CTS 2015 concluded today with a Full Lake Loop, and a fine one it was, with a cooler day than yesterday, a thunderstorm in Bellevue (first real rain on the series this year!) and Dante's Inferno Dogs for a treat at the Tailgate Party at CBC HQ at the end. It's great to see the riders get stronger and more confident as the series progressed, and we should be in good shape for STP, (route map here,) and the other challenges ahead.
How did we get here? Rather than riding Flying Wheels with the crowds, I pre-rode CTS #9, a new route this year, the Magnuson-Everett. The cue sheet starts at Cascade HQ, runs through Richmond Beach, Woodway, Edmonds, Mukilteo, South Everett, then down into the Snohomish River Delta and out to Snohomish, which is a popular destination for cyclists in the North End. From there, a return to North Everett, along the Everett waterfront, and then return to Magnuson via Mill Creek and Bothell. It's a hilly route that combines urban, suburban, and rural miles, lots of lights, twists and turns, and it turned out to be a challenge a week later for the group. The weather was warm and sunny, and several riders bonked, with a few more complainers. The pre-ride took me 6.5 hours, the real deal was over 7, with 10 hours elapsed time, due to stops, regroups, etc. A definite challenge, and one that I'll repeat in a couple of weeks on CTS Rides Again.
CTS #10 was the Kent-Enumclaw Loop, a 90 mile ride through SE King County with great views of Mt. Rainier, but with family in town and a bit of vacation on the calendar, I passed this one up. Next year.
CTS #11 is the CTS-Century and rather than the table-top flat ride to Flaming Geyser park, this year a new route from Cascade World HQ down to Renton, out the Cedar River trail, over to Hobart, and then up the Sammamish Valley to Issaquah, Redmond and Woodinville, a trip up the Paradise Valley to Maltby, and then return via the SRT and the BGT. The cue sheet says 101, but my results claim only 94 miles. More hills, more scenery, a challenge on Paradise Lake Road near the end of the ride, and my first flat in several years, all marked an exceptional ride, an upgrade over the previous years' capper, completed in 7 hours and 20 minutes.
Lessons learned.....Eat right. Clif Mojo Peanut Butter Pretzel, banana chips, PB&J, and some fruit kept me from bonking. Hydrate. Water, water, water, once in a while with Nuun, all to keep the fluid levels right. Midweek rides help a lot. NERD, MORE and even a commute once in a while keep the legs fresh. Ride all the rides I can, and be consistent. Be patient, friendly and supportive to the newbies. Watch for wildlife, including hawks, eagles, osprey and herons, as well as point out the other marvels of the region. "And, we get to ride our bikes here!"
Next up, CTS Rides Again and the STP. 1,556 miles so far this year, 43 rides, 74K feet in elevation gain, which compares well to last year at this time, 1,317 miles, 36 rides and 56K feet in elevation.