Aug 17 2010

2010 RSVP Initial post-ride report

Here is my first entry to the 2010 RSVP ride. I hope to post some vignettes of the ride. A couple of caveats: 1) I am not normally a competitive person 2) The vignettes are from my perspective. The other riders may have other views.

First and foremost:
Many thanks to those who provided support for the RSVP. The support made it possible to not worry about the hot weather. I knew that at each stop was some ice cold water, food, and Endurolytes.
Here are a couple vignettes with more to come:
Stage two – day 1; the Centennial Trail. This is a really nice flat smooth trail with no tree root bumps. We hit this trail as a group, but we started to splinter as I rode with Mikkel, Richard, Craig, Rocky and Billy. The pace was around 17-18mph – a pretty good clip. As we went along I thought Mikkel would increase the pace a little. I kept waiting for it, but after a while I figured it wasn’t coming. So…I waited; we passed other riders and soon I could see a slight opening – no riders up front for quite a distance. It was just too good to pass up, so I went for it; I passed Richard, then Mikkel and my speedometer hit 22,23…25…33 I waited for the return attack but as I caught up to other riders and posts I could not keep up the speed. By then the pack caught up, but we continued to blast away at 21mph or so until we hit the rest stop.
We even beat the support cars to the stop. Not a bad sprint when I can drop Mikkel and Richard; two for one! I would pay for it later though. Once the other riders got to the stop, the power tandem team decided they wanted some of the action. So they broke out the Cervelo and the Prince.
Stage 3 day 1: Lake Cavanaugh Rd (Mile 64.1) – Just before Hwy 9
This is a misleading section as it climbs up. The pace started out at 19-21 but started to break up. I rode with Billy going up past Arlington when I could feel the twinges of some cramps in the groin area of all places. A payback for my earlier excesses. I even had to stop and take an Endurolyte or two and sent Billy off. Then as I was riding up one incline I could hear the theme music from ”Jaws”. I didn’t know what was going on until I saw the two sharks
easily pass me. I was sharkbait just trying to prevent a seizure cramp by taking it easy. I pretty much crawled into the stop.  Thank goodness for our support people! They even served many riders who were not in our group. I remember one guy who was so exhausted our support crew had to ask him multiple times if he wanted water. He was just standing there over his bike staring off into space, holding his water bottle and sweating. He finally got
some ice cold water and started to look a little better.
Stage 4 day 1: The windy ride (this will be my next post – see comments for subsequent postings).


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  1. shawshank

    Awesome write-up. can’t wait to read more! :)

  2. blueneck

    Stage 4: The windy ride
    This stage started out easy enough – we finished the ride in the trees and I decided to
    play it safe and ride with the tandem. I tried to let Kary draft off of me for a while – it
    really wore me out and at some points I got too far ahead of them. I then had to make a
    pit stop at a gas station and then got back on the road. I managed to catch up to Kary
    and Gail and got back in front of them to draft – only to be passed by them on a hill. It’s humbling
    to get passed by a tandem going up a hill. We then dropped down into the windy valley. There
    was a real strong cross wind. Every time I pushed my body up, I lost 2mph. I couldn’t
    help the tandem here at all. Every strong gush of wind seemed to make the tandem
    lose more ground. Everyone slogged into Allen Elementary – even some of the stronger
    riders were talking about cramps. I think riding with the tandem actually helped me
    recover a bit from the earlier cramps. Thanks to our amazing support group with the ice water
    and great supply of food; especially the cookies! And to Endurolytes – this is a plug for Hammer: their stuff works!

    Stage 5: Chuckanut Drive – (or Mik and Mike’s playground)
    We rolled out of Allen Elementary and continued into the windy section. We made our way along the windy area and I rode with Mike, Ed, Billy and Mikkel. Talk about riding with sharks! We made our way and passed two of the groups that set out earlier. We finally hit the entrance to the climb up Chuckanut at the Rhodadendron Cafe. I led Mike and as we rolled along a group wearing Hammer jerseys passed us and Mike latched onto them. As Mike started to take off Mikkel passed me and they both went after the Hammer group and passed them. I went back and forth with the Hammer group until they veered off to a scenic lookout. I saw Mikkel and Mike stopped over there too. Mike was walking over to the railing as I was going past. He looked at me with an expression that said, “Hey! He’s not stopping!” I knew I was going to be sharkbait again, but I was definitely not stopping. Soon two riders who weren’t in our group were on my wheel. We rode along and chatted a little about the weather when I heard it. The theme from “Jaws”…again! Mike and Mikkel rode past me and the guy behind me asked if I was going to go for it. I said, “You guys can go! Go get ‘em!” So the two guys behind me took off and chased the sharks, but Mike and Mikkel quickly dropped them. I rode on a little more and Ed and Billy caught up to me where the road narrowed to a single lane and we had to stop and let a car through. We started up again – this time Ed passed me and then as Billy was passing me, he gave me a BIG GRIN. I kept them in sight to the misleading Chuckanut Crest and I could see the lemonade stand in the distance. For those who don’t know the route, the lemonade stand is at the top. I knew about the lemonade stand and I had enough in the tank so I poured it on and I passed Ed, then Billy, and took the top! I was enthusiastically greeted by the sharks who got there first. Once Billy and Ed got to the top, Ed commented, “If I had known where the top was, I wouldn’t have let Steve pass me!” We regrouped at the top with all the riders making pretty good time.

