Monday, October 23, 2006

Ireland Cycling Safari's

This weekend while on a Cascade Bicycle Club Ride, I met John Gaskin. John was in town for the Adventure Travel World Summit.
John works for Cycling Safari's which is based out of Dublin Ireland. He had rented a bike to come out and explore the City of Seattle.
I checked out Cycling Safari's on the Web and it meets with and exceeds the OC Travel scale.
Trips should be no more then $1000.00 a week and should cover more then 25 miles a day. This would be a good company to tour with on a non cycling vacation - one week of very low key touring and one week of non cycling site seeing.
Also airfare from Seattle to Dublin - won't break your bank if you go at the right time of year - the weather in Dublin isn't that much different from Seattle - so back up your small bag and hop a flight to drink Guiness in the county of its origin and see some different sites.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mixte Mania

So Hubby and I are talking about doing some Vintage Bicycle Events so the search for my vintage bicycle began and this week I found my new steed. My new steed is an ORANGE 1979 Colin Laing Mixte. Colin Laing is a builder originally from the UK that apprenticed under the Taylor Brothers - as in Jack Taylor Bicycles.

OKAY - here is a picture

We bought a really ugly bike off craigs list that I hold no fondness for - except for the Shimano Arabesque grouppo that it sports - so parts from that bike are going to be switched to this bike. I think it will be set up with upright bars with Paul Thumbies (using the Shimano 600 shifters)

Don't even ask how many bicycles I now own - It's impolite to ask.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

SIR 600K Brevet

The day dawned bright and early - Bob and I had driven down the night before he had just come along for moral support and was going to do a short ride in the Tumwater area since he was getting over a cold and wasn't up to riding a 600 kilometer ride. I wasn't sure I was up for a 600 kilometer brevet either but I needed to see if I could do it. The ride left Tumwater at 6:00 a.m. and I stayed with the group for the first 16 miles then they were out of sight. I knew a few riders were behind me so I wasn't yet the tail end of the ride. I rode straight though to the first control Vader Washington with just a quick stop to see the big egg in Winlock Washington. We had stopped at this control on the Olympia Broiler ride in July so I knew where the restrooms were and just bought some water to refill my camelback and eat my bagel that I had made at the start line. From Vader the route headed out to the town of Raymond via a few small towns I had never even heard of. I had never ever heard of Lebam or Menlo Washington - passed through them on my bicycle in a blink of an eye. I had been to Raymond several times before and it is one of my favorite towns in Washington State due to the metal cutouts of people and animals that are all along the road. Raymond was a Control so I stopped at the Subway Shop and got myself a sandwich and water - just as I was arriving I saw another rider leaving so knew I was on pace. I pushed on to the the Willapa Bay National Wildlife Refuge where I saw lots of blue herons, and oyster places. I took a quick break at Long Island campground and decided that this is a place I would like to go to again. It looks like it has some really nice hiking and campsites. On to the town of Long Beach (Control #4)- but I didn't see the Beach. I met up with Ray McFall at the Shell Station and asked if we could ride together through the night. Ray seemed agreeable to that and we headed out. SIR had a night support stop set up about 40 miles from the Long Beach Control so we took another break there and had to have the ubiguous cup o noodles that is mandatory food on a brevet. It was slow going after dark and we didn't reach the sleep stop until after 4:00 a.m. I really had hoped to make it there around 2:00 a.m. Amy Pieper and Greta Oleson got us some grup and settled into a room. We left a wake up call with Greta for 6:00 a.m for Ray and 6:30 a.m. for Amy. After a quick shower and some food I was ready to leave - I ended up getting out of there later then I wanted because 2 riders had just rolled in and Amy and Greta thought it would be good if I waited for them. I should have headed out and not waited because I think this ended up causing me some stress later in the ride. I waited and then one rider quickly dropped me and I dropped the other rider - turns out he had a mechanical. I made it to the Toutle Control right at the closing time after humping it up a few difficult hills and was stressed not to have any leeway for a cup of coffee. The other rider who had dropped me was also there and leaving as I pulled in so when I left I decided to catch her and put the hammer down and psych myself out that I could finish the ride. I ended up blowing up and the legs no longer wanted to go around and I was in tears not wanting to face more climbing and riding an addional 10 hours on my own. When I got to Toledo Washington I called Bob for a ride home. I gave it a go but my legs got to the point where they had nothing left to give and mentally I just wasn't ready for another 10 hours on the bike. I'm very proud of myself for getting out there and giving it my best but I would have been even prouder had I gotten it done and completed the complete brevet series. I made it to Toledo Washington - 276 miles so still had a century to go - this was my longest bicycle ride ever so a new first.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Seven Hills of Kirkland

Lucky Number 7 - If you ride around the east side (Woodinville, Bothell, Kirkland area) you see these markings on the road side. The number 7 stenciled on the roadside is the route for the Seven Hills of Kirkland When an organized ride is held the organizers go out and mark the route with Dan Henry Markings. According to Wikipedia:

Dan Henry (b. 1913) is a bicycling legend and inventor of directional pavement markings commonly used to guide participants along the route of organized bicycling events. The markers themselves are usually called "Dan Henrys".

An example "Dan Henrys" for six different routes.

All indicate the same direction of travel.
Originally, the markings consisted of a circle with a vertical line from the edge of the circle pointing in the direction of travel (up, left, right). Other common markings are a circle X to denote wrong way, and a circled horizontal line to denote caution.
Variations on the circle pattern developed to differentiate between different rides as more and more rides began to use the same roads. Variations include color, triangles, squares, letters, etc.

I picked up the route off the Burke Gilman Trail where I spotted the first #7 on the pavement - I made a quick left and immediately went up a hill. I continued to follow the #7 markings as they wound though some pleasant neighborhoods. The route was a nice change from my usual rides and had some quality hills. Somewhere along the line I missed a turn and ended up on a very busy road where I would not have chosen to ride so I knew I wasn't where I should be. I ended up in Kirkland and took a break for something to eat. Because I had other plans for the evening I wasn't able to complete the ride and ended up hopping a bus across 520 to get home at a decent hour. It's really nice that the buses that go across the lake have room for 3 bicycles but I don't understand how they can charge you full fare when you are only on the bus for 2 or 3 miles.
I looked at the website this morning and found where I had gone wrong and printed out the cue sheets. Turns out there are several routes besides the traditional 7 Hills - there is a metric century and a full century option. For folks looking for a good ride in the Seattle area - here is the link.
Seven Hills of Kirkland

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I'm now a Selle Italia Ldy -

I'd been happy for years riding a Terry Butterfly Saddle and I don't know what happened for some reason I wasn't happy any more. I started the 300 km brevet with some minor saddle sores and finished it with a doozey of a saddle sore. I ended up getting a prescription for antibiotics so it would heal faster and taking it easy before the 400 km brevet. Two days before the 400 km brevet I purchased a Selle Italia Ldy saddle. I survived the 400 km and other then my butt being sore from being on the bike for so many hours - I recovered quickly and was back on my bike just a few days later.
On Sunday I grabbed my lighter bike an Airborne Valkerie which still sports a Terry Butterfly - after a 40 mile ride I wasn't happy again. So this week I ordered another Selle Italia Ldy from Team Estrogen and received it in just a few days. The cool thing about the Selle Italia Ldy is that is comes in colors. The Airborne will soon be sporting the blue saddle and I need to think about the yellow one for my Gaansari Scorcher.

Monday, August 28, 2006

SIR 400K Brevet - Redmond - Bellingham - Redmond

This was a biggie for me - my longest ride ever.
The ride started at 6:30 am at Mark Thomas's house. It was really nice we arrived early so were able to have muffins and coffee and chat with the other riders. Mark gave the send off speech on the brevet - told us "Lets be Careful out There". The ride started with a few nasty hills which brought us to White Stallion station at the top of the Woodinville hill but from the opposite direction that I usually approach it from so that was strange. We headed down the hill and out towards Snohomish - I think it was too early and we were not yet thinking straight because some how we ended up at the Maltby Cafe - a quick look at the map and realized we had missed a turn. Back on track we made it through Snohomish but down Highway 9 instead of Springetti. I don't know if the difference was that it was so early or that Highway 9 is more in the Valley then Springetti is - but this section of the ride was NASTY - my glasses got coated with a fine fog and I just hoped it wasn't from the cow poop sprayers we had spotted fertilizing fields on another day. We made a quick stop at the Arlington control which is a split Chevron/McDonalds and had some grease filled breakfast sandwiches to get us up the road.

Just outside Arlington - I spotted another weird place I want to visit on another day - called the Kangaroo Ranch - they have Roo's, Ostriches and who knows what else. I'm going to lead a ride with this place as the destination. I'm still planning to lead a ride with the snake place in Gold Bar as a destination also.

Between Arlington and Darrington we heard some rustling in the bushes and I looked back to see what was there. It wasn't a what but a who - an Italian Greyhound decided he needed to race us and looked very pleased with himself that he had beat us. In Darrington we stopped at the next control which was the Stagecoach Inn - the Stagecoach Inn had been an overnight on the 1000 k brevet which was being held concurrently with the 400k. Peter Rankin and Greta Olson met us there and Pete made us a few yummy sandwiches to order. We headed out to Rockport and made a left to go to the town of Concrete.
Concrete is a weird town that needs more exploring on another day. It does have a beautiful bridge and damn but it also has a very ugly concrete plant (hence the name). I stopped at the grocery store and had some fruit, ensure plus and got my control card signed. It always cracks me up to look in the garbage at the stops - the garbage was full of water bottles and ensure bottles. From Concrete we headed down the Valley to Sedro Wooley at this point we began to see the BC Randos out on the Blizzard 600 k. The Blizzard 600k went from Dairy Queen to Dairy Queen and was organized by my fried Melissa Friessan and her husband Scott Gater. I amused myself by yelling at the other Rando's that they were SEXY - well aren't we? In Sedro Wooley I stopped for a coffee and saw several more of the BC Randos pass by. From Sedro Wooley on to Bow and up Chuckanut Drive - we stopped at the Hagen Foods for dinner. After dinner I had some issues with my new lights - turns out the secondary light needed to be turned off and then turned back on once I was underway which is kinda quirky but boy are these new lights bright.
Down Chuckanut drive - onto the Bay View State park - we rode with John Vincent and James Gutholm for a big stretch of this but I was slowing down and needed a break so we took a quick stop and didn't see them again until the finish.
Peter McKay met us with more food at the Secret Control and we pushed back on to the same Chevron/McDonalds in Arlington. Alas the Micky D's was closed so I settled for some chocolate milk and continued on. After Arlington it was a long stretch on Highway 9 and it started getting lighter. Again on Highway 9 we rode through nasty foggy bit. We turned off 9 and were on the familiar roads again - it seemed like it took forever to go the last 20 miles. I went through the last of my ensure plus and several bars and gu's just to keep going. Up a few last nasty hills and lots of little turns and we were back at Mark's house. Hadn't we just left Mark's? Oh yeah that was 25 hours ago. Chris fed us some rice and gumbo. We took showers, Bob took a nap and I had a good time chatting with Chris and the other finishers that were still at Marks. After Bob and I drove home a few hours later - I fell asleep and did not wake up until 9:00 p.m had a few eggs for dinner and went back to bed at 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Free Beer

Yep thats right.
Last night on my commute home I spotted the bright orange Rodriquez tandem that I'd previously seen parked outside Brouwers Brewpub in Fremont. I struck up a conversation with the riders and told them that I had seen their bike at the Pub. They said their bike is always at a pub. Turns out they are the owners of Pike Brewing. The new brew this summer is called Tandem. I was given a signed business card and told to go have some beer on them. Very Cool.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bike Mexico

I just checked my blogosphere email account and had a recommendation to add to my budget bike tours links. Kevin Hill of Ontario suggested Bike Mexico. They fit in my budget and the tours look cool. I need to poke around the website a bit more and find out if they are camping or cheap hotel tours. One of the tours featured is during The Day of the Dead which has always intrigued me. But the Yucatan Tour with the Mayan Ruins sounds very cool also. If I get a chance to go on one of their tours I'll certainly let you folks know how it was. Or if you go please let me know if its worth it.

I heard it on NPR - Ditty Bops

Yes - of course this is bike related.
These two hip chicks are biking across the country with their piano player in the van acting as their SAG (Support and Gear) driver. In this case the gear is their musical instruments. So they are having quite the adventure seeing the country and playing some gigs. They are going to be in Seattle at Chop Suey on September 9, 2006. I don't think I'm going to be able to make it to the show but am considering biking with them to the Portland Show.

Their website
Their Blog
Link to the story on NPR

Sunday, August 06, 2006

SIR 300K Brevet / Don't Cross 3 Borders Rides

We had overnighted in Bellingham so just had a short drive to the ride start at Dan Turner's House in Bellingham. Somehow we left just 5 minutes too late so did not get to start with the other riders. We headed out of Dan's house and found some of the elevation on the route right away - Yew Road is Hilly. Also we thought we were lost very early in the ride and rode all the way around Lake Samish - luckily some friendly walkers put us back en route. We descended down to the first official control (we had already had one secret control) at the shop in Edison. We wandered into the shop to find Wayne and got our brevet cards signed. We also found out they have awesome marionberry scones. From Edison the route climbed Chuckanut Drive (I had just ridden Chuckanut yesterday) I don't think I could get tired of riding Chuckanut Drive it has amazing views and a gentle grade so it doesn't take too long to cover its 10 miles.

The route took us back through Bellingham along the waterfront - just when I was ready to fill my camelbak we had another secret control. Vik supplied us with peanut butter bagels, sodas and a water refill.

Everson Washington found us at the Red Market with me desparte to find some scivolutions skin tape for a growing saddle sore. I found a product called new skin which needed to be taped on so it wasn't what I was looking for and DID NOT do the job. By the time we reached the Silver Lake Control at mile 86 I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish the ride and asked around if anybody had some helpful cure for saddlesores. Wayne piped up that he had a tube of triple neosporin which has pain killer in it and numbs the pain. After another peanut butter sandwich and a smear of the neosporin I was off to Glacier.

Climb Climb Climb - yeah there are my buddies on the descent so I knew if I wanted to I could catch them later. A quick stop to get my card signed and explain the insaneness of Randoneuring to the guy at the ski shop at me on the descent.

We didn't stop again until the Sumas border crossing. We of course had to stop at the Super Duper which is the most bizarre store. I think they get a lot of close outs so they have really bizarre products and since the shopping is limited in the area they also carry some products for your on the spur pork butt BBQ - but please note that there was only one pork butt for sale next to the pudding cups and no other meat.

The route went along Boundary Road the other side of the ditch is Canada and my friend Duane gives this report of what happens when you pee into Canada. "Oh, I almost forgot. When I stopped to pee, at the left turn (to the south), in the bushes, it somehow alerted Homeland Security. The guy said that "we" had "set off a sensor." I assume it was caused by my high (though naturally occurring) testosterone ratio. He threatened to ship me to Guantanamo the next time this happens. They probably don't provide much water, there, so it's less of an issue.Later in the ride, someone (who shall remain nameless) in the group I was riding with almost caused a domestic incident by peeing on the wrong side of some bushes.Two peeing altercations in one brevet. That's a PR." - Duane Wright - Smart Ass

Langley Border came next where the RSVP riders cross so there were lots of bright pink apples painted on the road - once you cross the boarder on RSVP you follow maple leafs into Vancouver. But thats another ride.

Next on to Blaine and Birch Bay - after climbing H Road which we decided standed for Hill and had lots of false summits we had an amazing view of the Bay. While riding along the Bay I saw a Grey Herron flying just 2 feet over the water and due to the lighting I could see his shadow on the water.

Friday, August 04, 2006


You ask why not RSVP (Ride Seattle Vancouver Party)? That had been the initial plan and then smartee me did not buy ride tickets from Cascade and the ride Sold Out. I had been smart enough to secure hotel reservations in Bellingham and Vancouver. Also it turned out that the long distance cycling club we belong to was hosting a ride out of Bellingham on August 5th.
I did end up getting a ticket for RSVP - but decided that maybe the 300k on Saturday would be more beneficial to my training for an upcoming 400k brevet.
I rode the first day of RSVP which ends in Bellingham. This is a challenging ride - granted their are no mountain passes but its still challenging. When people ask me about the differences between RSVP and STP I always tell them that STP is a party with a ride and RSVP is a ride with a party - the ride once again confirmed this.

I know the ride oversold this year so lines were bigger at the food stops and porta potties. Maybe I have ridden too many self supported rides to dilly dally around to wait for a bagel with Peanut Butter and to wait in line to PPPP. At one of the official stops I headed to the table where they were cutting up cantalope and secured some slices and then headed down the road where I found a nice portapotty outside of a church - no line.

I had lunch at a Subway restaurant in Burlington just about 1/2 mile off route.
I arrived in Bellingham about 4:30 pm and got my free icecream bar and a nice massage.
My friend Matt and his wife Albee had us all over for a big spagetti feed at his house in Ferndale so I did get to Party without heading all the way to Vancouver.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Yesterdays Adventure was RAMROD - Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day. The ride is put on by Redmond Cycling Club of which I am a member. It starts and finishes in Enumclaw Washington. Many riders who participate in this ride are racer types and treat it like it is a stage of the Tour de France. They fly though the course so quickly I wonder how much of the incredible scenery they are able to take in while sucking up packets of gu. From Enumclaw you head to Eatonville, on to Elbe where you find a very cute town with a train ride you can do on another trip, between Elbe and Ashford a sculptur Dan Klennert lives with giant T-Rex made out of car parts in his front yard. Also many chain saw carved bears are in the woods in that area. Ashford is the home of one of my favorite inns - Alexanders Country Inn. Alexander's has a trout pond and for dinner fresh caught trout and some of the finest blackberry cobler is on the menu. Also Ashford is home to many of the places that you would stay if you were planning to climb Mt. Rainier including Whitakers Bunkhouse. Just past Ashford you enter the park. Longmire in the Park is home of the Longmire National Park Inn which also looks like a cool place to stay. The climb to Paradise is amazing (actually I like climbing it better from the other direction). The National Park Inn at Paradise is closed for renovation right now so the ride didn't go there this year. A descent down to Box Canyon brought us to the famed Chocolate Croissants then a climb up Back Bone Ridge. Cahuyse Pass Sucks not much to say about that the climb comes during the heat of the day and the pass never seems to end - luckily after descending the club hosts a sandwich & Soda stop to fuel you up to fight the headwinds. I spotted my friend Denise on the Climb up Cahuyse and we met up with her husband Steve and finished the ride together with big Steve pulling us through the headwinds.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Olympia Broiler 200K Brevet

We left home at 5:00 am for a 6:00 am start over 60 miles away. We should have left earlier - we showed up for the ride after the mass start. After loading the bikes with the requisite stuff and signing in we departed the parking lot of the Fish Tale Brewery at around 6:20 am. As we were loading up the bikes, one rider returned she had gone the wrong way at the start and another rider had a quicker deployment then us and started the ride just before we did.
This is a beautiful ride and we made the first control just at the closing time - so a late start wasn't costing us much time - but the hills and the mugginess were starting to get to us. One hill was 10% grade going up and 10% going down the other side and then we reached Cramer Hill Road which the nice farmer at the roadside pointed out that he thought it was a 20% hill - probably more like 14%.
After we reached Vader in the afternoon - we spent a bit too much time there cooling down and I probably had needed a real meal at that point but just didn't feel like eating much. I also filled my sport bra with ice - ice is supposed to feel cold against your skin but it didn't. That should have been a good warning sign.
We headed out of Vader with the recumbent rider who was about to pull the plug but decided to carry on. I about quit the ride at Tennessee Hill when I started puking and couldn't get my heart rate below 160 bpm. Sitting under a tree in some wood chips for about a half hour and getting some more calories down my gullet soon put me to rights and I was able to continue. We stopped in Chehalis where we encountered another cooked rider who had been at the air conditioned convenience store for over an hour. We hung out here for about a half hour and cooled down and departed when the temperature outside had dropped to a breezy 97 degree Fahrenheit. From there the day improved and we finished the ride at 8:45 pm - which was out of the 13.5 hours which are allotted for a 200 kilometer ride. The ride was actually 236 km and the temperature average for the day was probably 90.
Out of 53 starters - there were 40 finishers so we were not alone in our inability to deal with the heat.
Highlights of the day included a beautiful ride through the Capitol Forest - I'll take the D Line its a really nice road. Hearing about Martha jumping in a kiddy pool to cool off and Allison being afraid the redneck with the rotweiller was going to come out and yell at them for being on their property.
My first DNF :-( - but it was TOO DAMN HOT!!!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My Free Bike

After dinner on July 4th we cut behind the neighboring hotel and I found a
bike in the garbage. It's a green Trek city bike with no 26"wheels and a broken rear derailur. The fork best of all is not suspension - the saddle will
have to go go go. We brought it home with us to Seattle - don't know if
we will try to track down if it was stolen or not. Husband has free
wheels that had been left behind in another apartment so with a new
derailur and the wheels installed it will be rideable again. At that
point I'll decide to keep it or pass it on to a bikeless friend.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Northwest Tandem Rally 2006 / Day 1 / NWTR 2006

One of the best parts about participating in Tandem Rallies are the mass starts. Yes we are in this picture - I'm wearing the camelback with the STP logo.

Our friends Greg and Ruth Sneed - aren't they just the cutest in their RAMROD jerseys.

Our friends Thyce and Amy Colyn - we were surprized to see them without their panniers and the 10 pound chain they carry everywhere.

Lunch with friends at the Rally -
After lunch we picked up the long route (we had started on the short route) which gave us a 55 mile ride. This was our longest ride on the new Tandem

Monday, June 26, 2006

Anne Marie McSweeney

(Anne Marie in Blue)

Lost a friend today.
Anne Marie McSweeney was a very active cyclist with a zest for life.
In April I was her roommate at PAC TOUR Desert Camp and was looking forward to many more adventures with her.

Sometimes you just connect with people - I knew Anne Marie through my cycling club for several years and saw her go through some tough times including a very bad break up. I also suffered a very bad breakup and she was there for me - knowing what I was going through.

Anne Marie was just now starting a new relationship with another friend of of mine and the hopes all of us had for that relationship were so bright. They both deserved the Happiness that was going to come their way and now it won't.

I'm going to miss her and will think of her often.
Something quirky about Anne Marie - she had full on conversations in her sleep that you were able to follow if you listened. I listened and laughed about this goofy habit.

My thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and boyfriend. We will all miss you.

Anne Marie McSweeney

Born Sept 23, 1961

Anne Marie died in an auto accident in Klamath Falls, Oregon on June 24,

Anne Marie was the daughter of Ed and Violet McSweeney of Newhall. She is
survived by her parents, her 4 brothers, her 2 nieces and 3 nephews. Anne
Marie lived in Bend, Oregon, where she had moved after a long career at

Anne Marie was an avid cyclist and community volunteer. She was passionate
about touching the lives of those near to her. She will be remembered for
her selfless commitment to her family and friends. She will be dearly
missed by all who knew her.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Anne Marie's honor to

Memorial and Honor Program

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105

A rosary (beginning at 10:00 am) and funeral mass (beginning at 10:30 am) in
celebration of Anne Marie's life will be held on Friday, June 30 at

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church
23233 Lyons Avenue
Santa Clarita, CA 91321

After the funeral mass, graveyard services will be held at the San Fernando
Mission Cemetery.
11160 Stranwood Avenue
Mission Hills, CA
(818) 361-7387

There will be a reception from 2:00 to 4:00 at the McSweeney Family home at
Newhall, CA 91321

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Eastern Washington Tour - Winthrop to Chelan

After surviving yesterdays climb fest today's ride was much more sane. But I choose to kick it up a notch. I got a late start due to the long line at the espresso stand. The woman in front of me bought 6 espresso's for everyone back at the house. So I tucked my bottle of sports drink in my jersey pocket and put the espresso in the bottle cage. After getting caffinated I caught up with the group. I couldn't seem to get happy with any group I was riding with and wanted to go just a bit faster so moved from one group to another. I spent about 20 minutes trying to bridge to the ride leaders tandem but couldn't close the gap since the territory was either flat or down hill.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Eastern Washington Tour - Grand Coulee to Winthrop

After a nice overnight in Grand Coulee, todays ride took us to Winthrop. Winthrop is a very cute tourist town in the Cascade Mountains. The ride took us over Disautel Pass ( Elevation: 3252ft) and Loop Loop Pass (Elevation: 4020 Ft) we covered close to 100 miles so I made it an even 100. Tonight we found some awesome BBQ to eat at Heenan's Burnt Finger next to the Cascade Inn where were staying. The restaurant had a great deck with a view of the Methow river, Red Tailed Hawks raising their young and even had a singing cowboy.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Eastern Washington Tour - Chelan to Grand Coulee

Yesterday my friend Ruth and I drove over to Chelan to join an organized 3-day bicycle tour. I made a quick stop before leaving to get a stem change on my Airbourne. I recently had the stem changed on my Co-Motion and found that I really liked it. Alas turns out I was in a hurry and did not tighten down the bike enough. About 30 miles from our destination we heard a loud thwack on the roof of the car. A quick look up confirmed our fears the bike was now horizontal on the car instead of vertical. Luckily it was still on the car and we were able to pull over and right it. I breathed a loud sigh of relief. When we reached Chelan - the bike no go. When it had tipped over the rear wheel had taken the worst of the tork and was now hideously out of tru. I made a quick phone call to Pedal/Paddle and they were closing for the day. The owner took pity on me and agreed to open the shop early for me. I met him there at 8:00 am - and was out of the shop by 8:30 am - he was able to get the rear wheel back in tru but a new rim should be put on the bike.
I was sagged up to the first water stop in Pateros so I would not be the lantern rouge all day. From Pateros we rode to Grand Coulee. Beautiful riding through cherry orchards
We spent the night at the Columbia River Inn. This hotel was great - when I arrived at the Inn I was drenched from riding the last several miles in a rain storm. I quickly changed and found myself in the Hot Tub being rained up having a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Not a bad way to end a day of bicycle touring.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Focus on the Tandem

The Tandem showed up in the apartment on February 14, 2005 - yep that's right my sweetie got us a bicycle built for two on Valentines Day. Also a very cute book called Once Upon a Tandem completed the gift. The tandem had been spotted on Craig's list back in November of 2004 unknown to me it had been purchased and stashed to be brought out at a later date. Last year we had the bike out on the road one time and we discovered that the handlebars are too low for the Captain (aka T-Rex) so it needed the stem changed out before we got it back out there. Yes I know its now June of 2006 but last year was hectic and the start of this years cycling season found us riding our singles on a few brevets and a fleche. The tandem also had been stashed in a friend's garage so was out of sight out of mind. Next month is the Northwest Tandem Rally in Corvallis Oregon so it's time to work on the bike and get her on the road. We retrieved the tandem from the garage on Sunday only to discover that our friends garage was no the best place to stash the bike - the captains pedals are green with a science experiment and both leather brooks saddles have mold under them. We installed the new stem, wider handlebars, new rim strips and new tires on Sunday. We still need to replace the cables, housing, install new stoker bars, new stoker stem, and new fenders and wrap the handlebars. The bike is now locked up tight in the bicycle storage room at the condo - among the neglected campus bikes and old folk cruisers. I once had parts taken off a bicycle when I stored it in there instead of in the condo so I'm a bit leery of leaving it in there but schlepping a long bike up and down the stairs is not fun and frankly I don't think there is room in there.

About the bike:
1984 Silver Santana Sovereign
Strong light cranks with 1/2 Step gearing
27" 6 speed Phil Wood 48 Spoke Wheels
Suntour Shifters and Derailleur
Nitto Dirt Drop Stem Nitto Dirt Drop Captain Handlebars
Brooks Saddles - Captain Hunter Green Professional - Stoker Sprung B17

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Music for Randonneuring

Okay so its the middle of the night and you need to keep yourself amused. My friend Linda recently loaded my MP3 player with some tunes - not I don't listen to it when riding. Several of the tunes she loaded are by the Bare Naked Ladies and are especially appropriate. I've posted the lyrics here for your entertainment. Of course Jimmy Buffet is a winner also for night riding.

Crossin' the highway late last night
He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right
He didn't see the station wagon car
The skunk got squashed and there you are!

You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high Heaven!

Take a whiff on me, that ain't no rose!
Roll up yer window and hold yer nose
You don't have to look and you don't have to see
'Cause you can feel it in your olfactory


Yeah you got yer dead cat and you got yer dead dog
On a moonlight night you got yer dead toad frog
Got yer dead rabbit and yer dead raccoon
The blood and the guts they're gonna make you swoon!


C'mon stink!
You got it!
It's dead, it's in the middle
Dead skunk in the middle!
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high heaven!
All over the road, technicolor man!
Oh, you got pollution
It's dead, it's in the middle
And it's stinkin' to high, high Heaven

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dead Squirrel

My friend Shane sent me these pictures today. Note this wasn't Shane that hit the squirrel. Last year I rolled over a squirel's tail while commuting to work, I'm glad I didn't suck him up into the top tube like this poor guy did. I wonder how the guy is? I would think he went down with the damage to his bike. Poor Squirrel - Poor Bike - Poor Guy.
For further information on suiciding squirrel's there is a website set up to track your encounters.
For a fun google search - Squirrel Suicide will bring up more stories of the proclivity of squirrel's to throw themselves under vehicles.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ride of Silence

I first heard about this ride when I was attending Texas Hell Week in March of 2004. Larry Schwartz a very well known long distance cyclist had been struck and killed by the mirror of a school bus. Larry's fiance and a few friends organized the first Ride of Silence in the Dallas area. Not long after Ken Kiefer and Bob Breedlove were also killed by motorists. These folks had years of experience cycling and were struck down by inattentive motorists. Some say Bob Breedlove crossed the center line - I have heard otherwise most likely we will never know what happened to the RAAM legend.

Last year on a Sunday morning ride one of our own Gail Alef from the Seattle Community was struck down while doing what she loved riding her bicycle with her friends on a quiet road. This hit too close to home, this was on a ride I have attended many times and a road I have ridden on and I knew all the folks she was riding with. I just had not crossed paths with Gail. We attended Gail's Memorial Service and found out more about how special she had been to her family and friends. I was especially spooked to see all the pictures of Gail wearing bicycle jerseys I also own.

I attended the Ride of Silence last year - only 4 riders attended this year it is expected to be much larger due to Gail's death and the organization of Gary Straus and Duane Wright.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Video

Anna Davis one of my fellow riders at PAC Tour Desert Camp was also there to create a video. The video turned out really well follow the link below to see how much fun we all had.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monica's 15th Annual Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass Ride

Monica and I at the Start of the Ride

The plan for this weekend had been to do the SIR 400K but the legs said no when I was commuting home one night last week. My friend Duane also was taking a pass on the 400k and was planning to do a pass ride instead. Here is the ride description:

Ramrod/Rapsody Training - Monica's 15th Annual Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass Ride
A great Ramrod and Rapsody training ride. We'll take the scenic and hilly back roads of Issaquah to Snoqualmie Falls and North Bend. Snack break in North Bend before we start the real hills to Snoqualmie Pass. We'll stay off I-90 as much as possible, including a possible scenic trip up Denny Creek (assuming the snow has melted), which will be the last 6 miles before you reach the Pass. Lunch stop on top at the Pass. Expect 4,800 to 5,000 feet of climbing on this route. There are no services on this ride, so be prepared to be self-sufficient.

