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Tour de Whatcom 2022 – Garin’s Blog

I am glad that 2022 was a pretty much normal year for Tour de Whatcom(TDW) and by that I mean no Covid like 2020 where I did all of the rides as solo/outlaw rides and no oral surgery restrictions like 2021 where I did just the 40 mile route. Oh yeah, there was an issue with the crappy spring weather that slowed down road training, and then the wonderful eye work being done at PCLI had me do no training in late June/early July. So, there I was 2 weeks before the event and I hadn’t ridden any rides longer than 20 miles this year. I seriously contemplated pulling out, or doing one of the reduced mile routes. However I really wanted to get back to the challenge of every summer century, so I chose to ditch the excuses and go for the 100 mile route; glad I did.

With almost no time left to train, my 2 week training schedule consisted of a 20 mile ride, followed a few days later with a 40 mile ride, waiting a few more days before a 55 mile ride, then 4-5 days recovery before the century . I’m never a fast rider but to reduce my chances of the “bonk” I chose to limit my century heart rate to about 130 bpm and let the speed be whatever it was going to be. I had tried this on my 55 mile training ride and it seemed to work well. There were those hills that required things to amp up a bit, but I always chose the grandest gear and crawled up them; no standing or straining. Another thing I planned into the century ride was to slightly overdo it on food, water and stretch breaks. 100 miles is a lot of time on a bike so there was no getting around afternoon arms, back, and shoulders, but as far as energy my abbreviated training plan and general fitness level seemed to work. I do recommend a much longer and more robust training regime to anyone thinking of a century.

This 2022 TDW marked the first TDW century ride that I’ve done on a bike other than my Raleigh R600 which I purchased from a dealer back in the 90’s and had ridden on countless centuries. It’s not that the Raleigh isn’t a great bike for this type of ride, but for the comfort I chose to ride my Specialized Secteur, a bike that early this spring I purchased, repaired, then outfitted it as a gravel bike. The Secteur’s carbon forks and carbon seat post along with a generally more relaxed fit just seemed like it would be a better choice given my lack of saddle time. So off came the wide as I could fit Gravelking tires and on went a pair of 28 mm GP 4 Season road tires. So much positive in this bike choice including prior trail riding experience, so when a BA pickup towing a BA boat shoved me into the ditch on a no shoulder section of Blaine road, it was no big deal, like it was done there, just shifted my weight back and rode back up to the pavement.

The rest the ride went off pretty much flawless. The whole thing seemed very organized as usual and the course was well marked. The rest stops all had plenty of good food, fruits, bars, treats and even some yummy roasted baby potatoes up in Lynden which suited my vegan tendencies. I know that Grocery Outlet was one of the sponsors but there were many more. Check them out at their webpage; Tour de Whatcom. Funny not so funny fact about the rest stops; they moved the Birch Bay rest stop from the State Park to along the strip. I just thought the couple in front of me was stopping in for a beer as I rode right by the stop; my bad, not the organizers.

All in all a very enjoyable ride which I will look forward to pedaling again in 2023.