December 4, 2011

60000th Mile

I am a road cyclist, first and last. I have been riding since the end of 1980 when I was a senior in High School..
But I also am, or used to be, a long distance runner. I ran high mileage for 23 years, completing 52 marathons (including 6 Bostons) and 2 ultras. I have not run seriously since 2004, but every year I try and run some, especially during the winter months. During my "serious running" days I would celebrate every 5000th mile mark with a good (aka high quality junk food) meal. I finally hit my official, logged 60000th running mile a few weeks ago.
It has been a very difficult last 12 months, a lot of it due to my own actions, but I am so happy I was able to finish off the year with this milestone.
And the 5 Guys cheeseburger with jalapenos hit the spot!
I hope my teammates are all well.
Happy Holidays!

October 3, 2011

Physiological Effects of Adaptogenic Herbs on Health, Stress, and Athletic Performance

It is done. I have completed my book on adaptogens. Adaptogens are plants like Eluthero root, Ginseng, Rhodiola, and Schisandra. These plants have been shown to have nutrients that assist the body in recovery and times of stress. My book explains how and why they work.

I am offering Physiological Effects of Adaptogenic Herbs on Health, Stress, and Athletic Performance to all 53X11 members and blog readers at a 15% discount if they purchase direct from the publisher. You can purchase the book here and use the code XE27K2LN to get the 15% discount.
"Stress is real. We all experience it, and it can't be avoided. Adaptogens are unique phytonutrients that support the body in times of stress. This book explores modern and traditional usage of several of the most popular adaptogens as they apply to health, stress, and athletic performance." Wayne Pedranti

"Change is stress. Stress is change. Change is also metabolism and energy revealed. Change is what causes our need to adapt and it is the adaptogens from nature, from plants, that can improve our ability to adapt. To adapt well means we are adapting to change and stress without significant damage." Cory Holly

If you prefer, this book is also available to order from Amazon as well as regular book stores.Sorry no discount there.

September 8, 2011

No Mas

The last Pacific of the year was held on August 30th. I had to do it if I wanted to qualify for the goodie give-away afterwards (killer cupcakes too). It was a 40 minute affair held on the flat course. I have been struggling mentally for the last 4 weeks (won't go into details but it is the toughest challenge I have faced, and it is all my fault), and my training really has been nil. I have ridden almost every day, but only easy stuff.
As the 4/5s rolled out, Rory, the director and a friend, looked at me and said "and I wanna see you out front." Our start was so pedestrian I took him up on the challenge and got to the front of the pack on the back stretch and then attacked. I never attack there. One guy joined me but said he was covering attacks for a teammate and couldn't work with me. We had a nice laugh and rode a steady tempo waiting to get caught. Well another guy went off the front and my companion joined him. I was caught between those two and the pack so went all out to catch the break. We were caught just before the start/finish and I attacked again even though I was way in over my head and my legs and lungs were screaming.. I knew I could not keep it but was way off the front as I passed Rory. I pointed to him and yelled "This is for you!" I was soon caught as the pack was flying as the 2nd lap was a prime lap.
My friend Tom helped me catch the back of the pack, but as we turned onto the home stretch I got caught behind a much slower rider and lost contact with the group. I was so shot from my two attacks I could not join them and this was only on the 2nd lap! I had never dropped that fast before. I resigned myself to riding the rest in tt/solo mode. After 3 or 4 laps I got caught by the Masters and rode the last 2 laps with them. It turned out there were 3 other riders from the 4/5s with me. The only negative was a female on the Cucina Fresca team who was riding at the back. She yelled at me a couple of times to make holes for her and to get out of her way and let her race. Funny thing was I was not in front of her and was not impeding her in any way. We both were at the back of the group. The other 4/5s just looked at me like she was crazy and shook their heads. Oh well...
I ended up getting a 1/2 season pass for 2012 for volunteering at a recent triathlon managed by Rory and his wife. I also got 2 new tubes, a lot of GU, and a nice pair of Axley sunglasses. Not bad for only doing 10 races.
I CANNOT wait for 2012.
All the best to my teammates:)

August 25, 2011

Pics from Pacific

I just wanted to give everyone an idea of what the racing is like out at Pacific Raceways in Kent, since I report on these almost every week. All pics were taken by Kirsten Reed, who's husband rides for Starbucks Coffee. Even though he rides for a competitor, it is all one big happy family in the cycling and coffee realms:) Kirsten's photos can be found on smugmug (

Sorry for the poor quaility...

August 18, 2011


Last night I tried something new-a spin class. My girlfriend and I discovered a tiny little studio ("Pons Studio" or tucked into a small strip mall only a mile from home.
I have not been a big fan of spin classes, and tried one several years ago in Washington, D.C. It turned out to be more of an "aerobics in a saddle" class and I got into some arguments with the instructor as I just wanted to ride.
I also enjoy riding outside when at all possible and the idea of being yelled at by some instructor while I spun to loud music on a beautiful day didn't seem all that enjoyable either. I preferred sitting alone in my garage on my trainer, listening to my music and watching movies on mute. I am such an odd duck:)
Anyway, Pons Studio is run by Francisco Pons, who is a racer himself. He also is a Level 2 USA Cycling Coach. My girlfriend and I walked by the studio one night when class was in session and I was intrigued by the bikes. They are called Realryder (, and are stationary but also mobile. They move much like a real bike and you can get out of the saddle and sprint or simulate climbing. These came with toe clips or spd pedals (perfect for me as all my cycling shoes are spd). Tension is adjusted by turning a knob on the top tube and the saddle and bars are adjustable.
I received one free class so went last night, which felt odd as it was so beautiful out. I would have preferred to be riding outside but I did get to ride to the studio.
There were four of us, 3 men and Francisco's wife. The bike was very easy to get used to and I was soon having fun. Class started and Francisco cranked up the music and led us through 60 minutes of intervals, tempo, climbing, turning (these bikes lean). I had a real blast and will definitely go again (but on lousy weather days).
Anyway, check out realryder. It is a very cool concept.
All the best!

July 27, 2011


Last night at my 8th Pacific I had snap in my legs, so unlike the previous week. Maybe it was smelling the barbeque before the start. BUDU Racing, the sponsors of the weekly races, always does a bbq near the end of the season. It is always a fun way to celebrate the racing and family atmosphere. Due to the bbq we only raced for 30 mins, about half of normal.
We were to race the flats with points per lap, but due to an accident on the drag strip we had to change the course to the lounger (and more fun) "down the escape ramp." We started on the flats on top, headed west for almost a mile then turned back to the east and down a short steep straight ramp to the bottom of the curving uphill rollers that put is back on the top.
There were about 30 riders in the 4/5 race, and before the start we were asked to go down a few hundred yards on the flat and sweep the course and clear it of all the rocks and debris kicked up earlier by a lawn mower. It felt good to do our part. But 3 of us almost missed the start and rolled up just as the group was leaving.
I felt so strong on the climbs and had no issues staying with the group. As we started the second lap I was at the back with a friend and asked if he wanted to attack with me. So I led us up the side and gave it 110% . But eventually I looked back and saw the pack strung out. They wouldn't let us go.
A crash occurred about halfway into the race on the small cimb but I was able to get around it and chase back.
But oh what a fun race! And the hot dogs and coke were delicious!

July 25, 2011


Today marks my two year anniversary of being a single speed rider. It was two years ago that I purchased a 54cm Specialized Tricross single speed cross bike off ebay. The seller was the parent of a very good junior rider in Kansas City and I bought the bike for a steal. My low bid was the only one. Both myself and the seller were surprised I got the bike for such a low price, especially considering that the bike was signed on the top tube by Tim Johnson.
I quickly discovered that 44x17 was the perfect gearing for me. I live in a hilly area and this gearing gets me up many of the climbs, and I can crank on the flats.
In the two years I have logged 2921.5 miles on her and she has become my mainstay training bike and tt bike.
I cannot sing the praises of single speed riding enough and encourage everyone to get one.

