The SIR 600K
June 1-2, 2002
a ride report by Kent Peterson
I'd laid out all my riding clothes the night before and at 3:20 AM I snap awake, ten minutes before my alarm is set to go off. I defuse the alarm so it won't wake Christine, check the temperature, quickly dress and make myself breakfast. At 3:50 AM I kiss Christine goodbye and she sleepily wishes me a good ride. I'm out the door at 3:52 AM.
It's a beautiful morning, clear and 47 degrees. I ride up the Lake Sammamish Parkway and it's getting light by 4:30 as I join up with SR-202 in Redmond. I follow SR-202 up to Mark Thomas's neighborhood and then climb the twisty hill up to his house. It's a bit before 5:00 AM and the randonneurs are gathering. Chris makes coffee, Wayne brings out some pastry and everybody is tweaking their bikes and signing in. Mark recounts how he got doored by a car last night and while he pulled something in his back, he figures he's good to go today.
It's a good turnout for a ride this long. Last week Wayne Methner, Pete Liekkio and Eric Duncan had ridden the official pre-ride of the course in 36 hours 55 minutes and this morning 27 of us are here and ready to take on the challenge.
This should prove to be a really beautiful route. Wayne patterned it off a ride Mark Vande Kamp and I had originally wanted to do last fall. Our actual trip that wound up being quite a bit different than what we'd originally planned but Wayne had taken our original plan and tweaked it a bit to make certain we'd hit mountain passes that wouldn't be snowed in and also get the total distance up to 600K. He figured out where to place the control points and worked up the cue-sheets for the ride. Anne Marie McSweeney would run the control at Leavenworth and Wayne would drive his van from checkpoint to checkpoint as the riders passed through.
Most riders opt to use drop bags on a 600K but drop bags are on my long list of "things that make you weak" so of course I don't have a drop bag today. Mark Vande Kamp is going even further, choosing to bring his camping gear along on this ride today. He and I had talked and I knew that his plan was to ride this basically as two 300K days with a little camp break in between. This will be his final dry run before our planned trip east in a couple of weeks. So Mark has his bike all decked out with dual front panniers and a handlebar bag. And like a true rugged man of old, Mark is riding a fixed gear.
My friend Jon Muellner is also running without a drop bag but he's running with deraillers today. I'd known he was planning on doing this but I still have to hassle him a bit about this so I greet him with a hearty "Hello, Coastie!" He'd confessed to me it wasn't the variable gearing he misses on a fixed, it's the coasting.
Of course, I'm still keeping the fixed faith and I'm riding Fast Eddy. I understand Jon's fondness for coasting and I can also appreciate the luxuries of variable gearing. But something in me keeps me returning to the fixed gear. I often tell people that the most important thing in distance cycling is to find a bike that you're comfortable with. For me, this comfort isn't just a physical thing, it's philosophical. Something just feels right about this old Merckx frame with it's mishmash of parts. Folks who know me contend that "it's definitely your kind of bike" while it just strikes others as being really, really wrong. But wrong for them is somehow right for me. Lao Tzu tells us:
When the Tao prevails in the world,
swift horses draw the dung-carts.
When the Tao is disregarded in the world,
the war horses breed in the border lands.
There is no greater mistake than following all desire;
There is no greater disaster than forgetting contentment;
There is no greater sickness than seeking attainment;
But he who is content to satisfy his needs
Finds that contentment endures.
I can't claim to be a sage but I think in my own way I'm out riding because I'm seeking what the old sages sought. Fast Eddy is my swift horse, put into dung-cart service. We are looking to separate the needs from desires. 600 kilometers is too long for luxury, we can bring only what we need. The riding will tell us if we've chosen wisely.
A bit before 6:00 AM Wayne delivers the final pre-ride briefing and at 6:00 we roll out. The morning light is warm and the starting pace is fast. We're headed down to Issaquah, retracing the route I'd ridden just an hour previously and our lead pack is zipping along at an average speed of 30 kilometers per hour. Logic says that's too fast but our legs and lungs are just doing what feels right. There's a small bunch of us off the front including myself, Mark Vande Kamp, Ken Carter and Philippe Andre. As we come into Issaquah Ken Carter suggests that in the grand European tradition that I should be in the lead as I pass through my home town. Somehow word of my triumphal arrival escaped the attention of the locals and unfortunately there are no screaming fans or press photographers to record this moment for the ages. We ride on.
