December 27, 2010

First Bike

I got to witness a first-a 2 year old girl getting her first bike this Christmas. My girlfriend's granddaughter will be two in just a few weeks. We went to their house on Saturday morning and I got to watch as this beautiful young child got to handle, sit and play with what will definitely be the first of many many rides. It is a pink trike with a nice little basket and one comfy (though plastic) looking saddle. Much more seat room than my Arione:)
She was a natural and love it from the start. When asked what I thought her specialty would be, I said-Road, Track, Cross and Mountain. I can picture it now.........

December 22, 2010


It's a Wonderful Life, the original version, is one of my all time favorite movies. I am a softie and it affects me every time I watch it. I am going through some trying times right now, real challenges that test my sense of self worth. But, like the main character, I do know I have led and still lead a good life that has had positive impacts on many people. I also know many people love and support me.
I also have a secret weapon. My bicycle. Regardless of weather, gearing, or mental state, I can always mount one of my four bikes and take a light spin or heavy/hard ride down the road or up a local mountain. Love, friends and bicycles do in deed make this a wonderful life.
Happy Holidays to all-

Knoxville Tour de Lights 2010

Last night our family joined in with ~ 200 other cycle nuts to ride in the annual Tour de Lights Christmas parade put on by the Knoxville Bike program office . Our 53x11 jackets were a big hit, and as you can see on Joe's arm, the reflective strips are quite visible and bright. We rode a 5-6 mile route through a couple of inter-city neighborhoods w/a full scale police escort to stop traffic at the intersections. It was a great way to start the celebration of our Christmas holiday, and not coincidently our 19th wedding anniversary. Yea, I'm lucky too that I have a spouse who is a really good sport and participates in our cycle adventures. The weather last night was pretty temperate by Montana standards, but cold and damp enough that we appreciated the pre and post ride hot chocolate and a dry pair of wool socks. Here is wishing y'all a Merry Christmas and a safe holiday to all those traveling to visit friends and family.

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I just wanted to wish all my teammates, their families, Evan, Owen, and everyone associated with 53x11 Coffee and the Cycling House a Happy Thanksgiving.
I have to say the last year has been a bit trying but I have so much to be grateful for-
a loving and supportive partner and friend
a job I enjoy
a roof over my head
5 (yes 5) healthy cats
a crash and mechanical free race season
great friends
and of course-the Bicycle:)

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 19, 2010

Thank You

I just wanted to thank the Team for the wonderful gift certificate for the Halloween Costume contest.

As I said it was a lot of fun to do. I had a blast riding around the neighborhood (wore a helmet of course).

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.


November 13, 2010

Last good riding weekend of the Fall?

Took my son riding this afternoon after I put in the obligatory effort to mulch some leaves in the yard. With the temp in the 70's in November it's almost sinful to not go out riding. Seems like we have had excellent weather for riding this fall every weekend since Labor Day, w/ the exception of last weekend when it barely got into the 50's. Even still we managed a couple hours in the woods riding some single track and cruising the campus afterwords until the sun began dropping with the thermometer. Some of our friends from up here in Cumberland Gap went to Knoxville for a really cool metric complete with significant climbing and a few exciting dog sprints for good measure.

Anyway we took out our Masi singlespeeds this afternoon for a couple of leisurely hours of spinning. We have a really nice loop from Cumberland Gap into a quaint little village named Tiprell. It is really just a cluster of houses grouped around 2 churches and some sort of rail road freight transfer facility that never seems very active. Its a 4 mile loop w/ rollers so we usually do a couple laps to make it worth the effort. Foolowing the loops we took the greenway over to the Lincoln Memorial Univ campus and rode around there for awhile. The SSs are setup w/ an ~ 2.0 gear ratio primarly because of my creaky knees, and my desire to preserve the health of my son's knees. Earlier in the season I was riding somewhere around 2.5 and found that the rolling terrain here in East Tn was just too hard on my joints and I needed to find something that would let me spin a little higher cadence. We have really enjoyed the simplicity of the SS ride and w/ the forced coasting down the hills it seems like we have found that balance between riding hard and then taking it easy just to experience the ride. This came out on the second lap when I told my son to "just take it easy and not make everything a training ride for the Tour". Being a 13yr old competitive rider it must be hard to dial it down a notch and not go 53x11 all the time. Fortunately for him (and me) he has Jr gearing so the hardest he can go is 52x14.

So we (the whole family: me, son, wife) are off to Knoxville tomorrow for a short 7-8 mile ride and pizza party at a local joint to celebrate Knoxville's "Bicycle friendly city" award by the League of American Bicyclists w/ a couple hundred other enthusiasts. If this indeed is the last good weekend of cycle weather it is certainly the way to see it out w/ a ride, 100+ friends, pizza, and some really awesome beers on tap.

Ride hard and have fun!

November 1, 2010

Happy Belated Halloween

Not a bad way to spend my 48th birthday.

I rode around our neighborhood (yes with a helmet) and got some good looks.


September 15, 2010


My girlfriend turned 50 today and is feeling a bit blue. She is a vibrant, fun beautiful woman, full of life and vigor and enthusiasm. I know she will bounce back but she is struggling some.

A friend turned 39 last Friday, and he and I went to dinner and then a movie. He was feeling a bit down, thinking he had reached the end of an era. This despite being a successful businessman, world traveler, a strong and enthusiastic rider, and having many friends. I told him that age is a mental state. So act mental!

Another friend turns 89 next month (her birthday is one day before mine), and she is so active and young at heart. She has lived a full live, is well traveled and has a loving family. I have not seen her in 6 years but we chat a lot by phone. I talked to her last Sunday and she told me I am still quite young and have so much life to live. I agree.

I turn 48 next month and feel just as young as ever. My riding and racing are more passionate than ever as well. I do feel young at heart and I know riding helps keep me young and sane. One is never too young or old to start riding. My saddle is a fountain of youth and I will never leave it.

Remember-it isn't the age of the engine but the fire in the tank that counts. And I have a lot of fire.

Happy Birthday to all:)


September 10, 2010


I have been competing in bike races and runs for 30 plus years now, and am so appreciative of all the volunteers who have put in countelss hours to put the various events on. I have done some volunteering myself over the years, and have assisted with bike races, 5ks, a 1/2 Ironman tri in Idaho (great weekend), a kids duathlon in Maryland (awesome time) and a local sprint tri for the last 4 years. This year's event was 2 weeks ago and I was assigned the task of monitoring part of the bike leg, setting up cones and keeping them in place if knocked down. I put several miles on my single speed riding up and down my mile section. Before my duties began I got to spend 15 mins of quality solo time down at the lake shore. Such still water. I sat on a log and had the small beach to myself as I watched ducks and geese.
After my cone duty I was assigned traffic control at a busy intersection, and was pleasantly surprised by several geese flying very low overhead.
I got such a kick out of watching these athletes of all abilities, and cheered each one on with sincere enthusiasm. seeing their waves and smiles really made my day. Being on "this" side always helps me when I compete myself.
I call on all my team mates to volunteer at least once in 2011. You will get so much out of it:)

September 3, 2010

It all starts with nutrition

Amazing Grass Superfoods are one of the team sponsors. The two week challenge will redefine your health. I'll be posting each day. Take a moment and check it out.

August 25, 2010

My Summer Vacation

As August comes to a close and the new school year commences, I think this is the right time to submit my "What I Did for My Summer Vacation" report.

My girlfriend's parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year, and they had a large party in Lakeside, Montana last Saturday (8/20). Lakeside is on the northwest corner of Flathead Lake, about 480 miles from my home near Seattle. I have not had a real vacation since 2007 so was really looking forward to getting away.

My gf's 3 children, a girlfriend of one of her sons, her daughter's fiance and 19 month old child also went for the celebration, and the house and yard were full of 2 tents, one trailer and lots of fun. I am so glad I took my two frisbees as we got a quick game in before the festivities. We also got one botchee ball game in a few days later. I recommend you don't play after too many drinks:) I did not forget bikes, and took my gf's and my titanium cross bike.

My gf did not get out, but I got a few short fun exploratory rides in, including a fun climb partway up Blacktail Mtn to the ski area. I rode 4 miles on dirt/gravel on road tires, making for a fun descent (see pics).

I also got to drive a convertible for the first time, a Myata owned by the parents. It was fun but I prefer bikes:)

Anyway, a very nice relaxing vacation.


