Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Wall By Any Other Name...

What do Country Fried Steak and a 28% climb have in common? I don't know either, but they were both on my plate Sunday.

After an awesome breakfast at Gravy the Bicycle Vigilantes over at Yakima Racks, and Carey drug my sorry butt out for a ride. I was hoping for a nice leisurely ride around PDX, as we had all been up late eating Fots.
I've never been known for my luck.

After an all too brief warm up, the city had been left behind and all that lay in front of us were country roads. I was beside myself. To have access to quiet roads that close to downtown...unimaginable in Seattle.

{come on...really!?} {a couple of vigilantes}

Through rolling pastures, a couple of climbs, great weather and really bad jokes our ride continued. As we approached the end of our ride things took an up-turn. A 28% up-turn. Ryan and Dylan thought it would be fun to put on our crampons and scale a vertical wall they called 'Brynwood'. I call it ridiculous! Carey and Dylan got an early jump on the climb and were soon Zig-Zag'n their way up. Ryan and I attacked the climb heading straight up the one lane road. We matched each other pedal stroke for painful pedal stroke to the top. Or...what I thought was the top. Turns out there was a turn, and it continued to go up. While fishing for air Ryan gasped a laugh at me. He had managed to catch himself a big old 'sucker fish' to follow him up the first third of the climb.

{Ouch}{cutting a zig}{the road IS at this angle} {catching our breath}
{fortunately it was mostly downhill back to town}

I love riding in new places with new people. Can't wait to head back soon and get some more.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Familiar Faces in New Places

Saturday morning...11am. My 4Runner is loaded up and I'm outta Seattle. I had a desire to ride somewhere else...anywhere else than Seattle. So I called up a friend and asked if it'd be alright if I swung down for the weekend.

Can you make out who it is?

How bout now?

You have to have a good idea by now.

The recipe for the evening...

  1. One part 'new location'
  2. Two part 'nite ride'
  3. One container of "Fots" for a Vegitarin Pot Luck party. (Fak'n Bac'n wrapped Tater Tots)
  4. Two girls arm wrestling for no reason
  5. One of the nerdiest funk bands I've ever seen
  6. One fun riding parter

Mix it all together and you get a Saturday evening in Portland.

Yes! Wanda Jackson...

Look 'pit stains.

I hope he's going to the Island of Misfit Toys

Didn't I learn to look over BOTH shoulders?!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Last nite on my ride home I came across some more graffiti. I’m a big fan of street art and the various places it pops up.
While ingesting my morning ‘cup of ambition’ at ACC a patron by the name of Murray sat down and started a dialog. ‘Good morning’
‘Good morning, how are you?’
‘I don’t think you want to ask me that question. I’ve been through 48 years of hardship, depression, and pain. And you probably don’t want me to get started on that.’
‘Beautiful day, isn’t it?’
‘They’re all beautiful when you’re a poet.’
Murray is a street poet and plays the Jazz trumpet. He doesn’t have a job and hasn’t paid taxes in 10 years. He does ‘odd jobs’ here and there to make his modest rent every month. He loves to shock people at various corners in downtown Seattle by announcing ‘truths’ to large groups waiting to cross the street or get on a bus. He doesn’t preach. He wants people to think, and pay attention to what is going on outside of our own self importance.
While I wouldn’t consider myself much of deviant…I like the idea of not conforming to the norm of driving everywhere I go. I don’t put myself on some Eco soapbox and tout about how I’m decreasing my Carbon Footprint…shoot, my carbon bike is proof of that. Currently our roads are set up with cars and mass transportation of people and goods in mind and as long as this stays the norm…I will deviate from what they tell me the intended use of the pavement is. “I see you riding your bike all over the place, don’t I?”
“If you hang out here and around Downtown, you may have seen me riding.”
“That’s good. Keep it up.”

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hey Seattle...

It's that time of year in the North West. We received one great day of sunshine this past weekend to really get everyone psyched for summer. BBQ's were fired up, sunglasses were purchased, and people got sunburned. Truly, it appeared that spring was upon us.

Now, this weekend, they're predicting snow. Mother Nature...she can be a real Mother...

With the possibility of spring happening any any moment...the time is quickly approaching for everyone to shake off their heavy rain coats for a much lighter rain jacket. For people to rally their co-workers out of their winter slumber. For the commuters of the Emerald City to come up with creative names for teams, and sign up for Bike To Work Month.

It may not appear to be almost May outside...but it is. So gather up teams of 4-10, or do it solo. What ever you do, grab your bike and go for a ride.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


{it's strecthy pant season}

Many parts of the country get to experience the full range of what mother nature gifts us during the year. Four beautiful and completely different seasons to enjoy...

In the Pacific Northwest we enjoy 3 seasons. The first 2 being Wet and Dry. These can happen at anytime during the year and with no regularity. The third season is what I refer to as the 'other season'. The 'other season' is the season we make up to get through the first 2. Skiing, Biking, Grilling, Drinking...what have you. This weekend I started one of my ‘other’ seasons. Racing...or as I like to look at it...participating.
My first 'race' was a revist to a familiar course. Last year at Volunteer Park I missed the final lap and sprint by not hearing the ‘last lap’ bell. I vowed to never let it happen again.
Saturday 85 brave spandex clad cyclists lined up for the Cat 4/5 race early in the morning. The race unfolded like anyone would imagine.

{am I even in there?}

{oh yeah, hanging out next to jerky}
Wrecks…none that I know of.
Breakaways…random and all failed.
Finish…mass sprint.

{so serious}

The only thing I didn’t imagine was crossing the line 5th.
I’m going to chalk that one up to my Cheer Squad that showed up. They posted themselves at various places around the course to offer me words of ‘encouragement’ during the race. They were very savvy in making sure I knew the final lap count. And my roommate was nice enough to dangle a can of Rainier next to the finish line for motivation.

{in Paris it's champagne}

{ahhhh, the 'participants' diet}

Sunday was my cherry popping first Boat Street Crit. While they separated the 4s and 5s for this race, and the fields were smaller…this race was more exciting and dangerous than the previous. The course had a tight up-hill turn and a down-hill screamer of a turn that was just begging for carnage.

As the race unfolded rims were scuffed, pedals hit corners, and riders were picked up off the pavement. On the final lap it appeared that it was going to set up for another bunch sprint. Until a scrappy Raleigh employee surprised the bunch on the back straight to make one last dash to the finish line alone. Head down, legs screaming, and a quick look over the shoulder victory appeared all but certain.

However, victory was not to be mine. I should have looked over both shoulders. A lone rider had managed to grab my wheel when I accelerated and pimped me at the line by half a wheel length.
I don’t know what is worse. Coming so close to winning…and not. Or explaining to my fans why I couldn't pull it off.

I'd like to thank both Recycled Cycles and Cucina Fresca for putting on a very fun start to this...the silliest looking season.

UPDATE: New pictures are up. If you want to see how large the Volunteer field was, the wreck on Boat Street, and how close the finish was...go here and here. Thanks to the folks at Wheels In Focus for their continued great coverage of the races.

Friday, April 11, 2008

New Beginnings

It's been 2 weeks since Carey and Case left me to commute alone. I could be sad about this and mope my way into work every day. Instead I decided to shake things up, try some new things, and meet some new people to ride in with.

Carey and I had become such good regulars at All City that the Baristas would start our order as we were dismounting our bikes. It would be easy for me to continue to swing in there every day and pretend that nothing had changed. Instead I found a new coffee shop to stop at along a new route I'll be taking. The staff seems friendly, the pastries tasty, and the Americano is pulled correctly. We'll see how this new relationship works out over the next couple months.

After I got my fix I set out to find someone to talk to on the way into work. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of people that make the 20 (odd) miles from Seattle heading South. I did happen upon a couple people though...
This guy was too fast and not very talkative. His head was down, sweat dripping off his nose with his mouth agape. It looked more like an exercise in pain than a pleasant ride into work.
I see this lady all the time. She always waves and has a smile on her face. Unfortunately she heads the opposite direction...

I finished my morning commute alone but with my head held high. This was my first attempt trying to find someone to ride with. While I didn't find anyone this morning there's still an entire ride home to meet strangers.
And strange they got. I met this guy right out the door and rode with him all the way into downtown.

He seems normal enough.

Then later on that nite I ran into this girl...

She seems nice too...

While I'm going to miss my old riding partners. I can't wait to see who I get to ride with next.

Have a great weekend.


If you feel the need for speed...this weekend in Seattle should be just the fix you're looking for.

Saturday morning wets the pallet with an early appetizer at the Volunteer Park Crit. I think I learned a lot last year and am ready to put my knowledge to use by listening for the last lap bell.

Sunday morning the Brad Lewis Memorial Crit should prove worth the spectating and participating. With several Raleigh people entering the race, and lots of smack talk/bragging rights on the line, we should be able to keep things lively.

I'll be "Sandbagging" both of these races as my request to upgrade was shot down like a wounded duck by USA Cycling.

If you still need more I hear there is a race going on in Europe this Sunday as well. Probably won't be as exciting to watch as the weather is supposed to be pretty crappy. Anyone who wants to watch this should head to the Summit Ale House for viewing. But with the weather creeping into the 60's this weekend in might be tough to sit in a bar.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When the dam breaks

I exited my house this morning with high hopes.
Hope that the grey sky was just that, grey.
Hope that the wind howling at my window would subside once I got into the valley.

Hope that I had dressed right for the occasion and that my vacation hadn't killed the brain cell responsible for dressing me in the morning.

Hope can be such a silly belief that everything is going to be alright. And why was hope the only good thing trapped in Pandora's box with all the evil in the world? Is it because Hope is just as dangerous?

The rain let loose from the grey sky 3 blocks from my house.
The wind stayed as constant and pushed the rain into my face.
My brain cell didn't stand a chance this past week and I was adding layers 4 blocks from my house.

Despite this I continued to turn my pedals and maintained a silly satisfaction from riding my bike...until...2 miles from work, my Sidi moisture defense barrier was finally breached. It doesn't matter how far you ride...the minute your feet are drowning so is your motivation.

I just hope they dry out by the time I ride home.