Rode the Cascade Bike Club's Flying Wheels event on Saturday, and chose the 65 mile route as opposed to the Century, as we had another event to attend early that evening, or at least, that's the excuse I'm using now. Other excuses include the fact that I hadn't been on the bike for a couple of weeks, due to travel commitments, some minor surgery, hay fever, and a self-inflicted wounding that occurred during the risk-taking behavior of walking the dog. So, I wasn't at the top of my game starting out, and it showed on the several hill climbs on the route.
Here's what worked for me:
Lots of friends from previous CBC rides, including the Cascade Training Series. Good humor, safe riding, fine company.
Riding in the scenic Snoqualmie Valley. Beautiful farmland, the Snoqualmie River Marsh, the views from Duvall, all reminding of the amazing place we live. It's a great course. And, Claire's recommendation for the end of the ride worked very well.
Schwalbe Marathon Tires - Yes, they are fat, with thick tread, some say slow, I say appropriately paced, and while I have had a flat or two, they rode fine, and avoided the many flats that apparently plagued those who were using skinny racing tires.
Provisions along the way. Well-stocked food stops, bananas, Rice Krispies treats, typical cyclist fare, but always in abundance and kept me fueled. Plus, a well-timed coffeeneuring stop at SBUX in Carnation.
Not so pleasant:
The big ride itself. Sometimes riding in a crowd is great, sometimes not. As Leo describes it, 'Think asteroid scene from Star Wars. It's crowded, chaotic, and an ADHD's dream ride.' Not a ride in which to achieve the Zen, or even the camaraderie of the CTS series where courtesy and common sense tend to prevail.
Pacelines, racers and racer wannabes, not letting others know when passing, cutting back into line without leaving room, ear buds, blowing through stop signs, riding several abreast on narrow country roads and inviting antagonism from the pick-up truck crowd. A cavalcade of poor behavior only surpassed by....
The afore mentioned pick-up truck crowd, honking, revving, narrow passing. Sometimes they are just irritating, sometimes scary.
My two-week layoff - The long hill up Issaquah-Fall City Road ran me out of gas, and by the end I was fried. It's back to the gym, need to schedule more saddle time, two-wheeled commuting, and do a better job of recovery in anticipation of STP.
To sum up, yes, I'll probably do this one again, but look forward to spending more time on a similar route throughout the year in less crowded circumstances. My results are here. Your mileage may vary.