Just past Issaquah Ken and Philippe drop the hammer. Other riders also have warmed up now and the pack begins stretching out into little clumps of riders. I know some riders haven't gone for as quick a start and are now spread out behind, but other riders are now pulling ahead of me. The terrain is rolling now and while I climb pretty well on the fixed I tend to loose ground to the coasting folks on the descents. And of course some of my fellow riders are also pretty darn good climbers. Despite his loaded panniers Mark Vande Kamp keeps up a very good pace both uphill and down.
Mark and I are together when we hit the control at Cumberland at 8:16 AM. We are 61 kilometers into the ride and Wayne's got his van set up here. Wayne signs our cards and I head into the store for some milk and chocolate milk. When Wayne sees what I've bought he says "Man, you didn't need to do that. I've got you covered." Then he opens up the cooler and shows me his stockpile of beverages and munchies, including chocolate milk and iced coffee drinks. I'm so used to doing long unsupported rides, it always takes me a bit to remember that "oh yeah, that's what support crews do." Wayne is one of the best guys ever at doing support and he really does a terrific job of catering to almost every rider's quirks and tastes.
One of my favorite things on rides is milk. Either plain whole milk or chocolate milk. A lot of times I'll have it with a chocolate candy bar. Lots of calories and some fat and I can slam it down fast. For some reason, I can digest it, but it seems to gross some of the other riders out. Of course, I can't carry it on the bike because it would spoil in the heat. But at almost every stop I slam down some milk.
I do have various foods I eat on the bike, and I try to have a mix a flavors and textures. John Stamsted taught me that. Even when John was sponsored by Gu, he'd say that he'd eat Gu "as long as I can stand it" but that he'd also be sure he had a variety of other things to munch on. Today I'm packing granola bars, salted cashews, chocolate mint Clif bars and some dried apricots. I also have my own experimental form of Gu but I'm saving that for the climbs up the passes.
Despite my son's protests that I talk to much about food in these reports, some of my fellow randonneurs tell me that they love all the food details. For those of you like the food details, here's the recipe for Kent's Choco-Peanut Goop:
Take the ingredients listed above and put them in a mug. Heat the mug in a microwave for about 30 seconds and then stir everything up. It should all blend together nicely and and have a thin, creamy texture. Spoon it into one of those refillable Gu flasks. Be sure you taste the leftover Goop that's stuck to the mug and the spoon. If you don't like the taste of this stuff at home, you probably won't like it on the road. But I find it delicious. Unlike commercial Gu which is basically just carbohydrates, Goop has some protein, fat, sodium, niacin and vitamin E in it as well.
But enough about food, back to the ride.
Mark Vande Kamp takes off ahead of me and so do a couple of other riders. One rider who is quite distinctive on this ride is Dave Read. Dave has the largest Carradice bag I have ever seen hanging off his saddle. This thing is huge. Unlike the smaller cotton duck Carradice bags I've seen before this bag is made of Cordura nylon and it looks like you could carry a full cooler back there. A cooler with a couple of gallons of milk maybe! But I wouldn't want to carry all that weight up the hills. I don't think Dave really has anything super heavy back there but the bag is impressive.
I roll down to Enumclaw and then turn onto SR-410. At 9:50 AM I'm at the Greenwater Grocery store having another snack and getting my control card signed. A bunch of the others are here and we're 99 kilometers into the ride. Ken, Philippe and Mark Vande Kamp are no where to be seen so I figure they're all far ahead by now.