July 20, 2011


Flat not as in a tire, but flat as in no energy.
Last night was my 7th Pacific of the year, my second favorite course-clockwise starting on the flat and finishing at the top of the Escape Ramp, about a 300 meter long steep straight shot that kicks some at the end. I always have had fun on it and once attacked and stayed away for 1.5 laps. But that was 2 years ago.
We were to race one hour and the weather was quite odd-very dark and stormy to the east but mostly clear to the west, meaning we had to climb right into the sun. The temps were almost cool and there was a good wind blowing from the west, meaning a real tail wind on the top flat section.
Before the start I hung out and chatted single speed and fixie gearing with 2 very good local riders. I felt a bit honored to be included so started the race on a high. As we headed out I slowly worked my way to the front on the outside of the pack of 30 or so riders. Soon I was leading the pack as we descended on the back stretch through the very beautiful curvy and shaded sections. It felt weirtd knowing I was pulling the train as I could not hear anything but the head wind. Soon though I was being passed as we climbed the Escape Ramp. I held on near the back and then just rode at the back and middle for the next 20 minutes.
We then had a prime lap and I almost got dropped after the leaders went all out at the top of the climb. However, I was able to jump onto the back end of 2 guys chasing back and then we bridged. I sincerely thanked the rider from Farestart who did most of the pulling as we rejoined.
I was then able to ride with the group but always had issues on the climb, just no energy. I got to watch a friend attack with 4 to go and 3 others went with him. I could not chase him down so stayed at the back. They got caught in the middle of the climb.
Then with 2 to go the filed was splintered and I helped a small group chase back on, but then got blwon out the back on the climb. I did finish with my friend who attacked earlier, after we caught the back of the Masters.
I am glad I did it but was disappointed about my legs. Oh well, flat happens.
Next week it is the flats and BBQ night!
All the best to my teammates.

July 11, 2011

Tour of the Unattended or "How I Spent My Summer Vacation"

I had not had a real vacation in 11 months. I also had not done a stage race since the 2007 edition of the Elkhorn Classic in Baker City Oregon (4 stage 3 day event which is the best around).
I decided to take this whole week off from work. I do not have the money to go anywhere, but just not being at work is a vacation. The timing could not have been more perfect, as the Tour is on and Cascade Bicycle Studio ( had decided to put on an unofficial stage race this week in conjunction with the TDF. It was a free event, 5 stages held over 5 days (M-F), timetrials really as we had to ride each course on our own and report our times, held on courses in the Seattle area. The weather has not been very nice this week-mostly cloudy with periodic showers every day. It has been a lot like the Tour-cloudy, some rain, mild and muggy).

Monday was stage One, a 9 mile TT from the little community of Leshi, on the west side of Lake Washington to Seward Park (4.5 miles to the south) and back. We could not use aero equipment and had to report our own times. I rode from my home in Issaquah, approximately 17 miles east, a nice hour warm up over Mercer Island and Lake Washington. I was racing my single speed again, and soon was on "the course." It was a relatively flat out and back course along Lake Washington. I did it around 11:20 am and there was not much vehicular traffic, but a few bikes out enjoying the nice weather (pc and mild temps). I had a nice outbound section and was soon headed back. I was pleasantly surprised to see I was being paced by a heron, flying just over the shoreline of the lake at about my 2 O'Clock. It stayed with me for a few miles. Quite a cool site. I also saw several baby geese in the lake with their adult chaperons. Another cool site. I ended up clocking a 25:39.7.

Tuesday was Stage Two-a 13.4 mile counterclockwise loop on nearby Mercer Island. I love Mercer Island as it has very few traffic lights/stop signs and is a local mecca for cyclists with great views of Mt. Rainier. I ride it several times a year in both directions, and most of my rides are now on my single speed. I live about 11 miles away, and rode from home so had a nice warm up and was once again on my single speed. After Monday's stage I discovered that there were 14 entrants in this race, 10 men and 4 women. I was 8th in the men's race and all the women were beating me. BUT I WAS THE ONLY ONE ON A SINGLE SPEED. I raced the course in the late morning but encountered a ton of traffic. I also had to pass a very slow tractor and had 3 stops in the last mile due to traffic signals and tree work. A rather anticlimactic finish. I clocked a 40:32, leaving me still in 8th.

Wendseday was stage 3, a 2.1 mile hillclimb on Cougar Mtn, which is only 2 miles from my condo. I used to ride this climb every week but had not ridden it in almost 2 years. It is a well known and respected and feared local climb, 2 miles of severe grade that kicks at the start and never ever really lets up. This is the only stage that I rode a geared bike, my Merlin Ultralite with Campy Record and climbing gears (39x28). I rode it last Sunday for the first time in almost 2 years. My own timed course is a little longer as I time it from the very beginning to the actual crest, about a minute longer than the race routes. My Sunday time was 19 mins, or 18 for the race route, my slowest ever but I was getting used to the climb again, what I call a "shakedown ride." My time for the race was 17:15, or 18 for my course. I was happy with it as it had poured for most of the night and morning. The road was a bit slick, making it difficult to get out of the saddle as my rear tire would slip. At the end of the day I discovered I had made up some time on the 7th place rider, who was now only 10 seconds ahead. I was about 4 minutes ahead of 9th place.

Thursday was Stage 4, a 27.1 counterclockwise loop around the South end of Lake Washington.
I once again raced my single speed and rode from home so had a nice warm up. The weather was not ideal as it had had been raining off and on and it was quite muggy. The roads were a bit slick so I could not go all out. My rear tire really slid out en route to the race when I braked at the bottom of a very short but steep hill. The race course crossed the north end of Mercer Island, crossed Lake Washington on I 90, then did the first half of Monday's stage before going around the south end of Lake Washington. There was a great deal of late morning traffic and I missed most of the lights and had to slow for countless stop signs. I had a strong second half and was a bit tempted to stop at the Cowgirls Espresso stand to be served by bikini clad barristas. A bit like the Tour I guess. Oh well, I had my race face on and could not be bothered by espresso pumping, bikini clad young women. I clocked a 1:22:14, and by the end of the day I was still 8th, losing ground on 7th. Unlike the Tour I had to clean and detail and lube my own bike. I do love my "garage time" as it allows me to zone out as I clean, lube and detail.

Yesterday was the 5th and final stage, a 25.4 mile counterclockwise loop of May Valley. The weather was okay-mostly cloudy and mild and a lite wind and a bit muggy. But no rain. The race literally started outside my door as I live on this course. Unbelievably convenient. I felt like I was in the Tour as I had a "medical control" at 9 am, giving blood per my doctor's instructions (possible high lood pressure issue). I also had a back issue after yesterday so had a patch on my back. I don't think I had any doping issues but I left my bandages on as proof of my "hardman" quality. I have ridden a clockwise version of this course from home but with a different middle section, so the middle section of this stage was unknown to me. Once again I was on my 44x17 trusty single speed, meaning I raced 74.9 miles of the 77 miles of racing on my single speed. The first half was hectic as I missed most of the numerous traffic lights and had to slow for all of the numerous stop signs and made my way through traffic and congestic areas. But the second half was a lot of fun as I raced on familiar roads, passing fruit stands and many horse and cattle ranches. I sprinted passed my condo to finish at the crosswalk, celebrating my finish with a nice iced mocha (no bikini clad baristas or podium girls to celebrate with). I discovered that I clocked the 4th fastest time for this stage (1:12:16) and jumped into 7th for the final position.

