Sunday, December 27, 2009

Elvis Rides!

And the Beatles rode bikes too!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing Day Ride

The taggers celebrate the holiday in Loyal Heights!

Took a short (22.9-mile) loop out to Golden Gardens on Boxing Day to test out the new equipment and the old legs. The new shoes worked well, and after 4 years with the last pair, they represent a reasonable replacement after I got full use from the old ones. Less satisfied with new pump, too short for the frame and so I get to check Rivendell's replacement policy for that unit as well as the bike bag which is simply too small to justify the price.

So far in the past six months, the log totals 1,267 miles per the Garmin, and I'll probably finish the year with a bit more, given the weather forecast of dry, clear and cold for the remaining days of 2009.

The sundial indicated noon on the return on BGT at the U of W. We've passed the solstice, and now the days are getting longer!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bob Young

Family friend Bob Young passed away last week, from pancreatic cancer. He had been my brother Stan's best friend, and was an inspiration and counsel to nephew Matt as well. Bob traveled with my brother in Italy, and had been a friend of my father as well.

Here's the link to the obit from the Pasadena Star-News, but more importantly, here's a link to his art site, with some wonderful sketches and other pieces.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jody and Gamelan Pacifica

Wonderful performance last night! Jody, C's cousin from Uncle Jack, is a world leader and expert in gamelan, Indonesian music that combines percussion, flutes, vocals and a host of other fascinating sounds and rhythms. She had been working with Gamelan Pacifica for about a week at Cornish, and their concert featured her compositions, including an amazing blend of a Stephen Foster tune, Hard Times, plus Jewish themes, Sabbath Bride, with the gamelan.

After dinner at the Shanghai Garden on Thursday, she invited us to the performance. It was great to get her together with Max, so he could hear her comments and suggestions, as well as plug into her network of colleagues, while he continues to gather information in his college search.

We've been quite cultured this fall, Equivocation at the Seattle Rep, Abe Lincoln in Illinois at Intiman, after Othello and The Year of Magical Thinking, plus A Serious Man at the Harvard Exit. And, we'll wrap up the fall and transition into the holidays this week with Ellington's Jazz Nutcracker, guaranteed to keep you swinging through Hannucrist and into the New Year!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where do we all fit?

Saturday November 28th at 1:00 pm
The ship the "White Light" docked at Lido Village will depart at 1:00 for a 2 hour service....

The charter lasts approximately 2 hours and will perform the scattering in the ocean with a view of Newport Beach and then circle the site before heading back to the harbor.

Born August 29, 1954
Died September 29, 2009

So, another friend from a long time ago is gone. Like Jim D, Jim B, Steve S, and Alan, gone before they should have, gone before their life could be considered full, gone without putting it all together. Not like Tony, who did seem to have it all together. But like many others though, gone after a struggle with addiction as well as that old problem, where do I fit in?

Facebook (and Diane, bless her heart) distributed the news. Thanks to that social medium, we got to remember the Balboa Peninsula Point gang, and as Vic, Joe's brother, described it with our gangs of tanned kids roaming the streets of what many, including me, didn't recognize as paradise while we were growing up. Many reunioned last summer, and by all accounts, had a ball strolling down memory lane. Balboa for me back then was beach, surf, skateboards, girls and boys, an enclave where kids could be out late, be relatively safe except for whatever trouble, the normal kind given that it was the 60's, we could find. Those gang members that got together last summer are adults now, with marriages, with kids, careers, mortgages, and the memories that tie us together.
Summer school teachers living in the Pacific NW didn't make it down for the party. Missed it. “You really missed it, Williams!” Oh well, wait until next year, maybe, until Facebook delivered this news.
Pick up the phone. Call Larry to get the scoop. Call Vic. Hadn’t talked to either for over 40 years. “Blast from the Past.” “What happened to Joe? Where have the years gone? Do you have kids? What are you doing with your time? ‘I’m sorry to hear that, but it’s great to hear your voice.’ What happened to all of us?”

