Today was my second century ride of the month. The Cascade Bike Club’s Flying Wheels Summer Century. It is a very hilly, and very tough course through Snohomish County. this route was my very first century ever, and this was my 3rd or 4th time riding this route.
I will tell you though, if today was my first century instead of 1 of many, I honestly might be too afraid to do another one!
The ride takes off from Marymoor park, which is an easy bike ride from my place along the Burke Gilman trail. I decided to add some miles to the century (to help get ready for my double) by riding the bike to and from the starting line. I took pity on myself knowing I would be tired at the end, so I drove to the bottom of the hill and rode from there. It worked out to be about 14 + miles. (I didn’t want a hill staring at me at eht VERY end!)
I had to muscle through the ride though. It was cold, but I had dressed mostly for the warm weather to come late. (The sun hadn’t come up when I left the parking lot at 5) In addition though, I had a headache and really felt like I want to puke up bagel sandwich breakfast. Between the cold and feeling like crap, I almost bagged it!
I had a bit of a distraction on the way which helped, I saw a beaver in the river and a bunny on the trail. Its one of the reasons I really like biking there.
By the I got to the staging point, the sun had come up,
And I was feeling MUCH better! The ride started at 6:30, and I took off immediately!
Now as I have told you, I am not the fastest cowboy, so I was being passed right and left (ok mostly “On the left!”) but I like to get started and get done as soon as possible.
This route does NOT mess around. After about 3 miles along Lake Samammish, there is a hard left and a STEEP 1/4 mile climb. It was cool to see two deer, but the climb, as always, was hard. HOWEVER, the 14 mile pre-ride seemed to warm up my legs and it was not near as tough as years past.
One of the things that excited be about this ride was the weather. It had been dry for days, which meant the fun down hills would be fast and safe! (unlike the very wet first century of the month! (ended up being in the 70s and sunny)
The first downhill, came up 5 miles later, and I heard my self yell “Let er buck!” and I turned loose the bike. I love a good down hill, it’s our reward for the hard climbs. Suddenly though everyone slowed, and there in the ditch was a guy with bloody face. I am not sure how he ended up there (he was one of the riders) but he had plenty of people tending to him so I took off. (Soon there after the fire department was seen heading his way.) (Scary item #1)
I was making pretty damn good time and feeling good. I made one mistake though. I forgot to check the food stops. They changed them this year. The first one was only 14 miles in, WAY too soon, What I didn’t realize was the next food stop (there were water stops more frequently) wasn’tuntil closer to 60 miles! I was getting hungry! Luckily I had a few things in the yellow bag (We just won’t worry about how old they were!)
As we were climbing a pretty simple hill, an older guy in front of me forgot to shift, and ended up falling over (turtling I call it) when he couldn’t unclip from the pedals. When he fell he hit the guard rail. He was riding with a group, and the last thing I heard was “Damn I broke my finger!” (Scary thing #2)
We soon went through the little town of Snohomish. Once of these days I tell you I am going stop there and try ALL the bakeries! WOW they smelled good! I kept going though, and then had to come to a stop heading out-of-town. There, face down on the ground, was another rider! “DAMN, we are dropping like flies!” was the thought that went through my head. (Scary item #3)
The ride continued, and I felt strong, I do the best on uphills and would pass people, who would then pass me on the flats later. One guy told me it was his excess belly fat advantage that let him catch me on each downhill! Made me laugh.
I will say this, there were some serious douche-waffle riders out there. Purposely cutting off cars to pass people. cutting other riders off. Story has it, the face down guy was forced into a car but a pace line who cut him off. For some reason, this ride brings out some of the worst riders in town!
Near the end, the 82 mile point to be exact, is the longest, steepest, and ugliest hill of the ride. Evidently it has no name, so I have dubbed it “The Bastard!” I knew it was coming, so I geared down and was taking my time. With the extra 14 miles to get there, I was almost at 100 already, but having no problems.
However, I experience something I never had before. A complete meltdown of a cyclist. As I was heading up, many riders were sitting on the grass on the side recovering a little while others were off pushing the bike. I was passing a lady who was rather heavy-set. I mention this only because I was impressed that she was on her bike and making progress when many others who appeared in better shape were walking.
As is the norm, I said “On your left!” as I passed. This of course helps prevent the person you are passing veering to the left and causing an accident. This lady lost it! (and this is no exaggeration) “STOP SAYING ON YOUR LEFT!! I KNOW YOU ARE THERE!! I’VE HEARD IT 900 TIMES TODAY AND I CAN’T TAKE IT ANY MORE! STOP SAYING IT!” Wow… (Scary thing #4).
So lets recap, 3 bad crashes, one melt down and a lot of douche waffles! Yeah, see what I meant about not riding again! (Yeah I don’t believe it for second, I will be back)
Anyway, I crossed the finish line in just over 7 hours after the starting line opened! PERFECT!!
This sets me up well for the STP in one day! I rewarded myself with a hot dog at the finish line. Then biked the extra 14 miles to the car! (I did stop to pick up wine at he winery since it was on the way and we had some waiting for us).
Final tally. 128 miles! And it felt good! I also got 13 “GO COUGS!” since I was wearing my WSU jersey! After the shower, Michelle (Who did a 5K+ today!!) and I walked to the local brew pub and I got a calzone and beer.
A strange ride, but very rewarding as well! I am now very much looking forward to the STP!