Wednesday, May 30, 2007

140-mile weekend

Since a friend and I are doing the one-day STP this year (and we're dabbling in the local race scene too), I've been trying to pack on the miles, and keep the average speed up.

On Saturday I did the lakes washington and sammamish loop ride, and I averaged 18.5 mph on the 79 mile ride. Highway 900 in between Renton and Issaquah is my favorite part, you're totally in the country, and only 15 miles ride outside of Seattle! Who'd have thought you could see cows in a field so close to the city..

Here's the elevation profile of the two-lakes loop:

On Monday I rode out to carnation and back, and did the Tolt Hill climb twice, once going east, once going west. Going downhill on the 10% grade for a mile section, I hit 49 mph!! If only it was a longer descent, I could probably hit 50. The TT we're doing goes up the hill heading west, the hard way.

Elevation profile of the carnation ride:

The race is this Saturday, I'll certainly post how (bad) I did when it's all said and done. And here's the profile of the 3rd Carnation TT:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mercer Island Loop - Great Views, Great Training Too

One of my favorite rides is the mercer island loop, a popular Seattle-area ride that takes you on Mercer Island Way, one of the few low-traffic roads in the area. Just head east over the I-90 bike trail and you can be there in 15 minutes from Capitol Hill.

Here's the elevation graph of the route:

Since I got my cyclo-computer I've been watching the numbers (hopefully not too much), and this is a great ride (with no stop signs or lights for 15 miles or so!) to test your mettle and see just how high you can push the numbers. Small rolling hills, nice flats, plenty of turns to test your cornering abilities.

As per usual, I was coming up on folks also riding the loop, some more serious than others. I passed one guy that I figured I could easily drop, but sure enough I looked back a minute later and saw his shadow next to mine. Damn! Time to turn up the juice! (At this point my average speed was 20.x mph, pretty fast for me)

So I kicked up the pace and tried to keep it at 24-26 mph, but he's just sitting back there drafting, enjoying the good life! I couldn't drop him, but he eventually turned off the road and I continued on. It's not that I can drop anyone on the road, hell I don't really even race, but on Mercer Island I haven't been dropped once yet, although I'm sure my day will come. Last week there was a dude with tatoo-sleeves that I started semi-racing with, and eventually dropped him after the big climb. Damn that feels gooood!

My average speed was up to 21.x mph at the end of the loop, but then it's all uphill on the way back to Capitol Hill. By the time I got home my average was down to 18.8 mph, but I'm pretty happy with that, considering the terrain.

So if you get a chance, check out the Mercer Island Loop, you'll be glad you did! And if I see you out there (I ride a celeste bianchi eros and usually wear a 'Washington' jersey), let's see who can drop who!!

A Silent Ride, For Better Or Worse

Yesterday I did the ride of silence, an annual (world-wide) ride for fallen cyclists. Similar to Critical Mass, but without the merry-making/hootin/hollerin that usually ensues. I was running late to the start, but caught up with the group on Eastlake. I wasn't sure if it was an STP training ride or not, what with sea of neon/lycra and yellow rain jackets. And yes, that was me that rode up to the pack and asked, "Is this the ride of silence?" The response, as you might guess, was a stern nod from one fellow (oh yeah, the ride of SILENCE!!)... oh well, glad I made it, even if I was one of the only peeps on a fixie and not dressed in a full race kit. (But hey, I wear lycra too when the time is right.)

It was way different than a Critical Mass ride, and I felt less safe too. We always stayed in only one lane (allowing cars to try to squeeze by in the left or center lane, yikes), and we didn't cork red-lights, so the pack was constantly split up. In CM, the 'mass' of cyclists creates a safety-barrier in which no cars are allowed to pass, and red-lights are blocked (only briefly, mind you!) to ensure that nobody is split from the group. The other issue I have with it is communication; since it is a 'silent' ride, most questions from onlookers ("what are you doing?" etc) are greeted by icy glances, since we're all trying to be 'silent.' Seems to me that at some point you're got to say wtf is going on, otherwise people are none the wiser.

One highlight of the ride was on 1st Ave downtown, when a young red-neck type sitting in a (parked!) black pickup started yelling "GET OUT OF THE ROAD!!" and repeatedly honking his horn. He made himself look ridiculous, I thought. And only if it had been critical mass, the hoots he would have generated would've drowned out his puny car horn!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Capitol Hill to Ballard, the long way

Here's part of the route I did tonight, it was tough but a great workout. Going down Denny is such a rush, and I think I hit 38 mph or so, but I was scared to look too much!

Total distance: 19 miles
Total gain: ~1300 feet
Avg Speed: 15.,7 mph

I feel like the average should be higher, but at one point climbing Queen Anne I looked down to see the cyclo-computer reading at a whopping 3 miles-per-fucking-hour! Which, by the way, is still faster than walking up Queen Anne. It makes the 10th Ave clibmb up Capitol Hill seem like a piece of cake! It's something like 500 feet of gain in about 7 blocks!!

On some of the flats I was averaging 25-28 mph, man that felt goood! Now if only I can do that when it's race-time, and if my smoker's lungs can hold the pace, it'll be a great racing season.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

More Cycling News Than You Can Shake a Stick At!

I just happened to stumble upon a new Google API (Ajax Feeds API), and being the cyclist/nerd that I am, I just had to do something with it!

So here it is, a news site for cyclists. It pulls from about 50 or so different RSS feeds, uses Yahoo! Pipes to combine and sort them, and then displays them to you in a pretty format!

Gotta love technology, but remember not to read too much - it's sprint outside for fuck's sake!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

April 2007 Seattle Critical Mass report

I made it to Mass down in the Westlake Center just in time for everyone to roll out. Sometimes I'm late, but even then it's not hard to find 200+ cyclists going less than 5 mph; just look for the honking traffic and cheering from peeps on bikes!

It was a strong turn-out, I'm guessing it was about 200 people, maybe more. The route was pretty crazy, at one point we turned up Yesler (I think) and started climbing! It's always funny to do a big hill climb at Mass, so many old road bikes (that apparently haven't gone up a hill since '87) start throwing their chains, people are falling, people walking their bikes. But the fixies, like what I was riding, somehow stay in front. It's a steep hill, see for yourself.

There were some peeps with drums on their bikes, wish my bell was working, I could've added to the sounds of Mass.

I heard some civilians (on-lookers) say, "This could only happen in Seattle," as the mass of cyclists rode by. Funny thing is, that's soooo not the case! This is a world-wide event people, betta know that!

Top five finish, but not in a bike race

I started getting hits on (the site I run) from a new URL the other day, and it's's Top Five Route Mapping Tools page!! Veloroutes made #4!!

Not bad considering how new my site is (just less than six months), and considering how established Bikely, Routeslip and the others are.