The climb up Cayuse Pass is nice. The air cools as we climb and soon we cross the snow line. The road is bare, but large, cool drifts of snow are on either side of us. A guy on a Litespeed comes around me with a friendly greeting. He seems to be too lightly equipped to be one of us and he's closing on Dave and one of the other riders ahead of me. He's intent on passing the guy in front of him and he seems surprised when I wind up catching up and passing him. I really didn't mean this as a challenge but he seems to take it as such. He clicks up a gear, climbs out of the saddle and passes me again. At the turn for Chinook Pass, he goes left while the rest of us go right. He's probably training for next month's RAMROD ride.
Once we're over the summit of Cayuse, Dave and the other fellow pass me on the descent. As I'm cruising along, Mark Vande Kamp spins by me proving once again that he can descend faster on a fixed than I can. Of course, Mark's a little bigger than I am and he's got those panniers so gravity is helping him out. But still he's able to spin those legs of his pretty darn quickly. The one thing I can't figure out, however, is how he got behind me. I'd figured he was out ahead, but one of the things I've learned on these rides is that it's really hard to really know where anyone else is.
Wayne had told us all to make sure we stopped at Ohanapecosh Campground to get water before the climb up White Pass. It's right around noon when I see Wayne's control van set up there by the side of the road. In typical Wayne fashion, he's got a virtual full-service deli set up there. I stop and have some chocolate milk, potato chips and some cookies but he's also got sandwiches and Gatorade and almost anything else you can think of there. A bunch of folks are there including Stan Reynolds, Jon Muellner, Dave Read, Greg Cox, Bill Dussler, Mark VandeKamp and Ed Husted. There are others too but it's hard to keep track of everyone and I'm really not that good with names. Ken Carter is long gone and Philippe Andre is somewhere up ahead as well. Mark tells me that he'd stopped for breakfast in Enumclaw, thus explaining how I'd gotten ahead of him. We all take a decent break here, peal off some of the warm clothes and slather on some sunscreen before we head off down the road.
Five kilometers past Ohanapecosh we turn left onto US-12. As soon as we make the turn we're climbing. I've climbed White Pass many times, most often at night and I've always found it to be a nice climb. The scenery is spectacular, the road shoulder is good and the grade isn't too bad. Today, however, I'm not feeling as good about the pass. My legs are fine but it's hot and my head is sweating and I just start to feel grim. For much of this year I've been wearing a thin nylon mesh baseball-style cap under my helmet instead of a cycling cap. Normally I like having a brim to shade my eyes, but now the cap is just cooking my head. I mentally make a note to switch back to the cotton caps. I pull over in a little patch of shade, take off the cap and tie a bandana around my head. I also take off my short sleeve blue wool SIR jersey, figuring that my thin wool t-shirt will be enough to keep the sun off my back. I roll up the jersey and strap it to the top of my handlebar bag. I eat a couple of dried apricots and take a good shot of my custom Goop. Stan Reynolds had passed me when I'd pulled over, but I pass him before we reach the White Pass summit.
The summit is a control point (184 km) and I get my card signed at 2:25 PM. Ed is here and so are Mark Vande Kamp and Jon. Stan pulls in a bit after I do and so do Greg Cox and Bill Dussler. Dave's here as well and we're all eating and drinking and trying to figure out the best way to dress for the descent. I pull my blue jersey back on, renew my coating of sunscreen, make sure my bottles are topped out and then head on down toward Rimrock and Naches.
This is the dry side of the mountains and the descent is long and warm and just plain nice. What wind there is is favorable now and I roll on through Naches. Just before the iron bridge I turn left onto the Old Naches Highway and then navigate some small roads before climbing up and over a ridge. The ridge climb is hot, probably 80 degrees or so but the descent into Selah in nice.
Selah (267 km) is a control point and again other folks are here. We tend to split up on the road but find each other again at the controls. It's 5:43 PM and warm so I have an ice cream treat called a ChocoTaco and some milk. I also munch on some chips. Dave and I talk about lights. He knows that I'm a fan of the Princeton Tec Impact and was wondering if I knew why he couldn't get lithium batteries to work with his. "Yeah," I tell him, "I had this happen to me as well. It turns out the lithium AA cells are just a tiny bit shorter than most of the alkaline AAs. The cells aren't quite reaching the contacts. Crumple up a bit of aluminum foil and drop it down in the body of the light, then load the batteries. The foil will take up the extra space and serve as a conductor. That'll fix it."