But others missed it as well, including Joe. What's with that? Larry and Vic filled me in on the bare outline. The rest I can just guess about.
Joe lived there, still. In the house where he grew up. Where I had made my first friends since the move. After my Mom died, my Dad remarried within a year, and then we moved, away from my friends, from the baseball I played, from the school I enjoyed, where I had thrived, down to that ‘paradise’ (You’re moving to the beach? Lucky!) that I didn't recognize.
After a year of being out of sorts, wondering where I fit in, reading the World Book Encyclopedia (yes, I read it all), finally there were friends, Vic and Joe. They introduced me to the Wedge, their front yard. They played poker in their rooms upstairs, fought like cats and dogs (I wonder if the holes from the steel-tipped darts that Joe fired at Vic and landed on his slamming door are still there?), and pinball. Vic was cool, the only kid I knew with an actual pinball machine in his room. And we surfed. Bodysurfed, and later after their Dad got them twin Gordy long boards, (I got a Velzy that year for Xmas, knew about it before the Big Unveiling by sneaking upstairs and checking out Santa's stash), we surfed on boards. Road the waves. Shot the curl. Tried to Hang-Five. Maybe even Ten. Newport Pier, Santa Ana River Jetties, where the OC sewer met the OC sea, Huntington Beach, Surf City, here we come. We surfed a lot. Joe's mom (Vic’s too) would drive us and we surfed every chance we could get.

And Joe got to be pretty good. Real good. As we got older, other activities crowded into my surfing time. My Dad insisted I get a job, first a paper route, then at the supermarket, so my summers were wasted (Ha-ha!) bagging groceries. Coupled with that came all the drama (girls, and other hobbies) that high school itself involved and most of that took up the rest of my time.
But Joe still surfed. Taking on the Wedge on the big days. Always in the water. Once, during one of those times when the swell was up but I had to take my shift at the El Rancho (that's what we Williams did, we were responsible! On time! Earned a paycheck!), Joe chided me. "Summer's the only time to get really good, Williams!" implying that I wasn't a good surfer and that he was, and we both knew that. And, after a particularly epic summer day of huge south swell, glassy conditions, hot, wet and thrilling, that I spent as a shopping cart jockey, Joe rubbed it in, ‘“You really missed it, Williams!”

Adolescence, then adulthood, and hobbies, including alcohol and dope, coupled with other responsibilities and interests, girls, sex, relationships, where do I fit? Who am I? What I am to be, I am now becoming, or something like that, it says at RHS, but what if I don't like either who I am or what am I becoming? Which group suits me best? Surfers? Jocks? Brains? Stoners? Artsy? Where should I go? Why do I have to be burdened with this 'great potential' that my Dad doesn't want me to squander, or I that I don’t want to squander so he would once again be disappointed, but I could give a rip about really, especially if the waves are good and I don't have to be responsible for myself, my friendships, the way I treat others, relationships that in the words of the day, I can just choose to 'shine it on,' plus potential, what’s with that anyway, and deal with the regret and what might have been later, self-anesthetizing all the way.
Manny, Martha’s husband and who makes a great chile verde, described us as spoiled, rich kids, especially when listening about this adolescent, existential angst. He’s right, you know.
I went away to college, started to grow up in fits and starts, traveled, made different friends, found out I wasn't so smart, maybe didn’t have more potential than all the other overachievers who surrounded me, found others who shared my hobbies, (alcoholics and addicts can seek each other out), worked, went to grad school, met the woman who saved my life, and finally moved away from California all together. Kids, careers, mortgages, family triumphs and tragedies, some unexpected, some not, bar and bat mitzvahs, raising teenagers, paying for them in college, learning that the scary thing is knowing how much trouble I could get away with without my parents' knowing and that my kids could do the same...(Did they know?  Or did they not know how do talk about it, so it was easier for them just to have another drink, or more likely, they were dealing with their own demons and confusion, and just making it up as they go along, the secret of adulthood...), and wherever you go, there you are.

And, Joe still surfed. And, apparently, lived in the house with the Wedge in the front yard. Jim made it as a lawyer, but ended up surrounded by boxes of wine, an infinite collection of Dylan, a manuscript that no one would read, and an internet girl friend. Steve didn't make it through film school, never held a job, and died in front of his face-to-face girl friend. Alan, probably the most talented and creative of them all, died in a parking lot, or so the story goes. Too many Luckies. Did they ever find where they fit in?

Christmas the real paradise with the family, June-baby asked me to go with her to meet some friends. Those friends met several times a week, some every day. They shared a hobby and liked to talk about it, had to talk about it, why they had that hobby and what it meant to them and to those around them they loved. And, the words just came out. Yes, I belonged. This is one place where I fit. There are plenty of others, including family, at the college, among others. I’m fine, thank you, and quite lucky to be a survivor.

