Posted by: bradhammond | August 16, 2009

RSVP – Ride Report

Kayla and I had a great time doing this ride!  Friday was the longer day, as we rode about 112 miles on the first day and just over 70 on Saturday.

I got a bit lost going to the start Friday morning, but eventually we found it, and we started riding at about 7:15.  The weather was fairly cool, but not raining, and the first 13 miles or so was flat and easy as we rode around the north end of Lake Washington and into downtown Woodinville.  From there we had a fairly long hill climb, which we had already done once in practice.  We managed to pass a few other bikes during the climb, and felt really good.

Our first long stop was in Arlington – we stopped at 11:30 after 52 miles of riding and had breakfast (sort of a second breakfast) in a diner.  It was packed with bikers, so it ended up taking almost an hour.  The route was mostly on backroads with fairly low traffic, and we liked the scenery a lot.  I wasn’t sure how good shape Kayla was in or whether I was fully recovered, so I tried to set a fairly easy pace with quite a bit of coasting on downhills and only working really hard on the hill climbs.

At about 90 miles we got on Chuckanut Drive, and there were about 10 miles of hilly riding.  There are great views of Samish Bay, and it is a really beautiful ride!  For over half of that part we followed closely behind another tandem.  Tandems can go really fast downhill, but are a lot slower uphill, so having another one close as we went up the hills really helped me feel like we were going at a reasonable pace and still making progress.

We did a pretty good job of navigating through downtown Bellingham – only one wrong turn that we figured out fairly quickly – and got to our hotel a little after 5.  We had some Thai food for dinner and started feeling incredibly sleepy before we finished eating.  We weren’t really sore, but I was so tired that I was thinking “How the heck did I ever ride over 200 miles in one day last year?”  We fell asleep before 8, and slept for over 10 hours.

Saturday morning we loaded our luggage on the truck and ate breakfast at our motel before we checked out.  We finally got riding by about 7:45.   Kayla wasn’t feeling sore except for her seat, and I noticed that my tandem seat was a little different in shape and size than my regular seat, so I had one or two spots that felt slightly bruised.  Our legs felt good, though, so I wasn’t too worried.

The highlight of Saturday morning was the unguarded border monument.  In our ride directions, one part has the parenthetical instruction [DO NOT RIDE ACROSS THE DITCH INTO CANADA]  I was curious what this ditch looked like.  Our last mile before we crossed into Canada we rode on an empty country road that paralleled the border, with a similarly empty road on the Canadian side.  For most of the way there was a good sized ditch with grass growing on the sides and water at the bottom separating the two roads, but at one small point the ditch was filled in and there as a little monument (shaped like Washington monument, but about 3 feet high) marking the international border.  A couple of guys stopped to take a picture, but I didn’t have a camera with me…

About 30 minutes after we had crossed the border and resumed riding we came to a very steep hill.  It was not really long – maybe 4 or 5 minutes of riding – but very steep and several people got off to walk up it.  Kayla and I managed to spin all the way up it and didn’t have to walk, but I was sweaty and had my heart and lungs trying to catch up by the time we reached the top.

We had some bad luck with bees on Saturday.  First I had one fly into my helmet while we were riding, but it managed to find its way out without stinging me.  Kayla was less fortunate.  We were eating at a food stop, and she took a bit of her granola bar just as a bee was sampling it.  She got stung on her tongue and on the inside of her lip.  It started swelling some, and she started feeling a bit weaker as we started riding again.  After about an hour her swelling was down and she got her strength back – Kayla is pretty tough!

Eventually as we approached Vancouver we had to do a lot of riding on roads that were pretty busy and not so pretty.  I didn’t have a very good idea of how much riding we had left until we were in downtown Vancouver.  We finished at 2:20 this afternoon, and are feeling fine.  We aren’t nearly as sleepy tonight!

We both enjoyed the ride a lot, and Kayla would like to do it again next year! I am planning to do the Lake Stevens triathlon next August, but will probably do something like drive a private support vehicle if she can convince a friend to do it with her.



  1. Great job!!! It sounds like you guys had a great ride and a lot of fun 🙂 Tell Kayla good job as well.

  2. sounds like a great father-daughter cooperation! Hope Kayla’s beestings are better–she IS tough!

  3. Wow You just do not stop Brad. Tell Kayla Great job. If I had been stung by a bee twice in the mouth I would have been looking for plan B to get to Vancouver.

  4. That sounds like a fun ride…I’m impressed that Kayla did it (too bad about the bee, though). Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do this one in the future, too (and Ramrod!).

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