*Ride from Seattle to Bellingham and Party!
Before the Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (aka STP), which I rode in July, my longest ride was under forty miles. After STP I felt like the Incredible Hulk of Cycling. I was a champion! I had biked to another state! All I wanted to do was tour day in and day out. I had no doubt that I would do RSVP. I had heard it was astoundingly beautiful, more intimate with a smaller group of a riders, and a blast at the finish line. I wanted to photo-document my journey much better than I had on STP and show the blogosphere what RSVP looks and feels like.
As August rolled around, I realized I had to get back to Seattle on Saturday afternoon. No matter; I would just change the name of the ride slightly. B and V are pronounced the same in Spanish anyway.
So, please enjoy my photo journal, with captions at the bottoms of the pictures.
When we started out, my tired brain was filled with reluctant thoughts. “Oh yeah. STP was actually difficult. Why did I sign up for this?”
In the beginning, RSVP felt much more secluded and serene than STP. After a while I couldn’t really tell the difference. You never see 10,000 people on STP, just throngs at the rest stops and at the end of the day. By mid-morning RSVP seemed the same.
No organized ride would be complete without rumors of the most grueling stretches. On STP, it was “that huge hill” on the first day, which was frankly not very steep nor long. Nevertheless, hearing snippets of conversation at the rest stop about the upcoming hardest hills on RSVP made me squirm. I eavesdropped on two men next to me:
“Chuckanut drive is straight up. It’s never-ending.”
“I remember it from years back-that hill was the worst.”
As it turned out, the hardest part for me was not Chuckanut, but the stretch through the Skagit Valley. It’s perfectly flat, but you feel as if you’re biking underneath one of those intense hand driers. You know, the ones that dry your hands in six seconds and make your skin look like Silly Putty. When the wind was going in just one direction, it was enough to make me swerve.
It might actually be a brilliant product idea: instead of Endless Pools, how about Endless Wind Gust Stationary Bicycles?
Once on Chuckanut, we were out of the wind and in the shade! I couldn’t have been more ready to start that climb.
Soon after, we were greeted by signs urging us upward with promises of lemonade. Big deal-STP had a lemonade stand every mile! When we arrived, we realized that this same stand has existed for the past 13 years, run by the same little girl (who is now 18).
The rest of the ride was downhill and gorgeous. We celebrated with live music and pints at Boundary Bay Brewery.
I can’t vouch for the second day, but I would recommend RSBP! to all.