Anthony woke up at 5 and bike out to Marymoor. I took the more leisurely route by sleeping in until my body woke me up at 5:45 and drove to the start. (Hint, park in the East parking lot, it’s free). Anthony met me there at 7:30 and we were off.
We started out slowly so I could warm up (even though Anthony had his 20 mile warm up)…. well by slow apparently it was 18 mph on East Lake Sammamish. And yet we were being passed.
I knew what to expect from that first hill (Ingelwood hill) because last year it’s where I had to stop with Elias on the tandem 1/2 way up. Still, plodding along, still being passed. In fact we were passed a LOT for the first 1/2 of the ride. Then again I expected it.
Occasionally we found “trains” of folks we could latch onto. We couldn’t maintain hanging onto the crazy trains doing 20-22mph. Same paced trains (we’d find them just after stopping at a rest stop or light) – we could hang with with less effort, which was nice.
However, if they passed us somewhat slowly we figured we could hop on for about the same effort as what we were currently doing, only go a little faster. We’d mostly hang on until we’d hit a hill of some kind – then I just lose them (note to self: keep working on hill climbing). Some were good – nice and consistent, the annoying ones were spurty – fast, slow, fast, slow, fast, slow. We found a couple of smaller ones (i.e. 2 other people) and would hook on to them. One pair the guy had an Italia shirt on and (as it turns out) his boss was as Anthony put it – a human billboard (tall cyclist – great to draft!). In another case just outside Snohomish we hooked on to a pair, on guy in a Washington Husky jersey.
The route for the most part is beautiful. I still hate the part on 203, particularly since the road is or was under construction, has a horrible surface AND a ton of gravel just on the side. Plus the drivers there are totally obnoxious. I called out for folks to gear down just before the turn onto Stillwater Hill Road. one guy didn’t hear me apparently and totally died on that hill, and fell over. Ouch.
On Cherry Valley road I remembered how last year I was in tears at this point – exhausted from lugging Elias around on the tandem. Anthony called it “rickshawing” him… because really he wasn’t doing much work. I was feeling a LOT stronger at this point than last year.
I remember hitting the turn off for the 100 mile route at 9:50 and just being amazed. The loop was the same that we had done the previous week for the RAMROD training series, so I knew better what to expect. I also now know why I lost that train last week – it turns out that we had been going up what the cue sheet said was a 1 mile hill… and I remember last week not eating enough before it. This week was better, but I still got tired on the little blip right as we passed under route 522 the first time (the place I lost the train last week).
In Snohomish we skipped the pie and instead had coffee, and I had an orange cake that was mighty tasty. We had a slight tail/cross wind going across to Monroe, then a tail wind for a while. I couldn’t figure out where the winds were blowing from – up there it was out of the north and West, down on East Lake Sammamish it was blowing from the South and West. I don’t know how much of that has to do with the “convergence zone” or if it has to do with the hills and how wind get squirrelly near the hills. Probably both.
Until we hooked up with the metric century route we were still mostly being passed instead of passing. We found a pretty good train of people once we hooked up back up with the rest of the crowd. The Camp Korey food stop had almost run out of food by the time we came by the second time (as opposed to the bounty we found there the first time through).
West Snoqualmie River Road is one of my favorite parts of this ride – even with the headwind. We wound up hooking onto a medium sized train doing around 19mph. I almost lost them once or twice, but kept up at the tail end. Then my toe started to bug me. I think I was cramping up in my leg and the pain was referring down into the toe. Still I hung on. Later I heard from the other guys leading that they were cramping up too. So I didn’t feel so badly.
The next step is the 3 mile long killer hill at the end. Anthony did *really* well on this hill – he’s gotten so strong. I plodded up, but my plodding was faster than a large majority of the other folks on the road by this point. I have to say that made me feel a little better – like all this training has done *something.* However, by the time we got to the last food stop, I needed to have a slightly longer rest to “reset” my left leg and get it to stop hurting. Before then we were able to have these nice short “get food, use facilities and leave.” However the rest was good and I had enough energy to get through the last hill on 228th AND the rollers on E. Lake Sammamish Pkwy.
Now for irony: at the end of the ride we stopped at the light at Inglewood Hill Road. I turned and saw the dad of a kid from Elias’ baseball team last year (I had also seen him the previous year). He’s a strong rider and had done the century last year and this. So the light turns green and he zips on ahead with two other guys – one in a U of M jersey. A little while later a train goes by – a little faster than us, so we decide to hook on. After a while they’re going a LOT faster than us – like 21-22. Up hill. (we did have a tail wind though). I was having to push from time to time to keep on but it was FUN! Then the irony: one by one we wind up passing the three guys who had sped off at the light.
Anthony split off before heading to the finish line – he had to be in Shoreline by 5 and was pretty much amazed he could finish the whole ride AND get the ride up to Shoreline by 5pm. To quote him “I was so far ahead of schedule, I made it all the way home and managed a 90 second shower before the family left.”
Anthony’s gear said we averaged 16.1, but I have 15.7. His total mileage was 142, mine gear said I did 97.
And I slept 10 hours in a row last night.