Saturday, February 9, 2008

Vashon Island Loop with the Seattle Intl Randonneurs

Today the Seattle Intl Randonneurs held a "training" ride on Vashon Island. At least this one started relatively close to my house, so I just rode to the Fauntleroy ferry terminal from Capitol Hill, using this ~16 km (10 mile) route: [link]

The Ride to the Ride
The group was going to take the 8:20 ferry, so I had to leave my house by at least 7:15 I figured. It just so happened that I slept in a bit, so with only four and a half hours of sleep, I woke up at 6:45 instead of the planned 6 AM. I didn't even leave my apt until about 7:20 AM, so I knew it was going to be close. 16 km isn't much, but with strong headwind out of the south, and light rain falling, the more I pedaled the more I felt like I was gonna miss the ferry. Not to mention that my route was going to take me over the large hill that is West Seattle.

And of course, Google Maps made this one turn look easy, but once I got over to West Seattle (under the W. Seattle Bridge) I ended up taking a left on Delridge Way instead of the planned 35th ave. Sure, they're parallel, but W. Seattle's streets are sometimes disconnected in strange ways. I trudged on up the hill, hoping for an easy way to go East. (For some reason there are ridges that block a bunch of roads from connecting out there, it's weird)

I finally hit Orchard Way, and climbed a ways up to the 35th ave - ah, back on track! But by this time it was about 8:15 (T-5 minutes), so with a few more km to go I figured I wasn't gonna make it! When I got to Lincoln Park (just north of the ferry terminal), my watch showed 8:22, so I figured it was a lost cause. But I pedaled the 1/2 km to the terminal anyway, and lo and behold there was the group of 30-40 cyclists waiting to get on the ferry! I paid for my ticket at the booth, and met up with the group.

The Actual Ride - Vashon Island Loop

Here's the route map:


And the elevation profile, generated by veloroutes: (map link)


After the 15 minute ferry ride to the Vashon, it was time to go! With light rain coming down, it was the picturesque Northwest day. If you can't ride in weather like this, your days on the road in the NW will certainly be limited!

The route was pretty much all rolling hills, starting with a pretty big climb right off the ferry. That was probably 300 feet of gain or so, and really split up the group. I pulled ahead and kept pace with some of the faster climbers.

At the top of the initial climb it was just me and a few other riders leading the pack, with one guy on a single-speed that was killing everyone on the hills. He even had to wait for us a few times, he was that fast.

I had a cue sheet, but it fell apart quickly, so the fast single-speeder and I had to wait up a few times to find someone who actually knew where the hell they were going (or at least had a cue), and eventually found 4-5 more riders that hung with us for just about the rest of the route.

Vashon seems similar to Camano Island's landscape and views, except that you could see Seattle once or twice from the road. Lots of rolling hills and open fields. The rolling hills kept separating the ride more and more, and I just stayed in the front the whole time. Talked to the fast single-speed guy for a while, he said he's done the S2S, Cannonball, all these crazy rides I want to do! It was great to see if I could just hang onto his wheel, although he was probably taking it easy so he didn't have to ride alone.

Towards the end of the loop, there was a pretty steep portion called "the wall" that split out lead group of about eight riders into a group of four. I was in that group, and the triple-gearing of the Bianchi allowed me to keep a decent pace up the steeper part. It wasn't all that long, and at the top it was mostly flat.

We made the ferry terminal at just about 11:50, just in time to catch a ferry back to Seattle! I usually finish somewhere in the middle of these rides, but today I ended up in the front pack. While waiting to get on, a few more riders showed up. So about eight riders out of the 30-40 made it on this ferry, and I was one of them! It was a great ride, and everyone I met was plenty nice.

I got back home at just about 1 PM - not bad for doing a whole Vashon Loop plus the ride there n back! It was a great route, and would be a great small group ride on a weekend, I'll certainly be doing this loop again sometime. Also, my kinda-heavy dynohub+smchmidt lamp didn't seem to slow me down! And the newly-built wheel held up great!

Another great ride with SiR, I can't wait for the Brevet Series to start!

Total Distance: 74 km for Vashon + 32 km there n' back = 107 km
Total Time: 7:20 AM to 1 PM - only 30 minutes off the bike when on the ferry (and about three hours total for the Vashon Loop)
Avg Speed: ~22-24 km/h (14-15 mph)
Total Distance this year: 1069 km (664 miles) [log]

2 comments:

Dessa said...

Was the guy on the single speed John? He is usually killing everyone on hills during HPC/Cascascade ride "Cycles Tuesday" from Gene Coulon park. He is riding 50 miles every day from Sumner to Renton and back, doing average 15K miles per year.

Robert Higdon said...

Rad. I really wanted to make this one... but I had to do the Portland trip. It ended up being worth it for the NAHBS though. I'll see you Saturday for sure.

p.s. Thanks for the link.