So, I made it. We made it. It was HOT, especially Day #2 as the sun and the heat bounced off the pavement.
But, the RSVP is a special ride, and worth a definite repeat. My pix are here, Lynne's pix are here (including one of yours truly and the New Ride), Shaun's comments are here...
Day #1 started at about 6:15, down the hill after breakfast and last minute futzing about to Magnuson Park. Put the bag in the truck and then north on the BGT. Zoka hosted a coffee and Clif Bar stop just after Log Boom Park, a spot hitter for me and where I caught up with CLevi and Shaun, riding partners who pulled me along for a couple of days.
Rest stop in Snohomish after climbing a Woodinville hill, and then onto the Centennial Trail up to Lake Stevens. We had a comfortable pace, and while the weather was warm, all seemed fine. Then, a few hills showed up, partners went on ahead, passed through Arlington, stopping for a snack and a fluid exchange, and then north to Mount Vernon. Noon, sun directly overhead, and hills on the Lake Cavanaugh road, and the melting, the need to hydrate, and the headache began. By the time I got to Mount Vernon, I needed Tylenol, water, more snacks, double-tall iced latte, thank you, and a rest. Still, about 2 hours and Chuckanut Drive to go....
Then, a wrong turn, lots of confusing Dan Henry's out there, and I spent a good 45 minutes and at least ten miles riding through Skagit River Delta farm land, raspberries, blackberries, cows, etc, trying to get back to the route. Made it to Edison, and then back to Bow Hill Road and a mini-stop, where the WWU Cycling Club rep laughed at me and told me that I had not been alone. Somewhat relieved, time to start up Chuckanut, great views, big hills, but shade and shadows to cool the schlep a bit, pink lemonade at the top of the last climb, and finally to B'ham, the dorms, no pool (wait until next year), a shower, dinner at the Boundary Bay Brewery, and then bed.
Day 2 was easier. All-you-can eat breakfast (and I did) at Viking Commons and then on the road to Lynden, quick stop at Dutch Mother's, and north to the border. We paralleled Canada for about a mile, all separating the two countries was a ditch the width of a fat guy's standing broad jump, but still crossed at the Aldergrove border crossing. Many foto ops, and then north to face The Wall, (not so bad, just steep hill), and then to the Albion ferry to go across the Fraser River. The wait was in the sun, but we ran into Rachel and Marty while queuing up. The sun was directly overhead, and the heat was intensifying.
After the ferry, I slowed to adjust a shoe cleat that had loosened and lost the posse for good. Just as well, as they were burning up the road. With the heat, slow and steady, with plenty of rest stops worked for me.
Finally into the Van BC eastern suburbs, Barnet Highway and then bike paths (actually sharrows) into the city proper. A view of BC Place, dropped into Chinatown, through Gastown on Water Street, and then up to the Coast Plaza on Denham. The family meeting me at the finish line was a wonderful surprise!