August 18, 2010

Words That Begin With S

It seems that many of my races have a theme. Take last night for example, the third to last (and my 12th for the year) Pacific Raceways event, a 50 minute affair on the flat 2+mile oval. Last night's theme dealt with words that begin with S. Please forgive all the bolds in the following report:
It was very hot and hazy and I arrived 45 minutes early, allowing me plenty of time to warm up (unlike last week). I rode my old steel Gazelle for 3 laps, some sections at good effort, and was sweating greatly, even though I was wearing a team sleeveless jersey. I discovered a sprinkler operating at the little bungalow next to the track, so stood at the fence for several minutes getting soaked. One other rider joined me and we had a nice discussion in the "rain."
With 10 minutes to go before the start I sat on a rock in the only section of shade. I had a nice chat with my 2 race buddies as I felt the cooling affects of the sprinkler. Radio Shack may have the manpower and funds to develop cooling vests, but I make do with what I can find:) I looked around at all the riders milling at the start and though we were on different teams and would compete against one another, I felt such a bond and companionship. My season is almost over and I will miss it, but am looking forward to 2011 and beyond.
The first lap was quite social and I hung at the back with my buds. However, as we came around for the start of the 2nd lap the bunch eased up and before I knew it I was attacking. By the time I looked back I had a very large lead. I decided to do what I could so had my head down and worked. I could feel my legs and lungs burning but I stayed off the front for over just a full lap (2+miles), my longest solo break ever. As I came across the start/finish I sat up and had time for a long drink before getting on the back of the train. 2 laps later I brought back a break of 4, pulling my good racing bud with me, allowing him to attack. He didn't go anywhere however.
A few laps later I and my 2 buds were near the back when the pack slowed, exactly where I attacked on lap 2. I told my buddies to go as I did not have the legs. They went! 2 others joined them but I could see the pack wasn't letting this attack go. I was so excited for them, more so than when I attacked. I got up to the front of the pack and tried to block but I was outnumbered. So many Starbucks and Cycle U guys.
A few laps later, with 1.5 to go, I found myself attacking at the end of the back stretch on the drag strip just before a very wide sweeping left hand turn. The sun was low behind us as we headed east, casting our shadows on the pavement. As I sprinted off the front I noticed all the shadows disappear! I knew I was alone as I started on the turn. I looked back and saw one Starbucks rider trying to join me. I eased up some and worked. I knew this time I would not get too far off the front, but as the Starbucks rider refused to work with me I dug deep down to be first across the start/finish line. We still had a nice gap at that point, but I was tired and sat up for another leisurely drink before getting caught.
I ended up near the back of the pack in the sprint, but was so very happy with my efforts. I was greatly outnumbered by Starbucks and Cycle U riders but did mix it up a lot. They know that 53x11 Coffee means business!
I also met my gf at the local brewery for a free aloha beer. I was so excited about my recap of the race. She was excited for me as well.
PS-I go to Lakeside, Montana tomorrow for a week to be with my gf's parents on their 50th anniversary. I have never been and am taking our bikes. I may even ride the Going to the Sun Highway up to Glacier National Park. All the best to my teammates.

August 11, 2010


I ran for 23 years and completed 52 marathons. The marathon was my favorite distance, one that really tested me without REALLY testing me like an ultra. My goal was to run under 3 hours, a magic number for runners, much like a sub 5 minute mile or 40 minuted 10K. I never beat 5 mins for the mile (5:14) but did go under 40 for the 10k on several occasions. The closest I ever got in the marathon was 3:01:22. I was in great form as I ran a marathon for fun 2 months later and ran a 3:09. I never ran that fast again.
Yesterday I accomplished a great deal in just under 3 hours. I drove to and from the Pacific Raceways (45 miles or so roundtrip) for the Up the Escape Route race, stopped at the local brewery for my free Aloha beer and grabbed dinner to go, and loaded my bike and gear for the commute home today.
I had planned on racing yesterday but then my cat had surgery on Sat. She needs pain meds and my gf and I administer it as it takes two. I got home at 5:30 and had my bike and gear loaded and ready. However, my gf did not get home til 6:15 and the race was at 7. I thought I might not go but we were done with the meds by 6:30 so I thought "what the heck." I was confident I would be late, but these races are so casual it would be acceptable for me to jump in a lap or two down, so long as I did not contest primes or the final sprint. Plus I only have 3 races left for the year as I cannot do Crystal Mountain, have opted not to do Mt. Baker and the Blackberry Crit has been canceled:(
Traffic was very good and I flew down to the race. I work for a court and deal with numerous traffic issues on a daily basis so am a very careful driver, but I did speed some (at least in my mind I did). I got to the race with less than 10 mins to spare. I got the bike ready and then had to dress and pin my number. If you saw the last stage of this year's TDF you will know what I mean when I say Radio Shack had nothing on me. I placed 6 safety pins in no time:) I then had to pay and sign in so ran over to the trailer with my bike. I heard Rory call the first two races to the line as I fumbled with my gloves. Good thing the 4/5s go last. I rolled up and said a quick hi to 2 friends just as we rolled out.
I had no warmup whatsoever. I have never raced without a warm up so it was a new experience. Fortunately the first lap wasn't insane. I did okay for the first 3 until we had a prime lap. The field was blown apart at the top of the climb but I managed, barely to get back on the much smaller group. I never recovered. I had wolfed down some new Gatorade product about 15 minutes before, while "speeding" down Highway 18, and it was affecting me. I finally let the pack go about halfway thru the race, and road 2 laps solo. The organizers' 10 year old daughter cheered me on up the climb. Her remarks took me back to my marathoning days:)
I finally got caught by the 1/2/3s and rode the last 2 laps with them. There were 2 other 4/5s hanging on the back so I felt okay catching a ride.
Overall I was quite happy with my sub 3 effort. Still hard to believe I raced last night though:)

August 9, 2010


I live just about 3 miles from Cougar Mountain, which has an incredibly steep 2 mile climb. I used to ride it several times a year, almost on a weekly basis. But I have only gone up a few times in the last two years. They have a free tt up it in August, and this year's was held last Sat. I was the first to sign up months ago and was set to be the 4th starter. I had qualms since I knew I was not ready to race it. The weather had recently turned cloudy and cooler and I new conditions would be ripe for fast times. I awoke Sat morning with trepidation and wimped out, opting to linger in bed and snuggle. Our one year old cat had had stomach and vomit issues for the last week that escalated Friday night. We eneded up taking her to a local vet for emergency surgery to have hair ties removed from her stomach and intestines.
My gf awoke at 4:30 and surfed the internet for a vet. She picked a local one very close to Cougar Mountain as he is a cyclist. He seems like a really good doctor. The surgery went well and the cat went home with the doc for recovery. The cat's name is Ridley, named after the bike, and the vet has a Ridley cross bike. Good karma I think.
The surgery cost over $2000. I would gladly sell all if needed, but not at that this time, though it is time to unload a few items. Anyone interested in a 1972 Condor frame (Reynolds 531), 57 cm c-c top tube and 56 c-c seat tube? I am the second owner and bought it in 1982. It has not been ridden in years. Comes with a campy headset and bottom braket. beautiful chartreuse green with red highlights on the lugs, red bands for the decals on the seat and down tubes and a gorgeous head badge. It was restored in 1985 by Cyclart in San Diego. Or I have a titanium road bike (55 cm-c-c top and seat tubes, standard geometry) with Campy Record and Chorus 10 speed. It has little miles, never ridden hard or wet or crashed. It has no decals or markings so I don't know the manufacturer.
Anyway, at least the tt was free so I don't feel so bad wimping out. Plus, after dropping the cat off I met a cyclist who had raced. He said the record was smashed. Maybe next year........

August 6, 2010

R Squared

As in road rider, road rules, road rights, and road rage.
A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend's father who was visiting from Austrailia. He mentioned that the cycling community is growing on that continent, and riders are being given greater rights on the road. Rights that we riders in the U.S. have had for years. But rights do not equate to protection. Ignorance, stubborness and downright animosity still make riding a risky business.
Mercer Island, a community not far from my home, recently entertained an "anti-peloton" ordinance. It addressed large groups of riders that ride more than 2 abreast. Mercer Island is a mecca for local cyclists, both racers and the weekend riders, as it offers wonderful views, a smooth road with lots of nice turns and rollers. It is a two lane road and has a great deal of vehicular traffic, most of which are friendly and considerate towards riders. I have ridden the island for the last 7 years, and have only encountered two bad drivers. One was on a nice Sunday morning as I road with a buddy. A car approached from behind and began honking about 1 /4 mile back. We went single file and the car continued to honk as it passed. It was a convertible Mercedes with its top down, occupied by an overweight older man smoking a cigar. I was upset and my friend even more so. It was his first ride after breaking a collar bone. Our beautiful mellow ride was interrupted by this person. We both exchanged "fingers" with the man as he passed. The man continued to honk and flick us off as he blew up the road. We saw him turn off and my friend was livid, all for following him to his home and "having a few words." I realized that it was not worth it and told my friend so, that we could not let this episode ruin our wonderful day. Drivers like that have existed as long as cars have existed, and they will always exist. The ordinance did not pass but is still under consideration.
Yesterday I was riding to the market after commuting home from work. I was on an easy 3 mile ride to and from the market, but was in a lot of traffic with little shoulder. I was going the speed of traffic and was as far over to the right as was safe as per the city code (which treats bicycles as vehicles and subject to all road rules). However, a man was behind me who honked and gave me no room. We exchanged verbal abuses and gestures, and I experienced perverse pleasure and satisfaction in chasing him down at two lights. I even slapped his car as he drove away from the second light. Even though I had the same right to the road as him, his ignorance and our volatile responses created a tense experience for both. A 19 pound bike plus 155 pound rider are no match for a thousand plus pound metal vehicle.
I have ridden for just over 30.5 years and have never been really struck by a car, though I have had numerous close calls and one or two brushes. I have had a few incidents of severe road rage, both solo and as part of a small group. I am a "live and let live" sort of person, but when it comes to my rights as a cyclist I will not back down. But I also will do my best to portray cyclists in a positive light. This is not what I did last night.
Be safe out there. And ride responsibly.

