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.

Took the Long Way Home

After Saturday’s lovely twilight ride with Lauren and Erik, I resolved to get some more evening rides in while we’re still at maximum daylight. Since I was in Belltown for an appointment that ended at 5pm Monday, the natural choice was to bike around the lake counter-clockwise.

Rush hour traffic downtown pretty much sucks on a bike, but at least it kept me from going too fast too soon. I took my standard route out: 5th Ave -> S Jackson -> 12th and then on to the I-90 trail. Here I got my first of many great views of Mt. Rainier.

Biking along Lake Washington was spectacular — clear skies, not too warm, and surprisingly, not very much traffic. I was a little nervous about whether I’d remember the route properly, but it turned out to be easy to follow. (The only tricky part is in Bellevue where there’s a tiny sign on an overpass that says “<- Seattle | Factoria ->”).

I stopped briefly at Coulon Park and got myself an iced tea at Kidd Valley (probably a mistake — see below — Elizabeth will be drinking only gookinaid from here on out) and took a quick refueling stop.

Biking up Lake Washington from the park was lovely. Many places I could see the lake through the trees and it had a wonderful summer vacation feel. Unfortunately for us bikers, there’s a lot of new condo developments going in along this part of the route. Pray that the county successfully purchases the nearby rail line so we won’t have to bike through the increased traffic that’s bound to come.

There’s not a lot to say about the section along 116th and 118th except that it’s really boring and ugly. If I do this again soon, I’ll take the I-90 trail back over to Seattle and go up Lake Washington to the arboretum. That would’ve been much nicer.

Anyway, somewhere before entering the 520 trail, I really started hurting. My legs kept threatening to cramp up. It felt like two mice were jockeying for space in each of my calves. Somewhere along the trail, there’s a place where you exit and re-enter. On the side of the trail at re-entry there’s a big “Wrong Way, Do Not Enter” sign on the trail. It really pissed me off until I realized it was for the freeway off ramp paralleling the trail. Doh!

After that I made it uneventfully to the Sammamish River Trail, where I took two refueling breaks. I was getting hungry! Usually I don’t actually get a rumbling hungry when exercising, but I sure did yesterday. By the time I cleared Log Boom, I was ready to be home now!

Anyway, the whole thing took me almost 5 hours, including rest breaks plus a stop to help a group of kids in distress. I really hoping this doesn’t mean I’ll need 15 hours to make it from home to Kelso!

Oh, and apparently, all the cool kids bike only clockwise around the lake. In the whole trip around I neither passed or was passed by bikers going the same direction until I hit the Sammamish River Trail, though I saw many, many bikers coming the other direction.