My first big group ride, outside of my triathlon last year! 33 miles circumnavigating Bainbridge Island. 2,675 feet of climbing. Over 5,300 riders signed up, but only about 3,000 rode (I assume they were intimidated by the weather report calling for snow and rain...)This was its 40th Anniversary.
I feel so accomplished! I have a newfound confidence in my ability to 1) get up that f*#%ing hill, and 2) to finish the STP strong in July.
It started with catching the 8am bus to downtown. I couldn't find the free bus passes I stuffed in my little bike bag the night before, and I was late. Luckily, even for early Sunday routes, you can almost always count on King County Metro to be running behind a bit. I was flustered, I forgot how to operate the bike rack on the bus, so that was embarrassing, and also I couldn't pay, but I think the lady just wanted to get moving and didn't care too much.
I hopped the 8:45am ferry to Bainbridge, along with hundreds of other riders. I was SO excited, and was very inspired to see so many bikes taking over the ferry. It was really cool! And so funny to see all the neon bike gear in the passenger area. So so much fun. If you're a photographer, I'd encourage you to just ride the ferry this day and get cool shots. I wanted to take more, but had to think about the ride ahead.
33 miles is the longest I've ridden yet. I took a 20 minute food break at mile 16, at the chili feed halfway-point. Let me tell you, I needed FUEL. The stop was right after the 2nd of 4 very long hills. Scarfed a hotdog, chips and cupcake at the park. This is when it started to snow. While riding, I was plenty warm. I had on 4 layers on top, just spandex bike pants on the bottom. My body temp plummeted due to the cold weather and wet sweatiness. I was looking forward to getting back on my bike.
Bainbridge is absolutely gorgeous. I get why people live there. Luckily there were only a few driver assholes; most people were very aware and respectful of the ride that day. And there were lots of cute kids with lemonade stands. I stopped at one about 5 miles away from the finish line.
Not going to lie, the big hills were hard. I had to get off in the middle of 3 of the 4 and walk my bike. But I biked more of the big hills than I walked. When you're low on energy, even the little hills are intimidating. At one point, probably 10 miles from the finish, I came to a really steep medium hill and just pulled off to the shoulder. I was so tired and uncoordinated, I failed to pull my right foot out of the pedal basket and fell right over. Two big bruises now to show for it, but it didn't really hurt or anything. No blood. I was laughing. The guy who stopped next to me was worried but then started laughing when he could see I was alright. Really, I just fell over. It was ridiculous.
It was also sunny at some parts. Gorgeous lovely sunny weather. Although it did snow for over an hour, we never got rained on. Hallelujah!
At the finish line, I downed a bowl of chili made by the chefs at Farestart. The money raised went to several charities. I didn't have to wait too long to hop the ferry back, and then ride the bus (I found my passes finally!) back home. A scalding hot shower never felt so good.
I would totally do this again. I had such a fun time. Maybe with a few other riders next time? :)