Doing it all the hard way...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Bike to work

Then I hit traffic.  The bike lane is my friend..

 The sign that instills a false sense of security
 Traffic traffic traffic
 Welcome to work
 We keep our windows so clean we can see ourselves
Bike storage room.
After work I went home...
Back through The Shire..

Evo en route

This is the tree that marks the ten mile mark on my way home..

Bike to work month 2012

The machine ready to roll. Lights and bright colors
This is the gate I have to negotiate at six in the morning.  Luckily there is a gravel approach..
The cockpit is all business.  I'm almost two minutes into my ride...
Quiet streets
Crossing Edmonds way
Time for a sip of coffee...
The entrance to The Shire is deceptivly stealthy
Low light and fast rolling make this wooded trail blurry
The golf course is next door
Pay attention on this corner or you'll be eating bark. (Excellent cyclocross skills training)
This is usually where I see the Maiden of the Shire.  Not today..

Continued on the next entry...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Three weekends to go


When I started laying out training plans for the Alps trip, I had over 3,000 miles of riding. If you will allow me 20 miles of variance, I'm right on track. We went ninety last Saturday and I lived a pretty normal life Saturday afternoon and evening. If not for the remodel, I could have done it again on Sunday. This isn't to say I wasn't tired, but I wasn't crying either.

I am down to the short strokes on equipment selection. When your list gets down to things like sunscreen you are sitting pretty. I had planned on starting to cut my food intake in mid May, but my weight has been going where I had hoped.

I keep looking at the calendar and having a moment of panic, the remembering that My training is on track. I am doing some reconnaissance via the Internet of some of the climbs we will be doing. Talk about intimidating.

I think one of my strengths is recovery. This will be key to my survival in the French Alps. I am anxious to see if I still think recovery is an Evo strong point come July...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Warm, Sunny and Long

El Hefe getting his "Rural" on.

Two groups departed from Seattle and after fifteen miles the other group turned south and we continued north toward Snohomish.  We were all in good spirits with sunshine and warmer temperatrues.   The miles just flew by.  I didn't dig deep, we just rode tempo.
Dave (Head like a Kite) joined for the full ride.  Check out the shades.  With a straight face he said they were, "actually pretty good for cycling."  
Dave F is smiling because his feet are warm and dry.  This is what he was dreaming of during the Medina Marge (gross socks) ride in March..

McWoodie and El Hefe leading Dave and the crowd through the aromatic eastern parts of King Country.

By the time we were done we had over ninety miles and just under 5,000 feet of climbing.  It is wild to think that I've had ninety mile months, and then ninety mile weeks, recently ninety mile weekends, and now ninety mile days.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sugoi Shoe Cover Review

Sugoi Shoe Covers
In my world there are three reasons for putting something on the outside of your shoe. For purposes of this discussion the first reason is aerodynamics. That comes into play in my life less than ten times a year, so let's just set that one on the shelf.  The second reason is to keep your feet warm when it is cold outside. Toe warmers on a chilly morning are a smart move.  Thick shoe covers when the temperatures are around freezing is a life saver. The final reason, and our topic for today, is to keep your feet dry when it is wet.  Since the only thing that is warm when it is wet is a hot tub, I think that anything designed to address warmth or water should also go pretty far down the other path as well.

Last March on an epic ride that has become known as the "gross sock ride," Dave F was sporting some spendy shoe covers to keep his feet warm and dry. His feet got soaked. Soaked in 37 degree weather means his feet were frozen blocks at the southern end of his legs.  Dave didn't whine and soldiered on despite losing feeling in his pieds. The manufacturer said the product wasn't meant to keep your feet dry. They were right.

The next few days we shared emails lamenting our frustration with various shoe covers. Finally, Tim jumped into the discussion and after proclaiming himself a shoe cover snob, pointed both Dave and Evo to the Sugoi shoe cover.

This is the one to have.  We have had some typical spring weather here is Seattle, wet and wetter. These babies do the job. They are well thought out and deliver the mail. Here are the typical problems and how the Sugoi stacks up.
Seam front and center that lets in water. - Seam is there and not a drop gets in.
Zipper cuts into the back of your leg. - Wonderful little flap that keeps you intact
Hard to get on. - These are easy as pie. Easy to get on, easy to get off.
Some flap in the wind. - These look sleek in a Darth Vader kind of way.
Feet get soaked because no place for sweat to go. - I don't know how they do it, but my shoes and socks are dry.  Warm toes in snow boots kind of cozy.

These are reasonably priced as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Work is WORK !

In 2005 when we were looking at cars Hottie was reading reviews and adopted a phrase she read. "Bigger is always bigger." As my sons and I labored on our bathroom remodel this weekend, I altered the phrase to, "work is WORK!"

Riding to work and then home again yesterday my hands were a little numb. I was nervous that maybe it was a signal of a more serious biking problem. With FRANCE looming, I was nervous. Driving in today, my hands were numb on the steering wheel and I realized it was simply the result of holding a hammer all weekend.

I am so grateful for the hard work my sons did helping us with the demolition, removal and framing for the remodel. We are moving walls and going down to the studs on the walls that are staying. The only thing that will be the same is the location of one toilet. The other toilet (in the other bathroom) and all sinks are moving. The hall closet is being eaten by a new closet and our mini office is giving way to a tiny closet.

I feel a thousand years old and I skipped the gym today in favor of a bit of a lie in.

Once I get some Dave bars in me I will feel strong and jump right back in. One of my teammates commented that all he would need to climb Alp d'Huez would be one of my bars. He quipped, "you can taste all twenty-one turns in these bars."

In the meantime, I will whine in my blog and look forward to dry weather..

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I'm letting the cat out of the bag right here, right now.  Some bold talk at a couple of post ride coffee stops turned into a plan.  Hottie said, "go ahead" and it became my plan. I've been holding out on my readers, but there is a reason I've logged over two thousand freakin' miles so far in 2012.

We'll be riding the Col du Galibier. It will be the hill we do after Col du Telegraph but before Alp d'Huez on a long day in the saddle.  Tim talked to Horst, who runs a tour company nine of my teammates used five years ago. He asked if we could get some special treatment if we sold out a tour. Nineteen of my friends and I are heading for the Alps June 21st.   It will be like riding RAMROD everyday for a week, except prettier and, well, French.

I'm logging the miles, getting lean and ready to ride.  I'm using frequent flyer miles, so it won't be too expensive.  I'll fill you in on more of the details in upcoming posts.  I'm lucky and I know it.  I'm going to France !!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekend report

Saturday dawned sunny and dry.  My teammates and I had two things on the agenda: Miles and Hills.  We rolled out nine strong and the sunshine was wonderful.

The miles came at the usual pace, but we were hunting for hills.  I thought it was a dream, but we actually were joined by the legend known as Hank.

Tim was, as always, not only riding, but leading the way.  Although Hank pulled away from me at the base of Sake Pass and Mt. Squak, both times I slowly reeled him in.  Evo is getting fit.
We had a beautiful day.  Bare arms and naked knees.  A cyclist nirvana.  By the time we called it done, we had over seventy miles and close to 7,000 feet of climbing.

Sunday was even better.  I made Hottie her favorite breakfast..

French Toast and Hash Browns.  Living the dream.  Then I went for a ride with my favorite riding partner..

Hottie and I went for a nice ride. She was faster than I expected.  I'm sure we'll be going around Lake Washington before the summer is over.

Alas, then it was time to resume phase two of the remodel....



Yes, I'm making a mess.....

Thursday, May 10, 2012


When riding, don't forget to check your blind spots.

Training is going well. I had an interesting event this week on my bike commute Tuesday.  Only two miles into my commute I downshifted and the chain didn't move and the shifter felt mushy. I pushed it again and it came off.  My SRAM Rival shifter was broken.  It wasn't new and I had not given it a lot of login'. I rode in using only my left hand shifter.
At the office I checked to see if the shifters are rebuildable. Rebuildable they are.  I popped into my LBS and they took the shifter and called me today and told me SRAM would be sending me (via the LBS) a new SET of shifters.  Well, paint me red and call me SRAM-MAN.  Way to go SRAM.  They should arrive next week.

I've been logging the miles.  I have a plan.  Back in December I was thinking that come May, I'd better be in good shape or it is too late.  It's May.  I'm in good shape.  I can ride seventy miles and climb six thousand feet and not be trashed later that day.  I can get on the bike the next day and do it again.  That will not only be helpful, it is a requirement.  No country for old men.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Playing Twister in the flying germ tube

Evo is back in Montreal, the cosmopolitan center of America's attic. Uneventful flights getting here. I did note the contortions we go through in airplane travel. Stepping over the sleeping passenger in the aisle seat is a challenging twister move. Eating, writing, reading in your seat without infringing on the personal space of the traveller next to you is another challenge. The airplane lavatory provides a tall Evo a reminder of having to be small to avoid bumping my head in a children's playground. In a bathroom designed for legless dwarfs, the challenge is to avoid touching the walls and ceiling (and I can assure you that you don't want to touch them) while....conducting..your business. Twister indeed. I just chalked the whole flight down as a core workout at 35,000 feet.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Day

This morning as I readied myself to ride to work, I noted the clouds and turned on my headlight.  The battery was dead. Though not planned, I rode in unlighted for the first time in 2012.

I looked at my rain pants and thought, "It isn't wet or that cold." Winter has gone and spring has settled in.

On the way home I was caught in a downpour.  Ominous clouds are fairly standard fare here in Seattle, so I didn't put on my rain jacket.  I rolled out and was dry.  Then sprinkles started about halfway home.  Suddenly it went from friendly to fiendly.  I smiled and rode on.