Saturday, July 19, 2014


A few more reflections on not riding the STP are in order.  I was wistful about missing the ride, until I thought about the crowds and yahoos, the ugly rest stops, the heat and the conditions, US 30 into Portland, blah, blah, blah.

Packet pickup duty at REI was different this year, with a new cast of characters at Cascade, younger, seemingly less connection to the volunteers, no jackets to give out, and the new Cascade brass present but not taking the time to say hello to those of us giving our time to help....

Lots of complaints from the Bike Tawkers about number of riders, personal support vehicles, lack of common sense, lack of ride refs to address the yahoo factor, hot weather, rain coming into Portland, etc....

Kevin summed up his frustrations here...

Still, there is this video of crossing the Lewis and Clark bridge over the Columbia into Oregon to consider.

We'll put a big WE'LL SEE on next year.  RSVP yes, STP, well, maybe,....

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Something to think about from Iron Rider

The Iron Rider talks about what goes through his head on those long distance rides.

Lots of things go through our heads.  Claire wrote about some of them.   Bicycling can be lonely or a time for contemplation, sometime an opportunity for ruminating, and best of all, and especially when climbing or descending, a time to wash that all away and focus on the bike and the road.

1,342 miles YTD.   After the month long layoff and the bonk on CTS #9,  I've readjusted, rebuilt the mileage base with CTS #10 (196th and Black Diamond), #11 (Kent-Enumclaw route) and #12, and am feeling pretty good about where I'm at with the bike, my legs and ability to ride the longer distances.  The Ride Leader experience has been both fun and satisfying, as well as frustrating and work, like being in the classroom is work.  Last week on the Flaming Geyser Century out-and-back route, with the rain squalls, wind, and cranky riders, the satisfaction waned.  Riding in front, watching the route, keeping to the pace, and keeping on eye on the other riders, being a model and example, answering questions from the newbies, building their confidence, coaching and mentoring, all that can be gratifying, but can also detract from the benefit of washing out the mind and getting to the cycling zen that is one of the reasons I keep coming back to the bike.  After the series ends, I'll need to reflect on what worked and what didn't.  For one thing, I know that the bike worked!

Tomorrow is the last one in the series, a Lake Washington loop, and then STP for those 10,000 who choose to do so.  Not me this year, and that's just fine.   I'm planning on the CTS Rides Again first ride, and we'll put a big 'we'll see' on the rest of them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Two Films about Creativity

Two movies that focused on creativity and artists caught my attention recently.

Tim's Vermeer tells the story of an inventor who discovered the methods and process by which Vermeer painted such classics as the Girl with the Golden Earring with such realism and attention to detail.  Narrated by Penn Jillette and directed by Teller, the film focuses on the inventor's work to replicate Vermeer's process and his painting.  Lessons learned her include attention to detail and the focus that the artist must have to perfect their craft.

More fascinating and perhaps more disturbing is Finding Vivian Maier, a documentary about a reclusive street photographer who is now consider one of the 20th Centuries greats.   The documentary filmmaker's unravel the mystery behind her hoarding, her volume of work and walk around the edges of her madness while focusing on the lost treasures of her insightful and startling art.   Loneliness, obsession and the detachment yet ability to connect with her subjects emerge as key themes.

What connects the two films for me are the struggles with identity, the obsessive nature of creativity, and the nature of image versus external reality that humans encounter.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


CTS #9 takes you out the BGT to Woodinville, up through Maltby and out to Snohomish.  Beautiful countryside ride through Monroe and up the Sky River valley to Sultan, 42 miles from the start.   And, aside from aches and pains (hip, some leg stiffness), I felt good.   Had been off the bike for any serious saddle time or strain for four weeks, due to travel.   Can't complain about going to New Orleans, Montreal and New York!

But, after lunch we cross the Sky River and go west on Ben Howard Road.  With the first hill, I knew I was in trouble.  Tough to get my wind, legs hurt more than normal, and slow.   First signs of bonking.  Peeing had been hard back at the rest stop, where I ate PB&J, drank an iced double-tall, consumed cookies and (bad choice) a couple of caramels.   Not a healthy, carb-filled energy lunch.    And while drinking a lot of water, not able to produce a whole lot of pee.  Yes it was sunny and yes it was warm, but by PNW standards.

Started to get a bit cranky, but glad that I was in the role of ride leader, as that meant I had to keep going, despite a few chills, a bit of dizzy.   The route back, once we cross High Bridge over the Snoqualmie River, gets hillier and tougher, and it's that part of the route, leading back into Maltby where I felt fried.   An apple, a lot of water and then back up the hill into Woodinville, out to the SRT, and ten miles on the trails back, limping all the way.    I walked 70th up home, stretching, stopping every 20 yards or so, hurting in legs, back, hamstring, shoulders and was thoroughly whipped.  

What's different for next time?  More rest, better eating, hydrate throughout the week, back on the exercise regimen with some consistency.  There was lots of pollen in the air, and the eyes and throat were constricted, so many that contributed.  But, the CTS is meant to be done as a series, and picking up with a strenuous ride after than long of a layoff was probably not the best plan.

Still, a beautiful route, and when I look back at my numbers, not a bad result.  Avg speed = 12.7 mph, elevation gain 3,215 ft.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

30 Days of Biking by Eunice Chang - Exposure

Note to self:  It's not a contest.  Enjoy the ride.   And, every day is a victory.

30 Days of Biking by Eunice Chang - Exposure: