Friday, December 28, 2007

Another Chilly & Wet Winter Ride - 106 km to be exact

Today I did the "two lakes loop" which goes through: Seattle, Renton, Issaquah, Redmond, Bothell, and then back through Seattle. And instead of taking the Burke-Gilman Trail all the way back to Capitol Hill, I break off at 180th St or so and then take 5th Ave E. south to Green Lake. That way i add something like 300 m of climbing at the end!

It wasn't raining at first, when I was cruising down Rainier Ave at about 36 km/h. But by the time I got up to the top of the big hill that is Highway 900, the rain started coming down. My layers were working out great, although my feet did get wet again, oh well.

I was holding maybe 30-32 km/h up through East Lake Sammamish Pkwy, which has some rolling hills. Since the wind was 16-20 km/h from the South, I knew I'd be able to fly down that trail. Fly I did! My average at the beginning of the trail was 27.1 km/h, and by the end it was 27.8 km/h - 80 km into the ride. I was easily holding 36-40 km/h on the trail, and didn't see but two other riders.

The rest of the ride was slower for sure, the hills of 5th Ave E. really take their toll!

Here's the elevation graph of the route:

Check out just how much ground this route covers:

Here's the terrain version of the same map:

Distance: 106 km
Rolling Time: 4 hrs 8 minutes
Off bike time: ~20 minutes
Avg Speed: 25.5 km/h
Elevation gain: ~1,000 m
Stops: 2 (one at Marymoor, one for food in Lake Forest Park)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Terrain Maps!

I've added terrain maps to veloroutes! This new map type allows you to see the elevation changes, e.g. those crazy hills we all climb on our commutes, charity rides, group rides, training, whatever - we all know hills! (Unless you live in Florida I suppose)

Anyway, here's what the Cougar Mountain Climb looks like with the Terrain Feature:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chilly Mercer Island Loop

The little weather icons on the net all said more snow for today, so I when I woke up & saw no precip in the air, only wet roads, it was on. Time to get some more mileage in for 2007!

Even though the Ciocc isn't a rain (much less snow) bike, I use it as one from time to time. Just slap a "race-blade" fender on it, and wrap my feet in QFC bags (under booties) and I'm good to go. (Oh yeah, and hope for zero ice, since I'm running slick 23's).

Two layers of shorts, long-sleeve jersey, meshy under-shirt, and a turqoise bandana around my neck, I was chilly at first, but after climbing the 70 feet up to 15th ave from 12th ave, I was feeling good. My knees were a bit chilly/numb at first, but eventually warmed up perfectly. Most other riders were more prepared for bad weather, looking more like scuba-divers than cyclists, but I was just hoping for a clear ride.

Ride details:

Mercer Island, with climb through Madrona at the end
Distance: 43.5 km
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Avg Speed: 27.5 km/h
Outside Temp: 38F

Luckily it stayed clear throughout this little ride! Now it's time to do things inside all day, like play my Wii.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It Snowed Today!

The snowflakes got larger and larger, and eventually stuck! We don't get a whole lot of snow out here in Sea-town, so I don't get many chances to try out snow-riding, which is always an adventure.

The route today was just the 1-mile round trip to the store on Broadway & back. But when there's an inch or two of snow on the ground, riding your fixie to the store can be quite the challenge. I was sure to keep my speed down, and take the corners way easy. The hardest part about riding in a snow storm was dealing with it in your face! A bandana would've been nice..

My rain/snow/beater miyata did just fine, although the slush was kicking up around the front fender, I need to extend the flap a little:

No falls, and I got to bust a backwards ciricle in the snow! Gotta love Seattle's interesting weather.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cold And Wet Lake Washington Loop!

Today I did an 82-km solo ride, the Hilly Lake Washington Loop. As you can see, it starts out pretty tame, but gets more & more hilly as the ride goes on. The group of hills towards the end of the ride is going south on 5th Ave E., right next to I-5. The big hill just before that is Juanita Drive.

Here's a Google Map of the route (the green line):

There were pretty strong winds out of the south, and with the temperature at about 37 when I started, the 'warm up' to 45 degrees F by 1 P.M. didn't really help, it was still damn cold! My extremities were really cold/numb, but the wool jersey & rain-proof jacket were plenty to keep the rest of me warm.

My feet were wet/freezing/basically numb by Renton, only 10 miles into the ride! With just light booties & wool socks on my feet for warmth, once the water soaked through, the only thing I could do to warm them up was wiggle my toes & do round pedaling. It sorta works. But dammit, I should've worn plastic QFC bags under the booties..

The rain let up at about 1 PM or so, but by that time my gloves (& liners) were soaked. For the first 65 kilometers or so my hands were warm enough to compensate. But when I stopped for snacks at a corner-store on 165th and took of the gloves, that's when my hands really started to freeze! They didn't get warmed back up until I was back on top of Capitol Hill, those last 10 km were really rough.

No wonder I didn't see but eight or so other riders the whole time! I almost bailed (e.g. took I-90 back to Seattle, cut the ride in half) when I got to I-90 in Eastgate/Bellevue, but I decided that this ride would be one to remember, and hopefully one that'll make me enjoy Spring & Summer that much more!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thieves Use New Tactic: Just Take The Whole Bike Rack!

I ran across an interesting thread on the .83 forum today, apparently some crooks unbolted a bicycle rack in downtown Seattle, threw it in the back of a pickup, and rolled off with it all!

Full thread here.

Maybe this isn't really a new approach for thieves, but for anyone to do this in broad daylight seems a bit crazy. Fuckin' (meth) tweakers I bet.

Imagine seeing this when you go to unlock your bike!

Fuckin' tweakers..

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tiger Mountain, Squawk Mountain, and THEN Cougar Mountain

Tomorrow I hope to tackle three relatively big climbs in the Cascade foothills. Two climbs I've done before, and one new one. For now I'm calling it the Three Mountain Slog.

The route will be starting at the bottom of Tiger Mtn (Mirrormont area), then doing that clockwise climb/loop that'll take us to a max elevation of about 750 ft. Then it's off to Squawk Mountain, one I haven't tackled yet, but I figured out how to get there from a route I found on veloroutes (~1100 ft). And after that we're gonna tackle Cougar Mountain, which puts us up to a whopping ~1300 ft max elevation! I won't be surprised if we encounter some chilly friggin' weather up there..

Here's the elevation graph to give you an idea of what we'll be up against:

Just this portion of the ride will give us ~3600 feet of total elevation gain over about 23 miles. Sweet!

How are we getting out there, you ask? By riding our bikes, of course! I'm thinking of taking Lake Wa Blvd down to Renton and then jumping on Highway 900/May Valley Rd to get us to Mirrormont. When it's all said and done it should be about 50-60 miles to do this route starting from Seattle.

It's gonna be cold ride too - forecast for tomorrow is a high of 41* F, with a low of 28 degrees! Ouch.

Edit: Also check out this route in Google Earth, and turn on "elevation exaggeration" to see what it looks like in 3D! Here's Squawk Mountain in 3D, for instance (w/ Tiger in the background):