And it's fitting that Joe's ashes will be spread in the ocean he loved, where he seemed to fit. But, it was on dry land, with other people, with the complexities and the responsibilities, the compromises and other messiness of relationships, that adult world, where Joe and Jim D and Steve S, could never seem to get it together.

Hank was right, "You'll never get out of this world alive." That's not the point. It's being here now that's the point. We all can be somewhere else later, and maybe, probably, it's not about us anyway. It's all about the compromises and the messiness and everyone else and the relationships. Maybe I won't be on the boat on November 28, but I'll be there in spirit, and I'll be at the next reunion in person to see all the other survivors.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November Loop

Rain, wind, and hail in the convergence zone on Friday, plus similar weather on Sunday meant I needed to grab my ride on Saturday a.m. if a ride was going to be grabbed at all this weekend. Pedaled 30 miles on a clockwise loop down to Leschi, through the I-90 tunnel, Pioneer Square and the Stadiums, for another break at Zeitgeist. I've actually stopped there enough to fill the coffee card!

The I-90 tunnel seemed unusually yellow and bright this a.m., uncrowded without the weekday commuters and weekend recreation cyclists. I noticed how much more pleasant the trails seem now that the weather has driven many of the riders inside, out of the wet, cold and dark.

Text Color
Unusual placement for a Greenway Trail sign, but it looks like the Mountains-to-Sound trail ends along the first base side of Safeco Field, along Edgar Martinez Drive.

No hassle crossing at the Locks, and then snapped this photo of the Fremont and Aurora Bridges along the BGT, noting that the leaves are almost gone from the alder trees. We're about 5 weeks from the Winter Solstice, and I'm looking forward already to sunnier, warmer days.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Why a duck?

Twenty file miles or so on a windy Friday p.m., over Interlaken, through Downtown and to the Pike Place Market. Headwinds are fine if you know the route to avoid them!

The Seattle Waterfront is both a popular destination as well as frequent route on my rides. Looking south from Steinbruck Park at the Pike Place Market, you can see the elevated highway, as well as the sports stadiums. But the Alaskan Way Viaduct needs replacement and is due to collapse during a major earthquake, for which the region is well overdue. The consequences of a big shaker would be dramatic, at least according to this video.

D0 we take unnecessary risks when we ride on the trail next to the 'sure-to-collapse sometime' Viaduct? Will we be able to dodge the chaos?

And, according to the video at 1:50, (this one with a sound track!), the Frankfurter will tumble into the sea! Oh, the humanity!

Returned via the Locks and then crossed Ballard, over Phinney Ridge to Green Lake and Ravenna.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What to Eat

Kent does a great job explaining how we should eat on those long rides.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October North End Loop

Neighbor Rob sent out the call for a Sunday ride, and I responded, inviting CAL along for the spin.

North on the BGT and up Brookside and Perkins to upper Shoreline, down to 155th and over to Greenwood, Sunset Hill and back on the BGT. Damp leaves, drizzle, wet pavement, ah, back in the real Pacific NW after a couple of weeks away from the bike or so it seemed.

Rob got a flat on of his 23 cm tires (another reason to appreciate the fatty Schwalbe marathons) just north of Gas Works. We stopped so he could fumble with his patch kit as the piece of glass punctured both sides of his tube, resulting in the need for two patches. I snapped photos while waiting. Most of the subjects were friendly, offering help, waving, saying hello. But one, this one, was riding hands free on her fixie while yakking on the phone. Just after a snapped the picture, she flipped me the bird, scowled, rolled on, and continued with her cell phone conversation. I guess you don't have to drive an SUV to be a jerk.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Life Cycles and Bicycles

We were treated to another spectacular autumn day, today, strong and chilly north wind, like those Santa Anas in So Cal. The past few weeks have brought a new academic year at TLF, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, now a Full Moon. Zach landed safely in Guadalajara on the first leg of his latest adventure, and his parents exhaled.

I rode about 300 miles in September, which is more than I thought I booked. And, that doesn't include a 30 mile circuit today of Magnolia and then down to Pioneer Square to catch a bit of the M's season finale.

One of the many great things about Safeco Field is that you can peer into home plate from outside on Royal Brougham. Saw Felix strike out the side and Junior drill a line drive in one of his last at bats. Will he be back? We'll put a big we'll see on that, but as they say, "Wait 'til next year!" Is it the end or another beginning? Yes is the answer.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Safety First

So, today was Car Free Day. Since I had an errand to run downtown, I hopped on the bike and headed out. On my short trip I saw….

A driver texting on his phone while attempting to drive his Cadillac, holding up traffic and swerving across lanes….

Another driver reading her day planner that she held in both hands along with her steering wheel, while she drove her Mercedes…

And, a third driver in a black Yukon the size of a luxury yacht who pulled out into the bike lane on Dexter, and flipped me a single digit salute through his tinted windows as I swerved around him….

To be fair, there were also many drivers who didn't catch my attention because they were driving their cars in a responsible manner, at least while I was present, but still, "They're out there…"

Safety first, folks.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Early Autumn Rides

Two September weekends and two rides to remember. Last weekend, rode across I-90 and then out to Issaquah, using much of the same route that I rode on Livestrong last June. After a great and quiet ride through farmland on May Valley Road, I crossed a newly-constructed bridge and then turned north on Issaquah-Hobart into Issaquah, where Suburbia begins. Found the Starbucks at one of the universe of Strip Malls, refueled, then over Newport Hills, around Factoria and down to Coal Creek Parkway. Is there any easier way to find the I-90 trail from the Eastside south of the freeway? Maybe, but I've yet to find it. Entire route was about 60 miles on an 80 degree day, and well worth repeating.

The second ride should be labeled the Salmon Ride. While not riding the Cascade Spawning Cycle, there sure was enough overlap, as I rode much of the course in reverse. Coming up the Duwamish Trail, I watched one get landed in a boat adrift on the Duwamish. I watched two pulled in at the Duwamish Fishing Pier. Stopping at the Cascade Bike Club's spot at Myrtle Edwards Park, I ate a Ballard Brothers Blackened Salmon Burger, and then headed out the Locks to watch salmon heading up the fish ladder on their way home. Another 45 mile ride, and also worthy of a repeat.

Monday, August 17, 2009

RSVP - 2009

A great two days of riding. Here are some of the highlights.

Stopped to take pictures of cows after Lynden, before the border. Soft shoulder and before I knew it, was headed down into the mud filled ditch. Caught my fall, soaked my arm, jacket and glove in muck, and amused the cows and several riders who at first were alarmed (is he still clipped in? Father of three drowns in ditch on RSVP!) and then laughed.
Day One started out inauspiciously. First, the Garmin didn’t hold a charge, so no electronic data, speed, map, elevation, etc. Second, clip needed adjustment right at the start as I couldn’t get foot in the pedal. Was this how it was going to be? So, commenced up the BGT with trepidation, but all well, including a relatively easy climb up the Woodinville Hill. Weather was autumn in Seattle, chilly, damp (rain shower just as I left the house @ 6:10 a.m.) But a south breeze, and tailwinds are good. Crossed into farmland, with cows, horses, llamas, goats, chicken squawks and made it to Snohomish, where I caught up with Shaun and Claudia, riding partners from last year.

For me the first 50 miles of this ride, to Arlington, are pretty easy, a few climbs but a great long descent into town. Marty caught up with us on the trail, peddling hard and setting a brisk pace. I insisted on lunch at the Blue Bird CafĂ©, remembering last year’s bonk on Lake Cavanaugh rode. That’s where Shaun’s stomach caught up with him, and we called for the sweep team. C and Max were coming up I-5, and picked him up, delivered him to Bellingham. Shaun was too sick to ride day two, and he took the train back to Seattle from there.

No bonk on Lake Cavanaugh Rd this year, but there was a shower, so picked up more road grime. And, there was no getting lost in the Skagit Delta this year, either. But, Chuckanut, with great views and hills to match those views, was still a bear. Stopped for a rest and a few pix, looked at the time and it was 6:00! Time to book it into B’ham, settle into the Rodeway Inn (Shaun described as a Motel 3), tacos rice and beans and then up the next a.m. @ 5:30 for Day 2!

