Flaming Geyser on a hot day

Obligatory stats

The ride was HOT… Very very very hot. Did I mention the heat?

Ericka came over at 7:30 and we got on the road shortly after that. We hooked up with Anthony at Magnuson and chose to ride in the green group. It was a really large group.

The ride was mostly uneventful at first – we didn’t see the 1/2 marathon at all. Just before Leschi I heard Mitchel call out my name and I hooked onto their purple gravy train for a bit. They stopped, I continued on, then when they passed I managed to hook back up with them. I always had wanted to be one of those screaming fast riders on Lake WA Blvd and today I was!

Well just after they (wisely) cut off to follow Seward Ave, I thought that the green group was supossed to stay on Lake WA blvd. So I did. Only to get ushered OFF the street and onto the sidewalk by a policeman.

Good thing too. This WAVE of the Shore Run came running down the path.

Now I didn’t know where the Cascade ride is but I was assuming they went a different way than this. Ikes. So I started to wonder as I climbed Seward hill if I was in the right place. I caught up with another guy who had started at Leschi who didn’t know. We stopped at the park across from Ranier HS (alternate regroup point – instead of Seward park which was dealing with the Shore run)…

A bit later the hoards showed up, including Ericka and Anthony. After helping the tandem dude with his front fork, we were off again.

The route we took involved the green river trail on and off again. Weird route. Why not take the Interurban which is straighter. Admittedly this was nicer, but the on-again-off-again dealing with strange hairpin turns with so many people was sub optimal.

At one point the green river trail was closed and we had to get off and walk our bikes across a field.

I can’t remember if the green group split up into the A and B group at this point or earlier. Suffice to say, we were in B. And I had a raging headache -either from the lack of caffeine, the heat or not drinking enough. I could only fix the latter, so I tried that. Eventually that plus food helped.

At that point I thought Ericka had gotten in front of us. Turns out she was behind and trying to catch up. And she was behind the sweep. Then she fell, behind the sweep (but way in front of the yellow group), and got some road rash on her face. 🙁 She called but I didn’t hear my phone and I kept expecting we’d just see her at the next rest stop.

Wehn I got there I found out she wasn’t there, and saw the message. I called her back. Unfortunately she was banged up and shaken and decided to call for a pick up. I told the sweep guy what had happened, he said he was keeping an eye out for her, saw her disappear, had gone back to see what had happened, but never found her. I’m a tad bit dubious that he went back far enough. I decided to go on with Anthony – feeling a bit guilty but as Anthony put it: if I was in Ericka’s shoes I’d totally want everyone to continue on.

We finally got to Flaming Geyser and some of the group split off at the first bathrooms. We went to where we had hung out the previous year and ate and drank and refilled our water bottles. Someone said we were leaving, I asked if it was the A group and he said yes, so we hung back longer.

Turns out by the time we left, everyone had left 5 minutes before. Including the so called sweep. Sigh.

We did see the yellow group about 15 minutes after we left the park still heading inbound. And passed a few other people who just realized they couldn’t continue the pace with so few stops on a 90 degree day.

So Anthony the biking machine managed to pull us at 18mph for about 30 minutes until we caught up with them. At the park we hooked up with the A group and continued on thinking we’d stop someplace for a cool and frosty something or other and hook back in with the B group. We didn’t see anyplace to stop, and eventually we were in a group of less than 20 people. The ride leader was such a sweetie, and took us to a Tully’s so we could get something to drink adn took the rest of the folks who just wanted to trudge on the route. She was awesome.

Tully’s was closed, but we got a bit of a break and a refill of our water. Anthony, Pete and this other guy and I took off – there were about 3 others still waiting for a Quiznos sub… We stopped at the Leschi starbucks… MMMM! Frappacino! My first coffee of the day.

We hooked up with the tandem dude again, and eventually saw some other green riders in need of another repair. Anthony to the rescue with his tools. THe Sweep guy showed up then and helped the other folks (other than Pete and Anthony and I) get back to Magnuson. We split off and headed home ourselves and got home around 5pm.

Des Moines Crit, take 2

Last year, my first crit was the Washington State Masters’ Championship Crit, in Des Moines. This is a short course on great pavement with minimal cornering. Only catch is that it’s a ~30ft climb every lap. Last year, I got popped pretty quickly in a shallow field. I noticed Masters C, which I could have raced instead of Cat4, was huge. This year, I decided to race Masters C. Yeah… my mistake.

I had problems clipping in, but I was able to catch on to the back. However, when I thought I’d be able to rest on the downhill, turns out I was wrong – people were busy accelerating on the downhill too! No rest! Gah! And each uphill was 600W – 800W according to my powertap. I lasted 4 laps before getting popped, and another 3 before getting pulled. A whopping 7 minutes out of the 35, although it felt like forever. Worse than last year, which I thought was pretty bad! Gah!

Oh well. Better luck next year, perhaps… or I’ll just marshall. My quick exit did allow me to get some nice pictures though:

Greg Luniewski abandoning after getting popped… his expression says it all:


And the finish:




The Pastry Powered T(o)uring Machines Endowed Fellowship in Computer Science and Engineering (at UW)

A consortium of folks have started a fellowship that would support a starving grad student (perhaps a bicyclist!) at the University of Washington Department of Computer Science and Engineering. It’s named, aptly enough, “The Pastry Powered T(o)uring Machines Endowed Fellowship in Computer Science and Engineering.”

Fellowships are an important tool for the department to help them recruit and retain the “best and brightest” graduate students. Having exceptional graduate students in the program causes a ripple effect that touches every aspect of excellence in CSE from the Freshman experience to faculty research. A fund that has $600,000 will fund a student for 9 months of the year. A fund that has $1,000,000 will fund a student for a whole year. Do we expect to get to either of those numbers this year? It would (of course) be nice…. but more importantly there’s the 50% match.

50% match? Well…

Part of what inspired us to establish the fellowship *now* is that UW is offering a 50% match for all gifts applied toward new endowments for student support (i.e for $100 donated, UW matches $50). The 50% match ends on June 30, 2008. Any amount that you pledge by June 30, 2008 will receive the 50% match. You can take five years to pay off the pledge. If you would like to make a gift right away, you can visit http://pptm.cs.washington.edu and make a gift on-line. Or you can contact Rise at UW CSE.

As of 6/17/08 we have $199,000 for sure….but we’re probably really at $219,000!

So please, if you’re considering giving to UW at all, think about donating to the fund before June 30 so we can get the match!

PR: Clockwise up the S-Curve

Clockwise up the S Turn.

The toughest course Pacific Raceways has to offer.

And with a thin crowd on a slightly cold June night.

I’m back from Methow, the knee and back feel fine. Bike looks good. Time to roll.

Clockwise up the S-Curve is the toughest race because there’s a bit of a rise going into either the Escape Route or S-Curve. When going up the Escape Route, the hill just starts a bit before and the momentum carries you up to where the route ends and the normal course begins, so it’s not as much of a huff. With the S-Curve, the length of the curve kills all the momentum, so it’s a slog up that hill. Every lap.

Well, I’m not a climber, but I do it, and surprisingly I’m feeling good the first few laps. I try to lead on the descent, similar to the last time I did clockwise, and that works. I adjust my pedaling going up and try to lead more with my ankles to force my glutes into action. The pack also seems to like to attack right after the hill on the flats, but I’m able to keep up and recover. However, around lap 5, they ring a bell for the first preme. I try to stick on, but as the pack rounds the corner, I’m dropped on the hill. I try and chase back on, but there’s nobody to hop on with. At the beginning of the race, Rory, who runs it, says that after 3 laps it’s confetti – a big pack and sprinkles following behind. Not today… there was just fat ol’ me. Well, and 1-2 other guys, but that’s hardly confetti and not enough to chase. I link up with a Starbucks guy, and we’re chasing on the next lap. We’re passed by the 1/2/3s, and we sprint so we can catch the 4/5s when they get neutralized by the 1/2/3s… but it isn’t happening, and we see it. I do a few more laps solo, then get called on the last 4/5 lap (the pack is about to do it). I head off on the main course, see the 4/5s coming up, and hop into the back for the final lap. I’m able to see Jamie and Kevin from Wines leading it. However, they’re not able to let anyone else work, and as soon as the descent comes, everyone blows by them too quickly. I stick with. Jamie gets ahead, Kevin is struggling. Up the hill, I’m there with him giving him encouragement and trying to get him to push more with his ankles (and glutes!). We make it to the top, exhausted, but done. We link up with Harry, and do a cool-down lap and give some tips on better hill climbing. An exhausting day, but fun. And I felt good…. all things considered!

PR S-curve

Tour of Methow

A bit delayed, but here nevertheless.

Father’s Day Weekend, I participated in the 3rd annual Tour of Methow, a 2-day omnium bike race. An omnium is a multi-race event where the winner of each event gets a certain number of points. The overall winner is the person with the most points. Typically, in Washington State, an omnium is a time trial and crit on Day 1, and a road race on Day 2. This was the format for Methow. I had arrived with the family the week before, staying at The Cottonwood Cottage in Winthrop. I spent the week checking out the courses… the time trial is an out-and-back on a hilly course near Mazama. The road race is a loop starting from Winthrop and heading north, with some decent rollers and a nasty section when the loop dips down onto Highway 20. The crit is a loop on sketchy pavement in Twisp.

