Doing it all the hard way...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Race Report Vance Creek RR



My race time of one thirty allowed a bit of a lie in and a leisurely morning of coffee and loading up. I will confess I was anxious about this race. I rode this last year and it was an intense experience. I was shelled off the back on the final climb on the first of four laps. I knew my mistakes from last year, but knowing what you did wrong before and doing it right now are two different things.

The start/finish line is the high point of the course. After the start there are a series of turns and swooping downhills on rough pave.’ Then a sharp right hand turn onto rougher farm roads with potholes, some loose gravel, and a number of ninety degree turns as the course follows what I can only assume is Vance creek. Then another ninety degree right puts us onto a wide two lane highway with plenty of shoulder and after some gentle rollers another right and we are onto some not so gentle rollers and then a heinous steep climb to the finish line. Each loop is 13.25 miles with 500 feet of climbing, about 300 of it in the final 1.1k.

We arrived in time to sign in and warm up. So far all was progressing on plan. There would be three from my team in my 50+ race and our brother John was in the 30+ race that followed ours by five minutes. As the time drew near we rolled over. Soon the starter called us “greybeards” to the line, Hank, Mathew and I took our positions. I was in the back of the pack as we waited. The lead car was sixty meters ahead of us with a large orange sign that said “BIKE RACE.” I started taking deep breaths in anticipation.


The starter signaled us to begin and I implemented my first lesson from last year and I jumped into any open spot I could find to move up in the pack. As we sailed downhill I kept looking for openings and moved up first on the outside, then on the inside. I was constantly thinking about improving my position. On a long sweeping lefthander we were sailing at close to forty miles an hour when a guy in apex green kit pulls up on my right on the road shoulder. I could hear him because the shoulder had a lot of loose grit which I am guessing was from sanding the roads last winter. The guy gets a little ahead of me and his bike starts to wobble. At first I think he is trying to be funny and is shaking his bars. The look of horror on his face told me otherwise and I just moved left as someone shouted, “don’t brake.” I assume they meant for him not to apply his brakes, but they could have meant don’t break your body. The shimmy was just increasing and that was slowing him down and once he was behind me, he was no longer my problem. My present situation required one hundred and ten percent of my concentration to be focused on what was in front of, and immediately next to, me.

As we hit the right hand turn onto the farm roads I knew what was coming up. The peloton slowed approaching the corner and then, and here is what I learned from last year so I was ready this time, accelerated hard after the corner. Last year I was in the back of the pack when we hit ninety degree corners and there was fifteen seconds of maximum effort to catch up after these corners, this year I was about a third of the way back and it was five seconds of max effort. Soon we hit another corner and the pattern of slowing into, and accelerating hard out of, the turn was repeated. The difference of being near the front, versus being near the back on these is amazing.

People were moving up on the outside and whenever I saw a gap in front of me, I jumped off of the wheel I was following and took another. It was kind of scary as we hit bridges, rough or loose roads; we all held our lines. You are inches from the wheel in front of you and riders are tight on either side as well. I thought about taking a drink but this was not a place to take a hand off the bars. I dared a glance at my computer and noted we were going 27 miles an hour. I was working to conserve my energy for the climb. I marveled at how fast I was going while trying to keep my effort to a minimum. When I say minimum, I mean as little as you can do and still go 27 mph on a bike. Before joining the highway there was a long straight with better pavement and I took a hurried gulp from my bottle.

As we turned onto the highway our pack went from long and narrow, to short and fat as the shoulder was wide enough to park a car and riders were moving up on the right. I swung around and moved into about tenth spot and worked my way out of the wind. I remembered this is where Tim went down in 2008. It got hectic as everyone wanted to be near the front. It was like Paris-Roubaix where two hundred riders all want to be in the top fifteen when they hit the cobbles. I felt strong on the rollers and noted Matthew was leading the chase as we approached Alp d’ Satsop. Matthew is a strong rider and would often lead Cyclocross races, but the speeds on the road mean the lead dog is working twice as hard as the rest of the pack. Once we were on the big hill the clunk of riders shifting into their small chain ring was very audible. Matthew paid the price for leading the peloton and shot back through the pack and was left alone by the time we crossed the line for the first lap. Except for the leading part, I had been Matthew last year. Working hard on the flat only to blow up and die on the big climb, followed by three laps of time trialing on wobbly legs. My goal was not to repeat that this year. I worked up the hill and held my spot. I took an inside line on the corner and wrestled the steepest part out of the saddle. I crossed the line in the pack and my goal was met.


As we reformed for the descent I squeezed some gel into my mouth and worked up to about tenth as we entered the flats. We rode two across and I felt I had achieved my goal of not getting shelled on the first lap. Attacks came and were caught. I found myself hanging onto the wheel of a guy from First Rate who was chasing down a break and so I hung on for all I was worth. It took more out of me that I had hoped and I made an effort to recover. I worked on my form and tried to be efficient and breathed deeply and slowly in an attempt to bring down my pulse. I drank more liquid and took some more gel. I looked around and these were all fast guys. Hank and I were close and this was racing. I was getting my twenty bucks worth. I recognized a guy from Cyclocross and he was moving as well. I was proud of myself for riding in the mix. One of our team and injured himself and broken some components at this race two years ago and that tale had caused me to race to conservatively last year.

As we get older we seldom venture out of our comfort zone. When we do try something new, and it doesn’t go well, we usually just avoid it in the future. Driving the course before the race to familiarize Hottie with the roads for photo opportunities my stomach was in knots as the memories from last year were not fond ones. To be in the mix as we approached the halfway point, and to have raced boldly, was fulfilling my lofty pre race expectations. I was so stoked I felt like I had already won the race.

As we turned onto the highway I held my position and felt alright on the rollers. Hank moved past me and I stayed close. As we started the final climb I was drifting back and tried powering up while seated and then when I stood there was no increase in power. Instead of sitting down and spinning I stayed out of the saddle and a gap opened up. I reached deep into my suitcase of courage. I knew that if I could keep in contact over the top I would be in the mix for another lap, and perhaps if I rode real smart I could recover on the third lap and then who knows what could happen. My quads screamed and I found my suitcase was empty. I fought on as I knew every second would count if I hoped to latch back on. I saw Hottie snapping pics and her words of encouragement helped me climb.


Passing the finish line for the second lap I was perhaps fifteen seconds back and I jumped onto a wheel and we tried to close the gap. I was feeling like my power wasn’t there. I got out of the saddle and the front wheel felt mushy. I looked down and saw more sidewall that I should and realized I was going flat. Considering how much time the peloton had spent with riders, including me, on the shoulder riding over all kinds of crap, I was surprised there hadn’t been more flats. As I type this, I recall John telling me that two years ago all kinds of riders had flats at this race.

The top of the course was near the parked cars and I slowed stepped off my bike. A little over 27 miles in one hour and seven minutes, my elevation climbed was a little over a thousand feet. My average was 23.7 miles an hour. We had been flying. I had been flying. I hate not finishing a race. But my success at having been in the mix and not getting blown to bits on the first lap left me surprisingly satisfied with my ride.

I changed and made my way back to cheer on my brethren. Hottie got some good shots and Tux survived the day as well.

Project Z How to paint a bike frame the Davo way


Raw and ready

I have two projects going now. One is building a Cyclocross single speed which will be my pit bike later this year. I figure the time lost actually changing wheels is greater than just swapping bikes and riding a single speed. The other project is the painting of my old steel Jamis frame for my son who has taken an interest in cycling. His request was to have the bike custom painted in Orange (good taste) and Silver (eh). He also is correctly convinced that SRAM has the best feeling shifters on this planet. My garage has more spare parts than many bike shops and so I only needed a few odds to complete a bike for the young buck. The CXSS is still lacking pedals and a fork, so stay tuned on that one. I’m reluctant to start building until all the parts are in the house.

I’ve painted six bikes previously and I’m following my tried and true methodology on this one as well. First I sand the old paint. The sanding can range from roughing up the enamel to getting down to bare metal. On one of my paint jobs I used a paint stripper and that was like devil gel in a can. It was quick but messy and I still had to touch up the frame by hand. For some weird trad reason I prefer to sand it down with 100 grit sandpaper. I feel like I get to know the frame when I’m sanding the whole thing. Zach helped with this task. After sanding and just before priming I wipe it down with alcohol to make sure the surface is clean of grease and dust free.

Then I prime the frame to get an even coverage before applying the color. I have usually done blends, but since the orange and silver don’t have a ton of contrast, I thought it best to tape off after painting the primary color to enhance the contrast. I saw an Assos clothing ad where the bike had a generic paint pattern and I used that as my inspiration. I used Chevrolet engine orange paint so it is sturdy and a nice dark burnt orange. The color isn’t pumpkin, but a rich reddish orange. One of my top ten dream jobs would be naming colors and if it were up to me I would name this fire orange.

