CTS #9 takes you out the BGT to Woodinville, up through Maltby and out to Snohomish. Beautiful countryside ride through Monroe and up the Sky River valley to Sultan, 42 miles from the start. And, aside from aches and pains (hip, some leg stiffness), I felt good. Had been off the bike for any serious saddle time or strain for four weeks, due to travel. Can't complain about going to New Orleans, Montreal and New York!
But, after lunch we cross the Sky River and go west on Ben Howard Road. With the first hill, I knew I was in trouble. Tough to get my wind, legs hurt more than normal, and slow. First signs of bonking. Peeing had been hard back at the rest stop, where I ate PB&J, drank an iced double-tall, consumed cookies and (bad choice) a couple of caramels. Not a healthy, carb-filled energy lunch. And while drinking a lot of water, not able to produce a whole lot of pee. Yes it was sunny and yes it was warm, but by PNW standards.
Started to get a bit cranky, but glad that I was in the role of ride leader, as that meant I had to keep going, despite a few chills, a bit of dizzy. The route back, once we cross High Bridge over the Snoqualmie River, gets hillier and tougher, and it's that part of the route, leading back into Maltby where I felt fried. An apple, a lot of water and then back up the hill into Woodinville, out to the SRT, and ten miles on the trails back, limping all the way. I walked 70th up home, stretching, stopping every 20 yards or so, hurting in legs, back, hamstring, shoulders and was thoroughly whipped.
What's different for next time? More rest, better eating, hydrate throughout the week, back on the exercise regimen with some consistency. There was lots of pollen in the air, and the eyes and throat were constricted, so many that contributed. But, the CTS is meant to be done as a series, and picking up with a strenuous ride after than long of a layoff was probably not the best plan.
Still, a beautiful route, and when I look back at my numbers, not a bad result. Avg speed = 12.7 mph, elevation gain 3,215 ft.