I recently wrote a post titled “Slow and Steady Dearie You’ll Make It”, and I meant every word about not worrying about how long a ride takes. HOWEVER, there is one caveat I forgot. It is perfectly ok, at least for me, to give everything you have to avoid getting rained on!
Now I have the gear to ride in the rain, I just prefer not to. Its cold, wet, sunglasses get fogged up, and people forget how to drive their cars when it rains! So if possible, I do avoid it whenever I can!
Today was the McClinchy Mile. A 48 mile loop from Arlington WA, up through the town of Granite Falls and back again. It is put on by B.I.K.E.S Club of Everett, and this is their annual fund-raiser. You can’t go wrong signing up for this ride, it’s only $20, and goes to some worthy biking causes. Only between 500 and 700 riders do this ride each year, as compared to 3000 for the Chilly Hilly.
Last year, I woke up, prepared to ride this, and it was snowing at my house! Considering Granite Falls is farther up in the mountains, I knew it would be a miserable ride! On that day, I made the executive decision to crawl back and in bed and forget it!
Today, the forecast seemed to be in my favor. The rain was scheduled to hit at noon, and the ride started at 8. VERY doable if I pushed it! It was time to race the rain!
I got there at 7:30, thinking I could get a half hour head start on the rain. NOPE. Even though those who were signing up today to ride were given their wristbands and maps (No bib numbers here, shoe string budget! We all wore “Kiss me I’m Irish” wrist bands) those of us that preregisterred had to wait till 8. I finally sweet-talked a little-old-lady to mark me off and give me the band, as long as “I didn’t tell anyone. (So shhhhhhh, this is our secret.)
I was on the road at 8 sharp! I decided it was March, and a week from Spring, so it was shorts weather! I had a few people question my sanity on this, as it was only 40 degrees outside, but HEY, it’s almost spring!
The first part of the ride took us by the Skagit and Stillagaumish Rivers. Sadly, as it was gray and cloudy, I didn’t stop for any pictures of the ride. I kept a steady pace until I reached Granite Falls, then the route took us into a residential neighborhood built on hills! Worse yet, with stop signs part way up. NOT my favorite part of the ride.
However, the rest of the ride was perfect. Not too cold, no crowds, well-marked, for the most part, with Dan Henry’s (though there was one stretch where I almost convinced myself I missed a turn. Another half mile and I was going to back track. Luckily, the next turn showed up!) and peaceful.
The best part about the ride was the lack of traffic and people. I was riding on country roads, with pretty good shoulders, the route was marked for me, and I knew there was a food stop at the 30 mile point. All I had to do was pedal, and pedal I did! I didn’t stop for anything for until the food stop. Then it was a quick bathroom break, cookies and peanut butter and Jelly bagels! YUM!! The only down side, no energy drinks, just water.(I was out of Powerade by then!)
The next 7 miles was heavenly! A strong tailwind, and the Centennial Bike Trail. No cars at all, and I was able to maintain a 15mph average for that stretch!
Afterwards though, were a serious of rolling hills and alternating head winds! I could see the clouds getting darker. I was doing the mileage countdown as I kept one on the weather! Luckily there was a 1.5 mile steep down hill right near the end of the ride! I was back at the starting line, 3 hours and 45 minutes after I started, and that included the lunch stop! As soon as I loaded my car on the rack, it started raining. While I am typing this, it is raining even harder!
All in all a great route! I will do this one again when it is sunny, as I know there will be mountain views! I take my hat (or helmet) off to this tiny bike club, they did an excellent job with limited resources, and I will ride again next year! (Unless it snows, then I am going back to bed!)