There is a question amongst those of us who have ridden the Seattle to Portland. Is it easier to ride 200 miles in one long day, or to ride 100 miles the first day, then get up and do it again the next?
I have only done back to back rides like that twice in my career. The first was my first STP back in 208, the 2nd was the first RSVP in 2009. This last Saturday would be my third….
After the great dinner and yummy beer, it was straight back to the hotel and time for bed. I was tuckered. I wasn’t near as bad as a 200 mile day, and I am pretty sure I was still was speaking English and able to answer questions; but without question it was time for bed.
I set the alarm on the phone for 5 AM. I wanted to be up plenty of time for a Starbucks run (Caffeine and Breakfast) and still get on the road to avoid some of the heat of the day. As much as I thought I would sleep through the night, I was incorrect…
For those who avoid TMI, skip the next paragraph.
As we know it was HOT on day one, and I drank gallons of liquids. Funny thing after a day like that, sometimes your body will hold in a lot of the liquid until it realizes “HEY, I can let this go now…” and GO I did. No less than 5 trips during the night to the restroom!
Saturday came, and I was comfy in bed with the A/C cranked. Something just seemed off though… I checked the phone and it was 5:10!! The alarm had gone off, but somehow I had turned off all the sounds! UGH… I was out of bed and heading for Starbucks in 5 minutes!
I wish I could tell you that was the ONLY issue with technology that day….
I was saddled up and dropped off at the spot Michelle got me yesterday by 630. At 6:40 I was at 7-11 getting two extra Gatorades, after that I pointed my nose north and kept pedaling.
Surprisingly, though the legs were tired and told me they had worked hard the day before, they were also feeling strong. Add to it a bit of a tail wind, I started eating up some miles. I could tell this was day 2 of a big ride though, as there were plenty of people stopping early trying to work out yesterdays kinks.
It was a gorgeous morning for a ride. The sun was coming up, but it wasn’t hot yet, and Mt Baker was soaring above us
Soon I was in Lynden, the last real town before the border. Any thought that I might have started before everyone else went out the window.
The little town was packed with cyclist!
Notice I was of course wearing my COUG Jersey. It goes on every BIG ride I take. No exaggeration here, I heard “GO COUGS!” more in the two days of this ride, than in the entire cycling season this year. People went out of their way to come up and talk to me about WSU! It was a good day!
By the way, I had NO idea I had left the GoPro on or that I got on film….
The border was easy to get through. They gave us our own lane, and had three border guards processing us through. Less than 5 minutes after getting in line, I was traveling in Canada! How did I know?
Well first off the direction markings changed from an apple to a maple leaf
And second, I started having to do math!
For those who are curious, 80 KPH is MPH.
I keep wracking my brain, trying to remember the day 2 from 2009, and folks it is just NOT there. I have no memory of it at all. What I will say is that I hope I remember this one. Those first 30 miles after the border were great! Smooth roads, very little traffic, farms and animals, all combined for some excellent cycling,
Add to it, we had spread out enough that I was on my own so no crowds, and the winds were still mild. I was a happy man.
I also paid forward a good deed. I met a guy waiting for his ridding buddy. The poor guy had already suffered through 3 flats. The one I was talking to was worried as he had given up his only spare tube to help his buddy. If he got a flat he was screwed! This trip I was carrying 3 tubes, and we had the same sized tires! BOOM, just as I took off, I tossed him one of the spares. Cycling gods smiled on him!
Remember the technology thing? Well I knew had some big bridges to cross when we got to the Fraser River. I decided to put the GoPro on my helmet to allow me to look around.
What I did NOT know was the adhesive on the mount was giving out. Had I not noticed when I did, I could have lost it. But because it was sagging, I got crappy video and therefore LOUSY pictures from the GoPro… So I apologize for the lack of good pictures.
It wasn’t long until I made it to the first crossing on the Golden Ears Bridge
Which puts you on the dedicated bike lane. Its loud and noisy but I was VERY happy to have a very wide bike lane to ride on and a cool view of the river.
Once on the other side, we had to ride along a very busy freeway through a good-sized town. It was a major contrast to the country lanes earlier in the day. Luckily after about a mile, we got off the road and into residential areas.
Soon we were out past town with nothing in the way of the next river crossing, when we came upon this…. Everyone stops for trains!
YEP…. I was a bit disappointed in my fellow riders here. That was the only car around going our way. It would’ve been easy to let her go first and get ahead of us. But those in front refused. She had to wait until cars cleared out coming toward us before she could pass. No wonder some people dislike riders.
But I digress! Soon we were on the Pitt river bridge crossing, you guessed it, the Pitt River!
We were on the way to Vancouver. However, first we had to ride the hardest and worst part of day 2. It was a major highway, with a great bike lane mind you, but it went on forever, mostly climbing and no shade. The heat of the day was finally taking its toll…
I trudged past this, and after a few turns, made it into Vancouver….
It’s a LARGE city, and for some reason the route finders got very chincy with spray paint. I banded together with 3 or 4 other guys, and worked our way into the city proper. Suddenly my traveling buddy in the Cal Berkley kit and I hit a point of no return
We had no idea where to go….and hadn’t seen a maple leaf in miles!
Well we had a couple of choices:
- Go back and find the right turn
- Bust out a GPS
- Ask for directions
Being guys none of these were our first picks….
Suddenly 5 more riders came up, and one yelled “I know the way! Follow me!” and he was off going the wrong way on a one way road. Now my dad always told me, “A good leader doesn’t always have to have the right answer, but he damn sure needs to SOUND like he has the right answer!”
He did and we followed! This man took us all over hell and gone. I have no idea where it was, but it was pretty!
Finally we met these two!
Contrary to her husbands opinion, she DID know where we were. Following her instructions, I made it to the end of the 87 mile day, and found my gorgeous bride waiting for me
The poor girl had to suffer through a 1.5 hour border crossing, then, after checking into the hotel RUN to the finish line! Damn she looked good!
She got me to the hotel, into a shower and out for food. We got do our favorite Italian place only to find out they closed for lunch 12 minutes before we got there!!!
Not to worry, we found a friendly establishment down the road
And Andrew, the bartender from Australia, took good care of me! MMMM Cottage pie!
Two days, two countries, gallons of liquids, and 190 miles. I enjoyed this ride SO much more this time. I am not sure when I will do it again, but I am very happy I gave it another shot.
Thanks for tagging along!
OH to answer the question I posed earlier…. It is easier to split the day, but damn it is hard to get up and get back on the bike!
To see what I saw click here!