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The Maleficent Mile

On July 12-13, six Ryther employees and four community supporters will be participating in the Ride for Ryther, a 202 mile bike ride from Seattle to Portland to raise awareness and funds for Ryther. The team members have been training for months now but, with just one more month to go, have kicked their training into high gear. However, training doesn’t always go as smoothly as one would hope. Read about a recent ride that taught the riders how a little setback doesn’t mean it’s time to give up but can serve as motivation to succeed on the second attempt.

Our plan to do a 100+ mile ride to Bellingham this past weekend was an ambitious one. With the 202-mile Seattle-to-Portland (STP) only five short weeks away, it was time to kick training into high gear. A group of four of us were planning on leaving from Seattle at 9am, bike to Bellingham getting in around 5 or 6pm, then have time for a bite before taking the train back to Seattle. “Bellingham or Bust!” became the motto for the weekend.

Turns out, “Bust” was correct. Between the four of us, we had six popped inner tubes leading to six flat tires, four of which happened in a one-mile stretch. We were incredulous when each time we started to ride, a new member of the team pulled over and told us that they too had a flat. However, we felt lucky to be among a group of good-natured, flexible, optimistic people, willing to roll with the punches. (Or in this case, stop rolling.)

But the high points of the ride stick with us the most. We rode just shy of 50 miles before we had the “magnificent,” ahem, “maleficent mile,” and completed that in just over three hours. We thankfully have supporters willing to drop what they are doing on a Sunday afternoon to come help some stranded friends. Upon returning home and consulting the map, we found we had done 90% of the elevation gain that we were supposed to do in that first 50 miles, so the rest would have been smooth sailing through the Skagit Valley and alongside Bellingham Bay. Amtrak allowed us to cancel our tickets, even though it was only three hours before departure. So, that led us to one conclusion: we will revisit our plan on June 21st. Stay tuned for the sequel “Bellingham or Bust 2: More Tubes!”


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