This weekend Zac Strode '08 and I showed up in Walla Walla just in time for the Whitman Cycling Team's no-drop Friday Team Ride. I hadn't been back since graduation in May and Zac not since Ibiza Nights - Volume 2. Harder and Faster back in February so it was awesome to ride with the team and relax a bit.
Friday's ride took off up the classic Birch Creek route with a little race up 5 mile to see who has been training. Both Zac and I were super impressed with everyone efforts, especially as for a majority of the 19 riders, it was their first group ride. We had a few riders jumping right in the draft like champs and a few staying with the likes of Emrie and Momany when the road tilted up.
Saturday's evening ride took the group out to Lowden in the ridiculous wind storm. We probably should have turned around but it worked out. The stronger riders rode the front to protect the newbies and then we all cruised home at 40mph with the tail wind.
On Sunday morning I took off with the hammer heads at Allegro Cyclery's early morning Sunday ride. 7am was a bit early, even though I am a college alum now so it took a while for the legs to wake up but it was a beatiful morning in the wheatfields. The classic "ride till it's gravel" was the breakfast of the day so we took off to find the edges of Birch Creek, Russell Creek, Scenic Loop, Mill Creek and Blue Creek. It was a great way to start the day.
Top of Scenic Loop pavement - checking out Walla Walla to the west
But a better way to finish the day was yellow sign sprints on Mill Creek. The 22km excursion into the Blue Mountains averages 2-3% so the way up is a nice workout and way down is hella fast. Seven riders showed up and I was extremely impressed with everyone. We stayed as a tight group on the way up and formed a very tidy leadout train on the way down. There are about 15 yellow signs spread out over a 15 km distance, some closer than others and the game is to sprint for each sign as if it is the finish. I am also happy to announce that there are actually more signs that there were in the past! Zac sprinted with the other riders, displaying strong sprinting technique while I set a fast pace throughout the descent. A highlight of the night was new rider Rachel Guider, who attacked the 30mph leadout train at 400metres for the final Brown Sign sprint at Rooks Park . Extremely wicked! Let's get you some cycling shoes now!
It has been a long season and a busy week of moving into a new apartment in Portland with buddy Zac and Rubicon-Orbea teammate Quinn Keogh, but I am feeling revived after this weekend's memorable cycling moments. There truly is something very special about the Whitman Cycling Team. I am also extremely pleased to announce that I'll be competing at both Starcrossed in Seattle and CrossVegas (in Las Vegas @ Interbike) in the next 14 days. Thanks Orbea Bicycles! Time to go fast again!