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.