Thursday, June 30, 2016

The season's in full swing...

June was in full swing and Mangs and Alings were all over the roads, participating in several events in the month of June.
Mangs at Snoqualmie

Cascade Bicycle Club's Flying Wheels Classic happened on 6/4 and as usual, Mangs flooded the event at all  skill levels spreading their joy all over the eastern side.  Most Mangs did the 104 mile ride, finishing anywhere from 7 to 8 hours, with one, Mang Blake, even finishing within a record 5.5 hours!  We didn't all start at the same time because of traffic problems getting to the start line - but we eventually regrouped around mile 15 to 30 after several flats and long breaks allowed late starters to catch up.  At that point, the fast ones went ahead.  The rest of us practiced pacelining at 20 mph on the way to Snoqualmie Falls and North Bend, creating such a long train that even though everyone got a chance to pull in front, the rest periods between turns was extremely long conserving everyone's strength.  It was one of those unusually hot days, with temperatures easily going over the mid 90's, so the train grew even longer towards the last 20 miles as we made our final approach from May Valley through Factoria.  As usual, the laughter, joking, encouraging and storytelling abounded for another fun day on our bikes in the sun. 

Mangs and friends at Mount Rainier training
On the same day, a few Mangs opted to skip the CBC event and instead cycled up and down the roads around Mount Rainier to get more training on their climbing and descending skills.  Friends from other teams joined in on the fun with Mang Ed providing valuable support for a more challenging ride up and down the mountain roads.

At the starting line
The other major event that Mangs participated in was the Chelan Century Challenge in beautiful Chelan county in Eastern Washington.  This event just keeps getting more exciting every year as  more and more Mangs and Alings take up the challenge.  This year's challenge had several first timers enjoy the splendor of the Manson area's orchards and vineyards in Loop 1.  Together with its spectacular views, the first loop offered an optional 3 mile climb (of which several did by mistake - they didn't notice the sign that said 'Optional'...good for them, though, more elevation gains), scenic climbs, technical descents and an exciting 8 mile lakeside straightaway back to the starting line. Weather was perfect!
Some of the Mangs just had to take a selfie at the
Summit mileage/elevation marker
The penultimate loop, Loop 2, challenged the team once again.  After about 45 miles on desert roads climbing, descending and pacelining along Highway 97, everyone had to go on their own pace answering the call of the revered McNeil Canyon - a 5 mile climb averaging 8 - 10% and concluding with 10 - 12% grades on the last 2 miles, just as your legs are crying for relief and the sun is beating down on you.  Fortunately, this year's temperatures weren't as high as last year's, reaching only the low 90's on the concrete.  Still, most have to stop along the way to bring their heart rate down and get some relief during the climb.  Only 1 failed to make it to the top (he completed it the next day, becoming the first ever Mang to do the McNeil Canyon climb in 2 days).  The lead riders completed the last loop, for an additional 2,500 ft of climbing over 20 miles,  ending at the campsite on the Western side of the lake while a few opted to take the short trip back to the campsite, skipping the climbs.  A small number skipped Loop 3 altogether choosing instead to relax for the rest of the afternoon.

More training is happening as the team gears up for another STP ride in the middle of July - their goals this year all revolve around breaking their own records.  I guess we'll see...stay tuned for next month's installment to find out.

Here are video summaries of the Flying wheels classic and Chelan Century's first two loops: