Saturday, December 31, 2016

The last ride of the year

As the day was coming to a close, my friend Julie and I got on our bikes and rode around the top of Queen Ann, taking the long way to Menchies for frozen yogurt.  It was a funny choice for a treat, since it was just a couple of degrees above freezing with little spritzes of snow falling. Julie has biked even less than I have this winter.  She rode once in November, and today would be her only ride in December!

The first stop was an overlook where we could see the Space Needle.  Later tonight there will be huge crowds here to watch fireworks that will welcome in the new year.


After a couple of miles we came to Menchies and had big bowls of frozen yogurt.


After a leisurely snack, we bid the lass behind the counter adieu and hopped back on the bikes.  We continued around the north side of the hill. There was still a feel of the holidays in the air.


It was a fun, if cool, ride.  Not fast enough to get warm, but fast enough to experience wind chill.

My year ends with 3006 miles.  My least amount in at least 6 years.

Most of my cycling accomplishments were off the bike this year.

I was crew chief for the 4 man Southern California RAAM Challenge team, Team Skipper.  The boys came in first place overall.  Not bad at all!

 I designed this year's Race Across Oregon route. I'm pretty proud of the fact that at 522 miles, with 41,717 ft of climbing,  it was the most difficult Race Across America qualifier. Hey, if you want to race RAAM, you want to know that you are up to the task! I also wrote the route book, one of the nicer ultra race route books if I do say so myself.

I previewed the RAO route while supporting Lisa Bliss as she biked the route over two days to get a feel for it.

I was originally picked as crew chief for Barry Dickson as he planned to return to RAO and try to improve on his 2nd place finish last year when I was doing crew chief duties for him.  He had some issues during the year that left him not ready to race and he withdrew a month or so out.  Lisa Bliss found out that I was available and picked me to fill out her crew for a solo RAO.

She had all she wanted of the hilly course, but did finish with about 90 minutes to spare.

I returned to Race Across the West this year as crew chief for Robert Baldino and Brian Martin as they raced a two man effort.  It became my first DNF as crew chief. (not counting the crash related withdrawal at last year's Race Across the West)  The heat of the SW desert was just too much for them, and I had lost control of the team.  The decision to withdraw was made before I had input.

My poor results of the year continued with Hoodoo 500, where I was crew chief for solo racer Donna Braswell.   She failed to finish as well.  We started out with three crew members, but one withdrew as the race neared, fearing a DNF.  My fellow crew member Emily and I decided to continue, just to support her, and help her gain experience.  She made it less than 200 miles into the 500 mile race, but at least Emily and I felt that the time spent was worthwhile.

In November Dave Schalk and I teamed up to support Barry Dickson as a solo racer, and Chris Davies and Karin Weller as a mixed tandem team as they raced in the 24 Hour World Time Trial. This was a new experience for me.  Instead of following the racer along the course providing nutrition, hydration, navigation, and repair, from a moving vehicle, we'd be based in a stationary pit area. Very much like a NASCAR race, we communicated with our racers via two way radio and had needed supplies staged for a quick transfer as they pedaled into the pit area. Legendary ultra racer Dex Tooke was there as well and took this video of the pit crews in action.

video


Several racers exceeded 500 miles with Christoph Strasser leading the pack with 552 miles in 24 hours, but our racers results were disappointing for them.  Karin and Chris withdrew with bike fit issues, and a couple of hours later Barry withdrew while riding with the leaders with back pain,

It was a tough year for me, after having stated in an interview last year that I had never had a racer DNF, this year most of my racers did.  Dave and I spent a few days in southern California riding in the sunshine and thinking about next year's plans.

For me, next year will include racing again.  My first bike race was with my former college roommates as the 4x team Old Goats in the 2008 Race Across Oregon. We did pretty well in our debut, coming in first and setting a course record.  We will be returning to the RAO course in 2017 trying to repeat our results.

Some of my usual signature rides fell by the wayside this year.  The 300 mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway weekend ride didn't happen due to lack of interest, as did the Crater Lake/Diamond Lake cycling weekend. I missed out on the Ride Around Mt Hood, and chose to not ride STP, I missed riding to Mt St Helens.  Obviously with only 3000 miles, I missed a lot of riding fun.

One new experience I did get, Dave and I put on panniers and rode from Seattle to Vancouver BC.  We broke the 200 mile trip into 3 days of pedaling and sight seeing.  It was fun.

With a bike race on the calendar, this coming year will see more miles for sure!

Happy New Year to all!


.........Road Bike.....Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........4...............0..................0.......................0...........4
Jan...............0................0...................0.......................0............0
Feb..........124...............0...................0.......................0...........124
March......277................0..................0........................0..........277
April......559................0..................0........................0..........559
May.........414...............0..................0.......................0...........414
June........337...............0..................0.......................0...........337
July........310...............0..................0.......................0...........310
August.......40.............0....................0......................0............40
Sept..........100..............0...................83......................0...........100
Oct.............29...............0....................0......................0............29
Nov............600..............0......................0......................0...........600
Dec............102..............37......................0......................0.........139
YTD...... 2869............37...................83.......................0..........3006

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