August 4, 2010


I finally got my tenth Pacific Raceways race in last night and am now qualified for the swag giveaway on the last night this month. I really had doubts I would get the 10 in but had a nice run in June and July. I have made half the races out there this year and just want something free for my efforts:)
Last night was very warm and sunny and we raced the "Down Escape Ramp" course for 57 mins. The ramp is quite long and steep, and the bottom have has a lot of choppy road surface and filled potholes. I am amazed the owners don't pave the worst part of the course. I always hang off the back down it to pick my own line. I had no trouble getting back to the front of the group on the following rolling climb. I did make one half hearted attack on the 3rd lap but never got too far off the front. I have been commuting a lot on my single speed and I am so strong.
We did have one crash with 2.5 laps to go. The guy was behind me and was the last in the group. He was on the far inside of the escape route and went down hard at the bottom. I heard a horrendous noise and knew what had happened. I glanced back and saw a large dust cloud but was already back on the climb, so told the organizers at the start/finish. We saw him riding as we came thru on the next lap. Shredded shorts but his bike and body seemed intact. Good news.
Anyway, I may get 2 more Pacifics in. Come on swag!

August 2, 2010


I don't have a timetrial bike. I don't own an aero helmet or clip on bars. I don't own aero shoe covers. I own nothing aero. So what was I doing at the Washington State Timetrial Champs yesterday in Tenino? I was having a ball. I decided to ride the 40k course on my single speed cross. The only aero equipment I had was my mind. "Feel fast to be fast."
The course was well paved, generally flat with some rollers. Most of the road was so smooth thanks to recent paving. Not many riders competed and only 18 in the Masters C. I clocked a 1:06:46 and took last place in my division, but did beat 6 overall. The weather was very mild and a tad windy but overall very nice.
I felt very strong and smooth and the bike got lots of comments.
I know I will do it again. Yes on my single speed with my aero mind.

July 28, 2010

3 B's

My dream is to open a lil place called Bikes, Books and Buns. A breakfast/lunch/bike shop/book store. But last night I settled for Bikes, BBQ annd Beer. It was BBQ night at Pacific Raceways so we only raced the flats (points per lap) for 35 mins. Just before the start a rider near me slipped his chain and someone yelled "he did a Schleck!." Unlike a certain rider we all waited for him. It was a very large field and conditions were great-clear and very warm with little wind. I pretty much hung near the back chatting with some friends. I did want to attack and tried a couple of times from the rear, but the speed was constantly high and the field strung out so I decided to save myself:) The hot dog and cupcake were tasty, the company fun, and the free Aloha beer I got later very very refreshing. I love hawaiian Shirt nights at the local brewery.
My gf and I attended the FSA Grand Prix on Sat night at the Marymoor Velodrome, and it was incredible. Clear skies, a gorgeouse view of the top of Mt Rainier that changed colors as the sun set, and a full moon. Oh yeah, the racing was incredible too.

July 21, 2010

Too Much Kit

I have a great garage. It has room for 2 cars side by side, a large storage area in front of my gf's space, lots of room in front of my space for two trainers, a t.v., fan, free weights, radio/cd/tape player and 2 bike stands. There is also an adjoining storage room where I have lots of boxes and bike parts. And one box full of cycling shoes and several dressers full of cycling gear. One drawer is even fully devoted to 53x11 gear. I have several sets of alter ego kits and one red kit. Throw in 2 sleeveless jerseys, a jacket, l/s jersey, wind vest and that makes a stuffed drawer.
Sometimes with so much to chose from I make mistakes, like taking different shoes (all Sidis so they look alike at first glance) and wrong clothing. Last night in my haste to get to the Pacific Raceways for the weekly series I grabbed my sleeveless alter ego jersey by mistake. I did not realize my error til I was getting ready at the track. Fortunately it was a warm night and I was quite comfy.
The course was the clockwise loop that started on the flat and then went down a nice rolling descent with some fuy turns before hitting the steepescape route (one fun climb). There were around 30 of us in the 4/5s and we raced for 1 hour. I was riding my old steel bike from Holland as my other bikes were in the shop. I had no trouble sticking with the pack and even chased down two attacks.
Overall a quite pleasurable night of racing, even in the wrong jersey:)

July 14, 2010

Sometimes It's Okay to Hang Up the Helmet

I love live music almost as much as bike riding. Last night I willingly gave up racing at Pacific Raceways to enjoy a free outdoor concert at our town's community center with my gf. The band was Knutt Bell and the Blue Collars, one of my favorite local honky tonk/rockabilly bands. It was gorgeous weather, good food (KFC) and 90 mins of rockin music. I did have some sympathy pains though and periodically looked at my watch, thinking what the pack would be doing and visualizing the race. After the concert we went to the local brewery for a free "aloha" beer (wear a Hawaiian shirt on Tuesday nights to get one free beer).
I had commuted home from work before the concert on my single speed, and except for one bad driver I had an incredible ride. I guess that helped ease the pain of not raing some.
However, next Tuesday will find me back at Pacific mixing it up with the 4/5s. After all, I love racing more than live music:)

July 12, 2010

Local Hour Record Falls

Stewart Bowmer, a local Masters rider attempted to break the hour record for the Marymoor Velodrome in Redmond yesterday morning. He also was shooting for the national 40-44 record. I decided to show support and rode out on my single speed. I had to stop briefly for 2 deer crossing the road. I did not mind in the least. There were about 8 spectators and almost as many officials at the start of his ride. There were also two osprey nesting on the north end of the track. They did not seem too interested. As the minutes passed a few more riders/supporters showed up, including one man wearing a 53x11 cap. I had a nice chat with the man and his wife, both big supporters of 53x11 coffee. They had gone to Maui earlier this year and had a nice encounter with Evan.
The last 10 minutes of the hour flew by as we all cheered Stewart on. He did break the track record (unofficially 43.490 kms) but not the national record. It was a bit of a windy day and the track is outside so he had a handicap. It was very impressive regardless as he rode steady and strong the entire hour. It was also nice catching up with some riders I had not seen in a while and mneeting fans of the team/coffee.
I had a pleasant ride home and saw a bald eagle. All in all not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.
Ty (aka saddledancer)

July 7, 2010

From Bike Saddle to Bar Stool

So yesterday pretty much marked the beginning of our summer-major jump in temps (80's/90's) and clear skies with BRIGHT SUN. 7 pm rolled around, which should have seen me in the saddle of my trusty steel steed (Gazelle frame with Campy 9 speed), attacking the flat course at Pacific Raceways. I like to ride that heavy old school bike now and then to remind me of my roots. Plus it has a rider's name (Tiny De Vaan) on the top tube as it was built for an amateur Danish squad years ago. Instead my rear was settled in at the local brewery having a beer with my gf. It turns out that the NHRAs are this weekend so Pacific was closed. We were told it would be next week but the organizers were wrong. I was so hyped to race in the warm weather and wanted to asttack attack attack! They did send an email out but as I was on vacation I was watching the TDF rather than checking messages. We drove all the way down just to be turned away:(
I did end up watching the 2008 Giro and riding hard on my trainer later last night.
I decided to ride both ways to work today (40 miles total) on my single speed, and the inbound leg was eventful. Lots of road work I was unaware of that led to a front flat 1/2way to work. No biggie until I discovered all my "new" spare tubes were defective. As no riders stopped for me I ended up calling my gf on her vacation at 7:15 am. She drove out with a spare tool kit full of tubes. I was able to repair the tire and get to work 2 hrs late. I love you M!!!
I do look forward to the ride home tonight and a cold shower and colder beer upon arrival. Just no flats!
All the best to my teammates.
Ty (aka saddledancer)