The morning began with a meander through Lynden farmland to brunch at the Dutch Mother, where they hold an annual buffet for the RSVP’ers. Best meal on the trip! Eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, fruit, mucho coffee, and up to the border, with a slight detour into the mud. Border crossing was more bureaucratic this year. Long line, showed passports, guard checked my name on list (you go by any other name, perhaps?), photo ops, then into Canada! Horse farms, berry farms, small orchards, organic farms, gentleman’s estates, and beautiful countryside.

Heading north, you hit the infamous Wall of Day Two, which, frankly, is less than old 70th Street in Seattle, and all that complaining about living on top of a hill turns into some gratification for the training. Last year, Albion Ferry, including a long wait in the sun and a guessing game of Will This Old Wreck Capsize on the Fraser? This year, new, ultra modern sleek and slick Golden Ears Bridge with wide bike lanes, spectacular views after more gorgeous country side! Much improved.

On to the rest stop, through the suburbs, and then crossing a scenic footbridge over a stream in Port Coquitlam. As I was riding with a small group over the bridge, we saw two brown bear cubs scamper across the trail! Some remarked at how wonderful and cute they were, until I pointed out that where there were cubs, there was also Mama Bear, and she was likely not to be either cute or cuddly! Stopped for lemonade right there, and the locals offered that bears were common along the stream, and they had to be careful with their garbage and other food in the area.

One more fluid exchange in Port Moody, in from East Van, through Chinatown, past the junkies on Hastings, Gastown tourists, and then up to the Coast Plaza for the reception and party. Well done, Cascade!

Oh yes, after a charge, the Garmin now worked, and here are the details of RSVP, Day Two.

My photos are here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

RSVP Tune Up

Booked about 375 miles in the past month, and did a 40-mile RSVP tune-up on Seafair Sunday, around Boeing Field and back up via the Ballard Bridge and the BGT. Bleriot is riding quite nicely after a new cassette, chain and once over from Elliot Bay Bicycles. Plan is to back off the training, catch up on rest, and be ready in two weeks.

On the way back north, through Myrtle Edwards Park, I stopped at the fishing pier for fresh water, the view, and a chat with this guy who was trying his luck. "How's fishing?" I asked. Response, with a shake of the head, "Real good, for the fish!" Still, it was relatively cool, but no wind to stir up the water or blow away the haze in the distance.

It's been hot, record-breaking hot. The sort of heat wave and thick air that reminds me of So Cal smog, grey woolen blanket, humid oppression, you know, Raymond Chandler stuff. For all, it's been difficult to sleep, to stay focused, to keep on top of classes and to motivate students, much less keep up with the flow of all the other projects on the plate. Three weeks until the end of summer quarter, and I can't wait.

RSVP Tune-Up

Monday, July 27, 2009


Here's the answer to the musical question, 'What's a Bleriot?'

Friday, July 24, 2009

Real Life

It's been a tough few days for some friends out there in the Blogosphere.....

Elden is the Fat Cyclist, and Team Leader for Team Fatty, the group with whom I rode in Livestrong.

Lisa is the Wild Celtic Rose, constant Blogger, FB and Twitter poster, triathlete and medical volunteer for Cascade.

Choose life. Cancer sucks. Addiction is a life-denying illness and poison.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Link Light Rail

A fine weekend indeed, finishing with a 40+ mile ride in perfect Seattle summer weather. We've had a string of those in the past week, almost payback for last winter and spring. I've started to use this Airport Way, South Seattle loop as a training run, as the neighborhoods are interesting, there's little traffic on the weekends, Pioneer Square coffee and treats stops are convenient, and the route is somewhat flat. Pleasant alternative to the Eastside loops through Yuppieville.

After an early dinner at the Shanghai Garden, we walked down to the International District station to ride Link light rail yesterday, the first day of service. And, we rode the entire line! Great to ride through the Rainier Valley and see neighborhoods that we just don't get to very often. Plenty of places to explore, restaurants to frequent, now so easily accesible. The line goes all the way to Tukwila, with a shuttle to the airport for now, but by year end the promise is delivery to SeaTac. It will be interesting to see how this rail service changes how people commute as well as what happens to the places around the stops. But for now, we give the service two thumbs up.

