Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside - or how my R-12 attempt met its end

Saturday Dec 20 - already snow on the ground in the Seattle area for a week and this is what my thermometer showed at 7:35am - yes that says 17 degrees F! 2 days later early in the morning as I was looking at the window surveying the beautiful winter scene I heard an ominous drip drip drip from the window. Our gutters were full of ice and snow and the downspouts were completely frozen solid. Since our house has no eaves that means it backed up right onto (and into!) the walls and was coming in the house. Out we go with ladders, flashlights (it was still dark), drill, sharp objects, etc. We disconnected the downspouts and and thawed them in the garage until we could empty out the ice and reattach them. Next day I was on "downspout duty" and emptied one out before it got clogged - got about a 3 foot long section of "ice tube" intact - pretty cool.

Anyway, all this equates to no 200k ride for me this month (there is no chance for me before the end of the year now I'm afraid) so I'll be starting my R-12 quest over in January. Wouldn't it be great if Santa put a new bike under the tree to take up where the Kestrel let off????

Friday, 19 December 2008

Women's Bike Camp - June 12-14, 2009

Last year Lisa Brudvik and Bridget Herzog put on a women's bike camp near Leavenworth in the tradition of Estelle Grey. I was one of the coaches for the event and it was great. It was a small group and every woman there gained skills and confidence in cycling. This year Bridget had to bow out and Lisa extended me the honor of asking me to partner with her to present the camp again in 2009. If you or someone you know might be interested please check out the website here:
or feel free to contact me for more information.

Monday, 15 December 2008

RIP Kestrel 1993-2008

Over the past couple of years I had begun to wonder about the state of my sexy fun summer bike - a red Kestrel first generation carbon fibre bike. In my quieter moments I had to balance my thoughts between visions of a catastrophic failure on a fast windy descent vs $0 in the budget for a new bike. The fates now have taken the balance scales out of my hands and firmly yanked on the chain of the failure side (fortunately without the aforementioned adjective).

A couple of months ago Robin complained of my bike "creaking". I didn't hear it but sometimes you don't - you ride away from the noise I guess. He thought the crank was moving too much so diagnosed a worn out bottom brac
ket. No problem, off to our favorite bike shop - Sammamish Valley Cycles - place an order, and even get personal delivery from Mark Thomas before our weekly group ride on Sunday. Sunday evening Robin heads to the basement to install the new bb. About 45 minutes later he comes looking for me and finds me flopped in front of the TV - uh, wait - I mean preparing a 4 course dinner while tutoring an underpriveleged youth in calculus and listening to classical music - yes, that's it. Anyway, he reports the aluminum cylinder that hods the bottom brackets has delaminated from the carbon fibre frame (or whatever) and the bike is toast. A great many and mixed emotions accompany this news. Hopeful that Kestrel will offer some kind of replacement under their lifetime guarantee thus possibly securing a new bike, relief that the end didn't manifest itself in one of the painful and gory ways I had previously imagined, guilty at having secretly plotted ways to replace it (although not successfully), and lastly and mostly sadness since this is the nicest bike I have ever owned (or more correctly stolen from my husband) and I've had hundreds of fantastic rides on it. I conquered the Death Ride on it, rode my very first brevet on it, joined in many fast and fun group rides on it, redeemed a DNF of 1000km brevet on it, and completed the bike leg of Canada Ironman on it.

It is red, sleek, and shiny and always got attention even when lighter, newer, and fancier bikes were around. My dear Kestrel, you will be missed.
The ever patient Kestrel leaning on the picnic table in Ashford waiting to carry me to Paradise and beyond.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Who's afraid of Charly Miller?

