Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cascade 1200. The Opposite of Room 101

So, in about a week and a half, I'm going to line up with about a hundred like-minded people and head off on the Cascade 1200.  Some of you know better than I do what I'm getting into, and some of you have no idea.

I have some idea, but I'm going to take it as it comes.  Heck, a butterfly in Uganda probably just put into motion a set of events that will determine how hot it will be.  It's out of my control.   

I'm not gonna kid you; this is going to be an interesting four days.

The Cliff's Notes version goes like this:

The ride is 1240Km. (770 miles)  One has 93 hours.  For a guy who grew up in Joisey, that's about the distance from Trenton to Jacksonville, Florida.  Sure, it's a good hundred miles shy of the distance from Urumqui to Tashkent, but you get the idea.

You could think of it as about 413.3 laps around Green Lake, but then you might go crazy.

I've been known to tell myself, "heck, it's only one lap around Green Lake to the next control, you can do that."  Unlike Green Lake, I doubt there will be Spuds fish and chips on the ride.  Ensure, Cliff Blocks, chocolate milk, Double Shots, PB&J, rotating hot dogs (for display purposes only), and Payday bars will probably appear in abundance, but I'm guessing there will be no Spuds. 

Here's the deal: I'm not as ready as I hoped to be, but I'm ready.

I'll start off easy, and then I'll back off.  I'm going to eat this elephant one bite at a time.

My bike is good to go.  I'm bringing the Waterford.  I flirted with bringing a lighter bike, but after the 400, I never got around to tweaking one to work better on long distances.  My Waterford just works; I forget about it.  It is the bike I've used on three 600's and a 1000, and it is the one I'll take this time.  I like the way it rides with some weight in the bar bag, and I like the way it handles when I hit a pothole at night on day 3.    

A couple of years ago, I worked the first overnight control on this ride.  I had just completed my first series, and I didn't think I'd ever attempt anything as audacious as the Cascade.

Of course I knew I would attempt the Cascade; I just didn't admit it to myself.  They gave the workers shirts that year with a big heart attack looking route profile on the back and a map of the state; it feels sort of odd wearing it.

Come on Kid, have just a taste; you can stop any time you want.  But look, all the cool kids are doing it.  Come ride a Populaire; it's free.  Here's a shirt, Kid; sure you can wear it.  No big thing.

I don't know how this is going to turn out, but I know arriving in Whitefish, Montana last year was a feeling you can't buy for all the tea in China. 

I rode the Flying Wheels century last weekend with a friend who did his first century.  The course overlaps with some shorter loops, so you get to climb the last hill with people of all abilities who are out there doing it.  Some were walking or sitting on the guard rail.  Some were just goofing off, but they were all out there.  Good on 'em all, as they say.

I know a couple of guys who have held the national 24 hour record and have been competitive in RAAM; I'm not one of those guys.

For me -- for right now -- this is the hurdle.  The bar is magically set just right. It is exactly hard enough.  It's the opposite of my Room 101. Sure, I'll probably peek at the room along the way, but I'm not going there.


Link to Cascade 1200

Link to Seattle International Randonneurs


  1. C1200 is as it should be:

    With smack, you get the rush, the feeling of ecstasy, the warmth of the sun eminates from within YOU! That incredible floating out of body experience; Beautiful, lyrical writing magically flows from your finger tips.

    Later you feel like it was rock salt you pumped into your veins, your head feels like it is full of rusty barb wire, and every pore of your skin tells you the masseuse rubbed you down with drano before working you over with garnet paper. Oh and that writing? In the flat light of mid morning it now looks like the ragged trail of a wounded fire ant that zigged and zagged crazily off the paper and over the edge of the table.

    But with the C-1200, you get the withdrawal first, then the ecstacy. The euphoria comes from within, and flows out. This is no credit card high, you pay the price first, then you get to eat the ice cream:

    Sitting in a lumpy Morris chair is the chariot of the Gods, a glass of cold milk goes down like the Grand Canyon suite, and just lying on the couch staring absently at the ceiling is the very essence of floating outside your body.

    So sure, go ahead kid, the first hit's free. This ride gives you the bummer first but after the storm you'll be riding the hover board for six weeks. And the next time you throw a leg over that Waterford? Make sure your wife isn't watching: She'll see that glint in your eye and get suspicious because you'll feel like you are slipping into bed with your high school sweet heart.

    Enjoy the ride, bask in the afterglow!

    Yr Pal Dr C

  2. You've got the magic with the words.

  3. "DFL>DNF>DNS"

    I love it. I'm totally going to steal that.

  4. The thing about the Cascade 1200 is that it creates a bank of memories that are limitless and timeless. That is simply why we ride these incredible and difficult rides. You will be chatting with a buddy 10 years from now and a thought or image will flash in your mind from this adventure that will cause you to smile or pause or cringe.

    You will do well my friend. You are ready and determined. They say that bad decisions make good stories, but great adventures make great stories. I can't wait to hear the great stories from this adventure.


  5. When you're suffering out there in the Washington outback, know this: it will all be worth it when you crest Washington Pass on the last day. Pure ecstacy.

  6. I'm planning on riding through the whole thing. You in?

  7. Robert, I'll be riding through all right. ;-)

  8. Joe,
    don't give it any thought. Take the miles as they come and don't consider anything but the present. The miles will eventually take care of themselves. Have fun overall, wish I could join you

  9. Keep in mind the immortal line from They Live: "I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum."

  10. Joe,
    You and PJ can write the hell out of it...and ride out of it too. Have fun and eat and eat.

  11. Joe - Have a great time, don't sweat the distance or pace or climbing or whathaveyou. It's a fantastic course, you have got the legs, the attitude, the perseverance and the bike to do it, so go Do IT Joe!

  12. Can't wait to read the report! Hope you have fun out there.

  13. I have a photo of you before my first flat
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  14. hats and helmets off to you that's quite a ride!!

    Lazarus Lupin
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