30 December 2009

Vashon Island Boxing Day Ride

Some days are just perfect for a ride and this was one of them. Beautiful sunshine, excellent friends and icy, hilly roads made for a memorable day in the saddle.

Kent sent out a note about a Saturday ride (as opposed to the usual Monday he does). One line stood out: "Vashon is hilly (damn hilly) bring low gears." Having never been there, I took this advice and brought the Canti-Rom and triple. I made the Southworth ferry to Vashon at 8:20 and met Brad Hawkins shortly after landing. He had ridden over from the other end of the island from the Pt. Defiance-Talaquah ferry. Then the Seattle ferry arrived and Mark Canizaro, Kent Peterson, Mark Vande Kamp, Liam Moriarty and his brother Tom off loaded for the start of our day. Tom just moved here from Kansas and was about to be introduced to PNW winter riding with the nut jobs surrounding him. Poor guy didn't know what was in store, but then again, neither did I.

We did a nice circuit of Vashon with a trip to the Bike Tree, then headed to Robinson Lighthouse on Maury Island. Not a real island as it is joined by a land bridge, but so be it.

The sun was beaming all day long and despite the chilly temps and relentless climbing (though always enjoyable) it was fun from start to finish.

We scooted back onto Vashon and headed south where Brad headed home and we shot up to town for burgers and milkshakes at Perry's. You've got to stop when the sign outside says "Stop and eat here or we'll both starve".

After that it was back to the ferry where I met up with another rider who'd spent the day on the island. We had a good chat and then it was home before dark. Must have been tired as I was asleep by 9PM!

Total around 40 miles with lots of excellent climbing. I'll never say PT is hilly again.

The Southworth ferry was $5.75 for a roundtrip and parking was $3 on the weekend, so it was a pretty cheap date.

12 December 2009

Commuter for the Apocalypse

I've rebuilt my 1986 MB-2 (see Sheldon's catalog scan) into a stout commuter that I can load up at the store, pull the Burley trailer and cruise around town night or day in any weather. I use it almost every day from 2 to 15 miles and though it's not fast, there's nothing that can harm it.

It weighs about 40lbs, but is comfy to ride with it's Brooks Champion Flyer and slightly upswept Nitto bars. Fat Crossroad tires, Bullseye hubs and just 6 speeds make it just right for the terrain and the roads and trails I travel locally.

If I were to go touring in a third world country, this is probably the bike I'd take. I got it about 20 years ago for $75. Now that's a bargain.

06 December 2009

HED Ardennes Short Review

Rode the 25mm ProRace 2's on a set of HED Ardennes on my MXL for a couple hours yesterday and the ride was definitely different than on the Open Pro rims.

Cornering felt more secure, cushioning was a bit better (I think I was running them around 85-90lbs PSI and I am about 150-155lbs). I liked the feel a great deal and hope to get out again after the next few days of 30 degrees and icy roads.

Never having had a low spoke count wheelset before (these are 18 front, 24 rear), I probably won't use them for randonneuring, but club riding is perfect. A very nice wheelset and maybe even a bit better than my DT RR 1.1 set. The hubs are dreamy smooth, I could coast for considerably longer in places where I've done it previously. Sweet wheels.

What a great day to ride too!

21 November 2009

Redline Monocog 29er Day

A nice 20 mile off-road day on the new SS. Works well and ready for
more! These big tires take a bit to spin up but even on technical
stuff don't seem sluggish. Just get on a ride. nice.

20 November 2009

Jay Guthrie Fundraiser - Dec 3, 2009

I'm sure most of you have heard about long time R&G club member Jay Guthrie of Jtek Engineering and his battle with cancer. Now Bikes, County Cycles, HED and Ride and Glide Club are joining together in a fund raiser to help Jay and Anne with medical bills.

We will be having a "Get Together" at Now Bikes in Arden Hills (3673 Lexington Ave N) on Thursday Dec 3rd at 7pm. We will be showing the video of Greg Lemond's 1989 TDF victory over Laurent Fignon and will have a "Guest Speaker". Steve Hed will be talking about aerodynamics and what's happening in bicycle racing and I'm sure have many fascinating stories and will take your questions as well.

