Monday, March 20, 2017

The Texas RAAM Challenge

I haven't been on the bike much lately.  I've been preparing to be crew chief for Steven Burns at the Texas RAAM Challenge.

The Texas RAAM Challenge starts from Marble Falls, TX (somewhat near Austin) at 5 AM CDT this coming Saturday.  Steven will have until 1 PM CDT Sunday to finish. I fly out from Seattle on at 12:25 PM PDT Thursday and arrive in Austin TX at 6:19 PM CDT

Our pace document is at Texas RAAM Challenge.  The green tab is his goal, the red tab is the slowest he can be to finish. 

The map of the route is at Texas 400-mile route

Satellite tracking will be available from a link at RAAM Challenge Series








Sunday, March 12, 2017

Woo Hoo!


Back on a bike.....sort of.  Trying to catch my brother-in-law and his grandson as they ride around the neighborhood.  Dave is pedaling,  the grandson being towed in a trailer. They were moving fast!  They had a few blocks head start as I grabbed a helmet. By the time I got to the street, they were no where in sight!

As I was looking in likely locations for them I came across this sign.


It cites Oregon Revised Statute 105.682 saying that the city isn't responsible for injuries or property damage.  Not to burst their bubble, but I spend significant time in public sector training.  The Recreational Immunity protections cited for public entities was made pretty much worthless by a recent court ruling that found that while you may not sue the agency for mess ups that cause injury, you may sue the publicly employed worker who caused the issue.  Oregon law requires public agencies to indemnify their workers who are sued while performing acts within their scope of duties.  So.......... nice try Wilsonville, you may say you aren't responsible for damages, but you ARE responsible for your employees, who may be sued for damages while working for you.

Back to my search, it took a phone call to coordinate, but I eventually found them.


I joined them, sharing horn toots with the grandchild.  He had a bulb horn at his disposal, that made a similar sound the the toy horn I've got on the fixed gear bike.  We traded horn toots back and forth, amusing both us big kids, and the pedestrians we passed by.



A short, but good day in the sunshine!

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........8................0....................0........................0..........8
Jan..............304...............15...................0......................31..........350
Feb..............0..................0....................0.......................0..............0
March.........18................0.....................0.......................0.............18

Friday, March 3, 2017

A failed weather forecast...........thankfully!

I brought my vehicle in for a change of spark plugs yesterday afternoon.  Despite saying they'd get to it yet yesterday, this morning it was still not ready.  I had a Special Districts of Oregon Legislative Breakfast to attend this morning, and it was only 2.5 miles away, so I biked there.

The weather forecast called for rain beginning late last night and continuing today.  Thankfully, the pavement was still dry as I pedaled out.  I was on the fixed gear bike, wearing a bright yellow cycling jacket over street clothes. Rain would have made it much harder to stay "business ready".

After a few hours our meeting was done.  I had left this morning forgetting my phone, and the shop was supposed to call me when my vehicle was finished.  Presuming that they would surely be trying to contact me to let me know I could pick up my vehicle, I detoured by the shop to check on it.

Alas, they hadn't started on it yet.  I rode home and picked up my phone.    A few hours later I rode back and picked up my vehicle.

Last week I was feeling bad that I had biked so few miles in the month of February.  I was thinking that  I prerode my birthday ride route just a couple of days before my birthday. Alas, I see that I prerode the route on the last day of January, giving me a whopping ZERO miles in the month of February!

So despite only getting 10 miles today, it was 10 miles more than I got last month. :-(


.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........10................0....................0........................0..........10
Jan..............304...............15...................0......................31..........350
Feb..............0..................0....................0.......................0..............0
March.........10................0.....................0.......................0.............10

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Harder Than it Should Have Been

The weather forecast says there's a good chance of snow tomorrow and Thursday.  If I was going to get one more chance to ride my birthday route, I was going to have to do it today. The wind was calm and temperature significantly above freezing in the morning as I was preparing to pedal, but the wind was predicted to build from the east through the Columbia River Gorge with dropping temperatures as the day progressed. An east wind turns into a north wind in this area as it spills out of The Gorge, and bumps against the Coast Range, then fans north and south along the valley.  Here in the northern Willamette Valley we can expect north winds in these conditions.

Today's route would start off heading mostly south for just over 25 miles.  By the time I was in about 12 miles I noted a bit of tailwind pushing me along.  I arrived at the site of Parkersville.   I mused that "location, location, location" must be tempered with "timing, timing, timing".  Here was a settlement on the shores of Lake Labish that is now little more than a historical sign post. Just beyond this sign a short distance was a pump station keeping the lake dry most of the time.  Without the pumps, this  would be a lake in winter, and probably marsh land the rest of the year. Even with  the pumps, this area is a lake during very wet periods.   However, with a dike instead of pumps, perhaps a resort might have been in the cards for Parkersville. No matter, today it was still a welcome rest spot.


I continued southward through Howell Prairie with an increasing tailwind. The clouds were still quite heavy.


I turned west on Hazel Green Rd and lost my tailwind assist.  I got to Dairy Queen as I crossed River Rd, and took the opportunity to get a banana split!


