This is one of those events that I’ve heard about for many years and even tried to get there and do it a time or two.  It just never seemed to work out for one reason or another, but finally this year it all came together.  We have a place to stay in Portland which turns out to be just a few blocks from the finish of the event which makes it very convenient.  I was also able to book a hotel just a few blocks from the start at the University of Washington in Seattle so it was perfect, my bed was just a few blocks from the ride on either end!

In recent years this ride has gotten pretty popular and is now limited to 10,000 riders, about 2500 of which along with myself will ride it in one day.  The rest will overnight about halfway somewhere and finish on Sunday. This pretty much makes it the biggest double century that I know of, one or two day!  I planned to ride with Jeff and Don, some friends that I haven’t seen since PBP in 2007. They usually have a good group that does this ride each year.  With their local knowledge of the event we were able to meet up at the start in spite of the crowds.

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My view of the event for the first 50 miles!

The one day riders started first and we let about 1000 or so riders go before we jumped into the stream of bikes.  There was no need to navigate and this mass of bikes flowed through town on a meandering route.  For quite some time we had the right of way at all of the traffic controls and there were no gaps among the riders.  We were just waved through by the local cops. There were a number of wrecks early on, mostly due to inattention but by mile 50 or so things started to settle down.  The course is quite easy by comparison to other events, roughly paralleling Hwy 5 on quite roads with about 1900 feet of climbing in the entire route.  I don’t think there was a major climb all day, just an accumulation of rollers. The sun was out all day but the temperature was mild and didn’t get much past the mid 80’s. The only real downer for the day was a pretty steady headwind for the second 100 miles. I did not stop at all of the rest stops, but the ones I did stop at were well supplied.  There are a lot of events that could take a lesson from STP on rest stop quality. The finishing area was a huge party with vendors and a beer garden. Mnay spectators were on hand to cheer the riders in. I love the rides up here, they all end with beer!

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At a rest stop somewhere around mile 130.

I was able to ride with Jeff for a while but eventually we got separated.  I ran into Don several times during the course of the day and again at the end.  He had finished some time before me but greeted me coming in and sat with me while I drank my celebratory beer.  My wife Sara and dog Austin were faithful followers and also welcomed me home.  I would say it was a great event that I will probably do again sometime. Great job Cascade Bicycle Club!

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