Crossed the 1K mile year to date and it's a good time to reflect on the CTS rides, plus others from this year. The Cascade Training Series is designed to help riders prep for the STP and other events and I signed up to lead to get the legs and my wind back to where they should be. The Chief Coffeeneur writes about how to train for a century in this piece, but my plan involves little more than getting the miles, getting the rhythm, eating better, riding more consistently, and tweeking the bike to improve comfort.
To that end, the last tune up included new shifters, tires, a new rear wheel as the old one had a crack, plus removing the fenders, thus insuring that the first ride following would be wet.
Here are some of the CTS ride highlights...
CTS #1 - Out and back to Seward Park from Cascade HQ at Magnuson. Similar to several of the Getting Ready to Ride routes from the previous two months.
CTS #2 - South End Loop - From Renton, around Mercer Island, and then down past Seward Park and the Boeing Plant to start. A new route for the series and a nice addition. The Mercer Island section has a sustained set of rollers that always gets the legs warm.
CTS #3 - Mercer Island Loop - A combination of 1 & 2. Can the nice weather continue through the spring?
CTS #4 - Now the fun begins with the Eastside Urban Loop. 44 miles, with a Bellevue P & R start, meaning that we get the Medina rollers first, a segment on the new 520 trail with new smooth pavement, then the Kirkland hill, the SRT, and ending with the Newport Hill. Lots of anxiety among the newbies for this climb at the end of the route, much huffing and puffing, but most made it. I waited for one rider at the top, who was working through some severe health challenges, gave her encouragement but also advice about riding at a pace where she'd feel comfortable. Cascade may be about SMART riding, but CTS is also about learning to have fun in addition to training, and sometimes that means dropping back a pace.
CTS #5 - Circumnavigating the Lake - A touchstone, a marker, a formative assessment. Again, nice weather helped. The big challenge here was getting over the Montlake Bridge before it was closed for the Opening Day of Boating Season. Made it with ten minutes to spare!
CTS #6 - Marymoor-Snohomish Loop - A favorite. Starting from Marymoor, up and over the ridge into the Snoqualmie Valley, out to Monroe, rural roads to Snohomish, up the hill to Maltby, through the Paradise Valley and home to Redmond. Farmland, climbs, warm weather, rollers through the forest, what's not to like? At 60 miles, a good stretch and really the culmination of six weeks of training.
Missed CTS #7 - I was here instead, and got some miles in on the Miami Beach Bike Share plan.
CTS #8 - 73 miles. A fine route with the hills and climbs in the first part, and the second half mostly a descent, but it's more complicated than that. Rain showers at the start, ride leader had a flat as we got the go signal, grumbling from other RL who thought I was leading to fast a pace, and then someone else said we were going too slow. Sometimes the rides are like this, more of a schlep than a glide. Cooler, cloudy weather, but we made it and brought 'em back alive. Plus a stop at the Black Diamond Bakery is always a treat.
More to come in the coming weeks leading up to STP, but what are we trying to accomplish? Emulate Platty Jo? Rando? Try to keep up with Lynne? At this point, it's not just about the bike, staying in shape and healthy, viewing the scenery, and enjoying the ride. But this year, CTS, Getting Ready to Ride, and Dorothe's North End rides in winter all have have made me feel better with more miles earlier in the year than in previous ones. Keep movin.....