Some of the SIR folks (including Robin) have plans of setting a Charly Miller time at PBP in 2011. Charly Miller was the first American to ride PBP at its second edition in 1901 and got 5th place (it was a professional race back then) of 56 hours 40 minutes. RUSA now recognizes American riders who make that time or better as members of La Societe Charly Miller. Getting an early start on things Robin has been organizing weekend group rides with the goal of fostering riders who can work together to achieve the goal. Personally I'm just showing up to spend time with some of my favorite folks and try to keep in shape over the winter. While Robin was in England I got the rides off the ground and it was quite social and friendly. When he got back he started putting into practice his vision for the rides and things got a little more serious and that seemed to scare a few folks off. They shouldn't be scared - if I can hang on these rides anyone can. It is great to be out riding with such a fine group too. In the midst of a weekend of record cold temperatures and winter storms we managed to catch a window this morning to ride. Yes it was cold (see the photo of me refilling my water bottle at the slush filled water fountain at Flaming Geyser Park) but we stayed dry and had a good time. Thanks to Robin, Bob, Peter B, Peter M, and Ralph. Sorry Mark couldn't join us as he had to take care of the injured women of his household but he did show up at the start to BS and deliver my new bottom bracket - what a guy!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Living on Island Time

After a 6-week separation while Robin was in England and then a few days suffering together with nasty colds we were eagerly anticipating our mini vacation on Whidbey Island. A very generous friend had offered the use of his weekend place (NOT a beach cabin - rather a luxury multi-level home right on the beach). Up til the last minute we were plotting how to include a RUSA permanent ride to continue our quest of the R-12 but then bagged it and headed up with no bikes. A stop at the Skagit Co-op store in Mt Vernon (a premium store) for supplies, a short visit and lunch with friends in Anacortes and then back south along the island to our desination.

It was fabulous. NO agenda (last time we could remember a vacation like that was our honeymoon 19 years ago - ack!). Walked on the beach, watched waves, sea animals, and birds, read, sat by the fire, slept a LOT - it was incredibly quiet, ate, talked, laughed. Absolutely brilliant. Thanks to our benefactors for use of their home and to Dian and Steve for the yummy lunch and always fun conversation. We even got to stop in to see Bellevue fugitives now living on Whidbey, Greg & Kathy and tour their place with the incredible view.

Now, still gotta get that permanent in before the end of the month...can you say hypothermia???

Saturday, 29 November 2008

We've got the suds

We've had some great bike rides recently but I haven't taken the time to post anything and now Robin and I are both sick. When we are in the UK we can watch Spongebob Squarepants (we don't get the channel here) and in one episode Spongey gets the suds. That's how we feel.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Hot Chocolate Stand

I blew it on Sunday. The newly established SIR Team Ride was scheduled to start at 9am at Great Harvest Bread in Lake Forest Park. I'd been there once before but I got balled up on the way there, thinking I'd gone too far along 522, turned around, stopped to ask, and when I finally got there I'd already seen the gang about a half mile down the road starting their ride. No problem, I headed out on my own and explored some roads I hadn't ridden before, found a cool pedestrian bridge over 405 and ended up on the Sammamish River Trail after an hour or so of hill climbing. Great! As I headed back towards Lake Forest Park near the end of the Sammamish Trail before it meets up with the Burke Gilman there was a guy with his 2 young kids. They'd made a hot chocolate stand out of an abandoned door. It was really cool and the kids were as cute as could be. I had to stop but then realized I only had a $20 buck bill. They insisted on giving me one on the house and told me they'd be there next weekend too.

I likely won't be riding up there next weekend but if you are be prepared with $.50 to buy a hot chocolate. And if you ride, run, or walk by and don't buy one SHAME ON YOU! In fact, give them $.50 for me and I'll pay you back.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


