind of ride, you caffiene freaks:) Good luck this weekend Tom!

Excellent ride and writeup, TB! Good luck on your big ride this weekend.

Sounds like an awesome ride! Miss you all and hope to ride with you again.

David Maxfield
Mitchell, SD and Park City, UT

I needed all the caffeine I could get that day. You can see from the first Starbucks photo that I wasn’t operating on all cylinders that morning. The caffeine was the only thing keeping me from taking a nap right there before the ride even started. You can see in the later espresso photos that I’m smiling and enjoying the coffee. Espresso poured right on top of soft serve ice cream is also a great mid ride treat.

If I can’t be training for a real Coker ride I’ll just keep on training for the Espresso Coker Tour of Seattle. The Espresso Coker Tour is in continual beta test. Lots of testing to do.

The ride was on roads that I had never cycled on or even driven on. I didn’t realize that there were good quiet farm roads out there for cycling. So now I have new roads I can ride if I can drag myself over to that area again. If I throw in the Snoqualmie Valley Trail I can even make it a loop of sorts instead of an out and back.

Thanx for sharing Tom, great write up.

Just a question about the stats, shouldn’t the second viewing of the deer in the dustbinbag at least get a mention?

I knew what was on the corner of the road and averted my eyes on the return trip. I also took a good deep breath before getting to the corner and held my breath till past the rotting leg. The return experience was not at all foul.

As roadkill smells go it wasn’t too bad. Back when I was road bicycling I passed a roadkill opossum on a hot day that almost made me hurl. It had a stench that made the air thick and stick to you. That was foul.

Road kills attracts crows and other winged scavengers. That’s fowl.