Flying Wheels Century

There are only a handful of organized rides I have ridden more than once.  The Chilly Hilly is my favorite, I do it every year, its become a tradition.  The Seattle to Portland, I have done twice, once in 2 days, and last year in only one.

The third one is the Flying Wheels Summer Century put on by the Cascade Bike club.  It is a multi-route ride through the back roads (you can smell the cattle!) of Snohomish County (North of Seattle).  I have a soft spot (no not in my head) for this ride.  This was my first ever 100 day. In fact, i ended the ride at 98 miles, and had to bike through the park for a while cuz I was DAMNED if I wasn’t going to see triple digits on the odometer.

flying wheels

This is also the only ride that Eric and I ever did together.  We teamed up for the 25 mile route when he was much younger.  Given that he would rather longboard now, it may be the only ride we do together!

Eric and Dad at the starting line of Flying Wheels 2009
Eric and Dad at the starting line of Flying Wheels 2009
Eric hitting finish line
Eric hitting finish line

Last year was interesting.  This is billed as a tough Century ride.  They say if you can complete this, you can ride the STP in a day NO worries.

Well it had been a while since I did the Century route, long enough that I had blocked out a LOT of it!  I had been training for the one day STP ride later in the year, so I hit this ride all cocky and ready to go.

Yes boys and girls, I am here to attest that there are some SERIOUS hills!  I m not saying that the club did this on purpose, but the succeeded in putting enough climbs in this ride to make it one to be proud of!  I went looking at the website, and they provided this topography snapshot:


They also advise “The Flying Wheels route has an estimated 3,840 cumulative feet of elevation gain. This is an estimate; your readings may be different.” and finally “(**NOTE:  in deciding whether to do a longer loop, keep in mind that the last hill ~17 miles from the finish is ~3 miles in length at 7-9% — as the British would say, “You have been warned.”)”

Now I am here to tell you, YES that hill sucks, and it wasn’t until I rounded the corner and saw it that it ALL came back to me.  And YEP, I cussed the man who put this hill at the 83 mile point.  I climbed the bastard though!

I also had to do something I NEVER do, nor do I condone.  I went under a railroad crossing gate.  When I got to it, you could tell it had been down a LONG time.  Cars were backed up for miles, and they were getting mad.  Some were working their way around the arms, and honking at others doing the same.

I could see for what seemed like miles both ways, and there wasn’t a train to be seen.  So I hopped the tracks and kept going… Funny this happened to me one other time that same summer.  Never before and so far never since!

So, when this posts Saturday at 6:30 AM, I will be just about getting to the park, and ready to take off.  I will try to get some pictures during the ride, and do a recap tomorrow night!  Send warm thoughts of tail winds, and no rain!

OH and the COUG bike jersey is ready to go!!


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