Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Bike Routes

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I mapped out my two favorite routes for cycling on Google Earth. The Kittitas route is what I used to ride when I was a student at Central Washington University. It’s about 24 miles, and has a nice rolling profile. The only caveat of that ride was that there was almost no shade. Oh, and I was almost dispatched by some Rottweilers and Black labs.

The Redmond to Seattle route uses both the Sammamish River Trail, and Burke-Gillman trail. Really it’s just one trail, but changes names in Bothell. It used to be a rail line for timber before being converted.

The Ironhorse route was a leg of the Ironhorse Trail (aka John Wayne Trail), that I used to ride my Mountain Bike on. The trail extends from North Bend, to Spokane and used to be a railroad. It’s an unpaved trail, but has a thick layer of gravel on it which makes riding feel mushy. I used to see a lot of wild life on it: birds such as Cranes, and I once saw a Rubber Boa, our indigenousness constrictor.

Google Earth Paths:

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Trail

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I just got back from my first outdoor ride of the year. It’s one of those sunny weekends in January, where the nine months of cloudiness has given way, and the warm rays I hear they enjoy in California poke through and make Washington almost bearable. Along with the Sun comes a certain ‘phenomena ‘ on trails that I’ll call “clueless pedestrians”. A horde of indignant neophytes, if you will. These are people that tend to walk three or four abreast, have dogs on leashes that are wandering around the trail, and of course the unattended toddlers who define keeping a riding line something like a sinusoidal wave.

So when I started my ride from Marymoor Park blissfully unaware of what was in store, as I was as happy as could be. With all the training I’ve done indoors since November, my legs feel better than they ever have before. I took yesterday off, so my energy level was as high as I could want. Pardon the expression, but I was bright eyed and bushy tailed.

The first mile which was mostly flat and required little steering was terrific. My bicycle felt smooth, and as one would hope, there weren’t any strange noises. It was slightly chilly, so I was wearing my new winter gloves (Pearl Izumi Gavia). I noticed rather quickly that they were interfering with my ability to shift, brake, and to a degree, steer. It was like a surgeon having his hands wrapped in gauze before a surgery. So I took those off and put on my summer gloves, which I was carrying in my back pocket. Lo and behold, my hands were actually warmer in them!

So I got going again, and all through Redmond’s portion of the trail, I had to keep unclipping a foot from my pedals and use a leg to walk around these groups of people that were hogging the trail. I’m sorry walkers, but walking three to four abreast on a public trail is not okay–that’s bad trail etiquette (the worst are women with strollers who walk four abreast pushing their strollers at close to 1mph). Once I got out of Redmond, there weren’t any issues up to Woodinville (6 miles in), where I stopped, drank some Gatorade (wasn’t thirsty, but it’s easy to get dehydrated in the cold) and stretched my legs.

From Woodinville, through the I-405 knot of roads, over the soft-bridge, and through the Rooster Woods there was no trouble. The trail through the Rooster Woods were shaded from the sun, and the trail was still wet from the rain yesterday morning. In fact, parts of the trail had moss growing on it, so I slowed to a crawl and hoped my tires didn’t slip (9 miles in).

While I was in the Rooster Woods, I did witness a baby falling out of its stroller (backwards). How that worked, I’m not certain. I think it was the dad’s fault.

After the Rooster Woods, I went over the Suicide Bridge (supposedly some kid..well you know..), up the Slope, and into the deep dark tunnel. I had forgotten how dark the tunnel is, and thanks to my over performing sunglasses, I couldn’t see a darn thing.

I really don’t have anything to say about the Golf Course, the streets, or the detour, other than that I almost slipped on a sideways slope. I stopped at Log Boom park, 13 miles in, and had my delicious chocolate brownie clif bar (Clif Bar, I just gave you a plug, please send me gear ;) ). So I turned around and started back.

Everything was going fine until I got back to the western edge of the Rooster Woods, when suddenly this old ladies toy poodle charged at my bike! The lady yelled “No, <effeminate name I can’t recall>!”, and I slammed on my brakes, locking up my tires since the little rat was headed right for my front tire. I didn’t really want to clean blood and gibs off myself and my bike. The old bat didn’t even apologize to me!

