What a great day for cycling!
On Saturday, I rode Flying Wheels, Cascade Bicycle Club’s summer century.
is three loops along the
rural roads of eastern King and Snohomish counties. One can do
50, 70, or 100 miles:
- 50 miles: Marymoor (Redmond) – Carnation – Fall City – Marymoor
- 70 miles: above plus Duvall
- 100 miles: above plus Snohomish and Monroe
The return segment passes within a few miles of my home. Since I already had my
bib #, I talked myself out of going to the official starting point
and competing for parking with the other riders and the
Prarie Home Companion groupies attending the recording later in the
afternoon. Instead, I joined the route in downtown Sammamish. This
was within 0.2 miles of the official tick sheet.
They staggered the starting times, letting the 100 mile riders get an one-hour
lead on the rest. I thought this was a great idea because folks visiting the
food stop in Carnation could get in and out fairly quickly. As it happens,
I skipped this stop on the way outbound because I was already juiced up and
wanted to get most of my riding done in the morning while it was still cool.
After Carnation, the 70 and 100 mile riders continued on a loop towards Duvall.
This segment was part of the
did in March and had a “secret control” just before
the road bends and heads towards Duval. It’s a very quiet,
lightly trafficked meander around the sub-suburbs.
While I was in my reverie, a maniac in a black Dodge Ram pickup
zoomed by me, almost clipping me
in the process. I only bring this up because I had one of those
weird “time dilation” experiences: I’m biking. Something says scoot right and
I watch as his passenger side mirror flies over mine. I feel a whoosh of
air, then hear the sound of him zooming by. When I snap out of it, he’s
half a mile away. My heart’s racing from the andrenaline rush
and I’m thinking of
Stan Reynolds getting clipped earlier this month.
And then, a minute later, all is quiet again.
After a quick chat with some of the riders at the pottie
near Woodinville-Duvall road, I was back on the road again.
West Snoqualmie Valley road borders several farms whose
main buildings are in various states of repair. One structure
has finally begun collapsing from the weight of the moss
on its cedar shingles. (Wood and insect rot are contributing
factors. I’ve been watching this building slowly deteriorate
for the last few years.)
Another has mounds of tires piled up on the roof. It reeks of
black olives festering in the sun.
A third building is … definitely a bovine feeding area.
Harvey Field, Snohomish’s airport, is a welcome site because
doesn’t smell that bad at all. I cross over the Snohomish river
and stop in the town of Snohomish. Downtown is cute,
pedestrian friendly, and its cafes are deservedly popular among
cyclists. In a rare exhibit of self-disciplin, I’m able
to resist the temptation of the Snohomish Pie Company.
Mile 56 was the Lewis Street Park in Monroe, the only
major food and water stop on these extended loops.
The main drag through Monroe (SR 203) is very busy, and
making the left turn is challenging. The park is nice,
and is a great starting point if you ever want to ride to
and back (round trip is about 100 miles). I’m feeling a bit tired and
top off my Camelbak, stuff my pockets full of pretzels, and
sit in the grass munching for a while.
The raspberry flavored sports drink they’re supplying is something called
“Ultra,” but no one knows the details. It’s great that vendors supply
rides like this, but it strikes me as odd how poor the marketing is. At
minimum, I would put a placard on the coolers. The Clif Bar people
use these events to give out samples of newest flavors. At least with those,
there’s a wrapper with a web site on it.
The ride to the Carnation food stop (Mile 70) was uneventful: The
roads were flat, the temperature’s in the low 70s, and I was passed
by several pacelines. It’s times like these where I’ve considered
changing my name to “On Your Left” so their remarks are a greeting
rather than a statement of how slow I ride.
I filled my pockets with Fig Newtons, suddenly the tastiest food
in the world. I also dumped out half of the Ultra and dilute it
with water. The drink was too concentrated and was giving
me cramps. I pitied the rider behind me.
Mile 83 was the Fall City rest stop. The roads leading here were all flat, too, but the lack of a tree canopy made the sun and wind more noticable. Luckly, my SPF 70 held out.
The final set of climbs was on Issaquah Fall City road. This is a very pretty, hilly, and lightly trafficked road, normally very fun. However, at this late in the ride, it seemed cruel. I was in my lowest gear, huffing and puffing away. Ahead of me I saw a couple of riders pushing their bikes. One of them had just fallen a few minutes ago, his ego apparently bruised more than anything physical.
We turned onto Issaquah-Beaver Lake, where I broke off the route to head home. The numbers: 94.7 miles, averaging 12.7 mph, 3,179′ ascent, 5,862 calories.
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