All in all I was quite happy with this "race." I did 99% on my single speed, have held 8th place since the first day, had no flats or mechanicals or road rage issues. I am quite happy with how I have spent my summer vacation and eagerly await the 2012 edit of the Tour of The Unattended.

Vive Le Tour!!!!!!!

July 6, 2011

Sights and Sounds

Last evening's race, a 57 minute affair on the flats at Pacific, was a night of sights and sounds:
3 colorful paragliders flying off Tiger Mountain just 2 miles from home as I drove to the race; glimpses of a very clear Mt. Rainier as I drove south on Highway 18; the myriad colors in all the team kits as I warmed up; Mt. Rainier in all its glory seen from the track; a dazzling blue sky; a very bright sun; young children throwing pinecones and riding tricycles; a very elderly woman sitting in the shade waiting for her great grandson to race; shadows thrown by the riders as we raced around the track; occasional blindness as we turned into the sun; a rider's raised hand as he flatted in the middle of the group; the pack as I glanced back after attacking at the start of the second lap; the spectators as I flew by on my futile solo break; the pack as it roared by after the catch; my friend Tom attacking from the rear with about 4 to go; the pack flying by as I attacked again with "2 to go;" the pack strung out around the last turn as we all sprinted for the win.
the laughter and chatter of riders; the sound of shifters; the roar of the wind; the cheer of the crowds; the hum of the tires; the sound of a flat; the click of cassettes as we freewheeled; the announcement over the bullhorn-"two to go;" the cowbell signaling last lap; heavy breathing and hacking cough after giving it my all in two attacks.

July 5, 2011

Soul Food/Miles

Every now and then I need to go out for a long, multiple hour solo ride-something that lets me escape. I got the chance last Saturday when I drove 60 miles to Crystal Mountain, a nice ski area not too far from Mount Rainier. There is a ton of climbing on this out and back course that is about 50 miles. I park at the top of Crystal, ride the 6 miles down, then climb for about 21 to the last parking lot on Mt. Rainier at Sunrise.

The weather was gorgeous-clear and warm. The parking lot was packed with late season skiers and it felt odd to walk to the bathroom amongst all the ski poles and ski boots. I had never ridden this route so early in the year and I had never seen the parking lot so crowded.

I brought two bikes, thinking I might try the single speed on the Crystal Mtn climb after the ride. The state hillclimb champs are on the Crystal Mtn course in August.

I was sad to discover my race number had been blown off my Merlin that had been on my roof rack. Thankfully I have old frame numbers at home with lots of sticky numbers so could make another one for free.

The descent off Crystal was a bit hairy as a crazy driver passed several uphill vehicles right after I started down. It is a narrow two lane road full of potholes and ruts and this guy was doing about 50 uphill right in my lane. I had to go to the far edge to avoid a headon. Not the way i wanted to start but grateful I wasn't hit. I then had a nice gentle climb up to the park entrance, and then wait a few minutes to pay my $5 park entry fee. I later discovered I somehow lost another $5 bill around this area. Hopefully someone found it.... The next 15 miles or so were a constant climb. I passed a few riders and one rider got me along with several vehicles who gave me lots of room. Everyone was in good spirits which made the ride that much more enjoyable.

Snow began about 7 miles into the climb and I was soon surrounded by the white stuff-just so beautiful and just what I needed. I did have a sweat issue with my right eye which allowed me to stop half way up to take a nice pic of Mt Rainier. I got going again and felt a lot better-no isses for the rest of the climb. I was in a harder gear than ever on it thanks to all my single speed training. I do a weekly climb (about a mile long) on my single which I dubbed "peeling the onion" (sheds my outer skin to reveal my core:)).

I came across the coolest sight about 3 miles later-a black bear crossing the road. I waited for almost a minute along with some descending riders and a car behind me for the bear to make up its mind.... I was able to get 3 very cool pics. I got quite close as the bear climbed back up the way it came. I was so stoked, the next few miles blew by as I road to Sunrise Point at 6100 feet, a beautiful turnout and viewing spot. I hung out there for a few minutes, talking to some Harley riders and taking pictures.

The last 3 miles to the actual terminus of the road are quite nice as the climb is very easy after the lookout and you have an incredible view of Mt. Rainier the entire way to the parking lot. I took a shot of Mt Rainier from my bike and then heard a familiar voice call out my name! What a small world-a friend was descending, someone I had not seen in weeks. I got her just on the edge of the picture which is pretty cool with the backdrop. I hung out at the parking lot for a few minutes shooting the last of my disposable camera.

I then flew down the mountain back to Crystal Mountain. The last 6 miles were a real challenge as I was suffering from the heat. The climb is pretty steep and was totally exposed to the sun. I usually enjoy the climb but have had issues on it before due to heat. I also was at the end of my longest ride in a couple of years. I did have to stop with a mile to go but recovered enough to finish. My time was so slow.

Overall i quite enjoyed the ride and this was a much needed dose of soul food/miles.

I hope everyone had a good Fourth!

June 27, 2011

Frostbite in June

The way spring and summer have gone here in the Pacific Northwest it would not surprise me if we in deed had frostbite in June. But this Frostbite was a bit more pleasant-a 9 mile timetrial between Everett and Snohomish, a quaint little town full of antique stores and restaurants on the Snohomish River. The race was scheduled for last February but was reset due to snow. And it did seem to snow yesterday as I sat on my trainer as hundreds of cottonwood seeds blew through the air. The weather was such a surprise-clear and mild conditions.

I was so ready for a nice and strong race after last week's debacle in Carnation. I had raced Frostbite in 2010 so knew the course-not much to this out and back on one road. It was well paved with a good shoulder and cars were always respectful. I had been battling a cold since Wednesday and did not know for sure if I was racing until Saturday.

Once again I was on my single speed and entered in the retro category. I had 3 hours to wait so my gf and I drove to Snohomish for a quick breakfast at the Snohomish Bakery (awesome scones). We hung out at the river for a while watching 3 hot air balloons. What a start to the day.

We then drove back to the staging area where I set up my trainer and got to work spinning in place. I saw some old friends and caught up on "life" which was such a nice change from trading messages on Facebook.

I was to start 5th from last in the retro division but many riders were missing. My 30 second rider was not there so I had a minute gap to the rider in front of me. I had a nice chat with the guys at the start about my single speed, and then was off. Soon I was at top speed and really enjoying the day and race-a little windy but not bad. And the temp was perfect. I got caught by my 30 second rider at 7 mins 45 secs so was please with that as I was the only single speed.

The only negative came when I hot the turnaround. I noticed a rider standing on the shoulder talking to the volunteers. He was in a Hagens Berman kit. As I started back I saw him mount his bike and start my way. before long he was on my wheel drafting. He stayed glued to me for about 2, maybe 2.5 miles. I was a rather upset as he was not only violating all rules, but was an anchor. I did my best to not let him get to me but his constant shadowing did have some affect.

He finally pulled around me and blew by without so much as a glance or word. Unbelievable. he did not have a race number but I did see him pull into the staging area so he either had raced or was going to. I finshed strong, clocking about 24:30, about 18 seconds faster than 2010 when i was on my Merlin road bike. I was quite pleased.

After the race my gf and went back to Snohomish, where we spent the glorious day window shopping the antique stores ( I did get a nice Porsche Spyder for $5) and then eating outside at a mexican restaurant, drinking endless margaritas and watching parachutists and boats on the river.

What a day!

Postcript-I did notify the race organizers and the president of Hagens Berman about this rider but no feedback yet.

