Saturday, January 12, 2008

SiR Winter Training Series #1

The day started with me getting up way earlier than usual, at 7 AM! Why? Because I was about to go do a little 61 km spin with 50 or so close friends, the Seattle International Randonneurs. Before we get into the Brevets, they hold a few rides to train, introduce, and generally get the riders ready for a bunch of really long rides. And since this is my first season in the rando scene, I want to make sure I can hang!

Don't be fooled - if you look at some of SiR's photo albums, you'll see some older, graying riders - but don't forget what they're riding for! This is a strong group, and a great group to ride with. Everyone is super-nice, and I didn't see anyone get yelled at, which is the way it should be. (Some group rides will yell at you for not pacing right, or jumping into a paceline.. screw that, I'm out to have fun!)

It was steadily drizzling, and the Internet said it was 42F outside! Ahh, the Pacific Northwest in January! That didn't stop Dennis & I from turning out for the ride, nor did it seem to stop anyone else. A lot of people in this group have already done the Paris-Brest-Paris ride multiple times, wow.

The route was a Redmond-Carnation loop, with two ~400-foot climbs.

The Ride:

We rolled up to the group at Sammamish Valley Cycles at 8:55 AM, just in time to sign in and roll out at 9 AM sharp. More people than I expected, but light rain & 40-degree temps are the last thing that'll hold this group back! So we rolled out, the large group taking up full lane, snaking through 'downtown' Redmond. So many yellow reflective jackets you'd think they were SiR standard-issue. But this is also a safety-conscious group, with lots of reflectors and the like. Which makes since if you think about the mileage they put in!

About 1km into the ride, a red light split the group into two, with Dennis & I in the back half. Dammit! It was one of those looong lights too, so by the time we were rolling again the other part of the pack was nowhere to be seen. We started cruising down E. Lake Sammamish at a nice clip of 32-34 km/h, pacelines starting to form, trying to catch up to the main group. For once I'm riding with full fenders, but some in the pack are still working on that, which means a splash-fest of water/dirt on your face. Fun!

Still trying to catch up to the main pack, we're blasting along, and finally see them at the bottom of Thompson Hill Rd, although we missed that light so we had to wait a bit, again. When it was green it was time to climb, which of course strings out most group rides. Dennis & I are still laboring to catch the pack, so I'm pushing uphill at 16-20 km/h, even though this hill is probably 5-10%.

At one point in the climb I stood up to 'jump,' only to have my rear will give out on the slick tar-stuff they squirt onto roads to fill in the cracks. Damn that shit is slick! So my rear wheel gives out to the right, my bike leans heavily to the left, and I over-correct and lean into the rider next to me! At that point I'd totally lost my balance, but we're still rolling (uphill, no less) and finally I re-gain balance, and all is well. We never stopped rolling, and I never clipped out, but dammit that was too close! Next time I'll look at what my tires are on before I decide to drop the pack on a wet climb... And thanks to Bob for being such a good sport about the whole debacle!

We finally caught up with the pack on some rolling hills at the top of the climb, and descended Duthie Hill Road, which is short but fun. On 202 we went right/East, out toward Carnation. After a kilometer or so on 202, we broke left onto those flat country-roads in between Redmond & Carnation. The wind was pretty heavy, so pacelining was a must, and we were holding a good 34+ km/h pace through those flats.

Once in Carnation, we stopped for coffee at some little espresso stand, and I run into some other riders I met on the first SiR ride. We rode with them the rest of the way, and going up Ames Lake Rd. I missed the turn on Union Hill Rd! And I happened to be leading 5-6 people, so we all ended up going all the way down to 202! (Probably 1-2 km out of the way). I've been on these roads before, but the cue sheet said "Union Hill Rd." while the street sign says "40th St." Funny thing is, they're the same thing!

We ended up coming in at the back of the pack, for sure, but it was a great ride overall. Here's to a great season with SiR!

No comments: