Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Marking The Seattle Century Course

I'd volunteered to help mark the eastern portions of the Seattle Century course with Dan Henry marks and caution signs, figuring I could talk a few of my pals into helping out. Brad "Bikes with Babes" Hawkins had to bail out when child care logistics got too complex and most of my other friends had lame excuses involving jobs, boats or being on the other side of the planet. My local buddy Jeff Youngstrom offered the use of his XtraCycle and despite coming off a weekend of working the finish line at STP, Mark Canizaro said he'd show up at Marymoor Park for route marking duty.

I picked up the XtraCycle at Jeff's at 8:00 AM, rode it the couple of blocks to my place and loaded it up with paint, stencils, signs and a staple gun. The bike is too big for me, so climbing on and off it is a bit awkward, but once I'm on it, I'm fine. I'd allowed more time than I normally would to ride the dozen miles up to Marymoor Park but the XtraCycle is surprisingly fast. The slowest thing about the bike is all the time you spend explaining it to folks when you are stopped, it's quite a conversation starter.

Route marking is a slow business. At each turn and various spots along the straight sections, Mark and I stop, unload a stencil and spray the letters "SC" with a circle and a line indicating the direction of travel. On busy roads, we tack up signs informing drivers that there will be "Hundreds of Bikes on Road, July 25th." We also put up some caution signs for the cyclists ahead of some steep descents and busy, blind intersections. And, of course, we have to stop a couple of times for coffee and to take some pictures of things like a frog the size of a dinner plate. At one point, near Preston, we clean about a hundred construction staples from the road shoulder.

It takes all day to cover the area from Redmond to Duvall, Cherry Valley, Carnation, Preston and finally back to Issaquah, a total of about 45 miles of the hundred mile course. Other folks will map the rest and right before the ride someone will double check all the route marking.

On July 25th, the day of the ride, I'll ride the course as a roving mechanic. This year's course has less masochistic climbing and more rational routing than last year's inaugural effort and Mark and I did our best to make sure the route is clearly labeled. I hope to see at least a few of my blog readers out there.

Keep 'em rolling,

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