Monday, July 28, 2008

Various Views of the Seattle Century

Sunday, July 27th 2008, marked the first running of the Seattle Century. Like version 1.0 of anything, there were some problems with the ride, but I think people generally had fun. My former employer, the Bicycle Alliance of Washington, and my current employer, Bike Works, are both beneficiaries of the ride and while both groups helped to recruit volunteers for the ride, the group who organized this ride are based out of Portland, Oregon. This resulted in some interesting choices of roads, where "interesting" ranged from "this is a cool road that I've never been on" to "why the heck did they route us here instead of there?" The two perspectives are probably best illustrated by Lisa Lawrence's rave review here and Eric Gunnerson's more critical review here.

I spent the day riding the course as a roving mechanic and I'd have to say I shared Lisa's view of the food and the enthusiasm for hard work of all the volunteers, while also sharing some of Eric's frustrations and bewilderment at the course design and inconsistent marking.

One of the ride highlights for me was getting to ride the Novelty Hill to Duvall section with a genuine cyborg. This fellow, who I'm pretty sure is a T-1000 from the future, was happy to fill me in on the specifics of his titanium and carbon fiber lower leg. He told me he also does triathlons and is looking to get specific extensions for the leg, a cycling leg ending in a pedal cleat, another extension designed for running and a third for swimming.

Another highlight was the pie stop at Remlinger Farms. In fact, all the rest stops were highlights. Good food and helpful folks filling people in on the various details of the course ahead.

I was beginning to despair of ever getting to help anyone with a mechanical problem. It wasn't that everyone had a trouble-free ride, but that the riders by and large were quite well prepared. So the first few flat tires, dropped chains and loose waterbottle racks, were already being taken care of when I rolled up with my standard question of "ya got what you need?". I did manage to make myself useful by helping riders figure out some turns and finally, when I was headed back home along the course, I got to help a young woman who'd left home without a patch kit.


Robert H said...

How much weight would I save if I just replaced both legs with the ti/carbon versions?

Anonymous said...

Kent, kent, kent... Having done years of roving wrench work on rides, I have learned that the more tools you bring along, the less likely you will need to use any of them. Last ride I "roved" for was Portland's Sunday Parkways last month. I carried my full race wrench kit and floor pump in my Xtracycle, with a sign on the back indicating my role for the day. In five hours of riding the two loops around the course, I fixed exactly TWO bikes. The rest of the time I was greeted with smiles, waves and three cups of hot coffee handed off from front porches along the route. Life was very good.

Carry more tools next time.

Chester said...

HapiBlogging to you my friend! Have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

This was a great ride. Sure, some things they didn't get right, but for a first year ride, the lines were SHORT, the food delicious (can you cook for 1,000 outside?), the customer service friendly (er... I ask a lot of questions before a ride). Loved it, can't wait for next year. What else is there like this? Very unique and special. Loved the brick road section and seeing areas of Washington I've not explored before.

Anonymous said...

jeez, I'd like to fix her tires also!