Four weeks until RSVP. Should be ready, once the Bleriot gets a little tune-up.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

STP - 2009

No, I'm not riding the STP this year, for the 2nd year in a row. Instead, I volunteered for Cascade Bike Club, handing out packets, bib numbers and those funny paper jackets at REI on Friday and then at the starting line, starting at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday. Got to see most of the 10,000 riders cross the line to head down to Portland for 204 miles. They picked a good weekend for the event, with 80+ degree weather and a tailwind.

Great people to work with, and riders were a fun, excited and interesting lot, most adrenaline-pumped and ready-to-go, a few intimidated, and a couple a little surly after not getting the right size paper jacket. Can't please everyone.

The SeaTimes had a writer on the ride, and he posted here. One noteworthy post includes a description of the revenues and profits from the event.

Sunday afternoon, view from Myrtle Edwards Park. One of the behemoth cruise ships headed north to Alaska.

The weather turned back to what passes for normal around here on Sunday, with the old-fashioned Great Northwest marine air-conditioning kicking in Saturday night, with Sunday filled with a southwest wind, rain, thunderstorms for those 2 day riders. I circumnavigated Boeing field, about 30 miles, and beat the downpour home by about a half hour. In retrospect, had I ridden STP, I would have been one of the poor souls who rolled into Holladay Plaza soaked to the bone.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Good Ol' Fashioned 4th of July

A fine 4th of July, it was! Summer weather, hot and dry, not normal for Seattle, where Independence Day usually is wet and cool. Z came down from Vancouver, bringing three friends. One of them was the Aussie, a chef who had shared their house for a month or two while settling down, and it was his first trip to the States.

So, we ate. Bar-B-Q, corn on the cob, baked beans, strawberry shortcake and a salmon on the grill.

Such a great couple of days of eating that I had to get out on the 5th and put in over 35 miles, this time circumnavigating Boeing Field on a long, relatively flat ride.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dancin' in the Street

On the 32 mile (and 1883 ft. elevation gain!) loop to Pioneer Square and back, I stopped for sustenance at Zeitgeist. While drinking my coffee, I got caught as the crowd started moonwalking (or at least attempting to walk backwards) down Jackson Street. Hilarity ensued. Then around the parking lot to hear the crowd yell for a Sounders goal. Elevator up to Weller, then heard the drums and encountered some kids doing the Lion Dance in front of a restaurant. This was part of an effort by CISC Seattle to bring awareness to the community about the 2010 Census, so all would be willing to be counted. I helped out by taking this photo, donating a dollar, and getting some metal chopsticks with US Census embossed on the handle!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fremont and Wallingford

Waiting for the Fremont Bridge, the M/V Anchor as well as a few other sailboats. Nice to have the time between quarters for these midweek afternoon rides around Lake Union.

Archie McPhee, purveyor of fine goods for the 21st Century, has now opened in Wallingford!

Recumbent tricycles with flags at the corner of Stone Way N and 34th.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Technology

C and the kids gave me a belated Father's Day gift, a Garmin 305 GPS. How much technology do you need? Do I need to to know elevation gain? Do I need to know calories burned (hint: not enough). I do like to know distance, speed, time, etc., and the direction I'm going is helpful. But, where it got cool was when I got home from the test ride and loaded up the mapping features.

Here's the link to Garmin Connect that shows more detail that you really need. And, the upload to Google Earth was easy and way cool!

Okay, this is going to suck up lots of my time and energy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Livestrong - Father's Day 2009

While standing in line at the first rest stop waiting for the normal fluid exchange routine, I struck up a conversation with a young woman. "Nice day for a ride. Heard we've got some hills in front of us..,' that sort of thing. Then, I explained I was riding in honor of my brother-in-law Tony, who passed away last March 15, and whose daughter was having her high-school graduation party today on Father's Day. The young woman then told me that she was riding to honor of her Dad, and choked up.

Lots of those moments today. Riders who were cancer survivors, (“Ten Years, Given No Chance!”), riders honoring their moms, dads, brothers, sisters, friends, husbands, wives, partners…..

Yes, it was a great ride on a tough course, well described here by Lisa and the mysterious RiderX. Yes, it was a typical Seattle June day, with clouds, a shower or two, and more headwinds than tailwinds. Yes, the course was well-marked and the rest stops staffed with friendly and helpful volunteers.

