Trek to Camano Island

It appears this is becoming an annual event. We have some friends who have a place on Camano Island, so we’ve been getting up early and biking there. Matthew arrives later – last year with a friend, this year with Elias and his girlfriend. Last year I was only able to make 76 miles going straight through to their house, This year’s goal was to make it the “long way” around the south end of the island before making it to their house (the route Ruben had done two years ago).

Stats from this year are here.

I woke up at 5am on Saturday, partly to get ready and partly to see how dark it is at that time (I’m trying to determine if I need to buy a light for a 4:45 start time for STP). After the usual running around and last minute watering of all the poor pathetic plants and dealing with my GPS which wouldn’t boot (Ruben let me use his), Ruben and I were on the road at 6:25 – a little later than my goal start time of 6am, but reasonable.

The weather was cool for the start – we needed our arm warmers. We started by going straight to the BG trail – up the hill at NE 82nd to 30th NE, then across 35th NE to NE 95th. Only after we descended onto the trail did Ruben mention that we should have taken the “fast cyclist route” – down 35th to Lake City Way up to Lake Forest Park. I’ve never done that and considering there were SO few people on the road, it would have been a perfect opportunity. Oh well next time.

By Bothell I was starting to feel hungry, which surprised me until I realized that we had gotten on the road a little later than expected and breakfast was wearing off. It was odd to really “feel” the calorie deficit. As if reading my mind, Ruben, who promised he’d remind me to eat every 45 minutes, tells me it’s time to eat. I had a package of Sharkies out of the bento box as we passed under 405.

We paused briefly to hit the restrooms at that park in Woodinville and then got onto NE 175th. As we headed up the hill on Woodinville Duvall Road, me as typical plodding along, I get passed by a guy in a Cycle U team outfit. He is obviously trying to catch “speedy” Ortega who is up the hill. He caught Ruben at the top and passed him as Ruben waited for me.

We caught up to the guy again just at the left to Broadway. At this point there were 2 of them. We went on ahead. but a little while later they came speeding by. I was still sort of waking up by this point and not quite zippy enough to see if we could form a pace line with them. We eventually saw them again in Maltby, at the gas station just before we crossed 522. I commented that we were slower, but we kept passing them because it appeared they were having to stop more.

Broadway was *wonderfully* quiet – few cars but we did see a lot of cyclists. Just before we dropped down into the Snohomish valley, Ruben noted the time (food time) and said we’d eat in town – I thought that might be a little long – the stomach clock was starting to go off as I started to feel it again, but we were going down hill so I held off. As we dropped into the valley I notice the winds were starting to pick up as the day warmed up. We were chugging along with a cross breeze, and near the airport guess who caught up! Yup the two guys, and two other guys had joined their ranks. They were doing a really “official” pace line with the lead guy only staying in the lead for a short time then pulling to the left. Round and round they went. We were slightly bad about our cycling etiquette and didn’t ask to join, we just latched on, but when the formerly lead guy pulled in, he pulled in in front of Ruben. I was at the tail end.

Eventually one guy decided to fall in behind me. I told him we promised to take our time at the front. But by this time we were practically in Snohomish. I thanked them for the pull and Ruben and I stopped for coffee at the Java Inn. We sat out front drinking coffee, eating biscotti and orange bread, and watching the other cyclists go by. One in fact saw us and turned around to get coffee too. This was our longest stop of the day at 20 minutes.

Back on the road, we hooked up with the Centennial trail. Near Machias we saw someone had set up a couple of bicycle stands for a mini tri or brick. There was a woman hanging out and watching the gear. I felt a little sluggish trying to keep up with Ruben who was trying to do closer to 17-18, so I finally reminded him that we were going uphill slightly. Eventually the trail starts downhill and we just really flew until we hit the end of the trail. We stopped briefly, I called Elias who was up (but Matthew wasn’t, of course), and used the lovely port-a-potties.

