To begin this saga, I am learning that bicycle gloves do wear out. And when they are wearing out, the finger parts don’t always slide on as smoothly as they once did. You can have trouble getting a finger or two in right. I am also learning that you don’t focus on getting gloves on just right when you are riding more than 10 miles an hour and getting ready for a big hill ahead.
Well, that’s what was going on for me last Sunday during the final 15 miles of the Tour de Peaks 100-mile bike ride (through the Snoqualmie Valley and Snohomish County east of Seattle). I was focusing on getting my right glove on right. I leaned forward to work on it, took my eyes off the road, shifted my weight to one side a little too much, suddenly saw a big pothole ahead of me and … I don’t know if I hit the pothole or swerved too hard to avoid it.
At any rate, I fell off the bike and went flying forward, landing kind of like in a belly flop onto the road. I skinned my hand, knee and upper parts of my legs, but, really, I was OK. However, my bike went to the right of me and into some thorny bushes. It sustained a bit more damage.
My left-hand side handle bar and gear buttons were bent inward. I was initially fussing with getting the chain back on right when I turned the front wheel forward and noticed the destruction. I finished the race with some trouble shifting gears on that side, though I found a way to do it. I made it up the tough, three-mile Snoqualmie Falls Hill, worrying the whole time that I might need a whole new bike.
But, alas, my Trek 1.1 is going to be fixed! I just got an estimate from the bike shop. So, since I finished the ride OK — in more than nine hours, but still faster than a year ago — all is well. As I said, I came out of the spill with only a few cuts and a bruise or two. And, what’s more, no one saw it! (Full disclosure: I have fallen off my bike several times before, mostly in front of people.)
Enough about that. My bike, as we speak, is at the shop getting fixed, and I may be riding again by the end of the week.
Here are some details about the ride aside from the spill:
- The event: This was the 25th anniversary of the Twin de Peaks. Several hundred bicyclists turned out (this is not as big a race as the Chilly Hilly and others); I wish I could provide an approximate count but I didn’t remember to ask the organizers. There were three rides: 25, 50 and 100 miles. Most riders, I am sure, did the 50-mile course. I’ve ridden this event for three straight years; I did the 100-miler for my first century last year and the 25-miler for my first organized ride in 2011.
- The course: The 100-mile ride starts and ends in downtown North Bend. You first head east for a 10-mile loop, ride back west through North Bend and continue west to Snoqualmie and Fall City. You then turn north to Carnation for a lunch stop (50-milers turn around here and go back to North Bend). Continue north and then east for a jaunt around Lake Joy. Then you ride north to Duvall and into Snohomish County for a loop. You then head back, going straight to Carnation, then Fall City, and then back to Snoqualmie and North Bend for the finish. Course map is here.
- The hills: Most of this course is long flat stretches or small, rolling hills. The two toughest hills are Stillwater Road just north of Carnation and then the Snoqualmie Falls Hill on the way back to the finish line. Both are manageable; I’ve done Stillwater five times and Snoqualmie Falls twice now. You go flying down Snoqualmie Falls Hill in the first 20 miles. Weeeeeeee! All in all, this is not a difficult course, but it is safe and scenic.
- The weather and vibe: Couldn’t ask for better weather; it was dry and temps were in the mild 70s. Fellow riders were all good sports. I rode by many other 100-milers on the Lake Joy loop and in Snohomish County, and we cheered each other on. However, as with the last two years of doing this ride, I did not see anyone I knew.
- The food and support: High scores on both. The boxed lunch I’d purchased for the Carnation stop was worth it because it had enough carbs and protein to help me get through the remaining 60-plus miles. Having a mechanic there to check the air in my tires was most helpful. My one gripe: The finish line closes way too early. Organizers there pack up and leave long before a few dozen or more riders cross. Oh well, that’s bicycling.
- Misc.: I can’t believe how many bugs I collected on my glasses! Now I know what motorcyclists with glasses must go through.
This Saturday, I am running an unusual 5K in Seattle called The Zombie Run. I will have a post about it afterwards. There will be more road runs to do in the fall.
Last year, after my first century, I didn’t feel like any further rides for the summer and fall. This year, I feel the opposite; I want to ride some more! We’ll see how soon I get my bike back.
Thanks for reading. Till next time.