Sep 18 2012

RATS2012 – Sept 15, 2012

This ride is not about the rodents, but it is the Ride Around The Sound. A charity ride for the American Lung Association. I rode it in memory of my Dad.
The ride started out at South Seattle Community College in West Seattle. I met up with a UW Medicine rider, but after the first 12 miles, we split up. I then met up with Tom, Peng, and Chao. The weather was a little on the cool side, but perfect for a bike ride. We rode through some very scenic areas in communities you know about but you might not have seen near the coast. Here’s a link to the route.
The ride was scenic but it was not your everyday leisure ride. There was some significant climbing; according to Peng’s GPS almost 4000′ of climbing. Most of the climbs were short with grades of around 5-10%. We stopped at the top of one and Tom was talking about a chili cheese burger. I could feel my stomach gurgle. Then we started a climb around mile 45 that started to pitch at 10%, then got steeper as you rounded a corner to at least 15% or more. I nearly tossed my cookies when I was climbing as I thought about Tom’s burger. I found that Tom powers up climbs in the big ring. Whenever I heard Tom switching to the big ring, I knew a climb was beginning.
There were also some tricky descents. Some were downright scary, dropping quickly and hitting hairpins at the bottom. This would be a dangerous ride in the rain.
We hit some train tracks just before Tacoma and saw a fire engine and police cars because a rider had gone down. The tracks are dangerous since they’re at a worse angle than near Coulon Park. Peng’s wheel slid a little on them and this was with dry weather!
We then hit a flat area and because of the climbs and lack of training I was getting worn out. I drifted behind to about 17 or so as Tom, Peng, and Chao picked up the pace to 20+. We regrouped near the Tacoma dome and headed toward the Narrows Bridge.
The infamous bridge was very scenic. Our goal was to stop off in Gig Harbor for lunch. I really needed the break since my legs were threatening to cramp. I kept drinking water like crazy – managing to stay off any endurolytes. In fact, I didn’t even bring them!
We had a good lunch at Kelly’s Cafe – everyone ate well. It was a good stop and a good recovery time for me. I found out that Chao and Peng have done a lot of rides over the summer, each one putting in over 2000 miles.
After the lunch stop, I felt a lot better, but the guys kept a steady pace of 14-17. We met up with my fellow UW Medicine rider at the Olalla Elementary stop, but he waived us on.
The last few miles were scenic and thankfully relatively flat. It seemed to take a while to get to the ferry as the route hugs the coastline and there was at least one turn where it looked like we’d see the dock, but it was still a half-mile or more away. We finally finished at around 4:15 getting back to Seattle around 5pm – I was tired, but glad there were no cramps, no flats, and no crashes (for us). Since we were going east toward the city, the ferry ride back was free!
Thanks to Tom, Chao, and Peng for riding with me and thanks to Tom for the pictures!