A drive to remember

As we all know, the reason Michelle and I were able to move here to the coast is because the Mighty P let us telecommute from here. My normal work attire now is shorts, t-shirt and no shoes or sock.

However, the expectation when we moved here was that we would need to come back from time to time and work in the office. This week was a whirlwind trip for me. The drive up was uneventful, and the time in the office productive. My boss also convinced me to finally let him take me out for my 5th anniversary lunch. (My second 5th anniversary.)

We went to Red Robin! YUM!!!

But it was the drive home, that will be remembered. Continue reading “A drive to remember”

Two vastly different nights, with one similarity!

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

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and do a long bike ride. Both nights were fun, but both had that extra piece: nature was out and showing off! Continue reading “Two vastly different nights, with one similarity!”

Snuck off for a weekend

Those who read yesterday’s post may have noted I was writing it while sitting on a deck of a hotel room In Port Townsend, WA.  This is a little town, right on the Puget Sound here in Washington state.

Those who really know me, might think it was strange I was there on the weekend of the Chilly Hilly, which in the Seattle area is the considered opening day of cycling season.  But, it has been a long hard month at work, Michelle and I needed time away, and I SUCK at checking calendars.. Continue reading “Snuck off for a weekend”

Winter is Coming

OK, it is still August.  So maybe it’s not coming tomorrow.  In fact Washington State (at least Western Wa where I live) is having a record-breaking heat wave right now.  What?  It hasn’t made the news where you are?  How hot has it been you ask? Are there heat alerts?  Cooling stations set up?  Have the train tracks warped?

Well it’s not really that kind of heat wave. Continue reading “Winter is Coming”

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)

 

 

 

Cycling on the Washington State Ferries

So I realized I have mentioned more than one ride I have taken which involved a Washington State Ferry.

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I take them for granted, as I have been taking my bike on them for years.  However, then I remembered the rookie mistakes I did the first time I used them  Since I have a long drive today, I thought I’d give a short post.

First off, why do we have ferries?  If you ever look at a map of Washington State, you will see the western part of the state has a huge body of water called Puget Sound.  To help get people across this body of water, Washington state has the largest passenger and automobile ferry fleet in the United States and the third largest in the world by fleet size. The service is also the largest in the world based on the number of vehicles carried, having carried 11 million annually.  The fleet services the Olympic Peninsula, Vashon Island, and the San Juan Islands, to name a few routes.  

The ferry system welcomes cyclists on board, and actually makes it quite easy on us, but there are a few rules.

Tip #1:  You do NOT have to wait in the LONG line of cars to get your ticket.  We walk up to the passenger ticket window.  There is an extra dollar surcharge for the bike, but it is still MUCH cheaper than a car.

Tip  #2:  We load with the cars.  There will always be a bike assembly area, near the motorcycles.  The best part is we load before any other vehicle.  If you are there and have a ticket prior to loading, a ferry worker will yell “CYCLIST BOARD” and you will ride on first.

This is nice as you can park the bike, and get upstairs and get a prime spot or food before the unwashed masses in the cares show up.

Tip #3 This is not how you stow your bike on the ferry (Except for the Chilly Hilly!)

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Instead look for a piece of rope and the bike parking sign. (As an aside, i always carry about 3 or 4 feet of rope just in case the rope is gone, or I need to make my own spot on a busy weekend day) image

I tie the rope to my stem with a couple of twists and then a simple slip knot.  Give it  yank to make sure it is secure.  Most of the time, the bike will be on a steep slope, I position a pedal against the part of the ferry the rope is attached to in order to steady it.

Tip #4  Go upstairs and see the view, it is gorgeous!  I have never heard of a bike being bothered.

Tip #5  Get to your bike a bit early.  When i see the dock getting close I go down.  Not only are we the first ones on, we are the first off!  Untie the bike and roll it down to the front.  They will tell you when it is time to leave.  Remember to hug the right of the lane though, as the cars will be coming soon!

Tip #6  Bikes and passengers only pay on the one side for most routes.  I have never been on the San Juan Ferries, but for the one’s out of Seattle and Tacoma, you pay on the Seattle side.  Cars pay going both ways, but again, when you get to the dock, bypass the cars and look for the place the bikes are gathering.

Combining a ferry ride and a bike is a blast.  I bring a book and my camera every time.  On really nice days I go up on the sun deck and soak in the rays, on colder days I snag a window seat.  I have also brought a book or my biking journal.  You can also take a last look at your route on the way over!

The ferry lets me get to places in less than an hour, that would take 2-5 to drive to.  I am working out a route from my house to the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, up to Port Townsend to catch the ferry from there to Coupeville on Whidbey Island, over the Deception Pass bridge, and then home.  THAT will yield some beautiful pics!

If you get the chance to ride here, work a ferry route into your schedule, you will NOT be disappointed.  Hope my tips help as well!