I woke up a couple of days ago, and noticed it was February. I have NO idea where the hell January went so quickly. It seems like just yesterday it was New Years. Work and weather combined to make this one helluva busy month, It was also very stingy on miles. I ended ups with only 235 for January. Over 100 less than the year before.
I can tell I am going to have a challenge this year: To not beat myself for not making the same miles from last year. Last year was a fluke and a record. I will get plenty of miles this year, but it doesn’t need to be as much as last year.
You know that old saying, especially when you were a kid. It’s a big meal, and you fill your plate with a little of everything cuz you are hungry. Then not even halfway through emptying your plate, you realized there is NO way I shoulda taken on so much….
So Tuesday last was our final day to wake up in Walla Walla. It’s a good thing it was, as the smoke got 3 – 4 times worse than it had been the whole time we were there. Overnight the smoke gods descended on the town! It was bad enough that I made us drive the half mile to breakfast instead of letting Michelle walk in that crap. Little did we know how bad it was… Continue reading “A challenging 3 days of riding!”→
Anyone who reads this blog knows it doesn’t take much to get me to go ride a bike. In November, I take one non rainy (no matter how cold) day to ride my years for my birthday. I try to get out New Years day. Anytime the rains stop and the roads aren’t icy in the winter I am there. Today, there was only ‘chance’ of thunder showers, so after work I was out for 37 miles… Yeah, you guessed it, I was caught by a squall…
The last two nights have been, hands down, great! Last night (Thursday) Michelle and I had date night. We went out to eat at one of our favorite places, Arnies. It is right on the water in Edmonds, near the ferry dock.
We go for happy hour in the bar and try hard to get a window seat.
I won’t lie, last night, a group went in the front door ahead of us, but stopped at the elevator. Michelle and I RAN up the stairs! We got a window!! (ok they did too, but we got to choose the best seats! )
Today, I took off after work to take advantage of the gorgeous weather in late October
So, yesterday was Father’s Day. Normally this is not my favorite day. I think it’s a made up holiday so Hallmark can sell cards and companies that make ugly ties can stay in business. For me, I know both boys love me, so they don’t need a special day to do it.
THAT being said, my gorgeous wife made sure I enjoyed the hell out of it! We started it by waking up in the Willows Lodge, and ordering room service! It big fun to have breakfast delivered! We spent the morning just hanging out, playing our games on the iPads and reading. This was our second morning, so doing this twice in a row was PERFECT! (Though Hattie, the 12 year old (well she sounded 12) laughed when I ordered the same thing for breakfast both days! I know what I like!)
On the way home, we stopped at got fresh strawberries at the Yakima Fruit stand and then got the grocery shopping done. We were efficient and had it all done by high noon. After putting stuff away, and having lunch (Plus slicing the berries) I looked at the yard and the clock and decided to forego the ride, and get the yard mowed.
One very sweet, but firm tongue lashing later (OK she said DUDE, go do your ride, its father’s day and you will be home in plenty of time!) I changed my mind.
So off I went! The ride started fun, when a hot chick in a red Honda was flagging me down. Turned out to be Jenna, one our best friends (I’ve known her since college) stopping to say “HI!”
I decided to head south and go through the Arboretum. I had to go through UW, and dodge graduation traffic, but soon I had this view!
I decided that I would do something different this time. The route I was on takes you completely around the Lake. I did this once before and very much enjoyed it. However, I thought since I still wanted to get somethings done at home, I’d take a “shortcut”. (I should learn, just like in hiking, very seldom does something that LOOKS like it will save you time actually do so!)
I decided that instead of going all the way around I was going to cut directly across the lake on the I-90 Bridge Trail and then turn north i figured this would shave off lots of miles!
Now I THOUGHT this was a straight shot trail across the lake. NOPE, when it got to Mercer Island I had to find my way through. The good news is there were bike trails, the bad, no markings. I just kinda kept my nose going east (or what I hoped was east (NOT the best internal compass!) I made it across.
But then, I had NO idea where I was. It didn’t put me where I thought I would. So I turned left. (hey I had a 50 50 chance)
I chose incorrectly. I ended up under I 405 in a hidden waterway area! I think it was the Mercer Slough. It was very cool!
I am going to have to figure out where this was, and my wife and I will have to kayak here, I am betting we will see a lot of things! Sometimes wrong turns take you to the best places!
Well I got myself turned around, and found a sign pointing to Bellevue, and then got myself back on track! The rest of the ride was fun. A bit of a tail wind, great weather, and on one downhill, I hit my new land-speed record. 40.4 mph! now THAT is fast! 47 miles total! A great afternoon!
I got home, restrung the weed whacker (HATE doing it, it always takes 4 attempts at least!) and got both the weed whacking and mowing done with thunder rumbling in the background. Got done 15 minutes before the rain hit! We never got the full storm, but at least I stayed dry.
All in all a fun day. Spoiled rotten, good ride AND got stuff done!
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
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.
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.
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!)
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!
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.
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…..”