Bandits on Chilly Hilly!

Chilly Hilly 2008My pal Nick Craswell was in town, which means he was up for another attempt for me to prematurely end his life by doing something “fun.” Last year about this time, he went with me on Chilly Hilly while I trailed Laura. This time around, he opted to take my Bianchi Veloce that I use for commuting (and trailing) and I hopped on the Trek 5900 race bike, as Laura would be unable to join us this year due to a birthday party. Now, for those thinking I just set Nick up because I gave him a heavier bike, you’re sort of right. However, the lighter bike doesn’t have a granny gear like the Bianchi, and has a maximum rear gear of 27, as opposed to the 25 on the race bike.

We decided to bike down from my place after MK got back from church, meaning we started out about 10 AM for the 11:25 ferry. For some reason, I thought that “Course open until 3 PM” meant they’d have day-of registration until noon… silly me. We got down there about 11 AM, couldn’t find anyone, so paid our way on the ferry and started off with about 15 other random riders.

This turned out to be a brilliant idea, as the course was generally unoccupied, allowing us to wind our way up some of the bigger climbs and letting us bomb down the big down & ups. Also, the fog and clouds parted for a beautifully sunny day for the last half of the ride. We also didn’t feel terribly guilty at the VFW hot cider rest stop as they were pushing the late-comers like us to eat everything left over lest it go to waste.

Last year, it was a typically cold and rainy Chilly Hilly, so Nick and I bailed at the VFW and headed straight home. This time around, we decided to go up the extra big hill – Anderson! This must have been my first time up it, as I don’t recall it being that bad. Ah well. I got up it pretty well, Nick was dying. Here he is near the top:


Sadly, the decent down isn’t nearly as rewarding, as it curves a bit and ends at a T, forcing the use of brakes. Bah! Anyway, we trucked around the south end of Bainbridge, and then grumbled up the final sets of hills to the finish. Why do we keep forgetting about those final hills? Ah well, Nick kept his composure… here he is cresting one of them:


We decided to skip the finish chili and just head straight home as we were spent… plus all that was left were the dregs. We realized at this point that biking down was foolish given we had to bike back. It took us about an hour for what really should be 30 minutes… yeah we were tired! But all in all, a good day. We ended up totaling 50 miles and for me a bit over 3500 calories burned, so a full pound! The beers at the finish were also quite tasty!

Hills of NE Seattle

Hills of NE Seattle MBThank you Anthony for the ride suggestion.

This was tiring but high value in that it got my legs to do strenuous hills over very short distance. The best part is I now have no more fear of climbing 65th or 70th in my bike in either direction as I have now done them several times over a single ride and even on my double (although I kept thinking a triple might make it little nicer 😉

A “150 mile” “weekend”

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

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

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

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

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

I arrived home sweaty, exhausted, and cursing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now adding to my first aid kit

Sting relief stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seattle to Camano Island (And one stupid move)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday and Today

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

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

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

Two Good Rides

Lauren and Elias’ rideI rode this morning with Elias on the Tandem – he did 8 miles! And I was able to navigate hills with him on there. I can definitely tell when he helps and when he just spins his legs (Anthony can vouch for this with Emma too)

Then when Ruben and Greg came home, Elizabeth, Erik and I did a quickie to Redmond and back. I saw Anthony up in Bothell zooming the other direction.

Twilight RideThe Garmin said 14.3 moving average for 42.3 miles, but I know we were really booking it in some places. Erik split off for dinner at the RedHook Brewery, Elizabeth and I continued until I split off at 100th (should have been 97th, I jumped the gun).

Depending on weather conditions I might try for a short ride in the morning or just hitting the trainer. The day starts out with a 30% chance of showers and gets worse as the day progresses.


Sunday Solo

Ruben Ride 2007-06-10The ride to today was Seattle to Snohomish and then up the Interuban to Arlignton. Despite the forecast for 30% rains, know was to be found and we had a slow ride out with some great pie in Snohomish. That said my ride back was a little more stressful as it was 2pm and I was 50 miles away and had to be home by 5pm (I got home by 5:30) the second part of the trips is noted by the higher heart rate. That said it was lovely day to ride as I could do it with just lycra and a short sleeve, and figured out how to attach my jacket to my bike using the velco and turning the thing inside out. (I have only had it for 2-3 year, and wondered what the velcro was for…duh).

Another Sunday Trip Report

cts-june-03Had a really strong biking day today and a “lucky I live in a good place” moment. Headed off to Renton to go do the Cascade Bicycle Ride (advertised as “Very Hilly”) down to Black Diamond and then back and over I-90 to head back to Renton for an 80 mile ride. I drove down and arrived within 15 minutes of the start so I was worried I would miss the start. (I thought I forgot something, and I did but that would not be revealed until later…..)

