This is a fun ride. Fun because it's low key, fun because the support is great (and frequent!) and fun because the entry fee includes one amazing post-ride meal AND beer. You heard me right, after you finish it's all you can eat and drink for no additional charge.
Oh yeah, and today was extra fun because I rode my single speed bike.
To top it all off the ride had a bag check so I was able to hop on my bike at home, roll to the start and not hassle with parking, changing, you name it. Did I mention that I was able to start in short sleeves because it was already 60 degrees at the start? Oh yes, today was going to be a great day.
They feed you well on this ride!
ASIDE - I'm noticing that the quality and quantity of food provided for participants is an important criteria in Martin's ride rating scale…
At the start they have hard boiled eggs (I had one), granola, milk, fruit rollups, fruit, coffee, blah, blah, blah. Repeat every 12 miles pretty much except some rest stops have a 'featured' food. Like pie.
Or strawberry shortcake.
You get the idea.
I just rode at my own pace, listened to music (did I mention I also was test driving a new music mix from Shelley?) and tried to stay hydrated and fed. My goal was to not bring any food at all myself and to just eat ride food at the designated aid stations. I guess technically it worked but I missed one food stop after Snoqualmie Falls and so on Mercer Island I had to eat a little bar I had picked up at the start for just such an emergency. And of course no sooner had I put the bar in my mouth than I turn the corner and there is the last food stop.
I wont like, there were a couple of climbs that were a challenge on the single speed but going at my pace I was not under duress. I just had to get out of the saddle quite a bit. And it was kind of fun to pass all these people on fancy carbon bikes with 20 speeds while going uphill. :)
Honestly, one of the hardest sections to pedal was the long, gradual downhill while heading south on Cherry Valley; I was not able to pedal all of that and had to coast frequently. The most difficult hill was coming up the old Issaquah-Fall City road. Ouch. My cadence was massively slow there.
This bike is so smooth and quiet! There is no drivetrain noise when you are pedaling and hardly any when you are coasting. I SO love a quiet bike. Sections of the ride like heading south past the Carnation golf course on that new blacktop were super duper uber stealth.
I did have one moment of despair on this day. As I started to head up Issaquah-Fall City and as I was getting mentally up for the hard climb, I suddenly saw a sign that said, "100 mile route turn left, everyone else enjoy your 85 miles in the saddle." WTF?! I had just been thinking that the route seemed a tad short and guess what, I was right. To get in the full century I had to turn left, head back through Fall City and climb up to Snoqualmie Falls and then return the way I had come. I'm not afraid to admit it… I did contemplate just going straight but then my conscience got the better of me and I did the loop. And I'm glad I did. It was such a nice day out and I wasn't racing anyone.
ANOTHER ASIDE - I'm always interested/amazed/humored by how much fun hills are when you are not racing up them! I actually like to climb, just not at the pace of people that are faster than me.
Riding up this road past the Duthie Hill MTB Park is always so pretty. You are in this tunnel of green.
Descending off of the Issaquah plateau is also pretty, in a different way. If you take a road like Black Nugget or similar it's like falling off a cliff. With a run-out. I like that.
From here it was past Lake Sammamish and then up the most ridden east/west road ever in my estimation, Newport Way. Then across Mercer Island and a few miles of Burke Gilman Trail back to Magnuson Park for the post-ride feast. To top it off Shelley met me here and we had lunch together and then I got a ride home. Why do I like cycling again…? Oh right, it's days like TODAY.
|6:00 AM - cereal
|2:00 PM - salmon, mixed green salad, asparagus, pasta, 2 beers
|lots of water, 2 hard boiled eggs, peanut butter and jam sandwich, cheese sandwich, piece of pie, sample size LARABAR, lots of Gatorade
|Time of Day
|upper 50s to start, upper 70s at the finish, sunny, dry, calm
|I had a great time
|Single Speed Bike
|bib shorts, sleeveless undershirt short sleeve jersey, cap