Sunday, December 30, 2012

Alki Ride

40 mile ride out to Alki and back for the last ride of 2012, or the first ride after the winter solstice.    This was the first time out since the 'event' and the bike felt good, back to normal.

Several other firsts here, first coffeeneuring training ride of the new season, first time out with the Garmin 200, easy to operate bike computer with GPS, but mysteriously does not have a clock on the main page, a big time fail!

Met up with the several Cascade Bike Club events at the Alki Tully's, said my hellos and acknowledged Jake the Ride Leader, but went on my way as a solo.   On the way up the Seattle Waterfront, had to thread through the many Seahawk fans as they stumbled into the Clink for the last home game of the football season.  The Waterfront continues to be confusing as construction continues, and will do so for some time to come, but Spokane street is open and there's a new route up to the West Seattle Bridge that's somewhat easier.

All in all, a good start back.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jan Heine writes the Bicycle Quarterly.  In a recent post, he describes a typical, yet amazingly wonderful trip around the north end of Lake Washington.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why all the miles? - Google Groups

Why all the miles? - Google Groups:

Great post and thread from Manny Acosta, covering the subject of Why We Ride.....

Saturday, December 8, 2012


As I approach the 6th decade on this planet, it's a good time for a considered recalibration of values, goals and priorities, particularly given the recent impact of experiences, behaviors and environment on my personal well-being.  Suffice to write, I'm making adjustments.

Among the personal notes:
  • Stretch, breathe, stretch, breathe
  • Ride more. Drive less.
  • More salad, fewer sandwiches.
  • Refer to the gurus for advice.
As far as goals, to participate in this challenge in 2013 is one that I hereby commit, and will train accordingly.   

Sunday, November 4, 2012

First Pacific Standard Time ride, with wet roads, leaves, leftover Halloween decorations, campaign signs and wearing long johns for the first time since spring.    

Ravenna>Golden Gardens>Locks>Myrtle Edwards>Pioneer Square>Leschi>Arboretum. The whole ride took somewhere around 36 miles or so, but the bike computer was reset during a stop and a search for my lock in the handlebars, so can't be sure.  Mileage has dropped off significantly since September.

And, for the first time all year, I almost laid it down on the pavement.  The Olympic Sculpture Park crew was pressure-washing the trail and the pavement was wet.  I got hung up by the hose, skidded left and then right, but kept the rubber side down at all times!

My regular end of ride route up 39th is now the 39th Avenue NE Greenway, complete with signage, sharrows, islands in the arterials, and still the most pleasant way up the hill.

What an RAF pilot can teach us about being safe on the road

What an RAF pilot can teach us about being safe on the road:

'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Lance Thing

The Lance thing has come up in conversation.    I really don't care about the BORAF, TDF to those who don't read Grant, and the records.  I watch it because it's great entertainment, with Phil Leggett narrating and the beautiful views of the French countryside, the charge down the Champs Elysees, and the aerial views of the peloton.

My views of the Lance issue are similar to Fatty's.

I didn't ride the Livestrong challenge because I wanted to be like Lance.  I rode it to raise money for those who were going through cancer, because the organization does good work.  And, I rode it to honor Tony, as well as others who went through it, some who survived, and some who didn't.   I know too many people who are dealing with the termites.

That's the work that's important, and help for families, friends, loved ones, kids, parents, shirt-tail relatives, mishpucha, colleagues and community members, that's what counts.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Rains Have Started

Travel over the past several weeks to warm places, Arizona and California, only to return last night to the Great Northwest and the beginning of the rains.  

The Bleriot is in the shop for tune-up, middle front sprocket replacement, fenders and general upkeep after a summer (and some 2400 miles) of good riding since the reset of the Cateye computer back when standard became daylight time.

