29 May 2010

Flat and Fairly Fast 400 km

Finally getting around to writing a bit about the 400 km on May 15th! It was one of those really fabulous spring days, warmish with a hazy sun above and lots of very anxious randonneurs at the ferry terminal in Bremerton. We got a bit of a late start and everyone rolled off quickly. Poor Peter Liekkio had a flat right after exiting Hwy 3 and Wayne shot past the exit completely and had to climb over the barrier to get back.

I quickly settled into a great conversation with Mike Huber and we rolled through the first few km on our way to Shelton. He eased back and I took my usual solo jaunt. Near McCleary I got pulled into a paceline with a few folks who were attempting a rather stringent paceline routine...it was pretty functional, but these sorts of things are never quite smooth enough and required too much attention from me. When we hit the Cosmopolis control I made a quick exit and promptly overshot the first turn - I've done the route before and knew where it was, but the brain just sputtered.

Heading to the coast we took some of my favorite roads paralleling Hwy 12 and eventually made it to the Westhaven State Park control where I had a big sandwich and had to battle cars and chemically altered surfers both in and out. The next leg to Raymond is really sweet and takes me along the coast which was pleasantly calm with only some headwinds. It felt really good to be riding!

In Raymond I somehow mis-read the cue where it said "US 101 and Heath St" and proceeded to take a left and up the climb to the top of the big hill - it was then I saw Mike Richeson and a few others who I knew were ahead of me and I had to go all the way back down and get my card signed in the right place. Back up the hill for a second time I barked at myself for being too scatter-brained, but then laughed it off as another lesson.

The tailwind from Raymond and on SR 107 to Potlach was fabulous and I gained back some of the time lost. Bill Dussler and a few others caught up with me and we hung together till just before Potlach when my quads just about burst. I've never had cramps quite that bad but the sustained 46-32 km pace for a few hours had burned them up. Wasn't sure how the last 60 km would be, so I foolishly let the gang head out before me as I finished a cup-o-soup, Coke and a couple ibuprofen. Surprisingly, when I got back on the bike I felt great and enjoyed a really splendid night ride back to Bremerton along the Hood Canal's great hook.

Cruised in at 18:03, only a few minutes past my goal, but still the fastest 400 km I'd done in 10 years. After chatting with Peter Beeson, Maggie and Eric and consuming a few slices of pizza I headed home and finally flopped into bed at 4AM. What a lovely day!

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