We'll have pizza from Davannis, beverages and door prizes generously donated by HED, Now, County Cycles and R&G. Tickets will be $20 at the door and get you one ticket in the door prize drawing and free pizza and good times. Extra tickets for the drawings can be purchased as well. Please come over to Now Bikes, socialize with your cycling buddies, swap stories about Jay, and take some time off your trainer. You may even win one!

RSVP to Steve Thatcher at sdthatcher@q.com

You can also donate by PayPal here: http://www.rideandglide.org/fundraiser.htm

Or by sending checks to:
Steve Thatcher
12999 Keller Ave N
Hugo, MN 55038

Make checks out to "Ride and Glide"
Make a note that it's for Jay Guthrie Fund

Thanks to all in your support of Jay and his family.

10 October 2009

ODT Adventure Route

My friend Eric and I finally got together for a great ride on the recent ODT (Olympic Discovery Trail) Adventure Route on Sunday, September 6th. Nice soggy rain all day and all we could think as we began was that this is not so different from our days 20 years ago in the Capitol Forest. We might be older, but we still love singletrack baby. It was so nice to ride with my buddy who was my first friend after moving to WA and we're still having fun!

The trail is really spectacular - we did the 25 mile from the west side of Crescent Lake to the Elwha River. About 8 miles of gravel road, the rest pure trail. Despite the rain, we add a glorious day! If you don't ride in the rain you'd never ride at all...

We'll be back again hopefully before there's too much snow on the trail. More info at: http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/LkCrescentElwha.htm

04 August 2009

To Tri without Training

"You need to tread water at the start." What? What does that even mean? I diligently listened to the guy with the megaphone who went through the race details. About half-way through I had no idea what he was even talking about. "T1", "timing chips", "waves" (the water looked calm to me), it was all rather bizarre. I had only committed to doing this event about one hour ago and now here I was standing in the midst of some serious-looking half-naked people at the water's edge.

Goss Lake on Whidbey Island...the start of the 13th Annual Whidbey Island Triathlon. I had been here before as a spectator and support for my wife in 2008 and it all seemed sort of jovial and intriguing then; so much so that I flippantly mentioned I may be up for trying it next year, and not surprisingly my wife Carrie signed me up 6 months ago, which seemed like more than enough time to prepare. Now treading water over my head, and waiting for what seemed much too long, I flailed in my little yellow rubber swim cap waiting for the horn to signal the start of the 4th wave - "old guys and everyone else."

To preface all this, preparing for big events is not out of my ability, and getting physically prepared for arduous events is not something I am unfamiliar with. Of course, they have all been single sport endeavors revolving around cycling. I'm a randonneur, used to long periods of riding through every conceivable terrain, temperature and physical condition around the clock. I don't really mind pain or discomfort. Really. I can do one sport just fine. A triathlon though, mind you, is three of them in a row.

A therein lies the problem. I'm an OK runner: there's ground, feet, air and all the things that make my terrestrial soul feel natural. Cycling, no worries. Swimming, on the other hand, is the most un-natural activity I can think of. Born in Minnesota, you'd think it would be second nature, but it's not. I gyrated toward frozen water sports, like skiing. I loved sailing, but the only reason to swim was if you screwed up and dumped the boat and the goal was to get back to it ASAP. Swimming for the sake of swimming was not my bag.


To prove to my wife that I was at least partially engaged in this endeavor, I went to the pool to attempt "lap swimming". This entails getting up at some obscenely early hour and undressing with other old guys and then crowding into 80 degree pool water and trying to swim back and forth in a thin corridor between sharp plastic lines for an hour. Our local pool is only about 20 meters long, so that means an hour or more of constant thrashing, gasping for air and reaching both feet and hands for some solid surface. While Carrie would glide effortlessly and click off 100 laps, I could barely make one before I would simply run out of of air. 20 meters. After the third trip to the pool I gave up. This was early June.

