Like I mentioned a little while ago, I've been slacking on the distance riding as of late. Saturday brought the perfect excuse to get back on the road bike though, since it was the first "official" event on the 2011 SIR calendar.
The Spring Populaire is always a pretty popular event, and it seems to give people a chance to come out of their winter hibernation, shoot the breeze while putting away 100 kilometers, and still be home before dinner. This year seemed a lot bigger than last, judging by the number of people I noticed in the parking lot (UPDATE: I just got an email from SIR saying there were over 140 finishers. Holy crap!)
I was with the usual set of suspects (Chris, Josh, and Robert), but throughout the day I ran into just about every other rando I know, and met a few that I didn't know. The route was fantastic, and the stretch on Elliott Road between Maltby/Snohomish and the Sammamish River Valley was fantastic. Both Chris and were left scratching our heads, since both of us have ridden in that area countless times without ever riding that particular stretch of road.
The sun made a few appearances during the day, rare for Seattle in early March, and the ride was as pleasant as just about any I can recall. Both Chris and I felt strong on the bikes, so we ended up riding pretty swiftly throughout the day, coming into the finish just a few minutes under the 4-hour mark. Pretty damn fast for me, anyways. The route had a couple climbs, but nothing too soul-crushing. The climb up and over Issaquah-Fall City Road is always tough, and tends to split up any group that tries to ride together. I definitely just had to put my head down, shut my mouth, and chug up that stretch.
It was great to be back in the world of randonneuring, and the whole event made me that much more excited for the 2011 season to get underway. The master plan for 2011 is to do a full Super Randonneur series (200, 300, 400 and 600 kilometers), before heading to France for PBP. If everything goes according to this elaborate plan, I'll have the 200 and 300 under my belt before the month is up.
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