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:)