Saturday, July 23, 2016

Another day, another trip to Portland

Some of the Mangs at Centralia (mile 100) after lunch
July 16, 2016 - The weather for this particular Saturday turned out to be one of the best in all of the times the team has done the Seattle to Portland Ride.  While we got rained on last year, and got too much heat the year before, this year's riding climate proved to be the most ideal. Temperatures started out really cool and never really jumped over 75 even when we reached Portland.  Most of the day was cloudy and we even got a hint of drizzle but nothing materialized.  The sun eventually came out later in the afternoon but not to beat us down with grueling heat - it was more to allow us to enjoy the last 30 or so miles of the ride.
Mangs (with 1 Aling) have been starting out from all sorts of locations - mainly to avoid having to get to UW at 4AM and ride through the dark and dangerous streets of Montlake and Madrona. So this year was no different with just a few actually braving the first 25 miles of the actual course.  Many of us rode from our homes, added a few miles and then headed towards the Kent REI stop (mile 25) to meet up with everyone.  We all left Kent around 6 AM.
This year, the Mangs decided to keep the pace easy but minimize...really minimize...the time we spend at the breaks.  Still, speeds reached up to 28 mph cruising down West Valley Highway.  After Puyallup, things slowed down a bit and the more regular pace of around 20-21 was routine. although temperatures were ideal, nobody said anything about the wind!  The ride from Yelm to Tenino proved to be draining for some as we battled with headwinds on the highway.
Met some new friends from Boise, ID
and our lone Team Aling rider, Medlyn,
at the Vader stop (mile 126)
We reached Centralia around 10:45 AM, quickly had lunch (thanks to our awesome support crew) and headed out within 20 minutes.  Most of the crew stayed together up to Napavine but the fun really started as everyone got into racing fun mode on those 15 miles of rollers going to Vader - catching fast trains, attacking small hills, and so on - knowing there was a major stop at Vader.  After Vader, we started taking it a little easier but the trip to Lexington broke the train into more chunks - rolling hills really do zap your energy.
By the time we left Lexington and crossed the Longview bridge into Oregon, we had broken into at least 4 groups as some opted to take more breaks and others started feeling the fatigue of the day start to creep in. Regardless, all but a few of the Mangs regrouped at the St. Helen stop and agreed that we would take it really easy over the last 25 miles.
Most of the Mangs at the finish line
Relaxed is a relative term, of course - and indeed the train still got split up into several groups as we approached the city.  We reached its limits by 6:15 PM.  Thanks to the Glympse app, we were able to inform our "fans" of exactly where we were in the city and what time we would cross the finish line.  The fastest group (the folks we never saw again after Kent REI) crossed at around 6 PM. Most everyone else finished between 6:30 - 6:55 and the last group came in before 8 PM.  The very last Mang who had run into some difficulty with fatigue and bonk, still managed to make it and finish around 9:30 PM.
As usual, having fun at the park the morning after
When you look at the Strava animations, you realize that our breaks averaged about 8 minutes, with the longest being the one in Centralia - which was around 20 minutes, and the one in Lexington just a little less than that.  It goes to show how much time you can save when you do a more disciplined approach to rest stops without having to exhaust yourselves at hammering throughout the course.
All in all, another fun ride for the Mangs and our lone Aling representative.  Some of us have said we're not doing this again next year - riding 200 miles in one day on non-scenic routes is getting old...but that's what most of us said last year, too...and here we are again.
So, we'll see you next year?  I guess it's a "Yaybe".
Mangs are now one of the most recognizable teams
in Cascade Bicycle Club's events - hoping to keep promoting
positivity and fun in Seattle cycling.
Here's the Video summary!