Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Testing the waters for the Carnation Time Trial

A friend and went out to Carnation last weekend to ride two of the time-trials that are being held. One's a flat 12 mile course, while the other is a 14.5 hilly course. I don't even have a friggin' time-trial bike so I'm not sure abou these races, but the hilly I might be able to do alright.

As a side-note, just as we got out of the car to unload our bikes, a jacked-up pickup drove by with what looked to be a redneck leaning out of the window, looking at us. Sure enough, as he rode by he yelled "Go back to Seattle, you ...." We couldn't make out the last part, but it was probably the ususal 'faggots!' remark often heard outside of large cities. What an introduction to Carnation!! The funny thing was that we were indeed going back to Seattle, while he's gonna remain in the sticks.

Anyway, the first course we did was more or less flat, and with the wind we only averaged 19 mph but that's not bad for us. The wind was tough though.

But the 2nd course includes Tolt Hill road, which is a 10% grade for one mile! This is probably the nastiest hill I've done, but having done the 22% block at 26th & E. Roy st on Capitol Hill it wasn't all that bad. The downhill is 9% for a mile, with some winding turns. Had to brake quite a lot since the turns were so sharp, but we maxed out at 42 mph!!

Check out the elevation profile for the hilly time-trial: (generated by veloroutes.org)

Yep, that super-steep climb in the beginning is the 10% grade; wow that was fun! Somehow we averaged 18 mph on this course, whic I'm sure is far under what the winning average will be.

Good country riding out in Carnation, but watch out for the country-folk, they're apparently vocal about their dislike of visitors on bikes.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Bikers gone wild

In case you haven't heard yet, some cyclists in SF smashed a mini-van's window last Friday after Critical Mass!


I wasn't there, but having seen people get trapped in CM and then bump a cyclist more than once here in Seattle, I know it does happen, and I understand why cyclists get pissed off about it.

If the mini-van driver bumped the cyclist, then I say fuck it, they deserved to have their van smashed. It's hard to be pulled out of the un-reality of the safety/superiority of your car, but they just learned the hard way that cars aren't necessarily always going to win the battle. Might does not make right.

Who knows, if they hadn't met up with CM maybe they would've been in a head-on collision, as oft happens with automobiles. It could have been worse.

Note to drivers out there: if you're stuck in CM, just wait it out, turn off your car for a few minutes!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Seattle to Bellingham - the best and worst of country roads in Washington State

Dennis and I did the ride this past Saturday (the one we failed at two weeks ago), it was a hell of a ride! It rained the first half of the ride, but by the end the sun was out and warming us up, which we needed.

Walking into a grocery store about half-way in Arlington, people looked at us like aliens. The lady serving up mac n' cheese said her husband had a bottle thrown at him, presumably in Arlington.. not surprisingly also where we were heckled by rednecks while fixing a flat.


  • Start time: 7:30 AM
  • End time: 5:30 PM
  • Riding time: ~7 hours
  • Total Distance: 110 miles (177 km)
  • Headwind speed: 10 mph
  • Flat tires: 1
  • Hoots from rednecks in big trucks while fixing flat: 2
  • Best part of ride: the view of the Pacific from Chuckanut drive
  • Worst part of ride: the end of Chuckanut going into Bellingham! (lots of traffic, no shoulder with rock-face on your right)
Our route was pretty simple:
  • Take the Burke-Gilman trail up to Woodinville, then get on Highway 9
  • Highway 9 goes all the way to north of Arlington, take hwy 534 west
  • Get on Cedardale Road going north (just before I-5)
  • Follow it to Broad St (there was no sign, but it's a T-intersection), take a left
  • Right on 4th Ave, turns into 2nd
  • Riverside Drive north to Chuckanut
  • Chuckanut dumps you in Fairhaven, just south of Bellingham
Here's the route on a google map, with elevation profile.

Highway 9 was pretty crazy, with lots of traffic, but certainly doable. About half of it has a shoulder, the other half has none. Lots of rolling hills between Woodinville and Arlington, it seemed like we went up 10 or so big climbs, each with a rewarding downhill.

Next time we'll have it to under 6 hours hopefully. The STP (Seattle to Portland) is 206 miles, and we're shooting for a 12 hour time on that one, so this is good training for it.