But the event started the day before at the packet pickup, where you had to be impressed with the Livestrong organization, all the volunteers in yellow, and those who kept coming in and filling out the cards ‘In Honor Of….’ and ‘In Memory Of…’

Because I had joined Team Fatty to add the totals of those who donated in support of Tony to a larger group, I was invited to the Fundraising Appreciation Dinner, where I caught up with friends Claudia and Shaun, plus met the Petersons and Fat Cyclists, all of whom shared the motto, Win Susan! The guest of honor was Lance’s oncologist, Craig Nichols, who took questions from the MC, Betty Otter-Nickerson of the LAF.

The highlight of the evening was when Steven Peterson led Team Fatty to the podium to be honored for most fundraising dollars, most fundraising members, and highest individual donor. We watch the video from Fatty Himself, Elden Nelson, who is not Stanley Tucci, and then heard from Steve’s brother, Scott, cancer survivor. Inspiring, and what a way to get you focused for the main event the next morning.

Congratulations, Team Fatty! from Fat Cyclist on Vimeo.

Started from home early (5:45) to get to Seattle Center in time for the line up and the 7:00 a.m. start. Dan the Man Wilson blew the start horn and we were off, down 2nd, no wait, 5th Avenue (slightly off track, but what a way to start), through downtown and onto the I-90 onramp to head east in the Express Lanes through the tunnel, across the Lake and then for the circumnavigation of Mercer Island. From there, it was Bellevue, then points east, including past Squak Mountain, to Issaquah, and up the infamous Montreaux Hill. Halfway up the monster, I stopped for water and to suck in some badly-needed oxygen. The Sag Wagon stopped and asked how I was doing, probably to see if I needed help. I told them, “This is why they call this a challenge!” Up to the top, to by met by Beelzebub, and then downhill to Newcastle and around the south end of the lake.

At the end there’s a relatively easy way to get back downtown, through the I-90 bike tunnel, but why do the easy thing when this is a challenge, not just a pleasure ride. Up and over the ridge to Yesler we rode slowly as the thighs burned. The Bleriot, with its granny gears and big rear cassette performed like a champ throughout.

Finally, got back to Seattle Center, and was met by Cynthia and Max, as wonderful a father’s day present as any Dad ever received. I had a hamburger, Cynthia drove home, and I napped, with my best dog by my side.
Thanks to all who supported me, and donated in honor of Tony and others. And, thanks to the Livestrong Challenge folks for organizing such an amazing event!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Long One, but Not Here

Look what's coming down the track. Opening Day for Sound Transit is soon!

Lot's of updating needed, but I'm tired after 65 miles today, finals pouring in, and mucho other stuff going on.

More to follow when I get overloaded and need to procrastinate.

950 miles YTD. Livestrong next Sunday. I'm as ready as I'm going to get.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Seattle Summer Streets - Alki

Cruised over the West Seattle Bridge to the Alki (Alk-eye!) Trail for the Bicycle Sunday, West Seattle style. The road along the beach was closed from California Ave SW by Salty's all the way to 63rd SW, around the point and down to where the famous Alki Bakery is located.

Even though the weather was great, the streets weren't as crowded as I expected. There was a big police presence, plus kettle corn, smoothies, and other treats, and a band playing all your old, tired favorites from the 70's.

On the way over, I detoured down the Duwamish Trail for a bit. One thing that's obvious from being around the Port is that there are a lot of empty shipping containers.

800 miles, YTD.

And, in other news, I became a great-uncle this weekend!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Ride

46 miles around the north end of Lake Washington on a sunny Memorial Day, hoping to build some seat team in preparation for Livestrong. It being a holiday, once again the masses were out on the popular trails, although I timed this photo of the SRT to not include the families riding two and three abreast.

Took a right off the SRT at Marymoor and headed up the 520 trail through Nintendo and Microsoft Land, where I saw this sign at an intersection. What does it mean? If a car turns right and a bike proceeds straight ahead, apparently some sort of fusion-induced catastrophe will occur, perhaps rendering all the hardware and software in the surrounding area inoperable.

Stopped at Enatai Park under the I-90 bridge for a fluid exchange, and caught this summer scene. Fishing was probably lousy, but given the sunshine, I doubt if they really cared.

On the Seattle side, as I crossed 520 at Montlake, traffic westbound was completely stopped as some autos had tried to occupy the same space at the same time, just west of the overpass. And, traffic crossing the Montlake Bridge was backed up, probably as the drawspan was open. A glorious day not to be in a car!