This was a biggie for me - my longest ride ever.
The ride started at 6:30 am at Mark Thomas's house. It was really nice we arrived early so were able to have muffins and coffee and chat with the other riders. Mark gave the send off speech on the brevet - told us "Lets be Careful out There". The ride started with a few nasty hills which brought us to White Stallion station at the top of the Woodinville hill but from the opposite direction that I usually approach it from so that was strange. We headed down the hill and out towards Snohomish - I think it was too early and we were not yet thinking straight because some how we ended up at the Maltby Cafe - a quick look at the map and realized we had missed a turn. Back on track we made it through Snohomish but down Highway 9 instead of Springetti. I don't know if the difference was that it was so early or that Highway 9 is more in the Valley then Springetti is - but this section of the ride was NASTY - my glasses got coated with a fine fog and I just hoped it wasn't from the cow poop sprayers we had spotted fertilizing fields on another day. We made a quick stop at the Arlington control which is a split Chevron/McDonalds and had some grease filled breakfast sandwiches to get us up the road.
Just outside Arlington - I spotted another weird place I want to visit on another day - called the Kangaroo Ranch - they have Roo's, Ostriches and who knows what else. I'm going to lead a ride with this place as the destination. I'm still planning to lead a ride with the snake place in Gold Bar as a destination also.
Between Arlington and Darrington we heard some rustling in the bushes and I looked back to see what was there. It wasn't a what but a who - an Italian Greyhound decided he needed to race us and looked very pleased with himself that he had beat us. In Darrington we stopped at the next control which was the Stagecoach Inn - the Stagecoach Inn had been an overnight on the 1000 k brevet which was being held concurrently with the 400k. Peter Rankin and Greta Olson met us there and Pete made us a few yummy sandwiches to order. We headed out to Rockport and made a left to go to the town of Concrete.
Concrete is a weird town that needs more exploring on another day. It does have a beautiful bridge and damn but it also has a very ugly concrete plant (hence the name). I stopped at the grocery store and had some fruit, ensure plus and got my control card signed. It always cracks me up to look in the garbage at the stops - the garbage was full of water bottles and ensure bottles. From Concrete we headed down the Valley to Sedro Wooley at this point we began to see the BC Randos out on the Blizzard 600 k. The Blizzard 600k went from Dairy Queen to Dairy Queen and was organized by my fried Melissa Friessan and her husband Scott Gater. I amused myself by yelling at the other Rando's that they were SEXY - well aren't we? In Sedro Wooley I stopped for a coffee and saw several more of the BC Randos pass by. From Sedro Wooley on to Bow and up Chuckanut Drive - we stopped at the Hagen Foods for dinner. After dinner I had some issues with my new lights - turns out the secondary light needed to be turned off and then turned back on once I was underway which is kinda quirky but boy are these new lights bright.
Down Chuckanut drive - onto the Bay View State park - we rode with John Vincent and James Gutholm for a big stretch of this but I was slowing down and needed a break so we took a quick stop and didn't see them again until the finish.
Peter McKay met us with more food at the Secret Control and we pushed back on to the same Chevron/McDonalds in Arlington. Alas the Micky D's was closed so I settled for some chocolate milk and continued on. After Arlington it was a long stretch on Highway 9 and it started getting lighter. Again on Highway 9 we rode through nasty foggy bit. We turned off 9 and were on the familiar roads again - it seemed like it took forever to go the last 20 miles. I went through the last of my ensure plus and several bars and gu's just to keep going. Up a few last nasty hills and lots of little turns and we were back at Mark's house. Hadn't we just left Mark's? Oh yeah that was 25 hours ago. Chris fed us some rice and gumbo. We took showers, Bob took a nap and I had a good time chatting with Chris and the other finishers that were still at Marks. After Bob and I drove home a few hours later - I fell asleep and did not wake up until 9:00 p.m had a few eggs for dinner and went back to bed at 10:00 p.m.