A few weeks ago I signed up to the SIR email group, just to see what's going on with the Rando side of Riding in Seattle.
It was just an innocent email (I get in digest form) that sugessted a 200k ride from Pete's Coffee in Redmond to celebrate the Solstice, only thing was it started at 9pm! Mr Mark Thomas was suggesting an all night ride to celebrate the longest night of the year!!! He also required you leave common sense at home, I think that's what got me thinking. I spent a week going back and forth, that would be cool, noooo that is stupid....yes I'll do it, no I won't. Also there was the issue of work the next day as it was scheduled for a Sunday night.
Finally, on Saturday, I bit the bullet and decided it would be good "prep" for RAO in JULY!! (leave common sense at home!) I would do the ride until it was time to go to work then head for Bellevue and work 8 hrs with NO sleep, then ride home, hey I can be dummer than the best of them :-)
So, I left home at 7pm (after doing a 35 mile ride in the morning and a short nap after lunch) to be sure to be there in time to hand in paperwork, have a cup of coffee and see if anyone else was crazy enough to do this ride, with heavy rain in the forecast.
I brought both batteries and the charger for my Light and Motion Hi-Arc light, plus a bunch of hammer bars and Martha's Gluten free cookies, my fanny pack weighed a ton!
Much to my surprise there were 12 of us starting this insanity Dominique, Cecil, Geoff, Lyn, Vincent, Dan, Joe, Robin, Steve, Mike,Mark and I. Robin being the only one I had met before, I knew of Mark and Vincent from the Barlow 300k, and Chris Ragsdale had a lot of nice things to say about Mark, who crewed him to victory at The Furnace Creek 508 with Bob Brudvik. Everyone was friendly to me, being the outsider of the group, so that was nice.
We took off just after 9, and headed up Novelty Hill, where it started what was the first of many hour long downpours. Going down Novelty Hill to Snoqualmie Valley was a new experience! descending fast in the dark and pouring rain, but we all survived. I think there were 6 of us together at this stage, so we just rode a steady tempo. The first control was at what was Carnation Farm and was a question that I think only Joe knew what it was, it's too much trouble to take out your card with the question on it in the dark and rain.
After Carnation Robin cranked up the pace and by the time we hit Fall City it was just him and I, then riding up snoqualmie falls we tore the legs off each other, so called a truce and rode around the weyerhauser loop enjoying the night and chatting away, along with getting the wrong answer for the 2nd control question ;-)
We all regrouped at the QFC in North Bend, where Joe took some photos of the crazed bunch.
I was really cold starting back out, at 12.15am, and as we were riding back down to Fall City I had to go fast to warm up, so once again it soon was just Robin and me pounding each other up from Fall City to Issaquah, although I wondered why he didn't stay with me (as it was more likely he would ride away from me on the other climbs). I got to the top and he was nowhere in sight, so at maybe 2am I went back looking for him, I came upon the rest of the group and they said he had flatted and we would regroup in Issaquah.
Riding out there in the dark was so cool, and quite safe, compared to some of the daytime rides I've done. I was just thankful to have a group of people be there too, there is no way I would attempt this by myself, I'm too much of a wuss.
After regrouping in Issaquah we went in Newport Way, all the way to Coal Creek, and on Newport Robin, Vincent and I separated ourselves from the main group, we all got together again at the AM/PM on coal creek, where the clerk was a tad perturbed to be having to serve 12 loons on bikes at 4am in the pouring rain, he was more interested in getting the garbage collected. Newcastle cops showed up here too, asking if we were OK! I won't answer that one ;-)
Next was May Valley, Issaquah-Hobart, Cedar Grove, Lk Francis Rd and Maple Valley. Lyn had a flat and nobody heard her call out, (sorry Lyn) so we were a while waiting there. It was just after 5, I think when we started up the Cedar River trail to Renton and the west side of Lake Wa. I decided to try to make it to Starbucks in Leschi, as I was starting to feel sleepy and some Coffee and food might help with that.
We got to Starbucks just after 6, so I had to rush some food, bid farewell to my fellow insomniacs and head over I-90 to work. Man did I get dumped on!! had to ride as hard as I could too, to make it to work, which I did at about 7.15 just enough time to change and start at 7.30.
That was one hard day in work! Luckily my clothes had dried out from the 130 mile commute for the ride home and it was not raining, but I was not riding very fast and was starting to get sleepy again. I finally made it home at about 6.15pm and eat dinner, prepared for the next day at work and went to bed at 8pm.
It had been 37 hrs since I had woken up on Sunday morning, though I did have a 1 hr nap after lunch on Sunday, and I rode a total of 190 miles in that time.
Can I stay awake that long and ride 520 miles in July??? That's why I'm doing it!
Happy New Year to you all