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.