June 30, 2010


I read my teammates posts, describing the heat and humidity, and wonder when do I get my chance? It is almost July, summer began a week ago, and yet it is like fall here in the Northwest. I do overheat in warm weather and should feel fortunate with the cooler temps, but I wanna sweat a little....
Last night was my 7th Pacific Raceways of the year. It was another cloudy, blustery and cool evening, causing me to wear an undershirt and armwarmers. We went down the S turn, my least favorite course, but one I need practice on so I raced. It is the opposite of my favorite course. It is a counterclockwise loop that started on the flat, then swung around and down a steep ramp before entering a steep s shaped section with two good turns. It requires technical skill. Once out of the S turn you start a long rolling climb back to the flat. I always hang off the back on the descent. The race started rather slow which was nice but soon picked up.
I hung on for 1/2 the race, then got dropped on the descent. So many riders got dropped from all 3 races, riders were all over the course. I felt happy that I finished as many opted to ride the shorter escape route rather than the S turn, but I did the whole course for the whole hour.
A crash did occur early in the S turn in the Masters race when something happened ahead of us in their break away (3 riders). We did not see it happened but came upon it while flying thru the S. Never good to see but I think the riders were okay. Cars race down it too and the road had extreme tire wear from where they braked.
Anyway, just 3 more needed to qualify for swag!
Come on warm weather!
Happy early 4th to all.
Ty 9aka Saddledancer)

June 28, 2010

A Race and a Tow

Yesterday was the Boston Harbor roadrace in Olympia. I raced the Masters C event in the afternoon, which allowed me to flake in the morning. I almost did not go but my girlfriend helped persuade me as it was a nice day. Only 35 or so riders rode the 30 mile rolling course. I liked the small field as the road was very narrow. We rode 5 loops of a 6 mile course that had 2 good short descents and then lots of rollers, with one short climb (but long enough to hurt at effort) just before the finish. I rode at the back as usual and felt stronger each lap til the start of the 4th, when I was almost dropped on the climb. I did get back right before the start/finish and felt fine for the last 2 laps, even moving up and back at will. The finish was fast as we all flew up the hill. By the top, and with 1k to go we had split into several groups. There was a lead group of 7 or so then a few more than me and a couple of others. I joined the 2nd group and was able to sprint strong, finishing around 20th I think.
It was a great race and my girlfriend attended and videotaped the finish.
The drive home was actually in a tow truck as my truck died in the parking lot:( All things considered it was a very nice ride home. The beer and burger sure were tasty:)
I have done 4 sanctioned road races this year, 3 timetrials, and 6 Pacific Raceways series, the most ever for any one year. I have not had any mechanicals or crashes and have finished every race. I am so grateful.
I will be out of town in August so will miss the Crystal Mountain Hillclimb, a first since 2005. Oh well, girlfriends come first, especially one as supportive as M.
All the best to my teammates.
Ty (aka saddledancer)

June 23, 2010

Just Once This Year

One of the routes on the Tuesday night series at Pacific Raceways in Kent is "Up the S," a nice 2.5 mile or so loop with a good flat section, a gorgeous downhill section followed with a short and oh so sweet climb. The climb makes it the least popular route (but my favorite), and due to its unpopularity is only raced once a season.
The weather finally cooperated last night-partly cloudy with mild/slightly muggy conditions. I was so excited to race the route and couldn't wait to get out there. Due to a woman's race I could only pre-ride the course once and realized I really wasn't ready for the climb.
Only about 30 riders raced the 4/5s . We were to race for about an hour, or 12 laps or so. We stayed together for the first 5 laps and then things began to break apart. My legs felt okay on the climb and I had no problems on the flats and descent, but I started having some sort of throat issue on the 5th lap, couldn't swallow and felt like something was caught. By the time I got that resolved I was off the back on the descent leading to the climb. I never got back and ended up struggling with another rider for most of the remainder. I did get to ride a lap with the 1/2/3s and then a few laps later with the Masters. I glot blown away on the climb by the 1/2/3s but easily hung with the Masters so my legs were okay.
Overall I was a bit disappointed in my performance but was quite happy to finish. The three races were all blown apart some with riders scattered all over the course so I was not alone. Plus I have done six of the required 10 so I am getting there...
I get to ride my single speed cross home from work today (about 20 miles) so can't wait for 4:30 (10 more mins)!
All the best to my teammates
Ty 9aka Saddledancer)

June 22, 2010

TriItNow Father's Day mini-Tri

I competed in my first triathlon in over twenty years this past Sunday, albeit a mini-tri. It was a 175 yd swim in a pool time (trial-like start with swimmers going every five seconds), followed by a four mile bike and a 1.4 mile run. The swim is always my weakest event and this was no exception. I finished fine for me but am sure I lost quite a bit of time to the good swimmers. But what I lost in the swim I made up on the bike and the run. I entered the water 30th out of 60 competitors and ended up being the fifth racer to cross the finish line. My time was good for fourth overall. If I ever get to the point where I could become a stronger swimmer I just might become dangerous.

June 21, 2010

I went to the dark side. I have always enjoyed time trial races, but avoided the temptation to bite the bullet and buy one of those crazy looking, fragile looking TT bikes. Well, that ended when I just thought a road bike was too much of a disadvantage. But there's no way I'd buy one of those teardrop helmets. No way. Well, that ended too. In for a dime, in for a dollar.

I did the second in the Bong Rec. State Park series up in Wisconsin, the "Bong & A Half" 30k time trials. My goal was 23 mph average, and did 23.9 mph on this pretty flat course. Some small rolling hills, but nothing to complain about. I'm really getting comfortable with this position, and can't wait for my next short but violent effort.

June 16, 2010

Church Creek TT

I raced in the Spring Church Creek TT in Cambridge, MD on June 5, 2010. I was hoping to set a new PR for the 40K course. Cambridge is on the MD's eastern shore, bay side and extremely flat. The major challenge on the route is the wind. This year offered the additional challenge of heat and humidity. This was my third attempt at this TT. I rode a 1:07:23 in 2007 and 1:08:34 last year but alas, a PR was not in the cards this year. I ended up with a 1:08:01 by the official clock but the 1:07:59 on my iBike looks much faster! Maybe next time for the PR.

I think the pic is at the start of the TT because my tongue would have been much farther out of my mouth at the end.

June 15, 2010


I recently was watching a DVD of the 2008 Giro de Italia when I heard Phil Liggett say “Because anybody that goes away on a motor track like this is either an idiot, or really believes he can win.” He was commenting on an early stage that finished on an auto track, one a bit like the Pacific Raceways course I ride most every Tuesday night from March through August as part of the Budu Racing series. And to paraphrase Joe Parkin, "if you attack when planned you have attacked too late."
Tonight was my 5th Pacific Raceways of 2010 and the 13th of the series for 2010. The course was the flats again, but with points per lap starting with the 2nd lap. This meant a fast race. The weather was iffy, and it poured en route to the race. The course itself was dry but big dark clouds were approaching as we started our 55 minute race. Drops fell for the first 2 laps and then the rain held off for the remainder of the race, though the clouds looked very threatenimg. It poured on the drive home so we hit a perfect window for a change.
Anyway, my intent was to stay at the back as I am not a crit racer and use the flats course as a workout. 3 other teams (Starbucks, Old Town Cycle and Cycle U) were well represented, and I thought they would control the race. I had thought of attacking at some point (as I always do on the flats), but wanted to wait until the last third of the race. Before I knew it, I was moving up throught the right side of the field with about 20 mins to go at the start/finish line when I found myself attacking and moving away. My legs had just gone without any thought. I eventually looked back and saw one rider from Old Town Cycle trying to bridge. I had a good gap and decided to ease up to let him join me. We worked together for a few minutes but I did not have the legs to stay away and I could see the field coming back. I let my partner go away and tried to hold the pack off. But to no avail. They caught me then soon caught him. It took everything I had to catch the back of the train as it went by but I held on for a few more laps. I finished near the back but again was quite happy with my efforts. I think I did both Liggett and Parkin well.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

There is No Education Like Adversity

1st race of the 2010 season (WORS #4 Sunburst Showdown) for me due to knee issues from July, 2009 and my only expectation going into the race was to finish and remain in the Comp Cat 2 category, which I did.

I truly did not expect for it to be such a struggle to cross the finish line. A leadout crash, a 2nd lap broken middle chainring, and a 3rd lap broken chain had me wondering if I was going to be able to finish. I did, although easily finished with my worst result ever. Special thanks to my family and friends to cheer me on as I 'brute forced' and survived this race. Next up WEMS #3: 12 Hours of John Muir and a 3 hour solo race for me.

Felt great to race again and despite the adversity, I still had fun!

