RSVP 2009

First, of course, the data from Day 1 and Day 2. Photos are here.

Ruben and set out at 6:25 and climbed up and over 65th just like last year. Friday morning was threatening rain, so we were dressed in pretty wet weather gear for a summer ride. We opted not to use the same Sherpa Service as last year as we figured out the Best Western is just 2 blocks from the Rodeway Inn in Bellingham. We got on the road around 6:50 in the morning.

We rode without stopping the full 28 miles until we hit Snohomish and had coffee, biscotti and a bran muffin. The only thing of note here was my realizing it was a Friday not Saturday as the construction work on Lake City way was going on and I saw a few commuters. The trail north of Snohomish was pretty much empty except for us riders. We had a quick stop in Lake Stevens to get some more road food, and use the sanicans, which because we were early in the ride were still clean. Gotta love that.

We opted not to stop in Arlington as we did last year, and continued on to Mt. Vernon. We hit some rain just to the east of Mt. Vernon for about 15 minutes – it was hard enough that I had to stop and put my electronics into baggies which we had remembered to bring.

The Mt. Vernon stop was practically empty and I was just starving at this point. Fortunately it was only sprinkling. I ate a half a bagel with PB&J, and tons of fruit and grabbed some crackers. I could have even eaten more, but we decided to move on and to find a coffee shop (out of the potential rain) or eat lunch in Bow. The route, however, doesn’t really go past any shops at this point. I did see an espresso place in Avon (small town to the West of Mt. Vernon), but we didn’t stop…

We were really lucky this year – the rainy weather brought us a tail wind through the Skagit Flats. There was a small stop at Bow, but it was 1:15, we had 20 miles left, we were hungry and I had heard good things about the Rhododendron Cafe. So we stopped and actually had a lunch. Two other cyclists were there with us, but they had cycled down from Bellingham just for lunch. The quote from them was “those guys have numbers, like they’re in jail”… Still they sat and watched riders go by for a while after they were done eating.

Service was a little slow, but the food was tasty… and the berry cobbler was quite good. We got back on the road around 2:30 and started the climb up Chuckanut drive. This year I could totally climb the hills and appreciate it – not feeling the constant pain of the hamstring tear. Our next stop was at Rocket Donuts in Bellingham about an hour later, and then onto the Best Western to pick up our bags and our hotel for some much needed clean up. Total for day 1: 112 miles riding, 7:25 ride time, 10 hours total time, 15.1 mph and 2 REALLY nice pit stops.


We had dinner in a pretty good Thai restaurant where we saw some other riders. During our conversation we mentioned we had stopped for lunch in Bow, took our time, etc. One guy said “oh that’s the way to do it, (pointing at his friend) – he wanted to be the first to Bellingham” (apparently they were actually second into Bellingham). So I said “well we did our intense riding earlier in the year when we did STP in one day, so this time we wanted to relax and enjoy the ride”… Hehe. Not many years I’ll be able to use THAT as a trump card 🙂

Day 2: we woke up again at 5:45, and got ready. We crammed a bad bowl of cereal courtesy of the hotel, checked out and rode to the bag drop off at the Best Western. Our plan was instead of heading back to McLeod and the route that way, we headed north on Meridian and west across Bakerview back to our route. We left at 6:35, and then stopped a few blocks down the road at a Walgreen’s and then at Woods Coffee – for coffee and a scone. Much better than the breakfast at the hotel. We were ostensible on the road by 7:15 – about 45 minutes after we had originally wanted to be, but happy we had found a good coffee shop.

The valley north of Bellingham is also beautiful and we had no wind… great for a morning riding. A detour had us go up and over a hill back to Hanegan road sooner than the cue sheet had listed. We passed our share of folks and were passed by a fair share, but the road was mostly empty. Having had breakfast already, we skipped the Dutch Mother in Lynden (although Ruben used the public restrooms) and kept going to the border.

I still get a chuckle about the ditch into Canada. Don’t cross it! (And yes, there was border patrol watching…)

This year the “Wall” (the big hill) was MUCH easier than last year, although this was the only time I even remotely felt my hamstring. It is better but not 100% (and I have to accept it may never be again).

It was sad that the ferry in Fort Langley wasn’t part of our ride this year… Ruben was especially sad since he did this just this spring. Instead we rode this very beautiful NEWLY paved road near the water for quite some time (and managed some great averages) and then went over the Golden Ears bridge – which was just gorgeous. The descent on the other side was a little odd (the sidewalk felt funny under the tires). The rest of the ride from this point feels “functional” – loads of city riding and traffic, but I still like the excellent park in Port Moody and want to take Elias there. We stopped there, had another little snack (I should have eaten more), then headed UP the hill on route 7A. Again, SO much easier than last year.

I was passed by a bunch of people, but eventually we caught up with them during all the stop and go of the bike way in Vancouver. Eventually we caught up to riders 1, 2 and 3 and rode in right behind them. Even though I registered on January 5 we were rider 1280 and 1281 respectively, I guess because RSVP sold out on Jan 6!

Ruben and I finished just around 1pm. Stats for day 2: 5:06 ride time, 6:30 hours total time (if you include breakfast at the coffee shop), 15.5 av speed. We got into the garage and found there were probably 50-75 MAYBE bikes down there. In fact we had made such good time and were so early that our bags weren’t ready. We did a lot of stretching and ate the burgers at the “party” while we waited. Eventually we got our bags and were among the first to shower. It felt awesome.

While waiting for my sister and hubby to come into town, we walked down Robson and caught the Zombie meet-up, walked with the zombies for a bit, then sat and had more snacks at a coffee shop around the corner from the finish line. Jacki and Ron showed up, we had dinner at a Malaysian place called the Banana Leaf restaurant (quite good), then headed home. There was 0 wait at the border, and we were home by 9:45pm.

I saw this quote on one of the message boards “Not only are there fewer cyclists on RSVP, since there is less support, there are fewer inexperienced cyclists. The slower riders may be slower, but they are more likely to know what they are doing and are more predictable. You’ll be able to more comfortably pass them.” (by Claire Petersky). It’s really true.

A newbie’s version of STP in one day

This is pretty long, so here are the short bits:

Stats. Photos are at Marathon photo- Ruben is 4655 and I’m 4654.

Highlights from the trip:
– It’s amazing what a body can do on little sleep.
– Ruben recovers from tumbles exceedingly well.
– Ruben and Matt are fantastic for sticking with me even though I’m slower than him.
– Riding 202 miles with a flashing princess crown.
– “It’s a small world” even on a bike ride with 10,000 people
– 0 flats for 3 people.
– Compression on a bruise helps.
– Food, food and more food.
– The 3 H’s kicked my ass mid-day – heat, hills and headwinds.