    Stage 6 – The Wall (next post)

  3. Dred

    Steve’s right, I made the comment, but I must say, even if I knew where the top was, I’m pretty sure Steve would have beat me to the top anyway, as Steve is a strong rider! And I was not far from cramping. Everyone laughed when I said that comment, I think partly because that’s what you say when you get beat! So, remember, if someone beats you to the top, just say that ‘If I knew where the top was, I wouldn’t have let xxx pass me!’

    On Stage 3, due to a number of issues, Mik, Mike and me were way behind everyone. So, we finally got going after the flat trail, and Mik and Mike felt we needed to make up some time. I didn’t think so, but nobody asked me. :D So, we took off, and after awhile, as my heart rate was around 192, I told them I’d have to slow down, or I’d really be hurtin’. So, they slowed, but the damage was done, and I was toast. How come my heart rate was 172 and theirs was 150? Is it because I’m fat and out of shape, and they’re strong, young, athletes? Maybe I should train really, really, hard, and lose a bunch of weight. Hmmm…I don’t think so. Well, we finally caught the group on the last hill to the rest stop. M and M took off, and I limped up the hill to the rest stop.

    Anyway, I felt better after resting. Nice long downhills and then some rollers with mostly downhill. My weight helps on descents, so I caught up with Craig on his Kestrel, whose weight also helps him. :D I pulled Craig for awhile, then I tried to draft Craig, but he wouldn’t believe that I needed to get pulled by him. It actually took awhile to finally get him to let me draft! We took turns pulling until I wasn’t feeling good again, then Craig pulled me for a long way. Eventually the peleton caught us (Hey, where were you guys, did you stop somewhere?), right before we saw the sag wagons. Craig and I thought, that the rest stop came sooner than expected, and it was an illusion. We pulled in and the peleton kept going. It took a long time until C and I could close the gap, as we were pretty tired. Soon Craig started to cramp. I hung back to pull him, then I started to cramp! We made it thru the windy flats and made it to the rest stop.

    With Chuckanut Drive, I thought I’d just be steady when everyone took off at the base. Shortly the riders in front of me came back to me, Billy stuck on the back for a long time, then suddenly he was not in the rearview mirror anymore. I got to the Lookout and saw Mike and Mik remounting their bikes. They wanted to pull me up, but I told them to go get the guys in front. They said that only Steve was in front of us. Then they took off. A long time later, suddenly Billy was back on my wheel, and right after that we saw Steve up ahead a little. We tracked Steve down and followed him for a bit without him knowing, until we hit construction and we all had to stop and wait. Then the last hill came up and I was very surprised that at the top Mike and Mik were stopped! That’s why Steve took off halfway up the hill!

  4. blueneck

    Nice comment Dred!

    Day 2 – Stage 6 – the Wall
    After the overnight in Bellingham, we headed off toward the border in Lynden. We had a pretty good pace going, about 18-19. The route to the border is pretty flat so we were able to make some good time and got there before the border was open (8AM). After going through the border, we started off with Richard and Craig leading. I kind of held back a little watching for a stray time trialist, but as we rode on, it became apparent that Richard and Craig had upped the pace. I asked someone, “What are those guys (Richard and Craig) doing?” Their pace kept going a little faster. I didn’t keep up since I knew the Wall was coming and I wanted to see who was going to take it thinking Richard and Craig would burn out….but they didn’t. They made it up the wall first. By the time I got to the Wall only Rocky and Kary were close behind. Kary was riding the tandem with no stoker. As the climb started, I shifted into the smaller chainring, but then my chain fell off (I should have known!). Rocky zipped by me, and then Kary. Just as I got my chain back on, I heard Kary shout, “Hey – I’m going to beat Steve!” So I got back on the road and turned up the speed a little – I was able to pass Kary and managed to pass Rocky just before hitting the top. Rocky is such a quiet guy – but make no mistake, he’s a strong rider. The rest of the pack wasn’t too far behind and Eugene was looking pretty strong after taking the Wall.

    Day 2 – Stage 7 – Langley – Mile 40
    This seemed like a long stretch – but don’t read this part if you’re eating. We started out together, but eventually we got split up as Kary and the lead bunch took a wrong turn. Richard waited for them and I ended up riding with Craig, Eugene, and Billy. We went up a slight hill and then we started down – I was doing more coasting because I think something was playing with my digestive system; maybe too much fiber somewhere. We’d go up a rise and then on the downhills, Craig would zip by me until we came to a section where I could see a long downhill – I said to Craig, “It’s all yours!” And I thought he’d just coast on down, but he cranked it up and took off with Eugene right on his tail. I figured, there’s no way I’m going to catch those guys – not to mention I was
    looking for a stall somewhere. I didn’t have high expectations though – my experience with some Canadian parks and rest stops was not very good. Billy was riding with me and I told Billy I had to make a pit stop. I knew where a stop was because we were there last year and I slightly remembered that the facilities were uhm…less than…ok…I’ll just stop there. Billy and I stopped – and I did what I needed to do. We got back on the road and we took a relatively easy pace, cruising along at around 15-17. Then I heard it…again…the theme from “Jaws”. Mikkel and the rest of the pack zipped by us at 21+ and dropped both Billy and myself. We trailed them and finally made it to the stop. It was getting hot and the water sprays from our support crew felt really good. Again our support crew helped other riders – some who were not even on the RSVP ride. With Jon doing support, there was even some mechanical help to convert the tandem so Billy could ride with Kary.

    Day 2 – Stage 8 – Hastings St. Gas Station/Popsicles – (next post)

  5. blueneck

    Day 2 – Stage 8 – Hastings St. Gas Station/Popsicles
    After the tandem was adjusted for Billy, I decided I’d ride again with the tandem. The majority of the pack had taken off already. As the tandem started off, we had to go up a spiral ramp to get over a bridge. The tandem almost didn’t make it and nearly hit some posts. There was a lot of laughter on the tandem after that one. We went across the Golden Ears Bridge near the infamous Fraser River, the valley of which often brings us snow in the Seattle area according to UW meteorologist, Cliff Mass. Having made it across the bridge I rode with the tandem through some city streets. We stopped to stabilize in a parking lot where a lady pulled up to us in a car with two toddlers in the back seat. They were interested in the tandem – we told her we’d be looking for them next year. She grinned and said it would be a few years. As we rode on, I lost the tandem at a light waiting next to some riders wearing a lutefisk sushi jersey. I heard about lutefisk and thinking about lutefisk sushi made me feel a little queasy so I had to pass them went to catch up with the tandem. As we made our way to Barnet Highway, I got caught at a light and got stuck with a midsized group of about five or six riders including one guy wearing a Cascade HPC jersey and a lady in a Novara team jersey on a Novara Carema. They both looked fast, but they took their time getting onto Barnet Hwy so I had to pass them. I kept looking for Kary and Billy, but they must have been way ahead. I decided to crank it up a little, but could only get to about 20 or so when two guys jumped on my tail. They sat there for a while and then as I dropped a little they went in front. We kept a nice 18-19mph pace and then they dropped a little and I finally saw the hill going up to the gas station…and popsicles. We always get popsicles at the top. So I went as hard as I could hoping to drop the two behind me, but they stuck with it and tailed me all the way to the top. I was last up in our group, but I heard that there was some good racing going on up the hill to the gas station. I saw Rocky lying on the grass with a satisfied grin and a popsicle, nearby was Eddie enjoying some cold somen. Craig was cooling off the top by holding a bag of ice in his skull cap and the other guys were hanging out in the chairs. It was pretty warm, but the support crew took really good care of us. The tandem was adjusted back for Gail, and Billy got back on his bike. I have to say the tandem looked a lot more stable with Gail on it :)

    Stage 9 – riding into the Coast Plaza Hotel
    The ride into the finish was stop-and-go as usual. We rode through some quiet city streets. I always like looking at the houses through there – they’re a bit different than what we see over here. We also rode through part of Chinatown and then through a scenic downtown area. We almost lost Eddie and Richard at a couple of lights since they were in the back, but we made our way to the finish at the Coast Plaza Hotel. It was the end to a really fun ride. As far as I know, we made it with no flats and no crashes and we had our first husband-wife tandem team on a major ride. We enjoyed a team dinner at Shanghai River restaurant in Richmond where we had some delicious xiao long bao – Chinese dumplings made Shanghai style with soup inside. If you haven’t had it before, I highly recommend it.

    I hope you enjoyed reading these posts and look forward to seeing you on our rides.

  6. Tailwind

    Great write-up guys. It made me think that I was there and it would have been nice to see some of the “competition” in action!

    A big congrats to Gail for riding with Kary as a husband-wife tandem team!!

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