Joe Riesberg

June 13, 2010

Still Single

Today was the inaugural 9.5 Mercer Island TT, actually part of the Washington State Senior Games. The race was open to riders over 40, and due to issues with the island's council the entrants were limited to 80. Fortunately I entered a few months back so had a spot. There were 10 riders in the Men's 45-49 category, and I was the 4th to go in that cat. We started at 1 minute intervals on a good downhill. The course then climbed briefly, then rolled and was generally downhill until a good short climb. The course then serpentined for a cpl of miles before the finish. I had ridden the course 3 times on my single speed and once (yesterday) on a geared bike. The route circled the west, south and east ends of the island on a very smooth and fun road. A mecca for local cyclists. I knew the course well and wanted to race the single speed. So I did.
It was a beautiful day. The weather had been quite wet and cool for May and the start of June, but turned better on Friday afternoon. Yesterday was just gorgeous. Today was not as nice but was very good for the race, at least for me-mostly clear, light wind, and 60 degree temps.
I started strong and rode strong the whole way, seeing very little vehicular traffic. The police were very kind and polite and I waived to, and thanked all the ones I saw directing traffic.
My minute guy never caught me and I never saw another racer. The finish was a bit anti-climactic as I got caught behind 2 cars having to slow due to a weekend rider. I was not able to sprint or finish strong and had to settle for coasting the last 100 meters or so.
In any event I clocked 26:21 for 9.5 miles on an undulating course on my single speed. I took 8th out of 12 for the Mens 45-49. I believe I was the only single speed. I am quite happy and satisfied.
All the best to my teammates and Evan.
Keep the rubber side down,
Ty (aka saddledancer)

June 9, 2010


I have to have ridden 10 Tuesday night races in the Pacific Raceways series, held from the end of March through August, to qualify for the swag giveaway on the final night. That is my real goal this year. Not to win, place or be a real factor. Just to do the 10 so I can get a free pair of socks, or fenders, or jersey-just something!
Washington has had a very wet year so far-approximately 62 days of measureable moisture. Although I train in the rain and snow, I do not race in the wet. I am not a pro, am not paid to race, do not have a lot of confidence in my abilities in wet, slick, racing conditions, and just don't want to race in the wet. But last night I did.
I had only done 3 of the first 10 Pacific Raceways series, all because of the weather. I knew I had to start showing up to get my 10. Yesterday started very nice, and my hopes were high. We were to race the flats. By the time I showed up an hour early, the clouds were back in earnest. The prediction was for a lot of rain around 10pm, but this storm arrived early. I started in the 4/5s, and we were to race the flats for about an hour. The first 30 mins were dry, but I could smell the rain coming. I did move to the front on 2 of the first 4 laps, not attacking, but bringing an attack back on the 4th lap, staying in 3rd position for most of the lap pulling the pack along. Soon after the rain drops began. They told us at the start that the course would change to "down the escape route" if it started raining, as the flats became very slick and dangerous (the drag strip we raced on became an ice rink in the rain). With 3 laps to go, at around 40 mins of racing we were directed down the escape route. I stayed well off the back down the ramp, but easily worked my way to the top 1/2 on the rollers that followed. I was very happy to finish as it began to pour with 2 to go. Now I have down 4 of the 10, so I am at 40%. I am relatively confident I can get 6 more in as there are 11 races left. It can't rain every Tuesday night, can it?
The team was well represented as coffee was given away as primes for all 3 races. Thank you Evan! There is also team stuff to give away as swag at the end of the series. BUDU Racing, the organization that puts on the series, was quite thankful for the goodies. So was I.
I have a tt on Mercer Island on Sunday as part of the Senior Games and am riding my single speed. Speaking of singles, a guy raced one last night in our group and did quite well.

Side note-any suggestions on how to lessen/dampen the vibrations in my Sibex titanium cross forks? I just put them on a new Lynsky/Scattante ti cross frame and they vibrate horribly on steep descents. Someone suggested dampeners. Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you and keep the rubber side down.

Ty (Saddledancer)

May 31, 2010

Whole Natural Foods

Besides exercise, the other important aspect in obtaining optimal health is nutrition. This is what we eat. It is important to eat whole natural food, the food our bodies were meant to eat.

The food we eat today is essentially dead. It is void of the nutrients that are needed to sustain life. Our food has changed a great deal since the introduction of farming and grains some 10,000 years ago. However, there have been no major changes in our DNA in more than that time. This means that our bodies have not yet adapted to eat this kind of diet. There are basically eight changes to our diet that detrimentally affect our health: (Colgan, Nutrition For Champions, 2007)

  1. Introduction of cereal grains and processed carbohydrates;
  2. Introduction of animal husbandry;
  3. Introduction of refined sugar;
  4. Introduction of salt;
  5. Introduction of processed vegetable oils;
  6. loss of fiber;
  7. loss of micronutrients;
  8. Increased Acidity

Early 20th century studies by Price and Pottinger has shown that the hunter gatherer diet to be the most beneficial in maintaining life and health. (Schmid, 1997) The food we eat needs to be whole and natural as nature intended it. We should avoid foods that come in packages. Instead we should make our own foods using natural organic and macrobiotic ingredients. These are grown locally when the season allows, and are free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other unnatural food additives. It makes no sense to buy organic apples in the USA that were grown in New Zealand. These may be free of pesticides, but nearly all the nutritional value has been lost during the time of cold storage required to ship it, and they were most likely picked to soon to achieve the maximum nutritional value. When possible eat food directly from the source.

Colgan, D. M. (2007). Nutrition For Champions. Vancouver BC: Science Books.

Schmid, R. N. (1997). Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine. Rochester: Healing Arts Press.

May 27, 2010

2010 early season summary

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’ve been too busy training and racing but I thought I would share what’s happened thus far this season.
My first race of the year was the Adventures For the Cure Sugar Hill Cross Country MTB race in Elkridge, MD. It was held on March 20 and billed as a pre-series race for the Mid-Atlantic Super Series. So I treated it as such. Just rode it a race pace but didn’t care where I finished, just looking for signs of what kind of shape I was in. I ended up having a great race (no crashes, no injuries and had fun). Things were looking good.
My second race was the Tour of Walkerville, in Walkerville, MD a 50 mile road race on April 10. Things were going great on the first lap until I made a mistake that caused me to crash. I actually was anticipating and acceleration and was sitting in the middle of the pack. My anticipation caused me to get out of the saddle and start to accelerate as we hit a minor rise. Unfortunately, as I jumped, the folks in front of me hit the brakes and as I started flying into the middle of the bunch I bailed towards the edge of the road. When my front wheel hit the grass I endo’d and brought a couple of guys with me. I had some minor damage to my bike and got dropped from the bunch because of the wreck. Because I was dropped I got pulled after two laps.
My next event was the Ride to End Hunger in Calvert County on April 24. I did the Metric Century and skirted rain showers for the whole 3+ hours but made it back dry. It was a fun event!
I raced again on May 1, in the Michael P. Murad road race in Poolesville, MD. This race did not go well for me. I got dropped within four minutes of the start and spent the rest of the first lap solo. I caught a rider on the second lap and rode with him for most of the second and third laps and we were pulled on the third lap.
The fifth a last race so far was the Urban Assault MTB race in downtown Richmond, VA on May 15. I’ve done this race three years in a row and always had a good race. Well, the race was going well for me until about two thirds through when I crashed in a rocky area. My front wheel kind of got wedged into a crevice as I rode through and since I had been gripping the bars hard preparing to lift the front wheel I sort of pivoted over the bars and was looking down as I started over the top. It seemed like I hovered there for a second and thought to myself that it would not be good if I landed on my bike. So I semi-vaulted myself forward, twisted and ended up landing on my right side ahead of the bike. I popped back to my feet and went to grab the bike when I realized my left wrist was really hurting. Not wanting to fall/crash again and hurt myself further I pretty much dismounted and carried the bike over the rest of the obstacles on the course so I got passed by a lot of folks that last part of the race. I looked at my time and compared it to last year’s race and I was eleven minutes faster this year. So I think my fitness is getting there, I just need to find a way to stay upright.
I still have a lot of races on my schedule for this year. My next race will be the Church Creek TT in Church Creek, MD, a 40K flat TT on June 5. I’m hoping for a PR in this race. BTW, my left wrist was just bruised and feels much better now. Good luck and good riding to all!!!

May 26, 2010

"You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone"

Before yesterday, it had been over 2 months since I have ridden my bike in earnest. Winter training was going well until about late March, when my knee issue from 2009 flared back up again. The knee pain had been previously diagnosed as tendonitis and after 3 doctors, 2 Physical Therapists, 2 MRIs, xrays, ultrasounds, and host of other supplements, braces, and bike fit changes, I believe it may be identified and, at least for the time being, behind me.

Dr. Lynch from the West Bend Clinic, was able to identify an issue with the plica tissue behind the quad tendon, which was inflamed, and to make a long story short - causing the pain, which was thought to be tendonitis. I am so thankful for her expertise and assistance.

To fill my time for the last 2 months, I took up running and not just running, but barefoot running via the Vibram Five Fingers KSOs. This has been a great experience, which came to be after reading the book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougal. This was an interesting process and has allowed me to expand my bucket list to include a Boston Qualifying barefoot marathon at some point before I am unable, and kept me in moderate shape. The barefoot running, especially trail running, was great until I encountered one of the major benefits of shoes: protection. The picture included was a thorn, which impaled my foot, behind the big toe last week. This was a minor hurdle and has not changed my belief in barefoot running. Running, in general, certainly forces you to maintain Anaerobic Threshold for long periods of time and, to this day, I am still convinced running helps biking fitness significantly more than biking helps running.

