Sunday, July 11, 2010

Baker Baby!

See below for photos.

A day after telling someone I didn't think I'd make it up Mt. Baker this summer I got invited to ride it with some friends. To be truthful, I invited myself ("please, please, puh-lease can I come?"), and the crew my friends were going with were kind enough to take me along.

I would like to go off topic for a moment and say I don't think I'll win the lottery this summer. (Can't hurt to try!)

We parked by the Sumas border crossing and biked across. I had it in my head that the ride to Glacier was a gentle uphill and had somehow managed to wipe from my memory the nasty hill out of Sumas. Nothing like feeling like your legs are fried when you're only 15km into a 140km ride!

The hill split up the group and I was riding with Clayton and two guys from Dean Stanton's group until I got dropped. Eventually another rider from Dean's group caught me and we either chatted or pacelined into Glacier.

We regrouped in Glacier - had coffee (surprisingly mediocre for Washington State), snacked, refilled water bottles, and had pit stops. The stop seemed to take a long time so we decided the "slower" riders would take off first ("slower" = impatient to get going).

Teresa, Bronwyn, Clayton and I rode together through the first few hills then it was just Clayton and I. The first 20km or so from Glacier are tough but with flat or downhill sections to break it up. When you see the warning sign that there are switchbacks for the next 10 miles that's when the real work starts. It's very hard - relentless uphill with no flat or even easy spinning sections until you reach the top. If you've ridden Seymour it's like all the hard bits but with more corners. At one point I rode around the edge of a viewpoint pullout in the hopes I could get my cadence up. No luck.

Clayton stuck with on the ride up, I'm sure he could have been far, far ahead, but he's a nice guy. Or he didn't know the way. Nah, I'm going with the former.

Paul Cross, who we'd seen at the store in Glacier, caught up with us at the round about at the top and Clayton put in a sprint to try to beat him to the top.

For us the top was the building with the pop machine - the only food source open in the summer. That cold bottle of Mountain Mist was about the tastiest drink I've ever had!

A bit of a delay before heading down as one rider who'd started in North Van, and had done about 150km more than us, was not feeling so well. He recovered after about 15 minutes then proceeded to smoke us all on the downhill. We regrouped at the bottom and pacelined to Glacier.

The people I drove out with both had functions they were in danger of being late for so this second stop in Glacier was briefer - we said our goodbyes to the rest of the crew and carried on.

What I was hoping would be an easy ride back turned into a hard core paceline. I was good up to about the last 45 minutes then ran out of steam. I'd pull at the front then get dropped by the group. I was fine with that but then they'd all wait for me to catch up, ride at a sensible pace for a bout two riders then speed up and I'd be off the back again. At the time I just wanted them to let me ride my own pace and go away, now I realize that considering how tired I was it was smart, and very kind, for my friends to keep an eye on me. Big time bonk on my part!

Aside from running out of steam at the end, it was a great ride. Hopefully we can go up again in August.

Clayton shooting Cliff.

Clayton forgetting that he's not the one who's supposed to be posing.

Teresa ready for the ride down.

Bronwyn and Clayton.

Me at the top.