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???