|Newsletter - 2014 Archive|
Cape Disappointment 1000 Organizer's Report
It doesn't get any better than this for about 80 percent of the ride. For the other 20 percent, well ...
The organizer (me) was riding on this ride and quickly lost contact with everyone except Manfred, so this report is pretty slanted toward our experience. Hopefully more stories will come forth from the other riders.
The first day went well, but we were very slow because I just couldn't make my bike move well. In the end I discovered that I had a dragging brake that was slowing me down. That caused us to pull into Montesano for the first overnight with enough time for a 1.5 hour sleep. It was here that I corrected the brake issue, but by then we were well behind where we wanted to be. From there on we chased the clock and never made any of the other 6 controls with more than 1 hour in the bank. We got to Cape Disappointment with 20 minutes left on the clock, only to be very disappointed to find that the road ends in a parking lot with some trails leading from there to the views. We had no time to go see what we had just pedaled 500 km to see. However the ride from Montesano to Cape Disappointment was absolutely beautiful. Sea views, big bays, marshes, lots of bird life, incredible wild flowers. This was the part that doesn't get any better.
We got to the information control at Dismal Nitch with no time to spare, then had a tire failure on Manfreds bike in the next section. He had a spare and we spent quite a bit of time fixing that issue and lost more time to the clock. We got through the hills south of Montesano OK, but then got stymied by a closed bridge near Elma. We rode past the closed sign hoping that there would be a way through for a bicycle but there wasn't. They had built a barrier that included wings out over the water and then shrink wrapped the whole thing so that there was no way even Spiderman could get past. So we backtracked and found a way through on the busy highway that wasn't so busy at 1 am. That left us getting into the second overnight at Shelton with 1 hour on the clock. I had an interesting hallucination here as we rolled though Shelton looking for the motel. I saw a person get up from laying down on a park bench and shake out a blanket and roll it up. It turned out to be a steel sculpture of a man standing next to the park bench.
We slept for 1.5 hours here and then had breakfast which left us with some serious time to make up. Fortunately the route designer (me) had foreseen that this could be a time trap and put the next control 175 km away so that time could be easily made up. Unfortunately the route designer (me) didn't know about the really steep hills around Bremerton, the awful pavement between there and the Kingston Ferry, or the incredibly poor route after the ferry through Everett and on to Marysville. This part of the route should be scrapped and something else found if we every ride this route again. This is the 20 percent part that was not as good as it gets.
This part of the ride wasn't that good for Manfred either. He took a bad spill coming down a hill after Bremerton. His front derailleur somehow dislodged and jammed against his rear tire which caused a lock up and he lost control and went down hard. I was ahead at that point but got notified by a passing bus driver about the accident. When I got back to Manfred he was being attended to by a lady with a roll of paper towels who was trying to stop the bleeding from his head wound, and trying to convince him to go to the hospital. Being the tough guy that he is he wasn't having any of that. And in fact he was OK. He was lucid and knew what day it was and who the president was, even though it wasn't his president. But his derailleur was a mess and his other tire was now shredded. So we bent the derailleur back into shape, threw away the various bits and pieces that had busted off his bike, and replaced his tire with my spare. Then we went to a nearby grocery store and got some bandages and Polysporin to attend to the wound. All this cost us another 2 hours that we didn't have and put us in serious doubt about ever making the next control in time. After that he got a lot of quizzical looks when people noticed his blood spattered jersey.
We finally got to the Kingston ferry at 3 pm just in time to watch the ferry coming in. One small miracle. Then we spent a lot of time zig zagging through Everett and crossing a busy draw bridge with no shoulders to get to Marysville. After that we discovered a couple more 'capes' on the way to Stanwood. These were some climbs that we really didn't need at that point. But we got there with 10 minutes to spare and had some dinner in a Mexican restaurant. After that we headed out on some thankfully flat roads where we hoped to make up some serious time on roads that we knew well. Didn't happen. We were so exhausted by that point that we just couldn't get any kind of speed going. And we made a few route finding blunders through here as well. Not so much the fault of the route designer (me) but a result of new construction that made familiar junctions into unfamiliar junctions. We got lost trying to find our way into Mount Vernon (our fault), got some help from a friendly police officer who patiently explained how to get to Burlington. In Burlington we encountered another police officer who drove up beside us and told us to stop weaving (I didn't think that we were). Then he asked us where we were going as it was now after midnight. I replied that we were going to Vancouver. He looked at me in a funny way, said (this is a direct quote) "fu-uck", and drove away.
After some more foggy brained route finding we finally managed to find the Chuckanut Drive and figured that now we could actually make some good time. But we were so tired (me especially, the injured one was doing fine) that a sleep stop became imperative. There is a US post office at the junction of Chuckanut and Bow-Edison road that I had never noticed before but that Manfred knew about. We laid down on the floor there for a half hour and I was immediately out light a light. Manfred managed to keep it together though and woke me a half hour later. That sleep made all the difference in the world. We were both refreshed enough that we started making some good time over the hilly part of the Chuchanut Drive, through Bullingham, and out the other side to Ferndale. There we got onto the famed and feared (for rough pavement) Portal Way and discovered butter smooth fresh pavement. Shortly after that we discovered yet another new roundabout with no signage. Several kilometers later we discovered that we were no longer on Portal Way. Other groups on the ride had similar experiences here. We finally got back on track and soon came to the feared part of Portal Way. There were some signs of attempts to repave it but the new pavement just sank into the expansion cracks and the result was a slightly smoother kathump-kathump-kathump ride all the rest of the way to Blaine.
They do have some beautiful roads in Washington State. World class really. If they could only find that little extra bit in the budget to put up some signs saying which road is which it would be a cycling paradise.
By now it was daylight and the light gave us a bit of extra energy. We picked up speed after the border and started to think that we actually had a chance of making the finish control in time. In fact we had so much confidence then that we went on a sort of mental vacation and let up a bit after we got to the high part of Fraser Hwy in Surrey. We took it easy, perhaps a little too easy. What is usually a quick commute for me along the Lougheed through Coquitlam took most of forever and all the time slipped away. We made it into the finish control though with 11 minutes to spare.
1020 km, 74 hours 49 minute. 3 hours in a bed and a half hour on the floor of the post office. Then I went to my son's seventh grade graduation ceremony and managed to appear alert for several hours.
There's no life like it. I don't know why more people don't do this stuff.
June 26, 2014