Running was easier. We did the 5km Jingle Bell Run in 30 degree temperatures in Seattle on icy roads. In May we ran the 10 km Deer Run on Indian Island. I did one more training run with Carrie in Long Beach for another 4 miles. Enough of that. Running is just not as efficient as cycling.

The Swim

And now, here I am, already gasping for air and we haven't even started yet. The horn blows and everyone around me easily moves through the water and the gap to everyone else widens rapidly. I see the big orange buoy marking the first turn of the triangle we are to swim around. 50 meters out I realize this is not where I should be. I have made a huge mistake. What was I thinking?? I need to quit now so I can at least make it back to shore without waving my arms in what the organizer said would be the proper sign of panic in the water. I am an idiot!

As all the little bobbing yellow heads moved away there was this calm that literally washed over me. The sun on my face, the chaos far away, and just a hint of panic when I realized that I was DOING THE SWIM. Not being a multi-tasker (and trust me - no one is), I took this as one thing I had to do. Now. Nothing else. I just had to swim to that big orange ball. That's all. I couldn't do the crawl, that much I knew. It was the thing that exhausted me in the pool. So I cherry-picked. Pick the cherry and put it in the basket (also known as the side-stroke). Carrie's girlfriend and tri buddy Laura had told me about this - she had done it in her first tri. So that's what I did. And man, I picked a lot of cherries over the next 35 minutes.

Should this have been embarrassing? It should, if I weren't constantly fearing for my life. For thirty-five minutes I knew that if I stopped moving I would drown. My heart was racing and I was trying to keep it under control. Little cramps were starting in my legs. And I was still unknown minutes from the first big orange ball.

I knew I was slow. I know what being in the back of the pack can feel like. And having also been at the front of the pack, it was even more evident. But who was I racing against? Being my first triathlon, I hadn't the slightest idea what it would be like. The last time I swam this far I was between a pontoon boat and the shore and I could touch the bottom.

One down, one to go. The second big orange ball was now the target. I rolled onto my back and just scooted like a upside-down frog. I could rest my legs and arms and the buoyant wet suit top allowed some rest. I cherry-picked my way around the second buoy and was onto the the final leg. A swarm of volunteer kayakers converged on me, shouting encouragement, alignment coordinates and distance to salvation. "60 yards. 50, 40, 30..." I knew they were thinking that I might actually make it and they wouldn't have to engage their water rescue training. In my head I just wanted to not die before the end. A simple concern. When my foot touched solid ground I was ecstatic. So were they. I was the last one in.

The Bike

The guy who had marked me earlier with my number using a a magic-marker, now stood with my "T1" (the transition between the swim and the bike) bag for the bike leg. I had foolishly left my dry t-shirt at "T2" (the transition between the bike and the run) so had to go bare or stay wet. Decided to leave the wet suit top on and just ride. I was the last bike out and the volunteers were already tearing down the racks and rolling up the flags.

The bike leg was uneventful and short, so I was simply trying to eat and drink before the run. Only one short steep hill per lap and the rest was wonderful. Volunteers were out in force, making sure we were on course and safe.

The Run

I reached T2 and nearly toppled over from not getting out of the pedals, but managed to save myself in time. I jogged to my spot and then wrestled my wet suit top off and into a nice dry t-shirt. Then I started to run, or rather shuffle purposefully up the little rise from the park leading to the trail. Having never done a transition of any sort, I found out what had been mentioned as "the brick" or making your body do something different when it would rather just keep doing what it was doing. I had to focus on getting up a stride of some sort, while other racers slipped past in increasing numbers. Of course, as I was already about as far back in the pack as possible, in a short time there would be no one passing me except volunteers cleaning up the course.

About a mile further I felt better and started to revel in the fact that I would finish! Amazing how only 2 hours ago I thought I'd be washing up on the beach like so much flotsam, but now I was only a few miles from the end. Those three training runs between November and July were really coming in handy now! I began passing a few folks and being friendly, getting water and feeling pretty smug. I ordered a margarita and 2 fish tacos at the 2nd water stop, but the volunteers just figured I was delirious.

Folks that had already finished were heading home in their cars and they waved at those of us still coming in, and that was nice. As I crested the last roller and onto the grass my daughter and her friend gave a welcome cheer and ran in to the finish line with me. I was happy to be finished after nearly 2.5 hours, now thirsty, very hungry and still reveling in having made it out of the lake.

Not sure another triathlon is on my calendar anytime soon, but for a first one, the Whidbey Island Tri was fun, challenging and despite my better judgement, not a bad way to spend a morning!

06 June 2009

Riding the Repaired Hood Canal Bridge

We made a couple trips over the new Hood Canal Bridge between Kitsap Peninsula and the Olympic Peninsula today to go to Salsbury Park for the official reopening ceremony. A number of Seattle Randonneurs including Gary Prince, Tim Hennings, Bob Weeks and Randy Shuman came and met a bunch of us from PT. There were cyclists at the event from Port Townsend Bicycle Association, West Sound Cycling, Squeaky Wheels and more cyclists out to ride the new bridge!

More pics here under "Hood Canal Bridge Opening": http://www.ptbikes.org/index.php?page=photo-gallery

24 May 2009

Friday's Fine Ride

An exceptional Friday ride down to see the bridge and revel in the
lack of traffic because it's closed for a few weeks. What a joy! 50
miles with Al and Gary, with a stop at the Port Ludlow Friday Market
for home baked cookies. What stellar weather this weekend...maybe
summer has arrived.

In Shine overlooking the Olympics.

Riding west on Hwy. 104 with the road all to ourselves!

The sign seems to contradict the purpose...

04 May 2009

Freedom Returns

Back on two wheels after three months. All I can say is thanks to some good folks in the medical community, I'm feeling better than I have in 4 years. It'll take some time to get back to normal, but having two sunny rides in the past four days feels so good!!

A huge thanks to all who've sent encouragement along - I feel lucky - when I hear of my other friends and their far more challenging issues. Thinking pure thoughts for healing all around.

30 April 2009

NW Crank Brief

Still recovering from surgery, but in the meantime, I had the pleasure of helping support riders at NW Crank in Wenatchee and enjoyed some sunshine, good friends and a good dose of positive energy from everyone. I needed it. Here's a few pics from the week:

The Saturday adventure riders tackle Rock Island Grade on a windy, cool, but beautiful day!

Another view of the first few miles climbing the grade, everyone was riding strong and having done this climb, I know it's a bit of work.

Tiny riders in the distance making their way up from the river.

A little break by the Church of Pain off Joe Miller and Stemilt Hill Rd. More climbing through the fruit trees ahead.

Every morning started out with a gathering at the Inn at the River as Mike McHale gave everyone the 411 of the days activities. It was a wonderful event in my observation and brings out a really stellar group of riders! After meeting with the surgeon I got the green light to start riding on May 1st. No long rides, but at least I can start the process of getting back...to be ready for NW Crank in 2010.

13 April 2009

Now for Something Completely Different

Well, maybe it was due to not riding for the last couple months, but somehow I have decided to try something a little different. Needless to say, my appreciation of the turn of the century cyclist has increased tenfold since I started riding a penny farthing. Figured I'd try it before surgery tomorrow...in the event something happened, I'd already be in the hospital anyway. No injuries were reported and it is the most challenging cycle I've ever ridden!

03 April 2009

Now Surgery...

Nearly 8 weeks of no riding and surgery (foraminotomy) scheduled for April 14th, so being off the bike will continue for a few more weeks. I'll be in Wenatchee at NW Crank though, if only to help where I can and maybe take a few short rides along the Apple Loop Trail...it's not much, but if all goes well I still plan on making it to Last Chance in CO this September (but not GRR in June sadly).

Hard to see all my great plans for this early season go by unfulfilled, but thankfully it's not PBP 2011 either. I've so missed riding with SIR and all my friends! See you in eastern WA.

22 February 2009

It's Baaaack...

