Saturday, June 8, 2013

Check off Flying Wheels 2013 from our list

Team Mangs getting ready at the start line
Traditionally, Cascade Bicycle Club's Flying Wheels Classic has been the benchmark used by locals to measure their training progress in preparation for the Seatttle to Portland ride.  Conventional wisdom states that if you can complete the 65 mile loop within a reasonable amount of time (i.e.less than 6 hours), you should be ready for the 2 day STP ride.  Completing the 100 mile loop within 8 hours means you're ready for the 1 day STP.  The FW ride is considered more challenging than the STP in terms of elevation gain per mile so as long as you keep in shape during the month of June, you shouldn't have any problem with STP.
Team Aling Veronica with her guards :)
Since the start of the year, most of the Mangers have set their sites on doing STP in one day. So completion of the FW ride was a milestone. Although some Mangers had been training at a higher level during the year to do the Death Ride in California (and have already done a century ride or two), for most of the Mangers, this was their first time to complete a 100 mile ride (approximately) during the year. And for others, it was their first time in their life.

Team Mangs at the Monroe stop (mile 55)

The day was without incident for the team, although some controversy brewed up for the cycling community as a whole because of complaints from Carnation residents of rude and lawless behavior of a minority of riders, exacerbated by the fact that their local government also hosted the Survivor Mud Run on the same day.  For the tiny town of Carnation, all this inconvenience from non-local folks on their roads delaying them from their local driving destinations was a bit too much.  We'll be hearing more about this controversy soon as Cascade defends the rights of cyclists to be on the road against citizens who just want the road to themselves.

The ride itself was enjoyable.  From the starting line, the atmosphere was festive as riders and teams from everywhere were represented.  Team Mangs' cousin teams Grupetto, H2Velo, LAFBL and Trangko were all there. Everyone was on the starting line at 8 AM. After the first 2 hills, views of the Snoqualmie valley on a partly sunny day were perfect.  Lots of shade on the climbs and when you were out on the open, the sun wasn't bearing down as hot as it could on typical summer days.  The absence of any precipitation also contributed to a safe ride with so far, no reports of major crashes or injuries from the biggest Flying Wheels event to date (over 3,800 registered riders).

Team Mangs taking a break at the Carnation stop (mile 74)
The orange train grew long, even after a regroup at the top of the first hill climb.  Although we call ourselves a team, we are all at different skill and endurance levels and with different riding goals.  Some of us rode like we were trying to break our own records, maintaining speeds of over 20 mph throughout the ride.  Others just took it leisurely with the crowd and hammered when there were opportunities. There were those who drafted and paced with other teams to get some speed and save some sweat. Others were just happy to finish at all.  It's all good.  In the end, we all got to the finish line and checked off another ride on our training checklist.  Nobody abandoned.  And as with any ride we participate in, there's never a lack of new people to meet and make plans to ride with in the future.  That's what Team Mang is all about anyway - we don't grow through contracts, auditions or tryouts - we simply make friends and have fun riding our bikes and invite others to ride and have fun.  Like they say in some communities, the first time we ride together, we're just co-cyclists.  The next time, we're Mangs and Alings.
Some of the Mangs and Alings couldn't resist
posing at the finish line

As usual, the ride never really ends at the finish line and this time around, AYCE restaurant Haiku at the Redmond Town Square hosted the Team Mang re-calorization activities.  Seems like we gained back everything we lost that day. Oh well.

Ready for STP? Team Mang and Team Aling are raring to go!  A few more weeks to the starting line.