Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 21 Desert River Randonneurs 400km

Special thanks to Paul for organizing another great ride, the route was scenic, rural and easy to navigate!   Very special thanks to Cathy for volunteering and staffing the controls!!

I was up at about 4:30am ate 2 big muffins and had some Power-aid before heading to the starting point for a 5:30am check in.  The ride started out at 6am all the riders about 9 or 10 of us were in good spirits and the weather was very nice, slightly overcast and cool.   The first control was only 30 miles away in Prosser though it was a steady uphill grade into 15-20 mph head winds the whole way.   I averaged 14.75mph.  Along the way I rode with a new guy on a New old school bike with down tube shifters and a simplex rear derailleur.   Also passed by the Madcatr’s house, it was funny last time I was out here to see him I thought it would be a great place to bike!    At the Prosser Conoco I had a V8 and topped off my Gatorade.
The next control was the Safeway in Toppenish 31 miles away.  The route was only a few turns and a 25 mile stretch along a rural route.  About half way there my back really started to hurt and I stopped for some Advil.  At this point I was riding with a guy from Texas and we traded off drafting for a bit.  Once my back started hurting I couldn’t keep up and he slowly pulled away, I caught up with him again at the Toppenish but after that never saw him again.     At the Safeway Cathy was waiting with water and pain pills, she gave me a few Aleve and that took care of me for the rest of the day.    Refueling here consisted of a California Dreaming sandwich, Dorito’s and large Snapple ice tea. After I ate everyone else had already moved on so I headed out again.  My average speed dropped down to 13mph.

The next control was in Wiley and 25 miles away.  Again a fairly easy route to get there, basically up north track road to Yakima then west to Wiley.  Along the way there was a construction detour in a little town.  I turned off to follow the detour and was chased by a group of dogs, they were kind of lazy though and I easily pulled away from them.   The detour route wasn’t well marked so of course I got off track.  Ended up making a wrong turn which cost me about 5 extra miles.   Thankfully the VZ navigator on my phone worked and I was able to see a map of where I was and where I messed up.  Retracing my steps I returned to where I got off course and was able to pick up North Track Rd again.  At about this time it started sprinkling but not too heavy.  Awhile later I rolled in to Yakima and it really started to rain, I thought of putting on my pants but decided not to.    The ride out to the Willey control took longer than I expected and so I stopped again about 7 miles later to check my phone map.  I was still on course and made it to the control.  36miles, 2.6hrs, my speed dropped to 11.4 mph.    Still I caught up with a few other people at the control.   Ate a grandma’s cookie, a V-8 and some Gatorade.
After Willey the route headed pretty much due north to Ellensburg. By now it had really started to rain and I put on my rain pants.   Along the way it passed over the Yakima river which was really nice though very swollen.    After passing through Selah the route followed the Yakima River Canyon, which was incredible scenic, though there was pretty good head winds  and it seemed like it was all up hill. 

 Basically because it was!   See diagram D1.   About 4 miles into the canyon I stopped and had a PB&H but that didn’t help much.  I need to find a new on the road power food.  My the time I got to Ellensburg I was spent and was barely rolled into town.  47 miles ~ 11.7mph.
Diagram D1
At Ellensburg I found several other riders Including Theo and another guy eating in the Safeway.  Of course Cathy was there with water and to sign our control cards.    I got a double meat California Dreaming sandwich, a large ice team and a sticky bun, forgot to buy chips.    Theo and the other guy took off and were heading down the road before I finished eating. 

Leaving Ellensburg I was feeling great,   I zipped down the main street keeping up with traffic at 25-30 mph.   The route back through the canyon was pretty much all downhill except for the 3 climbs in the canyon.   Along the way I passed Susan and Paul coming in as well as one other guy.  It was nice to see and wave to them as we passed.    I kept up my pace and the miles flew by, of course until I hit the hills and then slowed to climb them.   Through the canyon I could see another rider in front of me, I didn’t know who it was and wasn’t trying to catch him, though I would gain ground on the flats only to lose it on the climbs.   Riding in the canyon in the evening was very nice, the winds were light though since the weather changed it was back to a head wind.
Rolling back into Yakima and down 1st street I could see the rider ahead of me again a few lights up.  I was still feeling pretty good and managed to catch him at the corner of Nob Hill.  Turned out to be Theo who weighs about buck nothing hence why he kept pulling away from me in the canyon. Turns out he had a flat which is probably why I caught up to him.  Anyway we started chatting and rode on to the next control.   I ate another muffin and got some more Gatorade.  A homeless seeming guy was checking out my bike, thankfully Theo was there to watch it for me while I used the rest room.    40 miles, 13.7mph.
Nice building in Yakima

For the rest of the ride Theo and I rode together which was really nice given it was getting dark and the conversation and companionship helped to pass the time.  We couldn’t figure out what happened to the other guy from Ellensburg, I never saw him, we just figured he was ahead of us still.
The ride to Zilla was really nice, 20 miles, 15 mph.  It was really nice in that Theo is great at reading the cue sheet and I pretty much stopped reading my all together and just went off his comments and the map in my head for the rest of the ride.  At the control I asked the guy if he had seen any other riders, he had not, so apparently Theo and I were out in front.
The next control was Prosser 29.3 miles, 13 mph average 2.25 hours.  Prosser took forever to get to.  Finally arrived there and hit McDonalds.  I had a quarter pounder with cheese fries and a Coke.  Theo got some fries. 
30 miles to the end!!  We were at Prosser just before midnight and had only 9am to finish the ride.  It was quite tempting to find a hotel and go to sleep for a few hours before finishing up the ride in the morning.  But we pushed on. 
The Final push back to Richland wasn’t too bad; it basically consisted of the OIE and Kennedy roads, split in two by Benton City.  Theo was on it with the cue sheet and navigated us back without issue.  We almost missed on turn on the OIE but I remembered seeing some train engines in the morning and knew we had to turn around. 
Overall we finished with a time of 19 hours 58 minutes.  I had about 17.75 hours of total ride time.  Total distance I rode was about 256 miles and average speed was 14.4 mph

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