Yes, I finished the ride.
All 204 miles of it.
Yes, folks, all done. Now I sit here, wondering what I need to be training for next. But before I wax on about that conundrum, I would like to recap a few highlights from our wonderful ride.
Starting line in Seattle
We had the Gods of Time Change with us, as we are Central Standard Ladies, and this event took place in Pacific Time. Yes! That was win for us, because as I explained earlier, we were feeling a bit daft and undertrained. So when we lined up in Seattle at the University of Washington, we were very awake, and feeling good. The start of the ride was beautiful, with a morning sunshine and views of the harbor and city. Seattle’s a gorgeous place. We made our way out of the city, and breezed past the first couple of rest stops to gain a bit of time. We finally stopped at the REI stop about 25 miles into the day, as I really needed a Honey Pot break. They have these nifty porta-potties that are absolutely, the cleanest I have ever encountered. And yes, they are called Honey Pots. Hmmmm.
Here’s a pic of me at the REI stop with my pal from Texas:
From this point, we flew through the next 50 miles, stopping for almond butter and Udi’s sandwiches, Clif Bars (blech!), bananas, and lots of water.
We arrived at Centralia around 1:10 in the afternoon, and I very quickly found the nearest accupressurist.
We stayed overnight at the Church of the Nazarene, which was the bomb. Those ladies there really know how to treat their cyclists, and they spent their time making sure we had our baggage, showers, a great room (the nursery) and a breakfast. We appreciated everything they did for us, even if we were sleeping on pool floaties.
Knees hurt. Back aches. Saddle sore.
There is nothing like getting back in the saddle after 100 miles, followed by sleeping on a pool floatie. Nothing compares, really.
We ended up stopping about 10 miles in for a food break, and to shake off the painful knees with a good dose of Advil. We started an Advil regime that was noteworthy; I don’t even want to know what my liver looks like at this point from all the doses we took.
Mile 52 included a rather large bridge that seperates Oregon from Washington state. We were gathered into a group and the motorcade stopped traffic in our direction to get a group of about 200 of us across the bridge. They didn’t stop the oncoming traffic, so what should have been an easy bridge crossing for me (I am terrified of heights) turned into a hair raising, I’m=Fking-riding-the-brakes-over-the-hill experience. I was absolutely frozen into place, as we reached approximate speeds of 25 MPH with oncoming traffic, metal girders like railroad tracks (think spinning a bike out of control at that speed because that’s all I could envision), and a dizzying height over the Columbia River. Followed by exiting us out onto a freeway? Yes, the freeway umm, has a bike lane. Joy! Traffic!
We started out with 2 lanes of traffic, then the lanes converged into 4 lanes about 20 miles into the “Highway” section of the ride.
We stopped at about mile 84 at what we called the “Deliverance” stop. Tacks were found outside this stretch of the highway, and many cyclists were on the side of the road changing flats. Thankfully, we escaped the flats and kept pedaling as hard as we could to reach Portland.
The trip into Portland was spectactular. We crossed over the St. John’s Bridge with a view of the entire city. We had stop and go traffic until the end, when we crossed the finish line around 5pm.
It was a great ride, and I’d recommend it to anyone. And now, I am left to wonder what else I’m going to train for……..