I pull out of Seleh and into the wind. The course winds north along the Yakima river, over dry green-brown hills. The terrain undulates and follows the serpentine path of the river. The low evening sun is dazzling. But all the beauty is minor compared to the wind. The wind is relentless and it's blowing straight into my face. I know that I could spend dozens of kilometers cursing this wind and that won't help me at all so I try to focus on the good. It's good that I'm a little guy instead of being big and broad-shouldered like Ed. It's good that I'm not dragging a set of panniers or a Carradice bag the size of Nebraska into this wind. It's good that I made this curved handlebar bag to carry my stuff instead of something big and angular. It's good that I'm on a winding road with a refreshing breeze to keep me from overheating...
I'm not really sure I believe all these thoughts that are going through my head and I'm quite sure I don't believe what I see next. Here, in the middle of some really quite desolate country, I see a little pile of rocks on the road shoulder. And in the shadow of the rock pile is a little bottle of chocolate milk. This can't be real. It looks real as I ride by it, but it can't be real. I press on into the relentlessly refreshing wind.
After 48 kilometers, I'm finally to Ellensburg. After a few more windy kilometers I pull into the control at the truckstop. It's 8:51PM and this is the 322 kilometer point. There is a motel room here and it's one place that Wayne has designated as a possible point for drop bags, but I think almost everyone has been planning on pushing on to Leavenworth before sleeping. My plan has always been to ride straight through but it's always best to remain flexible. I don't think anyone had realized how bad the wind would be.
Wayne's here at the control and the first thing he says to me is "Did you get the chocolate milk I left for you?" "No," I reply, "I saw it but I didn't believe it. Besides, how long had it been there?" "About two minutes," Wayne replies. "I drove by you and then just past the next curve I stopped and left the milk." "Oh well," I say, "maybe somebody else will pick it up."
Jon Muellner is finishing up his sandwich and I grab some milk and cheese. Again there's a bunch of us at the control including Greg Cox and Mark Thomas. It's dark now and we all are putting on our reflective gear and adding layers for the night ride. After a few minutes I head into the breezy darkness.
It's still super windy and now it's very dark. I ride north on 97 and it's slow going. I'm anxiously awaiting the intersection with 970. I'll stay on 97 there, but the road turns and Eddy and I will begin the climb up Blewett Pass. With luck it'll mean we're out of the wind. Also the intersection with 970 will mark the return to known roads for me. I've never been on this section of 97 before and it's desolate.
Desolate and long. Too long. According to the cue sheet, I should have joined up 970 by now. But there's still nothing. This has to be the road, how can it not be the road? There couldn't have been some turn I missed. But where the heck is the intersection? I continue this internal dialog for several kilometers. Should I turn around? No don't be silly, this has to be the road. But there haven't been any road signs for many kilometers. But look, the road has center and edge stripes. That makes this a pretty major road for this part of the state...
I never really consider turning around. After so many kilometers of fighting the wind, I can't bear to give in to doubt. It must be an error on the cue sheet.
It is an error on the cue sheet. All the directions are right but Wayne has mislocated the intersection with 970 by about 5 kilometers. But now I see 970 joining in and I'm turning out of the wind. I'm a happy guy.
I'm a happy, cold guy. It's really gotten nippy. I zip the sleeves onto my vest/jacket, pull my earband over my cap and layer wool and wind gloves over my cycling gloves. About the only clothing item that I've brought along but I'm not wearing are my nylon rain pants and I reserve those for very wet or cold descents. This is a climb and still it's cold.
Mineral Springs resort is closed but I think I'd remembered an outdoor soda machine there one other time I was out here so I look carefully as I ride past. Sure enough, there's a Pepsi machine and I stop and buy a bottle. Pepsi and Goo make pretty good late night combination. I need the calories not just for the climbing, but also for keeping warm.