I hurriedly parked, got my stuff together and headed off underneath the 405 to find 4 huge groups of riders out biking on a sunny Sunday morning. They grouped the people into 4 speed groups 18+, 16-18, 14-16 and 14 and under. Not knowing where I would fit in, I selected the 16-18 group and took off down at the start. Having never done that road before, the ride was gorgeous and it’s really amazing how fast Seattle turns rural the second you get a few miles east of 405.

After biking with the group for a bit, I realized that when they said 16-18 they _meant_ the base was 16-18 regardless of uphill or downhill, realizing that I was just pedaling in the back of the crowd, I got my cue sheet and decided to bike on ahead so that I could at least train a little harder. (I did fall off the bike at one intersection because my left pedal refused to un-clip, but fortunately that occurred while I was just stopping. *sigh*). I took off solo and had a great time biking at the pace my legs wanted to go. The ride was gorgeous and there were relatively few cars and just a joy to be riding. When I got to the rest-stop in Ravensdale, I realized that A) Erik was in the middle of the race I just had gotten to and B) I had just caught up with the 18+ mile/hour group. (They had just finished a 10 minute break, and I was able to down some food, and take off when they did).

The ride bike via May Road was a bit car-filled, but the group formed into some pace lines and we were flying down the road. The pace was great, and 2 times on the ride home I pulled the pace line at 21-24 miles for a 2-3 mile stretch (and then fell back to the end of the line exhausted, that said the group complimented me). We ended up shaving 10 miles off the route by not riding around Mercer (because of some other event conflict).

By the time I got back to the car, I realized what I had forgotten, I had left the sliding door of the mini-van open for the entire morning. After taking a quick peek at the contents of the vehicle (everything was still there), I realized that I was glad that nobody had thought to do some car prowling on a Sunday morning in Renton.

Anyway, the ride was great. I love my skinny go fast bike and I definitely need to take a nap.

Total Ride: 70 miles, 18 MPH Average, 3:50 hours riding time (4:20 total)

Obligatory trip data: There is an anomaly in the data in that it is only good for the first 70 miles. the last data point by the house was triggered accidently and I didn’t bother to delete it.

Snohomish Ride

Snohomish MotionBasedA wonderful day that started at 8:30 with me trying to ride from our house to Anthony’s without going uphill. I miscalculated and added elevation.

Still a great ride. Anthony and I made it to the cut off (to the trail that goes by the UW Bothell Campus) in under an hour, James showed up shortly there after. We only had one or two missed turns, up through to the Lowell Larimer road, but all in all made it to Snohomish and Pie in about 2hr 45 minutes ride time (just before noon with stops). The weather and view was gorgeous.

In Snohomish we had great sandwiches and pie behind the building in a Gazebo. Apparently we had arrived right in time – when we went back there were about 10 bikes parked out front. James and I eyed a couple of the recumbent bikes and soft-rides (including one lemon yellow one with a Sponge Bob Squarepants attached to it). When we went inside, I saw someone I knew (as will other people on this list from UW CSE department) – Richard Rodgers (and his new wife). Turns out Richard has the nifty red recumbent I was eying.

We rode back via Broadway hill (and Richard’s group passed us going up). But they stopped about halfway up and we just kept going. They didn’t pass us again 🙂 Oh and I got to see a field of Irises in full bloom – what a treat!

On one of our almost missed turns James found our new Mascot: Maltby the Rescued Sea Otter (I’ve CC’d my sister here – who wants to start an Otter Rescue in the Pacific Northwest). Guess where we found him. Anyway, poor dirty Maltby road on my Voide Pack the rest of back, apparently flapping in the breeze.

Then Anthony and I got a crazy idea: let’s do 100 miles. So we followed James to his break off point (near Marymoor). After some discussion we went down East Lake Sammamish Pkwy through Issaquah and back around the lake.

Totals: My GPS says 103.55 miles, 7:37 road time, 10:24 total time.

Oh and 13 road kills (although we’re not quite sure if we should count the dead catfish on the trail near Newport). Four of the road kills were spotting in a 1 block stretch on Seattle Hill Road (Yes Jacki – I passed your work).

Two things I was personally proud of on this ride (other than being in the saddle for that long:

  • In comparison to doing the Lowell Snohomish road last year where I was just WIPED at 14. or so MPH unless I was drafting Megan, I was able to sustain 17-19 mph unaided on the new bike with the aerobars.
  • I was able to take the Broadway hill faster (note not FAST, just faster) than last time. It didn’t hurt as much either.

So is it the new lighter bike or is it the legs that are a bit better at climbing hills. Who knows.

Respectfully submitted,