The trip through Arlington was pretty uneventful, except to note that the sign on the bank on 530 near the highway said 87 degrees. It was warming up and by that time I guess it was 80, but it did feel pretty hot! We stopped at the gas station just before the highway, and I got some corn nuts and vienna wafers. I saved the corn nuts, had 1.5 of the cookies because 1 fell on the ground and I could only save 1/2 of it. We also filled our depleted water bottles.

The wind had really picked up by this point. We started on Pioneer Highway through through Silvana (blink and you’ll miss it!), but then we veered off onto some smaller roads that meander and eventually hooked back up onto Pioneer highway as it climbs up from the valley to Stanwood. The only nice thing about the meandering was at the very end we actually were riding into the wind for about a 1/4 mile… and suddenly our speed went up 3mph! The hill up from the valley really burnt me out last year, but this year I noticed it was much easier and commented to Ruben about that.

We reached 532 and made our left, through the “downtown” part of Stanwood. There’s a hill that again, last year, was really tough for me. This year I used the construction cones as a way to do “hill repeats” – every three cones I’d upshift and stand in the pedals, then I’d downshift and spin for a bit to recover. We stopped at the top of the hill to eat, even in the sun, heat and with the noise of the cars.

We were able to make good time from there onto Camano Island and to the turn where we head southbound. I noted on the clock that it was 11:43 – not even noon! I was really happy with our time. And although we were getting hot, I was feeling pretty good. We hit the turn off for East Camano Island Road and had a decision: 2-3 miles to our host’s house or 20 miles around the southern tip. We knew Matthew, our SAG support, wouldn’t be there until 2, so we decided to brave the rollers around the southern tip. Fortunately there was a LOT more shade here, particularly on the east side of the Island. Most of the rollers I was able to handle pretty well, although I started to have that numbness in my foot again. We stopped again for another food/stretch break on the east side of the Island, and I asked for another stop on the west side. I’m discovering that part of the weirdness in the foot stems from my hamstring and calf cramping up. Ruben also noted his knee was starting to ache and was looking forward to icing it.

With 1 mile to go, and not having heard from Matthew who had my packet of recovery drink, Ruben and I had a decision: head straight to our friend’s house and wait for the recovery drink to arrive, or go passed our turn off to the Elger bay store for some recovery ice cream. Ice cream won out and we shared a Haagen Daas. Best. Ice. Cream. Ever.

It was an easy bit of cycling (< 1/2 a mile) to get to their house. The last part is a single lane dirt road and there was an oncoming car. This is where I almost bit it. I tried to pull out of the way into the deep gravel, but hadn't pulled out of my clips and almost went down. Fortunately I pulled out of the clips quickly enough and recovered, only looking like a dork. We arrived at their house, said our hellos, turned down the path to see Matthew showing up in the car! We both felt really good, but I was really happy having made the extra 20 miles of rollers. (My GPS said a total of 8,592 elevation gain, as did Ruben's) Funny post script: on the way home on route 532 heading to the highway, Ruben got a little confused once we passed the usual place where we turn onto the road in Stanwood. He said he didn't recognize the road, but then he realized he didn't because he usually doesn't drive home!

My first Cascade CATS ride

You know how some days you feel like you’re riding solo, going up hill, into the wind, and in drizzling rain on a flat tire?

Well guess what. Today I did. For 15 miles of 65 miles (stats).

I was so pleased with myself figuring out how to get in extra miles today. I had heard from Mitchel that there was going to be a change in plans for the Cascade CATS ride since he wasn’t going to be able to ride the (blue) 16-18 group for century much less 130 miles. He said likely a blue group was only doing 100. Since I did a century last week (and a hilly one at that), my plan was to bump up to a 130 mile ride as a max to “prove” I could knock out STP in a day. I was bummed until I figured out a plan that would get me a tiny bit more mileage.

I got up at 6:00, and was on the road at 6:42. I decided to ride up to Log Boom and back before the start of the ride. Well I had left a little later than my intended 6:30, so I had to cut it short by 1 mile at Lake Forest Park. I had done 1 extra hour of riding which felt fine.