I cross the summit of Blewett and begin the 30-plus kilometer descent down to Highway 2. Earlier Mark Thomas had asked me if I felt confident descending passes at night with just my LED lights and I'd answered in the affirmative. First off, the Princeton Tec Impacts are far better than the Cateye EL-100 LED lights because the Princeton Tec's really do have focused beams. Second, Highway 97 is a pretty clean road and at night there's almost no traffic so I spend most of my time right in the center of the lane. Third, I descend like a weenie so I don't over-run my lights. And finally, I've got pretty good night vision. So night descents don't bother me.
I'm rolling along, descending like a weenie and nearing the intersection with Highway 2 when I see I'm closing in on a flashing tail light. It's Ed Husted. He's stopped on his bike and he looks cold. "You OK?" I ask. "I've got shit for energy right now" he replies. I laugh, "I know that feeling" I say. Ed's not looking quite right but he does get going and we roll on. We chat and sometimes he's fine and other times I wonder. He kind of hangs right on my wheel. It's close to 2:00 AM when we reach the intersection with Highway 2. Ed's slow and cautious through the turn even though there's no traffic and again he hangs just behind me and kind of off to one side. He says something not quite coherent like "watching your pedals turn helps me go. Is that OK with you?" "Yeah, Ed, that's fine," I reply and I'm thinking it's a damn good thing we're nearly to Leavenworth.
The control point in Leavenworth is the Alpen Inn and neither of us know exactly where it is. We figure it's got to be on the main road but every building in Leavenworth is constructed in this faux-Bavarian style and everything looks like a motel. And of course there are lots of motels because Leavenworth is a tourist town. So we're looking at motels that look like motels, insurance agencies that look like motels, Dairy Queens that look like motels, gas stations that look like motels, and so on. Eventually we see a motel that looks like a motel and it has the SIR sandwich board in front of it and a sign that proclaims it to be the Alpen Inn. Ed's now in better shape than I am, remembering the room number where we are supposed to check in. I've realized that I'm starving and I'm hoping they've stocked this control with food.
We check in at 2:22 AM and Anne Marie signs our cards. We're now at the 412 kilometer point and the really great thing is that they have Mexican food here. I'm much more interested in the refried beans and rice than I am in sleeping but Ed's going off to one of the other rooms to sleep. "Are you going to sleep?" Anne Marie asks me but I shake my head. "Nah, I don't think so. This is only a 600K." "You know," she says, "Ken Carter said that I should wake him when you go." Ken's a really strong rider and even though brevets aren't races, we each kind of goad the other along. On last year's 600K, I'd timed my sleeping break so I'd finish close to the same time as him, since I was getting a ride back home with him at the end of the ride and I didn't want to hold him up. But I guess Ken kind of viewed that as my sneaking by him in the night. And in a way I guess it was. But on the 2000 600K Ken had waited to see how long I was going to sleep before deciding how long he'd sleep. So it's kind of a long tradition with us to see who can get across the line first. This year I'm feeling fine, so I go with the Longfellow strategy:
"The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night"
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-82)
"I'm not going to wake him," Anne Marie declares. "I really can't wake him without disturbing the others. He'll get up when he's ready." "Has anybody pushed on through?" I ask. "No," she replies "there are only four or five people who came in ahead of you and they're all sleeping. Well, Stan Reynolds said he wasn't sure if he could sleep, but I think he's sleeping."
I eat some more food and top off my bottles, one with water and the other with a Dr. Pepper/Sprite mixture. This goes in on top of what's left of the Pepsi so the combination is a bit unusual. I also find out from Anne Marie that various folks have already DNF'd. With the wind and the cold I'm not surprised, although I am surprised to hear that Mark Vande Kamp has quit. But I don't stick around to mull this over and at 2:45 AM, I'm back on the road.
The ride up the Tumwater canyon is wonderful. The night is clear and cool and most importantly still. There's really no wind and no traffic. The river is rumbling along while I climb the gentle grade up toward Nason Creek.
