Saturday, August 17, 2013

Let's take an easy ride to Vancouver, BC!

A few of the Team Mangs (and Aling) stop and take in the moment
near the end of the RSVP 190 mile ride
After doing the 204 mile ride to Portland just a few weeks ago, many of us felt the pressure of having to ride hard and fast lifted from our shoulders.  The 190 mile Ride from Seattle to Vancouver (and Party) was going to be a relaxed ride where we would take our time, take in the scenery and enjoy the company.  Day 1 started out as planned.  Pushing out from UW under cloudy skies, most of us hung back, going about 18-20 mph at the most and only speeding up when we hit the downhills.  Mang Kiko, riding with us for the first time on his first organized ride, experienced his first flat which caused a bit of a delay on the way to Machias - the first official stop.  Still, the typical banter and joking around was ever present, thanks to Mang Jay and Mang Harry.  The group came back together as the jackrabbits - the Roush tandem team, Mang Cris, Mang Roland with a few others - waited for us there.

Team Mangs at the Golden Ears bridge crossing the
Frasier River in BC - doing what they do best - posing!
We pushed off together from Machias but the train quickly expanded as some of us picked up speed on the Centennial trail while the others opted to stay relaxed.  There were at least 3 distinct groups pushing towards the 50 mile mark but the 2nd and 3rd group exchanged places as the trailing group missed the Arlington rest stop while the 2nd group patiently waited for them - still thinking there was another group behind them.  By the time we got to the second major climb of the first day approaching Mount Vernon, the temperatures had started to pick up and the orange train's elasticity grew.  The whole group would eventually come together at the Mount Vernon rest stop, around mile 75, where we made plans to stop for a snack in the town.

Some Mangers and Alings take in the view along
Chuckanut Drive near Bellngham
This has got to go down into our history books as one of the most memorable RSVP Day 1 adventures. The leading riders missed a turn and ended up continuing on towards downtown Mt. Vernon while the rest of us turned towards the town for lunch.  After adding another couple of miles of being lost, Mang Jojie led most of us to a "snack" at the Royal Star Buffet where we spent at least an hour relaxing and of course, refilling our energy stores with Chinese and Japanese fuel. $7.49 for buffet wasn't bad. After we were satisfied, this group powered through Mount Vernon's open fields and headwinds and rode up Chuckanut Drive together taking the customary pictures at the viewpoints.  We also took pictures at the pink lemonade stand in Bellingham where we congratulated the girl who was getting married (check out the RSVP files at Cascade for the backstory and history behind that famous pink lemonade RSVP stand - see the picture below).
The pink lemonade girl is
getting married!

Day 1's activities were capped by re-carboloading activities at the On Rice Thai Cuisine Restaurant and hanging around at the Hotel lobby with "coffee".

Long wait at the border to Canada
Day 2 was supposed to start at 7:30 AM but you know how it is - "Let's go!...Wait! Wait!..." seems to be our battle cry. Add to that an unexpected flat at mile 0 and we didn't get to push out until past 8 AM.  That didn't seem to be a problem as a whole lot of Mang and Trangko jack rabbits took turns leading the train averaging 22 mph towards Lynden chasing some sort of deadline.  All that rushing was for naught as the line at the border delayed all of us by almost two hours!  If you've done long rides before, you'll know that it actually gets more tiring to have to stop for so long with about 60 more miles to go.  Pictures at the border crossing were mandatory and we got ours!
A sea of orange at the border, eh!

The ride towards Vancouver created several orange groups as everyone rode at their own pace and gaps were made bigger by traffic lights and speed preferences.  Still, even though we were all separated into groups, we all managed to capture memories of our fun at the bridges, views, landmarks and interesting places along the way.  We rolled into the Coast Plaza Hotel a couple of hours later than last year - around 4:30 PM - to party with the rest of the cyclists. No rush. Our two day ride concluded with more recalorization efforts at the Richmond Night Market.

Congratulations to all Team Mangs and Team Alings for another fun filled and memorable ride to Canada!
Team Mang and friends at the Canadian border

Here's a video summary: