Monday, August 29, 2011

Eleven, Essentially Solo

It was time for my August R-12 ride. For various reasons,the usual suspects were unavailable.  Many were satisfying their R-12 requirement on some little brevet in France. Figuring I'd be riding solo, I picked a non-epic route. Hillsboro-Dallas. Ken also signed up, and at the start I was pleasantly surprised to see Ray.

Weather was supposed to be great, so, riding Lemond and wearing a sleeveless jersey.

Evidence of participation

I was on a bit of a mission. I wanted to finish in under 10 hours. I also wanted to finish in time to catch a ride with the spouse to his company picnic. He figured I wouldn't be done in less than 12 hours. I didn't think so :-)

Started out with Ken and Ray, but there was a bit of pace differential. At the corner of Geiger and Fern Hill, Ray and Ken continued together and I went on ahead.


I kept my stops short, and made it to Dallas in 4.5 hours. There I did stop long enough to eat a yogurt. Passed Ray and Ken approaching the Hwy 22 crossing on my way back.

Haying was in full swing, and I do like pictures of stripey fields.  The sun made a cameo 3 second appearance; otherwise, cloudy all day.

Unbaled hay... stripes

Back to Dayton, where I sat and ate and drank. Felt a bit less zippy by this point. My hands were hurting. Apparently, Lemond and I are not as good friends as we used to be.

Foot/cockpit panda

And north, ending up in Marcello's driveway right at 9:23 elapsed time. He was surprised to see me back so soon :-)  Fastest 200k for me EVER.  Moving average was 15.56mph.

I was fast

Off to the picnic. Coworker of husband, also a cyclist: " you didn't ride over?" No, it's ok, really, I got in another ride earlier today...

Friday, August 26, 2011

I'll cop to being tough, but not crazy

So, here I find myself riding RSVP for the 7th time. Through a series of things, I was riding solo. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I do prefer the company of people I know.

Sent out an email foraging for a place to sleep the night before. Everyone came through (thank you all!), and I chose to stay with Ross, because he was also riding. Plus I'd get to see the killer view of the Sound from his house.

Sunset from Ross's deck

Icky long drive, with a pause in Centralia for dinner. Upon arrival, we visited while Ross organized medical supplies for the ride. I asked Ross which was the best way to the start (UW this year due to the Burke-Gilman construction detour). The best way was to follow him, so that's what I did.

After I had gotten relatively organized at the start (Ross had gone off to find his posse), and was standing around, a woman came by and admired Sweetpea, and we got to chatting and eventually I introduced myself. Except I only got to my first name and she filled in the rest :-) it was Joan O., a fellow denizen of the Google Rivendell group. Of course, neither of us were riding our Rivs for this ride. She came all the way from the East Coast and was on her Bike Friday.

And so, off to the ride. They did promise a bit of a climb right at first, and there it was, but it didn't last very long. I will say that I much prefer riding on the surface streets to the Burke-Gilman Trail. At least at that hour of the morning.

It was cooler than I thought it might be, but I was sufficiently prepared. And very misty. I ran ALL my lights until later in the afternoon. Saw a few other Rando bikes (and Randonneurs!), but not ones that were known to me.

So, wandering north, eventually picking up the BG Trail, up the Woodinville Hill, surfing the rollers on the other side, dropping into Snohomish (one of my favorite bits, breaking out of the edge cities), on to the Centennial Trail and... "Hey Sweetpea!" It was Ross and his friends. So I got to meet Rick and Diana S, and some others. I was introduced as "Lynne who rode that 600k, she's a randonneur." So, of course, the standard "you people are crazy", followed by the "you must be pretty tough." Mind you, Rick was having knee surgery on Monday and had just done RAMROD on that disintegrating knee. I think he wins the crazy contest. We rode on to Arlington together, then they split off to avoid the nasty hill climb, and I went off to find some food. Headed right to the Mirkwood Cafe. It was 10:40am; they weren't yet open. Coasted back though the main drag looking for something else. Didn't want the Bluebird Cafe. Not that anything is wrong with it, but my stomach was wanting something else. The Thai restaurant was open, and I inhaled a bowl of green curry with tofu and a glass of Thai iced tea.

Quick stops at the water stop and the Mt Vernon stop - ate. left. did not sit down.

We were detoured in Burlington past the WalMart and other big box stores. A car ahead of me (we were on a nice wide shoulder) had stopped to let the cyclist ahead of me go straight, the car behind it stopped, the car towing a trailer even with me... didn't. Slamming of brakes, watching the front end of the car turning my way... crunch into the stopped car. We stealthily proceeded on, and stuck together as a group until we got out of Burlington!

No headwinds to speak of across the Skagit flats. A rider was wondering where we were headed; I pointed at the headlands away in the distance.

We did the whole way to the former Bow Hill store (now a deli) on Chuckanut Drive. Evil, evil rumble strips, partway into the shoulder. Evil.

A rider at the store was admiring my bike. " With that steel frame, generator hub and fenders, it gives it a nice Rando look" Duh. Out of my mouth: "thank you. That's because it is a Rando bike".

Chuckanut Drive along Samish Bay was gorgeous as usual. Stopped at a pullout, where the awesome Scott offered to take a picture of me for evidence of participation. It seemed shorter this year. Got to the Famous Lemonade Stand. Michaiah has an apprentice now, her younger sister.

Me on Chuckanut Drive

The awesome Scott

Into Bellingham proper, and UP Ferry St - 15%, Rode the whole way up, yay me!

Waiting luggage in Bellingham

Hoofed it into town to Boundary Bay - joined a table in the tap room. Turned out to be sitting with a Timbers Army member, so dinner table conversation was assured. He likes Kenny Cooper, go figure. So, after a yummy dinner and bottle of Spire apple cide, it took only 37 minutes to walk BACK from the Boundary Bay Brewery to Buchanan Towers (quit whining Jason!)

My favorite sculptures at WWU

On the road by 7, stopped for breakfast at Old Town Cafe, and finally underway at 7:45. Came upon Joan O, we rode together and visited until Lynden. She's retired and plans fun bike trips for herself and her friends. Very cool.

After Lynden, I rode to the border with a couple on a red Cannondale tandem. As the former ace stoker of Clifford, I had to visit :-) Their tandem is the Millenium Falcon. Love it.

At the border - "off with you now! have a nice ride!"

I was starting to get hungry again and the Fort Langley rest stop was getting close. Ate, applied sunscreen, departed. Rode out of town on their version of the Urban Growth Boundary - neighborhood on one side of the road, farms on the other side. It was humid heading over to the Golden Ears Bridge. As I am on the Fanno Creek Crossing committee, did some research on the incline on the twirly ramp up and the straight ramp down. 3% in both cases, and I could get going really fast just coasting down. Not good for small children. Maybe a surface crossing would be, on the whole, safer.

twirly ramp up to the Golden Ears Bridge

I love riding over the Golden Ears Bridge.

So, riding along through neighborhoods and edge cities, not checking the cue sheet much, spending more time in the big ring than I EVER have... And craving watermelon. Must be coming up on Rocky Point Park. Got there before they started rationing the watermelon, and ate four pieces. The woman slicing the watermelon and I got to talking. She goes to Portland to shop, and asked if I felt used. No, we like people to come and spend money. Walked over to the ice cream shop for an espresso flake waffle cone, and had to fend off many cyclists on the way back to my bike.

Espresso Flake waffle cone in Rocky Point Park

The Barnet Highway had a nice cooling breeze and felt much shorter and flatter this time. Up to the Frances-Union bike route. I was trailing a group of cyclists, and did not see who entered the roundabout first, but the motorist definitely misplaced his Canadian card, and got out of his car and started yelling. Quietly slithered by and distanced myself from that group!

More bike route, then Chinatown, Gastown, a blessedly less-trafficked part of downtown Vancouver, and done! Finished a little before 3, and, for the first time ever, the bike racks were not yet full!

Upstairs, got my finisher patch, and found myself in posession of a few more food and drink tickets. Got my burger and juice, and helped Ross hand out patches and one Ibuprofen packet per customer. You'd think folks would bring their OWN Ibuprofen.

Me at the finish

Ross at the finish

More visiting, plotting a RAPSody meet-up, a beer, then off to the hostel. Had dinner with former coworker and now SFU grad student and friend Evan. We ate at Beaver and Mullet. The name alone made it enticing.

Waited for the bus with Rick and Diana. I finally said I'd cop to being tough, but not crazy.

Lots of knitting on the bus trip back, helped unload the bicycle trucks, and then drove home. I did stop in Centralia, where my chicken soup savior of the 600k was working. He remembered that night, too. I thanked him again :-)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What? Another Sprint Triathlon?

Maybe I needed to use my new triathlon top more than once a year.  Maybe Cecil wanted company. :-)  So here I was, finding myself getting ready for the Blue Lake All-Women's Sprint Triathlon.  By "getting ready", I meant locating the triathlon gear and packing my bag.  Training?  Not so much.  Hadn't run OR swam since the Canby triathlon.  The last time I was on this course, it was my very first sprint triathlon ever, back in 2003.

Packet pickup was the day before.  I was attending Sock Summit at the Convention Center, so ducked out at lunch, caught a bus to Fit Right NW, collected my packet, and had a very nice visit with Marc F, a former co-worker who works there now.  When he isn't running marathons.  I think he runs one or two a month, at least.  Then back to Sock Summit and lots of yarny and knitty goodness.  But I digress.

Collected Cecil bright and early.  We got there, got our numbers written on our calves (better to check out the competition during the event) set up our transition areas, and walked over to the lake to check out the swim course.  Lots of colorful buoys out there, and we couldn't figure out WHAT was going on.  Walked back for the pre-race briefing.  The buoys were explained - we were swimming around the green ones.  The third green one was waaaaaaay down the lake.  800m open water swim in murky Blue Lake.  No wetsuit needed; the water temp was just right.

We ran into KRhea (Portland Velo cycling club prez) and Mrs. KRhea, doing her very first triathlon (the short intro one).  Scoped out the competition (women in green swim caps).  We decided our gooses were cooked; they all looked scary serious.  Group by group we were herded into the start pen (no escape now!).  Then into the water.  Icky lake grass.  KRhea was cheering us on.

Finally, we were swimming.  I picked a spot to the outside of the mob; I do not like getting swum over.  That swim took a very long time.  I felt like I was swimming to Cuba.  Finally, FINALLY, I was done, and trotted the very long way back to the transition area for the bike leg.  Tried to dry off somewhat (maybe I shouldn't do that; wastes too much time), pulled on my sandals, gloves, glasses, and helmet, and I was off, trotting another long way to the bike course.

My bike leg was amazing.  No one passed me.  I passed all of them like they were standing still.  Saw Cecil maybe 1/2 mile before the turnaround; she was, of course, already heading back.  Sadly, I did not pass anyone in my age group.  But it was still really, really amazing.

Back to the transition area, into my running shoes and cap, and off again.  KRhea was standing there, and he very enthusiastically cheered me on for quite some time (he's got a big voice).  Kept up a steady pace, and eventually saw Cecil heading the other way.  Plunk plunk plunk plunk...  I knew the return was not the same as the outbound route, so was not discouraged when we went the "wrong" way.

Finally, the finish!  Yay!  Cecil was waiting, and we went off to find snacks (there were roaming Jamba smoothie servers) and such.  Found KRhea and Mrs. KRhea.  She did really well.

Ate some food.  For what they charge for this event, the food ought to be better.  And parts of it ought to be vegan-friendly.  Waited for results.  Eventually we determined that we were both out of the hardware - me 4/11, 112/259. Not too bad. 49th place overall for the bike leg.

Rummaged around for my previous results on this course ( will aggregate every result you ever had).  Back in 2003, I trained - I ran, I swam, I biked.  Did the course with the very same bike (it was brand new in 2003).  2011 - 3:39 faster!  Yay me!

If there are pictures, I do not have any of them yet.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kerry Head Loop

So, back to the Ireland bike rides.  The last few days there, we stayed at Ballybunion, because, apparently, that's one of the courses golfers dream about playing.  I understand the courses were VERY challenging - links courses with really rough, steep, rough.  (If you are a golfer, you know what that means).

Almost to the west end of the head

What to do?  This area of Ireland is bypassed by both my cycling Ireland books.  One book suggested just riding straight through on the National road from whatever town is to the south (off my map) to Kilrush, and not detouring by the quieter coast road.  Why, I don't know.

The route

For my first ride, I thought I'd ride out to and around Kerry Head, and then back up the coast.  I followed the R551 all the way to Ballyheige, took the road around Kerry Head, then back up the coast on the "Coast Route" road, back to R551, and then back to Ballybunion.  All in all, about 40 miles.

River Cashen

It was really pretty!  There were some hilly, windy bits before Ballyheige, where I stopped to get some provisions at a convenience store.  I love the Irish convenience stores.  They've got Cadbury chocolate bars and rice pudding and...


Signpost in Ballyheige
Looking out to the Dingle Peninsula

I could see the Dingle peninsula to the south over the water.  Lots of dairy cows in fields.

Heading west out to Kerry Head

Evidence of participation

Where that Kerrygold butter and cheese comes from

Got out to the point, turned north and then west, and picked up a tailwind and a delightful descent.  Eventually I ran out of Coast Road and was back on R551, then retracing to the start.

Just before turning west

Red roof against an impossibly perfect sea and sky

Looking north

I beat the golfers back this day.