Ellensburg’s Manastash Metric Century felt more like a club weekend ride than a pay-for event. It was very informal. The starting area was someone ticking off names and directing people to a much-needed coffee machine. There weren’t any ride bibs for my trophy wall and the maps were a bit hard to read.
The route consists of two loops, one stopping at Thorp (the “half-metric”) and a second extending to Cle Elum. Except for a couple of hills, it’s flat as it gets out here. Well, technically “gently rolling.” Road quality was good, helped by the lack of traffic. As advertised, it didn’t rain, but the cloud cover, headwind and upper 40s made it feel very much like fall. It took me thirty miles to warm up.
The maps had a very subtle bike symbol, something like the one to the right. It was about that small, too. I was halfway into the ride when a support vehicle stopped to ask if I needed help. “No, I’m just not awake yet.” I had been riding the route “backwards.” This sure explained the missed turn and initial dearth of Dan Henrys (road markings). I looked at the map and realized the character’s “knees” were a directional indicadtor. Curiously, later there were plenty of remnants from a previous ride and I even saw some other cyclists.
Once I warmed up, I had a good time, but the initial chill and headwind had sapped my strength. I went as far as Hayward Hill where they had a lone sani-can greeting riders at the top of the hill. The ride back, with the tailwind, was very, very quick.
Overall, it was okay: the ride’s scenic, the folks are friendly, and it’s statistically more likely to be drier the first week of October. Still, I think next time I may forge my own route and enjoy the area on my own.
After the event I checked out the two farm stores in Thorp. I’ve passed these a gillion times along I-90. The big score was a 20 pound monster box of peaches for $7. I also picked up some zucchini ($0.33 each, one is enough to feed two adults), pears and Fuji apples. I exercised great restraint at not buying the gargantuan box of cooking tomatoes. One of these days I need to learn canning.