Pacific Raceways – Clockwise with Escape Route

In the official Pacific Raceways flier, Rory leaves a clockwise and counter clockwise day open so he can decide on the day of the event whether to use the S-Curve or Escape Route. Today, we were doing clockwise, which scares people away — HILL! And since it wasn’t known to use the escape route, people guessed it would be the S-Curve, meaning BIG HILL! But, thanks in small part to the heat on asphalt, we just did the easier clockwise loop – escape route. This was still brutal, as it’s a big hill about 10 times. I managed to get dropped on the first preme when the pack bolted after the hill – finish line was at the main grandstands where we start, vs at the hilltop. I didn’t feel like waiting out a lap, so I just muscled through, occasionally catching a draft with the Masters or once the 123s. Given how small the field was today, it wasn’t that big a deal.

That’s it for a while for PR — no event next week, and I’m out for a few weeks after that. So perhaps a closing event in August or so!

Pacific Raceways Escape Route

A “150 mile” “weekend”

According to Greg, “they” say that if you can ride a century and you can ride 150 miles in a weekend then you’re ready for STP.

My century was already taken care of by biking to and from Marymoor and doing the Flying Wheels metric century in between, but I still hadn’t come close to 150 miles in a weekend, nor riding two high mileage days in a row.

With weekends running out, I chose to take the Tuesday before the 4th off and follow the cue sheet from the previous Saturday’s CBC ride to Flaming Geyser. (Thanks, Lauren, for the cue sheet!)

The scenery was wonderful, but the ride really sucked for me. It was hot, and hydration was a struggle. My legs felt like lead and I was thinking that I would not be doing STP since this sucked so bad. I took several long rests which made the whole ride take more than an hour longer than for Lauren’s crew, even though I started from downtown.

Eventually I figured out the problem — my front brake was rubbing. I did not have the proper tools to fix it, so the ride home went like this: pedal, pedal, pedal, whap the front brake to the right, pedal, pedal, pedal, whap, …

I arrived home sweaty, exhausted, and cursing.

(This was, however, a fantastic route. I’d like to go to Flaming Geyser again, with a car load full of inner tubes once Omar is waterproof again. I also loved Lester Burrows park — it’s got big, big, shade trees and a good breeze coming through the river valley — a great place to hang out on a hot day.)

After a few tries, Greg (with “help” from me) got the brake fixed the morning of the 4th. Emmett really wanted mommy time, and Greg and Omar had some important not-suitable-for-pre-schoolers video watching to wrap up, so I hooked up the trailer and took Emmett up the trail.

I was tired enough that I couldn’t go very fast, but I could tell that pulling Emmett was substantially easier than biking with the rubbing brake had been. Lauren may be very proud of her stereo set-up but I was treated to live music much of the way. Bet she doesn’t have “One, Two, Three, Four, Five. Once I Caught a Fish Alive” on her i-pod!

We turned around at the twenty mile mark and headed back to Bothell Landing for lunch at Ivar’s and were delighted to find a 4th of July celebration with musket men, women spinning wool and several bouncy houses. I’m hoping next year Omar can ride a bike solo so I can take both boys.

We finished the ride with a stop at the View Ridge wading pool. My feet shrank two sizes.

In short: it wasn’t the weekend, and it was only 142 miles, but I’m going to check that one off the list.

Now adding to my first aid kit

Sting relief stuff.

After our camping trip, Ruben dropped me off in Arlington at the head of the Centennial trail. It took a little longer than expected because the valve broke off on my front tire… So I’ve been pre-flatted for the STP I guess.

The trail is really nice. It’s very wide, very few bumps and at least today there weren’t too many people on the trail until I hit around Lake Stevens. It was really wooded and pretty… the only annoyance are these obnoxious gates to slow people like me around.

I boogied my way down to Snohomish, knowing Ruben was going there with the boys to get Pie. I got into town, Almost got a little lost, but found the pie shop. Just as I was about to give up on finding Ruben, I saw him pulling out and caught up with him!

I went back (not to the pie shop) to find something to eat (wound up with ice cream)… and then left about maybe 20 minutes later.

Just as I turned onto Airport road to head back a flying insect (probably a hornet or wasp) got under my helmet above my right eye. Unlike the other 3-4 times this year this has happened, this one started to sting me. Still on my bike I tried to move my helmet off to the side to let it out, but it got wedged in there – stinging at least 3-4 times above my eyebrow. Then it fell into my glasses and stung me a few more times just below my eye (near the corner).

I somehow got off my bike without crashing and started to throw water on it. After finding out I didn’t have any thing int he Group Health Ouch Pouch that I carry, I realized I at least had paper towels folded up in a plastic bag – I got one out and could use that as a compress.

I had to call Ruben back (who was in Bothell by this point) – the swelling caused my eyesight to blur. The pain was pretty intense too. I was still in pain 1+ hours later when I got home.

What was really annoying was how many people drove passed me (including 3 walkers) who didn’t even ask if I was ok or needed help. Just one person asking would have been NICE – not to mention I was a little too shakey to go get ice – getting some would have been helpful. I’m not so much a fan of human nature at the moment.

So in short: having paper towels in the bike bag == good. Water in at least one water bottle == good (better to have ice in said water). Not having sting relief – really bad.

Seattle to Camano Island (And one stupid move)

Rubens to Camano MBSaturday morning Lauren gave me the opportunity to bike one-way from Seattle to Camano Island and given that it was something I hadn’t done before I thought…. Why not?.

Background:
The reason for the trip was that we go to a July 4th party at a friends place up where they have a great cabin, and enough space for 3-5 families to camp out on their lawn and eat and drink to excess and light up some Indian Reservation fireworks into the sound. The weather was forecasted to be sunny and beautiful and 2/3rds of the trip I had traveled before and 1/3 of it would be new bike route. Lauren was taking up the kids and the camping gear, so all I had to do was pack up a change of clothes and some things from the night before.

Ride Notes:
Ideally I would have gotten out the door at 7:30 to avoid the heat of the day but there was a small twist in my planning, I got a major cold that night and my nose was running and that left me without sleep and sluggish getting out the door by 9:45AM. Luckily, bike riding has this great effect that while I am riding I have enough blood flowing to my head that my nose stayed relatively clear. The warm day also helped and with the known route everything was fine. The ride to Arlington was entirely familiar as it is simply Burke Gilman to Woodinville, Woodinville to Snohomish via 156th St, Maltby and Broadway, and Arlington via the Centennial trail. I had done this ride earlier and the only new part would be Arlington to Camano. This part of the ride was lovely, but had one tricky part that no GPS or software planning tool could help me with……..

Sidebar:
While I was up late prepping for the ride not only did I build a paper cue-sheet and some street level maps of the Arlington to Camano trek, I did something _really_ geeky and for the first time I uploaded the biking route into my GPS watch which was _REALLY_ _REALLY_ cool! All I had to do was follow the route on my GPS watch and I had mapped it close enough that I never had to really look at my cue sheets for the majority of the ride. I did use Lauren’s fancy new cueclip that she made for me and it worked wonderfully, but after this ride I thought that it was pointless given that my watch could hold the route for me. Luckily, (again) I also had a paper backup of the route with maps which became really important when I made the one juvenile decision of the day.

Ride notes (Continued):
There was bridge out and under construction at Smoky point at mile 54. My GPS watch said, cross the non-existent bridge. There was a big tractor and large orange construction signs that said ‘Bridge under Construction until September’ There were no easily visible detour routes since I was in the middle of the countryside. I had to resort to the paper maps of the area and found that the nearest detour involved riding 5 miles on the I-5 highway or 15-20 mile backtrack or detour. After looking at the maps, considering the weight of my bike, I wondered if I could walk a 2-3 foot wide ledge 50 yards (and 20-30 feet swampy fall on one side or a 10-20 feet fall onto a partially constructed concrete base on the other side. Must be testosterone poisoning…..I picked up my bike and walked the ledge. In retrospect, it was a completely stupid thing to do, but my balance was good, my bike was light and the winds were quiet. The rest of the trip was uneventful and I arrived to a party that was just starting with _lots_ of food and _lots_ of water which was exactly what any rider would want after such a ride. The weather was in the 70’s arriving on the island and a long stretching session that night, and a morning Yoga session with our yoga instructor (who owns the cabin) made for some very happy legs.

Ride Stats:
94 miles, 5:30 minutes moving time, 17MPH average.

Saturday and Today

Geyser Peak MotionBasedOn Saturday, James, Anthony and I went on the Cascade century ride down to Flaming Geyser state park. I didn’t post sooner because I’m missing quite a bit of data apparently (I pressed a button by mistake). Anthony’s garmin may have done better. I saw Linda on the way home – she was the sweep for the yellow group. I saw her husband Mitchel back at the Cascade headquarters – he was apparently the lead for the crazy Orange riders.

(Anthony, James and I were in the Green group.)

Fall City MotionBasedToday I ventured out to Fall City to Linda’s house. We did her “Red Barn Loop” – a leisurely ride up through Carnation and near the Nestle farm. It was gorgeous today! We got to see the foals along the route, but the Osprey apparently are not nesting this year. Oh and Sandy’s in Carnation is a great place to get a cold drink. There was a parade/vintage car show/craft fair in Carnation as well.