There's been some wear and tear, including a gear shift cable that mercifully let me finish RSVP before the tear and fraying undid me, as well as new scratches, scars and marks that make the steed look like it's been ridden!   Acorn Bag a big plus over the summer, and now considering panniers if the urge for dark and wet commutes continues to surge.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

RSVP - 2012

Another successful Cascade ride and the third time I've ridden RSVP, first since 2009.   It's better than ever and while STP this year was great, I prefer the smaller crowds, better scenery and Canadian finish to the Portland ride.  The two provide different experiences, with RSVP being the greater challenge due to climbs, especially Chuckanut Drive at the end of Day One.  And, the finish into Vancouver, through Burnaby and then Chinatown, Water Street and Gastown, and into the Coast Plaza Hotel is more dramatic than the arrival in Portland.

Here's what worked, what to remember for next time, and a few other observations.

For two days before, Seattle suffered through two successive days of 90 + temps and humidity for which we are not acclimatized, making for lousy sleep and some discomfort.  So, my start was sluggish, despite the overnight-early morning push of marine air, cool-down and overcast. By the first climb up the Woodinville-Duvall Rd hill, I felt it.   But, CTS training and having made that climb a couple of times earlier this year helped.  

Riding with Howard definitely helped.   He set a quick pace, a little faster than I was used to, but good to be pushed.   Howard mashed up the hills, I sat and spun, but he waited, joked, and provided good companionship.  The Dark Side of the Moon Jersey on Day Two provoked comments and acted as a chick magnet.  Big plus.

The new Centennial Trail route from Snohomish to Arlington made the first 50 miles relatively easy and fast paced,  with an arrival in Arlington by about 11:15 for a quick lunch.  Good choice not to patronize restaurants along Olympic Avenue, but to find a small coffee place (Stilly Coffee?) with wraps and java to spur us on for the 2nd half of the day, a much tougher stretch along Lake Cavanaugh Road and down into Mount Vernon.  The sun came out, the road turned to chip seal, the hills obtained, and we got the first and only honk and flip-off of the day, from a Honda sporting a Coexist bumper sticker.  Go figure.

Mount Vernon, headwinds, food stop with 30 miles to go across the Skagit Delta and farmland, and then to Chuckanut Drive at Mile 90.  Always, always a killer at the end of Day One, and this was no exception.   Still, the stretch is spectacular in vistas, classic Pacific Northwest and well worth the sweat and strain.  The "Think Pink" lemonade stand at the end of the last hill is a ritual worth preserving, and I made a contribution to Mikayla's college fund once again.   

So we slid into Bellingham, headed to the WWU dorms, and had to climb the steepest 200 yards of the first day getting up to the place.   Not worth it.  Get a motel with a hot tub, in-room coffee, TV and a real shower next time.  No food service at the dorms, spartan conditions, out of the way.  What did work, big time, was C and Max meeting us there to drive us to dinner in town.  After stocking up on fruit and chocolate milk for breakfast, the SAG crew dropped us back at the dorms, while they drove up to the finish line.

Day 2 started with drizzle and cool, damp ride into Bellingham downtown, fuel up at Starbucks, and not feeling bad until the first slight incline out of town, where I dropped like a rock off the pace, felt old and tired, and resigned myself to the need for more training on the climbs, as well as the need to lose some ballast over the next year to make me less sluggish.   10 lbs at least.  Very doable.

What worked on Day Two?  
  • Lynden food stop.   Going on Friday and eating the Dutch Mother buffet would have been great, but the organic berry parfait (riding with Howard I ate less) was sufficient and probably resulted in less sluggishness.   The Wall was short and steep, but not a real problem.
  • The cool, overcast skies worked better than the heat that wilted me in 2008. 
  • The Golden Ears Bridge over the Fraser is spectacular and a significant upgrade over the old ferry.
  • Joining the informal pace lines and drafting at a 15 -16 mph pace reduced the strain and improved the ride, as well as making it easy to follow.
  • Watermelon at the Rocky Point Park Food Stop, before the Barnet Hwy (noisy and ugly traffic, but at least not the 35 highway miles going into Portland!) was a spot-hitter.
Animals seen along the way….cows, horses, ponies, longhorn cattle, donkeys, mules, sheep, alpaca, llamas, chickens, dogs, cats, heron, squirrels, porcupine, possum…..