I was back at Magnusson at 7:50 and saw Mitchel and signed in (and had 1/2 a Kashi go lean bar to eat). It was a much smaller group than RAMROD from two weeks ago, and much smaller than Cascades CTS rides (Green group = 14-16). I knew there was no way I could keep up with the Purple (18-20) group doing 130, so I stuck with the century. There was also a purple group doing the century, but that wasn’t happening either. There were only 2 other girls in the whole batch.

We left all as one big group, went through Windermere – and the first hill was steep. I was kind of at the back of the back and “happy” to hear one or two other people huffing and puffing up the hill AND that one of the other women was a little concerned if the ride was going to be that hilly about keeping up. Lemme tell you, I was *really* concerned. Particularly when I saw early on what the pace really is.

See I think of the blue group as 16-18. Meaning my 16.1. Apparently the ride leader thought it was closer to 18.5, because that’s where we were most of the times I looked down at my GPS. Even with my 1 hour warm up, I was dragging. And while the winds had been calm for me going to the top of the lake (thank goodness), as soon as the sun tried to peer out the wind picked up from the south at a good clip.

Let’s put it this way: I was working, I could feel it in my legs. I wondered if I would be able to finish the ride. What I figured is that if I could keep up with the group through until we were on the May Valley Road, I’d be good – I feel MUCH more comfortable riding a route I’ve done before. I had gone out to Flaming Geyser – so most of the ride down was ok. However, we weren’t going to Flaming Geyser. We were vering off and going to Black Diamond, then out to places I had never heard of: Cumberland, Palmer, Kanaskat and Ravensdale (although I have heard of this because of Erik’s racing). Here’s a map.

Our first stop was to be at Isacc Evans park down between Kent and Auburn – 32 miles into the ride (and 47 miles into my ride). Early in the ride (near Husky Stadium) one guy lost his bike rack, but the group kept on figuring he’d catch up. Then in Renton one guy slid out. He made an AMAZING recovery but his tire looked like it might have been out of tru or it was rubbing his brake pad. Everyone stopped for that one, and he was fine. I mostly kept up although there was once or twice I lost the end of the line – it wasn’t really a great paceline – very spurty, but then again they specifically said that this wasn’t a pace line ride – to give room. Still people were moderately drafting.

In Kent we wound up making a few left/right turns. In one turn – just near the King County court house, I thought I had slipped on something slippery – maybe because of the rain last night or because of the cross walks. Then a few blocks later the same thing happened. I looked down at First and Titus (about a block from a bakery none the less) and saw my tire was flat. So I told the group, they asked if I had everything (I did), and they went on.

I got a text from Ruben about that point – he was planning on taking Elias out to meet me at the bakery anyway. So this was perfect timing. I told him what happened and that I was changing my tire. He grabbed tires and the pump and started driving my way.

I spent a LONG time changing my tire and realized there was no way I’d catch up to the group at the park. I had a really hard time getting the new tire off – it’s one of those somewhat pricey foldable Vittoria, supposedly somewhat puncture resistant. However, we had gone over a lot of rocks and glass in the last few miles. Anyway, I couldn’t get my tire levers in enough to get out the tube. Finally I did. I could hear the leak but didn’t find it – it was too windy and noisy. So I just put on the new tube and stuffed the old tube in my bag to deal with later.

Product UN placement: DO NOT BUY Innova road tubes. They’re a piece of crap. I wound up buying a 10 pack of these from an on line retailer (I will tell you which if you ask, but I don’t feel like ragging on them in this post). Both Ruben and I have been getting a LOT more flats with them. But more than that, the stems just do not hold up to the bike pumps (both floor pumps and hand held pumps). They bend way too easily

Both the tube with the puncture AND the tire exchanged it with are Innova tubes. Crap. Crap crap. I got the new one on, pumped it up and the @)(*$*( stem got bent (this is the same type of tube/stem that blew out on Ruben on the RAMROD training ride). So the tire wouldn’t stay at 120 psi. It started to go flat again in a block. So I pumped again and this time I got the stem to kind of hold air. I didn’t put on the cap either – because I think that was causing it to push on the stem and lose more air.

