Oh man, My edition of Passport2Pain really should have been called "Passport2Pain++" or "Passport2Pain plus More Pain plus Even More Pain" because upon arriving at the finish I realized I had lost my car key somewhere on Vashon Island. This meant I had to ride 10 more miles (mostly uphill) to the ferry and then 10 more miles (with two more hills) from the ferry dock home. Ouch.
That said, this ride was everything I imagined it would be. We practically rode up every hill on the entire frigging island! I'm so glad for 1) the perfect weather, 2) some great company and 3) the outrageous (read: totally excellent) amount of support on this ride!
I had heard about this ride for years and the organizers really do a good job of promoting the event with humor. Like this here.
And in this case there is truth in advertising as my elevation profile shows.
it seems this year is when I finally start checking off items on my bucket list so when I heard about the ride again I finally thought, why not? Boom. I'm so glad I did. This is also a year for turning virtual friends into actual friends. Case in point, Ed Rosenberg, who I have known for quite some time on Facebook and who rode with me today which was the first time we met in person. Thanks Ed.
Getting to the ride is easy and with an 8:00 AM start time I got plenty of sleep and there was no need for any extra clothing. Bonus! They start you in waves of 2-4 riders spaced roughly 60 seconds apart to help minimize road congestion which seems super smart as the roads on Vashon can get a little narrow.
Some of the roads on Vashon are also not in the greatest state of repair and/or totally covered in a blanket of moss! Just another reminder that this is NOT a race and that you DO need to exercise some caution on the descents. We encountered grades up to 23% and 15% was very common so if you are not careful you will pick up some serious speed there was more than one instance of me being vary grateful for awesome stopping power that is a dual-pivot brake caliper. Let's just say that I like to descend and that there were a couple of times where my heart rate got at least as high going down as it did going up. :)
When you check in you get all the usual swag (t-shirt, water bottle) and they also give you a real passport that you get stamped at each aid station.
These stations are either at the top or bottom of a major hill and as you can see from the other passport picture above, with 18 stations you get a clue about what you are in for. The stations are roughly five miles apart but some are even closer so you are WELL tended after. Not only do they all have various kinds of food and drink, they each have a unique theme! Two of my favorites were a bondage/dungeon theme
and a Hawaiian theme.
How was the ride? The first half was nice. I was even able to find humor in the grades were climbing and marvel at how useful it would be to have a compact crank (I did not). At 50 miles in I thought 80 would be no problem. Somewhere around 60 miles in it seemed like a bit of a problem. Around 70 miles in it became A BIG GIANT PROBLEM. Suffice it to say that having switched from cycling to running as my primary activity has left me just slightly under trained for events like this. The handful of longer rides I have done this summer didn't exactly equate to the race training I used to bank.
In spite of the fact that my legs were failing me, my attitude never did. That, and Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes saved my bacon.
Seriously, this was a good time! But just as seriously, if you are contemplating riding the 80-mile route, please 1) put in some training and 2) bring some low (lower than you think you need!) gears. At the finish I heard one guy say this was harder than RAMROD. At the time, I was in no position to argue. Look at all those hills!
Once you do finish you are in for a treat! This ride boasts a genuine BBQ, beer (Manny's Pale Ale), ice cold cider and man did it all hit the spot.
And the finish line venue at the Vashon Island Crew house is so slouch!
Even the extra credit miles and the associated hassle of having to retrieve my car could not dampen this day. I had an excellent time would absolutely return for another assault on the island.
if you like a challenge, this is the ride for you!
Here are all my pictures and video.
|Nutrition||2 large Water Bottles each w/2 scoops Perpetuem and 2 Endurolytes, 2 more bottles with Endurolytes Fizz, about 6 more Endurolytes, various fruit, cookies, nuts and a PB&J from the aid stations|
|Recovery||pulled pork, BBQ chicken, coleslaw, Manny's Pale Ale, more pulled pork, some water|
|Time of Day||8:00 AM|
|Workout Type||epic hill workout|
|Weather||60 at the start, 80 at the finish, clear sky, sun|
|Course||"The Idiot" (the 80-mile route)|
|Results||A sense of accomplishment! A full stomach!, Sore legs!|
|Equipment||Ti Cycles Hyak|
39/53 chainrings, 12-27 cassette
|Clothing||bib shorts, sleeveless undershirt, sleeveless jersey, cap|