The SIR 200K

March 20, 2004

A Ride Report by Kent Peterson

Robin Pieper, MArk Vande Kamp and Kent Peterson at the start of the SIR 200K
Robin Peiper, Mark Vande Kamp and Kent Peterson standing around getting cold. Photo by Tony Licuanan.

I wake at 3:00 AM and utter something terse and timely but because I'm a randonneur I get up instead of rolling over and going back to sleep. As I'm making my morning coffee, I glance out the window at the thermometer -- it's a brisk 34 degrees in beautiful downtown Issaquah. Again I utter something terse and timely and I grab another layer of clothes. At 3:56 AM, I'm out the door and on my bike.

It's a lovely morning for a ride; clear, cool and quiet. The soft scent of the blooming trees and the dark outlines of the mountains could easily be part of Basho's 17th century haiku travel sketches instead of a backdrop for an increasingly urgent 21st century. As I roll small and silent over the rolling hills of the Issaquah-Hobart Road I'm reminded that I really do love the pre-dawn rides; it's my chance to live in a less populated world, a world where I have the time to watch the day unfold. I ride south to Ravensdale, turn on right on the Kent Kangley Road and follow it to Lake Meridian Park. From here I follow the last section of the 200K route sheet and at 5:48 AM I'm in Greg Cox's suburban neighborhood. I'm the first rider there, but I see Ken Bonner's van and in a few minutes more riders appear. Greg and Bob Brudvik set up a table and begin taking registrations.

Check In
Bob Brudvik and Greg Cox register the riders. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

The day is improbably clear and even though it promises to be a lovely day, it's chilly in the start area. I wind up having dozens of conversations with people I've known for years and some folks I'm meeting for the first time. Mitchel Schoenfeld is fairly new to randonneuring and he asks me about what I eat and drink on rides. "Whatever I find at the markets along the way," I advise him, pulling a PayDay bar out of my pocket by way of illustration. "These things are terrific!" "Yeah," David Huelsbeck adds, "but you have to remember that 'Kent Peterson is not a nutritional role model'" quoting what has become one of my more infamous observations. David fuels himself with his own custom energy liguid whose primary ingredient is maltodexterin. My primary fuel is mostly peanuts, sugar and corn syrup; 260 calories of tasty carmelly peanutty goodness with a whopping 130 fat calories.

Ther is a wide variety of bicycle types here at the 200K. In addition to the usual assortment of Litespeeds, Treks and Cannondales there are some really unique bikes as well. I'm ridng an old Schwin Madison fixed gear bike, a bike my pal Tony had insisted that I adopt when he got his new titanium Seven fixed gear. Both Mark Vande Kamp and Wayne Methner are riding fixed gear bikes today and Ken Krichman is riding his is ancient French bike as a single speed. Michael Rasmussen is up here from Portland and is riding a Bike Friday Llama. I see another rider has a Moulton and Pete Liekkio is riding his sleek and fast titanium Bachetta recumbent. My friend Joe "Road Warrior" Kochanowski is riding his first brevet on one of his low and frightening basement-built recumbents.

Ken Krichman and Tony Licuanan
Ken Krichman and Tony Licuanan. Self portrait by Tony Licuanan.

The Gang at the Start
The gang at the start. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

Pre-Ride briefing
Greg Cox gives the pre-ride briefing. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

Just before 7:00 AM Greg gives the pre-ride briefing. Seconds before launch, Jan Heine and Will Roberts, who'd ridden in from Seattle, sweep into the start area. Jan is a speedy fellow and in one quick motion he grabs up a control card and route sheet. Jan and the lead group blur off into the clear blue yonder while the rest of us wander down the road at our respective paces toward the Black Diamond Bakery.

Black Diamond Bakery
The Black Diamond Bakery Control. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

The Black Diamond Bakery is an excellent control point, featuring two of life's essentials: donuts and coffee. While I'm not riding at the thrilling speeds set by the lead group, my target time of a ten hour 200K doesn't give me loads of time for lingering at controls. My caffeine level is still sufficiently high so I don't bother with coffee but a cake donut is just the thing to munch on while I pedal on to the next control.

