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I love this ride. For 5 years now, I’ve been raising money for Fred Hutch and doing long bike rides. This time I signed up for the 100 miler. After not doing much training at all, my plan was just to finish the ride without being in too much pain.

The festivities kicked off on Friday with a concert and dinner. I don’t know what Maya and Artie liked more – the candy or the dancing. But we all had a great time.

Sunday morning I was out of the the house by 6:30. I rode the 5 miles downhill to Fred Hutch and helped myself to a second breakfast at the start line.

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At 7:30 we were off, cruising down around Lake Washington, through Renton and on to the Green River Trail.

While on the trail I got chatting with Bradley the ex-Marine. After exchanging pleasantries, we got talking about cancer. When he was in the Marines, one of his closest friends complained about his shoulder hurting. 6 months later his friend died from a rare type of lymph node cancer. Bradley said that was harder than anything he saw in Afghanistan or Iraq.

We parted ways at the next rest stop. This is where the hills started, but they never got too bad. Rolling hills and quiet country roads. My favorite kind of riding.

Around mile 50, I felt a familiar squishiness in my rear tire. Damn! A flat! Thankfully I was only a few hundred feet to the next rest stop. I gingerly rode up and had a helpful mechanic take care of my flat in minutes. He was out of tubes, but lucky me, I always ride with a spare.

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So I rode on, through another 20 miles or so. More beautiful country roads. Then I felt that squishy feeling again. Another flat tire! Except now I’ve got no spare tube, and no mechanic in sight. I do keep some self-adhesive patches in my bag just in case, but I’ve never used them. Well, I guess I’m going find out if they’re any good. So I do my best field-repair and thankfully it seems to hold. I’m off again, back on the trail and up toward Lake Washington.

I rolled into the finish at Gas Works park at 4:00. Jen and the kids — also known as my “Team Car” — came to pick me up and spared me from having to ride home. At home there was a cute sign and a cold beer, both with my name on them.

 

Final stats:

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There are many different methods to train for a 100 mile bike ride. A method I’ve had success with in the past I call the pre-dad method.

The pre-dad method

6 months before the ride, build your plan. Start by building up your base fitness with hard, short rides. With three months to go do a series of long rides, with each one 10% longer than the last. Keep a detailed spreadsheet of your rides to ensure that you’re meeting your targets. Over the course of these months, carefully dial in your nutrition and gear. In the final two weeks, taper your training down so that you have fresh legs for the event. Crush it.

This year, I’m trying a different approach…

The two-kids-under-5 method

In January, sign up for a charity ride. In July, realize that you’ve got 4 weeks until the ride. Make a plan to go on 2 or 3 “long rides” before then. Sneak in a 30 miler one Sunday afternoon when both kids are napping. The next weekend plan for 60 miles, then break a spoke 15 miles into the ride. In the final two weeks, taper your training down by taking a business trip and not riding at all. Assume that you’re still going to crush it.

We’ll see the results of this method on Sunday. I’m sure it’ll be great.

PS. There’s still time to donate!

This is the second year for Obliteride — a fundraiser for the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center. Last year I rode the 50 miler, but I decided I’d go bigger this year and go for the full 100. Like last year, my friends and family generously donated a ton of money, helping me raise $1,664!

The weekend started with a party at Gasworks Park.

Jen and Maya enjoying the music.

Jen and Maya enjoying the music.

Some inspiration for the hard miles ahead.

Some inspiration for the miles ahead.

Michael Franti rocking the party. Maya said he was too loud.

Michael Franti rocking the party. Maya said he was too loud.

I decided that it only made sense to ride to the start. It was just 7 miles, all downhill. Sunday morning I was out the door at 6:15, taking a leisurely pace to the start at Magnuson Park. I was woefully under-trained for a ride like this, so I had only two goals.

  1. Finish
  2. Have fun
The 100 mile riders lined up.

The 100 mile riders lined up.

It was the perfect Seattle summer morning. 60 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. And we were off, cruising through closed-off streets and around the south end of Lake Washington.

Along the shores of Lake Washington

Along the shores of Lake Washington

Along the shores of Lake Washington.

Through the Renton Airport where Boeing does final testing on the 737.

I was trying to take it easy and pace myself. Because from there we went out east and hit the two big climbs of the day. First Squak Mountain, then Tiger Mountain. After those climbs I was still feeling good and had only 60 miles to go.