Longer story:
My story starts the Wednesday before when I went down a water park slide. I turned sideways at the end of the slide’s cement ramp, the plastic sled I was riding came out from under me, I skid on my back on the concrete and the sled flipped over and it’s handle hit me in the “gutter” between my leg (panty line) and the girl parts. It hurt, but it was hard to see so I didn’t ice it all day. The resulting bruise was at least 2″ x 4″ and the worst shade of black and red and really hurt once the bathing suit came off. I iced it and put Arnica on it for 2 days and got pretty low – all that training and I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do the ride.

When I came home on Friday – I tried sitting on my bike. It was a little painful, but ok. I went for a 5 minute ride on my bike outside, including a short 1 block hill, then put the bike on the trainer. I did 1/2 an hour and it was ok but I didn’t want to overdo it.

Being ever prepared, I wound up making a few contingency plans
a) Getting on the bike at 4:30 am, hurts to much, punt and get in my car and drive SAG for Ruben
b) Stopping anywhere in the first 10 miles, finding a bus and getting home that way
c) Stopping at REI, calling someone for a pickup.
d) Stopping in Centralia – I had packed a separate bag and sent it with Rich and Joanna’s bag (with MK). Rich and Joanna said I could spend the night in their room if I had to.
e) Stopping any time between Centralia and Portland – Liz, the sweetheart she is, who was driving SAG for her hubby and friends, was even willing to come back and get me if it got to be too much.

Then there were the super secret contingency plans
– I gave the 18 year old instructions on how to find us on the route so if I had to I could call and beg him to come pick me up and take me home
– Ruben carrying enough cash in his pocket that would get me by cab anywhere.

Still even with all these contingency plans, I was a nervous wreck.

Elizabeth and Greg kindly hosted a carbo load party which was a lot of fun. Stephen, Kristina, Erik (with Laura), Joan (who wasn’t riding, but joined us for good wishes), Rich, Joanna, Ruben and I got to partake of the yummy chicken burritos and limeade. Elizabeth gave out our prizes for the STP supplemental training program. During this I was being a little bit Princessy about not sending in “points” – just what I had done to train for the week and leaving it up to Elizabeth to determine points so my prize was a princess crown that blinked! This *obviously* had to be attached to my helmet.

The rest of the evening was about ride preparations and I got into bed around 10. I started to fall asleep reading, but when Ruben came in, I woke up. I realized I had forgotten a few things on my bike, got up around 11:30 and put on a back light and pumped the tires. My heart was pounding and kept singing “Help I’m Alive” by Metric to myself: “” –

Help, Im alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Hard to be soft, tough to be tender
Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train
Help, Im alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer, beating like a hammer

I tried sleeping on the couch to keep from waking Ruben. He came down and tucked me in anyway. I wound up getting about 2 hours of sleep, waking up right after a dream and realizing at least I got 1 cycle that included REM sleep. It was just before the alarm went off at 3:45 am. I went upstairs and Ruben was also waking up. He told me he only got 1 hour of sleep.

Getting ready was pretty uneventful. We left the house at around 4:30 and it was still dark and I had no front light so I had to take off my amber sunglasses to go down the hill to the starting line. I was pretty nervous and tentative as we started out and kept my speed down. We saw a lot of other folks with bikes on their cars on the road, plus a few other cyclists as we came closer to the parking lot. The cars were backed up a long way. I’m glad I live close to the start.

It was kind of odd going passed all the other baggage trucks for midpoint lodging… finally we got to our Portland bound truck and dropped off the bags. Then we waited where the espresso cart used to be – it wasn’t there this year :(. It turned out that Erik, Rich and Joanna missed the first wave, but we decided to go anyway because we knew it would be a long day ahead.

I noticed it was starting to get a little lighter out and I relaxed a little bit more. We saw the rider with bib number 10,000 pass us on Boyer. What caught our attention was him saying loud enough for us to hear “yeah, I had to pay extra for it.” (it was raising money for Cascade’s Major Taylor project).

Our one major incident happened in the first 6 miles of the ride. We were going down the S-turn to Lake Washington Blvd. I was apparently ahead by a little bit and came around the 2nd curve on the inside. So did Ruben, only he got crowded out by folks who cut the curve closer from the center. He had a choice of going into the curb or trying to jump it, so he did. The tumbled over the bike, going down between two big boulders on the side of the road! I saw someone tumble and was worried, but had to keep going as people were behind me. Then the yellow sleeves of his jersey caught my eyes. I immediately pulled over even though others were whizzing past, got off the road and ran up the hill calling his name. Other riders were calling out “He’s up, he’s ok,” but I thought that was the end of the ride anyway. I was really glad to see not a scratch on him, and he didn’t even seem to shaken. His front brakes didn’t work but other than that the bike seemed ok. With a little adjustment he could go on and we debated stopping at Seward for a check. Strangely, part of me relaxed more thinking our trip was “pre-dinged.”

We saw one of the skateboarders early in the ride – on the flat part of Lake WA Blvd. Either I was really early or he started later than normal (I usually pass him on the trail between Yelm and Tenino).

We passed the Seward park stop as Ruben didn’t feel like stopping and we got to the top of the Seward park hill right at 45 minutes. We stopped briefly to have a bite to eat and fix the speakers which kept coming off both our bikes. Erik came by right then with Matt T (they both work at Amazon, but apparently the wives know each other) and said “What, a flat already?” We got on our bikes and started to follow him. I noticed almost immediately that he had a flat. He commented that it was because he teased us and pulled over (Matt stuck with us and we figured Erik could catch up). Unfortunately Erik apparently and a bad spare and CO2 cartridge, so he took some time and eventually hooked up with Rich and Joanna.

The ride to the REI stop was really uneventful. The winds were fairly calm and there wasn’t that much traffic early in the morning. Happiness was the early day bonus of relatively clean restrooms and a pretty quick stop. Ruben and I shared an Odwalla and a peanut butter tortilla, and I had had some fruit. I also checked on the bruised area which was hurting but not getting any worse, so I decided it was ok to press on.

Between REI and the Puyallup hill we wound up with 2 folks on the tail of our pace line. She was a chatty woman – an engineer from Boeing. We lost her on the hill though as she was surprisingly slower than me on the hills. I passed a few people – maybe only 5. Ruben and Matt were waiting at the top, but not for too long. I didn’t stop at the top and they caught up. Ruben saying he passed 97 people (he was aiming for 100). Yes he counted.