So here I was thinking crap. Do I go on or do I have Ruben pick me up in Kent. I decided to at least make it the 4 miles to the park and use the facilities. I was right, no bike group there.

The tire was holding the little air it had at this point so I decided I could go an hour/15 miles and pressed on.

Little did I know it was hilly and into the wind. Then it started to drizzle. Which made it all feel worse. But slowly I pressed on – which slowly == approx 15mph. Which wasn’t bad considering it was about when I got the flat that we started climbing up 600 feet to Black Diamond. I did see one other rider from the group who was stuck with a flat in Auburn (under the overpass for route 18), but he had gear so I kept going.

I texted Ruben when I was about 7 miles away. About 3 miles away I got a text from him saying my group actually just showed up around 4 minutes prior. I suddenly thought “Oh I can catch them!” I wouldn’t keep going with them, but I could at least say I caught up, then fix my flat and turn back on the path I’m familiar with and go home. However that wasn’t to be. With about a mile to go I got REALLY hungry and my legs just wouldn’t press on much more. I could tell the bakery was devoid of all bikes (save one loan rider) when I got there. I was a bit bummed until I heard Elias’ voice from the car.

The other guy who was there had been on one of the rides, but was having an off day and decided to just go his own route on his own pace. Ruben had apparently seen both a RAMROD training group and my CATS blue group come by. He spoke with the CATS group, told them he was my husband (the one who go the flat in Kent), so they at least knew I was taken care of. He apparently gets the best husband/SAG wagon award from that group.

We decided to put the bike in the car and have lunch. It was 12:30… and I was really hungry so this sounded good. Plus the weather was looking like it was threatening to rain. I felt like a wimp because I had my wet weather gear with me. But I had done 65 miles, and I was concerned about the forecast for rain at 4pm. Plus mentally I just was done. I thought about going home and doing 2 more hours on the trainer, but opted to take Elias to the skate park instead. The irritating thing is that the a) the sun came out shortly after we got home at 1:30 AND b) the showers they promised late today never materialized.

Given that this was going to be my one big opportunity to get in over 100 miles in one day, I’m a bit concerned I won’t make it to Portland. Ruben and I have to figure out some kind of SAG support/back up plan of where we can stay or get picked up. I know I’ll need a light – I think I’ll start at 4:30-4:45 and I’ll probably get in around 9pm in Portland. If my legs will hold up that long.

Cookies to anyone who read this far!

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!

Why helmets are important.

Today Chris and I biked out to Redmond and back. This was partially to enjoy the sun and just get the legs spinning for more than the 1/2 hour bike commute, and partially to test the look bike cleat/shoes I borrowed. The ride was great, minus the typical headwind both ways. On both sides of the lake. Seriously. I think the only tail wind I had was going up hill (northbound) back to my house.

Most of the time Chris and I rode side by side, leapfrogging if we needed to go single file. We had an interesting conversation about who should go forward (faster) and who should go slower and fall behind when switching from doubled to single file. We stopped at Redmond Town center for the Starbucks, then headed back. I wound up getting a little tired and mildly drafting Chris on the way home. Some other guy wound up hooking on, and we started a conversation about drafting and safety. He dropped off around Kenmore thanking us for the pull. More safety/drafting conversation ensued.

About 1/3 of a mile from Lake Forest Park Town center, we were behind 2 people (although I thought there had been a third guy between that group and our group of two). What happened next was very quick. One guy went down. He wasn’t sure what happened but he thinks his tire wound up slipping off the trail into the ditch that is on the north side of the trail, he tried to cut back and totally flipped. The guy behind him said he wasn’t sure he had time to go around him (there were others on the trail too) and he had experience with mountain biking and thought he could jump the first guy.

He did, and he didn’t make it. Landed in a total heap, yelled in pain and wound up flat on his back.

