Monday, June 02, 2003

Trail Note

Saturday I went for a bike ride with the Cascade Bicycle Club. My friend, Chris, had gone on a ride with them the week before and said that the ride was at a pace comparable to what we normally ride, and it pushed him to go farther than he would normally ride on his own. That sounded like just what I needed, so Chris found a 55 mile hilly ride at a "social pace" on the website, and Jeff, Chris, and I met up with 10 other riders on Saturday morning. I was a little nervous before beginning; this was my longest ride ever, I think, so was afraid I wouldn't be able to go the distance and finish the ride strong (it ended uphill).

The route started downhill, winding down from the "I-90 lid" through the International District, past the stadiums, and over to West Seattle. The pace seemed brisker than the advertised 12 mph as we rode along Alki beach, a long flat stretch without many stop signs or traffic lights, but I was able to comfortably keep up. We then caught the ferry to Vashon Island. After a 30 minute wait for the ferry and a 20 minute ride, I was well rested for the winding, hilly route around the island. I found that I was much better on the uphills than many of the other riders. Since I'm training for a ride through the mountain passes in August, it's good to get a little confidence about my climbing ability. We had lunch before catching the ferry back "to the mainland" and spent quite a bit of time waiting for some of the riders who had fallen behind, so had even more time to rest before the final leg of the ride. While I didn't try to keep up with Jeff as he sprinted up the last few hills, I felt good until the end, keeping up a strong pace throughout.

Comparing bike computers at the end of the ride, we discovered that we rode 58 miles, at an average of 14 miles per hour pace. We left at 9 am and returned at 5, so it was a longer day that I expected; the ferry trip really added a lot of time to the ride. We had perfect weather for the day: sunny with temperatures in the upper 60's / lower 70's, and only a little wind. I'm feeling fine today, although I don't know if I'd have any juice if I tried to ride up another hill. All in all, it was a great way to spend a sunny Saturday!


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