Orange is the fastest color.

After taping I apply the silver color. Then I remove the tape and apply the decals. I have found I can get custom decals from the any of several folks who sell decals on eBay. A little email correspondence and a week or so after money changes hands they show up in the mail. For Project Z the decals reflect the correct make and model (Jamis Eclipse) and frame size as well we the Reynolds 853 steel. I have taken some liberties and you shall see those when I complete the project and share photos.

Tape it baby


Silver over tape. No previews...

After the decals I apply the clear coat. This is where the artistry comes in. After applying a thin coat to seal the stickers, then I try for a thick coat. The thick coat results in a glossy finish. Too thick and it runs and drips ruining the look. Too thin and the finish has a satin look forever. The easiest tube to paint is one that is vertical, so I hook the frame to a bike stand and rotate it around and around as I paint one tube then another. Usually this means I clamp the seat tube in the middle and paint everything else and then put a seatpost in and attach the bike stand clamp to that and paint the seat tube.

Finally I use automobile paste wax to bring out the luster of the clear coat. The result is amazing considering it all comes from rattle cans.

Quick summary: Sandpaper 100 grit, alcohol and rags, metal spray primer, color, decals, spray clear coat, buff it, assemble it, ride it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ticking them down


With the weather lately, I'm getting real good at cleaning my bike

Checklists are my life. First you set a plan, then you execute to the plan. I recall my training for Marathons would usually consist of runs during the week, either before work or during a long lunch break, then a long one on the weekends. Once when my motivation was flagging, I thought to myself, only three more long runs (over the next three weeks) before my race. The long runs were the key to success.

My training the Davis Double Century is mainly altering my weekend rides. Instead of going 35 miles with my team, I’ve been going long either solo, or with like minded OCD riders. I’ve gone 90, 70, and a few over 60. I think I will be ready. Some of my longer training rides have been damp and that has only increased my desire to enjoy a warm ride.

On a recent ride I was able to go with Spinner John and Geoff and Joe who are going to Davis. My initial fear is these guys would be flying and I’d be left in the dust. Then my fear was they would be slow and I’d be waiting, or riding solo. BTW, riding solo isn’t bad, but it is really nice to have a friend to talk to on those long rides. I think I’m pretty strong and Joe and Geoff are strong too, so I think we will all get along just fine. Besides, you never know what will happen when you go past 100 miles or 90 degrees. In those extremes sometimes the weak become strong and the strong men falter.

As my train of thought rounds the corner and comes back to checklists and plans; I am pleased I have been able to essentially stick to my plan. I say essentially because I took off when I got sick or felt beat and I have placed a LOT more emphasis on rest. Coach Joe says never cut short your recovery. I’ve got the miles under my belt and I don’t have to panic as the big ride approaches. If you happen to share my morbid sense of humor check out the bike trails in Seattle the two weeks prior to the STP (Seattle to Portland) bike ride. You will see riders cramming to make up for not enough training and early in the day the faces look panicked and in the late afternoon they all look haggard.

With the ride a little over three weeks away, I’ve only a couple more opportunities for long rides and so far all is well. My little cold is completely gone and I’m feeling fine. The bike is working like a dream and I don’t have any issues looming over me. I have a race this weekend where I fully expect to be DFL. It did cross my mind that I have a better base than last year when I did this one, and the weight training may help. Still, I’m setting my expectations low…

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fizik Aliante Review SIMPLY AWESOME That is my final answer !


A Blind taste test ??

Background:
I started life, as we all did, on a cheap saddle. I went to a Specialized Body Geometry back in 2000. The following year I was intrigued by a Koobi advertisement and tried one. Koobi makes great saddles. I had good luck for years. Last summer on a very long, very hot ride I concluded the saddle fit me a little too well and I needed a replacement. How can a saddle fit too well? If you subscribe to the Hank school of saddle classification there are hammocks and benches. The Koobi was a hammock and it has a ridge down the middle (just like I do) and to make a personal story shorter (and so I don’t feel violated), I’ll end the anatomy discussion right here. That much contact can’t help but lead to a lot of friction. Without revisiting the anatomy portion of our one sided discussion, some places deal with friction better than others. Thus the search began.

