Sunday, June 29, 2014

Team Mang's Grand (walang) Fondo

The old Seattle Century route - minus 15, plus 15.
Team Mang started its informal fondo tradition two years ago and now on it's third year, we're right on schedule. Two weeks before the STP, we embark on a century-plus ride to cement our preparations for the One-Day STP.   This year, we tackled the original Seattle Century route - rolling out from Renton towards Woodinville, following the Burke-Gilman Trail towards Redmond, up towards Woodinville, Duvall, Carnation and back through Issaquah and Mercer Island through the I-90 trail.  We skipped the Snoqualmie Falls in and out climb due to weather and safety concerns (cutting 15 miles) and opted out of the mileage-adding reverse Mercer Loop (around 9 miles) - choosing instead to just cut through the island.  Still, we were able to complete exactly 100 miles with an elevation climb of over 4,000 feet.
The Novelty Hill climb
The forecast was for 30% chance of rain so it wasn't surprising to be riding in cloudy and wet conditions most of the time.  We had a minor mishap about halfway through the ride when Mang Amor crashed due to slippery roads.  We're thankful that it was only a few bruises and road rash and he'll still be okay for the STP.  Rains actually caught up with us while we were leaving Duvall and it was a wet slog down to Carnation. Fortunately, rains around this time are not as cold and don't cause frozen toes like it does in the Spring.
Mang Jed waited for us at the local Starbucks, bringing some recovery siopao and water. The team took some time there just to let the rains die down.  Thankfully, most of the wet stuff was done within a few minutes.
Most everyone finished the ride with no incident.  We even picked up a strong lone rider - Tony - who hooked up with us somewhere in Redmond and decided to ride with us all the way through the loop back to Seattle.  A few riders peeled off at the eastern end of Mercer island, shaving off about 4 to 5 miles from the total ride.
At the Starbucks in Duvall taking a break.
So that's it! The Team's STP Training series actually concludes with this ride.  From here on and after the STP, we're just riding for maintenance and fun, hoping that we're all in shape for the upcoming summer rides like the RSVP, the Whistler Grand Fondo, the Kitsap Classic and everything else.  Thanks to everyone who participated, helped out, planned rides and provided support from the start of our series in February. It's been a bit grueling, having to train every Saturday, giving up those opportunities to sleep-in or just relax on the weekends. But the 1-day STP is not a ride in the park so it does require dedication, commitment and some amount of sacrifice. And the team was willing to answer the call - we'll see how it all turns out on July 12th.  Good luck to everyone and we'll see you all in Portland!