June 22, 2011


No, I am not talking about the feline persuasion, though I do have 5 (thank you Michelle:))

I am talking about racing categories (i.e. cats). I do wish bike races followed running as far as cats went. i ran for 23 years and there were age divisions usually broken up into 4 years:30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, etc. Usually up to 70 or so and then it was one big cat. Age was determined by your age on race day, not your age at the end of the year. So unlike cycling.

I am 48, turn 49 on October 31 of this year. In my book I should have another year of racing as a "40 something." But not so. A few weeks back I was at a race and presented my USCF license. The girl said "oh you will be racing as a 50 year old next year." That really shocked me. I know it does not make a difference really, and that I will get to race with all levels in the 50+ cat. But I wanted one more year as a 40 something as this was a semi-flat year for me, and not the way I wanted to leave the Masters C's.

Oh well, life goes on and the pedals keep turning....

The Letter "S"

Solstice, Summer, Seattle, Seven minutes, Sixty-Five minutes, Shifting, Separated, Splintered, Semi-satisfied:

Yesterday was the Summer Solstice, and the Seattle area was greeted with Sun and warm temps. What a way to start Summer!

I did my 5th race at Pacific and we were doing my favorite course, up the S turn. I have volunteered so much for the organizers at their other races that I get 8 free races at Pacific, which really helps as money is tight.

Before I left for the race a neighbor who rides came up to me and asked about the company and team. I was wearing an old team t shirt and he said he saw me in the kit all the time. He said he came across the coffee at a bike expo and loved it. It felt good to be able to once again promote the company and the team.

We only do this course once a year as it is not popular. It is about a 2.5 mile circuit that starts on a flat section, curves back and drops down some easy twisty rollers until you hit the short steep S climb that leads back to the start after a long false flat. It is a gorgeous course. And last night Mt. Rainer was quite visible several miles to the southeast.

It was quite warm and a bit muggy with a very light breeze from the west, making for a fast section on the top. I got there early enough to get in some easy warm up laps in. It felt odd Shifting as I have ridden my single speed most of the year. But I felt pretty comfortable going up the climb even though I was not that ready for it.

I was sitting on a short wall with 10 minutes to go when i decided to ride over to a shaded area on a grass strip to get out of the sun. I then discovered my rear tire was going flat. I have no idea what I hit but I was grateful I discovered it then rather than as we rolled out at the start. I jogged back to my truck with the bike, and changed the rear, forcing myself not to panic or look at my watch. the beginning women were doing their own practice race so I knew I would hear the call to the line. I did my fastest change ever and jogged back to the start. The who trip and change took seven minutes.

We soon were rolling out. We were to race about sixty-five minutes. There were about 40 in the 4/5s. The first two laps went well as I was strong on the climb, moving up to 5th or so each time. The 3rd lap was a prime and I almost got dropped at the top of the climb, but worked my way back on just before the climb the next time around. I was suffering but so into the race and the moment-the colors, the sounds of the shifting and hum of the tires and chatter of the riders, and the shadows we cast on the track. It really was a beautiful thing.

On the next lap I got separated just before the climb. A few women from the Masters race had joined us, and they were riding just off the back and I could not get around them. I could not bridge after the climb so resigned myself to riding solo or in small groups for the rest of the race.

There were 3 races held and riders were blown off each one, riders all over the course. It looked loke there were some crashes too, but none near me. I just saw riders standing off in the grass and shoulders holding their bikes and looking a bit stunned.

At 45 minutes however, they began pulling all dropped riders, including me:(

I was semi-satisfied with my effort, wishing we did this course more often. I have done great on it before and know I can again.

June 19, 2011

No Words

I really do not have the words to describe yesterday's race, a 27 mile tt in Carnation, Washington. But I will try.

First, I was not in a good mood driving to the race, having had a little tiff with my gf over the race and the rest of our day's plans.

The weather was chilly, cloudy and steady light rain, just like it has been for 90% of 2011. I got to the staging area and set my trainer up under a nice awning at Tolt Middle School. There were lots of riders warming up and it felt pretty neat to be lined up like that. At one point I went back to my truck for water and saw a guy in alter ego bib shorts on his trainer. I asked if he was on the team and he said "no," but that he had met Evan in Hawaii. I do not remember his name. He said he read my blog reports all the time which was nice though it made me feel like a blog hog.

Once again I was on my single speed and was the first racer in the Masters 4/5s, starting 2 minutes behind the last Women's 4 entrant. And once again I was the sole single speed entrant. It was a one foot standing start and soon I was on my way and in my rhythm. My 30 seconds rider did not catch me for 9 minutes which was a boost. Arounf the 5 mile mark we hit a one lane construction zone, forcing me to stop for 10 seconds for traffic. The roads were very rough with little or no shoulder, and there was a ton of debris (ie rocks) in the shoulders forcing the riders to stay in the main road.

A few miles later I had what could be my worst case of road rage ever, a large pickup truck that did not give me any room when it passed. There was no on-coming traffic and it had a great deal of room but it did not use it, driving very close to me at around 50 mph. I gave it a "what the heck" hand gestire (nothing crude) and he soon engaged me in several minutes of verbal abuse and hand gestures and racing engines and fast breaking. At one point I was very concerned for my safety and soon decided this was not worth dying for. It is amazing that certain "people" have not accepted cyclists as equals. They never will.

I then had a front flat at around the 54 min mark, forcing a 10 min stop to change the flat. I had issues with removing the damaged tube and there was a lot of vehicular traffic flying by at high speeds just a few feet away from me, making for a tense situation. Unlike the previous tt in Green Valley however, many racers and rec riders asked if I needed help. I did have my pump and was soon on my way.

Then, with about 7 miles to go we hit a roundabout and there were no directions or course marshals. Another rider and I went left, going about 2.5 miles on the wrong road, making for about a 5 mile wrong way. Unbelievable! I could not belive the race did not have course marshals at this crucial juncture.

I was soon on the right road, one I have ridden several times so knew I was near the finish. I ended up riding with tw0 cat 3 women. My legs felt strong the whole way which I was quite happy with, despite the seemingly endless line of challenges.

Anyway, another tt under my belt for 2011.

June 15, 2011

Just Like Riding a Bike

I had not been out to Pacific Raceways in 2 months, mainly due to the weather but also for various other factors. I decided to go last night after 3 good friends said they would show. They had not raced out there all year and this was going to be only my 4th race at Pacific for 2011. Our weather has been unseasonably cool and wet and yesterday was cloudy, blustery and still quite cool. My mental state wasn't all that good, but knowing I would see some good and old friends helped.

I got to the race early enough to get several good warm up laps in as the race was going to be an hour long. We were racing the flats again with points every lap, making for a fast fast race. There was a good wind blowing from the west, making for a solid headwind on the home stretch section and then an incredible tail wind on the back side/drag strip.

I saw my friends just before the start and had a quick "catch up" session before the 4/5s were called to the line. There were about 40 of us. The first lap was neutral but we still rode hard. i was at the back catching up with some other riders, getting used to riding once again in a pack at speed. The race flew by and I soon found myself having a ball and forgetting about life stuff.

I was focused on holding my line, moving through the pack at high speed, trying to make moves, all of which failed as we were flying. I did play around a lot, moving back and forth through the pack and trying occasional moves on the outside.

It really was a ball and I was having a very good time. One friend took a prime (won a loaf of bread) and then took 3rd in the final sprint, winning $11.

I thought I would have a difficult time, but like many things, racing is much like riding a bike-you never forget:)

Side note-I am going to see the World Naked Bike Ride on saturday, held in conjunction with the Freemont Fair and Solstice Parade. thought of riding in body pain with the team kit, but then thought better:)

June 11, 2011


I just have to tell someone. Anyone. I did text my girlfriend and 3 friends but only one response so far. So I have to shout it!
I have never used drugs nor will I ever use them. But I do ride, and that can be such a high. Today was perhaps the highest I have been in 31.5 years of riding. I rode my single speed on a 40 mile course that included a 13 mile loop around Mercer Island. I had volunteered in the morning for a local radio station's pledge drive, then started my ride around 1 pm. It was cloudy and very cool. We are having a very cool year, and though I wish we had more sun I am grateful we do not have the heat of the mid-atlantic or east coast. There are about 18 lights on this course and I made 90% of them, including all the major ones that make for long waits. I timed my Mercer Island loop and it was a personal record for the single speed, though I was not riding all out. The island loop not only was fast, it felt fas and so easy. My legs were so fresh and my bike just wanted to FLY. I was passed 2/3rds of the way around the island by a guy in a local team's kit (Audi). They are such a strong team and won last weeks State's TT. He was so strong and we greeted each other as he passed. But I caught him just 2 miles later. A serious ego boost.
I love to ride. Period. But rides like this just make me so grateful I do ride. And make me more than grateful for the bicycle.
Bikes just rock!!!!!!!!!!!

June 10, 2011

Free Press

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a ride that was organized for my city of Issaquah. Our local newspaper was delivered last night and I was pleasantly shocked to see a large photo from that ride on the front page of the Community Section. Talk about free press for the team and company!

June 6, 2011

1 Gear, 1 Eye, 40K but Not Last!

Yesterday was the Washington State TT Champs, a 40 k mostly flat out and back course with some rollers, held in Tenino, a little northeast of Olympia. It was the same course as 2010 but held two months earlier.

Once again I was the sole entrant on a single speed. The conditions were okay but ideal-a steady breeze and cloudy, warm and even muggy for me.

I had been given a free entry if I volunteered after my race. I was the first rider in the Masters 40-49 4/5s. We went at 30 sec intervals, and there was a 2.5 minute gap between me and the rider who started ahead of me. I started well and soon settled in to a nice pace. The bike felt good and the roads were very well paved with little traffic. There was a pretty good cross/head wind. I was not caught by my 30 sec guy until 5 mins into my race so I felt pretty happy. i was passed by 8 by the turnaround.

On the way back the wind did not let up much and I had a sudden issue with my right eye-extreme sweat that blinded me and was rather uncomfortable. I have dealt with it before but never in a race. I know it slowed me down some but I battled through it, having at times to close both eyes and ride blind for a few seconds.

I was passed by a few more riders but I did catch a one day female racer-I gave her a big thumbs up. i also thanked every volunteer and cheered on every rider I saw, even those that passed me. A couple noticed my one gear and were impressed:)

I sprinted the last 200 meters but already knew I was a bit slower than 2010. I clocked a 1:07:50 compared to 1:06:46 in 2010. I was pleased considering my eye issue and the wind.
I was 11th out of 13 in my category, and 111th overall out of 124 finishers.
soon after leaving the race I discovered my rear tire was completely flat. Whether I had an issue during the race I will never know...

I have a 27 mile tt on 6/19 and a 10 mile tt on 6/26. I will do both on my single.

Hope all is well with my teammates.

May 18, 2011

My Town

Last night I opted not to race the weekly Pacific series and decided to do a local ride sponsored by the Cascade Bicycle Club and Land Conservancy. I live in issaquah, Washington, and it is pretty bike friendly but has some issues. And now the city leaders are considering some long term development and traffic changes. Last night's ride was to educate riders on those concerns.

The ride started and finished a 1/2 mile from my home at the Rogue Brewery and Salmon Hatchery. I arrived a few minutes early and immediately saw a friend with 3 of her club mates.
By the time we departed we had maybe 25 or so riders, including a couple of racers, some serious recreational riders, and some die hard commuters. There even was a one armed cyclist! I was in my new and oh so sharp white kit and rode my single speed as I thought we were staying in the flat valley.

The group split into 3 (fast medium and slow) and I was in the front group of 6 or so. Several people asked me about 53x11 coffee and the team. One woman said she saw me all the time. We stopped periodically to regroup and talk about issues regarding buildings, traffic and roads.

We did a long loop of about 6 miles, and we rode on roads, paths and a gravel path. Some of these I had never been on and several i ride almost every day. They wanted to do a good climb of just over a mile, and I was concerned since I was on my single speed. I took off from the group to hit the climb at speed, and I muscled my way up to the summit. But no one else came!
They oped to skip it while they were part way up the climb. I waited a few minutes then descended, finding them stopped and chatting. They were surprised I did it on my single speed. It was a good sign of my fitness.

The ride finished at the Brewery and then I hammered 1.5 miles to the market to pick up some stuff for dinner.

All in all a very nice time seeing my city and meeting other riders. Just strange to ride in such a social group again as I am used to racing.....

May 16, 2011

Worth The wait

My two sets of the new white team kit arrived last Friday. I had been waiting for these since I ordered way way back in February?
The wait was so worth it as they rock! I felt so clean and sharp when I wore them on my 40 mile single speed ride last Saturday. My one concern was that I would wipe my hands on the white of the shorts. I wipe my tires constantly when I ride through debris (pebbles, sand, anything on the road) and I didn't wanna leave traces of the road on the shorts so I had to adjust my swipe to get the black of the shorts. No biggie.
I even saw another rider on Mercer Island who was wearing the alter ego kit. I don't think he is a team member but it was so good to see someone else wearing the colors. We gave each other the secret waive:)
Anyway, not much racing to report these days. But I can't wait to wear the white at my next race!
Side note-I was wearing the red The Reason kit last Thursday after work and saw a friend. She later said "you looked so professional." Must be the clothing:)

May 7, 2011

Finish Line

Today was the Ravensdale Road Race (9 mile course) put on by my friends at BUDU Racing. I had volunteered before for this race and decided to do so again this year. Due to numerous factors I decided not to race today. I would have had a free entry if I volunteered for half day, but opted to volunteer for a full day for more free entries at the weekly Pacific series.
We have had a very unseasonably wet and cool spring with record low temps and rainfall, and today was no exception. It was in the mid to high 40's with steady light to heavy rain with a FEW, and I mean few breaks in the rain.
There were 8 races held in 2 shifts (4 each-8:30 and 11 am) at varying lengths. I got to the staging area at 7:30, signed in at the volunteer table, got a safety vest and flag and rode my single speed two miles to the finish line. No one was there yet and I spent 15 minutes sitting on a rock in a cold steady drizzle. Soon, the timing guy showed up and we set to work to set up his amazing tent. He has been doing most of the timing and photos at the finish for the Washington State races for the last few years, and he has the set up down to a science. He even had a small propane heater which was so nice. One bad and scary incident before the racing started were 3 HUGE pickup trucks that were racing down the road, doing about 70, well above the posted 45 mph. Fortunately they all narrowly missed us and fortunately the racing had not started yet and there were no riders on the road.
I spent 6 hours at the finish, most of it out in the cold and rain. I swept the finish, helped direct traffic, took in discarded bottles and rain jackets, rang the cowbell for the bell laps, flipped the lap sign, answered questions, and cheered each and every racer on. I was so impressed with everyone, from the Men Cat 5 and Women Cat 4 to the Mens 1/2s. The women's 4 was won by a solo break with several minutes lead, and the Mens 1/2s had a 10 man break with over a 5 minute lead. Some of the races ended in very tight finishes, with a couple of riders nipped at the line. Every time I felt a bit miserable due to the weather, all I had to do was see the face of any racer and see they were hurting so much more-yet were out there doing what they love. I love to volunteer when I can and so was motivated to continue.
I also got to hear all the races on "race radio" and that was a blast.
I am so happy I got to volunteer and know I will do it again. It feels so good to give back.
I do have a 17 mile tt tomorrow that includes 2 very good climbs. I just hope today's volunteering didn't take it out of me:)

April 26, 2011


Just a postscript to the carbon Cervelo Soloist I was selling for a friend. It was finally sold last night to a young woman who is an indurance coach, 10 time Hawaiian Ironman finisher, and a visitor to the Cycling House.
Pretty cool.
Pretty small world...

April 23, 2011

I'm Offically "unofficial"

Today was the Green Valley 12 mile TT put on Budu Racing, the folks who put on the Pacific series (Rory and Deanna Mueller). It is a spectacular flat and curvy course held in luscious farmland and horse ranches along the Green River. The weather finally turned for the specatcular as it was clear (not a cloud to be seen-a first in MONTHS), sunny and mild for the race. My trainer warm up was done next to a llama farm and in view of the setting half moon that was visible until 9:30, 38 mins before my start. I had to bundle up as it was a bit chilly, but by my start it felt almost like summer and I stripped down to just the basics. One incident that occurred was a driver in a large truck that not only did not slow down in our staging area (vehicles and trainers lined end to end along Green Vally Road), but he actually sped up and gunned his engine, narrowly missing several people and riders. Rednecks are named that for a reason, but I was not going to let this incident take away from my enjoyment as I truly was lost in the moment (racing, friends, beautiful weather-enough to make me forget my financial issues).

I was once again riding my single speed, and was yet again the only single racing. I opted for the Masters 35+ cat rather than the Mens 4. I have a rep now as a single speed timetrialist, and it is a rep I quite enjoy.

I always take an emergency kit on my single speed tts (a baggie filled with tire irons, a sparetube and a wrench for my rear wheel). I also take a small pump. These all fit nicely in a jersey pocket.

The start was "one foot down"(we were not held). We started at 30 second intervals and I was near the back of my category, and near the end for the whole race. I waited for the count down, took off, clipped in, and was soon in my groove and in my element. I was riding in the nice narrow bike lane rather than the main road, trying to be a considerate rider. But that was a mistake as there was not much traffic and a lot of debris in the lane. I flatted 2 miles in and soon heard the hiss of my front wheel. I did not panic but soon had the replacement tube in. Unfortunately I had forgotten a pump! I threw in the towel and walked back, getting nice condolences from spectators and other racers. One thing that was quite disappointing was that there were also many many recreational riders out, riding on the same road as it was a gorgeous day with gorgeous scenery. Only one of the dozen or so asked if I needed assistance, and he did not have pump. A farmer asked if I wanted to use his air compressor but I politely declined. I just could not believe that no social rider stopped to ask or help. I saw many a pump go by without even a glance my way.

I got back, talked to Dean (my friend and the race mechanic), as well as Rory (my friend and race organizer). I said I was going to fix the flat and then race the course on my own. They said they trusted me and that my time would count.

I loaded up my truck, fixed my flat, took a pump and then did the race again on my own. All officials were gone. I found the start line, put my foot on the ground, started my watch and took off. I felt as strong as before. Soon I was passed the spot of my prior flat. I got to the turnaround (marked by an "x" in the road and was headed back. I did have to slow twice due to two farm machinery (small combines). It was frustrating as I had to wait to pass behind several vehicles. I knew where the finish was (road sign and line in the road) and I sprinted hard. My watch time was 31:20. I gave it to Rory and was soon driving home, pleased that I beat 2 guys in the 35+. However, during a late afternoon easy ride to keep my legs loose, Rory called to say the officials would not count my time. I called him back and said it was not a big deal. I knew what I rode. My time is accurate and would have been very close to the official time without a flat.

I am so happy I finished it. I can't afford to pay for races now and not finish:)

April 22, 2011

Mistaken Identity

Last Tuesday night as I was"racing" on my 52x13, Campy 9 speed equipped Dutch steel steed, my girflfriend was in a heated discussion with a neighbor. When my gf told the neighbor that I worked as a court clerk, the woman said "I thought he was a professional bike racer."
If only:)
Happy Easter to everyone.

April 20, 2011


In the middle of last night's race out at Pacific, while the pack flew down the back stretch (dragstrip section of the flat course), a rider came up to me and said "53x11 huh? That is the perfect gear now!" I hardly heard him for the noise of the pack, wind and my breathing. Little did he know my biggest gear on my old steel steed was a 52x13, and I was spun out and barely holding on. I could also blame my weak lungs on my girlfriend, who bought 160 lbs of cat litter (we have 5 cats) which is quite dusty:) We did get caught by the 1/2/3s with 3 laps to go and slowed down so much I felt like were in a pro peloton "protest stage":)
I love that bike but it is not geared for racing flat out like that. We raced in very cool/cold partly cloudy conditions for 37 minutes. It was my 3rd race out there this year and again had a ball-no attacks but I did play in the pack some and caught up with more friends.

April 18, 2011


The young woman did not buy the "near showroom" bike and her boyfriend ended up jamming the carbon seatpost when he forcibly lowered it for her. I was able to get the seatpost released at a local shop and it is just fine now.

If anyone knows anyone interested in a 48cm "near showroom" 2006 cervelo Soloist with DA and extras here is a pic....

We are asking $2200

April 14, 2011


I am trying to sell a friend's 48 cm 2006 Carbon Cervelo Soloist w/Dura Ace components. It is a very beautiful bike with low miles, never crashed or ridden wet or very hard. She bought it brand new and is the only owner. The components, paint and decals are near perfect ("near showroom condition). But it is not new. A young woman came to see it with her boyfriend last night. They spent about an hour looking it over. They both were obvious newbies to riding. He has one bike, an aluminum Cervelo, and she has something else, also aluminum. They are budding triathletes. He meticulously checked the bike out, using a flashlight to examine every inch for damage and cracks. He kept talking about "showroom" condition." My friend is asking $2200 but will take $2000. I have searched Craigslist for Washington and Oregon and found two others, same size and comparably priced. They came with $1900 but he kept saying how maybe they ought to sleep on it. I could see he was calling the shots and trying to be "the man." It was a tad embarrassing but I let my friend do all the talking as it is her bike. The young woman is a grad student and does not have a lot of money, and this bike would be a HUGE upgrade. If they want pristine, spotless, showroom condition she will have to wait a few years until she can afford $5000-$10000. Just makes me wonder.

April 13, 2011


I watched Paris Roubaix last Sunday and was so impressed, as always, by the riders' determination and focus. Especially riders like Boonen and Chavenal, who despite multiple crashes remounted and tried and tried and tried. I know professional riders are human and have issues like a lot of us-financial worries, mental issues (as in Pantani), drug and alcohol problems, relationship concerns-just life stuff. They must be able to put those all aside in a race to be able to pound out 160 miles at high speeds over dusty and slippery and plain ol nasty cobbles. The last 7 months for me have been particularly challenging-finances especially. It is hard for me to get through a day without being bombarded by "downer" thoughts. My training rides and rides to work are often times to go over these concerns. But I can't afford to lose focus in a race. Otherwise I would be off the back in no time. Last night was my 2nd race of the year at Pacific. It was about a 2.5 mile course down the escape route and then up some rollers. A challenging but fun course. When I am trained and in shape. This year my training has not gone as expected though I have ridden almost every day. We raced for 43 minutes with 2 primes. There were about 30 riders in the 4/5s. I was able to ride with the group for the first 3 laps til the first prime at the top of the rollers. Then I got dropped with some others. All I thought about was bridging, catching a wheel. I put it all out there and was able to bridge. The rest of the race was fun as I focused only on the ride-holding my line, picking a good safe line down the escape, then hammering up the rollers. I was so lost in the race that I did not think once about my life issues. Until after the race. But that is okay.