Ruben at SpanawayRuben was really good about reminding me to eat at 45 minute intervals. I ate something as we were riding, but I don’t remember what – maybe more sharkies. Mitchel caught up with us on the way to the Spanaway stop and rode with us for a brief bit before catching up with his train of folks. I wanted to skip Spanaway and go to the Safeway that I recalled was just beyond the stop from last year. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember how far beyond the official stop it was (it’s only 3 blocks) and Ruben needed the restrooms. So we stopped to get food, water, and wait in the LONG lines for the port a potties. There was a “standing room only” port a potty for men, which prompted a discussion with the women about how the rest of the men would be going into the sit down ones and will make it smelly for the girls, but we had no solution to the problem as we can’t really stand like guys can. I saw Ruben’s old co-worker Jude in the line. He’s also working at Amazon now, and it appears he may be in the same area of Amazon as Matt (as we discovered much later at St. Helens in Oregon).

Lauren and the Rice Crispie treatThe food at Spanaway was at least good (Whole foods!) so that made up for it. This was one stop where they had Rice Crispie Treats but I couldn’t find any peanut butter to put on them. I had some fruit and took a packet of cookies to go. Still the next time I *will* go to the Safeway instead.

Our next section was non stop from Spanaway (at mile 53) to Tenino (at mile 85). I missed the start of the Yelm/Tenino trail, but Ruben and Matt hopped right on. I got on at the next entrance. This is where I started to feel the heat again. And once again I looked longingly at the really cool lake next to the trail and wondered “why can’t I stop and just go swimming.” Ruben said “that’s a different kind of ride, not the ride we’re on right now.” I know he’s right but that lake looked SO darn inviting.

We made Tenino in amazing time. It was only 10:30 am, and I think we had only been on the bike around 4.5 hours. This was amazing time in my book. The highlights were Ruben buying a diet coke (which tasted so damn good at the time) and a chocolate no bake cookie. But nicer was the “clean” bathrooms with a real toilet, real soap and real running water.

Matt and his "doppio"The last 15 miles to Centralia were also uneventful, except for my toe starting to fall asleep from cramping in my leg. Ruben saw a coffee hut on the way into town that had a frozen coffee drink. We tried to find another coffee place that was more on the way to town but eventually circled back to it. It was the “best frozen mocha ever.” Matt asked for a doppio but got a third frozen mocha because they don’t know what doppio means in Centralia. Ruben discovered his mocha could fit between his aerobars and once again thought the aerobars were the best father’s day gift ever. I carried mine in my left hand (which meant I couldn’t high 5 the kids waiting near the college), but I did ride through the spray of water the mocha in one hand. Someone took a picture, but I didn’t see it on Marathon photo. It was epic.

Lauren and Ruben in CentraliaWe headed through the college to the other side and the best part for me – getting to go to the 1 day rider stop! For me! I felt so special! It was also my best Century time ever – 5:50 ride time, 7 hours total time. I had this sudden vision of being in Portland by 7:30 or 8pm.

I went immediately to the first aid tent to ask about the bruise. They immediately gave me some ice and asked if I needed ibuprofen. There was a really nice nice MD there who was willing to go actually look at the horrible thing in a stall in the bathroom. She said that I had bled under the skin (as opposed to just bruising?), checked a couple of places, and then gave me the go ahead to go on if it wasn’t too painful. Liz and I touched base and I told her I was going on. I also sent a text to Erik and Rich who were staying in Centralia (at Great Wolf Lodge) to tell them I was going on.

I ate a 1/2 a sandwich (PBJ or turkey? I can’t recall but I think it was PB&J) while I iced my bruise and it did feel a lot better after that. While riding I took to sticking the ice in my shorts which helped my hip which was bugging me from squeezing the seat more than I normally do to avoid sitting down fully on the bruised parts. I also wound up in my aerobars a lot more, even following Ruben, which is NOT a smart thing to do, but was necessary especially the second half of the day.

We stayed in Centralia for about 1/2 an hour, and then had a fairly easy ride to and through Chahalis. As we were going across I-5 for the second time Ruben and I saw a dust devil of straw kick up right in our path and we both had to ride right through! I wound up with a piece of straw in my handlebars and I think something irritated my eye… it was a very weird experience to have the wind speed up like that as we rode through it.

Then things got hard. It was getting hot already and the headwinds picked up. To top it off we were getting to the hilly part of the ride. The hill from the valley up to Napavine was particularly hard for me. In fact I was passed by unicyclist on the uphill! I told the guys I needed break for food a the top of the hill and also because my leg cramped. I filled my water bottle and almost choked on the water I tried to drink out of the hose.

The EggOur next supposedly quick pit stop was in Winlock. The stop took a little longer because Matt and I wanted to reapply the chamois butt’r. On the line for the bathroom I saw guy-gal tandem team I had seen on many other Cascade rides and Ruben saw on RAMROD last year, but I still don’t remember their names. I begged some ice off the gas station folks and put the pack back on my hip in my shorts to keep the pain down and took more advil.

We skipped the stop in Vader and made quick work of the hill there. Ruben and Matt were not having to wait too long for me at the top of hills, but the heat was hard for me. My stomach was a little upset, but I continue to eat something, or at least drink my now warming Accelerade. I had to stop at Castle Rock to give my leg time to uncramp so my toe would stop hurting. I also got more ice, at a little more, and checked in with Liz who was already in St. Helens waiting for Brad and crew.

On one of the hills in the 7 miles between St. Helens and Lexington I started to think I really had a flat. It’s just that my legs were starting to really feel like I had nothing left to give. I didn’t quite understand as I was eating and I should have had enough energy not to bonk. But the 3 H’s (hills, headwinds and heat) were just getting to me. The irritation of the bruise and my toes weren’t helping either. Nor was the lack of sleep which was starting to hit me. We had been on the road for 11 hours.

We took a longer stop in Lexington and was able to recharged my GPS a bit. We saw Jude & his crowd resting as if they had been there for a little while already. I sat on the ice I had left from Castle rock but it was almost all melted and there was none at Lexington. I was really tired from lack of sleep the night before and just wanted to curl up in the shade. I saw Ruben laying on the bench and was jealous for his little shut eye.

After the 20 minute or so stop, we were back on the road through Longview and then Kelso. Near Kelso had some jerk scream “Pedal Mother f-ers” from his car as he passed going the other way. Nice.

The headwinds were pretty incessant at this point, although we had heard from someone else on the road that there was a tailwind on Route 30. I was hopeful, even as the horrid cross wind was blowing me sideways as I crossed in the single file line across the bridge in to Oregon (one day riders do not cross in waves as the 2 day riders do). I lamented that this year I didn’t have Ruben’s camera to take a picture.

Usually there is a lot of “found treasures” on the downhill side of the bridge – water bottles, rear lights, etc that have come off bikes as they go over the expansion joint. There’s not nearly as much even at the “tail end” of the 1 day riders as we were. It was nice not to have to avoid that stuff.

The tailwind for the first 10 miles to Goble on route 30 was GREAT. We really picked up speed AND the road was mostly in the shade by this time of day which really helped. At this point I was seriously craving a Diet coke to help settle my stomach, for the caffeine and probably for the salts in it. Worst was the light headed feeling I was getting as I was staring at Ruben or Matt’s wheel/chain. We arrived in Goble with my legs shaking.

