Saturday, April 4, 2009

4-4-09 Hills of the West Coast Ride Report

The easy ride summary: I hope everybody had as good of a time as I did!

For a rare Saturday HOWC, we had 16 riders, and it was a strong group, especially considering the lousy weather we have had. With less chance to ride, you would think people would be less fit than they normally are in early April. Maybe there was just a lot of pent up demand to ride hard?

It was cold at the start, but the April sun is so much higher relative to the January sun (if it ever comes out) that I don’t think anyone, even the few wearing just shorts, was ever cold. The basic route:

Mercer Island--89th-May Valley--148th-Jones Road--Maple Valley Highway for a mile-Cedar Grove--Lake Francis-200th--Issaquah Hobart Rd--Climb of Tiger Mountain--Tiger Mountain store for a rest stop.

At this point, Jeff took 10 of the 16 back on May Valley to bring the ride in at around 60 miles. Maybe Jeff can comment on how the rest of their ride went. A group of five went with me to Issaquah. We then climbed Squak Mountain, took Newport Way to the west, and climbed Somerset mostly just for the view. From the top of Squak, Mt. Baker looked like a giant Sno Cone, and the view from the top of Somerset has got to be one of the top three vantage points in the entire metro area.

Squak is certainly one of the hardest climbs in town, and while it didn’t seem like a walk in the park, all of the brutally steep climbs I did in California made it seem…well, benign in a relative sense.

From Somerset, we re-traced our morning route across Mercer Island back to downtown. We wound up with 70 miles, and just under 5000’ of climbing.

Our group passed a number of riders wearing local racing team kit. The racer group doesn’t seem to like it when they get passed, especially by a large group. On Lake Francis, we went by four guys in ? kit (can someone help me here?), and two of them worked so hard to get back with us that they dropped their two friends. No matter, many of us passed the “fast two” on the first small hill we encountered.

Not that we were being competitive. As a matter of fact, I thought the group worked together very well all day. A number of people took turns on the front, and I don’t think anyone was deep in the Hurt Locker at any time.

We were just a bunch of guys (yes, no women…again)-a mix of regulars and first timers, just out having a great ride on a beautiful day.

I hope to see you on the road.


Tim Walker said...

As one of the "Out of Towners" on this Saturday ride, I loved it. There is always a risk jumping in with a strange group - will they ride hard and fast enough or will they ride too hard and too fast? Will they keep it fun or will they be "all about the bike" and decked out in kit, etc... This group, and this ride was the perfect mix! As my first big ride of the season, especially with any sort of climbs (Minneapolis just isn't there yet with the weather), I couldn't have asked for a better route and group. It was fast and challenging, not for the weak of heart, but it was exactly what I needed and perfect training for Hawaii 70.3. It was fun talking triathlons with Jeff and Luke, too, good luck at Coeur d'Alene and WA!

As far as ride management, Tom did an excellent job of leading and communicating what and where we were going and managing a sizeable group. Two flats in the group was unusual, but actually gave an added chance to mix with the guys. The views were spectacular, and I know some of the climbs were picked just for that. Thanks for making me feel so welcome and a treat of a ride. Next time, I will have a few more climbs under my belt and will hang with you guys on the uphills!

THANK YOU Tom and the entire group for a great experience.

Tim Walker
Minneapolis, MN

psorr said...

The group taking the 'short' route ended up with about 65 miles on the day. From Tiger Mountain we headed back via May Valley, which was truly a floodplain after the rains of March: the water seemed 5-6 feet higher than summer levels. We hit Coal Creek and retraced our outbound route via 89th and back across I-90. Not surprisingly, we saw quite a few more 'kit' riders on the way back; we overtook a few of them on Mercer but they had their revenge on that last small climb up to the trail. After 60 hard miles my legs were happy to let them go!