On Tuesday I flew to Santa Rosa, CA to help my niece, Courtney, move back up to Washington. Stepping off the plane to 80 degree weather was heavenly! The first day and a half were pretty easy. Courtney and her mom and gotten most of her things packed up over the weekend and had hired some movers to pack the U-Haul trailer. That left us with cleaning the apartment and getting the last few items crammed into the trailer and the jeep. Things got a little ugly there and a few items were left behind because they just wouldn't fit. After the apartment inspection on Thursday morning we were on the road. The 12 foot trailer was not as bad to handle as I had feared but we were limited to about 60mph to keep it under control. After a night in beautiful Roseburg, OR we got to the Portland area around 11 am. That's when things got really interesting as we had several stops to make related to Courtney's new job and temporary living arrangements. Unloading the trailer at a storage facility was a challenge as the unit was approximately the same size as the trailer. I announced at one point that we weren't going to get everything in and Courtney went off to find out about renting an additional unit. In the meantime I just started cramming stuff in the unit all the way up to the top and somehow managed to actually get it all in. I am terrified of what I did in there however and have given grave warnings to any who might be there to unpack it in a couple of months. The last item was placed right up to the doorway as we back out and shut the door, yikes!

So, mission accomplished and Wednesday Courtney leaves to do a 2 week Italian cruise working as a sign language interpreter before returning to Vancouver/Portland for the next phase of her career. After moving the contents of her 1-bedroom apartment I am thinking I either need to stay in this house until I die or get very serious about a clean out. Craigs List here I come!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Quest for the Dry R-12

Update: a few photos nicked from David Rowe's (readytoride) flickr account:

Randonneurs USA (RUSA) offers an award to those members riding a minimum 200km qualifying ride each month for 12 consecutive months. I've decided to add a twist to my pursuit of this award and have declared I will attempt a Dry R-12. Living in the Pacific Northwest this is a lofty goal but a worthy one in my opinion. I have the 4 easiest months in the bag (June, July, August, and September) and managed to squeak an absolutely gorgeous 200km permanent ride in yesterday (October 1) to start the questionable months off right.

A surprising number of riders showed up on a midweek day at the Black Diamond Bakery to share in a beautiful and WARM ride up to Sunrise. We even finished in the daylight which was a wonderful bonus, especially given the fact that we were quite leisurely in our stops. Thanks to Mark for organizing and to Robin and Matt for patiently riding my pace and even supplying a push or two.

So, month 5 of the R-12 down and now to retire the shorts I was wearing that my husband kindly waited til after the ride to tell me had grown a bit too thin in the butt area. Like spandex swimsuits we must rely on the kindness of others to tell us when things are becoming revealing. Friends don't let friends ride or swim with see-through spandex.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

MS Ride

Robin and I used to be very involved with the MS Society in planning, organizing and riding the 1 and 2 day bike fundraiser events. After several years of being frustrated with the seeming lack of commitment on the part of the organization to dedicate resources and move the event forward we finally gave up and turned our efforts elsewhere. A few years ago my friend Desiree started riding the newly revamped MS Ride after a family member was diagnosed. I got the feeling from her stories that things had changed and was curious about it. Finally this year I asked to join her company's team (Point B) who were also presenters of the event. It was great to see just how much this event had turned around!

During the MS150 days we were thrilled when we got 400 riders. The MS Ride now gets 1500! I'm sure the dedication of both the MS administration and a strong and active board have been the keys to this turn around - all for the benefit of MS research and support. The format has changed drastically from a 2 day rolling event requiring riders to do a minimum of 75 miles each day to a centralized event with route choices from 20 to 100+ miles. Usually at funraiser events the riders tend to be pretty novice so this makes the event much more palatable for them. Having a central location where you return each night to familiar surroundings is another plus. They now get many more teams and corporate sponsors involved making it professional and just a little glitzy. A big rider village with team hospitality tents, information booths, and eating and entertainment venues really make it nice for the riders. Prior to the ride MS had a very user-friendly way of setting up a webpage and sending out emails to friends and family for your fundraising use. It made that part of it much easier than going around with my little sheet and envelope for money in the past.

Desiree's company put up a great beach/tiki themed tent complete with music, leis, and a frozen margarita machine. They fed us snacks and provided a fabulous catered dinner on Friday. I had 2 great days of riding in the sunny Skagit Valley with Desiree and her husband Steve. I saw a few folks I know from randonneuring and from other bike events and enjoyed riding some roads I've never been on before.