All that being said, Doctor's orders yesterday were to ride hard! The idea being to test the latest treatment, in an attempt to prove/disprove the latest diagnosis........ All indications are good at this point and for those of you that obsess over things like I do will appreciate the significant weight that seems to be lifter off my shoulders and the amount of freedom I know feel again. It is obviously too early to say all is good, and I am trying to temper my enthusiasm until I get further into the training, although, in the moment, this is the best news, related to cycling, I have had in 10 months.

Now time to make due on some promises and represent 53x11 to the extent possible and quit driving those in my life crazy with my knee rehab obsession! Here's to riding!!!
Joe Riesberg

May 22, 2010

New York Bike Tour

MJ and I are trying to get out a bit now that its getting warmer. That includes our annual trek to New York. Why I don't know, but its something we enjoy together. 32,000 people on bikes is alot. The tour starts at eight and the last of the riders don't pass through the start till hours later. They close the streets of the five boroughs of NY for the day. This event is the biggest of its kind in the US. Here's a few pics.

May 13, 2010

46 days ... Ironman Couer d'Alene ID. I always pretend to keep my cool when Katie reminds me how few day remain and woefully unprepared we are. While it is true that there are not many days until the race, we are not unprepared. I calmly remind her that we will not come in on race day with our usual depth of fitness, but with just enough, which is is all we need. I suppose that is my way of saying "We Are Forked" or something to that effect.

This weekend looks like it might be the first this year without either howling winds or temps in the low 40s. We have our first 100 miler brewing this Saturday sandwiched between 2 one hour runs on Friday and Sunday. Brew and sandwich....mmmmmmm we are always hungry. Yes, mates, triathletes are not only poor bike handlers, but boring too. Don't we all just love it when one of my brethren or sisteren show up in a skin suit for a group ride, commencing to get onto their aerobars in the middle of the pace line. A pox upon your house, numb nuts. For the record, no aerobars on my road bike, lil' scraps, and I never ever get into aero when in a group, primarily because I ride with fellow triathletes and don't trust them. You don't get to be a 55 year old cyclist without being ornery, mistrusting and very aware.

May 11, 2010


Tonight was the 8th Pacific Raceways Tuesday night race of 2010, but only my 3rd. The first 2 had not gone so well, and my 3 sanctioned roadraces of the year also had not gone too great. My lack of training was clearly evident.
Tonight we raced the flat course, approximately a flat 2 mile course for 50 minutes. The weather was very nice-partly cloudy and cool. There was a good wind, meaning a head wind on the home stretch and a tail wind on the back stretch. We had about 55 riders in the 4/5s and my legs felt so fresh. The first time this year. I just had a fun time and wished the race went much longer. The harder we rode the better I felt. I attacked three different laps, every time at the same place, on the home stretch into the wind at the start/finish. I ended up finishing about 25th out of the 55 or so. I was so strong tonight and just giggled thru the whole thing.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

May 8, 2010

Half N Half

I didn't know how to title this post. Several names came to mind during the Masters 35+ 4/5 race this morning in Ravensdale, WA-"The yo-yo string finally broke; Dangling; See How the Other Half Rides," but I opted for Half N Half.
My race was in the early grouping (Womens Pro 1/2/3, Men's 5, us, then Women's 4). The scheduling was reversed from last year and we raced one less lap. A bit disappointing but in the end I was quite happy to just do 4 laps. The course started relatively flat, then had a good short hill, more rolling that followed a clockwise loop and was about 9 miles. It had 2 good right hand turns.
We started at around 8:40 in gorgeous conditions-clear, calm, and a bit chilly. May started with a wet and windy and cold start for Washington, including some snow. Yesterday was a change for the better, and it is Bike Month here so I rode home from work on my single speed. I threw in a partial leg around Mercer Island to scope out a TT course that will be raced in June as part of the Masters Games. I plan on riding the single speed in that race which is very rolling and curvy. No real flat sections with one good climb.
Anyway, maybe that hurt my legs some but I knew the race today would be tough as I didn't feel like I had race legs. Not really flat, just "not there." We also had a large field. The max was 75 but it turns out we had 83 entrants. I was at the back of the group trying to find my legs when a crash occurred in front of me around the 3rd mile. I did not go down but got caught behind it and had to work like a dog by myself to get back on. I never recovered. I did hang on for the first 2 laps, even battling the follow race vehicle a couple of times when I fell off. Every time the car passed me I found another gear and fought tooth and nail to the back of the peloton. After 3 or 4 of these episodes, just into the 3rd lap, I gave up the ghost, dropped back and waived the follow car by. I had a quick laugh with the official about my efforts. I resigned myself to 2 solo and lonely and tired laps when what did I see ahead? A large group of riders riding very slow. There were lots of recreational riders out and they were way to the right so I thought this was a large group of them. But as I approached through following traffic I saw another race vehicle. I flew by it and saw they were women. Turns out they were the Pro 1/2/3s who started about 6 mins ahead of us. Due to the Center Line Rule and my legs I opted to ride with them. Quite nice as they were not so erratic with pace as us. I lost contact before the only hill (rather short) before the start/finish so resigned myself to one lap solo. I was dangling just behind the women and could not bridge, but did not lose much. But then they suddenly slowed in the same place I got them a lap before so I was able to get back on. I rode the last lap with them, once again dropping off on the hill and finishing by myself.
I was 68th out of 69. We had 13 DNFs.
We had the largest field by far. Since they separate 4 and 5s into separate races I wish they would do that with the Masters. The Masters 1/2/3 have their own race and usually only field about 20 max (today like 13 riders). Does not make sense.
But I did the race.
I even got out for a quick easy ride tonight on my single speed.
Side Note-I am reading the new book by Joe Parkin, called "Come & Gone,: the sequel to "A Dog In a Hat." It is very good.
All the best to my teammates,
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

April 25, 2010

Going Below the Bottom of the Barrel

So there I was, in the middle of the 3rd of 4 laps of the Vance Creek Road Race in Elma, Wa today, riding way off the back of the Masters 30+ 4/5s all by my lonesome, battling a massive headwind on a narrow twisty road in what on any other day would be gorgeous scenery, thinking it was time for me to call it a day. I planned on finishing the lap and pulling off. I was not the only rider on the 13.25 mile course as there were actually 5 races in progess-Pro 1/2, then Men 3s, then Masters 50+, then us, and finally the women's Pro 1/2s. I was definitely not ready for this race, and did it because I had never done it as I had always been in Maupin, OR for the DRTT. The course was something as it started and finished and went by every lap a defunct nuclear power plant (with 2 BEHEMOTH cooling towers). It started with a long down hill on a rather rough road, then spent several miles on relatively flat narrow winding roads in open farmland (reminded me of a Classics race somewhat), and then finished with a 3 mile climb on an awesomely smooth road with a kicker at 200 to go. I road the first lap with the group, almost dropping off the back on the descent when a guy in front of me had a severe high speed wobble. There was another close call on the climb when a guy in front of me slipped his chain but I avoided him. I did not have enough to stay with the group on the descent of the 2nd lap, and ended up riding with 4 others in a good group. We separated on the climb but 4 of us temporarily regrouped. I lost them though on the decsent, leaving me alone.
So back to the beginning of my blog. I was scraping the bottom of the barrel. I could hear the whisperings of a pending bonk, and my quads had started to cramp some. I have had to go deep in marathons before, but never like this in a bike race.
I started thinking a lot of why I race. I race not to win but to ride with style and courage.
I learned yesterday that a friend's 4 month old daughter suddenly died a week ago. Fiona came to mind as well as what her parents were going through. My current discomfort was nothing. Marring a crash or mechanical or some debilitating medical condition, tight quads and bending bonk and a headwind were no excuse to quit and drop out. So I continued. I did get passed by breaks in the Womens, Mens 3 and Pro 1/2s but I finished. Feeling a bit raw and empty right now.
But I finished. And that is all that matters to me.
I have gone to the bottom of the barrel and beyond, and let me tell you, it's worth the trip.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

April 19, 2010

A Double Dose

My season to date has not gone as originally lanned, and I am not getting to do a TT festival in Oregon next week as I had anticipated, and I had a bad back fr two weeks almost elminating all riding for a bit, BUT
this last weekend was a double dose of positivity (is that a word?)
I enjoy solo rides as well as rides with my small group of friends. Saturday saw me on a 2 hr ride with a good friend. Gorgeous weather, the opportunity to ride an old steel Gazelle (built for an amateur Danish squad), and evenly matched pulls with a mix of chat thrown in made for a ride I so needed (both spiritually and physically as my scheduled races are really coming now). Todd and I just pulled and pulled and felt so strong. Thanks Todd!
Yesterday saw me on my single speed Specialized cross bike. I was only going to do an hour ride, but the weather was almost perfect (reminded me of growing up in Southern California), and my gf was asleep (not feeling well), and my legs felt good, and I had always wanted to do the 40 mile Mercer Island loop on the bike, so I did!
I knew the ride out and around the island would be doable on the single, but the ride home included a very long steady uphill, and I was a bit concerned over my gearing. However, after a very strong ride out and around the island, I attacked the climb and did it. I was out of the saddle for its entirety but I did it. I am so happy knowing I can ride this bike on this route in the future as I most definitely will ride it more.
Just say this weekend was just what I needed-a double dose!!!!!!!
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

