The Challenge for the Rest of the Year.

It happens every year.  Sometimes as early as July, and other times not until September.  But yet yep, each and every year it happens.  Whatever goal (or in the case of this year) goals I set for myself have come and gone.  It’s time to look back and see how I did! Continue reading “The Challenge for the Rest of the Year.”

A Good Cycling Day

Today was a good day to be on two wheels.  Don’t get me wrong, any day riding outside beast working out in the gym, riding the bike in the shed or being stuck in a car during rush hour.  Not all days are the same though.

There are some days where you just don’t have the eye of the tiger going.  Riding the bike seems more like exercise than enjoyment on these days.  The uphills feel steeper, head winds stronger, and even the downhill portions don’t seem as fast.  Many times there is no rhyme or reason for this kind of ride, it is just one that has to be endured. Continue reading “A Good Cycling Day”

Those Damn Cyclists!

I have this friend at work, Jill.  Cute as a button, but she and I disagree on two very important things.  First she is a diehard UW Husky fan.  That in itself is just wrong.  You’d think someone as smart as she is would know better and would route for a real team, the WSU COUGS!  But try as I might, she just won’t come over from the dark side…

The other area we will never agree on is cyclists.  She dislikes them from the bottom of her heart.  She does not believe they belong on the road, and anytime a car lane is given up to make bike lanes (which, as I remind her, gets us out of her way) she gets mad all over again. She likes me as a person and co-worker, but tells me often she is glad my bike commute does NOT get in her way.

So, imagine my surprise when I found myself sounding just like her today… Continue reading “Those Damn Cyclists!”

My Good Deed for the Week

You know, I can commute home for weeks, taking the same route, and nothing overly memorable or different happens.  I’m OK with that.  When I bike commute, I am honestly trying to get home to my wife as soon as possible, while getting my exercise at the same time!  Non-memorable means nothing goes wrong 🙂

But then there is a commute like todays.  Nothing bad happened at all!  My legs were tired as I haven’t completely recovered from the Crater Lake Century, but it didn’t affect me too much.   Even so,  it will be a commute I remember for quite a while!  Continue reading “My Good Deed for the Week”

Racking Up the Miles: May 2013

If you read the end of April post when I tallied the miles, you could tell I was less than pleased with my total.  I just figured there should have been more!

Well, I am here to tell you that I made up for those short comings and then some in May!

This was my first month ever in which I had century rides.  I did the May Day Metric the first weekend of the month, and then the Reach the Beach Century later.  It was also bike to work Month in Seattle, at 17 miles one way, I earned over 250 miles!  This biking home thing makes working out MUCH more convenient!  Then there were a few other rides just for fun during the month.

Lately, however,  I had been noticing my legs had been feeling worn out, and I wasn’t sure why.  Well I am now! Adding up the miles, I ended May with 514 miles!  This is a personal record for me!

It’s been a strange month of riding.  I’ve gotten sunburned, waterlogged and ended up half-frozen.  I’ve ridden to the biggest mountain in Washington State, and to the Pacific Ocean.  I’ve had to avoid mudslides due to heavy rain, and just today, I experienced a bicycle grid lock on the Burke Gilman.

I also noticed this for the first time during my commutes:

image

image

 

Not sure why this  is hanging on the wall, but I love it as a decoration!

Today was also a noteworthy day!  On the way home I saw this:

image

 

Not easy to read, but it says 12000!  That is very close to 2 round trip runs from Seattle Wa to Boston Ma!  I was very excited to see that!  Not bad when I just started riding in 2008.  I know there are people  who do a helluva lot more, but I am very pleased with this!

I will NOT have as many miles in June!

  1. My body needs a rest, so I have declared the first weekend a non bike weekend.  I am taking it easy
  2. I only have one Century ride instead of 2 (unless I sign up for another….)
  3. It’s not bike to work month any more.  I’ll still do it because it is fun, but maybe not as much

All in all I am very happy with the results this month.  I’ve biked hard, seen a lot scenery, and enjoyed the hell out it!

And the year isn’t half over yet!!!

 

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

image

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

image

 

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!)

image

 

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!

image

 

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.

image

 

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…..”

 

Little Kids and Tiny Dogs! A Sure Sign of Spring!

Well ladies and gentlemen, we are hours into the start of spring.  I don’t know what that means where you live, but here in the greater Seattle area, there is actually the possibility of snow flurries!  I am not sure who is in charge of the groundhog this year, but I think it’s time to stop listening to Punxsutawney Phil!

However, even though it does NOT feel like it now, better weather is on the horizon!  Longer days, warmer weather, and riding like the wind after work on the Burke Gilman! (my closest bike trail and the location of most of my after work speed rides)

Burke-Gilman Trail, Seattle, Washington.
Burke-Gilman Trail, Seattle, Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This also means the return of two of the most hazardous things on the trail:  tiny dogs on retractable leashes and little kids just learning to ride a bike!