Try it, you’ll like it:

Arione
Several of my fellow riders sit on various models of the Fizik Arione. I read the marketing hype (alas I am a junkie for the propaganda) and tried one. It felt like I was sitting on a hula hoop. Just to clarify, on a hula hoop, not inside one. The saddle didn’t feel flat, it felt like the curve was reverse of the hammock saddles I had before. I did enjoy the freedom of leg movement. I could almost get used to the saddle, but I never once sat down and thought, man, that is comfortable….

WTB Silverado
This felt like a padded wedge of wood, but it was a good platform for power. I had one on my cross bike, but the plan view felt like it had straight sides and it seemed to cut into my thighs. Not a bad saddle, just not perfect for me….

Antares
Never has something looked so uncomfortable right out of the box. The edges felt sharp and the padding was soft where I needed it hard and vice versa. I read all the marketing hype around this one and have concluded that anyone who likes this saddle must have the ability to ride using a baseball for a saddle and not complain. By now I was getting picky and I knew after ten minutes this one was going back where I got it (eBay).

Selle An Atomica
I considered this one. Spinner John loves his. A lot of the Brooks B-17 crowd like these. They weight an absolute ton. A web search will yield great reviews. A longer search will reveal complaints as well. I decided I would try it if the Aliante didn’t work.

San Marco Concor light
Lance rides one. Since we are pretty much the same, I figured this might be one to try if the Aliante and the Selle An Atomica failed.

Aliante
This was curvy on top, just like I am on the bottom. It was the plain wrap of the Fizik line. Hank had actually recommended it to me last year in Bend. I had hoped one of the “cool” saddles like the Arione or the Antares would work, and I held the Aliante as a final hope.

Johnny, tell him what he wins…. The Aliante
Out of the box it looked good. On the bike it felt good when I installed it and rode it wearing jeans. On my first ride it was a dream. I had no pressure points and essentially no break in period. I can hammer in the drops, cruise on the tops or sit up and all is well. I feel solid and I am sure that allows me to pedal harder. Here is a test for your saddle that takes place in your head. Imagine if you were riding your bike and your best friend jumped on you piggy back style. How would your saddle feel then? I imagine an Arione would feel like I was sitting on a pizza pan on end and would slice me in half. The Aliante would be my best friend.

If you want to impress your friends with a fast looking saddle I’ll point you elsewhere. If you want a saddle that feels good and lets you forget about it, you would be a fool not to consider the Aliante.

The latest Chapter on Chatter................. The Mystery Mechanic



In an interesting turn of events, a pro Cyclocross mechanic responded to an email question I sent a week ago about brake chatter and my particular set up. To my amazement, he provided a prolific response and I have been putting his words into action. I updated him on my progress and once again I received a thorough reply.

The upshot is I am putting my canti Frogglegs back on and, here is the key, replacing my Chris King Headset. He (oops, I’ve just eliminated the hundreds of female pro Cyclocross mechanics who may have been under suspicion as the mystery mechanic) said the CK headset has a tendency to allow too much movement which translates into chatter. He shared some other ideas that are also coming into play. One of them pertains to load paths and braking and was something I had thought of in my abstract brain, but dismissed as too theoretical.

I double checked the wise words from Lennard Zinn on chatter and it seems there are a few forks that are less prone to chatter. The Alpha Q, Edge, Stevens, and Reynolds all appear to be pretty stout. My opinion is that other forks can be made not to chatter by either going to a V-brake, or (brace for the honest truth, and here is where I depart from Mr. Zinn) laming out the brakes. Cutting pads or raising straddle cables are just ways to decrease the brakes power (leverage) thereby decreasing chatter.

While I generally leave it to Betty the Beast to state the obvious; if you only get chatter when you really grab the brakes then when you need control the most, you have it the least. You don’t always need to stop quick, but when you do- not being able to stop can be the difference between being on a podium and being on a stretcher.

Look for more on this saga….

Spinner John Ride Report


"Spinner" John below Cougar Mountain...

I have a bevy of friends and colleagues named John. When speaking with Hottie it is easy for us to get confused, so we refer to them with nicknames. There is 2020 John, Crash John (from a photo, sorry), Bacon John, an assortment of John’s I work with, and finally Spinner John who teaches a spin class Hottie and I attend.

