Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Rapha Festive 500 -- A "Meh-pic" Ride Report

Delicate bags.  

Yes, I said it.  Delicate bags.  Some people call them lingerie bags.  Go with whatever works for you.  I'm cool with that.  

It feels good to get that off of my chest, really.  

You should get some.  The Honey-Can-Do 3 Bag Set on Amazon is a good starting point.  I got four sets.  I know, that sounds like a lot of delicate bags, but go with it.  I'm sure there is a forum somewhere devoted to delicate bags where you could waste a lot of time.  

That three bag set will give you a good mix of sizes. They are sort of the road bike, mountain bike, and cruiser of delicate bags.  Nothing too tricky.  Maybe you are not really into the cruiser, and one could make a convincing case that instead of a cruiser, that last bag is like your fixed gear.  In any case, they are the three useful ones.  

At first the little ones don't seem that useful, and I was all about the big ones.  But you know, for things like keeping the velcro on your gloves from tearing apart your favorite bibs the little ones come in handy.  

And, I don't mean to get too personal, but your gloves stink.  You should wash yours more often; you don't know where those gloves have been. 

Anyway, just HTFU, and click "Buy It Now."  You can thank me later.  

Perhaps I'm getting a little ahead of myself.  You came here to read about the Rapha Festive 500.  

When the challenge was announced, I found myself trying to get motivated after recovering from a little leg surgery in October.  I managed to finish the Coffeeneuring Challenge and the Winter Solstice Ride nighttime 200K on my freshly overhauled legs, but I needed something to get me moving.  

With a "how can I make this easy" approach, I broke mine into five 100k Seattle International Randonneurs USA permanents

December 26.  Maltby - Granite Falls with Mark 
27th. Testy Chef with The Bully.
28th.  Testy Chef with Vinnie, Rick, and Mark.  
29th.  A Day of rest.  And it was good.  
30th.  Olympia - Summit Lake with special guests Greg, Corey, Andy, and Rick
31st.  Maltby - Granite Falls with a small gaggle of randos.

I figured the randomness of 500K in the winter would score enough "epic" points, but it was not to be.

Now I need to be clear here.  This was a blast.  I got out and rode my bike with my silly friends for 500k.  A good time was had by all.  I'd do it again tomorrow.  I totally appreciate Rapha for creating this.  It is a great idea.  

Unfortunately, sometimes things just go right.  

My bikes just seemed to work.  I got one flat, but it must have been in the car on the way home; it didn't really matter because I had already chosen a different bike for the next day.  Nobody ran out of tubes, cracked a frame, or tore apart a Campy Record hub laced straight up three cross with brass nipples. Nobody's fancy-pants carbon bits failed catastrophically just as they approached the apex of a turn with a dreadful drop.  

At some point, I think Mark's chain squeaked a bit.  It was an annoying noise, to be sure, but it happened just as we coasted to the finish at Starbucks, and he remembered to lube it by the next morning.  

I got hungry, and the Testy Chef was open and still serving breakfast -- exactly as planned.  The whole staff there was in a really good holiday mood too. 

I don't know the roads that well down near Olympia, and on the fourth ride, I started getting hungry for second breakfast just as we rolled into a town with a little diner.  Corey and I thought bacon and coffee would be great just then, and the whole group went with that as they seemed to think the idea was brilliant.  

The clerks at the controls were all in good moods -- even the one at the Chevron in Redmond, but she's always in a good mood.   The woman in the pizza place in Granite falls seemed genuinely happy for our business as did the barista the next time we passed through there.  

The dudes with the giant diesel trucks north of Snohomish gave us wide berth, and they didn't even do that thing where they make a bunch of smoke as they pass you.  

There wasn't any ice on the side of the road.  There was fresh snow on the mountains, which really looked beautiful as the sun came out, but on the roads not so much.

I forgot my chamois lube, but it didn't matter. 

My cue sheets all worked, and I never went went off course some unholy distance on some abandoned logging road to get back to civilization.  I didn't ford any rivers.  

A buddy needed a 5mm wrench on a pretty easy bit of the trail with plenty of daylight, and he got his pick from everyone in the group.  I don't think it mattered anyway, as he could have ridden in with whatever was loose.  

At one point, I started getting a little cool.  Night was approaching, and my tail light batteries had died.  Unfortunately, I had extra dry layers in the bag, and my second light was fresh.  Plus, I was slathered in a couple square meters of reflective tape, so I was unable to avoid being seen early by all the courteous drivers out enjoying their holidays.  

I was mildly tired after three days in the saddle, but I had scheduled a rest day, and that really helped.

On the last ride, I was a bit warm, so I pulled over to shed a layer. Scarcely able to believe my eyes, I looked down. But one glance confirmed my suspicions. Behind a bush, on the side of the road, there was *no* severed arm. No dismembered trunk of a man in his late fifties. No head in a bag. Nothing.

This was *not* to be the start of any trail of events which would not, in no time at all, involve me in neither a tangled knot of suspicion, nor any web of lies.  

(Apologies to Monty Python for totally stealing their Ralph Melish skit.) 

I'm Ok with epic when it comes to me.  Hell, I'll bend your ear off about that last night trying to stay awake into Dreux.  When I go bald, all my friends are going to laugh at the chainring scars in the back of my head from that damned criterium on the boardwalk.  I'm pretty proud of the time I fixed that tandem tire on the Dingle Peninsula with dental floss. 

But try as I might, this was just a bunch of buddies riding around between the holidays.  

For this, I give thanks.  

Oh, and if you find yourself preparing for the Festive 500 somewhere traditionally wet and cold, get yourself a shit load of delicate bags, because that laundry is going to be epic.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting! You do this well and you should do it more often. So much more rewarding than three word notsetences on the book of faces.

    Yr Pal, Dr C