Two weekends ago, I undertook my first semi-sizable (relatively speaking) bike adventure -- a 200-mile ride from my house to the U district in Seattle, then a 130-mile trip with Seattle Rando the next day.
Despite facing 17 hours of headwinds (or 14 hours of headwinds and 3 hours of snack stops), Friday was a blast. I can see why you'd be meh on the route, but there's enough nice parts to make it a fun trip nonetheless... at least when you're doing it months away from the giant shitstorm which is the actual organized STP ride.
After not enough hours of sleep and a 3am rush to the restroom to purge a QFC panini (never again!), I rode to the startpoint with Susan and Asta, met ~50 new friends (and a few semi-familiar old friends), then took off.
After an early fiasco with a wrong turn and a loose rack bolt, Susan and myself were dead-last by a mile or two, not even two hours into the ride. Whoops. So, we rode on as a pair for a while; not too long later, we started to pick up some SIR company, and, even better, the sun broke through the clouds.
My knowledge of Seattle geography can generously be described as "bad" -- thankfully towards the end, we had a nice small riding group led by a couple of locals (and Susan's GPS) to get us safely to the finish point.
And, that point had free chili and beer!
The Saturday evening was a rather dull one -- after threatening to make plans and socialize with some local friends, I wound up asleep before 9pm. Oops.
We had a nice breakfast on Sunday morning, checked out a huge Seattle bike expo on our way out of town (totally lusting after a hot pink Rudy Projects helmet now), then drove back down I-5.
Anyway, it was early enough in the year that the 300K/200K combination was more than enough work to leave me sufficiently exhausted -- it'll be a little while before I'll try doing a 400/200 combination with one of my alternate Portland-Seattle permanent options.