Recyclers Nick and Andrew report from Eatonville WA.
Last Sunday, the first day of real honest-to-goodness summer weather here on the west side of the Cascades, a crew of Recyclers went down to Eatonville, beneath the looming cone of Mt Rainier, for the initial edition of the Keller-Rohrback Road Race, the first race in a new series known as the Washington Summer Cup.
The course, advertised as “punchy”, would have been better described as arduously undulating: it traveled along shady country lanes and through sunny vales, with a few descents into hairpin turns to keep the peloton alert, and culminated in an exposed climb back up WA 161 into town. The cumulative elevation gain over the course of the eleven-mile laps would wear heavy on the legs, and with the sudden spike in temperatures increasing the stress on organisms unused to such heat, the race became a contest of attrition.
Lining up at the start line for the Cat. 4 men’s field, we had Paul and Kyle setting out for three laps. Paul hung on to claim fourth place as the remnant of the pack sprinted for the line. Kyle enjoyed the scenery as he took advantage of the opportunity to catch up on the training he’d sacrificed to his freshman year in college.
A smallish Cat 3 field took the start at 11am with Andrew, Josh, Matt, and Nick for a 4-lap adventure. Still sporting the trail rash on his knee from a recent mtb crash, Andrew got gapped on a sharp ramp out of the Ohop valley, but managed to catch another dropped rider from the Olympia Orthopedic team, and they worked together for a few laps as the sun beat down progressively harder, reaching the broiling point…
On the third time up the interminable climb into town, Andrew saw, as if in a mirage, two other white jerseys shimmering off in the distance, about to crest the hill, where they would remain out of reach. No mirage, the jerseys belonged to Nick and Josh; they’d had their own fun charging through the countryside after they’d found themselves on the wrong side of the split: when the race got angry, the elastic snapped on the aforementioned interminable climb, and Nick’s joy evaporated under the hot sun. As Nick would later recall, despite the pain and suffering, “It was pretty, it hurt just the right amount, and made me realize how dearly I miss road racing.”
Matt got himself to the correct side of the split, and did a dy-no-mite turn in the finale to rack up another fourth place finish on the day for rcr.
Thanks to our great sponsors at Recycled Cycles, we were able to use the company van to get some of the car-free teammates to the race; shout-outs are in order to Alex for handling the van reservation, and to Carl for bringing the vehicle to the rendez-vous point even though he was too ill to join us.