There was no diet coke at Goble! I was really disappointed and the Gatorade was a really crappy alternative but I bought it anyway. I ate some cheddar/peanut butter crackers I found in my jersey that I had picked up in Lexington. y. I had salt crackers that i Had picked up along the way and some gatorade. There was “only” 40 miles left. We had made such great time in the first half of the day and the second half was just sheer exhaustion. I likened the ride at that point to working in the garden all day until I was completely exhausted and then still having to ride from my house to Redmond and back. What’s usually a *really* easy ride seemed so hard at that moment. However, as tapped out as I was, stubbornness won out and I knew I had to make it on my own.

Unfortunately the wind got a little squirrely again and our precious tail wind was no more. We did have another stop at St. Helens, where I ate some more pretzels and grapes. There wasn’t any popcorn which is what I was really craving. Because this is the stop where I usually love to have the oreos (and I was so sad when they were out last year), I force myself to eat one of the 2 oreo cookies I took. I threw the other one out because I knew I needed the salt more. I thought more about Diet Coke (there was none) and also the story of Silvia K having chicken soup on her Iron Man ride. Chicken soup sounded really good at that moment.

We also saw Jude and his crew again. I suspect they were arriving at the stops before us and leaving usually just before us. This time we left before they did.

Fortunately the road continued to be shady AND it was getting cooler! The lack of heat was allowing me to do better. And best of all, the wind mostly stopped and our pace picked up. Matt kept riding off faster than I could start, but we’d eventually catch up and joke that our “peloton” had caught him.

I had to stop at Scappoose to use the bathroom, which I should have done in St. Helens, but Ruben’s calculations were that we were going to get in right at 9 if we didn’t start to leave right away. Matt bought me a diet coke while there, and then we were off, with Matt in the lead. We passed Jude & co on the road – they had started out after us from St. Helens but didn’t stop at Scappoose. We caught up to Matt again (inside of Portland city limits, which is 10 miles from the finish) and he did a great job leading at the end, pulling at 21-22 mph. I don’t know if it was the salt or the sheer will just to be off the bike, but I was keeping up.

We finally peeled off route 30 and cheered! I did pretty well at attacking the bottom of the “last hill” at Montgomery park, but totally petered out at the top. Some guy pushed me for about 10 feet and I told him I loved him. He said I shouldn’t tell his wife.

Coming in at the end – near downtown – is much easier on the 1 day ride than the 2 day ride. There is a LOT less traffic and a lot fewer people. We saw folks from Portland dressed up for their Saturday “night ride.” I commented that there were no photographers on the bridge like there usually is for the 2 day ride. Ruben and wound up at the tail end of one group and slowed down enough so that we were the only people in the chute when we were. I turned on the blinky Tiara light and did the princess wave as I came in.

Somehow Ruben, Matt and I managed to catch up with Liz, Brad and Mitch at Andina for a fabulous dinner AND stayed awake until almost midnight. I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and the next thing I knew it was 9:30 am.

Day 2: We woke up at 9:30 and had breakfast with some friends before heading to the finish line. We found Mitchel and saw some riders coming in looking splotchy from rain drops. I overheard stories of lightning and hail and wondered if Linda, Rich, Joanna, Erik or Mark got hit with it. At one point I saw some my old Danskin in Training teammates (Brandi and Jennifer) arrive looking strong and fit. I never did see the other teammate – Sharon. Ruben and I waited with Mitchel to cheer Linda and Nadine (from Team in Training) come in. Ruben and I also waited for Joanna and Erik – who were told by Rich and Marc to go ahead without them as it had started to rain pretty hard and they were still 1-1.5 hours away. Rich and Marc came in around 5:15pm and Stephen and Kristina and their crew came in apparently around the same time. Most importantly – everyone was safe (albeit a little wet)!

Erik  Mitchel and Lauren   Joanna, Lauren and MK

I want to thank everyone for all the support, not just for doing the ride uninjured, but being my back up in case I needed an “out” from being hurt. An especial thanks to Ruben who really stuck with me even though I was so much slower than he normally goes. It meant a lot.

My First RAMROD Training Ride! (and Pie!)

Ruben *finally* convinced me to go on a RAMROD training series ride today (ride 8 to Snohomish). Anthony met us over there. All three of us had our PPTM shirts on.

Ruben jumped off with the Rabbits (not the Bunnies as I tried to call them, and that Just Will Not Do). Anthony and I held back. Note: if you go on one of these rides, Per the ride leader is VERY strict about the safety rules.

I still am slower than most on the hills, but I felt like I held my own with the “last” group on the flats. Around mile 40 I wound up petering out up a hill and lost the group (I think it was a food energy issue – I just bonked). I still had them in my sights, but they were about 1/4 mile ahead of me.

Then I saw Ruben on the side of the road with a flat. So I pulled off an helped him. We go the flat fixed, but we were way behind and by the time we got to Snohomish – no one from the group was left. I insisted on Pie – you *can’t* bike to Snohomish and not get the pie. So we had a quick lunch and popped back on the road to hit the headwind.

It was brutal. Probably 15 mph. Big flags waving in the wind. Against us.

Anyway, Ruben was a great pull and we managed to make some good time. But Ruben’s tire was looking flat again. At one point we pulled over and I pumped it up using my pump.

And the tip of the Presta valve popped off when I pulled off my pump.

Meaning another tire change. I felt bad. Ruben was frustrated.

The other frustration (for me) was the horrible stomach ache I got last 15 miles of the ride I think because of the the turkey sandwich. But I pushed on. We skipped the last stop and made it back by about 4:00. There were still folks in the parking lot so I didn’t feel too terrible.

Meanwhile Anthony thought he was behind us, and was pushing hard to catch up, not realizing that he was actually ahead of us. He finished about 45 minutes before us, but also didn’t stop at the last rest stop. He apparently heard the tire tail of woe from folks who passed Ruben on the side of the road. Also Bill(?) from Microsoft had said that I had fallen back (he had passed me) but that I told him about the Pie, so Anthony helped out by showing him where the Pie company was. The shirts came in handy by folks noticing we were together and relaying info up the route.

Stats: 78.5 miles, 6:34 total time, 5:28 ride time, average speed 14.4. My legs feel MUCH better than after the 11+ hills of Kirkland 2 weeks ago. Oh and I should mention this is after a 11.4 mile run yesterday too.

WOOT! I survived. Thanks Ruben and Anthony!

Toe Clips through the Daffodils

Elias in front of a daffodil field.
Megan, George, Ruben, Elias and I went up to the Skagit Valley on Saturday morning (4/18) to see what we could see. We did our typical 30 mile route, (shown here) down through Conway, and back to La Conner for lunch.