Chris and I stopped, called 911, pulled stuff off the road and helped the guy out. Both were cut in various places. I didn’t want the guy to get up until the paramedics arrived, but he eventually insisted – I only let him up because he could move his hands and feet while still on the ground. I helped the other guy clean out his wounds and put band aids with neosporin on (I love the first aid kit I got from REI).

Eventually the fire truck showed up and had to use a ladder to get over the fence from the street on the other side (they really need better access there). The ambulance that arrived after eventually wound up driving UP the trail. They really need to have better access at that point of the trail for just such emergencies.

So here’s the point of all this: The guy who landed on his back’s helmet was cracked clear through and kind of buckling on top. His eyeglasses were broken. His back is hurt.

If this guy didn’t have a helmet on, the scene would have been MUCH different. I hope he accepted a ride to the hospital to get that head of his checked out (they did the quickly on scene neurological exam… not sufficient if you ask me in a case like that).

Chris and I left, knowing that there were folks there to take care of the guys. I was a little worried about the first guy who went down, he seemed pretty shocky about the whole thing, but I’m really worried about the guy who’s helmet was trashed. I think he was in such shock he didn’t realize how bad off he could be… I learned a lot last year from my mom’s brain bleed – a lot about taking head injuries very seriously and not leaving a darn thing to chance.

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.

Cold Toes to Mt. Bachelor

My cousin Joe (who was riding my old Allez with platforms over the SPDs and his sneakers because he forgot his clipless shoes) went from Sunriver up towards Mt. Bachelor on this rainy cold morning. (Data). The goal was between 20-30 miles.

We got just to over 4700 feet from about 4150… and turned around just before the road became “Edison Ice Cave Road”. We did the whole thing in about 2 hours (including a stop for espresso on the way back).

The ride up the hill was nice a really easy grade – well except for the killer headwind for the first 6 or so miles as we crossed the valley. Down with the tail wind was just fun, except for that cold wet rain. Joe liked my fenders and I have a rooster tail on my jacket since I was using my newer fenderless bike.

Ruben’s plan is to do the same route only make it all the way to the to top of the pass at Mt. Bachelor. I may actually try joining him even though it goes to 6700 feet – and just turn back early if I need to. It’s “only” another 10 miles or so from where Joe and I turned around.

Sunriver 50

Ruben and I woke up at 8, found the “50% chance of showers” wasn’t, and hopped on our bikes. From Sunriver, we went west out route 40, down forest route 4270, then back on route 42 (data)

This was a gorgeous ride. The first part was a pretty low grade constant climb to close to 5000 feet (from 4100). Then we had this beautiful downhill to the Crane Prairie Reservoir. We were lucky our route didn’t take us past 4270 – route 40 just to the west of there was a forest fire.

My leg was much better (like at 85-90%) and we were able to average 15.4 mph. There were *no* services – it was one of the few rides where I just wasn’t going to be able to stop at a store for food or water. The forest was my friend a couple of times too. I even asked Ruben if we saw a bear or coyote would we be able to outrun them, he said yes. (We did see some kind of large animal scat by the side of the road, so they were definitely out there).

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.

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).

RAMROD Training Ride #1

RAMROD No1Today was the first of the RAMROD training ride series and given the gorgeous weather the turnout was large. There were around 80+ people doing the ride to day. Which started from Ron Regis Park, cut through Renton to the Green River Trail, headed south to Auburn, looped back through Maple Valley, and went straight back to Renton. The ride had 1000 feet of elevation gain and was just a great warm up ride.

The bike felt great and the tailwinds on some sections of the road made the trip really fast. Despite training through the winter some of the hills were steeper then I had trained for, as with every climb uphill you get a nice downhill too. The group was nice and social and its interesting to hear why various people are riding this particular series. I was explaining to my son that the reason this crowd is interesting to bike with is that they were mostly interested in competing with themselves as opposed to each other. All in all it was a great start to the hills part of the training series.

Obligatory Stats: