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.