Rolling toward Ravensdale
Rolling toward Ravensdale. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

I roll through Ravensdale and up the Issaquah-Hobart Road. This section of the course is an out & back and this means that on the way into Hobart I get to see the riders ahead of me and on the way back from Hobart I get to see the riders behind me. Even though I wind up riding by myself for most brevets, a course like this one lets any rider travelling at a reasonable rate of speed see pretty much all the other riders at some point.

The Hobart Market Control. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

Is is usual with most brevets, I see people I know at the controls. Even if we don't ride at identical paces, some people are faster or slower at the controls. My pal Wayne Methner is buying supplies at the same time I'm checking out at the Hobart Market and he insists on buying my chocolate milk. I know it's useless to argue with him about this; Wayne is a kind of bicycling Bodhisatva who rides lightly by lightening the burdens of others. In a typical mixture of pragmatism and compassion, Wayne refuses the change generated by this transaction. "Apply it to the next cyclist to come through here," he says to the store clerk. Wayne might insist that he's only looking to have fewer coins to carry up the hills, but I know better.

It's warmer now and at the Hobart control I stow some of my warmer clothes in my pack. I retrace the route back south to Ravensdale, exchanging shouted greetings with riders still heading towards Hobart. On the rolling hills of this section, Pete Liekkio and I keep passing and repassing each other. Since I'm on the fixed gear, I'm a bit faster on the climbs but Pete is on his titanium recumbent and he can really make that thing fly on the descents and flat sections of the course.

Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier rises above the Enumclaw Plateau. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

Road to Enumclaw
The Road to Enumclaw. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

Will Roberts
Will Roberts. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

Mark Vande Kamp
Mark Vande Kamp. Self portrait by Mark Vande Kamp.

Tony's Fixer
Tony Licuanan rolling toward Greenwater. Photo by Mark Vande Kamp.

From our small perspective geography is constant but weather can change from moment to moment. As the day warms a river of air flows down from the mountain and across the Enumclaw Plateau. It's a headwind for the climb up to Greenwater, but the trees block the worst of the wind for much of the climb. In the small roadside streams and pools a chorus of frogs pursue their own amphibian agenda and provide a lovely audio backdrop for the day.

As I ride toward Greenwater, a white pickup truck with a topper slows and pulls along side me. My friend Stephan is driving and his wife Junko calls out words of encouragement. They ask me about our various mutual friends and I fill them in on who I think is where relative to my position on the road. They drive ahead a ways and then loop back to check on other riders. As I get closer to Greenwater, I see more of the faster riders heading back down Highway 410.

At 11:30 AM I pull into Greenwater and stop at the market to get my control card signed. There are many other riders here at this time but since I'd had the foresight to take a quick bathroom break shortly before I got to Greenwater, that's one less line in which I have to wait. I grab a quick lunch of cold chicken nuggets, a pint of milk and four peanut butter cups. I also buy a bottle of green tea which I pour into my waterbottle before I get back out on the road.

The return trip down Highway 410 is faster than the climb had been. I see the rest of the riders and just before I turn onto Mud Mountain Road, I see Michael Rasmussen. I do the math in my head and I'm thinking that he must be running pretty close to the time cut off for the brevet, but I shout out something encouraging. I know that Mike is new to this kind of riding and a 200K is a new challenge for him.

On the flatter section of Mud Mountain Road I wind up chatting with a couple of other riders. These fellows are on bikes sporting canvas bags, Brooks saddles and shellacked handlebars: what I'd call the full "Rivendell Package" The bikes themselves aren't Rivendells, they're older Raleighs and when I ask about this one of the guys comments that it's a lot cheaper to get an old Raleigh than a new Rivendell.

I ask if these fellows have ridden this course before and they tell me it's new to them, so I fill them in on the upcoming descent. "You'll love it," I say. "There's a turn up here and then it's a twisty descent back toward Enumclaw." I point out that I'm riding fixed and can only descend as fat as I can pedal so I add "you'll drop me in a heartbeat on the descent." One of the riders asks if we're done with the hills after Mud Mountain. "Mostly," I reply, "we'll head through Buckly and South Prairie and well South Prairie is like it sounds. It's pretty flat between South Prairie and Orting and then we head back to Enumclaw. We'll go back into the Green River Valley and there's one wicked climb to get out of the valley, but we've done most of the day's climbing already." My two companions look relieved at this news and as I predicted, they roll on ahead once we hit the descent.