Spinner John is the one who invited me to go and do the Davis Double Century next month. Our schedules aligned and we went for a long ride this weekend. It was wet, but mild, so being a little wet was not a problem. We took a winding route out toward Snohomish and then turned south southeast and made our way to Carnation.

Between Snohomish and Carnation..
Then to Issaquah via a Tolt Hill detour and then with well over fifty miles behind us, we ascended Zoo Hill (a.k.a. L’ Alp d’ Issaquah). When you are on a steep hill it is all about your power to weight ratio and the second part of that equation is where it all falls apart for me. I moved my chain as far left as it would go and spun until I had climbed just over one thousand feet in less than two miles (yes, that means an AVERAGE of over 9% grade, max grade 20%). At the top I stretched and emptied a water bottle and then we made our way to Mercer Island and the familiar route home.
We ended up with just over ninty miles on the day and 5,600’ of climbing. A quick shower and on to a productive day with the help of the compression tights Hottie got me for Valentine’s Day. I wore those babies the rest of the day and slept in them. The next morning as I was dashing up and down the stairs in the morning encouraging Tux to mark his territory outside I realized my legs were feeling fine with almost no soreness. Good ride and post ride nutrition, stretching, and those tights made a difference.

A week ago… Sunday Ride Report


Does the irony of the stop sign in the background hit you too?

I’m delinquent in posting this.

Thirteen of us rolled out of Capital Hill under grey skies Sunday morning. Threatening skies, thirteen in number and riding while the righteous are donning their church garb. If one was looking for a sign, they wouldn’t be disappointed. By the time we were crossing the bridge to the Isle of Mercer we were sixteen strong. One of our fastest murderers brought a friend whom he referred to as a “fast guy.” The stage was set.

In a unique turn of events, Crusher launched a solo breakaway which dumbfounded the group so they let it escape. The big dogs knew they would dispatch him in due course. Two of our loyal clan had pinned on numbers and raced the day before so there were some stale legs amid the anxious riders this cool morning. The unusual circumstances led to a different kind of day as the pack split into several groups almost from the onset. Usually the pack splits only after a mile or two and then there are usually two groups that each work independently to keep the pace frantic around Mercer.

The lead group caught and passed Crusher without a word as the riders were marking each other with savvy race tactics, though this is billed as a friendly ride. Then a couple riders who had been spit off the back were working to keep any kind of rhythm as their bodies tried to recover. A second cluster of five or so caught Crusher and then scooped up the two stragglers. This new group gave chase with speeds ranging from twenty to twenty eight miles an hour. Evo managed to find himself taking a pull as the group hit the “big” hill and although he pulled over to the side to let others pass, he climbed well and was in great position when the group reassembled at the top of the climb.

The swooping curves on the east side of the isle are like a luge run when taken at twenty miles an hour or better and the group was pulling well above that. We caught Tom the Cheetah and were really moving as we hit the park that signaled the turn around.

Evo had been battling a cold so he kept it easy on the way back. I felt my lung capacity was down, but with the weight training I have been doing, I felt some strength and threw in a couple bursts, just for fun. My climb up the big hill was surprising. I hit it fast and I sprinted up it and I swear it seemed only half its usual height. Could this be a sign of things to come ?

The return to Capitol Hill was uneventful. I hung where I wanted and didn’t go into the red at all. CafĂ©’ with the mates was a treat as always.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mass Posting Tux 50 Me


Me and Wiley !!

One could correctly usually assume that my posting drought was the result of my boring life. In this case it was quite the opposite. I have been sick, so that always slows me. I also travelled, which is tied to the getting/being sick part. So it is time to catch up.

Tux
With the passing of Lily, the house was eerie quiet. Like an empty, silent classroom; it just didn’t feel right. With a summer odyssey planned, the logical thing was to look for a new puppy after returning. So Hottie and I said that to each other. We would wait until August. But the quiet was too much and when I was at the store and they said, “paper or plastic” I had no reason to say plastic. It was then I realized that I have evolved into a dog person. Being a dog person without a dog didn’t feel right. Hottie didn’t protest too long.

