Are You the One…..

I had a quick conversation with a guy today in our parking garage while I was loading my panniers on the bike for the commute home.  He looked at me kinda strangely and said, “Are you the one…”

Well, I gotta tell you, that is not a phrase I like to hear!  Rarely does it come out well!  My mom once asked “Are you the one who rolled Annie (my kid sis) into the hallway and closed the door?”  (Well yeah, I did, she kept knocking over my blocks!)

In elementary school, for weeks I’d hear “Are you the guy who smelled so bad the principal had to drive you home?”  Yeah that was me too.

However, this wasn’t my fault!  Our dog, Princess, chased a skunk under the house over night.  Well, being a skunk, it did what skunks do!  Being under the house, it wafted up into the house, covering EVERYTHING, including us.  It happened when we were asleep though, so we smelled nothing (having gotten used to it in our sleep.)  So off to school I went!  Everyone moved their desk as far as possible from me!  I still didn’t smell anything!

Mr. North, my principal called home and told my mom “Tony is a little ‘strong’ today…”  She thought I was in a fight.  Poor guy ended up driving me home in his VW Bug with ALL the windows open…

All through Jr High and High School, “Are you the one who aced the test and messed up the curve???”  Yep, the acing the test was good!  The class being mad at me, was not!

Also in Jr High and High School, “Are you the guy who lost a fight  to <insert name here>”  OK I didn’t get into a lot of fights, but I didn’t win any of the ones I was in!  I didn’t look for them, but I wasn’t smart enough to back down either.

One such event, I was getting on the bus to go to school, and I thought my buddy Eddie was behind me and was pushing me.  I pushed back, without looking first, and yelled “Back off son!”  I turned around to see it was the biggest meanest guy on the bus (can’t remember his name) and to add to it he was African-American and was convinced I said boy instead of son.  (Now I promise you, I did not, but there was no convincing the man!)

Yep, he wanted to fight right when we got to school, but I didn’t want to get expelled, so, like a damn fool, I showed up after school to fight a guy 6 inches taller and 50 lbs heavier. I lost.  I did get one good punch, but that was it.  I snuck in my bedroom window when I got home to clean off some blood before Mom saw me.  She noticed anyway.

There are many MANY more stories I am sure.  And I know my friends from College or at work would be able to add to this….

Sooo, given all this, when the conversation started this way I thought, “Holy crap what did I do now?  I just started a month ago!”  But he was asking if I was the one who was logging the most miles for our bicycle commuter challenge?  What?  HUH?  HEY that is a good thing!!

“Well YES I AM!” I said proudly!  “Good job!  I am a couple of others are joining because of you!”

Well shoot!  Maybe being “the one” isn’t always so bad!

 

Wedgwood’s Trailmakers: the Burke-Gilman Trail

I ride this trail multiple times a week, it starts or ends Many of my routes, but until now, I did not know how it came to be!

Wedgwood in Seattle History

One of Wedgwood’s proudest claims-to-fame is as the birthplace of the Burke-Gilman Trail which officially opened in 1978.  This wonderful urban amenity links northeast Seattle neighborhoods with nature.  As a transportation resource the Trail helps to reduce car traffic by making it possible for people to walk or bike to work.  On the level of health and enjoyment of the outdoors, the availability of a walking trail in a beautiful natural setting is one of the treasures of northeast Seattle.  The Trail, which is now for walking and biking, began as a railroad route back in the 1880s when Seattle was desperate for rail transportation of merchandise and raw materials.

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Through Wind and Rain and Weather….

OK I want to start this by first apologizing for being whiney yesterday.  My wife and I have a saying “Suck it up buttercup!” and that’s what y’all shoulda been saying to me!

I also want to thank whichever of y’all did the sun dance for me!  Cuz around 1030, I saw sunshine!  by 10:45 I was on the road!

By 11:05 I was being rained on again!!  BUT, like I said, I hate leaving the house and taking off in the rain, but once I am on the road, I do not turn around because of rain.

I decide to head south along the Lake Washington Loop, go for 26 miles or so, then turn around and come back.  The route takes you through the Arboretum along Lake Washington Blvd.  An 8 mile road where bikes have the right-of-way!  It also has views like this

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Do you see the clouds?  YEP, full of rain, I got soaked not once by twice!  However, after getting south of here, the rain stopped, and we even had Sunbreaks.  (I am not sure if the rest of the world has these, for us in the Northwest it means brief periods of time where the clouds part and sun shines.  Anywhere from 30 seconds to 15 minutes or so….)  I was able to dry out.