April 8, 2011

I'm Golden

I work for a government entity, and every year we have to requalify for health benefits. There are 3 levels-bronze, silver and gold (the best of course). Everyone starts at bronze. You then have to complete a health assessment, about a 30 question questionnaire, to qualify for silver. There are no wrong or right answers-just completing the questionnaire qualifies one for silver. Everybody has 3 months to complete it, and it takes like 10 minutes to do. Honesty is not a factor:) Then, you have 3 different programs you can participate in to qualify for gold. You must complete the program by mid April. There is an eating program, smoking cessation, and exercise. I ALWAYS go with the exercise program. I had to complete 10 weeks in the span of 3 months to get gold. I qualified for gold 2 weeks ago but was just notified. I work with 8 others who are not athletic in any real sense. One or two go to the gym now and then and one runs every blue moon. But I am the athlete in our work group. I am irked that I have to requalify every year for gold, but at least I know it is a "no brainer." Side note-a buddy is overseas riding the cobbles and watching the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix. I am a bit jealous but grateful he got to go.

April 4, 2011

Start 'Em Young

Last Saturday evening my gf and I had friends over for dinner. They have a almost 2 year old daughter. In the middle of the visit she asked for water. I was going to go get it for her when my friends asked if I had any bike bottles in the kitchen. I actually have a shelve full of water bottles-many of them unused. Many are from races (my favorite being The Elkhorn Classic from 2007). I also have TDF commemorative bottles and some unused 53x11 bottles. I just had to break one of the team bottles out for her. She kept it all night and downed countless ounces of water. I know I got one new convert to the team:) Even at the cost of a diaper or two:):) Ty

No April Fool's Joke

Last Friday I received the best April Fool's joke of my life, courtesy of my girlfriend. One that made my heart stop for just a second. Then, a few hours later I received an email which I thought at first was another April Fool's. The Carnation TT set for Sunday April 3 was cancelled due to flooding! It turned out to be quite serious. We have had countless and endless days of rain, about 49 for the year and something like 12 straight. The roads for the course were quite flooded. I was so psyched to do it too as I was going to once again race my single speed on the 14 mile course. I must admit I am getting tired of all the wet but it doesn't look like it is ending anytime soon. I just hope my upcoming races are not cancelled due to flooding. Here's hoping! All the best to my teammates! Ty

March 23, 2011


No other word in the English language holds greater meaning for me. I was born and raised and lived the first 33 years of my life in Southern California, not far from the Pacific Ocean. I spent a lot of my time at the beach and in the water. I have lived in the Seattle area for the last 8 years now, again not far from the Pacific Ocean. I lived in Virginia for 7 years, and been to South Carolina and Florida, and often visited the Atlantic, but that did not have the same feeling for me. I consider the Pacific as "my ocean." I feel like I have come home every time I step into that body of water.

Same goes for Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington. Every time I line up and click in with my fellow racers for the weekly Tuesday night series I feel as if I have come home. I know every turn, bump, rut, pothole, curve and climb on the course. I have been racing it since 2004, and every time is new experience. Yet at the same time an old and comfortable one.

The sponsors, Rory and Deanna Mueller, do an excellent job. The series has a very low key but professional feel. No USCF license required. All 5 courses are rider friendly, and it is an excellent place for riders to be introduced to racing, and for experienced riders to practice. Families often come out to watch, and the young ones ride on the sidelines on their lil bikes and trikes. I take great pride in being the sole rep for 53x11 Coffee. I know my alter ego kit is well known in the peloton. I am the sole alter ego kit in a field of Starbucks, First Ascent, Cycle U, 4 Corners, Wines of Washington, Garage, Cucina Fresca and other teams.

I had been waiting for last night since the 2010 series ended in August. The weather cooperated and I was so excited signing in. I was early enough to get a low number for the year (#10). I got ready and reconnected with some buddies who parked next to me. I then did some easy warm up laps, checking the 2 mile flat course out for any new "surprises" (ie cracks and potholes). Fortunately the surface was the same as last year, though the drag strip section on the back stretch did have some dirt along the wall.

The 4/5s raced for 30 mins and I started at the back as usual, chatting with another buddy. I played around in the pack, getting used to the feeling of riding in a tight bunch at speed. There were a couple of obvious "new racers," but they did great-no squirlly riding and no crashes.

I almost attacked halfway through but I got pinched off as I was riding along the wall on the home stretch. I ended up in 4th place for the lap and held it for another lap. I then somehow got dropped (no real racing legs yet) but worked my way back (thanks in part to the pack easing up). I then recovered and played around in the middle of the group, again catching up with a friend I had not seen since 2009. I had fun in the final sprint, finishing around 15th.

It felt so good to be back racing at Pacific-good friends-safe course and fun competition-real "soul food."


March 21, 2011

The First

Well, I finally "raced" my first race of the year yesterday, the 9 mile Skagit County TT along Padilla Bay, about 80 miles north of Seattle. I rode my single speed and boy what fun, and wind. The first half had a downhill with flat in wide open farm country that had an incredible headwind. The return was a lot of fun with a full blown tail wind. I thought I clocked 24:02 for the retro division, but finished offically in 23:58.7. I was 6th out of 8 entrants, but the only single speed:)

My warm up was a lot of fun as I sat on my trainer gazing at the Olympic Mountains and Padilla Bay, full of whitecaps from the wind. I even saw a bald eagle which was inspiring.

Getting to the race was fun as I took a wrong turn, but thanks to my gf's smart phone we arrived on time. I then had to scramble to sign in as I was confused over the registration location and barely made it to the start line.
We then hung out in the little hamlet of Edison where we had a great lunch and I picked up a new riding partner for my seatpost (Tigger).

Anyway, a real blast (no pun intended).

All the best to my teammates,


March 6, 2011

Riding Angry

Sometimes when I watch Paul and Phil commentate on bike racing they use the phrase-"the peloton is in an angry mood." Not that the riders are angry (maybe they are-who knows?), but that the pack is either bringing back a break or is putting the hammer down. I have been in both types of situations. I have also been in a third-not often but sometimes like today.
I did an anger ride-I was angry with 2 friends for messing up a text about riding today (I really needed some guy time but ended up riding solo), I was angry with my gf for a comment she made this morning while waiting for my friends about my buying habits (money is tight and I recently bought two new white team kits. But I had sold several pieces of bike clothing on ebay to finance those 2 transactions, plus currently I am the sole bread winner for us and our 5 cats so felt a bit self righteous about what I could and couldn't buy with "my own money"). I also was angry with myself for wimping out on yesterday's Icebreaker TT. It was a 10 mile flat course I had planned on racing my single speed on, but after last week's blizzard fiasco and our 31 days of rain/snow for the year I was in no mood to get wet. But lo and behold it turned into one of the nicest days of the year.
Anyway, I did 15 miles of effort and anger this morning in mostly cloudy and cool conditions. The only thing I wasn't angry with or at was the bike. I never am. No matter what my mental state, physical condition or the weather, my bikes are never to blame. They always carry my weight and burdens, and pedal stroke by pedal stroke those hurt and angry and self righteous feelings are shed.
I returned home tired and a lot less angry.
Now if I could only post a real race report:)