Next time…..
  • Stop at JapaDog in Vancouver.   Better than the hamburger at the Finish Line Party.
  • Lose the 10 lbs. Avoid the carbs and sugar.
  • Bring food to the hotel room, and get a room with a hot tub, coffee and a pool, close to restaurants.
  • More hill climbing during the training.
  • Keep up the fall and winter rides.
  • RSVP > STP, but sign up for both.
  • Consider the bus or train returns.   And, consider the one-day ride to Centralia or to Bellingham as a training ride.
  • Avoid NUUN and other supplement/electrolyte drinks.   They don't sit well with my stomach.  Cool, clear water for hydration.
  • Have fun, ride with groups but at my own pace, go like 60 next year!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Death and Carbs

From Nora Ephron, '“Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it’s your last, or do you save your money on the chance you’ll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”"

Wuz we robbed? Or what did we expect?

The saddest part of yesterday was that  he never talked to his kids, they didn't. Look. At him.  He didn't enter. The room.  He wasn't  acknowledged .  

And then there's the we wuz robbed speech and all the Calvinist BS 

Like Bob Kane's response to, "Here's a movie that I liked!"  "Is it disturbing?"  He asked with a smile on his face.  Disturbing is a lot more interesting than pleasant, trite, contrived, life is good, and perfect. 

They must have been the perfect couple.  Good looking, well-educated, future promise of professional greatness, right values, social justice, going to do good in the world.   Moving to the most livable city in the country, he to grad school, she to SEC hot shot attorney doing right and going after the bad guys, always the adversary, fighting for truth, justice and the American Way with a sense of righteous indignation and go for the throat tactics that only a female attorney with a sharp tongue, caustic wit, arresting good looks and charming smile, covering an attack dog style could have.

And, it must have gone wrong over a period of time.  No doubt professional competition in a married couple, long hours, high expectations, little time for a family, three kids, the second, Zach's age, probably with a learning disability.   Subtle dissatisfaction, bubbling into boredom, is this all there is?  And, then, the mistakes, the bad choices, the deceit, the discovery, the dissolving, the anger, distrust, the hurt and stumble forward, public success, private failure, like Daddy Bob would often deride.  

Been three months since then, but it's still disturbing.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What worked - STP 2012

CTS - A set schedule of rides with a group, prepaid to ensure the commitment, and a varied set of routes, made sure that I'd put in the miles.  Made friends, relearned group riding,  reinforced safety-consciousness.

The Bike - It just worked.  Comfortable, with the Schwalbe Marathons, seat and other fit arranged just so, front bag, cleaned, oiled and adjusted.  One of the best investments ever made.

Midpoint accommodations and plan - After 100 miles, the massage was what the doctor ordered.  King Oscar Motel with hot tub, comfortable beds, walking distance to dinner, convenient to bag drop, early breakfast buffet, and cyclist-friendly attitude, was just the ticket.  It's on the list for next year.

Training schedule including rest.  One day on, either at gym or a commute, followed by one day off.  The rest is as important as the miles in the saddle.   And, you get in shape for cycling by riding a bike.

End of ride plan.  Check the bike, get the bag, take a shower, eat, hydrate, get on the bus.

Volunteer and be involved.   Working pre-ride packet pick up gets me in the mood and makes me feel part of a larger community.

Go slow.   Especially on the inclines.   Stay within your game.   Don't try to do too much.  Enjoy the ride.

Ways to improve?   Diet and eating.  Watch the rest stops.  Larger bag,  and an Acorn Bag for the handlebars.  Keep riding through the winter.   Put the fenders back on.  Coffee maker for Day Two morning.  These are small things, but keep riding is the big one.

Friday, July 20, 2012

STP 2012

Yes, I was ready.

The 6:10 start was a good time to go.

Kept it slow, tried to stay away from crowds.

The first morning was cloudy, cool, and made it easy to ride, especially through the Kent Valley and up the supposedly dreaded Hill after the Puyallup rest stop, where I experienced the longest porta-potty lines of the weekend.

