The following is a guest blog post by Juanita Holmes, RAW Committee member.
See mountains during RAW!
Are you RAW material? I didn’t think I was back in 2000, when I rode my first Ride Around Washington (RAW). I’m not a fast rider, and I didn’t have much camping experience. I signed up anyway and ended up having so much fun on RAW 2000 that I’ve ridden nearly every RAW since then. Even though you might not think so, you’re probably RAW material, too. It takes some training, but if you make the commitment (like, sign up today!) and start putting in some miles now, you’ll be ready to have the time of your life from August 20 to 27 on RAW 2011. Let me tell you a little about why RAW is so much fun, and what you can look forward to.
The first thing you should know is that RAW makes camping fun and easy. For one thing, you don’t have to pack all your gear on your bike because there are support trucks for that. And that means you can bring a lawn chair, too. Basically, all you have to do is ride into camp, grab your gear and set up your tent. Then it’s time for a hot shower, dinner and the relaxation you deserve at the end of a day of riding. Using the mobile hot shower truck is rejuvenating, but if you’re still feeling stiff after that, you can make an appointment with the traveling sports massage team.
Another reason camping is easy on RAW is that someone else does the cooking. A hot breakfast greets you in the morning and a tasty dinner awaits in the evening. Lunch and snack stops along the way are designed for bikers. Mealtime on RAW provides a great opportunity to chat with other riders and find out where they like to bike.
One of the best parts of the ride is the people, not just the great support crew and the friendly fellow riders, but the folks you’ll encounter along the way. When locals hear where you’ve ridden from and where you’re heading , you capture their attention and imagination. Some will think you’re crazy, but others may be inspired to hit the road, too.
Talking about people–RAW is one of the best events in the state to meet new riding partners–whatever type of rider you are, you will be able find someone who rides at your pace during the week. For these reasons it’s a terrific ride for solo travelers or couples who ride at different paces.
RAW 2011 should be another great ride in its illustrious history–it features some of the very best of previous RAW routes of the past 12 years. The planning committee has been busy fine-tuning the route and other logistics to make sure everyone has a safe and fun time. Although the route includes two mountain passes, it also includes a rest day, when you can take a leisurely ride through the wine country, float down the river, see the sights of Yakima or just lounge around camp all day. The route will start in a coastal region, traveling up White and Blewitt passes into Washington’s apple country. Quaint towns dot the beautiful countryside along the way. The ride finishes in Leavenworth, where you can celebrate the end of your adventure Bavarian style.
Did I mention that RAW has a very high fun to dollar ratio? For a mere fraction of the cost of a boutique style tour, you can go on an incredibly fun, week-long adventure, meet a lot of wonderful people and see some of the most beautiful parts of the state.
So, are you RAW material? The only way to find out for sure is to sign up and start training. I promise it will be fun and challenging. Hurry up, because RAW 2011 is limited to 250 riders (and 210 have already signed up as of March 31, 2011).
Ride Around Washington
Cranberries to Apples
Aug. 20 – 27, 2011
See you in August!