So… the results. Well, I got off to a late start for the time trial, and arrived quite literally 5 minutes before I was supposed to go off. I scrambled and didn’t even pump up my wheels… turns out, by being second to register for the tour, I was second in the time trial. Great. Oh, and the first guy didn’t show up. Even better. So I get there, and I’m ready to go with about 15 seconds to spare. And then, I’m off! I have no idea what I’m doing, as it’s my first real TT, so I just go as hard as I know how, given I had done the course a few times before. There are two decent hills, and on the descent of the first I was passed – I figured by the guy :30 behind me. Turns out later it was the guy who started 1:00 behind me. I was passed a bit later by my :30 man. On the turnaround, I was able to overtake him on one of the hills, but I blew up and he passed me after a bit. I ended up some :47 behind him, and in 34th place when all was said and done. However, turns out this was enough to beat the three other Cat 4/5s from Wines that showed up! Which says something about our time trialling, really…

Here’s a quick shot of me pulling in, ahead of my :30 man Jeremy. There’s my time below, at 14th place… not gonna last for long!


Then, the crit. Man, do I suck at these. Probably because this was my second. Anyway, I had problems clipping in, was not confident on the pavement, and got popped pretty quickly. Oh well. Turns out half the field did too, so I don’t feel that bad. After all, the difference in points between the second guy to get dropped (me) and the last guy to get dropped – nothing! We all got zilch. I’m blaming it on my awesome time

trial performance.

Next day, road race. I started off strong, and actually pulled during the first lap on the flat / downhill section from about a quarter of the way through the first lap through the halfway point (a turnaround). At this point, there were some hills and some attacks, so I slid back a bit trying to keep up. Then, the loop-around point… a downhill S curve onto Highway 20, then slight rise to a quick climb, then a flat and another longer but just as tall climb. Took a lot to hang on, but I did. Kept in the middle towards the end for the second lap, and was dying on the down-and-up in the 2nd lap turnaround. At this point, I was thinking I needed to move up towards the front to stay with the attacks and the next (and final) down and up, as the race ended right before the downhill. However, as I was surveying the pack to figure out the best way to move up, WHAM! Crash ahead! Brake, brake… nope. I go over too. I turn around and see another bike coming at me, and I sit up and catch his front wheel, ensuring that at least he doesn’t go down. Someone is moaning, but the callous nature of bike racing is to get back on your bike and go. So I survey the bike, looks fine, and go. But I can barely move! Some groups pass me… and at the end of the slight hill I was on, I hop off and look again — yup, brake is rubbing. So I adjust that and have a much nicer ride, but I’m feeling burnt. Right knee is bleeding, and I know that even if I finish this lap and the 4th, it’s not worth it. Plus, we have to drive back that afternoon. So, I finish the lap at the finish line and wait for everyone else to come through. Turns out that the guy moaning was taken away by an ambulance, and the 4/5 men and the two women’s peletons were neutral going through that… scary!

Anyway, a rough way to end Father’s Day. But Methow was beautiful, and the race was fun. Next time, I’ll need to focus on staying up in the front more and being more aggressive on the downhill. Oh, and the crash? Apparently some rookie strayed across the yellow, then panicked and swooped back in, clipping someone’s wheel and causing a chain reaction quickly. Best to get me in better shape to upgrade!

I hope I can do better than this for STP

Flying Wheels on a tandem with a recalcitrant child is very hard. That said, we averaged around 11mph. Maybe a little less because that last hill I swapped out with Ruben (Ruben took the tandem, I took his bike which was VERY weird and felt wayyyy too light after 50 some odd miles on the tandem).

Flying Wheels
is a tough course with the 65 mile route having 4 hills. It was the first supported ride for Ericka and Elias. (They both approved of all the goodies, Elias particularly approved of the toaster PASTRIES they were handing out. I approved of the Sweet and Salty bars. MMMMM!) Ruben did the 100 mile route and caught back up with us the 2nd time we hit the stop at Nestle farm.

We had 2 people say they wanted shirts! Eye catching for sure. Good thing I ordered a few extra this year.

Requisite data is here, although I’m missing 5 miles because I pressed a button I shouldn’t have at the first stop 🙁 . Still 65+ hilly miles, approx, 3500 feet of elevation gain. I must now mourn my lost data and stretch.