So far as I could tell, far fewer than less than half the rides ended in death. Instead, all of them ended with a kick-ass grilled salmon dinner and free beer.
I started right at 8, and stopped at all 4 rest stops to try to stay hydrated and energized, but had a whoppin' headache by the time I finished 4-1/2 hours later. The girl serving free beer was cute, though, and even though no one should turn down free beer from a cute girl, it was probably a bad idea to have a glass first thing after finishing the longest ride I'd ever done in my life. I was so wrecked I knew I wouldn't be able to ride home ... luckily, Erin graciously picked me up and schlepped me back to my house. I think I was pretty incoherent when she showed up.
Apart from my exhaustion and a slight mechanical problem (detached spoke), it was a great ride. The weather was perfect, and the route (at least the 50-mile one) was well-signed (and well-designed). There were maybe 1200 riders total, so crowding was not a factor. The rest stops were well-staffed and stocked with snacks and plenty of water. And of course the dinner at the end was delicious.
I'm definitely doing it again next year ... but I need to train a little more during the summer: this wiped me out for the entire day. I made it late to Erin's housewarming gathering and felt like a zombie. I'm going to bed early tonight after ... I dunno, staring at a wall for a while. My energy is completely sapped. But I'm still pretty happy with myself. :)