The day started out cold, but it was really wonderful. No rain, not too hot, not too cold. Ruben rode with Elias on on the Tandem. He is apparently *much* stronger than last year. Not only are his size 36 shoes now too small, we had to raise up his seat by about 1.5 inches!

Our ride time was amazingly 2hrs 12 minutes – total time with lunch just over 4 hours. Take a look at the colorful pictures.

STP 2008, half on a tandem.

I’m totally mourning lost data here. The data on my Garmin and in the Garmin Training center says 216 miles, Ascent: 4397, total BIKE time 15:51 hours. Average speed day 1: 12.5. Average speed 13.5mph overall (meaning we were probably averaging 15.5 day 2) and total calories burned on 2 days: 10461.

However, it appears that if you try to do something SO large and cumulative, you run out of memory on the device, so without telling you, it just drops old data – like the latitude and longitude. So according to Motion based: I’m missing about 50 miles! It only recorded from Spanaway to the end: missing “THE hill” in Puyallup.

Pictures are here

Ruben and I used twitter to keep track of where we were and when. Examples:

brickware frantically trying to get everything done and get to sleep early. 09:43 PM July 11, 2008

rubeneortega trying to do “one more thing” before going to sleep and riding STP tomorrow. 09:29 PM July 11, 2008 from web

Day 1: Amazingly got up just minutes before the alarm at 4 and started to dress after a restless night sleep. Ruben said he was up every 7 minutes all night. It’s still dark and we get into gear: Sunscreen, Chamois Butter, clothes (Pastry Powered Jersey and arm warmers, short pants). Amazingly we got Elias up and dressed. So Challenge Number 1 was tackled.

Challenge #2: Getting the cars all moved around and getting us down to the start line. Ruben left just after 4:30, Ericka and Tristan arrived shortly there after. Lupe woke up just to say goodbye and we were off. My skinny go fast bike was in the van, along with the rest of the gear. The only things I feel like I forgot (but weren’t critical) were a sleeping bag for Elias and some books on tape on an iPod for him.

rubeneortega Watching the first wave of riders roll out towards Portland 04:51 AM July 12, 2008

brickware Leaving home 04:52 AM July 12, 2008

1 cold mile down the hill we were at the starting line looking for Ruben by the espresso stand. He claims he looked for me, but left after they “Shut” the starting line at 5 (to start the waves). Anthony with Dylan showed up, then Joanna and Rich. Erik forgot his bib and had to go back – we knew he could catch up. We left on the next wave. I was feeling pretty good and chugged along with most of the group. Anthony said he was a little slower to start out, so he and Dylan were a bit behind.

Challenge #3: Getting up the hill in Seward Park. STEEP hill. LOWEST gear. Elias actually kicked in and helped. Made it up the steep part and just chugged along on the shallower park on Seward Park Drive. Just keep spinning just keep spinning. I couldn’t believe made it up there. The rest of the route was a matter of chugging along to REI. I was being passed by a LOT Of people though – that was hard to see. But I was maxing out at about 144 bpm at 14 mph or so on the flats. Erik caught up and passed us at this point. I got a text message when he got to the REI stop.

Elias was REALLY cold on this stretch – my first indication he wasn’t working that hard. He had his shirt, and a jacket. Then I pulled off my arm warmers (losing my livestrong bracelet in the process) and he put them on his arms over the jacket. He already had the other pair of arm warmers on his legs. Finally I had to stop so he could put my other jacket on.

rubeneortega 25 miles in at rei food stop downing superfood and thinkg. about 175 to go. 06:35 AM July 12, 2008

brickware At the REI food stop 07:29 AM July 12, 2008

REI was great – LOADS of food (we were early – Odwalla, peanut butter on whole wheat tortillas, oranges, bananas and clif bars) and the port a potties were relatively good still. I saw Brandy there! We also found Anthony and Dylan, took some pictures. Elias loved the volunteer T-shirts the REI folks were wearing: What happens on STP, stays on STP. Total Vegas themed stop. It was great. Elias started to warm up after kidding around with Dylan for a while. Onward:

My Grad school advisor (Steve Tanimoto) passed me on the next stretch along the Kent Valley. We chatted for a while. I told Elias what an advisor was – how he helped me get a PhD. I told Steve a few tips about what was to come, etc. Elias said that I was giving him a PhD in biking. Somewhere in here I also got passed by Scott Neilson, who had started over an hour later than us.

rubeneortega Flat tire repair. 9am is a fine time to start a 150 mile bike ride 09:01 AM July 12, 2008

brickware Puyallup 09:03 AM July 12, 2008

I texted the latter AS I WAS BIKING (bad cyclist) – hence the brevity. But if you note, I was NOT that far behind Ruben at this point. His flat happened 2/3 of the way UP the hill.

Challenge #4: The hill. I MADE IT UP THE HILL with Elias on the back of the tandem. My fear was having to get off and walk. I wanted to be able to do it and I did. WOOT!.

brickware Mile 44 and made it to the top of puyallup hill 09:33 AM July 12, 2008

We regrouped at the gas station at the top of the hill, and Elias and Dylan went off to the shop and bought some treats (ice cream and such). I couldn’t really eat much – Tristan finished the cone that Elias kindly bought for me.

I had forgotten Spanaway was 10 miles down the road and was bummed when I realized this. But we trudged on.

rubeneortega Mile 73, making up time, legs feel great. 10:10 AM July 12, 2008

Challenge #5: Seeing a head on collision and having to carry our bikes over broken glass etc. (I *think* this was before Spanaway). We think someone tried to pass a group of cyclists and hit someone else head on. Not a pretty sight. The big challenge for me was lifting the heavy tandem over the glass.

brickware Eating lunch in spanaway 10:58 AM July 12, 2008

Spanaway was good (at mile 50 ish): Grapes, Bagels, REALLY fantastic nectarines and vitamin water. Still in the wave of folks. Here I filled up my water bottles and noted Elias wasn’t drinking enough. I started nagging him about drinking and eating after that.

Elias was getting a LOT of attention from people who were passing him. They’d kid him about making sure he wasn’t doing all the work (being the stoker), or say “good job buddy!” or some such. When they did that, he’d actually kick in a bit more which was nice!

rubeneortega 85 miles. Glorious tailwind, hope it keeps up until portland 11:05 AM July 12, 2008

rubeneortega Creamsicle! 100 miles down 100 to go. 11:53 AM July 12, 2008

So obviously by this time the hills were getting to me and Ruben was really finding his legs. I got a text message from Erik that he had arrived in Centralia just after noon – just missing Ruben. So Erik basically did the 100 miles in 4:45. Amazing.