This guy and I rode together for about 30 miles, trading pulls. He did most of the pulling.

This guy and I rode together for about 30 miles, trading pulls. He did most of the pulling.

This woman had flags on her bike showing everyone she's riding for. I guess she's not concerned about aerodynamics.

This woman had flags on her bike showing everyone she’s riding for. I guess she’s not concerned about aerodynamics.

Looking good at one of the rest stops.

Looking good at one of the rest stops.

I stopped for lunch at Marymoor park just after the halfway point. That’s when I started to feel the effects of under-training. It was getting hot. My legs were sore. My butt was sore. My back was sore. But I kept turning the cranks.

Climbing the last big hill of the day. Mile 80ish.

Climbing the last big hill of the day. Mile 80ish.

At Seward Park,the last rest stop of the day. I needed a break. 15 miles to go.

At Seward Park,the last rest stop. I needed a break. 15 miles to go.

The finish line!

The finish line!

I rolled into the finish about 8 hours after the start. Sore, tired, and relieved. I guzzled some water, ate some food, and relaxed in the shade.

Oh yeah, I still have to ride home. I slowly climbed back on the bike and slogged through 7 more uphill miles.

I came home to this - "Good job Daddy!"

I came home to this. “Good job Daddy!”

Final stats:

  • 118.4 miles
  • 4,885 feet climbed
  • 7:45 moving time, 10:25 elapsed time
  • Avg: 15.3 mph Max: 36.5 mph

So in the end, I finished, and fun was had (mostly).

Obliteride is a new charity ride to raise money for the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center in Seattle. 100% of the funds raised go to finding cures for cancer. Thanks to the generous donations from my friends and family, I was able to raise $1426.50. The ride raised well over $1.4 million total.

Friday night was the big kickoff party at Gas Works Park. I took Jen and Maya as my plus 1 and a half. They had a great dinner provided by Tom Douglas (our local celebrity chef) and a concert by Michael Franti.

After we sat down with our food, Jen says to me “You know that was Tom Douglas who just gave you your brisket?!” No. I did not notice. I was too focused on the brisket.

Michael Franti put on a great show. It was Maya’s first concert, and she had a blast dancing.

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Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30. Ate a big bowl of oatmeal, downed a cup of coffee, then put on a thick layer of sunscreen.

I rode the 7 miles to the start line at Magnuson Park, grabbed a pastry and got in the group of 50 mile riders. They sang the national anthem and then we were off.

I rode with the masses as we cruised up to Bothell and to the first rest stop at about 15 miles. I loaded up on PB&J and potato wedges, filled my bottles, and hit the road again.

After the first rest stop, I soon found myself riding all alone. I would occasionally worry that I was lost, only to see another reassuring course marker. It was only when the course looped back on itself that I realized why I was so alone. It was because I was way out in front of most of the 50 mile riders. I guess I’m faster than I thought.

During those solo miles I was thinking about my family full of cancer survivors and victims. Jen’s aunt Joan was just diagnosed with breast cancer. Her grandmother battled it years ago. My sister. My cousin. Two of my aunts. Both of my grandfathers. Pedaling up another hill, legs burning, riding for them.

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At the second rest stop, at roughly mile 30, I rolled in to find a throng of volunteers waiting just for me. I loaded up on Clif bars and more potatoes. One little girl working with her mom at the first aid tent asked me “Do you have any blisters? If so, we can help!” Thankfully, I declined.

After that, I rolled through Kirkland, down Holmes Point, and back onto the Burke Gilman Trail. I knew I had about 6 miles left to the finish, and it was all flat from here, so I decided it was time to empty the tank.

I was pushing hard when I caught up with two guys. The three of us formed a little pace line and pushed onward. While stuck at a light, one of them tells me “We’re counting on your young legs to bring us in.” So I obliged by getting on the front and pulling the two of them the rest of the way. I gave it everything I had left, and we were soon at the finish.

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I quickly found the food tent, and tried to replace some of the calories I burned. Kicked off my shoes and enjoyed the sounds of a Beatles cover band for a few minutes.

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But I didn’t stay too long. I still had 7 miles uphill to ride home. I climbed back on the saddle and sluggishly made my way home. A great day of riding for a fantastic cause.

Here’s the data from my day:

  • 66.3 miles
  • 4252 ft of climbing
  • 04:26:59 moving time
  • 14.9 mph avg
  • 40.9 mph max

Route:

route

Elevation profile:

elevation profile