Denny Creek was not open so we spent more time on I-90 then we would doing this ride later in the season - but there were some nice side roads and the new connection from Issaquah to I-90 is really nice. Coming down the pass we faced some tough headwinds and a few climbs - by the end of the ride my legs were shot. Duane and I headed to XXX Rootbeer a landmark in Issaquah for some suberb Rootbeer floats as a reward.

Sunscreen would have been a good idea

Monday, May 08, 2006

Fleche Pacifique

This past weekend I participated in Fleche Pacifique. We rode from Seattle to Harrison Hot Springs. Our team name was the Hamsters because we stuff our cheeks with food along the way and keep those wheels spinning getting lots of exercise. Team members were myself, Bob Magyar, Duane Wright and Tom Killion all on single bikes. Our route went from the Sand Point neighborhood in Seattle, Redmond, Fall City, Carnation, Monroe, Snohomish, Arlington, La Conner, Bellingham, Ferndale, Nugent's Corner, Sumas, Chillawac, and then to Harrison Hot Springs. We aimed to ride over 360 kilometers (225 miles) in 24 hours which is the minimum distance required to participate in the event. Though for seasoned cyclists this does not seem undoable the Fleche has its own set of challenges. One of the challenges is that this is a team event and you can't just do your own thing and ride at your own pace as you can on other brevets. You need to ride with your team and finish as a team. The other challenge is no stops are allowed over 2 hours in length for faster riders they can easily cover the distance in much shorter then 24 hours and get a long rest break but that's not allowed. For slower riders like me and my group a long sleep break was not on the agenda but we did take many mini stops for bio breaks and to eat. Our team took one break too many instead of a short breakfast break in Bellingham it ended up being over an hour and cutting into our riding time - then throw in a few flats and its not hard to go beyond time. Luckily we had padded our mileage and when we went beyond time over 24 hours on the road we had already done 366 km. We rode into Harrison Hot Springs around 5:20 p.m just in time to have a quick shower before heading out to a very well earned calorie laden dinner at the Black Forest a very nice German Restaurant. The next morning was the Fleche Banquet which is one of the best parts of the Fleche. You get to hear the stories of all the other teams and of course eat some really good food. This year 13 teams (59 Riders/ 57 finishers) participated (a team consists of 3-5 machines) the largest team had 11 riders on it with 2 tandems and the smallest team had only 3 members (they didn't finish with a complete team due to one member needing sleep) so its always good to have at least 4 machines in case things happen. The teams that started on Friday night had good weather, Saturdays starters could not say the same - 12 hours of rain for team Green & Gold. One team even brought a wetsuit to the banquet and said that they had wished they had worn that instead. Trophies are also given out at the banquet. The Trophies are for the most mileage, the team with a member under 35 and over 50 and the team with the oldest average age.

The Team - Hot Springs Hamsters

PAC Tour - Hip Chick Reunion and Honary Chick Greg

Monday, May 01, 2006

Share the Road - Plate 750

BK00750 is my new license plate for my car.
Sorry I'm not car free but kudo's to those of you that are. I'll get the plate in the mail this week and am excited to have done this part for bicycle advocacy.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Affordable Bicycle Trips

Those of you that know me - know I love to travel but the budget doesn't allow extravagant trips. I have a few tour companies to suggest to you that fit my budget and that I've had great fun with. I got email today from Peter & Anna who run Gabriola Cycle and Kayak. I did a bicycle trip with this company about 6 years ago which started and finished in Phoenix Arizona we stayed at Super 8 Hotels and rode about 60 miles a day so lots of time for sight seeing yet still some challenging miles. I also met some really great folks on the trip that I'm still in contact with.

For bicycle touring in Europe the company I would recommend is called Wide Open Roads. I did an amazing trip with them that went from Bordeaux to Alpe'd huez. Susie and Andy only do this for a few months of the year and the rest of the year they live in Australia. I also hope to travel with them again soon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Grin and Bike It

This month I'm captaining a commute team for the Group Health Commute Challenge. It's a big company but I only know a few people who also bike commute. But now I feel like that old shampoo commercial. I'll tell 2 people and they will tell 2 people and so on and so on and so. So now I have a team of 4 folks including me and it may grow to a few more folks. This is good inspiration to get me on my bike every day instead of the bus - never my car I can't afford the parking and the angst of traffic. Also base miles build endurance like nothing else. Information on the Group Health Commute Challenge can be found at Cascade Bicycle Club.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

3 Capes 300k Brevet

I'd never ridden the Oregon Coast before and now I can appreciate why it is one of the most popular routes in the United States. The views are incredible of the big beaches, the Pacific Ocean, Haystock Rocks and just incredible vistas. We started the day at 6:00 am at McMenimans Grand Lodge in Forrest Grove Oregon. I believe about 50 riders showed up for the ride including my usual posse of club riders.

Of course the ride started at a blistering pace and its always fun to see all the red blinkies on the riders as they trail off into the distance. I quickly was left behind as my computer popped off (I need to replace the computer mount the tab is missing) at some rough railroad tracks. After retrieving my computer I set off to catch the peleton - luckily my friend Michael yelled at me and I looked at my cue sheet to find out I had almost missed a turn. Just a bit later the zippy riders passed me as they had missed the turn. If you knew the area this turn could have been avoided and you would have been back enroute with no problems of couse this was where the Secret Control was so I'm very glad I made the turn. From there we climbed for awhile over the Pacific Ridges and then a big descent which seemed to take forever due to headwinds coming up from the coast.

After the Descent the route took us to Tillamook home of the factory where the best cheese and ice cream come from - alas it was too far off route for the non speedy riders like me to stop at but I want to come back another time. Around Tillamook were lots of dairy fams - with Jersey cattle. The Jersey cattle are a fawn color and they had udders the size of the whole wide world.

After Tillamook we headed out to Cape Mears on the scenic Coastal Bicycle Route- what great views but of course. Alas what goes down must come up if you look at the ride profile we had a sharp climb out of Cape Mears.

Lunch awaited us at Netarts - Susan France the RBA had set up a nice spread. We found out that our friends Ralph and Carol had an accident on their tandem and had been taken off to the hospital. Ralph has a seperated shoulder and Carol got quite a bang on her noggin. They are going to be AOK but alas are off the bike for awhile and the bike looks like it needs some TLC also - both sets of handlebars are all busted up. Lunch also brought a quick kiss from Hubby who was also riding his own ride we don't tend to ride together much on these rides due to our different paces.

After lunch and regrouping with my possee we headed to Cape Look Out - Look Out - look at those views - haystack rocks, hang gliders and beautiful beaches. Then a weird place called Sand Lake home of Dune Buggies and many ATV's. Not my kinda of riding but they sure were having fun.

The third cape was Cape Kiwanda - then Pacific City which has a really great pub The Pelican Pub (another place to visit another day). We settled for Coffee and a muffin and watching the ocean for a few minutes. Time to leave the beach and head inland.

We went up and over Sourgrass Summit which was not much compared to what we had already climbed today. My group was going to stop at DQ for another break but I dropped off the back and was starving again much sooner so I made a quick break at the Taco Time for a veggie mexie burrito and a refill of the camelbak. When I passed the DQ I did see several bicycles there but they did not belong to my crew.

I rode to Amity Oregon and got my card signed at the next control. Since dark was falling I grouped up with Tom, Scott, Bill and Ray to finish the ride. At some point Scott, Bill and Ray got ahead of us so Tom and I finished together. Hubby finished just a little later - safe and sound.

All and All it was a great day - would I do this route again - You Bettcha. Would I recommend this route to the casual cyclist - yes it would make a great 2 day ride with a possible overnight in Pacific City so you could have dinner at the Pelican Pub.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Girls - Horses - Bicycles

The Zippy (Race Across America Riders - Michelle Grainger and Cat Berge) told us that due to having less time on the road they have more time to do goofy stuff off the bike.

I sometimes wonder if some women cyclists have moved from horses to bicycles. When I sold my horse when I was in college I was already an avid cyclist having done a tour when I was only 13. At the time I entered cycling - I liked how much cheaper it was then riding. You don't have to shoe or feed a bicycle. But now I'm finding it's probably not that much cheaper. It's fun to buy your bike a buddy - the zippy bike - the singlespeed bike and bike clothes are not cheap. Best of all its fun to travel and meet other cyclists like these goofy girls.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Tucson

Tonight I head home but have the day to play in Tucson. Julie and I rode down to check out the University of Arizona in downtown Tucson. Also went to the shops on 4th Avenue - we found a really cool shop called Native Seeds. Native Seeds carries all sorts of Southwest products, handmade bowls, utensils and of course beans and spices. It was nice to find out that they have an internet presence also so we can buy more bean soup if we get addicted to it. The workers in the shop were both from the Seattle area and told us they get a bit tired of the dusty weather and their noses always dripping. Julie and I also loved the Adobe Houses located near the University. I had scheduled late check out with the plan to just hang out until my flight this evening so we bicycled back to the hotel to check me out. The clerk at the hotel was SUPER nice and just said keep the room until I left. I packed up the bike, took a swim, finished packing up my purchases, got a subway sandwich across the street and took the shuttle to the Airport. At the Airport I ordered myself a big beer, ate my sandwich (too messy for the plane) and waited for my flight.
When I arrived in Seattle - I had to wait quite a while for the bike because it seemed like all of Seattle had been out of town golfing. I have never seem so many golf clubs in one place.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Sierra Vista to Tucson

Last day of camp we rolled early but I didn't get too far before I spotted a fellow desert camp rider with a flat tire. I stopped to help her change it (actually just loaned her my non wussy pump - a Zefal frame pump). Not too far down the road we came across the PAC van picking up a rider that had a blow out, I took a sag to the first rest stop because my legs were fried from riding every day for a week.

To the tune of Rock Lobster - Down Down Down . . . . No wonder I was so wiped out the first day. In returning to Tucson after we got up the hill it was all downhill from there.

Friday, April 07, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Bisbee Ride

I love this town!!!
Coffee and Shopping to be done.
Ride up Mule Pass for grilled cheese sandwiches, then a great descent and a tail wind most of the way back to Sierra Vista.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - 200K Brevet Day

Early day today to get in the miles and beat the heat.
We headed out with ride leader Jim Hvalka to get us through the Fort which has some tricky turns (which Barb and I found out about). Everyone was being way too zippy for it being early in the morning. We stopped at the Fort to show ID (oops where is mine - I thought I had it - got let in not turned back) This place is a big Army Fort and is more like a small town then anything else. We had to stop to wait for PT to finish and the road to open we talked to a 19 year old soldier, she told us that the army believed cycling was not physical enough. She was just yanking our chains of course. Somehow I can't see the Army issuing every one army green Mtn. or road bikes - its much cheaper to issue them Army boots. The zippy group soon sped off after asking directions to the Black Tower. Hey Black Tower that way and I follow Barb down a rough road and steep descent. We get to the bottom and of course we have taken a wrong turn. We weren't supposed to go to the Black Tower just where the road splits off. We turned around and exited the Fort at the West Gate. We spotted a giant jack rabbit at the gate but couldn't get a picture he hopped off way too fast. So added an additonal 5 miles to our ride for the day. A stop at Sonita for some bottled Starbucks (no Doubleshots - bummer). Susan Notarangelo was in Sonita and reminded us that the Lunch Van closed at 2:00 pm we told her no worries and that we would take care of ourselves. Barb and I headed up the road to Patagonia. Patagonia is a very cute town we ran into the rest of the group (today's non brevet ride turned around at Patagonia) - Susan C.'s bike had a mechanical so she was sagging the rest of the day with Lon but she was very happy to have found espresso and also that the place was liberal lots of anti-Bush cartoons. I told Barb that we should stop at the Deli/Espresso stand on the way back. Jim H. was already on his way back and warned us about construction on the way to the Airport. The guy directing traffic at the road closure offered to sign our brevet cards but we said no and headed on. Hey thats a dumb thought but aren't we almost in Mexico? We got our cards signed at the Nogales International Airport and headed back. Back through the construction and we flushed a Red Tail Hawk with a snake in its talons. Luckily Mr. Hawk did not drop his lunch on us. Shortly after the hawk incident - we spotted one of the PAC Tour vans - it was our secret control. We took a short break and talked to Lon and Susan C. they had pulled over at a roadside area that featured a cool shrine that was dedicated to some folks that had a run in with the indians way back when - yes folks this is the wild west. Alas we are not making good time and need to make the next control so no lunch in Patagonia. We got our cards signed in Sonita and went down the street to the Fuel Stop for some fresh Deli Sandwiches. We took a long lunch and discussed if we should chance riding back through the fort since I don't have my ID with me. Barb said yes - we would be able to get though and sure enough she was right. I just kept looking through pockets and the guards got annoyed and let me through. Riding through the Fort was hilly but beautful. We got back to the hotel around 6:00 pm. We finished the Brevet and had a great day on the road. We could have made much better time but Barb had a flat and hey its vacation so need to take time to look at the Cactus and Cows.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Tombstone Ride

Where the West was Fun.
Fed Ex Truck on Main Street
First Gunfight at 11:30 am
Not the Pony Express - Pony Espresso
Rode with Susan Notarangelo

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Coronado Ride

This is my friend Melissa - a Rando Grrl from British Columbia. It was cool getting to know Melissa better - I had met her on-line on the long distance forum and then met her at the Canadian Fleche last year. I had posted to the forum that I was attending this week of desert camp and said Hey Melissa there is room for you too. Thoughts on meeting her - she is one tough rider, very steady and able to hold her own in geeky bicycle conversations. Melissa wasn't able to ride the brevet with me due to her being a Canadian and needing a Military Escort through the fort.

Monday, April 03, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Tucson to Sierra Vista

The tour leaders determined a different route for us to leave town due to it being Monday morning and lots of traffic on the roads.

Hey its Hot down here, and we are going to be riding about 5,000 feet above sea level all week. So will take a few days to get acclimatized.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006

Yesterday I arrived in Tucson Arizona to attend the first ever week of PAC Tour Women's Training Camp. A group of us from Redmond Cycling Club traveled to Tucson together. We caught the shuttle to the hotel and chatted with a few of the folks that had finished up Mountain Tour Week. I talked to Paul Fleming and found out that he had enjoyed his week of riding on his new Soma Smoothie ES. Paul said that the Steel Som had beat him up a bit compared to a titanium bicycle. Those roads in Arizona though are really rough with lots of chip seal and cracks from freezing.

Today we met the crew including Lon Haldeman and Susan Noterangelo and put together our bicycles. We also took a ride to the Sagurro National Park which is beautiful and did a 10 mile loop ride within the park. We talked to a few other folks that were out riding and were given a recomendation for lunch - just a convience store down the road but they had great granita's (icey coffee drinks) that hit the spot with riding in the heat.

We headed back to the hotel for a short presentation on camp and what was required of us and what they would provide. One of the things that was highly stressed was paceline safety - my friend Anne Marie later told me this is because they had accidents on almost all the previous weeks and had to have riders helicoptered out.

We walked down the street to Morgan's for a quick dinner and hit the sack early because we start riding at 7:00 am tomorrow.

Monday, March 27, 2006

No Tahuya for Me

The plan had been to ride the SIR 300k which is a devilish ride around Hood Canal - I know you are saying isn't that where she rode last weekend. Well yes and no - the SIR 300k includes Big Valley Road, Port Ludlow and a journey out of Deliverance though the Tahuya Hills. If your interested in reading about this years ride - check out my friend Kent Peterson's Blog and webpage. Hubby and I decided not to ride it - pretty late on Friday night - Honeywell wanted him to work for some hours this weekend which would not be possible when one is dead tired and I'm off to Arizona next weekend for PAC Tour women's week and did not want to get hurt on this ride and not have a good vacation.

We will go to Oregon next month and ride the 300k with those folks outside of Tillamok.

So what did we do this weekend - of course we rode our bicycles. We did a Lake Washington loop with a bunch of friends. The exciting thing on this ride was the borrowed Bacchetta that my friend Linda was riding. Linda - has something going on with her neck and thinks that if she is going to continue riding that its going to be on a rolling lawn chair. I've ridden with Peter Liekio who also has a Bacchetta and know that they are nice bikes - but Linda did herself proud on this thing. I would say the most difficultly she had was starting and stopping and since I screwed up and led us through downtown Bellevue instead of the bypass we did a lot of that.

Sunday - Hubby headed off to work and I went and rode with Cascade Bicycle Club. Every year they do a series of rides called Cascade Training Series to get people ramped up for STP and other events. I like and dislike the rides:
PRO: It's fun to ride with a group
CON: The groups are GIANT

I also took a trip to REI to use my 20% off coupon that they send you with your dividend. My dividend was only $10.00 with all the Kayaking Gear I bought last year that does seem impossible but its true. I was looking for something for Hubby's B-Day but alas it seems like we have it all - yes we are gear heads. The thing I did find to buy was a new on the market product - it turns your big mouth nalgene bottle into a french press coffee maker. It's called the press-Bott and its very cool. I'll probably take it to Arizona with me so I'll have some good coffee. Maybe a trip to Zoka this week is in order to stock up.

So only 80 miles this weekend - but I'm psyched for vacation and ready to go - I had time this weekend to get stuff together for the trip.

Monday, March 20, 2006

RCC Hood Canal 200k

The bike was still set up from last weeks SIR 200k so just had to add some air to the tires. I had to leave home very early in the morning to catch the 6:10 ferry to Bainbridge. I grabbed a few things before heading out the door but then managed to set down my sunglasses and pull the floor lamp into my face while trying to manuever around extra bike wheels, a wine rack and the bike pump. Ouch that hurt - maybe it is a sign just to climb back into bed and not do this ride today since it is almost the same ride I will be doing next weekend. Alas Hubby didn't get up to check on me so guess I had to ride.
Arrived downtown at the ferry terminal just in time to see the last cars loading - the toll keeper called ahead and told them one more cyclist and she is peddling fast which I did.
Upstairs on the ferry grabbed coffee, a breakfast sandwich and met up with my fellow riders. Very few unfamiliar faces and a few I didn't expect to see on this ride.
The ride quickly crosses Bainbridge Island, crosses Agate Pass and then the Hood Canal Bridge. The Hood Canal Bridge is always dreaded on these rides, we have had riders go down on it and get hurt. We took it easy across the bridge and headed onto the turn off for Quilcene. A quick stop and regroup in Quilcene at the convience store for some chocolate milk and a granola bar. I rode with my friend Tom for awhile and Tom commented that he was digesting the chimichangas from the hotcase in Quilcene. I told Tom that had been risky - he replied because this "wasn't RAMROD" he could take time and eat what he wanted instead of the Ensure some of our cohorts of the day were toating along in their camelbak pockets. Tom said he was looking forward to a Cheeseburger in Hoodsport - I said I would stick with a fish sandwich but must have french frys. One of my favorite parts of this ride is the town names, we rode through Hamma Hamma, Lilliwup, Dosewalips and then into Hoodsport. The cafe in Hoodsport was busy so I thought I would buy Tom lunch and it would be there on the table when he arrived just a few minutes after me. Tom doesn't show up - so I gave his cheeseburger to some nice folks. See there is such a thing as a free lunch - but only if you show up for it. From Hoodsport to near the finish I rode with my friend Peg. We kept a nice pace going and I spotted the Gyros and Cheesesteak restaurant so knew we were in the homestretch. At Belfair we head towards Bremerton on some nice side roads but then have to go on a Highway 3 overpass to get onto the bike lanes in Bremerton. With only 3 more miles until the ferry - my bike starts to feel funny - yep a rear flat and no time to change it unless I want to miss the ferry. I saw a bus stop with someone waiting and asked when the next bus was due and where it was headed. She said 5 minutes and the ferry terminal. So the best $1.25 I spent on a ride - I made the ferry and caught a lift home with someone who had driven to the start of the ride.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Yesterday we rode the SIR 200K. The ride started in Kent at our friend Greg Cox's house we loaded up the carless riders Tom and Dr. K. from our neighborhood into hubbys 1990 Chevrolet Beauville Van. A drive to Kent, with just time to unload, sign in and hit the road.
The ride went to Dash Point a stretch of road I had yet to explore and I really enjoyed it beautiful views of the Sound and quiet roads. We stopped at Town Center Foods (control) to strip down and get some coffee (Starbucks Double Shot - canned coffee) From there we headed to Black Diamond for a stop at the Black Diamond Bakery for a yummy coconut doughnut and some chocolate milk. I was with John Vincent at this pont and looked like he could have been pushed over with a feather when I ordered the chocolate milk. I don't think he had ever considered that as riding fuel. I talked to him for awhile about his riding plans for the upcoming season - he plans on riding the California Triple Crown which consists of three double centuries and if you complete all three you can purchase a very cool jersey that shows you are a studly finisher of the Triple Crown. From Black Diamond the route took us on back roads to Enumclaw (with a secret control run by Mark Thomas and Peter Mckay) I made a quick stop at Charlie's restaurant in Enumclaw when I came out I spotted Dr. K. in front of me. Up the grind to Greenwater with being an out and back one gets to see the riders coming back for the home stretch. Lots of snow and slush on the side of the road but great weather - a refueling stop at the Greenwater (Control) convience store included some more lovely rando food (buddig turkey and string cheese) then down the hill. I spotted hubby riding up the hill with a rider wearing an extremely bright orange vest. Back in Enumclaw a quick stop at the Circle K (Control) found us at a regroup before heading out for the last stretch. The Circle K facilities get a gold star - a scent machine, bathroom rugs, a table with tablecloth and even fake flowers. Up one last hill - and then back to Greg's for a Chili feed and a chance to visit with fellow riders. I finished with the rider in the orange vest - he turned out to be Albert - the ride leader of the month from Cascade - it was strange to go home and read the courier and hey there is that guy we both rode with.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Rollercoaster - 60 Miles of Fun Fun Fun

Rollercoaster is one of our club rides that we do several times a year. It starts with catching the ferry from West Seattle to Southworth. Much of the route follows the course for the Peninsula Metric Century that is put on by the Tacoma Wheelmen. From Southworth a nice ride to Port Orchard for a potty stop and quick shove of a power bar down the gullet. Continue on for 30 hilly miles with incredible views of the Puget Sound and Bremerton. Once we reach Gig Harbor we go to this great soup and sandwich place called Susannah's and then a quick ride back to Southworth the catch the ferry back to West Seattle. Yesterdays ride quickly splintered into several groupos out front and with the slower riders like me bringing up the rear. We thought we were going to be late for lunch so took a short cut up Rosedale road which ended up not being too much of a shortcut it added hills but maybe only cut 2 miles. After a most excellent lunch at Susannah's it was time to head out for the ferry. I made the ferry with the rest of the group and my hubby didn't. There was quite the discussion on if I should have waited for him and if the situation had been reversed he should have waited no questions asked. If it was on a brevet neither one of us would have waited for the other if we had the possibility of a dnf. He had the car keys and the house keys so I was not leaving him stranded in West Seattle. I just went and hung out at a friend's house for a few hours until he got home. He had a good afternoon talking on the cell phone and telling motorcyclists about his cool speed blend tires. The motorcyclist all want to know where they can get a pair.

Monday, February 27, 2006

SIR 100K Populaire

Populaire - good way to put it. This year over 100 riders showed up on a cold saturday morning to explore the farm lands outside of Woodinville Washington. I haven't been doing any rando rides the last several years due to getting married and just taking a break. So it was good to be back in the fold and see all my friends. Hubby and I rode from home since it's sometimes easier to just pack up the bikes and ride out the door. It was a cold morning in Seattle but after the ice and snow of the day before we were happy to see the roads clear and get out there. They changed the route this year and I was familier with most of the roads just not riding them in the opposite direction (I think they are hillier this way). We got in a really good ride - but I have to say I should have had more training, needed to drink and eat more, and I hit up my friend Lola for Endurolytes. These are an amazing supplement which help to reduce cramping and replenish your elecrolytes without drinking such nasty stuff as Gatorade.

The map is courtesy of my friend Kent Peterson - Kent also has additional pictures from the SIR 100k on his website which is

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Seattle Bike Expo - My First Time on Rollers

This past weekend was the Seattle Bike Expo, I spent time volunteering for the Redmond Cycling Club Booth telling folks about RAMROD, S2S and Cannonball. It is so much nicer to volunteer now that registration for RAMROD is done on-line now instead of at Bike Expo. I have a lottery By-Pass and am psyhed to to do the ride for the 2nd time - I rode it in 2004 and had a great time.

I also met Davis Phinney and asked him about a picture of his wife Connie Carpenter that sticks in my mind - he said it is probably the picture Annie Liebowitz took of her in 1984 when she was in the Olympics. It was good to see him and hear how he is dealing with Parkinson's disease and the Davis Phinney Foundation that he set up.

I also rode rollers for the first time this weekend - they were different though from the standard rollers and seemed quite a bit safer - It's a small company called If we had the space I would like to own a set of these - I only rode them for a few minutes but felt like I was getting the hang of it very quickly. I'll be happy when we get a house and can have the weights, rowing machine and a set of rollers in the basement or workout room.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Okay my current obsession is wool gear from IBEX or Woolistic. I recently purchased several wool SIR club jerseys and for X-Mas hubby gave me a wool vest from IBEX and a jersey - and the wool just keeps on coming. We just celebrated our first Valentines day together as hubby and spouse and an IBEX jacket came my way.

Today in the paper there was an article on wool sportswear and how popular it is becoming - you could have just asked me - I think I'm keeping those folks in business.

Scratch those old woolens for lightweight high-tech fibers
By Dan A. Nelson
Special to the Seattle Times

Wool enjoys a well-earned reputation for warmth --whether wet or dry - and durability. But wool dropped in popularity with the advent of technical synthetic fibers that can be used to make fabrics that wick moisture while still insulating.
Wool teetered on the edge of oblivion in the technical outdoor market, until the entrance of Ibex Outdoor Clothing. Ibex created a line of clothing using new generations of wool that are softer, lighter and more comfortable (i.e., NO itch) than traditional wool. From simple long-sleeve T-shirt designs to wool jackets, the apparel made by the small company based in Woodstock, Vt., proves comfortable for trail or town.
But as fine as their general merchandise is, the best of their line boasts a new highly technical fabric made by the Swiss firm Schoeller Textiles, whose North American base is right here in Seattle.
Dubbed Skifans by Schoeller, the new fabric features a blend of soft, warm wool with the newest generation of four-way stretch synthetics (such as their DrySkin Extreme, used by Cloudveil - See Get in Gear, Aug. 10, 2000). The result is a fabric that offers the warmth and comfort of wool, with the wicking, flexibility and strength of modern synthetics.
Ibex forms the new Skifans into several outerwear pieces. The most versatile are the men's Icefall and women's Cirque jackets. These jackets (essentially the same piece, with slightly different styling and tailoring for each gender) can be used as a straight replacements for standard fleece insulation layers.
But there's a bonus - several actually. The Ibex jackets insulate as well as a midweight fleece jacket but weigh a few ounces less (average weight is 15 ounces) and are far less bulky. The Ibex jackets take up less than half the space in your pack when you have to stash the garment.
The Skifans fabric blocks out wind far better than fleece, and it also is highly water-resistant, meaning you can wear it in a light rain shower or through heavy mist/fog and not worry about getting wet (nor do you have to tug on a less-breathable rain shell in these conditions, meaning you can often leave the shells at home, saving even more weight in your backpack!).
For those days when you are enjoying a highly aerobic activity such as snowshoeing or skiing, the jacket may be too warm. What you need is something to keep your torso protected from the elements. The Glacier/Glade vests (i.e., men's/women's version) do just that.
These Skifans vests follow the same pattern as the jackets, so they fit and perform just as well. Or, for the anorak fans, Ibex offers the Randonee Pullover. All are ideal for classic Northwest weather, no matter the season. They wick away sweat, seal in warmth, block out wind and repel light rain. What more could anyone ask for?
The jackets sell for $225 for the men's Icefall, $198 for the women's Cirque. The vests run $130 and the pullover costs $235.
For more information, contact Ibex Outdoor Clothing, 802-457-9900 or visit
Dan A. Nelson is publications editor and gear specialist for Washington Trails Association.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Long Distance Cycling Time Commitments

Just a short note on time commitments if your a long distance cyclist you know how this sport eats into your life and you wonder how to make the space to spend with friends and family. It's tough but easier if you don't have a mixed relationship (ie one a cyclist and one not). I believe I'm a more obsessed cyclist then my husband but he probably puts more mileage in commuting to work then I do - hey his work is 2x the distance from our home then mine his. Because of his commute distance and work schedule we sometimes do not get to spend much time together during the week. This is probably true of many couples though with busy work and social lives. Today will be nice because the circumstances are working with us - his company knows that when projects are due the engineers will work many hours and will be unhappy since they are not able to spend much time with their families so they have family night which includes dinner. I'll catch the bus with my bike to Redmond Washington where he works, we will enjoy dinner together and then get in a nice 20 mile ride home. I'll end up getting 30 miles in today, he will get in 40 miles and we will have spent some time together.
I really don't know how most folks manage to work, do your household chores, deal with kids, social life and manage to be involved with this sport - but I salute you.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Good Glutes = Nice A$$

One of the folks on the SIR list serve asked about if she should ride this weekend due to the wind storm that is headed to Seattle - I replied that it might be a good day to go to the gym and work on some cross training work those glutes, quads and build up some neck muscles to help on those 1200k rides. In doing a search on "Good Glutes" I came across this article on from the Rodale book, The Men's Health Guide to Peak Conditioning.

When it comes to a firm butt, most men are usually interested in those of the opposite sex, not their own. When we exercise, the butt muscles—or, to be more precise, the gluteal muscles—often get moved to the rear of the workout, and that''s if they get worked at all.

But your glutes are not the kind of muscles you want to leave behind in your ongoing quest for powerful fitness. In the end, good glutes do more than give us a place to sit or a way to attract women—they actually help us to be more graceful and powerful in physical endeavors. At the gym, on the field, in your life, having a stronger rear end gives you important physiological advantages.

The article goes on and contains many helpful exercises.

So on those rainy windy days if your unmotivated to get out and ride - time to work on those glutes.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Quit Biting the Kitty!!!

My Dad sent me this picture the other day - no its not me but it made me laugh. Why you ask - because I am always harrassing my kitty kat and Hubby says quit biting the kitty. So I imagine that I probably was like this as a kid. Polenta our kitty is a big yellow and white "Morris" type kitty. I named him Polenta because he is yellow and mushy and licks people like a dog would.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bike Lust- A Disease

I don't really need another bike - in fact there is not room for it in the living room right now. Between my husband and myself there are 10 bicycles in the living room (this isn't counting the Mtn. Bikes, a few frames and a tandem stashed elsewhere) and we live in a one-bedroom apartment

The other day I walked into Ti-Cyles to look for a wind front cycling shirt (sold out) and of course had to walk around and see what else they have. A lovely rasberry Co-Motion Americano caught my eye. Damn its my size. So I keep thinking about that bike and how I can justify getting my Co-Motion Nor'Wester a new friend to play with - but alas I don't think its to be my hubby and I are saving for a house and I don't have any big self contained tours scheduled to justify buying a kitchen sink touring bike.

I hope that lovely rasberry bike finds a good home.