The ride was in the pleasurable company of Duane Wright, and Theresa Garl, a new SIR and RUSA member doing her first ride of more than 60 miles. She rode like somebody who has been riding long distances forever. She was better prepared than I was, that's for sure! A nurse by profession, Theresa is a cheerful addition to our group, and to the club. And, she has heard of Peg Winczewski!
Duane, of course, is an ancien and just like he did at PBP 2007, he rode this on fixed gear.
I am not going to do a blow by blow account, but rather, here are some of the salient moments:
Start to Log Boom Park
* Took the bus to Montlake and SR 520 where Duane met me and gave me a ride to the start, and told me that we were going to meet a friend of his, who was going to ride with us.
* Started at 0830. Didn't warm up quickly enough for me.
* Cold at the start, lots of ice on the road. I really hate riding in the cold.
* Tricky bunch of turns at the start, and Duane helped out here with some local knowledge.
* Slab of ice near Lakeshore Dr on the Burke Gilman trail made us dismount.
* We met Theresa near Log Boom Park, and we rode to the first control together.
* Sun out in all its glory, but warmth was a little on the short end of the stick.
Log Boom Park to Redmond Peets Coffee.
* More flatland riding. We passed near my house, and got to Redmond after a short bathroom break inside Marymoor Park.
Redmond Peets Coffee to Carnation
* Peets sounded a lot more appetizing than Whole Foods. They make great coffee. Duane and I got Blueberry Scones, and we had a nice sit-down affair.
* Took off after about 15 minutes for Carnation.
* Theresa is a strong rider! She climbed Novelty Hill Road quickly, I quickly climbed like a rock.
* I love descents, but that descent on Novelty Hill Road is scary. We took the lane, and arrived safely at the bottom. Good brakes are a must!
* We blew right by the Information control (Carnation equals Sandy's); however the control was by the Nestle Training Center. Rode back and noted the value down.
* Carnation Farm road was a bit icy. Apparently, I am still jittery about slippery surfaces.
* Theresa and Duane both climbed away from me, as Tokul Road put the hurt on me. Lots of snow on the ground, and lots of ice in places too.
* Bonked really badly on SE 53rd way, and suffered on all the hills on 396th. Geoff has no mercy.
* Duane and Theresa were waiting for me at the Reinig turn.
* Confusion reigned here, as the route sheet did not mention how far away the park is after the turn. It is towards the very end of Reinig road.
* Beautiful view of the mountains on the final stages of this leg. Mount Si in all her glory.
Three Forks Park to North Bend QFC
* This leg is short and mostly flat, and we arrived at the QFC around 2p, I think. It was nice now [as in my fingers weren't quite frozen anymore].
* I ate at Starbucks, while Theresa and Duane went to find restrooms. Some patrons had left a table littered with food, and I heard them being referred to as "Pigs". Mental note: DO NOT leave litter on Starbucks tables at North Bend QFC. [Only my wife gets to call me a pig!].
* We stayed about 20 minutes I think.
North Bend to Coal Creek, Newcastle.
* Pacelined a bit on 202, but Duane and Theresa are again too strong for me.
* They missed the 338th Pl turn on 202! I tried to chase them down (ha!), and yelled, and made a scene, and everybody noticed except the two it was intended for. I gave up, and figured they would figure it out sooner or later and return.
* Issaquah-Fall City Road hurt me badly. I plodded along in my lowest gear for most of it. I sucked on these hills. There were no witnesses to attest to this however, for most of this leg.
* Duane and Theresa caught up to me, and they pulled away again. Theresa was still looking good 63 miles later. Duane complained of some knee pain, but isn't riding like he is hobbled.
* Just before the steep uphill to Klahanie, my calves seized up. (as they did on the Mountain Populaire pre-ride). I pulled over and started stretching, right in front of heavy traffic. Mental note: Drink V8 at next control.
* I take the lane on Highlands Dr, figuring that would save me from idiots trying to squish me. That is not quite enough, as cars passed me and then just cut in front of me.
* I was stuck at a light for more than 5 minutes on Newport Way, enough time to see a really old woman drive right in front of an emergency vehicle. It is a miracle I can still hear, and somebody please give that woman a ticket!
* High traffic on Coal Creek, but I finally got to the control with about 20 minutes to spare. [I briefly considered the prospect of just riding the 10 or so miles to Leschi from here and calling it a day].
* It got dark just as got in to Newcastle.
* Duane and Theresa are nowhere to be found and I do not have my helmet light. Never ending series of faux pas. But luckily, just as I am ready to go, I see Theresa, and she said "There you are. We were wondering about you'. Apparently Duane decided to see "more of the countryside". * We decided to stick together, and a no-drop policy was instituted.
* I drank two v8's, and ate other food.
Newcastle to Lake Francis Park
* We set off shortly after the control close time, and I was still worried about making the finish. I really need to be more vigilant of time on new routes.
* The May Valley turn is easy to miss, but we find it easily. Past experience missing this turn, helps!
* This leg is rolling, and my legs aren't there yet. Especially on one little bit where I struggled to not get dropped.
* Theresa looked peachy, ate well, and was chatty. Duane looked inebriated ;) Just kidding. Duane and I agreed that it was like riding a 300.
* On Issaquah-Hobart Road, I finally stopped to borrow some lube from Duane. Riding became a little easier after this.
* The Lake Francis Road/SE 192nd intersection confused us and we took the wrong turn. a BR to stay on Lake Francis Road on the cue sheet might help. Luckily we got back on track quite easily.
* We get to the control with about a half-hour to spare. Whew! Breathing room!
Lake Francis Park to IGA to Finish
* We stopped at the gas station, got our receipts, and warmed up for a little while. The store clerk was chatty and incredulous that we have still 22 miles to go. I wolfed down a King size Snickers bar, and vowed to brush my teeth and floss when I get home.
* 10.2 blissfully flat miles later, we started on a whole pile of sort mileage sections.
* Moonlight on water is a truly amazing sight. Why can't I live in a house with a lake view? [I cannot afford it?!].
* I would have missed atleast two turns on this leg. Duane knew what he was doing, thankfully.
* Memories of the hills on the Seattle Marathon gave me nightmares. Especially the one on which I developed a nasty cramp!
* We finished at 9.45, some 13 hours and 15 minutes after we started.
* I asked Duane if I could borrow his Single-speed bike for a few days, and he said "How about the next 10 years?".
Theresa started out to do 100k, and ended up doing 117 miles (not counting the excusions Duane took her on). She is fun to ride with, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in her company. The jury is still out on Duane! ;)
Permanents. The ugly step-sister.
I really seem to prepare better for Brevets than Permanents. I take more care, and think more about what I need, and what I need to do to succeed. On Permanents, I largely prove that my IQ is negative. Here is a list of things I messed up on:
1) No Bag-Balm.
2) No Helmet-light.
3) No oil for Chain.
4) Not drinking V8 at the controls.
5) Not staying hydrated.
6) Not realizing that my ride-partners were stronger than me, and would catch up even if I left controls ahead of them.