The time right before dawn is the worst time for staying awake. I'm out of Goop now so I munch a caffienated Clif Bar. It's 4:22 AM when I pull into the Nason Creek Rest Area. I make a quick stop here to go to the bathroom and fill up my bottles. There's a Coke machine here, so I add the contents of a Coke bottle to what's left of my Pepsi/Dr. Pepper/Sprite mixture. I lay down on a picnic table bench to see if I'm tired enough to nap. I've found this is a good technique to get through the pre-dawn period; either I wind up sleeping for ten minutes or my body shifts gears and says "wait, I guess I'm not as tired as I thought I was." If I'm tired enough, I'll nap even if it's cold.
It turns out I'm not that tired and after about a minute, I get up. It's getting light and I've got a feeling that Ken or Stan are probably not too far behind me. Also, the earlier I cross Stevens Pass, the lighter the traffic will be. I roll out of the rest area at 4:30 AM.
It's a nice climb up Stevens Pass. As I'd figured, there's almost no traffic and there's also very little wind. I know that later it will probably be very windy as the earth warms and the anabatic winds develop, so this really is a good time to be crossing the Pass. Partway up, I see a small pocket knife on the roadside and I stop and put it in my pocket. Over the years I've found at least half a dozen knives, a similar number of wrenches and other miscellaneous tools that I presume have been left on road shoulders by absent-minded roadside mechanics. I usually pick these items up but I'm enough of a weight-weenie that if the item looks really heavy and I'm on a big climb, I'll pass it by. But today's knife is one of those little single-bladed folding knives with a belt clip so I figure it's worth grabbing. I find a lot of these kind of knives and have formed the theory that the belt clips on them are not to be trusted.
It's quite cold as I cross the pass but the sun is climbing higher as I descend. At 7:15 AM, I'm at the Chevron station in Skykomish and it's warmed up to about 45 degrees. This is the 494 kilometer checkpoint. I buy a cup of coffee and a couple of cookies and have the gas station attendant sign my control card. At 7:20 AM, I'm back on the road.
The sunday morning traffic is starting to build on Highway 2 as I roll into the town of Gold Bar. I'm getting hungry again so I stop at a convenience store and microwave myself a breakfast burrito. I make this a quick stop and then roll on.
The town of Start Up has to be the broken glass capitol of western Washington state. A few weeks ago Mark Thomas had a couple of flat tires here on our 400K ride and this morning it was my turn. Despite my fairly diligent glass dodging I feel my rear tire go soft and I pull over.
The chunk of glass is big and pointy and easy to dig out of the tire. I'm pretty quick at changing the tube, but I keep expecting to see Ken or Stan come blasting by at any second. I pump the tire up to full pressure, carefully stow my tools, and pack the tube away for later patching. Still no sign of Stan or Ken. I roll on.
At Sultan I turn off the busy highway and onto a quiet side-road which joins up with the Ben Howard Road. I used to think the Ben Howard Road was hilly but this morning it just seems great. The spare tube I'd put in Eddy's rear tire was definitely lighter than the one it replaced and I don't know if it was the now lighter wheel or the burrito kicking in or my second wind or what, but I feel great. Eddy and I fly up and over each of the lumpy bits of the Ben Howard Road and soon we're turning onto SR-203.
We turn onto Tualco Road and roll on. I see another rider coming towards me and as we pass each other he yells out "Hey Kent!". It's Alex Taylor, another member of SIR. He's not riding the 600K today, but is probably riding back along the course to see riders as they come in. The clock is still running for me and at the rate I'm going now I barely have time to recognize him and yell out "Hey Alex!" as we pass. Since Alex is in his seventies, I don't think he's going to swing around and chase me down to chat, but I look back anyway. He's continuing on his way and I continue on mine.
I'm definitely on my home turf now. Eddy and I roll down the Snoqualmie Valley, turn at the red barn, go past the big Carnation Farm, over the hill and into the town of Carnation. I pull into Sandy's Espresso at 11:17 AM. This is the 580 kilometer control point. I'm almost certain that I'm the first rider here, but ever since Nason Creek I've had a bit of a doubt. Ken or Stan could've slipped by me while I took my ten minute break there, or maybe when I was microwaving that burrito back in Gold Bar. It's just the kind of sneaky thing I would do, so I sure wouldn't put it past either of them. So it's very reassuring when I present my card to the espresso girl for her signature and she says "what's this?" "It's kind of like a road rally, but for bikes." I tell her, "If you can just put your signature and the time in the little box, it proves I was here." She seems to think this is cool. "They'll be more riders coming through soon," I tell her. "Nobody else has been here with a card like this?" "Nope," she replies, "you must be the first." I buy an orange juice and a couple of ginger biscottis, eat quickly and head back down the road.
