The ski to sea race is this Sunday (May 30). I have not had much time to train, so I wanted to go out and do a test run to see how bad I might be this Sunday. (The Ski to Sea is a relay race from Mt. Baker to Bellingham, Bay. You can find a cool write up on it at USA Today.)
The Mountain Bike leg of the ski to sea is mostly urban assault riding probably due to the fact that we have to ride between the take out point for the canoe leg to the put in point for the kayak leg – and there are no mountians between those two points. So, to make it different than the road bike leg of the race, the course (in addition to gravel road and pavement) goes over spongy fields, some muddy single track, and makes you ride a section of railroad tracks. All in all, it is 14 miles long.
You cannot ride the course ahead of time – due to portions of it that are on private property. Last year, they let everyone do a practice ride on Saturday the day before the race. This year, they aren’t going to let us ride the course ahead of time.
So, I had to find another location to do my “time trial.” I picked the gravel path around Lake Padden. An image from Map My Ride is below (CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO GET THE FULL SIZE MAP). I thought this location would be a good choice because the Ski to Sea course is not technical (except in a very few spots) and a good portion of the course is on gravel paths and some pavement. There are no spongy fields around Padden, but if you go around 4 times, you have to climb about 900 feet of elevation total – and there is only 250 feet of elevation gain over the length of the Ski to Sea course. So, I figured it was a trade off.
I did four laps around the course in the pouring rain on Tuesday after work with no snacks and no water bottle. My mileage was just over 11 miles and I finished it in 44 minutes. This includes slowing down for the numerous folks who were out there walking with their dogs and stopping to drink from the one water fountain I found that worked. That isn’t too bad. I think that maybe now I won’t make a fool of myself on Sunday.
My goal is to finish in 1 hour 15 minutes.