If you'd like more information about MS and/or you'd like to donate to my efforts (pledges can be paid until October 21) please visit my page at:

Friday, 19 September 2008

Labor Day in Rockford IL

We spent Labor Day in Rockford IL to celebrate an aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. All of my siblings and their spouses or significant others went along with my dad so we had 14 of the Seattle/Portland area Carolan clan on the flight together. It was a great weekend starting with a family gathering at the McGuire home in Rockford. Aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, out-laws - they were all there.

Saturday was the big day. Other family members arrived and we spent the day greeting them walking around Rockford first with my cousin Mary Ann and then with brother Paul and his girlfriend Anne.

Saturday evening we attended mass at Boylan Catholic High School where my uncle Vince was the Principal until his recent retirement and then back to the Lexington Cliff Breakers hotel for dinner, dancing, and partying.

On Sunday Robin and Scott required some "down time" to recover from all the family exposure but they bounced back quickly and then it was back to the McGuire home for some goodbyes.

Then off to Boylan again for a pool party and BBQ.

Finally on Monday Rockford could rid itself of us but first I had to get a photo of Alan with the famous "spitting boar" of Rockford before we gathered at the Stockholm Inn for breakfast and then the drive to O'Hare to head back home.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

MIA? - you'll be sorry you asked...

I haven't updated my blog for over a month and I really have no excuse except letting everyday life run its course and I really have been trying to get our deck repairs finished so we can claim the remainder of our insurance money but the kitchen/sunroom project is still not finished either and we got our appliances delivered but there was something wrong with the range, fridge, and dishwasher and we need to do some wiring work before we can install the microwave so that can't be checked off the list yet and when I went to order a section of Trex deck railing I found out I could only order it in "sets" with a bottom rail section and brackets which I don't need and I emailed Trex for help and they called and said they'd GIVE me a top rail which is really cool but that was over 2 weeks ago and still no deck railing and Robin has been working a ton of overtime so when he finally has some time at home I don't like to hound him about the things that I need his help on and of course (on a good note) we like to get out and ride bike like we did Saturday to celebrate RUSA's 10th anniversary and rode a 200k on the tandem and had a great day and also got to spend an hour and a half at the BBQ/beer stop near Poulsbo and then dragged our sorry butts the rest of the 21 miles into the end of the ride and Robin will be leaving for England sometime in early September and the trip is "only" 30 days so I don't get a ticket and I'm getting grumpy because not only is he barely home now but soon he'll be gone for a full month and the utility folks have been ripping our street up for the past 2 weeks replacing gas lines and rattling the house with their equipment and I've been on the phone for literally hours over the past month and a half battling my mortage company because they decided to reserve the maximum amount allowed on our escrow account and when I enquired about closing it and paying my own insurance and taxes they wanted to charge me $250 and they have yet to give me a satisfactory answer as to exactly what authority they have to do that and it is really making me cranky and I've been trying to keep the yard and garden in good shape and the Olympics are on which I totally love but I've been spending WAY TOO MANY hours in front of the TV and staying up too late but man those athletes are phenomenal and I can't tear myself away and we had some out of town visitors for a couple of days and I had my great-nephew Henry for the day on Friday and we had fun but it was a bit hot for him the last couple of hours before his mom came to rescue him and he was SO tired but wouldn't take a nap and wanted to be held but we would just stick together in the heat but we had a great day together anyways and Robin's folks visited for a few days for the annual Hoquinault Tandem Ride and Robin rode tandem with his mom and they tried to bust a move on me on the way back but I happened to catch them in my mirror so they didn't get too big a jump on me and I was able to shut the dogs down and it was great weather at Lake Quinault and I helped out at the finish of the Cascade 1200 and it was great to see old friends and meet new ones as they finished up a a VERY challenging ride and then I got to help organize a 200k with my pal Peter McKay who was unfortunately not able to ride the pre-ride with us due to an ankle injury and the summer seems to be running away from me and I'm not ready to give it up yet so here's hoping for a return of summer weather soon and may it last until mid October and I hope the huckleberries have time to ripen before the cold weather returns and maybe I'll actually do a "real" blog one of these days with pictures and everything but for now that's about it.

Monday, 30 June 2008

World Harmony Run

Thursday I was riding across Stevens Pass with a group of friends (I'll blog about that later when I can filch some pictures from the other participants) when I noticed a guy standing in the shade with a torch. Hmmm. Further down the road I saw a runner carrying a torch so I crossed over to find out what it was all about. He was running very smoothly with a huge grin on his face. He told me about the World Harmony Run (more info here: He even let me carry the torch. How fun to encounter other folks out enjoying the beauty of the outdoors - only these guys had a much bigger agenda then just having fun.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Permanently RAMRODed

Among the ever expanding list of riding opportunities offered by SIR is a Permanent (a brevet that can be ridden at any time) that cover the RAMROD route. Mark Thomas felt a need to ride that route and put a call out to any interested parties earlier in the week. Friday afternoon I was finally feeling confident enough in the weather forecasts to call and say Robin and I would join him. With a 4-day mountain pass tour coming up and a lack of climbing in my legs I needed a big ride day. Robin and I had ridden the newly opened Stevens Canyon road up to Paradise 2 weeks before along with 2 of his co-workers and the girlfriend of one. We got drenched. Of course that was one of the few nice Saturdays we'd had in these parts this year but Mt. Rainier is a law unto itself when in comes to weather and it made sure we knew it that day.

I guess we paid our dues on the Stevens Canyon day because, although thick dark clouds loomed as we drove to Enumclaw we were not long on the road before large patches of blue took over and even more quickly gave way to all out blue sky and warm sun. 6 of us rode together out of Enumclaw: me and Robin, Mark T, Mark Roberts, Steve Davis, and Rick Blacker. Wait a minute - looks like Amy and her boyz ride again! As we approached Ashford magnificent Mt. Rainier towered over us with her glacier and snow covered flanks contrasting sharply with the tree covered lowlands and bright blue skies. Wow!

Mark driving towards dark clouds.

Relaxing in Ashford. Rick is feeling groovy.

After entering Mt. Rainier National Park we all settled into our own climbing pace enjoying the beautiful scenery and low traffic. Snow was in evidence even a the lowest elevations due to the huge snowpack this winter and the 2-3 feet added just the weekend before.

Rick enjoying the views. Tatoosh Range from Paradise

Avalanche path in Stevens Canyon

Steve waiting for the group before the climb up Cayuse.

Grove of the Patriachs

A quick descent of Stevens Canyon soon immersed us once again in the joys of climbing. I, however, wasn't quite so joyful as on the earlier climbs of the day. My legs were tired and by back getting tight but luckily the mountain continued to treat us to her show of natural wonders. At my much slower pace I enjoyed the numerous water falls, forest smells, chipmunk antics, and several glacier lillies. Mark T and I were the last to summit Cayuse Pass and I was pleasantly surprised to see the rest of the posse waiting with patience (and a chill) for our arrival. Back on with the extra clothes and a charge down to Greenwater for our penultimate control of the day. Despite the dropping temperatures a little celebratory ice cream hit the spot before we made a six bike paceline charge back to Enumclaw.

Mark T and Amy at the Grove of the Patriachs - last climb still to come.

What a terrific day and what a tip top way to experience my first Permanent. Thanks to my fun, patient, and most importantly STRONG riding companions.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Driving Lessons - Do It RIGHT!

Pet peeve: 2, 3, 4, and even 5 lanes of traffic all moving at the same speed. I'm not talking about during rush hour traffic jam. I'm talking about the typical American driver who enters a multi-lane roadway and immediately moves over to whatever lane he or she thinks she needs to be in - with absolutely no relation to what speed current traffic is traveling. I have observed that most of us have an almost visceral fear of being "trapped" by anyone else - God forbid we are held up one nanosecond by someone else. So, despite these words taken directly from the Washington State Driver's Guide: "On a road with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction, stay in the right lane except to pass. On a road with three or more lanes traveling in the same direction, if there is a lot of entering or exiting traffic, use the center travel lane." (my emphasis) I rarely see any drivers move to the right when there is room for them to do so after passing or worse, they are cruising along obliviously going the same speed as the vehicle in the lane to their right, or even 2 or 3 lanes to their right. Taking this fear of the right to the extreme I have observed the bizarre behavior of drivers dropping passengers at Sea-Tac Airport from the 2nd or 3rd lane out from the curb - even if there is space at the curb! I guess they think someone will pull up on their left and they will be trapped, perhaps forever, listening to the recorded airport drive announcements again and again and again.

People, PLEASE - there is a better way! If you want to stay out of the furthest right lane to allow free access for those entering and exiting well bully for you but don't drive in the furthest left lane or lanes unless you are actively passing someone. After you have passed, move right. If you see another car come up behind you traveling faster than you, move right. If you are being passed on the right, move right. If a driver behind you flashes their lights at you, move right. Once we are all on the same page with this there will always be the opportunity to move left to pass a driver in front of you. Really, it works, I've seen it in action. Oh, and please use your turn indicators - it is safe and polite - 2 things we could all use more of on our highways and biways.

Now exiting the soap box. Comments in support of my position only accepted. Happy driving!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Amy and Her GIRLZ

Over the weekend I was one of 4 coaches at a women's bicycle camp in Plain, just outside of Leavenworth. Lisa and Bridgett did a great job of putting together an agenda to help these mostly beginner cyclists face their fears and move to a new level of confidence. It was fun to be there and watch them all blossom. We all stayed together in one house so in addition to the presentations, drills, and riding together we also got to have time to relax and socialize. Lisa's mom, Virginia, served as "den mother" and kept us all fed. The last bit on Sunday included a presentation on climbing skills and then we all rolled out to conquer Chumstick Pass. Unfortunately for Sarah she broke her chain at the start of the climb and I was recruited to fix it. I had just demonstrated on Saturday how to use a chain tool so here was a great opportunity to use my "skills" in real life. I was so excited that I actually got the kinked link out and got the chain back together without a stiff link until I realized I had misrouted the chain through the rear derallieur. As Sarah's chain didn't have a master link (and I didn't know to simply remove the pulley to reroute the chain) I detached another link but this time I pushed the pin all the way out and then it was "game over". I was about the transfer my chain to her bike but she said we were out of time and everyone would be heading back to the lodge soon. We took the "walk of shame" through downtown Plain before Lisa caught up to us and sprinted onward to retrieve the truck and get Sarah and her bike back to the lodge. Sarah was totally sweet and not upset about not doing the climb but I felt like a turd. My lesson learned is that I'm going to carry a spare master link with me from now on in my seat bag.

We had pretty good weather and it was stellar compared to the west side of the mountains. I got to do a small loop on Friday with Peggy before the other gals showed up and on Sunday Robin and Mark Thomas picked me up with the plan that we would conquer a partly unpaved route from Entiat to Lake Chelan. Mark had stayed up all the night before supporting SIR's 600k ride so he was very tired and decided to forgo a ride. Robin and I switched plans then and just did a climb over Old Blewitt Rd. It was lovely and warm and followed by a burger and pie a la mode at the Liberty Cafe.