February 26, 2011

My First Non-Race of the Year

Today was to mark the start of my 2011 season. The Frostbite Timetrial in Everett, Washington, about 40 miles north of home (Issaquah). I rode the "retro division" last year on my 10 speed equipped Merlin, and was quite excited to ride my single speed this year in the "retro" division. It is a 9 mile flat out and back course.
Unfortunately we have had some extreme and cold weather the last few weeks. Not like the mid-atlantic and east coast but still rather trying-cold with snow showers. Today was no exception. The race was delayed 2 hours but that did nothing to stop the snow and cold and wind. We left Issaquah with plenty of time to spare. Unfortunately I drove through a Burger King Drive Thru with my "race bike" on the roof rack, driving into an overhead sign. I have driven into 3 overhangs in 31 years of riding, and have pretty much come away damage free. Today included. I hit the saddle on the sign but no damage was incurred, though the sound of impact did indicate otherwise. A quick look at the bike and truck and roof rack revealed no damage. We continued on and soon encountered blowing snow.
I then realized that although I had brought two pairs of shoes (including a pair of thermal boots), two bikes, a trainer and tons of clothing (I was wearing two Underarmour tops, 2 team skinsuits, a winter Sugoi bib tight, a team jacket, and a down jacket, I forgot a thermal hat to wear under the helmet). I was expecting a very cold 24 minute race.
Though the shoulder of the course was covered with snow, and the snow showed no signs of stopping, I signed in. More to show my manliness than anything else. My gut told me the race was going to be canceled but I had no intention of waiting. I drove us home and discovered that home was cold but dry. After cleaning the bike and taking off all my layers and riding my trainer I went on-line and received several emails re the cancellation of the race.
It should be reset for August, renamed the Sunburn TT. I do have the Icebreaker TT next week. Lets hope this one does go off.....
Stay warm and safe!

February 10, 2011

Best Thing About the Defeet Wooleators-hightops?

I can wear them as dress socks when I ride to work. Like today:)

February 8, 2011


My first real road ride of the year consisted of 30 miles of grime grime grime on a single speed. But so fun fun fun!

February 4, 2011


Our dryer is going on the fritz, Starbucks just raised the price of my drink, cat food went up (we have 5 cats), our Homeowner dues just increased ($418.08 a month, the highest in the area), my salary was frozen this year due to a county wide budget crisis, and we are still on one income. Things are a bit tight.


I just renewed my USCF license and I feel a bit renewed myself.

I played little league baseball for 6 years and I remember the anticipation of being selected after try outs. the call would come at night and I would get up from bed to be told which time I was on. I get thame excitement every time I "re-up" my racing license.

Hopefully this feeling will last the year, or until finances settle down some:)

January 28, 2011

Great Weather in TN Today!

Here in East TN we have been taking it in the shorts as far as the weather goes this year. We can always count on a snow that lasts a day or two, and brief cold snap that never really amounts to anything prolonged and depressing like you might get in Milwaukee or some other place up north. This year has been different though. We have had more snow events since Christmas than I can remember in the last 20 years, and it seems like the temperature has stayed down in the 30's for more consecutive days than since Hector was a pup. So when our local weather guesser predicted temps in the 40's today I just could not stand it and knew I had to get a ride in today. Don't get me wrong I like riding the MTB in the snow, mud , and ice and I will ride in the 30's with anyone, but when I get on the road bike it has to at least be in the 40's for me.

I brought my SS down from home with the intent of riding the greenway outside of my office door at lunch. I put on the usual tights, wool jersey, etc. to go ride and found out what I am sure most of you guys already knew...the 53x11 wind vest I picked up during the Christmas sale is awesome and provided just the right amount of comfort without making me too warm once I got going. While hitting the pavement in the 40's hardly qualifies as Rule 5 riding conditions, one thing I did notice is that there was an unusal element of friendlness shared between the few cyclists I passed today. Most of the time when we pass the usual acknowledgment is a slight head nod, or lifting a finger off of the brake hood. Today, however each encounter was marked by capturing eyes, exchanging a knowing smile, and even lifting the whole hand off of the bars to exchange the greeting. Seems like we appreciate the comraderie more when we are not able to get out and ride enough.

I hopeful that this weekend of weather hitting the 50's is a sign that group rides and road racing are just around the corner. Looks like Joe (my 14 yr old stud) and I are kicking it off w/a Circuit race in Louiville KY on March 9. Here's looking forward to some decent weather for sprint intervals and hill repeats. And as for you guys in AZ and other sunny climes.....its not polite to gloat.



There is no other place I would rather be than in this wonderful family of cyclists. Regardless of the number of miles or type of bike you ride, you belong to a very special group. Age, weight, gender, belief systems, sexual orientation are meaningless and have no importance. What is important is that you ride. Period.

Whether you are an elite racer, an amateur racer (like me), a weekend rider, a single or tandem (or more) rider, as long as you turn pedals and sit in the saddle you are a full fledged member.

I have ridden for 31 years and have only met the nicest people thru cycling-in races, organized centuries, and of course on my own solo rides. I met one of my good friends a couple years back accidently on a ride. We happened to be going the same way at the same pace and our friendship grew from that. Two other good friends were made via the Tuesday night race series. We do a lot together outside of riding, but cycling is our common denominator.

I sold some items last week via Craigslist and met two very nice guys-one was buying wheels to convert his wife's cyclo cross bike into a climbing friendly bike for the Pyrenees this summer. He knows a local legend who actually repaired my C40 frame 2 years back. Small world in deed. We plan on riding together this year. The other guy has been riding for about as long as me, maybe a bit longer. He has an autistic son who he rides tandem with. They have even done the 200+ mile Seattle to Portland (STP) ride. He belongs to a local team but has not raced. I have talked him into coming out for the local Tuesday night series.

And of course there is 53x11 Coffee-what can I say except everyone associated with the company and team is AWESOME.

I can't wait to see who I will meet next. Chance encounters are just a pedal stroke away....

January 10, 2011


As I write this on my break at work I am sporting a lovely rasberry on my left hip, courtesy of a semi-idotic move on my part last Saturday on the first road ride of the year. I was trying to beat on-coming traffic at the entrance to my condo complex when I made a hard left into the drive at high speed, laying on the brakes a bit too hard. My rear wheel slid out in the left over rain/snow grime in the bike lane, and I slid out in glorius fashion. My first thought was how stupid I was, then I feared my tights and jacket were shredded as it felt like I slid a ways on the pavement. Good thing I was in generic black rather than a team kit.
I was able to get up and stumble into my garage where I almost passed out on the floor. After some minutes I got up and inspected the bike-scraped up pedal and brake lever and shredded bar tape, but overall my single speed came out pretty good. My tights were soiled but not torn and neither was my jacket. My left shoe took some damage too but is still quite functional. Thank goodness as I cannot afford to buy clothing right now.
My hip is doing much better though still tender and bruised and scraped. I have to gingerly sit in my cubicle. i was able to run today for a quick 1.5 on my lunch, and for that I am very grateful. I am also able to ride the trainer so I will get in a 45 min workout tonight.
My girlfriend says I need a tattoo. I have enough natural ones, and thanks to Saturday's spill I have a new one:)

January 6, 2011

My Fall Back

I recently watched The Wild Bunch while riding my trainer. It is one of my favorite Westerns (and movies in general). William Holden tells Ernest Borgnine-"I'd like to make one big score and fall back." Ernest asks-"fall back to what?"
For me the answer is easy, and I don't need a big score. My fall back is the bicycle. It keeps me young and sane. Regardless of my financial or mental state, I can fall back to the bicke for refreshment and strength and comfort. It is my rock, my anchor, my shelter from the storm.
Every ride is an eye opener and refreshes me in a unique and priceless way.
A big score would be nice, but nothing beats the bike:)