On August 5 and 6, 2011 Odette and Jerry rode the Cascade Bike Club RSVP with Alex and Carrie and Virginia and David.
We had a rough time signing up because Cascade took their registration system in-house this year and did a bad job of it. In the end we all got on the ride, though, and Odette at least was motivated to train for it.
We rode a lot on the tandem to get ready, including a heavily loaded tour to Victoria and back. We didn’t do a single century, however, and I was worried about endurance.
We had the new tandem for two weekends before RSVP and had a total of about 180 miles on it when we took off for Vancouver. I liked the tailrider trunk bag I saw on the leaders’ bike when we did the Kittsap ride so I ordered one from Arkel and it arrived the night before we left.
The first day was uneventful. Unlike last year, we left from the UW and not Sand Point and we rode up 35th and Lake City Way instead of the Burke Gilman. It was overcast and drizzly but it never really rained on us. We waited over an hour at the Machias rest stop for Virginia and David and about that long again at the Mt. Vernon rest stop. We got lots of comments on the pretty bike. Everything worked well – no annoying sounds and no mechanical problems. No hills that seemed strenuous although the lemonade at the top of Chuckanut was really welcome. (The sun came out just before that point.)
We had free ice cream at the Day’s Inn and spent the night at the Bay City Motor Inn. We put the tandem in the room with us which meant taking it downstairs in the elevator! We had a long soak in the jacuzzi when we couldn’t locate the shower. We ate thai food and went to sleep early.
We got the bike back up the elevator and had breakfast at 6:00. We dropped off our bag and were back on the road by 6:30. We picked up a single rider who drafted us from somewhere on Northwest Road into Lynden. He stopped at Dutch Mothers’ while we fixed a flat we got from an upholstery tack as we came into town. He picked us up again before we got to Two Ditch road but I sprinted across in front of a tow truck and he dropped off after that. We met Alex and Carrie at the border just before 8:00 and there were maybe a couple dozen people in line ahead of us. We didn’t wait for Virginia, but Odette called while we were on a detour (before 248th) and heard that they were just getting to the crossing. We cranked up “The Wall” slowly and spent almost an hour at the rest stop in Ft. Langley. We rode with Alex and Carrie from there into Vancouver and we felt pretty strong. I didn’t realize that oncoming traffic wasn’t stopped and almost got us mushed in Coquitlam. Odette got really frantic when she thought I’d skipped the mini-stop in Port Moody. (The watermelon there tasted really good.) Barnet Highway wasn’t as much of a climb as I remembered (not being hot was a big help) and the Francis/Union & Adanac bike routes were as interesting to everybody else as they had been to me the year before.
As we pulled up to the stop sign at one of the major crossings on Adanac we heard a whooshing sound and our back tire deflated. Evidently the tube I put in back in Lynden failed, because it had about a quarter-inch hole in it on the inside where a spoke-head allowed it to expand. The rim was still really hot after I’d taken it off the bike and taken the tire off the rim, so I expect that contributed to the failure. Made me think about wider tires and/or a disc brake.
Chinatown and Gastown were fun and the end was totally anticlimactic as we went down the ramp into the garage without even a balloon arch. We put the bike in the corral and then had beer and burgers and relaxed for an hour or so until Virginia and David and Jeff and Tilly showed up and we all headed over to the place we were staying. The room there was nice, the shower felt good and the air conditioning worked – but we had to walk half-an-hour with a heavy bag to get there. We also walked half-an-hour to a good Italian place for dinner.
We got up early in the morning and hefted our bags and walked back to the Coast Plaza for breakfast. We reclaimed the bike just after 8:00 and then waited until about 10:00 to put it on a truck (note for next year – tandems load last.) Odette and Alex & Carrie waited across the street and were designated the start of the bus line so that when I finally got loaded we were first in line. We got on the bus half-an-hour later and had an uneventful ride back to Seattle – everybody had to get out at the border but they processed us through quickly. The trucks with the bikes arrived ten minutes after we did and the tandems unloaded first so that my bike was forth or fifth off the truck. Came home, replenished the repair kit and we’re ready to go again!
Here’s our map.
Here’s the PDF of the booklet (and here’s the queue sheet on the CBC website.) Here’s the update email a week before the ride. Here’s the email with last-minute route changes. Here’s the 2011 map of the revised route at the start.
We didn’t take any photos but we saw the Marathon guys all along the route and here are the photos they took.