Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Team Mang's Big Ride Weekend of Suprises

Team Mang at the Flying Wheels start line
The turning of the months between May and June fell on an exact weekend this year.  As luck would have it, 2 major pre-summer rides were scheduled by the cycling community.  On May 31st, Cascade Bicycle Club's Flying Wheels Classic couldn't be missed.  The annual ride takes participants from Marymoor Park towards the east and north east of Seattle's suburbs - Redmond, Duvall, Snohomish, Monroe.  The day after, June 1, Tacoma Wheelmen's Bicycle Club held their classic Peninsula Century - a rolling hills ride that goes around the Gig Harbor/Port Orchard area starting and ending at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Both are rides that Team Mang joins annually as part of their training run up to STP.  Some Team Mangs chose to ride both events - with only Mang Cris being able to complete a double century (100 miles both days). Some did a century plus a metric while others only chose to ride one event.  Either way, Team Mang's presence was felt in both occasions. At the Flying Wheels, the announcer couldn't help but mention the team at the start line - looks like we're picking up a reputation for being the fun group!  At the Peninsula, we were visibly the biggest group of riders. And we stuck together most of the time!
Even in the midst of a flat, Mangers are having fun
and laughing...probably at themselves!

Surprises came in the form of reroutes on both rides.  While many of us have done Flying Wheels several times and are familiar with the 65 mile and even the 100 mile route, Cascade modified the routes this year to completely avoid the town of Carnation (probably due to the fiasco last year where residents didn't take too kindly to 3,000 cyclists clogging up their roads on the same day as a Mud Run).  The reroutes added a few more feet of elevation gain to both routes - putting riders into busier streets (highway 202).  Nevertheless, those that rode it had a blast.  Our 65 milers even made it to the finish line so fast that hardly anyone was at the finish line yet when they arrived. Century riders finished with the pack and everyone did pretty well - enjoying the sunny weather and the fellowship of other cyclists.  The beer garden at the end wasn't bad either!
The Peninsula ride started and ended at the
Tacoma Narrows bridge - which offered numerous
photo opportunities
On the Peninsula ride, the surprise came in the form of added hills - lots of it!  Those who contested this route in  previous years were caught by surprise at the amount of hills and not just the amount but the steepness.  It wasn't uncommon to crawl up grades of 17% to 23%...on the first half!  By the time the group reached the first rest stop at the Southworth Ferry terminal, some of us were seriously doubting whether we could actually complete the century. Just before the second stop, after 2 more surprise 17% hills, many of us decided to finish the metric instead of the English century instead. We decided we'd never make it to the finish line by 5PM if we continued.  So at the second rest stop, around mile 45, we parted ways with the 5 determined riders - 3 Mangs, 1 Aling and 1 H2Velo.  
We have to mention these guys -
H2Velo rode with us all the way
and we enjoyed their company!
All of us made it back to the finish - a total of 71 miles with over 5,600 feet of elevation gains. Even our friends from the green team who had done the 100 miler admitted to the difficulty of the course.  One of our team members had a severe mechanical and had to be picked up at mile 80 by the support vehicle. He vows to complete this challenge next year!  A couple of hours after the 71 milers arrived, riders who did the century started trickling in.  Our team members were the last ones on the course - coming in at exactly 5PM. Winded but coming away with a sense of accomplishment, 3 Team Mangs and 1 H2Velo rider were congratulated by those of us who stuck around even after the event organizers had closed shop.

Selfies on the bridge!
Here are the Garmin stats for the 71 milers: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/512126156.  The century riders did more than this - they put in over 8,000 feet of climbing - check them out in the picture below! 

Special credit to the 100 mile Peninsula
finishers who did 8,000 feet of climbing!
We're getting close to the highlight of our summer - the 1-day Seattle to Portland ride in the middle of July and we're building up to it.  A few more weeks of hard training with saddle time and hills and we should be ready for 204 miles.  

The next big ride for the team is our grand (no) fondo on the 28th.  Check back after that day for a recap.