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.