When i got to Renton, I noticed a sign I hadn’t seen before indicating a bike route.  I thought to myself “What the hell!” and took it.  It took me along Renton airport where they build Boeing 737s.

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Very rarely, in this day and age, to we get so close to a runway!  How close you ask?  Well let this sign explain it.

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Have you ever noticed that sometimes the things you most need on a bike show up at the right times?  It could be a bike shop, or min mart, a sign telling you where to go, or a burger joint when you are starving or one of these (and it had GREAT timing!)

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Well I decided to keep traveling along this route as it was trending north, and as long as I knew where the lake was, I had an idea where I was.  Next thing I knew, I was at the location of Seahawk Training Camp!  I will be doing this route again during preseason I tell ya!

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I kept following the Lake Washington Loop signs north.  Soon I was traveling along the old Dinner Train route that used to run from Renton to Woodinville.

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These tracks are not in use anymore, and there is talk of making them into a bike trail, just as they did when they built the Burke Gilman Trail.  I love the Rails to Trails plans!   We have the Iron horse Trail that leads over Snoqualmie Pass, and another one on this side of the lake would be killer!

Sorry I digressed.  I continued along, next thing I knew, I was in a town called Kirkland, and there were no more signs!  OK, I know the north and south ends really well, and I know downtown Seattle.  However, I know squat about the east side!  I do have a couple of rules that have saved me when lost before.

First, when in doubt, just go in the direction you need to go!  I needed to go north, so north it was!  Every now and then I saw  I405, so I was able to keep my bearings.  Sooner or later I would find somewhere I knew.

Second, if there is an established bike lane, follow it!  I have found, at least here in WA, that following the lanes, while traveling the direction you need to go, will get you somewhere at least close  to where you want to be!  It may not be the shortest route, but more than once I have kept the route I discovered as a training ride.  I have a 25 and a 40 miler I found doing just this.

To Quote Hannibal (George Peppard) from the 80s show “The A-Team” . I love it when a plan comes together!   I was in some place called Juanita, and found Juanita-Woodinville road!  I know Woodinville, I ride my bike and wine taste there regularly.  I took a hard right.

I was just about to wonder if I was mistaken when  metro bus, on its way to Bothell (You have to go through Woodinville to get to Bothell), passed me and hung a left.  “HA!!” I was back on track, and sure as spit, I went down a long hill and ended up right at my normal bike path!  Could NOT have mapped it any better.  I was even close enough to swing by the Willows and pick up a windbreaker I had left there the night before!

I was flying at 16 mph along the trail heading for my car!  (Since it was a new route and a late start, I parked the car at the bottom of the hill to give myself a break at the end and get me home faster.)  I decided the whole time I was going to stop at Starbucks for a chocolate chip cookie!  I deserved it.  Suddenly on the side of the trail was a bake sale!  Oh Hell YEAH!  Turns out it was three kids doing a bake sale for cancer.  No cookies, but they had cupcakes and lemonade for a dollar!  SOLD!  (they also had rice crispie treats but I hates those!)  By the way, I still got my cookie on the way home!

Final mile total was 58 miles.  In 4.5 hours.  With time to stop for pics and a bit of route finding.  Legs felt strong at the end, and I had more miles in me if I needed them!  Tha’s key as next week is my first century of the year, and it’s not an easy one!  Plus I just feel better getting some decent miles under my butt for the first time in a while!   Tomorrow morning is supposed to suck, but I should be able to bike commute home!

Hopefully it will be nice or I will be singing Rawhide again ‘Through Wind and Rain and Weather, hell-bent for leather…..”

 

Yep, its Official, I am Tired of the Rain this Year!

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This is me, early in March, on the McClinchy mile, ready for the rain that was going to hit.  In March it’s ok, around here it is supposed to rain then!

It’s now darn near May, and even though my Northwest Action Figure brain is telling me, “You know damn well you can count on rain until July”  My cycler brain looked outside at 630, on a day I was hoping to get an early start, crank out 70 miles, then get the last of the weekend chores done, and saw it was pouring.  An F-bomb was heard echoing through my head!

In the winter time, I resign myself to riding in the shed when its raining,  SInce the only ride I have early in the year is 33 miles, that is enough training.  Shoot I can do that in my sleep.

