I thought I would be riding by myself, but in the registration area I just happened to run into a friend from work, Bobby, and 3 of his friends. The 5 of us completed the 40-mile loop (which is actually closer to 46 miles) more-or-less together.
First, let's talk about the wind. Oh my... this was some of the nastiest wind I've ever biked in. Blowing in from the south, the wind speed was high (at least 20) and the gusts were terrible (at least 30). The last 20 miles or so (from Edison back to the start/finish line) were mostly into headwinds. Ouch.
I originally planned to complete both the 40-mile loop and the 20-mile loop, but I decided to skip the 20 miler, for several reasons:
- I started much later than expected. My silly alarm clock didn't ring at 5:30 as set, so I woke up at 7:30. By the time I ate breakfast, drove to La Conner, registered, and prepared the bike, I didn't actually start riding until 10:30.
- The organizers wanted everyone finished by 4:00. Fighting the wind really cut into our average speed; we didn't make it back to the start/finish line until 3:00. Getting somewhat lost in Edison (don't ask) didn't help.
- There's a lot of overlap between the 20- and 40-mile loops, so adding the 20 miler would not have added a lot of new scenery.
- Speaking of scenery... Despite this being the "Tulip Pedal", part of the annual "Tulip Festival", we did not see a single tulip during the 40-mile loop. There were a few fields of daffodils (and they were certainly beautiful) but not one blooming tulip. Anywhere.