My adrenalin was pumping from the incident, and as I neared the soft bridge, I started getting tired. so I slowed down, and got passed by what looked like a team of semi-professional cyclists who were keeping the tightest line I’ve seen on the Burke-Gillman.

Some kid zig-zagging around the trail was coming right at me. I slowed down to 3mph and was hugging the the right shoulder of the trail to avoid the tike.

Nothing to report on the way to Woodinville, I stopped and took a swig of Gatorade. I hopped back on, and decided to sprint back to Marymoor for as long as I could. So I went into my drops and cruised at 19mph, which isn’t bad considering the trail congestion. When I got back to the Redmond Bridge (near 520), I noticed as I was rounding the switchback that there was this gigantic dog turd in the middle of the trail. The crap was everywhere. It was by far the most disgusting pile of shit I’ve ever seen. There was one gigantic plop of crap, and then a trail of logs that spanned the bridge.

Feeling jaded at that point, I solemnly rode back to my car, drank the rest of my Gatorade, and went home.

Total miles: 26
Chances for Carnage: 2

Cycling Summation -> [January to Mid-March]

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

So I’ve been riding a lot since January. Most of which has been inside on my trainer. January went well enough–did some base training, spinning at 80rpm for a hour each ride. Sometime in early February there was a nice day, so I loaded my roadie up and split for the park. About a mile and a half in, my seat suddenly tilted back about 50 degrees, nearly sending me into my back tire and a position I’m certain is not good for males. Luckily as I tilted back I was able to stand up on my pedals quick enough, so I unclipped and tried adjusting the seat clamp with my allen wrench. Well the darn thing was in poor shape and needed replacement.

So I ordered a new seat post, and seat post clamp. That bicycle came with some crappy parts from Ritchey that were very sub par. I’ve actually been struggling with the seat post since I got the bike. So anyway, it took about two and a half weeks for that stuff to arrive. In the meantime I bought a book on bicycle repair, read it, and started in on my own maintenance. Most of the book was pretty obvious, I guess, but it has nice blow-out pictures of all parts, so when you’re putting something back together you at least have a reference. Anyway, as soon as everything was kosher again, I went for a nice spin on a rainy day. The construction up in Bothell was just coming to a close, and the Roosters were out and cawing as always. Anyway, I bonked on the way back and then it started raining. The next few rides were just peachy–nothing really to report.

At this point a cold snap hit and all my riding was inside again. That started getting boring, so I stopped riding for a week and a half, then the weather got really nice for a few days. On the first ride I was cruising at 21mph for nine miles, then seventeen until I saw a stray dog down the road. As you may know, I had an ‘issue’ with some dogs awhile back, so I wussed out and turned around. Next ride went well. Really nothing to report.

A Final Ride

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

Man, I got a lot of riding done over the past month. Without getting into specifics, I’ve ridden on both sides of this continent, and have done more work on my technique. I rewired my cadence meter, such that you can’t even tell that the wire is there. Time consuming and tricky, for sure, but it looks 100% better. I didn’t get new tires, instead I’m going to hold off until the 2007’s come out.

I went for a little ride around the city yesterday in the afternoon. The weather had started to change the day before, and fall was definatly in the air. As I was riding I was thinking it may very well be my last outside ride of the year. Then it dawned on me–it would be my last ride in Ellensburg, since I’m graduating in a few short wintery months. The ride went pretty smoothly until my seat started tilting backwards–oops, forgot to tighten it.. So there it was, my ‘final ride’ went out on a bit of a sour note ;D I have to go again even if it’s around the block.

[Post lobbed in half so I can get this post out quicker]

New Tires?

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

I’m considering purchasing either Continental’s Grand Prix 4-Season tires or their Ultra Gaterskin 2006’s…

Update: Rather than either of these, I purchased the Continental Grand Prix 4000’s and they are the best tires I have ever used.