The worst part of the STP is that long straightaway down State Route 7 on the east side of Ft. Lewis.  Lots of pickup trucks and hostile drivers.   But, it was a good move to bypass the Spanaway food stop, and instead eat fast food at Jack-in-the-Box.   For next time, and there will be a next time, wait for the Subway and Starbucks farther down on Pacific Highway South.

The best part of the ride begins when the route emerges from Ft. Lewis, enters Roy and Yelm farmland, and some other small towns.   Nice farmland, but the urban sprawl from East Olympia is on the way.   The route takes the peloton on the Yelm-Tenino trail, which is scenic but narrow, and where I saw a nasty wreck.   Came across a rider dow holding her shoulder and in obvious pain.   Take it easy folks, watch where you are going and be careful in crowds.

Centralia is about 100 miles down the route, and I made it there after 4:00.  Riders were greeted with a spray shower and an orange creamsicle.  I picked up my bag, got a massage to loosen the hamstrings and calves, and rode to the King Oscar motel, where there was a hot tub, swimming pool, comfortable room and a welcoming, bike-friendly atmosphere.    After dinner at Casa Ramos, I returned to my room, turned on the M's on the TV, and then crashed for the night.

Day 2 began with King Oscar breakfast, eggs, raisin bran, fruit, bad coffee.   Note to self - bring the single-shot drip filter and real java next time!   Rough and tough start to the next 100 miles.  Stomach was not quite right as I passed under the Centralia sign at 5:45.  First the bag drop and then headed into the south wind toward Chehalis, where there was some free coffee, still bad.   The next 20 miles were a grind, through scenic farmland and over some rollers to Vader and Winlock.  At Winlock, the drizzle, wet road, headache and grumbly stomach got to me, so I stopped and got in line for a FFA breakfast sandwich and an Advil, plus the second longest porta-potty line on the trip.     The stop went on too long, but food revived me, and I made it to Lexington, where a double Americano sustained me to the Longview Kelso bridge.   Once we cleared the bridge, landed in Oregon, and the headwind became a tailwind.

That helped with the last 50 miles on the route, down US 30 and into Portland.  Other than a stop at Burgerville in St. Helens, and the noise of riding down the side of the highway, that part was uneventful.  Still, a fair number of riders seemed to take a tumble, run out of gas, and generally act tired.   The route took us over the St. John's Bridge into North Portland, onto the PDX bike lane routes, where riders encountered Portlandia, and made it finally to Holladay Plaza, greeted by the over-the-top end of ride celebration.  Like the day before, arrived a little after 4:00, after about 8 hours in the saddle.   Good time, and good times.

Claire's end-of-ride advice was spot on, and the bus ride back to Seattle was unremarkable, except for the lack of traffic and waiting in the rain for my bike to be unloaded.   But, my bride brought me a mocha from Starbucks, the Bleriot was delivered, and I returned home tired but triumphant!

Pictures here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Am I ready?

Am I ready for this?  Last time was five years ago? Did the RSVP twice since then, but no long ride last year or the year before.  I've ridden many of the Cascade Training Series rides this spring, with the longest being 82 miles (Magnuson to Sultan and back), rode a long one most weekends, rode, rested, rode, rested, rode.

The bike feels good, but the legs, the knees especially, give me some concern.   I'm carrying too much ballast around the middle, and on the way to the Learning Factory this week there was serious phlegm draining and hacking.   Endurance was good on the last two around the lake, and the warm weather has helped.  

As Leo said, it's not going to be easier next year.    Recovery from the previous days' exercise takes longer, and sleep is important.  Remember to stretch, to hydrate, to eat.

Make sure to pack:

Change of bike clothes.

Change of regular clothes.

Toothbrush, paste, floss, aspirin, vitamins, etc.

Camera, phone, charger, book for ride back.



What else?

Glad that I committed to doing this back in January, and glad that I'm following through.   For now, anticipation, packet pick up tomorrow, good dinner, and then, we're off!

