Miles: 56 Climbing: 5800’ Route: Sam Smith—Honda Hill—Horizon View/Summit climb On Cougar Mountain—Newcastle Golf Club—May Valley—112th/Licorice climb on Squak Mountain—132nd climb on Tiger Mountain—Issaquah—Mountain Parkway climb on Squak—Montreaux climb on Cougar Mountain—Extra Credit Montreaux extension to Fire Station on top of Zoo climb—Forest—Enatai—Mercer Island—Sam Smith Attrition Rate: *0% Soldier(s) of the Day: Bill Lindsay (for sacrificing his energy during strong pulls, and still climbing like a mountain goat) and Jeff (for perseverance)
Last week’s Soldier became this week’s General. Steve led the ride to meet part of the requirements to become a Ride Leader for Cascade Bicycle Club, and he did a great job. Of course, having a group of experienced riders never hurts and we had another great group today. Steve did a nice job with the pre-ride safety talk, and as always, emphasis was placed on emphatically pointing out hazards to the riders behind you. For an example of what can happen when riders are too cool or distracted to point out the odd brick in the road, check out Demolition Day at the Giro:
Sometimes the pointing and calling out gets a little over the top on the HOWC, but better to have that than have somebody crash because they ran into/over something they never even saw.
Technically, the attrition rate today was not zero. Jeff and I left the ride to get back earlier, and Bill told the others to go on when he flatted at the bottom of Montreaux, but no one bailed due to pain and suffering. Tracy is not a mother, but her mother is, and we were having Tracy’s parents over for Mothers Day. I get to ride a lot, so I really like to hang out with Tracy as much as possible on the weekends, and that’s one of the reasons I like do the ride with few stops and get back early.
Besides, I am leaving on Thursday to coach and ride at the first annual Cycle U Chelan Skills and Hills Camp, and I want to be well rested. My goal for today was to get a good solid ride in, but not punish myself like I usually do on the HOWC. That’s not easy to do when you are climbing long and steep grades, so when we got around to Issaquah and Squak Mountain, I bailed and ride newcomer Jeff came with me.
Jeff is brand new to Seattle from Denver, and he had not ridden much over the last few months. I think he might have been a little shell-shocked as to how hard some of the area climbs are, but he hung tough, and I have no doubt he could have finished the full ride if he wanted to. As it was, I pulled all the back from Issaquah mostly at a nice tempo type pace, so I got what I wanted to out of the day, and Jeff got a little tow back to the start.
Speaking of area climbs, just how fortunate are we to have the fantastic climbs of Cougar, Squak, and Tiger Mountains? Today’s ride fell one climb of Tiger short of completing the Triple Bypass X Two like we did two weeks ago, but 5800’ in 56 miles is empirically and mathematically tougher than the 6000’ over 61 miles we managed on that ride, as well as the 5200’ over 50 miles of last week.
I was never really into climbing super hard today, perhaps because I have been doing a fair amount of it recently, but more likely because I had already decided before the ride commenced that I was going to take it “easy” when I could, and bail early. Jeff S told me after the ride that everyone eventually wound up a little into the Hurt Locker at one time or another, but that it was the good type of Hurt Locker pain.
It must have turned into Type Two Fun, you know, the kind that is only fun when it’s over.
I hope to see you on the road.