Saras Southend Saunter: Redmond to Tiger Mountain

Sara’s Southend Saunter: Renton to Tiger Mountain was my first ride since Chilly Hilly in February, and it certainly felt like it. Sara does rides twice weekly, all listed as “Social,” or 12-14mph. Her husband, Tom, occasionally joins, and “sweeps,” meaning he rides in the rear and makes sure everyone finishes.

I wasn’t riding very well — I admit — and he stopped a few times, usually while I was trying to rip open a Clif bar. About 10 miles into the ride, he started asking a bunch of questions about my previous riding habits. Eventually, he let on that he was working sweep, which is pretty unusual for a club ride as they tend to be every gearhead for himself, with occasional regrouping.

I could tell that I was annoying him that I was riding at the low end of the “social” scale. I had no expectation of him waiting for me and absolved him (complete with the cross-gesture) of having to slow up for me. He was somewhat stubborn about this, gently lecturing me on knowing my capabilities, that I’d be pretty tired, etc. I was tired, and definitely wanted to get more tired as a way to blow off work-related stress. (One doesn’t undertake a long ride unless he wants to get tired, right?)

So finally, someone had a flat tire and he stopped for them while waving me on. We were both glad.

The hilly parts of the ride started at mile 24. Any other day, they wouldn’t be too bad. However, I wasn’t riding well, and felt pretty worn out by mile 20. Still, the discussion with Tom had the reverse effect, instead motivating me to plod through the ride and rain. I was really dragging and chopped off the last 15 miles.

This was definitely my hardest of the year, more so than Chilly Hilly (which was 20 miles shorter, but 1400′ more elevation gain). I was pretty sore afterwards and needed to take ibuprofen for the next couple of days until my muscles unwound.

55.4 miles, 4,600 calories, 1,400′ elevation gain.

The Gore-Tex cycling jacket I bought last year rocks. The nashbar shorts, however, totally suck for a long ride. Maybe I’m getting old…