Well, folks, yesterday was the 4th big ride of the month, The Flying Wheels Summer Century. Of all of them, it was the one I was least excited about. I do it every year since its close and a good training ride, but the past years have not been a lot of fun due to weather, cars and other cyclists. So I got up and resigned myself for a 100 mile workout. I was hoping not to be grouchy at the end.
Maybe it’s because of my low expectations for the day, or the cycle gods were on my side, but I was pleasantly surprised how it turned out!
The day dawned bright and sunny. I decided to drive part way to the Marymoor Park, the start of the ride, and park near the Sammamish River trail in Woodinville. The traffic getting to the starting line of the ride can be backed up for miles, and always puts a damper on the beginning of the ride. This way, I had an easy 6 mile flat ride to warm the legs and then smile as I missed the long line of cars.
I normally try to a ride early, and then start, even if the route isn’t officially open, as soon as I can, which gets me done quicker. This year, the snooze button was my downfall. So that, combined with my ride to the start meant that I didn’t get going until everyone else did at 7. With the sun up though, I was able to start without a coat which was nice.
This led to the first surprise of the day. Since I leave before the start, I get ahead of people. Soon there after, the ‘real riders’ catch and pass me like I am standing still. When I started with everyone else. I was the one catching up to and passing people! These rides aren’t competitive, but I have to admit this was good for the ego.
After the yard work last weekend, my legs were fried for the 7 Hills of Kirkland. Yesterday, even though I rode a bit extra after work Friday evening, my legs felt great. At mile three is the first hard climb, in the past it has been rough on me. This time I was climbing well and not feeling any pain. It was welcome change.
I was cruising along, felling good, when I looked down to see I was 30 miles in. Last year at this time, I had seen my first cyclist down in a ditch, the roads were damp and slippery and I wasn’t feeling it. This year, I realized I was only 2 hours into the ride at this point. WAIT WHAT?? I am NOT a fast rider, I normally end up at between 12 and 13 mph as an average speed for a century. Here I was at 15 mph, after some good long climbs! Surprise number 2!
I then started realizing that unlike past years, this year the riders were all in good moods. It could have been the great weather
or maybe the jerks were way ahead of me, but it was a refreshing change. Even the skydivers seemed to be smiling!
I expected the overall speed to drop as the ride progressed, the day warmed up and the hills got tougher. But, at 60 miles in, I was still going strong and feeling good! Even the motorist were respectful, and passing us slow. Well, except for bubba.
Bubba was driving POS in the back of a long line of cars, that were slowly passing a long line of us cyclists, I was in the back. Bubba slowed and yelled, around his cigarette, out to me “You people don’t belong here!” You people? I believe my response was something masterful like “What??”
“Bikes shouldn’t be on the road!” Oh great one of those! “Roads are for everyone pal!”
I always wonder what people expect a cyclist to do when they yell this from a car. “OMG you are right! I will stop right here and never ride again!” Yeah no…
Him,”You aren’t motor vehicles!” Me,”Nope, and we don’t have to be!”
Him, “You are going to cause an accident!” Me, “Only if you don’t drive carefully! HEY, get a bike and join us! It will make you healthier and whole lot less grouchy!” Him, speed off in a huff. Bye Bubba!
Folks there are just some rides where the cycling gods smile on you. This was one of them. There were no headwinds, it was the perfect temperature, and the legs kept feeling good. In fact, there were times I hit that feeling like I was floating. It’s why I ride. I love it! One guy, who passed me for the third time asked me if I ever stopped. He couldn’t figure out why he kept finding me ahead of him!
Plus, I musta had 25 – 30 GO COUGS in response to my COUG jersey. Even the State Trooper stopping traffic for us yelled it!
Then, just as we were getting to the mother bear of the final hill, they changed the route. And yep, they found an even harder hill! People were dropping like flies on this climb, with as many walking their bikes as riding. No I am not one to brag, but this was the 85 mile mark, and I was still at an overall 14.9 mph average speed. I shoulda been fried. I wasn’t! Surprise 3!
I was passing people, on foot and on bike, right and left. The hill sucked, but I had no issues at all, and the legs were still good on top. By the time the down hill hit, there was 13 miles to go. The last 10, being flat or a slight incline. Again, I was catching and passing people and feeling great! Just before the last turn, that same guy from above caught me for the last time, and just shook his head I was driving him nuts!
This was by far the best ride of the month at 114 miles (14.8 mph average), and as I sit and type this, the legs are a little tired, but not bad at all! After a record-breaking month of miles (see the next post for a recap and a total) I should be dead tired. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, and feel MUCH better about the RAMROD!
Like the wind!