South Whidbey Hills == Ouch

I did just over 40 miles around the south part of Whidbey on Saturday. I got a late start (at 2pm) but managed to do the whole thing, including 3675 feet of elevation gain (a couple of monster hills!) in 3.5 hours (4 hours total time – I had to stop for an extra bike tire in Freeland and a latte in Langley).
Things to note: – Bike on top of Prius == overheight charge on the ferry. Note to self: next time put bike on Joan’s car before getting in ferry line (we did this on the way home).

  • GREAT Artsy coffee house near where we were staying in Clinton (right off 525 across from a scary looking restaurant called Cozy’s)
  • South Whidbey is really pretty, and pretty hilly.
  • My new bike tires need tubes with long stems.
  • My legs weren’t terribly sore yesterday or today – just tired.
  • I saw 3 live bunnies, 1 road kill bunny, 1 green garter-ish snake, a bunch of horses, cows and a sheep who had just started to eat a dandelion puff ball from the bottom up when I called out “baaa” and it looked up, puff ball sticking out of it mouth. I wish I had my camera for all but the road kill.
  • Elizabeth biked from Seattle -> Whidbey on Friday (and made the same ferry we did – leaving at the same time from Seattle we did – we were stuck in 1 hour of ferry traffic…). She biked Whidbey->Seattle on Saturday and made damn fine time.

Here’s the Motion Based report.

Trailer power

After the ride Sunday where I pulled Laura up a number of hills, I was curious how much extra power hauling a trailer actually required. Both last week, on mostly flat surfaces, as well as Sunday I found it difficult to sustain more than about 18 MPH, and hauling the trailer up the hills just killed me. The last 20 miles of the Daffodil Classic was flat to a gentle uphill – a route I would normally cover easily between 15 and 20 MPH, but I was so tired I was closer to 10 MPH.

A fellow Wino clued me in to Analytic Cycling, which includes some nice force calculators that included pretty much everything I could ask for, saving me hours of remembering high school physics. Some basics… assuming me + bike = 100kg (about 220 lb, which should be close), flat, a cadence of 80 rpm, and a crank length of 175, going 15 MPH (which is 6.71 meters per second), and using most of the defaults on the ForcesPower page, requires a power output of 72.6 watts. Go up a slight incline (say 3%), and the power required to sustain 15 MPH goes to 270.0 watts. Here are two power curves (power vs speed):



Notice that it’s a quadratic relationship!

Now, let’s add that trailer. I’ll call it an extra 25kg, or 55 pounds. About 20 for the trailer, 35 for Laura, give or take. I’ll add some additional space to the effective frontal area: 0.2 m^2, which is about a square foot. I’m sure the trailer is more, so good enough for a lower bound. As it turns out, there isn’t a huge increase on a flat road – 97.7 watts, or about 25 watts difference. Not a huge deal in absolute terms, but still about a 33% increase in required power. On that incline, again a minor 3% climb, it goes to 344.5 watts, or nearly 75 watts more. Again, about a 30% increase in power. As the incline raises, power required for 15 MPH converges to requiring about 25% more power with that trailer.



Put another way, climbing a 3% incline weighing 125 kg at 15 MPH requires 344.5 watts. What is an equivalent for 100 kg and 344.5 watts? At 15 MPH, it only takes 335.8 watts for a 4% incline. Or, at a 3% incline, the speed can be increased to about 18 MPH.

Granted, these are just rough estimates… I gotta get a power meter and find out what the actual power required really is. But roughly, I’d imagine a reasonably loaded trailer is basically a 3 MPH or 1% grade tax, which feels about right.

Daffodil Classic Ride Report

DSC04243.jpgToday ended up being a great day for a ride out in Pierce County. Erik (with Laura being towed in the trailer) and I ended up doing the 62 mile bike ride with no flats and no injuries. The conditions were fast and dry most of the day. There was a 5 mile stretch where it rained, but the reward was the sun came out by the time we were climbing hills in Eaton and the day got wonderfully warm. The food at each of the rest stops were grapes, cantaloupes, bananas, bagels, red potatoes and my weakness (extra chunky peanut butter). Most of the day is spent climbing the foothills heading towards Mt. Rainier and Eatonville. There were tons of farms, and cows and farm animals to entertain Laura. The big reward at the end of the ride is a 500 foot drop into Orting where we hit a max speed of 44MPH and an average of 35MPH for a mile.

The other reward is Strawberry Shortcake 🙂

Link to the ride:




Reversing the curse?

I think I broke the “Lauren goes to Alki and it Rains” curse. We had some sprinkles on the way out, but on my way back it was pretty nice and I had to take off my rain gear.
We started at Greg and Elizabeth’s and did the “flat route” to Alki. We had a great lunch at Sunfish fish and chips, and I got a really yummy cookie at the Alki bakery for Elias (and some coffee and a cookie for me too). On the way back, Greg and I split off at the Sculpture garden to Fisherman’s terminal, then I split off from Greg and took the “long way home,” up NE 95th St to see if I could do it.
Note to self – get the compact chain ring changed back to a triple.
Here’s the data from the Garmin.

Pacific Raceways – Clockwise with Escape Route

Today I raced Pacific Raceways on the Clockwise route, using the escape route. The main difference between clockwise and counter-clockwise is that on the clockwise loop, there’s a gradual downhill through some curves, and then everyone climbs straight up the hill at the end. It wears riders out pretty quickly.

For some reason, I wasn’t feeling up to racing today… I wasn’t breathing all that well and just didn’t feel well. So I skipped a lap and sat in for the most part. At least I got my $13 worth!

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

Toeclips through the Tulips 2007

Ruben, Lauren, Megan, Katy, Elizabeth (towing Emmett), and Erik (towing Laura) went on our (mostly) annual Toeclips through the Tulips ride yesterday. The weather was threatening, but we only got hit with a couple of early AM sprinkles before lunch. Temperatures were in the 50s and it wasn’t too windy. The route starts in Mt. Vernon at the public parking next to the river.


The route starts heading south from Mt. Vernon following the east side of the Skagit River, then wraps around as we head to La Conner. For the most part, the road is chip seal, and the early going this year was rough… new chip seal, so rough going. Erik got a flat pretty early on! The southern half of the ride won’t show many tulips, by the way. It’s mostly there to rack up some miles and get warmed up!

At La Conner, met up with Lupe and Elias and had lunch in the La Conner Brewing Company. They have a small beer garden on the side of the restaurant, and some open space behind (available via the beer garden or by cycling around the block onto 2nd) where you can park your bikes. We typically eat in the garden, as they have heat lamps and we’re already dressed for warmth (and the restaurant can be a bit crowded around lunchtime!).

After La Conner, we start to head to the tulip fields. While our planned route is a 20-mile zig-zag course through the Skagit Valley by the fields, invariably we make various detours depending on what fields are actually blooming. Plus, at any point if people are tired or the weather turns inclement, it’s easy enough to hop back on McLean and take it in to Mt. Vernon for a quick escape. Megan, Katy, Elizabeth, and Erik headed up the first up & down and saw some lovely tulip fields, but after about an hour we weren’t seeing much so we bagged it and headed back along McLean. Lauren and Ruben had stopped to fix a flat after heading out a bit later than the rest, and simply sped down along McLean to catch up with the rest at Mt. Vernon. Back at Mt. Vernon, we hung out at the Same Ol Grind coffeehouse, where we had some lovely cookies and coffee and took in some of the town before heading back.

Here’s a quick Live Maps collection with the starting location & food of record, and a MotionBased trail for what Lauren and Ruben rode. And some obligatory pics!

Erik towing Laura:








Kids coloring, with Lauren and Erik looking on:


Ruben next to some beautiful tulips:


A daffodil field:


Update 4/15/07: Here’s a MotionBased link to the 20-mile Tulip Pedal that Skagit County Medic One holds. Similar route to ours.

Pacific Raceways – Counter-Clockwise with Escape Route

Today I raced Pacific Raceways on the counter-clockwise route using the escape route. This route dips below the flats as seen, and uses the escape route instead of the S-curve. This is a steep hill that ends right after the escape route, and then a gradual hill up a few curves. I experimented a bit with positioning… it turns out for me, the best place is right in front to bomb down the hill, and then gradually take the climb up. I did a breakaway or two, and while I got great lines going up the climb, I wasn’t able to sustain the speed and was caught. I also rode in the pack down, but my mass gave me more momentum than most so I was on the breaks a bit too often.

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

University Zoka to Alki and Back (April 7, 2007)

Megan and I ended up doing a simple out and back loop from University Zoka to Alki and back (37.6 miles). I picked Saturday morning because I really wanted to get a sunny day bike ride in. That said the weather gods were unusually cruel in that Friday Afternoon was gorgeous, and Sunday Morning was great for a bike ride, but Saturday……not so much. Don’t get me wrong, at no point were Megan and I complaining about it being unusually cold, but the day was not as advertised. The 9am start found us riding on relatively clear trails out to Alki and our return around noon found Myrtle Edwards crowded, but on the whole the conditions were for a great bike ride. Our 30 minute coffee stop at the Alki bakery for a latte and a Chocolate Chip Espresso Muffin was definitely worth it.

The data on the trip via Motion Based is inaccurate as I forgot to turn my watch on until we were in downtown Seattle. That said since it was a simple out and back course the return trip was 18.8 miles out so a 37.6 mile round trip.

Your humble scribe,

Ruben ” Next time complete data and in sunny weather please… ” Ortega