It was soon going to be time to turn into this increasing wind.  After a bit of crosswind action in the Windsor Island area, I headed straight into the wind.

video

I just don't have the power in my legs that I've had in the past.   It was tough work making progress against this wind. I was only able to hold about 12 mph.  Not fast, but at least I was moving. Given the chances of wet weather in the Willamette Valley in February are greater than the chances of cold weather, the wind should be out of the south.  That would give us a tailwind on the last half of the ride next weekend.  That will be good!  Hopefully just not too much rain!



.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........62................0....................0........................0..........62
Jan..............304...............15...................0......................31..........350

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Racing Raindrops

Daylight arrived with 10-15 mph winds out of the south, in advance of rain predicted by 2PM.
Following breakfast I was on the bike hoping for 35-40 miles before the rain.

I rolled down Queen Ann, crossed the Fremont Bridge, and headed out the Burke-Gilman Trail. The wind was mostly helpful as I wound my way along the shore of Lake Washington.  I had a half bottle of water on the bike, planning to top it off along the way.  About 7 miles into the ride I came to a water fountain along the trail, but it was turned off for the winter.

When I got to Log Boom Park, the water fountain there was winterized as well. I was somewhat surprised since the BG is a well used path, and frost proof fountains could easily be used in places like this. Oh well, there were other options for water if I needed any.

The wind had whipped up a few waves on the usually placid lake.

video

I continued on toward the north end of the Burke-Gilman Trail.  I could continue on the Lake Sammamish Trail, but the impending rain, as well as late afternoon plans meant that this would be far enough today.  Just before the end of the trail I went through this brightly painted underpass.


Within 100 ft of the tunnel the BG ended and I turned around.  I was now fighting the wind more than being blown along by it.  The clouds kept getting thicker and darker. I kept pedaling along.

I did stop to get a picture of Mt Rainier.


As I approached the Fremont Bridge I rolled up to a stop signal and rolled to a stop next to a young woman on her bike.  I asked if she thought we'd beat the rain.  She laughed, and said that was why she was riding fast. The light turned green, and she was gone!

I crossed the Fremont Bridge and called Julie, giving her a half hour warning of my arrival.  She had mentioned that she'd like to go on a ride around Queen Ann when I got there.  It would be her second ride of the month so I was going to do my best to accommodate her.  I winched my way up the hill.  Julie met me at her bike and around the hill we went.
It was 1:45 PM, and the rain was coming in right on time.


The road was just beginning to get wet as we finished up.



.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........40................0....................0........................0..........40
Jan..............242...............15...................0......................31..........288

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A change of plan

It is likely the last dry day for at least a week. I geared up and prepared to go for a good long ride.  As I was walking out the door, I reminded Julie that this was likely her last chance to get a January ride in, unless she was going to ride in the rain. She had biked once in November, once in December, it would be a shame to break the string now.  ;-)

She agreed, and hopped on her mountain bike with flat pedals, a fleece coat, and no helmet.  This obviously was not going to be a serious bike ride.

We started off on a lap around Queen Ann, but soon stopped at the local hardware store. I stayed out with the bikes, she made a quick walk in and out.   We pedaled on a few blocks and came to an overlook.



We rode onward.  In a matter of blocks we came to a garage sale.  Julie looked for bargains while I looked back toward the Olympic Mountains, and the hill we had just biked up.


We pedaled on, taking a little loop through Parsons Gardens, as we made our way along.
We continued around the south end of Queen Ann.  We made a very quick stop at Kerry Park, where there is a good view of the Space Needle and Elliot Bay, but neither were as photogenic today as they usually are, so we rode on.

It was a gentle climb back northward as we wrapped up today's short ride. Julie kept her "one ride per month" streak alive.




.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........4................0....................0........................0..........4
Jan..............202...............15...................0......................31..........248

Friday, January 27, 2017

A record setting day!

Well, okay, not a biking record, but a weather record, and technically it didn't set a record, but tied the record.  Today reached 54 degrees in Seattle.  That was the warmest day since just before Thanksgiving.

I took off about noon.

I started off by riding to Golden Gardens.  The view across Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains seemed like a reasonable goal.


With the nice weather, I decided to ride one of my favorite routes, Magnolia.  I rode to the Hiram Chittendon Locks and crossed over.



From where I took the above photo, I began a steep climb up the Magnolia peninsula. A good portion of the climb was at 15%.  It did level off as it passed over a deep ravine with a couple of railroad tracks at the bottom.


One of the best things about Magnolia is the smooth asphalt and wide roads. It is in deep contrast to most of the rest of Seattle.



The views from here aren't bad either.



I finished the ride along the edge of the peninsula then rolled down to Elliot Bay. It was a nice day to ride through Olympic Sculpture Park.


The construction along Seattle's waterfront has continued and today the two lanes each way with sidewalks has morphed into a 1 narrowed shared lane each way. I took the center of the lane and rode hard enough to keep up with the flow of traffic, There was a construction zone speed limit of 25 mph, and the cars mostly stayed pretty close to that given the the lane zigged and zagged back and forth between work zones.

