RSVP Day 2

There is a question amongst those of us who have ridden the Seattle to Portland.  Is it easier to ride 200 miles in one long day, or to ride 100 miles the first day, then get up and do it again the next?

I have only done back to back rides like that twice in my career. The first was my first STP back in 208, the 2nd was the first RSVP in 2009. This last Saturday would be my third…. Continue reading “RSVP Day 2”

Get a bike and join us!

Well, folks, yesterday was the 4th big ride of the month, The Flying Wheels Summer Century.  Of all of them, it was the one I was least excited about.  I do it every year since its close and a good training ride, but the past years have not been a lot of fun due to weather, cars and other cyclists.  So I got up and resigned myself for a 100 mile workout.  I was hoping not to be grouchy at the end.

Maybe it’s because of my low expectations for the day, or the cycle gods were on my side, but I was pleasantly surprised how it turned out! Continue reading “Get a bike and join us!”

I don’t like it, reverse it!

To those who know me in real live life, I know this admission will be a shocker.  But yes, I am a creature of habit.  I may have mentioned this in previous posts, but I have oatmeal for breakfast each day, in the same chair in the cafeteria.  A hard-boiled egg at 9 to hold me over till my salad at 11, then a walk at lunch. Some might consider this boring, while I consider it efficient!

This can be said, in some ways, about my riding as well.  There are just some rides I do every year.  The Chilly Hilly in February, the McClinchy mile in March, and, like this last weekend, The May Day Classic, in well, May.  I knows what I likes, so I keep doing it.

However, this year I finally figured out why I always feel a little ‘off’ at the end.

Continue reading “I don’t like it, reverse it!”

Lord things are gonna start getting busy

It makes me laugh to title this post this way.  Why?  Cuz I have to tell you, for the last month and a half at work I have been busier than, as my dad would say, a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest! Between teaching in Spokane and two projects that are due at the same time, it has been non-stop.

Then at home, Michelle and I have been helping out her mom, (mostly her but I help!) Working in the garden (mostly her but I help) and both of us have been working out a lot!  She now has three half marathons to do this year, and I of course have the RAMROD.

May, however, will be even worse! I mean BETTER!!

Continue reading “Lord things are gonna start getting busy”

Been there, done that, bought the tshirt

Well folks, the big ride for 2014 has come and gone!  Yesterday I completed the Seattle to Portland in one day.  Officially it is 204 miles , but my odometer read a bit more 207.38

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I’ve come to a decision though, this was my LAST STP… Continue reading “Been there, done that, bought the tshirt”

T Minus One Week and counting!

Well, here it is Saturday afternoon, July 5th, at about 3:00 PM.  One week from right now, I had better be very close to heading over the Columbia River on the  Lewis and Clark Bridge entering Oregon on the Seattle to Portland ride.

Yep, after signing up in January, it is finally here!  So today, before the rain started, it was time to get the hands dirty a bit!

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Continue reading “T Minus One Week and counting!”

The BEST pre ride email I’ve ever received

This is the most comprehensive, helpful, infomative and funny pre ride email I’ve ever received!

Hello Riders!

I went up to Crater Lake this past weekend to make one last run around the course and wanted to give you some last minute notes and observations!

Observations: Continue reading “The BEST pre ride email I’ve ever received”

A Weekend of of Two Tales Part II

Saturday was chores and errand day.  Sunday?  All about cycling!

I lived in Federal Way for years, and it never failed, some weekend early in May I would see people with numbers on their jerseys riding through town.  I would tell myself I wanted would remember “next” year, and then promptly forget and tell myself the same thing.

This year was different, I got out there and signed up for Phil’s Bicycle Shop’s Mayday Classic!  A choice of 50, 70 or 100 miles from Federal Way to Orting, Wilkeson, or the Carbon River Valley respectively, and back.  A great ride, supporting Bicycle Alliance of Washington and the Orting Food Bank, and all for $20!