Now however, it’s not an option.  I have 2 century rides in the next 3 weekends.  Granted, I have had my bike commuting this last week.  So at least I have saddle time.  But I can’t remember my last ride over 20 miles, let alone 50-70.

I was patting myself on the back yesterday!  Working at the winery, I looked outside and it was raining and had been for hours! Since I had debated on which day to work and which to ride, I was quite proud of myself!  It will get all the rain out of its system and be rarin to go in the morning!

Hence the early morning F-bomb!  I love the Northwest, and wouldn’t change where I lived.  I am also fine if I am on a ride and the rain starts.  “Oh well, I am already out hear, and I am going to get wet whether I turn around or not, so lets finish!”  Leaving a nice warm house with a gorgeous wife when it’s already raining…..  That’s hard!

It appears, though, that the rain is only here for the morning, and is supposed to clear this afternoon.  So OK, plan B.  First I blog and tell the world I am grouchy! (check) Then I check out my hot wife again (Double checked!) Now that those are done, time to get the chores I was going to do after the ride done now!

  • fold laundry
  • bake chicken for lunches
  • make salad to eat with my chicken
  • check out wife again

Then, hopefully, tomorrow’s post will have me smiling and happy after at least 50 miles!

If anyone knows a sundance (or even a cloudy but dry one) feel free to do so for me!

Did I mention I am tired of the rain??

My World According to Bon Jovi

For those who know my iPod and my musical taste, I never really got out of the 80’s.  It was a good decade, Loverboy, Van Halen, Journey, Twisted Sister, 38 Special, Huey Lewis and the New, and yes Bon Jovi

There are a few lyrics of his that not only can make me pedal faster, but will make you sit and think.  And today I thought I’d share some of these.

It’s My Life

It’s my life 
It’s now or never 
I ain’t gonna live forever 
I just want to live while I’m alive 
(It’s my life) 
My heart is like an open highway 
Like Frankie said 
I did it my way 
I just wanna live while I’m alive 
It’s my life

A lot of what I have done is because I do want live while I’m alive.  I see so many people, who will “someday” do something, or “next week” I’ll start getting in shape, or “I always wanted” try that.  And as time goes by the dreams are either forgotten, or the body fails, or the person gives up.  I never made it to the top of Rainier, but I damn sure know I tried!    Same song

Better stand tall when they’re calling you out 
Don’t bend, don’t break, baby, don’t back down 

Every ride, hike, climb, river raft, even a 5 K walk I do my best and leave it out there.  I train hard, and do so to allow me to enjoy and completel activities that some people call adventures.

Wanted Dead of Alive

I walk these streets, a loaded six string on my back
I play for keeps, ’cause I might not make it back
I been everywhere, and I’m standing tall
I’ve seen a million faces an I’ve rocked them all

Now I can’t play a lick!  My oldest son laughs at me when I even hold his guitar.  However,  again, I do play for keeps.  I have crossed the finish line with NUTHIN left in the tank.  I have hiked in the worst weather possible (geared for it, but sometimes dicey).  I know when I am approaching my limits, when I am at them, and when to go beyond them.  If you aren’t going to give it your all, why go?

Blaze of Glory

Each night I go to bed 
I pray the Lord my soul to keep 
No I ain’t looking for forgiveness 
But before I’m six foot deep 
Lord,I got to ask a favor 
And I’ll hope you’ll understand 
‘Cause I’ve lived life to the fullest 
Let the boy die like a man 
Staring down the bullet 
Let me make my final stand

Let me make this perfectly clear (mainly cuz mom reads my blog) I do NOT have a death wish.  I have a wife I love and 2 kids who need me and a mom who will kick my ass if I die.  THAT being said, if I had to pick between getting fat and having a heart attack, or falling off a mountain, I take the mountain any day!  Biting it in a car crash heading for work or on the back of a bike, I pick the bike!  I want to be enjoying myself somehow when it happens!  It can happen any time anywhere, I’d just prefer to have a great story.

Have a Nice Day

Why, you wanna tell me how to live my life?
Who, are you to tell me if it’s black or white?
Mama, can you hear me? Try to understand.
Is innocence the difference between a boy and a man?
My daddy lived the lie, that’s just the price that he paid
Sacrificed his life, just slavin’ away.

