RSVP – Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party, Day 1

We’re not sure how it’s possible that each weekend event here seems even better than the last — but RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver and Party) was simply amazing.

Gorgeous route — much of it on wide bike paths — and, as always, spectacular scenery. Outstanding organization. Great camaraderie. A fun bike festival in Bellingham, and as promised a nice post-ride party in Vancouver. Berry picking while waiting in line to clear Customs at the border (fortunately, we had to wait only 30 minutes or so; others who came later got stuck for 90. Not so fun).

And in the very small world category: When we stopped along Chuckanut Drive to admire the view and pose in our NYCC jerseys, two couples in a car called out to us and asked if we really were from New York. After we explained that we’d moved to Seattle eight months ago, one of the men asked where we’d lived in New York. “Manhattan.” “Where in Manhattan?” “Harlem.” “Where in Harlem?” “Central Harlem.” “Where in Central Harlem?” “122nd and Lenox.”

“I graduated from Brother Rice High School!” — two blocks up at 124th and Lenox. Paula even attended a neightborhood association meeting at the high school, shortly before it closed.

What’s more, this guy used to teach in Stony Brook — where Paula went to camp as a kid. And his brother-in-law, driving the car, is from Ridgewood — popular haunt of all the NYCC SIGs.

Tour de Peaks – Snoqualmie Valley

This weekend we stayed closer to home with the lovely Tour de Peaks century in the Snoqualmie Valley (after a non-bike trip to Whidbey Island for the Coupeville Arts Festival on Saturday).

The ride started and ended in North Bend, of Twin Peaks fame. Between the start and finish we saw lots of horses, llamas, cows and pigs (including Wendy, pictured below, and Horace and Brenda, not pictured, but caught in the act of, shall we say, relations. Loudly).

A rough version of the route is here.

Ride the Hurricane (Hurricane Ridge)

Some 4,500 to 5,000 feet of vertical gain in an 18-mile continuous climb — and then a thrilling swoop back down again. Surrounded every foot of the way by stunning scenery — and on this day, no cars for most of the journey. Such is the glory of the official Ride the Hurricane up Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park. Plus, they served chocolate milk at the top!

This was a great follow to the Tour de Lavender the day before. A fantastic cycling weekend in yet another stunning area of Washington.

Needless to say, the two of us did not climb this little hill together — Timothy being a strong climber who had fun reeling people in, and Paula being more than a bit climbing-challenged. Still, it was a fantastic trek for both of us.

Paula went into it more than a bit intimidated. But it actually wasn’t all that hard. Just long. There were no pitches above 9 percent and even those were few. So it was just a matter of grinding it out. And grinding it out some more. And more. For 18 miles. While taking pictures.

Timothy employed his usual methodical approach, being careful not to blow up early on, then breezing past those who pushed too much too soon.

And then, the descent! With no cars! (Just for this ride; usually there’s car traffic, but not all that much).  Being able to blast down amid all that beauty with no worries of cars was simply unforgettable. As one rider said at the gathering afterward: “That descent was the best thing EVER.”