After the descent, Mud Mountain Road turns of the the left and goes over a series of small rolling hills. I catch and pass the two Raleigh riders and then work my way to Orting. At 136 PM in Orting I  buy another pint of milk, a bottle of fruit punch Powerade, two peanut butter cups and two granola bars. There are plenty of riders at the control when I pull in and more show up in the ten minutes I'm off the bike. I'd thought that Amy Pieper was ahead of me but as she pulls in and explains that she'd missed the last Mud Mountain turn. She comments that the reflex action to follow the RAMROD route was just too ingrained and she had to double back once she'd realized her error. Ken Krichman and Tom Brett are buying supplies as I'm leaving and I pantomime to Ken that I'm leaving my leftover Powerade for him. As I pull out of town, I see Joe Kochanowski and Tony Licuanan pulling in and I wave and shout words of encouragement to them.

More wind and specatacular views of Mount Rainier are the main features of the ride back to Buckley. On the edge of Enumclaw I stop at the the Boise Creek grocery store control. Another rider jokes that the store is out of PayDay bars but the store actually turns out to be quite well stocked. I buy a pint of milk and a PayDay for the road while the fellow ahead of me in line gets some real nutrition -- a Butterfinger ice cream bar. Tom Brett comments that he really doesn't have much for legs today but as near as I can tell he's been doing fine.

The ride across the farmland around Enumclaw is quite familiar to me and I cruise in on autopilot. I'm very familiar with the descent into the valley and the climb back out. Once I crest the hill and turn left, it really is a gentle downhill run most of the way to Greg's place. I ride through the twists and turns of Greg's neighborhood and 4:30 PM I'm done.

As usual Greg and Mary have a big chili feed for all the riders. I stay for an hour, scarfing down some food and chatting with my fellow randonneurs. At 5:30, I hop back on my bike and ride back to Issaquah.

SIR 200 km Results - March 20, 2004
Name Time
Philippe Andre 7:50
Dan Austad 11:05
Patti Austad 11:03
Ken Bonner 7:30
Donald Boothby 10:03
Daniel Boxer 10:20
Tom Brett 9:37
Christopher Brosell 9:42
Bob Brudvik 9:04
Ken Carter 7:30
Chris Chamberlin 9:11
Christopher Copeland 7:30
Greg Cox 9:04
Ray Farrell 10:15
Sarah Gallazin 9:44
Bill Gobie 12:30
Rick Haight 9:16
Doug Hallam 9:20
Michael Haselman 9:16
Jan Heine 7:03
Ron Himschoot 10:10
David Huelsbeck 8:35
Orville Husted 8:40
Christof Irran 11:01
Mark Jacox 9:17
David Johnson 8:48
Name Time
Paul Johnson 11:42
Ron Kaplan 10:50
Colin Kennedy 9:37
Sean Knoflick 9:42
Joseph Kochonowski 9:47
John Kramer 8:55
Ken Krichman 9:37
Edward Lange 8:49
Ben Larson 7:08
Tony Licuanan 10:05
Peter Liekkio 9:11
John Little 9:44
Patty Lyman 10:50
Robert Magyar 11:01
E."Max" Maxon 10:50
Ray McFall 10:31
Peter McKay 9:17
Mark Meininger 8:45
Wayne Methner 8:35
John Morris 8:41
Brian Ohlemeier 7:30
Kenneth Peterson 11:03
Kent Peterson 9:30
Kenneth Philbrick 7:08
Amy C. Pieper 9:59
Robin J. Pieper 8:23
Name Time
David Rainey 9:04
Peter Rankin 8:26
Michael Rasmussen dnf
Dave Read 8:26
Andrew Repanich 10:21
Stan Reynolds 8:26
Owen Richards 10:15
Mitch Richeson 10:20
William Roberts 8:30
Steve Rossano 10:26
Ann Schelert 7:50
Mitchel Schoenfeld 9:47
Sylvia Shiroyama 10:53
Robert Simmons 9:47
Dennis Slaback 10:30
Donald Smith 10:30
James Sprague 9:25
Mark Thomas 9:17
Corey Thompson 10:20
Daniel Turner 8:48
Mark Vande Kamp 8:30
Mike Wellborn 8:40
Paul Whitney 10:30
Peg Winczewski 10:36
Robert Winn 8:47
Duane Wright 10:53