I'll post some pictures if I get some from the other women at the camp.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Bike Trails and Beards

Yesterday we met up with Mark Thomas in the U District for a meandering ride. We started leisurely enough with a stop after about 2 miles for lunch at Agua Verde and then another stop at the visitor center of the Arboretum for a bathroom break. After that the ride took off in earnest as we headed south along Lake Washington, crossed I-90 and the north end of Mercer Island, continued south to Renton where we caught the Cedar River Trail then up and over Cedar Grove Road. We made a short stop at the grocery mart there for water before heading north to Issaquah. Of course I got a flat on the busiest road of the ride but had plenty of willing help from Robin and Mark so didn't even get my hands dirty! Thanks guys! A cruise along East Lake Sammamish assured us our adopt-a-road section looked in good order before cutting through Marymoor Park and hitting the Sammamish River Trail. Mark turned off for home in Redmond while Robin and I continued to link up to the Burke Gilman Trail back to our car in the U District. Mark whined at one point that I had promised a sunny ride. Pretty cheeky if you ask me considering it WAS sunny some of the time AND the ride we did at his behest on Saturday was a soaker. You just can't please some people. I don't think I've ever ridden that many miles of trail and I kept noticing guys with grey or white beards cycling by. There were so many of them I began to wonder if there weren't just 3 or 4 that kept circling around. No kidding I bet I saw 2 dozen white bearded cyclists on the various trails. The rough road along Lake Washington (especially around Leschi) and the root ruffled Burke Gilman combined to rattle my bones and I was short on food and getting close to bonking as we finished up. Robin suggested a smoothie and I had seen a sign for smoothies just down the road from where we parked. It turned out to be a cheesy Thai place (note to self: advertising for Bubble Tea not a good sign) whose smoothies were more like slurpies. They had these really fat straws that guaranteed brain freeze about every 4th sip. After watching Robin clutch his forehead for the 3rd time I finally located a smaller straw and things went better after that. A funny kind of ride day but it was great to be out there.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Cranky in East Wenatchee

SIR hosted its annual spring training camp for cyclists in East Wenatchee last weekend. It's called Northwest Crank and every year I've had a great time getting in some dry and warmer weather riding. This year it was desperately needed. My body is extremely low on both fitness and sun exposure (yes, I mean pale and flabby - nice picture huh?). Not much less than a full freckle merge will cure the pale part but 3 good days of riding helped to start the flab banishment program.

Our intention was to hit the road very early Thursday to arrive in time for the first ride of the event. Robin's been working loads of overtime though and was beat when he got home Wednesday night with nothing packed so we took it easy and ended up getting there about 3pm. The riders coming in were looking a little beat up by the strong winds so we hopped on our bikes to go see if our buddy Mark was out there battling it and might be happy for a little help the last few miles. We found him in good shape and not needing help but we enjoyed chatting him back to the hotel anyway. Friday brought the lovely Stemilt climbs.

The Adventure Ride crew: l to r: Wayne Methner, Mel Kydd, Paul Carolan (my little bro), Jan Acuff, Jim Rupert, Eric Anderson, Robin, Bob Brudvik, Mark Thomas

The crew heading up Badger Mountain

Saturday we pulled out the tandem for the adventure ride (some unpaved
and very steep roads) up Rock Island Grade and topping out on Badger Mountain. We had a nice group for this ride and enjoyed suffering together. Saturday night was the banquet and White Elephant gift exchange. Chris Ragsdale had crafted a poster of Mark Thomas riding a small bike with training wheels complete with a daisy border. I managed to nab it and Robin and I spent the rest of the evening watching Mark try not to cry over the loss of the poster. Next day I made him sign it and then presented it to him under the promise that it had to be displayed somewhere. Sunday Robin led a rebellion by chosing NONE of the advertised rides and getting all but about 3 of the riders to defect with him. We had a great pace line up the west side of the Columbia before hitting the Navarre Coulee climb up to Lake Chelan where Pete Rankin was waiting with snacks and drinks. Coming back down over the rollers was a scream with a double pace line. I opted not to ride on Monday planning to provide support and rest my sore legs. Now hopefully we'll get some of that sun over on this side of the Cascades.