“You Probably Don’t Have to Train For a 350 Mile Bike Ride”

Day 1: Seattle, WA - Port Angeles, WA

Distance: 87 miles

It’s 5 am and the alarms sounded for each of our riders as they woke up for their first day. Our very own Kyle Bransky showed up with all of his tags still attached to his helmet. He claimed he lost a bet, but we secretly assume he is doing it so he can return it after the ride to save a quick 20 bucks. We all settled in the dining room of the house to find Luis live streaming our entrance of Theta Chi. The first of many livestreams with ‘non improving’ quality. We shrug off the constant interview attempts, pack our car, prepare our bikes, and hit the road by 6:20. As the sun began to rise, we all strapped on our seven-dollar Oakley’s, fresh from the black markets of Shanghai and courtesy of ‘China’ John Sommers. We have a seamless ride to the ferry in Edmonds, WA, saying to ourselves, “Wow, those first 14 miles were easy, we can definitely all hit 89 without a sweat.” The first of many poor assumptions that day.

 Warm and optimistic smiles as we ride the Ferry into Kingston

Warm and optimistic smiles as we ride the Ferry into Kingston

As soon as we reached Kingston, we were immediately greeted by a beautiful bridge crossing over from the Kitsap Peninsula to the Olympic Peninsula, where the views were breathtaking and symbolic of the true beginning of our journey. As our journey began, we were immediately greeted with long stretches of uphill. After grabbing a bite to eat for a quick rest, we were given entertainment by David Juergens as he danced for cars passing by – unfortunately nobody tipped.

Once we regained energy, Josh and Matt saw it as a good time to teach the new riders how to draft off one another. They thought to themselves that it was so easy for them and Nigel to draft during the cross country bike ride, how hard can it be when you throw 8 unexperienced riders into the mix; signing themselves up as the first victims of the day. Right as the peloton approached terminal velocity, each bike separated by a precious two inches of air, our esteemed Philanthropy Chair, Luis decided it was great opportunity to test his new brakes as the second person in the chain of eight. To Luis’s surprise, when you brake check in a peloton, it causes a domino effect throughout the whole group which results in the two experienced riders in the back, Matt and Josh, to eat gravel. Matt stated that this was his first crash in all his Cycle for Charvat career, and the pure terror of flying over your handlebars aimed in the direction of a busy highway cannot be put into words. Lucky for Matt’s sake, no cars passed while Matt’s body laid strewn out over the shoulder. “But, it’s okay Mom, I’m still safe.”

 Kyle was careful not to get mustard on his helmet while we ate sandwiches for lunch

Kyle was careful not to get mustard on his helmet while we ate sandwiches for lunch

After some solid riding by the Oakley Crew, we finally find ourselves on a beautiful bike path accompanied by a lush forest. Once again, our dear Philanthropy Chair and soon to be discovered Hollywood drama actor, Luis Diaz, was reservoir dogged on the side of the path. Wincing in pain like a pre-amputation Civil war solider, our dear philanthropy chair gives a breath-taking performance sure to be Oscar- nominated this Spring. Kyle turns back and rushes to the scene ready to perform CPR. Luis shows his brutal wound of a wasp sting on his anterior earlobe. Dumbo-effect now in full swing, our philanthropy chair bravely overcomes his life-threatening injury and surges to the front the pack.

 A beautiful bridge along the bike trail

A beautiful bridge along the bike trail

After nearly falling victim to a indecisive chipmunk, Kyle boasted his ungodly athleticism and catlike reflexes as he dodges it to escape certain death at the blistering speed of 7 mph. Little did Kyle know that the true threat lied within. Kyle, approaching a sharp right turn on a narrow bike path at the base of a hill, began to question his speed and general understanding of physics. Kyle quickly remembers how incredibly he handled the chipmunk debacle, and decides to go for it.  After a full send, Kyle makes the slightest of turns, realizes his unfavorable odds, as he flies into a ditch. Kyle, like a Olympic gymnast, flies over his handle bars, head first into a fence. His helmet took the brunt of the impact, rendering the Amazon return process an uphill battle. Alas, he will probably still attempt it anyway. Miraculously, Kyle arises from the ditch completely unscathed and we continue on our ride.

Now that we’ve sufficiently roasted all of our riders let’s move onto the positives. Within the first few miles we already began to have positive interactions with people around us. Being able to share the story of Kyle Charvat is definitely the most rewarding part of the bike ride. Cesar quickly established his dominance as an endurance athlete by leading the pack on all uphill sprints. On most breaks when we would complain about aches and cramps, he would fill the silence with exclamations of how much fun he was having blazing through the hills. Josh once again proved his ungodly mental strength and love for cycling as he chose to take on the ride on a heavy mountain bike. For those of you who are not familiar with the struggle of road riding on a mountain bike, its like running a marathon with cement shoes. You’re an impressive specimen Josh.

 Elevating our legs after a long day of cycling - nothing has ever felt better

Elevating our legs after a long day of cycling - nothing has ever felt better

The ride was strikingly beautiful and is a constant reminder of how lucky we are to live in a state like Washington. The day started with an adrenaline filled city ride to Edmonds, with an abundance ofbreakfast sandwiches on the ferry crossing to Kingston. The meat of our ride then occurred over a gorgeous bike path under tree branches, with a view of the Straight of Juan de Fuca, and Mother Canada in the distance as we passed through Port Angeles. That bike trail was our saving grace after our less than perfect start. We ended the day crossing through golden wheat fields and mooing at cows as we passed. Both parties appreciated the attention. Nonetheless, the beauty of the PNDub has distracted us all from the pain we have. This is the hardest thing most of us have ever done, but we are pretty sure that at least one of us will finish the trek – even if it’s just our driver/trip dad Tony.

With love and saddle sores,

The Lads