Mathews Beach Park - 37.4 Miles

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

I took the morning lazy and ate plenty of carbs (cheerios). I bought some more Gaterade mix and slightly dilluted it such that the rush of sugar wouldn’t give me cramps. I got to Marymoor at about 12:45 and took a practice lap around K-lot, and then stretched out. As I started out on the trail my legs were kind of tight so I kept at a steady 70rpm until they loosened up. At about 3 miles in I decided I I was loose enough to start riding normally (plus the crowds started thinning out). I cruised up to Woodenville and took a quick break to stretch out my back further and chug half the Gaterade. When I started again I was feeling really well and started cruising at 16mph. When I got to Bothell I was relieved to see that they were done working on a bridge that made cyclists dismount before going under. At this point some couple and I started leap-frogging eachother every mile or so. One we got to the other side of the Sammamish river and past the hills it started getting more crowded, so a paceline formed for about a mile and as soon as the passing traffic thinned out I went ahead and passed everyone. I went down threw the tunnels to bipass the traffic lights and then cruised to Logboom Park which is where I was going to terminate that portion of the ride and turn around to go home, but I wanted to get water first and the park was closed for renovations. So I drink another quarter of the Gaterade and at aboutthis time that couple I was leap-frogging for awhile caught up, but the rest of that group was missing. So I hopped back on the trail and started around the lake towards Seattle. This is by far my favorite portion of the trail. The Redmond->Kenmore portion isn’t very shady, and the Sun tends to get to me. So a few miles later I caught up to some guy my age and we rode together for a good four or five miles and then I went on ahead. I reached Mathews Beack Park and took a seat in the shade and chugged the rest of the Gaterade.

18.7 miles down.

The way back was some of the best cycling I’ve done in years. From Mathews Beach Park to Woodenville I stopped only once to take a swallow of water. During this interval my low speed was 17mph and my high speed was 19mph. I and three other cyclists started leap frogging eachother due to a couple traffic lights that we couldn’t bipass by going under. We got seperated near the Interstate viaduct madness that connects I-5 and SR-522. I took a quick break in Woodenville and started off again going 18mph. My speed variance for the next six miles was between 18-20mph. I’m not certain why but the more I rode the better I was feeling and doing–until about 1.5 miles from getting back to Marymoor: my thighs started to cramp. Woops. I eased down to 15mph through Redmond and got back to the car and stretched out.

Wildlife Encounters: Nothing to report.

Bothell Ride - 21 miles

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

I took a tad shorter ride to Bothell today. My glutious maximus was getting sore, so even though I had planned to get over to Kenmore, it didn’t happen. I lucked out at the parking lot, as a guy who had just gotten done cycling gave me his parking ticket, thus saving me $1. On the way out I forget to stretch so I took it slow initially so that I wouldn’t pull anything. A couple miles in I decided to pase myself at 16mph, in a slightly high gear so as to build up muscle. This worked out until some guy who looked like an amateur racer passed me, he was going roughly 20 mph, and as usual getting passed got me fired up and I shifted down one gear and took off after him. I kept on his tail for two miles, going 19mph. He lost me near a train track overpass in Woodinville, and I slowed down considerably to catch my breath. They’re still working on this overpass in Bothell that requires cyclists to dismount and walk for about 75 meters. I almost turned around there since I only planned on going down the path another mile to a bridge over the Sammamish river. Well, I kept going and took a little break in the middle of the bridge and watched some birds for while (noted below).

On the way back I zipped by some fogies who hadn’t made it a mile since I went by them the first time. I’m only mentoning this because the trip back was uneventful. I zipped along at 15-17mph and made a game out of trying to keep my line as straight as possible. When I made it back to Marymoor I was rather tired, and could only go 11mph. I don’t know why, but I have strange periods of fatigue and then sudden bursts of extreme energy. Who knows.. I should look into it at cyclingforums.com..

Wildlife Encounter: I saw the Roosters on the trail, then several kinds of Ducks, Pigeons and an American White Pelican in the Sammamish River. They were dunking themselves in the water (flipping over so their feet stuck up and heads were under).

Quickie Bothell Ride - 26 miles

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

Woke up at 5:00am again, but I decided not to let that stop me from cycling today as it did yesterday. I set out at 10:00am on my road bike. I hadn’t really used it since the old seat got messed up (only rode my mtb for ~four months). At about 3.5 miles in I noticed I wasn’t putting out as much power as I should have been so I stopped and raised my seat 1/4″ and it made a world of difference. My cadence averaged 84rpm for 13 miles then I started to bonk since I skipped breakfast. On the way back to Marymoor my cadence bounced between 65 and 90 (90 when someone would pass me and I’d get mad). All in all not a bad ride, I guess. I won’t skip my cheerio’s tomorrow.

Wildlife: Heard the Roosters in Bothell, but they were in the woods, not near the trail.