Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ride Report: SiR Winter Training Series #2

Yesterday I made it out to the 2nd of SiR Winter Training Series. A 71 km loop starting about 20 km away. They're a fun group to ride with, and seem to know some great back-country routes! Even without a ride down there, and a slight cold, I was determined to make it.

I rolled out from Capitol Hill (from about Broadway & John) at about 7:40 AM. A little later than planned, but since the ride wasn't starting until 9 AM I figured I had time. Google's driving directions said it would take 36 minutes, so I figured I could handle it in 1hr & 20 minutes. Granted, I'd never ridden to this particular Starbucks (where the ride was starting) down in Southcenter, but I figured at worst I'd try to catch up to them.

Since it was so early, Airport Way was just about empty, and the same with Meridian Ave. Normally these would be iffy roads, but at 8 AM on Saturday you can pretty much own it. I never did hook up my cyclocomputer, so I can't tell exactly how fast I'm going on these flat surface streets, but I'm thinking about 32 km/h.

In a few spots there was construction that forced me to detour, but since I at least new which general direction I needed to head, and had a little map of Seattle, I knew I'd still make it. Once I got on Highway 99 ("Tukwila Blvd" is what they call it in the Tukwila portion of it - jesus, that road has like 100 names!), I was pretty much home-free. Highway 99 isn't too bad, at 8:45 in the morning. I'm sure it's different at 12 PM, but I'll keep that route in mind for my next Southerly tour.

After a few more turns, I was at the corner of Strander Blvd & Andover Park W. I'm looking for the Starbucks on the corner, but all I see is a bunch of Mall. Each corner is a bunch of big-box stores, and of course parking lots. Where's that sea of yellow I'm looking for?

Ah, here's a Starbucks, but nobody's there. Granted, it's 8:56 AM, but they haven't left yet, right? After riding in circles for a few minutes and cursing, I look up to see the Seattle Intl. Randonneurs rolling out from across the street! Leave it up to the Puget Sound to have a Starbucks on facing corners. They're like churches in the South; everywhere.

The ride itself was good, a fast-paced jaunt down around Federal Way & back to Southcenter. It felt really nice to hit up some new roads, it's been a while since I've ridden somewhere new.

We could see Tacoma from across the bay, as well as smell it. Smells exactly like Mobile, Alabama: paper mill, I'm guessing. Sorta like sulfur. There were some decently long climbs, and a few short but steep ones. Again, Bob on his singlespeed was always one of the first to the top. One of these rides I'd like to see if I could hang with the front of the group, but we were mostly in the middle.

We finished just behind the front group of 10 or so riders, out of the 50-60 that started. Then it was a slow pedal back up north to my apt, accompanied by Robert & Joby, who live in South Park. Once I got to downtown, going up Yesler's hill was almost killing me, but the fact that I could even do it at that point, was reassuring.

Another good ride with SiR! The next one starts on Camano Island, talk about out of the way.. I'll definitely have to bum a ride to that one, or skip it. If only the "Seattle" Intl Randonneurs would start their rides in Seattle.. but even so, it's a great group, and they hold great rides too.

Total Distance: ~110 km
Total Time: 7:40 AM to 1:45 PM (~6 hrs)
Rain: not much!
Flats: 0
Total Distance this year: 486 km

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