200 km Ride Report
by Kent Peterson

It was a dark and stormy night...no wait, that's another story. It was actually kind of drizzling at 4:30 AM on Saturday March 31st, 2001. Mark Thomas had been very rugged and manly and had ridden down from Redmond to my house in Issaquah. Andy Fuller had said he was riding down as well but he wasn't there and it was time to go. Mark and I rode off into the drizzle and headed down the Issaquah-Hobart Road toward Kent, Washington and the start of the SIR 200K.

Shortly before Hobart, Mark's main headlight went out. Like the seasoned randonneur that he is, he immediately switched on his helmet light (all true randonneurs know the value of redundant lighting systems) but when we got to the store at Hobart, we pulled over so he could change the bulb in his light. Of course the store was still closed but the overhanging eves made for a dry place to work. The rain had increased from a drizzle to a serious rain. While Mark ransacked his bag and fiddled with his light, I munched a candy bar from my stash of food. In a few minutes, we turned back onto the road and saw a couple of lights coming up behind us.

The lights belonged to Andy Fuller and Derek Bentley. They'd made it to my house about eight minutes after we'd left and had been hoping they'd catch up with us. I was actually the only one of the crew who was reasonably confident I could find my way to Greg's house and the start of the ride so we stuck together for the rest of the ride. We turned onto the Kent-Kangley Road at Ravensdale and it was nice and light by the time we got to Lake Meridian Park. It was till raining, but the light made things seem better. We followed the tail-end of the 200K course up to Greg's.

Considering the weather was less than ideal, we had quite a crowd of people there for the ride. I think the grand total was around 30. I was nicely pre-soaked including my gloves which were proving to be grossly under-performing. Pete Liekkio had the great combination of spare wool liners, spare shell lobster mitts and a kind nature. The loan of his gloves definitely made this ride more comfortable for me. My soaking poly-lined gloves spent the rest of the day semi-drying in Pete's bus.

After some chats about fixed gear riding last year, Pete Bajema had been interested enough to set up a fixie of his own. While I'd ridden all of last year's brevets on the fixed, this year I'm planning on going to LEL and out to Boston to do BMB again, so I'm riding my (relatively) new Bike Friday, Captain America. But Pete was there at the start carrying on the fixed tradition. Ken Krichman and Jim Giles were representing the recumbent world on their Gold Rushes. And Terry Z and Anne Marie were there with their tandem. I think the rest of the folks were on fairly conventional bikes of various types of steel, titanium and carbon fiber. Most folks had fenders and those without were suitably hassled about it.

We rolled out at 7:00 AM. The first thing I noticed was "man, we've got some fast folks here!". The pace was zippy. There was a little navigationally induced hesitancy until we got onto the road to Black Diamond but then the lead crew kicked in the after-burners. I wasn't too far back when we rolled into the bakery but I simply had to pause for a latte. I drank down part of it, tossed the rest into my water-bottle and headed up to Hobart. Since the Hobart spur is a little out and back run, I got to see the fast folks coming back from Hobart while I was still riding toward the control. At the Hobart store I quickly got my card stamped and rolled back out just as Ron and Lynne were rolling in. I talked a bit with Jon Muellner, a friend of mine who is fairly new to randonneuring. "It's going pretty good," he commented. "Yeah," I replied, "that's usually what I'm thinking right before it all goes hideously wrong!" Jon laughed, assuming I was joking. The line between humor and sage advice is sometimes very fine!

Before we get back to Ravensdale, we catch and pass Ken Krichman and then Jon blasts on ahead. A bit after the turn onto the Cumberland Road there's the secret control. It was still raining, so nobody lingered. As I rolled on toward Enumclaw, Derek pulled up along side me. "I like the pace you set," he commented, "that Andy, he's just too fast!" Actually, on a lot of days Derek could drop me in a heartbeat but I think he's learning the value of pacing. I was just doing my standard pace -- fast enough that I don't freeze, slow enough that I can go forever as long as I have food. It works out to a randon pace of about 22 kph. If all went according to plan, I'd be back at Greg's by 5:00 PM. Unless, of course, something goes hideously wrong.

Derek and I stopped at the Fairgrounds control in Enumclaw, filled our water bottles, munched a bit and roll out. Before we'd left the control, Ron and Lynne delivered the news that Ken Krichman missed the turn onto Cumberland Road. Knowing Ken, this really isn't too surprising but we figured that Ken's a trooper and he'll show up eventually.

