A group of eight SBC members plus one Interloper started out from Kirkland's Marina Park, ready to climb some hills on the 7 Hills of Kirkland Ride. They had already been spurned by the Italian Job who sized the group up and muttered that he would ride with his friend instead of joining the group. Once the first few hills had been summitted (Market, Juanita, Seminary), different sections had started to form. Starting from the back, the Big Guys. These guys would drop back on climbs but, due to their weight advantage, would zoom past everyone on the downhills. In the middle was a Laugher (I kid you not), the new Orbea and the Naked Wool Jersey. Up front was the Interloper, She Who Must Climb and the Secret Weapon who were pushing the pace and trying to jump on the wheels of others.
Although everyone had agreed beforehand to take minimal breaks at the food stops, lingering was inevitable. At the first food stop, the Young Gun was spotted in the crowd and She Who Must Climb had to be restrained. Pedaling off with bananas and cookies in bellies, two more hills would be ascended before reaching what would later be named the best descent of the day. Hoots and hollers were heard as the descending speed increased, with the Big Guys showing everyone else how it was done. The next section of road seemed hauntingly familiar and the Interloper and She Who Must Climb felt a pull to go east from the Woodinville-Redmond Road but instead followed the arrows and went west as the road tilted upward to climb Winery HIll. Some cursing could be heard as the road steepened and continued to climb but it was soon drowned out by the bagpipes being played up at the summit.
Somewhere along the way, one of the big guys fell prey to the desire of a downhill closer to the finish and was never seen again. Then there were eight. As the route headed up Novelty Hill, the Interloper saw a wheel ahead of him that he could latch onto and off he went, with She Who Must Climb following close behind. To their surprise, they still had company at the top, with the Secret Weapon showing his talents. It was fortuitous that those three could climb at similar speeds because at the break-off point for the Century ride, the Laugher departed tearily and with her went the Big Guys, Naked Wool Jersey and the Orbea.
And then there were three. These three had more in common than the ability to ride long and climb strong; they were also all on the same team: The J-Team. Oy!
The Interloper quickly took his position at the front, a place he was used to and would stay for most of the ride. She Who Must Climb followed behind closely and, while willing to take pulls up front, was much better suited to the job of following. The Secret Weapon stayed within close proximity, occasionally going to the front to stretch his legs. The food stop in the Valley was of much higher quality, with the addition of mysterious powders and chocolate delights. It was noted that the Racer Chicks and Dudes seemed to take a long time at each stop, then they rode really fast to the next stop, where they would eat and trash-talk until the slow people caught up.
At the Stop of Holy Scenery, Crashmaster James made an effort to join the group but, upon realizing he had no yarmulke, stayed behind.
With one hill left to go, J-Team headed strongly up Rose Hill with She Who Must Climb trying to edge out the Interloper. It just wasn't to be so she got on his wheel one more time, just before the long downhill into Kirkland. Once there, they enjoyed strawberry shortcake on the grass in the shade and then parted their separate ways.