This was the year I was going to (finally) stop for the free chocolate milk in Roy – Wilcox dairy would always set up a chocolate milk stand. Well this year they closed their milk dairy and are focusing on eggs. So I didn’t see any chocolate milk. Oh well.

brickware Pit stop in McKenna 12:36 PM July 12, 2008

I always forget McKenna is an unofficial mini stop (aka, you have to pay for goodies) just before Yelm. We stopped, used the INDOOR toilets (long line), got advil for all those who needed it (including Dr. Advil, Rich – who was having problems with his right leg and me, who was having problems with my left toe pinching already). We took a couple of pictures by a tree. Onward:

Elias loved the fact that there was an “Unofficial mini stop” along the road where someone was spraying us with water. I don’t think we stopped in Yelm after all. We did, however note that both Elias and Dylan had just beaten their record 70 mile rides at this point.

rubeneortega Winlock. 120 miles 80 to go 01:41 PM July 12, 2008

rubeneortega Afternoon iced mocha and head under the faucett 01:54 PM July 12, 2008

The trail from Yelm to Tenino was really nice – slight up hill grade for a while, then down. . We started playing the game where someone in the front would call out “Marco!” and we’d all say “POLO” – to mark where the posts (or Poles) were in the middle of the trail. For a little bit I let Elias clip out and found (again) it was easier for a while to pedal without him – meaning he wasn’t working much. After a while I couldn’t keep up with the group, particularly since my toe was really hurting. One of the problems with the tandem is that you can’t really stop pedaling unless you get a good head of steam up first – our tandem looses speed very quickly. Occasionally we do this when we need “butt breaks” but that doesn’t help with the toe problem. I need new shoes for long rides.

Oh we also saw the two skateboarders on this stretch. I can’t believe they keep doing this ride. I didn’t see the unicyclist this year, although heard he was on the ride. I didn’t hear if the guy on the big wheel was there – I suspect not.

Getting weary from the ride, I noticed a couple of places where the river is right next to the trail. I lamented that I would love to stick my foot in there and cool it down – maybe get the swelling down so it wouldn’t hurt so much. But I didn’t want to hold up the group – and Elias was getting tired and just wanted to get to Tenino. (I did keep reminding him to eat and drink). Someday I’d like to go on a bike ride where there is no rush to get someplace and I could stop and stick my feet in the water. We caught up to the rest of the group at the end of the trail in Tenino. (somewhere in here Erik gave up waiting for us and went onto the hotel).

brickware Resting our toes and eating really awesome cookies in tenino 02:38 PM July 12, 2008

I remembered this from last year: whoever sponsors the Tenino mini stop makes cookies. I filled up 3 water bottles (so we were drinking- I’m not sure if it was enough though). I got 3 cookies, gave a donation and gave one or two to Elias. We chowed them down and he had chocolate all over his face. He and Dylan played like mad (again). It was weird to let Elias wander around a bit on his own – I kept thinking he’d get lost but he just kept coming back.

Tenino is the last stop at mile 86 before Centralia at mile 98.85. We started back on our way at 2:56, I got the Centralia at 3:50. Meanwhile

rubeneortega Castle Rock. 60 miles to go 03:09 PM July 12, 2008
rubeneortega Lexington. 55 miles to portland 03:57 PM July 12, 2008
rubeneortega Best tortilla hummus sandwich ever 03:57 PM July 12, 2008

brickware In centralia eating the two best creamsicles ever. (Actually posted at 4:03 pm – twitter has the time wrong).

I had been telling Elias about the mister and the creamsicles. Then we saw the Centralia sign. That gave him a boost. Then we saw Lupe waiting on a corner and called to her. Then we went under the misters… OH DID THAT FEEL GOOD. I was so happy – Elias had made 100 miles (if you include the 1 mile down hill to get to the starting line). I had 2 creamsicles, Elias had 1 and immediately started playing his gameboy which I had lugged in the pack. Dylan looked on. Ericka was grinning ear to ear- no crashes! Rich’s leg had made it. Joanna – who had only trained up to a 40 mile ride was all smiles. Tristan – quiet, but also all smiles.

We did some coordinating: Tristan’s folks came to take him up to Olympia for the night. Anthony and Dylan rode 1 more mile down the road to their hotel. The rest of us went to my car, where Joanna, Lupe and Elias hopped in, and I switched bikes. Joanna wanted to get up to see the kids at the hotel and give the babysitter a break. Rich, Ericka and I rode the 6+ miles to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound.

I got on my skinny go fast bike and I couldn’t control it! It was too light! I wiggled all around and couldn’t help but take off! The route along old highway 99 was nice – a headwind, but a large shoulder and not too many cars. The legs suddenly felt strong! However we did hit a patch of glass. Rich said “I’m stopping to check my tires!!!!” I was thinking “oh foo, I don’t need to, I have puncture resistant tires and haven’t gotten a flat yet!” But I stopped – because Ericka HAD gotten a flat by going over glass on one of our rides. Lo and behold, of the three of us, I had a small shard of glass wedged in my tire. Rich claimed that was a flat in 5 miles. Ericka had a great pair of tweezers (tiny! – I have to get one for each bike now!) and I got the glass out. So yeah! for Rich and Ericka.

brickware At great wolf lodge in grand mound where the air conditioning alone is worth the cost (posted out of order, actual time 5:52pm)

rubeneortega 175 miles done, 25 to go. Portland at 91 degrees looks good. Should I have this much salt on clothes and skin? 06:34 PM July 12, 2008

brickware Great wolf lodge is surreal. After a not so bad buffet, now I’m going in an indoor water park wit elias 08:10 PM July 12, 2008

Then I got this!

rubeneortega 205 miles. Moving average 18.5 welcome to Portland 08:30 PM July 12, 2008

It was right about what he expected! After a shower and a nap, he also go to see/hear the last 1 day rider come in around 12:30 am and that Portland was having some kind of Night Ride (15 mile ride at dark).

All the families went to dinner at the buffet. Ericka and Lupe found a quieter bar to eat in … I think I would have to under their circumstances. Anthony and his family (who had come up to the lodge to pick up our tandem and have dinner with us) left around 7:15. Ericka and Lupe went to bed early. I picked up some food at a cafe (banana bread, a croissant and a banana) and got into bed. Sleep was a little hard to come by, and getting up at 5 was a bit hard. We were out the door at 5:45 – Elias never stirred. He slept until 9am, had breakfast and played with Lupe at the water park.