Derek sticks close to me on Mud Mountain Road, onto 410 and into Buckley. From Buckley onward, the course is basically identical to last year's 200K and I'd ridden these roads several times since then. I did notice that the sign to Electron was missing. Later, I found out that that missing cue did confuse a few people. I mention to Derek that we're in prime Bigfoot sighting country, but there weren't too many animals of any sort out and about. The weather was still less than perfect. The rain would stop for a while but then it would decide to start up again, sometimes strong and sometimes just misting. The wonderful views of Mount Rainier never materialized.

Before Kapowsin we pass the tandem. Terry and Anne Marie are fixing a flat but assure us that they have all they need. At Kapowsin we stopped for a big snack. I bought a pint of milk, a Frappicino, a ham/turkey/cheese sandwich, and a king-sized Mounds bar. I also refilled one of my bottles with juice. While we were stopped, Terry and Anne Marie passed us.

We rolled on toward Eatonville and again went through a patch of heavy rain. We were still on the Orville Road, just a bit before the turn onto SR-161 when we saw the first riders coming back. This confused Derek for a bit until I explained that the course is basically an out and back from Buckley to Eatonville. I also pointed out that since we'd had the runs out to Black Diamond and Hobart at the start, we were well past the halfway point now. We just had to do that little climb up to Eatonville.

I had a Garmin Etrex summit tucked into my Camelbak and on the post-mortem dump of the ride the chart of that little climb looks like a cardiac spike on an EEG. The redeeming features of the climb are the bakery at the top and the fact that we get to go down that same hill. I bought a cookie at the bakery although I was still stuffed from the Kapowsin snack. As we were pulling out, I saw Dick Pado pulling in.

On the descent out of Eatonville, Derek got frisky and pulled ahead. I yelled out, "Don't miss the turn" as he came around me, but I don't think he heard me. Orville Road turned off to the right and Derek went straight. I shook my head, hoped he'd figure it out soon and turned onto the Orville Road.

I kept looking back, but I never saw Derek. I did see other riders, however. I was guessing that about half the field was in front of me and half behind and that seemed to be the way things were working out. I saw Ken Krichman so I knew he'd made it back on course. Jim Giles was looking happy and Max and Ron Himschoot were riding strong. I saw quite a few others as well and then I saw Jon Muellner. Hmm, Jon was supposed to be way ahead of me. Something must've gone hideously wrong!

Past the Kapowsin store I saw Duane Wright. I think he was the last rider at that point. As he wrote me later: "On the morning of the SIR 200k I woke up thinking I was Kent Peterson ...so I biked to the start. Shortly into the actually 200k ... I realized that I was *not* Kent Peterson but actually Duane Wright."

At that particular moment, I think the course was busy explaining to everybody exactly who they were and what they'd have to do to get home. And it all came down to keeping the pedals turning.

It was a pretty fast run back to SR-162. The weather improved and there was a nice tailwind. I stopped at the control in South Prairie, slammed down another pint of milk and refilled one of my water bottles with juice. I was just about ready to head out when Derek pulled in. I waited around a bit and we took off together. Derek kept quizzing me about where we were and when I figured we'd be back. My best guess was still putting us back at Greg's between 4:30 and 5:00 PM.

After Buckley and the bit on 410, we turned onto 244th in Enumclaw and the tailwind really kicked in. We hummed along and blasted down the hill into the Green River Gorge. The climb out was considerably more sedate. I dropped down to the granny and twiddled my way up. On the Kent-Black Diamond Road the wind was a quartering headwind but we didn't care, we were almost done and the sun was finally shining. The sky was even showing blue in a few places.

We got in at 4:26 PM. I told Derek, "well, we're not done yet, we've still got to ride home."

"No," he replied, "I think Andy's going to catch a ride home with somebody."

"Well," I said, "that's just the kind of weenie behavior I want to be a part of!"

Greg Cox and family put on a fine post-ride feed and after we'd eaten and swapped our stories, Pete Liekkio gave a bunch of us a ride home in his giant bus.

And since I was lugging these little bits of technology around here are some stats:

Distance: 212.93 km
Rolling Ave: 24.7 kph
Bike Time: 8:35:16
Total Time: 9:26
Rando Pace 22.6 kph
Max speed: 61 kph
Temp 45-55 degrees F
Rain you betcha!
Total Ascent 1702 meters
Total Descent 1644 meters (since we began and ended at the same place, I'm figuring we had a bit of atmospheric pressure change)
Max Elev 263 meters
Min Elev 44 meters