It’s the fourth straight year that I’ve done the Tour de Peaks bicycle ride through the Snoqualmie Valley. Since it was my first organized ride ever in 2011 and my first century ever in 2012, it holds some sentimental value to me. The past two years, I rode the 100-mile (full century) ride. For 2014, the half-century sounded better, only because I needed to do something different.
So after completing that ride last Saturday, July 19, my 15th organized ride overall, I can now say I’ve done all three versions of the Tour de Peaks — the 25-mile, 50-mile and 100-mile routes. The 50-mile route is simply half the 100-mile route (you turn around at what is the 30-mile mark). The 25-mile route is a slightly different course. All told, I know this ride well, and will probably do it again next year, since it is hardly murderous and has only one major hill — the hill up to Snoqualmie Falls.
Indeed, bicycle courses can get boring if you do them multiple times, which is not the way I feel about running courses. I can and will do the same road runs, over and over, year after year (such as the Mercer Island Half-Marathon, the Seattle Marathon, and this Saturday’s Seafair Torchlight 8K Run). But with bicycle rides, I need to mix it up a bit more.
And so I am looking forward to next month, when I will do the Seattle-to-Vancouver (B.C.) bicycle ride, also known as RSVP, for the first time. I was recently talked into it by an Edifecs co-worker and bicyclist friend, and am overjoyed to have someone to ride with. So is he.
The Tour de Peaks 50-miler was a bit on the dull side, and I viewed it as more of a training ride for RSVP, which is Aug. 15-16. I suspected the half-century ride would be a ton easier than the full century, and it was — even if it took me four and a half hours of riding time, which is roughly half what I’d do in a full century. But it was still fun, and worth it for the training miles.
The course started in downtown North Bend, took a short, 8-mile loop eastward, then back west through North Bend and into Snoqualmie on back roads to the north and west. You get to go down Snoqualmie Falls Hill — weeeeeeee! — and then westward to Fall City and northward to Carnation, where there is a lunch stop at the turnaround point.
I did something there that I rarely ever do anymore. I had two pieces of pizza that the volunteers had purchased for us. Tasted so great. Also took some pictures, then got on my bike and headed back.
Those doing the full century continue north into Duvall and then into Snohomish County for a loop that reaches just south of Monroe. They come back through Carnation, and join the route that the half-century riders finish up on. That route takes you back up Snoqualmie Falls Hill, which is a three-mile climb, but not overwhelmingly steep. Just a long and steady climb. I’ve conquered it all three times now.
The finish line of this ride is, well, nothing to write home about. It closes around 4 p.m., and many century riders finish after organizers have packed up and left. In doing the 50-mile ride, I finished well before then. Still, there is no beer garden there or anything else to keep riders together after the ride. On Saturday, the annual North Bend Block Party was happening a block away. Bicyclists completing the ride either went there or headed home, but the area around the finish line was dead, unlike most other rides.
The only thing else to mention is that the turnout for this year’s Tour de Peaks seemed to be down from previous years, and I believe it was because of the date change. Traditionally, this ride is on the second weekend of August. This year, it was switched to the third weekend of July — a week after the popular Seattle-to-Portland (STP) Ride. I did not get a final rider count (shoddy reporting), so I can’t be sure of this, but the bicycle traffic seemed on the low side.
What’s next? I am doing the Seattle Torchlight 8K Run on Saturday night! Looking forward to doing this race for the 10th time. Also very jazzed about doing the RSVP ride next month.
Thanks for reading! Till next time.