Ohhh, if there’s one thing I hang onto,
That gets me through the night.
I ain’t gonna do what I don’t want to,
I’m gonna live my life.
Shining like a diamond, rolling with the dice,
Standing on the ledge, I show the wind how to fly.
When the world gets in my face,
I say, Have A Nice Day.
Have A Nice Day

There are SO many people at office think I am nuts.  I have

Have a Nice Day (Bon Jovi song)
Have a Nice Day (Bon Jovi song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facebook friends who will never understand me.  Luckily I have a wife who does understand and is behind me completely! I look for tougher things every year.  I don’t want to feel old, so I work my ass off to make sure I am not!  Someday, the body will give out, but damn it will have done a lot before it does!

And Finally:

Livin on a Prayer

Whooah, we’re half way there 
Livin’ on a prayer

Every stinkin big ride I do, without fail, when the odometer kicks over the halfway point I sing this, either in my head or bellowing out loud (depending on my energy level!) its a classic.

Now i am not saying Bon Jovi started me on my adventures, but I gotta tell ya, when it’s been a long work week, and my brain is mush, being able to crank them on the iPod gets me through to my next ride!

It’s my life 
It’s now or never 
I ain’t gonna live forever 
I just want to live while I’m alive 

Go Big or Go Home

I know my wife will not be happy with me for saying this, but lately I have been unhappy with my performance on the bike.

 

Between the weather, schedules, bike in the shop and work in general, I honestly can’t remember my last long ride.  Now, this week, counting my ride on the rollers Sunday night, I rode hard 4 days in a row.  Wednesday I rode hard twice. (round trip to work and home)  But the rides are only 17 miles, and even though there are some good hills, and I was keeping the average speed up, I need longer rides.

 

Well, thanks to the encouragement of my wife (she is a great coach!) I am taking steps to rectify this,  I signed up for Phil’s Bicycle Shop’s Mayday Classic today!  104 miles from Federal Way to Carbonado and back!  The FAQ’s say this:

 

This is not an easy ride but it is far from the most difficult in the region. Hills can be categorized as rolling, small, moderate, and “character building.” All four types will be encountered on all three routes; we don’t even have a count on the first three types but as for the fourth; if you choose the 50 mile route you will have two “character builders,” on the 72 mile route there are three, and on the 104 mile route there are five. The 50 mile route has a cumulative vertical gain (and descent) of 1,200 feet; the 72 mile route has 2,200 feet, and the 104 mile route 4,215.

 

I should mention that Federal Way is near Puget Sound, and part of the ride will be at sea level in the tide flats, and Carbonado is a few miles outside Mt. Rainier National Park.  NOW we are talkin!  This is the perfect training ride to help me get ready for the Crater Lake Century, and a great way to start out May (cuz my April mileage total is going to suck!)

 

I also learned about Phil’s Hill today, again from the FAQs:

 

What Is “Phil’s Hill”?
Ahhh yes, a May Day Classic and a “Character Builder” all in one! Phil’s Hill is a lovely little {yet feels big} secret one way road with super sweet new pavement {58th Pl S.} that comes UP from the Algona Pacific area to the heights of Military Road and 5 Mile Lake {approx elev at the top a whopping 465 ft}. It is a .7 mile climb with a vertical gain of 385 feet and an average grade of 7 .7 degrees. Some also call it “Little Italy” because the narrow winding road may remind one of the Pyrenees and its spectacular scenery. The reason this little hill gets your attention is you have been pedaling the flats of the valley for the past 20 miles and you are only nine miles from the finish; then you round the corner and Uppy Uppy…Go! Go! Go! All routes go this way, enjoy your stay.

 

I’ve always said I was a good hill climber!  So its time to put my money where my mouth is!  Best part about the ride?  It’s fully supported and only costs $20 to register!  I’ve always wanted to do this ride, and it just hasn’t worked out.  This year, the love of my life is making sure it does!

 

So, May looks like this:

 

  • Mayday Classic Century the first weekend of the month
  • Walla Walla Wine tasting the second weekend of the month
  • Reach the Beach Century the third weekend
  • All month is Bike Commute month in Washington, and I am on my team at work

 

Add it all together, and there should be some pretty damn good miles (and Wine!) next month.  I will hopefully make up for the lack there of this month.

 

Thanks babe for telling me to “Just do it!”  Love you!

 

English: A photo of Mount Rainier taken from P...
English: A photo of Mount Rainier taken from Paradise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)