Pacific Raceways: Flats, and my first crash

Today, July 3rd, the day before July 4th, we had a weird race at PR. It was the flats and fairly benign at first, at least for the 4/5s and Masters. However, the 1/2/3s only had about 25 in the field, and it disintegrated pretty quickly after numerous attacks. At one point, a few overtook the 4/5s (and we went neutral right – meaning we slowed to a neutral pace and let the 1/2/3s pass on the left – as is normal). Then shortly a few more overtook, but yelled for us to go neutral left. Then the 4/5 peleton overtook the combined breakaway as they apparently sat up. This was weird, and at some point people squeezed in while we were going about 30 MPH… and we had some bumping, and next thing you know it’s a 8 person pileup, including myself. Ow.

I’m a bit scraped up, but nothing bad. The bike appears to be fine – I need to retrue the front wheel, and I need a new saddle, but I didn’t really like the one I had anyway, so no big deal. One of the other guys in the pileup may have broken his collarbone – an EMT racing with us took him to check.

2007 PR Crash

Here’s a snapshot of the HRM right before the crash to see what it looks like… nice and dramatic!

Well, as they say, if you race enough, it’s not if, but when you crash. Although I was getting some ribbing about maybe now I’ll shave my legs to make healing scrapes a bit easier… although I’ll have to see if MK will let me. :)

Update 7/5/2007 – The guy behind me was apparently recording… check out the video! Looks like just the guy in front stopped and veered left, and then I plowed into him and others plowed into me. Plus, I did apparently go down on my right side, as much as I thought I went down on my left. Huh!

PR Flats

Crit: Des Moines Masters State Championship Criterium

2007 Des Moines Crit - MapThis morning, I rode in my first crit. The Des Moines Masters State Championship Criterium, hosted by my team, Union Bay Cycling / Wines of Washington. Crits are short (< 1 mile) courses, typically in a city around a few blocks. I had been nervous about this for quite some time… from what I’ve read, crits are hard, fast, and intense. Plus, the main factor in a crit is corners – no sweeping, gentle corners like you see in typical road races. Corners are city street intersections.

Well, the day of the event came, and I headed down. The first thing I realized about crits – later start times! The typical road race is 2 hours away and starts about 9 AM, meaning people in Seattle are leaving about 6 AM. Des Moines is 30 minutes away, and the first race for us (Cat 4/5) was 10:50 AM… amazing what a few extra hours of sleep will do.

The second thing I realized is that crits really are a spectator sport. At road races, there are some spectators near the start / finish, but for the most part the peleton is busy riding through tranquil, rural scenery. At a crit, there are spectators all over, as the peleton makes a loop every minute or two. At this crit, there were a number of spectators at the start / finsh, as well as a homemade grandstand at turn 3 (SW corner) where a bunch of residents were throwing a party while watching the race. It was quite the event.

Back to the crit itself. In road races, the pack starts with a neutral roll-out, which means a few miles of riding for a quick warm-up and to make sure everyone’s comfortable in their bikes. At a crit, you race when the official says go, and you’re going at 25 MPH as quickly as you can. Clipping in and sprinting fast is key so you don’t get towards the back. This is what happened to me. The back is dangerous in a crit, as the corners yo-yo — the first people through go a bit slower through the corners and then pick up the pace, which means the rear ends up going much slower and has to sprint to catch up. Much more energy is expended.

The Des Moines crit isn’t flat – the two short stretches are, but the straightaways are at an incline. Now, the incline is about 30 feet total according to the altimeter in my HRM, for about 1,300 feet – a 2% incline. This would be considered a false flat if anything in a Road Race, but going up this at 25 MPH 15-20 times, it certainly saps one’s energy — fast. Talking to some of the other guys, apparently this is one of the tougher crits because of the hill.

I was in the back third pretty quickly, and tried to hang on. After maybe 4 laps, I was dangling. a big gap would open on the hill, and while I could catch back up on the downhill straightaway a few times, after a while I was unable to make it back to the pack before they rounded turns 3 and 4. I ended up with a small chase group with a Hagens-Berman racer and an Oberto junior. We tried to get the junior back, but after lap 11, the official pulled us as we were about to get lapped. Just as well, as we were sagging badly.

Looking at my HRM data, it’s clear I was well above my normal intensity levels… a road race typically has my heart rate between 150 and 170, with spurts to 180. We started out the crit about 170… far too high for me to keep going for 35 minutes. And that was while I was in the pack, so it wasn’t sucking wind. Clearly, need to work more on speed and hill climbing for next year!

All in all, a fun experience. I spent the rest of the day as a corner marshall (well, intersection marshall) guiding traffic through the course and watching the races. I took a few videos with my cellphone, so we’ll see how they turn out. And now to see when the next (flat) crit is!

2007 Des Moines Crit - Erik HRM