Yesterday, Nate and I got out and did the annual Monster Cookie Ride, sponsored by the Salem Bicycle Club — a 62 mile metric century. The route travels from the state capitol in Salem, out to Champoeg State Park, and back.
We got there at just a little before 8am for Day Of Ride registration, and the line was already pretty long. But it was beautiful out and no one seemed to mind waiting just a bit. I heard they had received nearly 1000 pre-ride registrations, and I’m sure there were a few hundred more waiting in line before and after us since it was the first nice day in forever. Turns out they had a record 1600+ riders for the event.
Early on, we saw a gentleman down, and wondered if it might have been from the clogged traffic as the cones forced the group into a path over the train tracks. He had several people helping him, and was talking to someone on a cell phone, so we assumed he was doing ok. A couple of times it bunched up like that, but didn’t seem too bad overall. (edit – turns out a poster on Bike Forums indicated this IS what happened, someone stopped short on him coming to that spot.) The rest stops were all great, plenty of cookies, fruit, drinks, coffee, bagels, and other assorted snacks. Here’s a view of the lunch stop.
The most impressive thing for me was that Nate decided to go last minute with me. He doesn’t own a road bike and has never even been on one before. He rides some mountain bike, and used to do some adventure racing, but said “I’d go if you had a bike for me.” The only other bike I had that would fit him, was my Redline 925 — the previously mentioned single speed. He hopped on it Saturday night around 11 pm, took it up the street and back, and said, “Ok, I’m in.” Ha! And so he rode yesterday, with ONE gear, 62 miles, never having been on a road bike before. Here’s a shot of him rolling along with one gear.
I’m sure they were out there, but we kept looking and didn’t see any other single speeds, or “fixies” (one gear, no freewheel – when the rear wheel is turning, backwards or forwards, so are the cranks….crazy on fast downhills!), until we bumped into Michael Wolfe from South Salem Cycleworks on his fixie. He had threatened earlier in the week to do it, and turns out he did. Here’s him and Nate cruising at the same stretch, just one gear each – Michael in black, Nate in blue.
I felt bad on hills — Nate had no option but to crank hard to get up the hill. I tried to shift as quietly as I could…with a tinge of guilt for having the ability to just spin it up. Fortunately there weren’t too many on this ride, but even just the few smaller ones are plenty tricky on the single speed. (Especially for a guy on his first road ride.)
We made it back to the capitol 5 hrs and 22 minutes after taking off – 4 hours and 1 minute of rolling time, and the rest was rest stops, and a stop when we saw my family on the roadside cheering us on near the end. I was really pleased with keeping a 15 mph average, especially with Nate on one gear the whole way. Here are a few folks catching some much needed rest at the end.