The Sound and the Fury – 100K

Summary: Route
65.2 miles, 4,800′ ascent, 6:55 elapsed time Since the cutoff was 6:30, I officially “did not finish.” But, I am happy I completed the route!

It’s been over a year since I’ve tried a randonneuring event. Since I also needed to get some quality saddle time in for September’s Cycle Oregon, I’d penciled out Saturday to do SIR‘s “The Sound and the Fury” populaire. I didn’t spend time looking at the route before riding it, but I have fond memories of earlier years’ benign route starting in Olympia. Ride start was at the Duwamish Waterway Park, a few blocks from what some call the Worst Bridge in Washington.

One of the worst bridges in Washington

What initially surprised me about the route was the number of controls, but these were necessary to ensure the distance met the minimum threshold. There were three manned: West Seattle, Browns Point, and Loretta’s Northwesterner, the bar where people were going to congregate at the end. In addition, there was a secret control and three informational controls. They’d put a lot of time into laying this thing out!

The first control was northwest about 4.3 miles from the start. I didn’t catch the full briefing, but there was something wrong with the bike path we were supposed to take for part of the way, so we stuck with the road. For the most part, this was fine because we had a large enough group to command a full lane when necessary. This was a quick drop-off.

We looped southwest towards the Fauntleroy-Southworth Ferry terminal, making the first of three steep climbs. My general observations about biking up various gradients:

  • 0 – 6% — I will stay in my middle chainring and ride up at this rate for a long time. It’s like Cabbage Patch Hill in Pendleton.
  • 7 – 12% — If it’s a short or known grade (such as Black Nugget coming home), I will still do the middle chainring, but I better have a squeegee handy because I’ll be dripping with sweat. Otherwise, I drop down to the lowest ring.
  • 13-16% — I’m definitely in the lowest gear ratio.
  • 17-20% — Time to stop singing Neil Diamond songs out loud because I’m deep mouth-breathing.
  • 21+% — this is very problematic it’s at an angle such that I cannot use the handlebars for leverage because the front wheel wants to pop up. Very, very disconcerting!

Fortunately, this one was very brief and the road uncrowded.

At mile 8.6, there was an informational control. I had sorta guessed what this was going to be, so I didn’t plan on stopping to write it down. My spider sense was tingling: there was a gnarly hill coming up and that would probably mean “secret control.”

And lo a longer grade. This one had a regular stream of traffic distracting me from the pain:
Twenty Two Percent, baby!

The ride organizers were very very generous in pushing a bag of salted bag of peanuts. Mmmmmmm…. salt. At the top of the hill, and out of purview, I stopped a few minutes to let my heart rate get back down below 3,000.

I don’t remember that much about the next sections, though I apparently stopped to take pictures of Burien. So here they are:



Further south was what seemed to be a long stretch on 16th Avenue near Des Moines. I found it amusing that airplanes on final for Sea-Tac came in right over the road.

16th Ave S

The next section of the route was delightful, following relatively quiet roads that keep within a pretty view of the waterfront. This was my favorite part. My energy level picked up a bit as I looped around Dash Point on the way to the second official manned control point. The control “cutoff” time was 12:44, I’d made it in with ten minutes to spare. The folks assured me that there were no more 22% grades lurking ahead.

On the road down, I stopped briefly to pick up a geocache that was at an informational kiosk overlooking the water. The view was definitely worth it.
SE of Brown's Point

Near the Hylebos Waterway, I pulled over to take photos of a cool bridge on a blocked-off road, bridge still up. Just as I whipped open my bag to grab my camera, the Canine Overseer came out to have a “chat” with me, effectively blocking my exit. I wasn’t sure how aggressive the dog was going to be, but I had to get past it (again) to get back on the road. As I’m riding to the hole in the concrete barriers, the dog starts closing in and barking louder. Finally, it gets close enough to lunge so I use skills from five years of living in Texas and spray a mouthful of aerated Gatorade right on target. It looked… sadly stunned and stopped immediately. Ohhh… it just wanted to play.

The route finally turned back north up Norpoint Way, my least favorite part of the route: it’s uphill, there’s a lot of traffic, and the sun just melts any residual sunscreen off. It’s such an unpleasant contrast to Dash Point.

Finally, I was back in some residential areas, and that always means Yard Art! Exhibit 1 is an enthusiastic display of patriotic decoration before our nation’s birthday, July 4th. You got it a card, I hope!


Exhibit 2 is … ???
Yard art

I’d been working the math for the last few miles: I could probably finish in the allotted time, or, I could reduce my current level of misery by stopping at Safeway for some food and finish with some enthusiasm left for cycling. I chose the latter. Never has a fully cooked meat stick tasted so good – I’m sure I was way down on my salt intake. I was pretty cooked from all the climbing earlier, but I was feeling better about the rest of the route. After checking in with one of the organizers at Loretta’s, I went back to my car and called it a great day.

65.2 miles, 4,800′ ascent, 6:55 elapsed time Since the cutoff was 6:30, I officially “did not finish.” But, I am happy I completed the route!

* 2.2 gallons of fluids (Gatorade, water, Pepsi) consumed
* 3 bananas
* Handful of pretzels
* Box of Red Hots
* 1 fully-cooked meat stick (Pepperoni-flavored)
* 2 Clif shots (blackberry, lemon-lime)
* Small bag of peanuts
* Rice Krispie Treat

Another geocache I found – but could not open:

3 thoughts on “The Sound and the Fury – 100K”

  1. I think I’ve been on the first 22%’er. As I recall, I was standing, head down staring at my front tire, trying to maintain any semblance of motion. I ended up running into the back of a parked car at my whopping pace of 3mph. No damage.

  2. Hey Jim!

    Congrats on finishing…those hills sound awful.

    My favorite thing is that you decided to maintain the enthusiasm for cycling by calling finishing the course the same thing as finishing. Heck yes!

    Sounds like a ride done right!

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