Monday, May 08, 2006
This past weekend I participated in Fleche Pacifique. We rode from Seattle to Harrison Hot Springs. Our team name was the Hamsters because we stuff our cheeks with food along the way and keep those wheels spinning getting lots of exercise. Team members were myself, Bob Magyar, Duane Wright and Tom Killion all on single bikes. Our route went from the Sand Point neighborhood in Seattle, Redmond, Fall City, Carnation, Monroe, Snohomish, Arlington, La Conner, Bellingham, Ferndale, Nugent's Corner, Sumas, Chillawac, and then to Harrison Hot Springs. We aimed to ride over 360 kilometers (225 miles) in 24 hours which is the minimum distance required to participate in the event. Though for seasoned cyclists this does not seem undoable the Fleche has its own set of challenges. One of the challenges is that this is a team event and you can't just do your own thing and ride at your own pace as you can on other brevets. You need to ride with your team and finish as a team. The other challenge is no stops are allowed over 2 hours in length for faster riders they can easily cover the distance in much shorter then 24 hours and get a long rest break but that's not allowed. For slower riders like me and my group a long sleep break was not on the agenda but we did take many mini stops for bio breaks and to eat. Our team took one break too many instead of a short breakfast break in Bellingham it ended up being over an hour and cutting into our riding time - then throw in a few flats and its not hard to go beyond time. Luckily we had padded our mileage and when we went beyond time over 24 hours on the road we had already done 366 km. We rode into Harrison Hot Springs around 5:20 p.m just in time to have a quick shower before heading out to a very well earned calorie laden dinner at the Black Forest a very nice German Restaurant. The next morning was the Fleche Banquet which is one of the best parts of the Fleche. You get to hear the stories of all the other teams and of course eat some really good food. This year 13 teams (59 Riders/ 57 finishers) participated (a team consists of 3-5 machines) the largest team had 11 riders on it with 2 tandems and the smallest team had only 3 members (they didn't finish with a complete team due to one member needing sleep) so its always good to have at least 4 machines in case things happen. The teams that started on Friday night had good weather, Saturdays starters could not say the same - 12 hours of rain for team Green & Gold. One team even brought a wetsuit to the banquet and said that they had wished they had worn that instead. Trophies are also given out at the banquet. The Trophies are for the most mileage, the team with a member under 35 and over 50 and the team with the oldest average age.
The Team - Hot Springs Hamsters
PAC Tour - Hip Chick Reunion and Honary Chick Greg