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2003 RSVP (post ride ramblings)

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Old August 11th 03, 02:07 AM
William Higley, Sr.
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Default 2003 RSVP (post ride ramblings)

RSVP 2003

The 2003 RSVP was my first year making the ride on a recumbent. I had some
misgivings about the ride due to relief of the ride. No extreme hills other
than "The Wall", but a fair number of hills that tend to wear on you. The
profile can be seen at http://www.cascade.org/EandR/RSVP_Ride_Info_Desc.cfm

The first day was fairly pleasant with overcast skies and moderate
temperatures. The route takes you out of Seattle along a bicycle trail to
the outlying countryside. Once you are out of the "Big" City you have an
opportunity to see some pleasant countryside for the first 50 miles. Nothing
fantastic but enjoyable to ride along and make new friends.

The second 50 miles of the first day offers a more scenic view with back
roads around lakes, wooded countryside, and some gorgeous views of Puget
Sound from Chuckanut Drive. The first day concludes n Bellingham.

During the first day I had an opportunity to chat with half a dozen
recumbent riders. Most of them were new to recumbents but were having a
wonderful time. Almost all of them had taken up riding recumbents because
recumbents allowed them to ride at length in comfort. This was stated by
nearly all of them. They ranged in age from early 20's to mid 50's. The
highlight of my first day was when I was heading up a modest hill and passed
a paceline of uprights. The comments I heard as I went by were things like
" I thought those things were slow on the hills" and "Well I guess except
for that one". ( I just had to push myself past them at least once so I knew
I could do it.)

The second day started out looking very threatening. Dark ominous clouds to
the South but with breaks to the North. I hoped the front would have move
from East to West but my hopes did not come true. About 30 miles out of
Bellingham we crossed into Canada. The countryside had changed to a more
open farmland with rolling hills. These hills did not seem to bother me as
much as those of the previous day. It was during this stretch that I had the
opportunity to view a cyclist wearing shorts that had a see through butt
panel in the back. (It definitely was not a Kodak moment).

Shortly after we crossed into Canada is a hill they call "The Wall". I had
bad memories of barely being able to make this hill the previous two years
on my road bike and was concerned how I would fair on my recumbent. As it
turns out it was no steeper and less than half the length of some of the
hills I had trained on.

About the time I had got past the wall the skies opened up and I got rained
on for the next 45 miles. It varied in intensity but did not let up until I
was a few miles from the end. I don't think I saw any pacelines once the
rains started. Most of the bikes were throwing water for 10 to 15 feet
behind them.

Even though the weather was not cooperative it was still a fun ride. The
temperatures were moderate so I faired OK. (Although at some point I really
need to quit wearing cotton shirts on these rides.) The scenery in Canada
was quite nice. We passed through several towns, rode through some farmland,
crossed the Frasier River on a ferry, and had a wonderful view of a long
inlet as we closed in on Vancouver.

The route through downtown Vancouver took us through a very active Chinese
community. It was quite interesting. Then the route went down to the
waterfront and into a park. From there we went back into town and the end of
our ride. There were hundreds of us that squished our way through the hotel
and hooked up with the party at the finish line. I met my wife, had a couple
of beers, and chatted with some of the journey's acquaintances.

Final Thoughts
This was my third RSVP and I enjoyed the ride much more than I would have
guessed. Riding the recumbent is a far more relaxed way to travel. The view
from a recumbent is superior to the view from a road bike. I have now ridden
portions of this ride in 95-degree heat into a headwind down chipsealed
roads and through heavy rains. I guess I prefer the rain to the heat. The
heat leaves you feeling burned out while the rain is somewhat refreshing.
(Although 4 hours of refreshing is a little much.)

This ride although similar in length to the STP is much more relaxed. In the
STP you have a circus like mentality. The STP has 7000+ riders taking part
in one of the bigger cycling events. The hoopla that goes with it is
entertaining in it's own right. If you like the circus you will love the

The RSVP is far more laid back. Total riders for the RSVP are usually around
700. The routes have less vehicular travel and you find yourself on
stretches of road where you are the only cyclist you see. I tend to think
the scenery is superior to that of the STP.

I look forward to what next year may bring.

William L. Higley, Sr.
Vision R-50


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