April 13, 2010


Tonight was the 4th Pacific Raceways Tuesday night race of 2010. I had only done one so far (the first one on the flat course 3 weeks ago). My training since then had gone down the tubes, due to weather and a nagging lower back issue. The back was so bad that I decided not to go to Maupin, OR next week for what would have been my 5th straight Deschutes River TT Festival. I also purchased a new Lynskey titanium cross frame and some titanium cross forks with my trip money, but that is another issue. Suffice it to say that I have not put in the rides I needed to this year.
The weather cooperated today and was very pleasant for the Pacific NW=Partly cloudy, wind and cool. My back was feeling a tad better so I opted to go race. The course was "Down the Escape Route" (a 300 meter or so long straight descent on very rough surface). It was my 2nd least favorite course out there and I usually "yo yo" off the back but finish with the pack. O dod crash on te course hard in 2006 so have some residual issues with the course.
Anyway, a nice intimate field showed for the 4/5s and I hung with the group for the 40 minute (8 lap race). No crashes and nice weather meant a good race. I did get dropped on the 3rd lap ("prime"), but reintegrated when I stayed on the back of a small chasing group. I did let the main group go at the end of the small climb at the end of the last lap, quite content with my performance given the last few weeks.
All in all quite relieved to have stayed upright and to have stayed with the pack. I am saddened that I am not going to Maupin in a week, but can't wait to ride my new Titanium cross w/Campy Record 10.
All the best to my teammates.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

April 2, 2010

Spring peepers

I love the sound of frogs in the early spring, Spring Peepers. This is what Katie calls them. As natural as the lengthening days, the wind blows. I keep telling myself that these rides directly into the strongest gusts will make me stronger. I suppose for those of us who live in flatter areas, this is the closest we get to long sustained climbs – minus the ability to stand, doing so turns your entire body into a sail. Today was my first day in shorts since early November as I was proud to be sporting the 53x11 kit. As I spent a lot of time this winter in the basement on the soul drainer, I was glad to be on the roads although once again it appears that they were carpet bombed while I was inside. Sitting on a static bike with uniform resistance is no substitute for the real thing but it allowed me to hang strong against a tough spring companion.

March 27, 2010

My Impersonation of a Peanut

As in shelled.I raced the Masters 30+ 4/5s this morning at 9 am in Rochester, WA, a 2 lap 41 mile affair that included 2 climbs (one not so short but steep and one short but not so steep), and several miles of rolling terrain in beautiful farm country.
I don't know about other states, but Masters racing is HUGE in Washington, and recently they changed cats so 4/5s would not race with much older but better cat riders. Up to this year the 4/5s Masters over 30 raced with 50+ all cats. I understand the need and want for safety (I myself don't feel all that comfortable with newbies) but Cat 4 racers do have experience, if not the talent or desire to move up. I am a weekend racer only, and wanna stay upright and be a factor. But if I have the chance to race with much better Masters (like the 2007 Elkhorn Classic or the Blackberry Crit in Bremerton, WA) I will take it. Nothing like toeing the line and trying to chase down the likes of Kenny Williams.
Soapbox aside, I did this race in 2006 in similar conditions-mostly clear and cool with a slight wind (aka very nice!). Like 2006 I got dropped on the first climb that came at the end of neutral, and like 2006 I connected with 5 or 6 others. Our group worked very well together picking up stragglers, a lil like 2006. Unlike 2006, however, I knew what was coming so dropped everyone on the 2nd climb and waited for them to catch me at the bottom (unlike 2006 where I let everyone leave me on the descent and never reconnected for the 2nd and final lap).
Our group of 6 had an incredible paceline going through the finish at the end of the 1st lap. We did split again on the 3rd climb and I was leading everyone, but for some reason did not push the advantage so they could catch me on the descent. End result? A group of 3 left me and I could never reconnect. So, just like 2006 I rode most of the 2nd lap on my own in tt mode. I could see the 3 guys just up the road and I almost bridged but could not and gave up the ghost. I did see one guy looking back for me, and after the race he said he asked the others to wait as I was such a strong rider and good contributor (I have to represent 53x11 coffee!). And just like 2006 the women almost caught me at the line, but I did push it the final K and beat them by a good margin.
I heard after that bad crash occurred at the finish of our group as a pack raced for 2nd. I did not see any carnage but did see a Medic driving to the finish. Never good to hear or see.
Bikers and bike racers are such an incredible family. I have said it before and I will say it again. My number was falling off just before the start and a woman waiting to start her race pinned me straight. I had good conversations with many of my co-conspirators after the race, and my car neighbor left his shorts at home so scrambled to find a pair before his race-which he did. We may race and compete against each other but we are always there for one another too.
So cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PS-I am 11th in the series so I hope I do well todat at Gent - Wevelgem .
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

March 24, 2010

The Wait Is Over

I had been waiting for last night since the end of August, 2009. Last night marked the beginning of the Tuesday night series at Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA, a weekly race series on a closed car/motorcycle course that offers 5 courses, ranging from 2 to 2.5 miles in length. Races are offered for 3 cats-1/2/3s, Masters and 4/5s. Although I have raced for years and often race in Masters cats for sanctioned races, I ride the 4/5s in the unsanctioned Tuesday series. I think I will move to Masters in 2011.
Last night was the flat course, a very friendly oval with gentle turns on a flat 2 mile route. The weather was awesome-cool with partly cloudy conditions. Mt. Rainier is often viewable about 30 miles to the southeast. There was a very large turnout, about 60 in the 4/5s, 60 in the masters and 40 in the 1/2/3s.
The 4/5s started last and rode for 40 minutes, or about 17 miles. We rode hard from the get go with very few slow sections. I rode primarily at the back, catching up with old friends. The biking community is very close and is just awesome. Where else will you see a Cat 1/2 racer riding with his 2 year old before the start? Where else will you hear 4/5s yell for their teammates that are in a 1/2/3 break who pass the 4/5s? We ae at different levels and abilities but the desires and dreams are the same-to ride well.
I did attack at the start of the 3rd lap (a prime lap as well). I went from the very back to the front and got off a few yards, taking one other rider with me. After a few pedal turns I pulled off and looked back. The one rider pulled through and I jumped on his wheel but I knew the pack was letting us dangle. I told my partner that we were about to get caught and we had a good laugh-"you gotta try" he said as we rode through the first turn at the head of the flying pack. Once through the turn I pulled off and let all 59 riders ride through. It took everything to catch the last wheel and I never recovered-so much for my off season training!
I was at the back with one lap to go when a crash occured just ahead of me-no other sound like that of bodies and bikes hitting the pavement. I hate it. I somehow avoided the falling bikes and bodies and did not hit the guy in front of me (a good buddy too) as he maneuvered around the carnage. Three of us ended up way off the back and tried to get back on but could not, so we 3 rode in together side by side. It was good to finish with 2 buddies, knowing we were fortunate not to go down (one buddy broke his collarbone a few years ago on the same course and made it on youtube).
All in all a very good start to the 2010 Pacific Series. I think I wore the team colors with honor. Starbucks changed their kit up some and I do not like it. So glad the alter-ego has remained!!!!!
More to come in the following weeks. I do have my first USCF sanctioned road race this Saturday in Rochester, WA.
All thbe best to Evan and my teammates. Keep the rubber side down!!!!
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

March 22, 2010

Quick Iowa Gravel Grinder

My wife and I blew through our hometowns in Eastern Iowa this past weekend. This is always a great excuse for me to get a good gravel road ride in between our homesteads and always makes me appreciate this area of the world a little more. To most people this may not smack you as God's country, although as the old adage goes, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," or is it:

"Is this Heaven? No it's Iowa."

I only got about about 2 hours of riding in on the rural gravel roads and they certainly were not in their best of shape due to the winter thaw, although it was a great ride and great weather given the time of year. Where I live in SE Wisconsin it is pretty tough to even find a gravel road, much less make a ride out of one. This ride was so good, I may even try a gravel grinder race this year, especially as these types of races continue to grow in popularity. A good one around these parts is the TIv6 - the annual Trans Iowa race every Spring.

I truly love to visit family and friends, but I really love to ride too and when you can combine the two... why not? Now if I can just remember which way was home???

