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:)