Monday, August 01, 2011


Above photo is from the Bellingham Herald website--John Clark and I are the blurred riders; the in-focus dude is someone who rode with us all day but whose name I unfortunately forget.

Given my super-strenuous, epically repetitive ride just two days earlier (four times up the last 8 miles of the Mount Baker Highway; 9,100 feet of climbing) I was kinda sorta fearing Saturday's Tour de Whatcom. Certainly, 105 miles is long and is never something to be taken lightly. But more than that, I knew that given the mostly flat route, the pretty much perfect weather conditions (60s, 70s and sunny) and that all three Titanium Cowboys were riding, that at some point a group mindset of "How fast can we do this?" would take over. And it did. We rode the last 100 miles in 4 hours and 54 minutes My first sub-5 hour century! Cool.
(Way too complicated to get into, but very simply: John Clark and I rode the 4 miles to the start from our homes and then finished the route 4 miles before the end, so I'm counting the last 100 miles of riding as an even century.)
John Clark, Scott Young and I at the Birch Bay aid just stop just before the annoying, head windy return ride to Bellingham.

Fairly early on (I think it was near Lake Samish) we hooked up with two other riders (photographer Tyler Mitchell and a nice guy whose name I forget) who were able to share the workload for the rest of the ride. This was key because, like I say, I wasn't at my strongest. Odd thing about riding so hard for so long is that you don't get a chance to really talk to one another; you're just kind of taking turns rotating off the front. Wouldn't want to ride like this all the time, but every once in a while it's fun. 
Our Tour de Whatcom group of five.
Seems to me that in just a half-dozen years or so that the Tour de Whatcom has become insanely popular. Which I hope doesn't begin to work against it. All rides (105-miler, 50-miler, 25-miler) have staggered starts so that they return to Bellingham at roughly the same time. This clogged up a lot of the roads in the north and northwest corner of the county and we saw some odd-slash-dubious choices being made by both riders and vehicle drivers. And the Ferndale Rd.-Slater Rd. intersection was backed up for a few hundred yards with both cars and bikes, something I'd never seen before out in the county. Perhaps in future editions, someone needs to be stationed there to direct car and rider traffic. You'd hate to see riders get hit taking unnecessary chances while trying to cross Slater Road.

But all in all, a great day. Next up, the Shasta Summit Century on Sunday. Yikerz!

1 comment:

  1. Funny you should mention that. Mayor Jensen of Ferndale and I already are discussing a plan to make Slater/Ferndale Rd a 4-way stop next year. They have Old Settlers that day too.

    You need to remember, the slow riders are saying some people were racing and they need to chill.

    We say whatever works. Just be safe.

    Congrats on your first sub-5 Century. See you next year!