I missed posting about our leaving with Ericka and Rich, but according to the GPS it was at 6:05 from the hotel. We hooked right back up with the ride route (gathering other cyclists along the way). Joanna had left MUCH earlier and we knew Erik would have a chance to sleep in and catch up. We met Anthony at his hotel. Tristan’s dad dropped Tristan off there and we left around 6:50 am. I texted this while cycling

brickware Leaving chahalis 07:11 AM July 13, 2008

The small breakfast I had started to catch up with me and I was very hungry by the first of the rollers, just north of Napavine. The first hill of the day is just north of Napavine and as we’re chugging up the hill we see this one guy go by, then eventually another girl barely calling out “Dad!??!?!” He screamed back holding his hand to his ear “Speak to me” but kept going. She pulled to the shoulder and had to stop. Someone else on the hill called to “Dad” to tell him that his daughter had stopped. Eventually someone (Anthony?) called out the color of his shirt and told him that his daughter was having real trouble and was by the side of the road. FINALLY he went back for her.

brickware Napavine and free banana bread. riding with Tristan, anthony , rich and ericka. Joanna leftearly, erik is leaving late and will catch up 07:47 AM July 13, 2008

I put $5 in the pot for the school who was doing the fundraiser and bought some REALLY good banana bread for us. Onto Winlock! This part of the ride is BEAUTIFUL…

On this part of the ride we saw “Dad” changing a flat tire with his daughter. They had apparently not stopped at Napavine and leapfrogged us. Karma is a bitch.

I think this was where we saw the first Mile marker that said mile 1 on it. Rich commented something about Ground Hog day and that we’d keep seeing Mile Markers with a 1 on them….

I saw this one rider from behind and guessed it was an old employee Adrianne – and I was right! We said our hellos in Winlock – apparently her husband was up ahead someplace, he a racer now and she just goes at her own pace. The did RSVP last year, but I had seen her on STP two years ago.

brickware Taking a picture by the world largest egg 09:45 AM July 13, 2008

I never told Ericka or Tristan about the Hill We Don’t Talk About – in Vader. That’s the hill the first year on the ride that I yelled at Rich and Joanna – “YOU DIDN’T TELL ME ABOUT THIS HILL!” It’s the secret hill.

But Ericka powered up it and we turned onto the next road: West Side Highway – and there it was… another Mile marker that said ‘1’. I almost died!

I got a text message from Mary Kaye (Erik’s wife) that Erik was leaving around 9:45, his phone was dead, but he expected to be in Scapoose at 1:30. Anthony did the math and thought we could get there averaging 15mph with a few breaks.

brickware Last post not sent at right time. Just did another 17 and having. Great smoothie at castle rock. Rollers as bad as last year 09:46 AM July 13, 2008 from txt

What I meant was “Rollers NOT as bad as last year” – First off I was better trained for hills having ridden to work all winter long. Secondly, I wasn’t trying to do 150 miles in one day. This was only mile 25 or so for the day – as opposed to 120! I think we stayed too long in Castle Rock though, particularly since the next stop was an official one with free food. But here my toe was really starting to hurt – I could do about 1/2 an hour of riding without pain, but then the numbness or pain would start…

brickware 10:30 at the free food stop in Lexington. Next stop Longview bridge 10:34 AM July 13, 2008

The bummer here was by this time I think we were behind the big wave of folks. Not sure why – I thought we were making good time. Average speeds were MUCH higher than day 1. We had our free food, but no oreos. I was bummed, but hopeful for my sandwich cookies in St. Helens.I got this from Ruben the show off 😉

rubeneortega Eating at Crush and trying not toinhale the food. I am not biking today. 10:35 AM July 13, 2008

I shouldn’t be so callous. He was being very supportive in private emails.

Lexington was also where we saw the guy on the really tall bike with the viking helmet. We passed him a few miles down the road on route 30…

We were off again and did the flat part through the industrial towns of Kelso and Longview.

brickware Got stopped at the front of the line for the longview bridge. Oregon in 1 mile 11:46 AM July 13, 2008

Anthony was funny here. We got caught by the light just before our left turn to the bridge. He could see we were not going to make the current wave of riders going over the bridge – and said he wasn’t going to be stopped. He blasted RIGHT through the flagger, but Ericka, Tristan, Rich and I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. We were the first in line for the next wave. It took them at least 15 minutes (probably longer) in the hot sun to let us go.

I tried SO hard to power up the bridge, but by this time I was getting tired. And hot. I was drinking and eating but I had no reserves. AT first I was hoping to be one of the first across, then a whole bunch of guys passed me. Then I hoped to be the first girl across. Nope, 2 girls passed me. Eh, I was still pretty close to the front. I didn’t see nearly as many bottles ont he sides of the road near the expansion joints as last year. I pulled off at the bottom and took pictures of my other fellow weary travelers.

brickware Rainier oregon 12:16 PM July 13, 2008

rubeneortega Getting a haurcut 01:15 PM July 13, 2008

Passed Rainier it started to get really hot and I was really starting to lose steam. After passing Rich and Ericka who had leap frogged me on the bridge, I tried catching up with Tristan – I felt a little like I kind of had to keep an eye out for him (since he’s 16). I’m pushing and pushing and still getting passed, no Tristan. I stopped briefly at Goble just to see if I could see Anthony, Joanna or Tristan, but no. I didn’t want to wait in the long water line – I figured I could get some down the road and headed off. Suddenly Tristan rides up next to me panting and says “I Caught you!”

I laughed and said that I was trying to catch him! Apparently he had stopped at the side of the road, I hadn’t seen him. Ericka and Rich told him I was going on to look for him so he tried to catch up. It was funny – like two years ago when Ruben though I was ahead of him and was catching up only to find I was way behind. Trudging on:

brickware Stopped in St. Helens where they have run out of Oreos. I am truly bummed.

Truly bummed. Particularly since I thought Anthony was probably already in Scapoose. I saw a message on the board from Joanna that she left St. Helens at 1pm… so we just sat and ate the popcorn and somehow lame sandwiches.

(Slow and steady undertrained Joanna does get the moral victory for beating all of us to Scapoose!)

Then I got the call from Anthony. He skipped the stop and found a cafe that had frozen yogurt. He had only gotten there a few minutes before! Apparently he had stopped a couple of places to get some food along the way, but said we must have been making some good time.

Still, it was already almost 2 and I thought Joanna and Erik were probably bored in Scapoose – not the nicest of rest stops.

We did get in touch with Rich and Ericka and had them come to us at the shop. SO MUCH NICER to have porcelain toilets! And espresso! over vanilla frozen yogurt! Ahhh!

brickware Found a most excellent air conditioned cafe near a bookstore in st helens. Having frozen yogurt with a shot of espresso. Mmmmmmm 02:06 PM July 13, 2008

Coordinating we estimated we’d bet at the finish around 3-4. We were off by a quite a bit.

brickware Over heating in Scapoose. 90+ degree heat on the open road 03:25 PM July 13, 2008

I started to feel really gross on this last section – very very little shade and it was over 90 degrees. Water bottles that we filled at the cafe with ice water were hot within 1/2 an hour. My toe was killing me. Even Anthony said he was feeling a bit puny. Was it the dairy? Or just the heat? I hate this section of the ride. The cars were well behaved though. I didn’t, however, find my really good chains of drafters like last year. Tristan and I took turns riding front just to keep going. I told him all about aerobic heart rates and VO2 max, and power output. He still doesn’t believe that true racers don’t really sit on their seats much.

rubeneortega Waiting at the finish line, cheering the bikers 03:03 PM July 13, 2008

Erik had arrived about 10 minutes before us. After taking our requisite pictures and regrouping, Joanna took off about 10 minutes before the rest of us. One high schooler was taking donations to be sprayed with a water hose from their yard. Best $2. spent.