The route now doubles back on itself. I'm past Carnation Farm and I've just turned onto 284th when I see Stan Reynolds. We wave as we pass each other. I continue on the backtrack up the Snoqualmie Valley Road, but I don't see an other riders. At Novelty Hill, I turn left.
Novelty Hill is a stupid hill. About once every two years I climb it and that's enough to remind me why I usually avoid going up it. It's a 15% climb with virtually no shoulder and really heavy traffic. It's now close to noon on a Sunday and the cars are whizzing up the hill. I'm inching up the hill and there's no room to zig-zag to effectively lessen the grade. As was mentioned in the pre-ride briefing, while Novelty Hill is steep, at least it's a a quick walk. I walk the steepest part of it.
After the steep part, Novelty settles into a more sane ten percentish section and that's no problem to ride. Then things really flatten out and Eddy and I are flying again, over the top of Novelty Hill and down the other side into Redmond.
The final navigation is tricky, with lots of turns and hills and Redmond traffic but at 12:45 PM I'm back at Mark Thomas's house. Chris takes a break from the preparation of what looks like a ton of food to sign my card. I'm officially the first one in. A couple of the other guys are here, but they'd DNFd and had either been SAG'd in or found their way back some other way.
I eat and drink and chat. Chris offers to give me a ride home, but of course I decline; it's only another 26 kilometers to my house.
Wayne shows up and congratulates me on my ride. He and Anne Marie and the others have just done a super job of support. In addition to the great job with the food and the almost flawless route sheet they did an amazing job of keeping track of each rider. I do have one question for Wayne, however. "What were you thinking with Novelty Hill and all that twisty, hilly navigation at the end? You could've just taken us up over Union Hill and back via 202. It would've been a lot cleaner." "Yeah," Wayne replies, "We could've done that, but we didn't want Kent Peterson saying the course was too easy!"
Stan Reynolds comes in at 1:20 PM and he tells me that he saw Ken Carter at about the same place Stan and I crossed paths. Stan also confesses to walking part of Novelty Hill.
At 1:30 PM I leave for home. The wind is from the north now and Eddy and I are headed south. It's a fast ride.
Over the course of the next couple of days, I get some details from other riders. Ken Carter slept for three hours in Leavenworth and was the first rider to ride the entire course. He didn't walk any part of Novelty Hill. Many other riders did, however. Ken tells me that even if Anne Marie had woken him, he wouldn't have gotten up. Without booties, he would've suffered in the cold on Stevens Pass.
My friend Ken Krichman was the last rider to finish. Ken finished with failing lights, a weaving bike and 15 minutes to spare to make the 40 hour time limit. Ken rides a Gold Rush recumbent and he describes the walk of Novelty Hill as being pretty harrowing. He also tells me he encountered terrible winds and traffic on Stevens Pass. Ken and I were also both amazed at how much the other had each seen of Wayne on this ride. I was near the front pretty much the whole time while Ken was near the back yet somehow Wayne with his roving support was always where he was needed.
Mark Vande Kamp quit in Ellensburg. He told me he "just wasn't having any fun and really didn't want to be on his bike." I think a lot of people could relate to that sentiment.
Orin Eman had his bike computer go out on the climb up Stevens Pass, but he'd logged nearly 16,000 feet of climbing up until then. Extropolating from Orin's data, there was at least 17,500 feet of climbing on this ride (maybe more). However everybody agrees the big challenge wasn't the climbs, it was the wind. We fought the wind in the Yakima Valley for 63 kilometers.
|SIR 2002 600 km Results - June 1 - 2, 2002|