Those of you in the PacNW have likely heard of the (in)famous “Seattle to Portland” ride, or “STP.” It is produced by a large local bike club and sponsored by a large corporate health care entity. I’ve ridden it several times over the years, and it has its charms. But going for a bike ride with 10,000 of my closest friends has gotten…tiresome and cloying. When I first starting riding bikes a few years ago, STP was something of a challenge. A double century over two days seemed to be something epic, something life changing. At the time, it was something to aim for, and I’m glad I did it a few times with Mrs/Dr Eightzero.
Last year was the last time I’m doing that ride. Oh, it was fun. Nothing Bad happened. The weather was perfect. We had a good time. But…if I hear “on your left” or “CAR BACK!” one more time, I’m gonna frame pump someone. Yes, I ride casually deliberately. Yes, I know there are cars on the road. But just stop it. I Obey Rule #59, so I don’t give a shit if you’re on my left. And actually, I do own the road. I ride as far to the right as is safe, and always actually look over my shoulder if I change lines. Thus, I am obeying not only the Rules, but the law in this state as well.
The bike club wants $100 for this “fun” and while I understand it is a fund raiser for their various advocacy efforts, for $100 I get little in return. Some cheap-ass Costco snacks and bag transport. 10,000 people at a finish line “festival” means I wait in line for 20 minutes for a $5 beer, then there’s no where to sit to enjoy it.
So, rather than go all eveyln STeVens further, I’ve decided a Cogal is just the antidote. Cogals lack everything I just described. Velominati are particularly good bike handlers. There’s no yelling on a Cogal, only V, V, and more V. When we recover, we fill the table with empty beer bottles in a comfy corner of a local brewery. Hence, the STV Summer Cogal in Arlington WA on July 12, 2014. If you plan on doing STP, well, have fun. STV is on that weekend, so you can’t do both. I hope you have a $100 worth of fun. STV, OTOH, adheres to the Keepers’ Cogal Principles: Open to all; Free to all. And Epic. Way Epic.
As is the tradition with the Settle Summer Cogal, we start and end at a Brewery. In this case, the Skookum Brewery near the Arlington Airport. A short spur away from our loop into the North Cascades, we are taking the route listed as one of the 75 Classic Washington State rides.
We plan Casually Deliberate, and will have a periodic regrouping at a couple of the small “towns” as there are several places to refuel and rewater along the route. It is my experience that for long, epic rides like this, company to chat with during the ride is much desired (just not 10,000 people that think that going for a 100 mile ride is life changing, and thus all have stern looks of concentration like they think a freeway overpass is the Fucking Stelvio.) Still, I expect the occasional double-pacelines to form, and we can hammer along a bit, but comraderie is best served on the road.
Route Directions are here.
We may make a few detours to get supplies. The best roads are a little off the beaten commercial highways where there are stores, supplies. Note this is route is Grand Fondo distance – longer than a (Imperial) Century. As a loop, there is no turning back – you’re committed, so bring supplies and a plan. IOW: Epic.
Casually Deliberate, but multiple groups may form. Take particular note of distances and opportunities for refuel/ rewater. This is not an urban ride. It is spectacularly scenic, and while it is long, it is not overly vertical, and therefore very doable for those us that are always Too Fat To Climb.