Yesterday I did my longest distance in over 15 years. 51.54 miles, over rolling hills with a couple of real doozies thrown in there at the very beginning of the ride.
The ride was TRYBR, put on by Capital Bike Club in Washington. The full 100 goes through Tenino, Rainier, Yelm, Bucoda, and Roy. Sharon and I opted for the 50 mile route. The day started off well enough, meeting Sharon at 5:30am to load gear and drive the 1.5 hours to the ride. We packed in our gear, loaded the bikes, said by to her husband (who, surprisingly, was awake that early) and headed off to Tenino.
At the Tenino grade school parking lot, we're loading out our gear, and I realize I left my rain jacket in the garage back at Sharon's house. Not that it was cold (I had a polypro longsleeve under my wicking shirt) or raining, but I put my computer in the pocket. Dang! OK, I can get over that: Sharon has a computer and can keep pace and mileage. We go register, pick up maps/route-ticks, I pop them into the map case on my bar-bag, and we head on out.
The roads are smooth, and although there's a few too many train track crossings for our liking, there's little to no traffic, so we're happy. Until the left turn onto W 7th street... We're on Main, looking for W 7th, and we see some street names, some dead end signs, W9th, W11th, and a dead end. WTH? OK, did we make a wrong turn? We go back and look at the road signs 2 turns earlier: The sign for 6th street says W 6th St. on one side and E 6th St. on the other, but it's the only 6th street leading to a Main St., so we must be correct. Well, it turns out that the street sign for W 7th street is missing, it's kind of an alleyway looking street, and the paint crew didn't mark the turn until after the turn (marked on W 7th, not on Main.)
After that problem was solved and I got all the cursing out of my system (we encountered a few other people who had gotten lost at other intersections which were missing street signs) we managed not to get lost for the rest of the ride. The street-tick listed off a couple of hills around the 6-9 mile marks, and a passing group said "so, are you ready to huff and puff up Tono Hill?" The "long hill" was from mile 6 to 7.8, and was about a 5% to 7% grade. Not too bad, and there was an equally nice long downhill recovery on the other side. Then a listed "short steep hill." Well, we went up a little grade, and I was thinking "Is this is? It can't be." It wasn't. Over the top of that crest was a nice downhill, and then Tono Hill: A 1/3 to 1/2 mile pitch of at least 16-17% grade. Thankfully it was early in the ride, and not at the 46 mile marker.
The remainder of the ride was rolling hills and even a section of flat MUP (the C-W trail, and the Yelm-Tenino Trail) neither of which gets much use, so it was not like dodging joggers on the Burke-Gilman Trail. The food stops were well stocked, there were ample bathroom stops since the ride went past state parks, and there was ice-cream at the finish line. Overall, maybe 250 people rode; and that was split between 20, 30, 50, 80, and 100 mile courses. The ride organizers were friendly and helpful, and vowed to have better signage and road paint for the ride next year.
Here's a picture of Sharon and me at the 25 mile food stop on the 50 mile course.