No respite from the hot weather, Tristan and I tried to keep up with Anthony and Erik who took off. More hot weather, the water bottles getting really hot and hard to drink (particularly the ucky electrolytes). I warned Tristan about the “Rookie hill” – the last really big hill of the ride. We made it up, and I figured Rich would warn Ericka.

brickware At the top of the last hill 04:52 PM July 13, 2008

When Ericka and Rich showed up, she said she was very glad Rich had warned her and I had never mentioned that hill before she got there. More requisite pictures.

Anthony had to leave at this point to catch the Max to his friend’s house out in Hillsboro. He had another 15 miles from the end of the Max line to his friend’s house. Amazing.

We made it to the line at 5pm (although I posted this later).

brickware Made of in to the finish line with Rich, Joanna, Tristan, Erik, and Ericka. (Anthony had to leave early) 06:41 PM July 13, 2008

brickware We got in at 5, and now had a really fantastic shower! 06:42 PM July 13, 2008

I saw Elias, Ruben and Lupe with a sign made by Maryanne! (She had to leave early). Elias and Ruben were decked out in their Pastry Powered shirts, Tristan’s folks saw us too. We hung out in the finishing area for a while, I got my requisite SWAG (including a Whole Foods green bag), then Rich, Joanna, Erik and the babysitter had to head back north to the Great Wolf Lodge and their kids. Ericka and Shel went to their room, and we went to ours so I could shower. Tristan’s family had to leave (work in the morning adn we had gotten in later than expected) – so I think he showered in the STP shower van.

I totally started to fade on the walk to dinner. I told Ruben later that this was one of the hardest things physically I have ever done – harder than STP the first year, harder than my triathalon, etc. Dinner was at a nice Italian restaurant, and I even treated myself to a mojito. I totally passed out exhausted around 9:30… only to wake up at 5 to head back to Seattle.

One more Elias-ism. On the way home I was explaining how I saw a heavy set older woman who had just finished the ride. She was bawling her eyes out – obviously overwhelmed with exhaustion and emotion. Elias said “It’s like Dr. Pepper” – Ruben and I are completely confused and he continues “Dr. Pepper has 23 flavors.”

Makes total sense to me. 23 flavors. 23 emotions. Damn smart kid.

I got home and noticed my milk box on the front porch had moved. I was curious, because Tuesday (not Monday) is milk day. Elias found them first: a secret someone had left a package of Oreos with a note on the package but no name! So thank you to whoever that was (probably someone reading facebook or twitter ;)). So there’s where the Oreos come from if you have read this far!

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 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!

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.

Beautiful Tulips and Daffodils

Erica, Heidi, Elias, Ruben and I made the trek to the Skagit Valley this morning. First to note, with the front wheel off we can put the tandem on the back rack without having to get a wide load permit. In fact, it doesn’t even stick out more than our side view mirrors. But we can’t fit 4 bikes on the rack that way… so we took the wheels off Ruben’s bike and it fit in the way back no problem.

So all of us managed to fit in the van… Heidi was borrowing my old Allez… sporting a jersey from a century she did down around Gilroy, CA.

After hitting The Old Grind coffee stop (in Mt. Vernon) for a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie and their bathroom, we were biking around 10:15.

There’s a lot of smell of manure – a lot of farmers working the fields. There was one loose dog, but the owner made sure to come out after him. Oh and on Best Road (the busy road just before Dodge Valley) there was a whole slew of motor cyclists who were giving us peace and hang loose
signs as we plugged up the hill and over the bridge. It was awesome.

We didn’t see any Herons, but we did wind up seeing some hawks and what looked big enough to be an eagle, but wasn’t a bald eagle. We also thought we saw a black deer in a field, but it may have been a sculpture ’cause I didn’t see it move.

We wound up at the LaConner Brewing company around 12:15, and parked our bikes on the side, much to Ruben’s nervous chagrin (we had 2 locks, and locked pairs of bikes together, but he was nervous for his bike)…. 🙂

Anyway the road back was MUCH more crowded – and this isn’t even the bad week (next week is the tulip festival street fair). We were totally dusting the cars… and loving it. There’s definitely color – the daffodil field on Calhoun is nice, plus there are some tulips getting nice and purple and red at Calhoun and Brashaw. We didn’t stop at the Roozengarde ’cause it was crazy, but they had some nice displays
outside. Plus a nice daffodil field across the way. The prettiest daffodil field was just north of the Roosengarde – they were the light yellow ones with darker centers I think. We didn’t stop though – Elias was getting ready to get home. We also didn’t go north of McLean road – we just headed right to Mt. Vernon from there.

Kudos to Elias who made it 30.11 miles AND did a top speed (with Ruben on leading the bike) of 27.5. Afterwards we went back to The Old Grind for more coffee and cookies. I found out they’re going to be closed Sunday, so make sure you know of some place else to hit the bathroom before starting on your journey.

Pictures are here (first are my picture, then Ruben’s)

Info from my garmin is here (ignore the data down I-5 – I forgot to turn
off my GPS and I also thought I had deleted this data, but alas, no).

Cycling Jerseys Part II

See this post and this post for background information on the Pastry Powered Cycling Jerseys.

There’s been enough demand we’re looking into printing another round of the cycling jerseys. The cost is $78/shirt, and we will wait until we have pre-ordered before the order is sent in. Once I send in the order, it will take 8 weeks until we receive the shirts. ORDER NOW and we can have them for next cycling season!

Here are some photos:

Women and men's front
Women’s and men’s front (Lauren and Ruben)
Old and new frontOld and new back

Front and back of the old shirts worn by Ruben (left) and new shirts worn by Erik

The shirts are manufactured by Canari. They sell some Canari shirts down at Gregg’s Greenlake or REI if you want to try one on for size, which I recommend as they seem a bit tight. (Look for the Reeses Pieces or other logo shirts). The shirts have raglan sleeves, a hidden zipper (zips halfway down) and 3 rear pockets, etc. You can see our modified pastry-powered turing machine on the back along with our new cycling along the infinite tape on the front. On the yellow sides are the CSE logo.

Here’s Canari’s size chart based on Chest sizes

Mens S M L XL
Chest size 38-40 40-42 42-44 46-48
Women’s c.s. 30-32 32-34 34-36 36-38