6:00 a.m. start.  

Three weeks ago, I started this post....

'Am I ready?

830 miles on odometer since last reset.   Weekly longish rides, gym every other day, fitful sleep and  focus plus wear and tear and always being on are taking a toll.   Tired but want to do STP and RSVP both this year.   Not going to be easier next!   The CTS rides have helped, given me the incentive to ride, meet new folks, and see new routes.  But, I'm glad I didn't do yestersday's mess in the rain.

Off on jaunt through Leschi, over I-90 bridge and out to Issaquah via May Valley Rd, a route I learned on the Livestrong ride back in 2009.  Stopped at XXX Root Beer for lunch (a bit much and not the best choice, but tasted so good!), then headed up E. Lake Sammamish to Marymoor.  That's where I shed the rest of the layers, and pointed north on the SRT.   It being Sunday, there was an abundance of traffic, some obnoxious 'on-your-lefts,'  plus a Mom with her daughters riding  three abreast.    Safety first!'

Since then the odometer is at 1150.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

BGT Reopens

After an 8-month closure and renovation, two miles of the Burke Gilman Trail reopened this week. Lots of riders, walkers, walkers with dogs, and others ventured out on this cool, damp Saturday morning to check it out, including yours truly.  The highlight of the 28 miles was the buttery-smooth pavement, as well as the reduction in the number of stop signs from many to just one in Lake Forest Park.  No doubt, come summer, a local law enforcement officials will be present to cite the scofflaws and collect revenue for LFP at that one stop sign.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bob Marley Birthday Ride

44 flat Kent Valley miles on a rare 55 degree February day from Renton to Sumner and back.  This was another Cascade Bike Club ride organized by Jenny and Julie, who organized the Seattle loop ride a couple of weeks before.  About 20 riders rode the route, down the West Valley Highway, same route for the first leg of the STP.   Much to my surprise and delight, the Cave Man Kitchen was open, and the smoker on as we pedaled past about 11 a.m.   After the ride, I returned and obtained necessary provisions for the Super Bowl meal

The return route included the Interurban Trail, back up the Valley, underneath power lines and with an absence of hills, plus a view of Emerald Downs, the backs of office parks and the rest of the development of what,  maybe 75 years ago, was farm and wetland.

Still, good to explore routes where I hadn't been before and the Cascade rides provide good company and friendly conversation to keep me coming back.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stuff Overheard at FanFest 2012

Is this next year?  Will the youngsters deliver on their promise?   Will the fans return?  Will Ichiro come back from a disappointing 2011?   Is Jesus Montero the second coming of Albert Pujols?  All these questions, and many more, were asked and considered, but not answered at the Mariners' FanFest 2012.

Here are some things I overheard...

"I'll let you in on a secret.  We didn't have much offense last year."

"That pitcher has gotta miss more bats than he did last year."

"Montero has a high ceiling."

"Smoak is this close."

"The devil is in the backend of the contract.  The Tigers and Angels overpaid."

"The information is only as good as the person giving that information.  And, no, I haven't seen Moneyball."

"The athlete must understand the urgency and responsibility of playing major league baseball, but they have to play tension-free."

"If I had guts, I'd make Figgins my leadoff hitter."

"He brings a lot of moxie to the team."

Maybe this is next year.  Maybe 2013 is next year.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ride Around Seattle with Cascade Bike Club

40 miles on an unusually warm and dry January Sunday morning with the Cascade Bike Club.    The loop included an extension over the Jose Rizal Bridge and down Beacon Avenue South past the Jefferson golf course, somewhere I had not ridden!   Fun to ride with Julie, Leo, Eric and about 20 others.   I missed the beginning at Gas Works, but caught up with the group in Discovery Park.  As their route did not include the scenic overlook at the Magnolia Bluff, I split off and then stopped at Zeitgeist for some sustenance.  While sipping coffee, I watched Leo lead the peloton up Jackson, causing a hurry-up and catch-up, accomplished in plenty of time.   Good to ride in a group again, and hope to do more.