I signed up for the Carbon River route, since this takes you to the back door of Mt.  Rainier, one of my favorite places in the word!

Plenty of views of the mountain on the Mayday Classic
Plenty of views of the mountain on the Mayday Classic

The weather forecast was for 80 deg, and blue skies!  As I pointed out yesterday, this is unheard of in Seattle!  I was there at 630 AM and ready to go.

In my last post I mentioned that one of my friends Amanda rolled an ankle and was unable to ride today.  Our mutual friend and her Riding buddy Liz was still going to go!  So it didn’t surprise me when she showed up in front of me and said “HI!”  Totally didn’t recognize her.  I’ve only ever seen her in work clothes.

Since Amanda wasn’t riding she asked if she could ride with me for a while.  I’ve honestly never ridden with anyone on a ride like this before.  It was going to be new for me.  I am glad I did since this was her first ride!.

Liz!
Liz!

The ride takes off from Federal Way, which is on top of a hill and works it way down to the Valley.  Phil has found a back roads I had never seen in the 20+ years I lived down there!  One of them the words “Welcome to the Wall of PAIN” were written.  Yep a pretty steep hill!

The course was marked, but it wasn’t what I would consider well-marked.  Some of the Dan Henrys came at the last-minute, or were very faded.  It wasn’t the easiest route to follow.  This was reason #1 I was glad I was riding with Liz.  Early on I could point out the markers, and it wasn’t long before she was following like a pro!  (After this one, she will have no problem following any ride.

Once in the valley, the route took us along the Orting trail and onto back roads.  Even though it was a valley, there were some hills.  This is reason #2 I was happy to be riding with Liz, I was able to give her some pointers on shifting for hills.  It was harder for her, than for me.  I have a triple ring set in front as compared to a double for here, and my rear cassette has much larger rings than she had.  I was having no issues with the hills but she was amazing and did VERY well!

We traveled through some very scenic areas, along rivers and through the forests.  It was gorgeous! Just before Wilkeson I took this pic:

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Wilkeson is a very old, very small old Coal Mining town.  It has 3 stores, the last gas before Rainier and now has a Distillery with a tasting room (thought about going in but would have been a BAD idea!)  It is also the location of the turn around point for the 70 mile route.  Liz’s legs were BEAT.  And the next 12+ miles was a steady incline to the 100 mile turn around.  She and I agreed that 70, being her longest ride ever, was a great accomplishment, and she turned for home.  Smart girl!

I headed out to the Carbon River Valley.  And yep, it was hard, but pretty, I love crossing this bridge!

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I had no problem getting to the turn around, and of course the best part of a long uphill?  The long downhill!  I was averaging 21 MPH heading back down.  Then, on the last hill before the valley, I hit 39 MPH!  LOVE hills!

Sadly in the valley, we were back on the Orting trail, for 25 miles of an UGLY headwind!  That just sucked the energy right out of me!  This drug on until I reached Phil’s hill.  Here’s the description:

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.

This year is was renamed Lance’s hill after a friend of Phill’s that died on Wednesday last while bike commuting to work.  On the trail were spray painted these words (forgive if it isn’t a perfect recall, I was dog tired and hot! “The hill is steep and the legs are tired, yet we relish the memories of Adventure just as Lance always did.  RIP 5/1/13”  I found this to be a very fitting tribute.

And a welcome distraction because this hill SUCKED ASS! but I made it!  It was then a relatively easy 9 miles back to Phil’s for my free piece of pie!

A great ride!  I regret I forgot sunblock, and there was an ass who was yelling at riders on the road above Wilkeson and through a bottle at another.  That cyclist just happened to have a go pro camera going, so we are hoping he got the throwing and the vehicle on the tape.

I will do this ride again!  It could easily become one of my favs, and was a great way to end the weekend.  Also, my legs felt great, no issues with 100 miles!  (The longest ride so far this year!)  So the Reach the Beach in 2 weeks should be relatively easy and I am in good shape to keep getting ready for the Crater Lake Century!

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)