I continued out across the Duwamish River.


I rode as far a Jack Block Park. I had stopped for lunch early in today's ride and  the sun was getting lower in the sky.  I thought if I rode all the way out to the Alki Lighthouse, it would be pressing dark by the time I'd be finished. I rode out to the observation deck and took these two photos.



I turned back around and retraced my route back toward Seattle's waterfront. The light had changed and improved the looks back southeast.


Clouds had begun to build as the day progressed.  It made for some interesting views of the Olympic Mountains.


I rode back around Queen Ann and made my way up via the Kralik Way.  Don't worry about not being able to find that on maps, it is a route that I learned from Cascade Bicycle Club's Scott Kralik.  It makes the climb up Queen Ann easier while adding a bit of distance.

I got back up the hill, and still had a bit of time before the sun would set.  I decided to ride out to Kerry Park for a classic view of downtown Seattle. I wasn't the only one with that plan, the overlook was quite crowded tonight.

video

It was a nice ride, and a great day to ride it!



.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .......40................0....................0........................0.........40
Jan..............198...............15...................0......................31..........244

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A short ride

I had an afternoon online meeting to attend and dilly dallyed the morning away, watching dark clouds and rain showers.  I finally got on the bike with less than 45 minutes to ride.  I went for a fast ride around the top of Queen Ann.


I rode hard, hoping to get some semblance of training in.  The only reason I was somewhat successful was that I am so far out of shape that it doesn't take much of a hill, or much of a sprint, to make me breath hard!





Tomorrow I'll get out for more miles, I promise!

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........4................0....................0........................0..........4
Jan..............158...............15...................0......................31..........204

Monday, January 23, 2017

Gotta Love Karma!

I took advantage of a sunny day to preride my upcoming birthday route. I was hoping to get out early, but morning frost delayed me a bit. I finally started spinning pedals from Butteville at 10:30 AM. Within three miles as I was pedaling along Arndt Rd I had a black SUV pass by in the opposite direction. I noted that even though there were no markings or emergency lights, it just looked like a cop's rig. In about a minute I had a small red car buzz me within arm's reach as it passed at an estimated 70-80 mph. I was sure wishing that cop had been just a bit slower on the road so he could have seen that. Well, in about another 45 seconds that black SUV came by at full throttle with lights flashing! He had turned around and was now chasing this guy down! In about a mile I came across the guy pulled over with the cop behind him. As I approached the cop pulled around the guy moved ahead on the road to the next driveway, then turned around and came back toward me (and the "outlaw". I had already passed the bad guy and flagged the cop down as he was approaching me. I told him that if he needed some more charges to add to this guy's list, he could add a close pass of a cyclist. In Oregon if the motor vehicle is traveling faster than 35 mph, they must pass a cyclist with enough room that if the cyclist were to fall over, they wouldn't hit them. (READ the law here) He thanked me for the information, and added that he thought the driver was in the process of cleaning out his pants, having never expected that the SUV he flew by was a cop.  Love it when someone gets caught risking people's lives.

I continued on my way, and turned around the Aurora Airport, making my way back over to Boone's Ferry Rd.  I followed Boone's Ferry through Woodburn passing the Settlemier House.


At the end of Boone's Ferry road I jogged north a bit to access Howell Prairie Rd.  I was riding through agricultural land. It is the dead of winter, and very little is growing, and nothing is growing actively.  The hop fields are barren field of wooden poles and support wires.  Grass seed fields are green, but just hanging on, waiting for Spring.  Cane berries are trellised up awaiting Spring growth.
The prairie was pretty though.


I followed Howell Prairie southward until I reached Hazelgreen Rd. I turned westward.  I had skirted around seasonal Lake Labish.  As I pedaled along Hazelgreen Rd I came close to the southeast edge of the lake.  Today, the most notable sight was the somewhat rare black peat soils that are great for growing onions.


I continued along Hazelgreen Rd to Highway 99E, where the name changed to Chemawa Rd.  I continued across Interstate 5, where the name changed again to Lockhaven Rd,  then reaching my half way point,  rolled into Keizer Station to refill water and have a quick bite to eat.

I continued west until Lockhaven ended at Windsor Island Rd.  I turned north, into an increasingly bothersome headwind.  I zigged and zagged my way northeast, slowing down with each passing mile as I fought the wind.  It wasn't bad by normal standards, probably 10-15 mph, but was more than my undertrained legs were comfortable with.

I made slow, but sure progress back to Butteville.  It took me just over 5 hours clock time (including photo stops, food stop, and actual pedaling) to finish the 62.48 miles.  Hopefully I'll be slightly better by the official ride in two weeks.



.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........62................0....................0........................0..........62
Jan..............154...............15...................0......................31..........200

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A multitude of birthdays

My friend Carol often holds a gathering of folks who have birthdays around now.   Today she invited a bunch of us to celebrate.  We had fun!

5 of the ~20 who attended


 I biked there and back.


Dry with a tailwind on the way there, a few raindrops and a headwind on the way back.  45-50 degrees.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........27................0....................0........................0..........27
Jan...............92...............15...................0......................31..........138