Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Daffodil-less Classic

The 33rd Annual Daffodil Classic was this past Sunday.

I really hoped to complete this ride with my wife Kasia, but she just returned from a month-long trip to Poland, and is suffering from the severe jet lag that only nine hours of time difference can induce. I've been there, done that, and I appreciate the discomfort. Jet lag is high on my "not fun" list.

CliftonGK1 (a friend from bikeforums.net) and I caravaned to Orting, WA and met up with EastHill (another online friend from bikeforums.net) in the parking area around 7:00am. I didn't record our starting time, but by the time we unloaded the bikes, registered, and took care of last-minute details, we probably hit the road about 8:00am.

The plan:
  • CliftonGK1 had his mind set on completing the entire century: both the 60- and 40-mile loops.
  • EastHill was under time pressure due to an appointment to deliver a bike frame to yet another bikeforums.net member, so she planned to do only the 60-mile loop.
  • Me, I planned to finish the 60-mile loop, then evaluate my condition and only start the 40-miler if I knew I could finish it. I was not hopeful.
As you can see from the profile of the 60-mile loop, the ride was not exactly flat. There were two rest stops: one at approximately 22 miles, another at 41 miles. There was a nasty climb (not steep, but long) just after the first rest stop, and another climb (even longer) before the second rest stop. Just after the second stop was an all-to-brief downhill section before beginning a 15 mile climb, following by a thrilling twisty descent into town.

At the second rest stop I ran into Tessa, a woman I met at The McClinchy Mile ride a few weeks ago. We completed the final stage together; CliftonGK1's pace was just too fast for us.

According to the elevation profile page linked above, we covered 61.2 miles and climbed a total of 3341.6 feet. I would guess there was also about 20 miles of rough chip-seal pavement, the kind that rattles your bones (and every other body part).

By the time we arrived back at the start/finish line, I hoped CliftonGK1 had given up on waiting and had started the 40-miler on his own. No such luck -- he greeted us as we rolled up with "fuel up, top off, and let's head out!"

One strawberry shortcake, two bananas, and a couple of bagels later, my energy reserves were replenished and I felt ready for another 40.

Press on regardless.

As you may have guessed, the 40-mile loop was not exactly flat, either. Two hills stand out in my mind. The first was just before the 10 mile point, a narrow road twisting up a hill near a waterfall. I'm sure the waterfall would have been beautiful if I had enough oxygen in my brain to appreciate it. I didn't. This hill would have been "not fun" if we had done only the 40-mile loop; climbing it after 70 miles was downright painful.

The other notable hill was at the 35 mile point (which was our 97 mile point). Another narrow road, twisting up the hill, with each section seemingly steeper than the previous. It was like someone's idea of a bad joke, except there was more cussing than laughing.

As with the 60-mile loop, there was a lot of rough & rotten chip-seal pavement. I thought the lenses would vibrate out of my sunglasses, the fillings out of my teeth, and the bolts out of my bicycle. I tried unlocking the fork on my bike, but the vibration frequency was just too high to be effectively damped by a suspension fork. Bummer.

Shortly after the final Hill of Death, we had a very nice long downhill section. I hit a personal top-speed record: 41 MPH. Not bad for a big guy on a mountain bike (with road tires, but still).

Somewhere around 4:00pm we rolled into town, found our cars, loaded the bikes, and headed home. I see a lot of ibuprofen in my future.

According to the elevation profile, we completed another 40.9 miles and climbed another 2161.5 feet. Totals for the day: 102.1 miles ridden, 5503.1 feet climbed. What a day!

Except for a few blooms in private gardens, I saw almost no daffodils.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You make it sound like I was tearing through the 40 mile loop with ease...

Remember, you were in much better shape those last 15-20 miles than I was. I was just about dying by the time we hit the last rest stop.

- CliftonGK1