The nightmare condition of neck/shoulder pain I dealt with in 2004 is back. Riding was going well and a big year was planned, but now I am off the bike till I can hold the bars again. Chronic pain is not the way to go and after a couple weeks it seems to be getting worse. It's like Shermer's neck times ten. Less than one mile today was excruciating. An all out assault of massage, chiropractics, stretching, ice, ibuprofen, hot baths and anything else has been not working, but I stick with it for one more week...

11 January 2009

Taking Out The Big Guns

Nice ride out to Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island. Weather was cool
and damp, but little wind and no rain. Roads are in bad shape with
sand, tree limbs and debris everywhere; happy the Pereira is more than
adequate for the task. Even without rain, wet surfaces were abundant
and you never know what surprises lie beneath! Saw blue skies for a
brief moment, but never caught them. Eagles over Indian Island,
divers out in the bay off Marrowstone. Fairly quiet on the roads traffic-wise.
Great time trial back from the bunker above to home, a good 65
minutes of hard effort and a pleasant ride all around!

06 January 2009

More Shop Goodies!

My Dad arrived this week and brought me a few goodies for the shop!

Two directional machine vice with a little one to mount to it. This will be used with the drill press when it comes.

Huge, heavy weight vice that will be bolted to the shop bench. Have extra jaws coming, including a round one to hold fork tubes and the like.

A real Park shop stand...I've wanted one of these for over 20 years and finally it's here.

My brother Todd's old Kennedy tool chest...now I just need the top chest and I'll be set. He got an awesome stainless steel one that's huge. I'm more than happy to get the cast-off!

More on the way: drill press, bench mount grinder, TIG and heliarc welders with tanks. Maybe a cutoff saw too. Life is getting better every day.

02 January 2009

2008 Review - 2009 Thoughts

All in all this was not a year of big accomplishments, but lots of little fun ones.


Got to spend 7 weeks in CO and enjoyed many days of telemark, backcountry and XC skate/traditional skiing. Glorious trip to Meadow Creek/Chief Mountain and a banner day on Tucker Mountain. Never did much skate skiing before but it was a blast with one day of 25 km. Got some new Karhu 10th Mountain skis and Switchback bindings, perfect for my Garmont Veloce boots. Old tele boards out and new K2 World Piste skis and Hammerheads in. Now I need some new tele boots...

Cycling was erratic but I had a slew of great club rides, a Fleche, some 200km brevets and a few centuries thrown in. Best of all was going to the NAHMBS in Portland, meeting Tony Pereira and taking home my new 650b Hetre randonneur. Yay! Finally got to do a S24hO with Kent and Matt, though the weather was dampish, spirits were not. A few nice family rides were had. Need more of those.

Camping in the Bus: Needless to say, we did very little this year...that should change for 2009.

Maui-Wowie. Spent two weeks in Maui for my parents 50th anniversary and had an absolute blast. In the ocean every day, swimming, surfing and boogie boarding...followed by copious beverages and piles of food. Really fabulous.


15th year in business...back to the beginning with just me as Carrie moved on to work in school administration/management. It was odd, but I'm getting to like having a home office again and no employees. So far, so good. I have some great long-time clients and it gives me some freedom to be outside when I want.

Organized my shop, office and cleared out years worth of maps, magazines and papers from art school 15 years ago. Whew. Sold some bikes, got twice as many again, so I've given up on reducing. My only goal now is to build a bigger space for them, some machine tools and whatever else comes my way! (For instance, going from zero bike trailers to now having 4).


My wife's father is dying, so there's been frequent trips to MN. That's been a lesson in many ways. My dear kitty died after 20 years. No more felines for me for awhile, I'm not ready yet.

2009 Goals

Taking my daughter on a backpack trip and a bike tour
Family camping in the Bus
Full brevet series or two starting in March
Gold Rush 1200 km (Davis, CA) July
Last Chance 1200 km (Boulder, CO) September
Some S24HOs - summer
Good ski days, especially backcountry - winter/spring
Less wine, more sleep, better food, more nights under the stars.