Cascade Bicycle Studio is a premier bike shop in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.
Lyle, Washington is a tiny town on the Columbia River in southern Washington State.
It is certain that no one has ever asked what these two disparate entities have in common. Another certainty is the answer: They are agglutinative. This ridiculous word is pronounced ugh-lute-in-ative and it means having the power to unite.
I became familiar with CBS in March, 2012 when I was shopping for a new road bike. I was very impressed with their low-pressure sales atmosphere and the high quality of the products they offered. I was soon to be greatly surprised by their greatest attribute- their agglutinative nature.
CBS unites people by providing an amazing thing- the ability to meet other people that ride bicycles. Granted, they also sell some of the best bikes out there, like Seven, Parlee, BMC and Ibis, they have a highly professional fitting team, some of the best bike mechanics in the business and they sell incredible cycling clothing such as Rapha and Lazer, but the group rides and events they put on is what is most important to me. Through these rides and events, I’ve become united with an amazing group of people. People from all walks of life- computer programmers, designers, pastors, environmental scientists, doctors, photographers- all united in the love of riding. And not just riding, but riding with other people. The love of coming together on the road, spending time exercising, talking, sharing life experiences and bonding is what makes the sport of cycling full and worthwhile- the unity.
Since uniting with the regulars at CBS, there have been many outstanding cycling events that have occurred, but one that brought us together in late May, 2013 was unique in a number of ways. First, it occurred in Lyle. Most people who live in Seattle are not even familiar with this little town. With a population of just over 500 people, Lyle is not a metropolis. In fact, aside from the small grocery store, the bar, two churches and a hotel, the only other buildings besides homes are a school and a few barns. Then, one might ask, why would a group of people drive four hours to go cycling in a place that has so few people. That’s right. Because it has so few people, the roads are nearly deserted. Add to that the warm, dry climate, the mountainous terrain and incredible views- it’s easy to see why we’ve found it to be a cyclist’s paradise.
Speaking of climates, the following illustrates the differences between Seattle and Lyle in May: Seattle has a median cloud cover of 91%, has a 50% chance of rain and the high temperature averages 65- Lyle has a median cloud cover of 39%, has a chance of rain in the 20% range and the high temperature averages 72. These differences are significant.
The second unique attribute about this event was the variety of modes and terrain we experienced in the three days we were there. We did mountain and road biking, short steep rides, long undulating rides and fast pace lines along the rolling Klickitat River. Some of the climbs, such as Appleton Grade are epic. The Syncline is a grind of a mountain bike climb with a very technical and difficult descent with both physical and biological hazards (sharp rocks and poison oak!) The Centerville Loup is a palendrome- it starts with a fast descent, a long climb, has a long rolling middle portion atop a plateau, then ends with a long climb and a fast descent.
The third uniqueness was the combination of people that attended the event. The range of riding styles, fitness levels, ambition, technical skills, beer drinking capacity and personalities allowed the group to be flexible, but to also work together for a common goal- to have fun.
Finally, the the last two things that made the weekend epic were the generosity of Mark and Mike. Mark was our chef and masterfully provided all the meals. Mike generously allowed us to crash at his house. During a three day weekend of hard riding there are four important factors in recovery: food, drink, sleep and showers. Okay, showers are not necessarily a recovery tool, but they are important! Without the generosity of both Mark and Mike, those factors would not have been met.
Below are the Strava Links for the four rides we did. We didn’t try to break any records, maximize our PRs or prove anything. We just rode together. It was great. We were united. We were agglutinated by CBS and Lyle.