March 15, 2010

Naked Riding

I went to Sanibel Island on vacation in February, 2007, and came across a t-shirt I just had to have-"Bike Naked, It's Harder Than It Looks."
Today I was not naked but I felt that way. It was my first weekday, post work ride of 2010 (thanks to Daylight Savings). I did a quick 12 miler with some very good effort catching lights and then up a steady climb. It was warm enough that I wore just bib shorts, a jersey, helmet with no hat underneath and regular gloves. My arms and legs were so white and undercovered (no leg or arm warmers). Given all that I really did feel naked. But oh so light! I am so happy to be back in the tan line part of the season! I hope this warming trend continues but the Pacific NW has been known to get slammed some in March. I do hope to commute home tomorrow from Seattle.
All the best to my teammates,
Ty (aka Saddledancer)
BTW-are the gray t-shirts and clear water bottles going to be available again?

March 6, 2010

Single For A Day

I have been in a relationship for almost 3 years now with a very loving and supportive woman. But today I just had the need to be single. The 10 mile Icebreaker TT was held near Flaming Geyser Park just outside Black Diamond, WA, just north of Mt. Rainier. I do not have a timetrial bike and am not fast, so I decided to ride my single speed Specialized Cross bike. It is currently set up as a 44x17, which is set up nicely for flat rides around town. The longest ride I have done on it has been 3 miles. I bought it last yearr on Ebay and have never raced it (though I am tempted to do so in the 2010 World Sing Speed Cross in Seattle). It has been signed by Tim Johnson.
The drive to the race was spectacular, a mix of heavy fog and clear blue skies with a vertical 1/2 moon low on the southern horizon. The race start was still in heavy fog and chilly temps when I set up my trainer next to a field full of horses. Soon however the sun broke through and the fog disappeared and the temps became almost mild.
I got to see some old familiar faces from the peloton during my warmup, and again felt like I was being welcomed back into the arms of one inrcedible family. Cyclists just rock!!!!!!
I went off about a 1/3 of the way down the start list, and rolled up just as my name was being called to get in line. Before I had too much time to reconsider my decision to go single I was off.
I immediately got up to top speed and settled in. The course was incredible-generally flat (though slightly downhill for the first 1/2), with some nice curves that went through beautiful farm and ranch country. I person caught me and I caught one rider just before the turnaround. I held my effort for the return and even negative slitted by a few secs, clocking 27:15 for my time, coming in around 80th out of 111 starters in the 4/5s. I believe I was the only single speed out there.
There was one negative, a rude truck driver on the way back who honked and gave me the bird for no reason. There was a wide shoulder which I was in. It did not take away from my overall happiness and satisfaction with the race or trip. It was just one incredible day and a good 2nd race of the season.
I have a full season planned and will write a lot more in the months to come.
I wish all my teammates well.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

February 28, 2010

Just Call Me "Mr. Retro"

Today was the first race of my 2010 road season. It was a 9 mile timetrial in Everett, WA, a flat out and back course that was just gorgeous. We have had very mild weather out here and spring arrived a week or so ago with many many blossoms. The birds are out in force as well. Just too beautiful and so early in the year. If this is global warming I am all for it! Kidding (s0rt of).
I was entered in the retro division, meaning I could only use a road bike with no aero equipment.
I was tempted to ride my single speed Specialized Cross bike but I opted for my Merlin Ultralite (what a misnomer as it weighs around 20 lbs with Campy Record 10). I started 24th out of about 300 or so, so went very early. It was a gorgeous day with cool temps and partly cloudy conditions with a head wind for the first half. My trainer was set up along a bike path along a river and there were many trainers set up on the path. We all had a great view of the Cascades and a river (wish I knew its name.) I did see an old acquaintence from the Deschutes River TT weekend held every April in Maupin, OR (I do plan on racing that for the 5th straight year).
I also made friends with my "neighbor" who rode a raode bike with aero bars so he did not qualify for "retro."
It felt so good reacquainting myself with riders and seeing the same local teams. Like us they have kept the same colors. I do feel as I am part of one incredible and very nice group of riders. I do feel I showed our team colors with honor. I started just in front of two Starbucks riders (30
sec was a man and 60 sec was a woman). I was the only retro in a field on aerop riders.
I started in too big a gear and so lost time at the start. My 30 sec rider passed me just before the turnaround and my 90msec rider passed me with a mile to go. I almost caught a rider at the line who started about 2 mins ahead of me.
Overall I was quite happy as I had wanted to do this tt for some time now. I was entered last year but was ill so had to pass. I did think this year's even was actually last week and I was ill (thanks to an epic hike at Leadbetter State Park near Ling Beach, WA) over Valentines, so I was so happy to be able to ride this year. No idea of where I placed or the actual time I clocked (I would say close to 24:30).
I do have another tt next weekend and I think I will ride the single speed just for fun:)
Stay safe and keep the rubber side down.
Ty (aka Saddledancer)

February 6, 2010

Why Ride Right Now?

Sometimes I take myself too seriously.... Today was one of them. Then I realized something mid-ride today. How can I be outside riding my bike in early February, 23 degrees with 15 mph wind, and an hour from home and be thinking this is the rational thing to do on a day like today.
Q: Why am I doing this? A: I do this because I enjoy it.

I enjoy the suffering
I enjoy the speed
I enjoy the races
I enjoy the adventure
I enjoy the bikes
I enjoy the gear
I enjoy the lifestyle
I enjoy the commute
I enjoy the friends
I enjoy the dirt and mud
I enjoy the outdoors
I enjoy the fitness
I enjoy the hills
I enjoy the trainer (sometimes)
I enjoy the strange looks I get at the car dealership when I drop the car off, wearing lycra and leaving the garage on a bicycle.

Mostly a cross country mountain biker at heart. Certainly not a hucker. And yes, even a roadie, although I may not shave my legs, occasionally sport baggies, sometimes don a camelbak instead of multiple water bottles, wear goggles in the extreme cold, and numerous other things counter-roadie culture.

Here's to another snowy, winter ride everyone. Cheers!


February 3, 2010

Alter Ego Jerseys back in stock

Hey Team ,

Alter Ego Jerseys are back in stock.

January 30, 2010

New Year, New Training Plan, Same Goals

New year, new training plan ideas, same goals:

Last Year

Last year was the first year with a bike coach and a very singletrack, all bike training focus, which enabled me to ride more miles in a 6 month period than ever before. Although also caused a mid year severe knee tendonitis issue, which really made me realize how much I missed my daily riding fix.

This Year
The focus this year has been and will continue to be overall fitness, health, and nutrition, including lots of focused weight lifting training, core strength, and plyometrics. And of course time on the bike. So far so good...

I am still using a daily training plan, thanks to Cycling Form and Fitness, to ensure my training stays on track and is measurable. The plan is very detailed and having last year's information has been very interesting to compare against. I have also made an effort to not hibernate and sit on the trainer all winter long. I have been riding or snowshoeing outside every opportunity I can.

Thanks to Evan, 53x11 Coffee, and my family support I am sure this will be a great year of fitness, health, and good times!

January 29, 2010

Some new amazing coffees

From the beginning we've been working on bringing you the best coffees in the world. Our latest additions are the new House Espresso, The Easy Rider Espresso, and a great tasting Ethiopian Amaro Gayo. Both espressos are guaranteed to blow you out of the water.

January 27, 2010

SKINS Recovery Tights

Hello Team,

I'm always on the search to bring in more info and new products that will help us train better, train harder, and train smarter.
I believe recovery is such an important part of training and is often so overlooked. Recovery is in the form of nutrition, stretching, and resting. How many of you train hard and then spend the rest of the day on your feet? I do more than I'd like, but it's just because I have so many other things going on that there's nothing I can do about it. I've come across a product that some of you may or may not be familiar with. The Skins recovery tights are a very helpful tool that I've been using and testing for the past couple months. Slip these on after your done training and feel the difference. They help keep you legs from swelling and getting that heavy feeling. I'll wear mine for a few hours after training or on long flights. I've only brought in a limited supply so first come first serve.
Check them out here.

January 16, 2010

Carbon race bike w/campy record $7000.00 Trip to Tucson $3000.00 Remembering you're 47 years old, priceless!

Yes its the off season and we're riding easy getting in some base miles just as the script says. Except those of us that haven't finished the year properly, perhaps put on a few little winter pounds. Maybe spent too much time at work, maybe too much time doing everything but what we should have been doing, again! If I ever let myself get a little lax on riding time I swear I'm not coming back. I wasn't feeling all that great before madera, but still I should have done better. If you're letting some time lapse between rides or whatever, don't do it man. My heart didn't explode yet so I'm giving myself another chance. At this stage of the game its more about quality of life. When I sit on the start line of a race I'm just happy to be there, things I never used to think about. I don't care how old you are, where you're at in life, anytime is a good time to start getting into better shape. We pass this way once, Let us find peace and balance, ride man, ride.