I am going to start with the kids.  There is something in the brains of little kids.  I am not sure if it is a small piece of metal that reacts to the magnetic pull of the earth, maybe one side of their body is heavier than the other, maybe they see things we don’t (SQUIRREL!) or, being smaller, they are more influenced by wind shear.  Whatever the reason, little kids have this annoying habit of hanging a sharp left ACROSS the bike path, right in front of adult riders!

I am not exaggerating here.  More than once I have seen these kids from a distance, either coming toward me or I am overtaking them.  They do a great job, straight as an arrow, loving every minute of it, and just as I get close, they do a hard left DIRECTLY in front of me!  Good thing I have catlike reflexes!  (No not this cat…..)

image

Now you might think I would get mad at this, and lord knows I have seen many a rider yell and get pissed!  However, when it comes to little kids I have a different perspective.  I was a little one once (loonnnnnng ago) and I remember some of the near misses I had.  I also remember how much I loved riding my bike. I am not going to ruin that by getting mad at a kidlet who honestly doesn’t know any better.  Someday, they could be just like me, riding as much as possible, blogging about it, and seeing as much of the world as possible from the back of two wheels.  Plus, with all the problems with overweight kids, seeing little ones out on a bike is a good thing.

This means that I feel it is my job to slow down and be ready to stop if needed when approaching the kids.  I honestly believe they can’t help themselves, which means I have much more control.  Average speed is NOT as important as safe kids!  I also try to always compliment them as I pass.  More than once I’ve heard something like “Mom!  That big bike rider said I had a cool bike!  Mom!”  The more of us that grow up riding the better!

But then, there are tiny dogs…..

First off, my apologies to anyone with a tiny dog.  I have never been a fan of them, but some are cute.  I don’t dislike dogs at all, I blame the owners.  For the record,  MOST owners do not fit in the description I am going to give here.

For some reason, on the BG, we are infested with ladies (on my trail it is ladies, but I am betting there are guys out there somewhere too) who smoke on the trail (HATE passing through a cloud of smoke when ride) while talking loudly on their cell phones (She said, then he said then I said….) while their dog, on the retractable leash is on the other side of the trail!  Yes, Virginia, they really DO think they OWN the trail!

Aside:  Can someone explain the logic behind working out (walking, riding, hiking) while smoking?  I HATE second hand smoke!

I of course give notice I am coming up to them, and I am polite (I’m on the bike so I am usually in a good mood).  More than once I have been snarled or yelled at, “HEY this is a person and dog trail too!”  (ok, that is paraphrased as there is normally an f bomb in the snarl)  To which I reply, “Move the damn dog before I run it over!”   This is all occurring as I have to slow down to avoid a very rude and selfish person.

Aside #2:  I Really don’t want to hurt the pup, and that my concern.  I little yapper dog is toast if it gets wrapped up in my wheel!

This NEVER happens with big dogs, or even medium-sized ones, and I swear it’s always the combination of smokers, phoners and tiny dog!  With the retractable leashes, they let the dog out 20 feet away, it is pulling and straining at the collar, taking over the whole trail, and the owner doesn’t understand why I get mad!  I bet they are the ones that don’t pick up after the dogs either!

I love spring time rides, and I would take 3 kids learning to ride for every inconsiderate tiny dog owner we ban from the trail!  Barring that, maybe I can install a cattle catcher like they had in front of the steam locomotives!  OR shears to cut the leashes…..  Hmmmm

Have a great first day of Spring!

11000!

You know, day-to-day, ride to ride, it’s the little things that matter. We all know that nothing is perfect all the time! I am willing to admit that some of my posts might not be as exciting or as fun as others (OK, they one or two might even be kinda boring!) That movie you have REALLY wanted to see, may not be that great. That meal you decided to splurge on, not that yummy. And not all rides are those memorable experiences we all hope for.

This being said, I like to share when I feel I have done something noteworthy. Tonight was one of those nights.

3/13/13
3/13/13

Yep, tonight the odometer on the bike hit 11000 miles!  Now I really wish I could say I hit this mark while touring the Oregon Coast, or crossing the finish line of a double century.  Hell, I wish I could say I was outside in he fresh air riding anywhere.

Nope, it was raining, already dark, and I was watching Prince Joffrey get hit with horse crap as he made his way back to the castle (Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 6, while riding my Cycle-ops rollers)

Now I knew I was only 7 miles from 11k, and I considered skipping my rides till this weekend.  But that would have been forcing it. Trying to make something special happen, that is not my way.   I hit the milestones when and where they happen!  I hit 9800 while on the STP last year, 10K was during a quick 20 mile run on the Burke Gilman Trail.  It is no less exciting!  I look around and I can count, probably on one hand, the people I know who have ridden this far or farther.

I honestly can not tell you any of the stories for 1000-9000.  No idea where I was when I hit those.  BUT, I can, and WILL share the overall stories of my journeys getting to where I am today.

Theres been wind, rain, snow, ice, sunburns, epic crashes, WAY too many flats, slow up hills and tear inducing downhills, rookie mistakes, and epic (at least to me) endeavors.  I have pedaled each and every mile that is on that bike, and I have at least as many left in me!

I hope Pope Francis will forgive me for stealing some of his thunder today, but I do want to thank all of you who read this for sharing it with me!