Despite our commitment to wait, we had both been looking at available greyhounds on the web. On Saturday April 3rd we went to the Greyhound rescue shelter to look at a dog named Turbo. Turbo was a strong, energetic boy that went full speed all the time and had a curious nature. We looked at a couple others including Bella Cabello who was young and won’t be two years old until June. He leapt up to greet us which turned me off. He quickly settled down and showed himself to be curious, smart, strong and loving. He responded well to Hottie and me, and when we were petting Turbo, Cabello came and inserted himself between Turbo and me. Call me insecure, but I like a dog that gets a little jealous. He is Jet black with a silky coat and he has a white Tux patch on his chest and on the tips of all four feet, as well as the tip of his tail. Because he looks like he is wearing a Tuxedo and he didn’t know his racing name, we christened him Tux then and there.

Tux had been racing up until February and had never been in a house until we brought him home. He saw stairs for the first time. He leaned to use the dog door and is doing just about perfect. Actually, he is doing so much better than could be dreamed; I guess I would have to score him as perfect. He is settling in and he travels well and gets along great.

Can I stay ? Can I, can I, can I please ?

50
I turned 50 last week. Since that puts me into the 50+ racing category, I didn’t mind at all. The round birthdays are always a milestone, and I guess this was one too. My hair is thinning and my glasses are on more than they are off, but that is part of the deal as well. My body can still do pretty much what I want, so I think I’m lucky.

This was how I looked in 1979...

Atlanta
I’ve never seen pollen so thick. I was fighting a sinus infection before I left and the pollen didn’t help me. It was like the cars were spray painted yellow. For some reason the trip took more out of me than it should have and made last week a long week.

Sick
I can sleep off almost anything, yet I couldn’t shake this, so I called my Doc. After accessing my training and getting the Hottie recovery report, he set me up with some better living through chemistry. I’m just about fine now.

The cold of Portland Cyclocross goes to the BONE !

Hottie
Hottie and I rode down to the local ferry and back up the hill on Sunday. This was a milestone as it has now been three months since they opened her like a book and did some amazing things to her back. Here she is riding up the hill and smiling at the same time. I’d say that counts the surgery as a success.

Bring it on !!

Training
I’ve missed some training, and it feels like weeks since I’ve gone long. I took it pretty easy yesterday on the team ride. I was surprised to hear one of the guys who was riding right by me tell someone we were hammering the whole way.

Enough about me
I’ll get back to ride reports, equipment reviews and the other useless drivel that my readers (JP, Mom, John) have come to expect/dread from this blog.....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Valley of the Sun


Let those who know, know the joy..

My work necessitated a trip to Phoenix for a conference and seeking to make lemonade out of prunes, I made the most of it. Here is my travel log and some observations…

I arrived to find welcoming temperatures in the eighties and brilliant sunshine. Google maps came through again and after checking in, donning my sport coat and picking up a name badge, I was among the geeks. I should clarify, there were two distinct groups, those with Italian shoes, fancy watches and pressed shirts. There were others with black Rebooks, digital watches and wrinkled cotton dockers. The Italian shoes were hugely outnumbered and the main secessions were like listening to someone reading a warranty for a product you don’t have, or ever intend to have.


I’ve seen clouds that looked like biscuits before, but this is the first time the sky looked like PANCAKES !!

When you attend these shows you know how a woman feels when men leer at her. People don’t make eye contact until they read your name badge (not for your name, but for your company) and then, depending on if you are a effectively a buyer or a seller, you get either a warm greeting or polite restraint.

The homeless people in Phoenix are really, really tan. Instead of looking healthy, it gives them an otherworldly appearance. In Seattle the homeless have skin complexions the color of cinnamon rolls, in Phoenix they look more like saddles. Not a judgment, just a sad observation.

With the precision of a Swiss watch I checked off my objectives. I met the people I needed and covered the topics I needed to address. This allowed me some time to myself and I used it well.


There were lots of hospitality suites in the hotel that had free food. The weird thing was all the food was from the hotel so after a very short time you realized it was all the same. Having attended Aviation trade shows since 1988, the theme of repetition is getting to me.

At least they had BACON

The highlight of my trip (from a personal perspective) was getting to attend a Spring Training game for my Seattle Mariners.

Google maps brought me to the parking lot and after forking over a Lincoln I found my spot. As I walked toward the stadium I must have had the appropriate bewildered out of towner first timer look. A female parking attendant who was probably one hundred and thirty years old (or in her mid seventies with a George Hamilton tan) asked if I had a ticket. I told her I did not and she handed me a forth row seat on the third base line for free. This was looking like a good day. I found my seat and snapped some pictures.


Nice seat eh ?

On the way to the airport I was getting gas when a big truck and an SUV had a confrontational meeting..


Sorry dude !