Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Few Fall Photos

Here are a few photos from a ride to Lynnwood recently:

The Pacer at an old gas station on Aurora: (note the BMW paint on the fork..)

Aurora/99 - not as scary as you might think. The right lane is turn-only (except for bikes & bus), so it's pretty much clear. Makes for a quick, but loud, way up north:

The Burke-Gilman Trail: (I was only on it for a half mile or so, as I actually hate paved trails like that)

The Pacer in Lynnwood, with some nice red leaves:

Perkins/180th Ave in Lake Forest Park - a great little road, even if it's slightly uphill:

While I haven't done a long ride in a while, I'm still trying to keep the riding up. Got a payload of wool from Ibex recently, that should help getting me through the winter! That and the full fenders, those are extra-valuable during the nasty months.

In Other News

On the commute home today, a guy walking with his friends lurched at me as I passed (to make me flinch) on the I-90 trail near 23rd Ave. Luckily I saw it coming, so I wasn't actually scared and didn't wreck.. I yelled "BOO!" and laughed after he did it - that was the only response I could muster.

That definitely spiced up an otherwise normal commute from Redmond today..

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Super Randonneur 2008!

I qualified for the "Super Randonneur" award! Congrats to all the other Super Randos (some even did a double-series, R-12, R-5000, etc). Can't wait to get that shiny medal at the end of the year.

My official stats listed on rusa.org read Super Randonneur, RUSA 2300 km. That's 1,429 miles "official" pedaling this year. It's been a great first season of brevet riding, and I've met many randonneurs along the way, and learned a lot about long distance riding from them. Here are a few tidbits I've picked up:
  • It's OK to sleep in a ditch, on the side of the road
  • Lighting is important, as is reflective gear
  • Ensure isn't just for older folks
  • Limits are set in your mind, for the most part
  • You can get away with riding on some pretty crazy roads (e.g. Interstates like I-90)
A recap of the brevets I've done this year:
  • 3/15: Kent-Black Diamond "Chili Feed" 200k. DNQ'd the ride since we missed a control by 10 or so minutes. But it was a great first brevet! Rode to the start, in the rain. 
  • 4/6: Lacey-Vader-Chehalis 300k. This was a cold one, and it took us quite a while to finish, but it was a great ride! 
  • 5/3: Bremerton-Elbe-Bainbridge 300k. This ride ended up being one of my fastest overall finish times, and was another fun one. 
  • 5/17: North Bend-Cle Elum-Leavenworth-North Bend Three-Pass 400k: Up to this point the brevets had just been rides smaller than I'd done before, but with paperwork. But this one would be different. Way different. I'd done Cougar Mountain before, but never a a mountain pass. And we were about to do three of them in one ride! To top it off this was going to be 80k/50mi more than I'd ever done before. Pretty daunting. But in the end it turned out to be one of the best rides I've experienced. (pics)
  • 6/7: Issaquah-Leavenworth-Ellensburg-Enumclaw-Issaquah Four-Pass 600k: One of the toughest things I've ever endured. Or attempted to endure, anyway. My first official DNF, and oh did it sting! Not to mention the DNF was ~530k into the ride.. I hope we're doing this route again next year! (pics)
At this point in my season I had everything needed except a 600k to get the SR award. My season wasn't over yet! Other brevets:
Mixed in with these rides were some other rides that were pretty fun too:
I think next year will look similar, but with of course a whole new host of routes and experiences. And possible a 1200k such as the Gold Rush Randonnee down in CA.. and more permanents as well.

But the year isn't over yet!! Even though the weather is changing and the days are getting shorter, my enjoyment of riding isn't decreasing. I'm planning on riding to Leavenworth this weekend, mostly following the route in this 200k permanent. I didn't have time to really plan this out, so I'm just doing the ride for fun. Well maybe fun isn't the correct word, but I'm not doing the ride for "credit." Just for the challenge.

But I can't wait to get credit for a bunch of rides next year!  Thanks to SIR for getting me hooked on these crazy-long rides!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Back In Business

After being hit last weekend, I've been off the bike for a week.

Some softball-sized bruises have developed on my legs, and while my back hasn't bruised, it has annoyed me with some pain here and there this week. Flexibility has suffered a little, but luckily that can be repaired over time. Not too much pain, but enough to notice.

Today I finally straddled the velo again, and went for a little spin. 83 km around Lake Washington, one of my favorite rides. The weather was great for this time of year, in the mid-50's. I wore my short-sleeve SIR wool jersey, and arm warmers (at least initially). Everyone else out on bikes seemed to be dressed for colder weather.. gotta love it when you're the only one out in a jersey!

It must be the perfect thickness of the SIR jersey that made it a great thing to wear today. And my wool Ibex arm-warmers are good for the colder days. They actually get too hot pretty quick, unless it's really cold out.

Finished the loop with ~3:30 rolling time, which is my usual - meaning, I can ride pretty much like I did before! I was worried that my favorite hobby would ruined for a while, but all indications are that it's not!

Bring on the winter.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Got Hit By A BMW Today.

I knew it was bound to happen. With ~6,500 miles on the road this year, the odds are that sooner or later, I'd end up on the ground..

At about 2 PM I met a man named John (I think it was) in the worst of fashions. By smashing into his shiny BMW at 15+ mph, which he was going at least that same speed, coming at me.

And like they say, it happened so fast. No time to react, only time to let out a guttural "ugh" and close your eyes and brace. Impact. Loud sounds of metal & BMW side-panel coming together, and the sense of being a rag doll. Dammit.

But I made it out in once piece!!

The scene - 10th & Mercer

In a nutshell, the driver cut left on the round-about above (instead of going the long way around it and then turning left, like you're supposed to), surprising me with about one second to react to a grey/blue BMW in front of me while I was going probably 15-18 mph! I bounced off their windshield-hood-roof, and landed on the ground next to the car. (Oddly on the right side of the car, the same one that I hit, didn't fly over the hood)

I opened my eyes to find myself on the ground, facing west when I was initially facing north-east. Must've been a pretty spin I did.. The wind was knocked out of me, but after a few seconds realized I was more or less OK. Got up to see my frame pump on the ground, and the bike laying next to it, at least in one piece.

The guy was apologetic, and stuck around to make sure I was OK. A passing motorist asked if I was OK. Of all the reactions I could muster, laughter was the one that came to mind. It's just the way I am - something this unexpected, what can I do but laugh?

I told him he could leave, I just wanted to get back home (this was just six or so blocks from the apt). The front wheel wouldn't even spin, so the walk home was me half-limping and holding up the front end of the Pacer.

I didn't bother getting the guy's insurance info, as I don't think it was that big of a deal. The bike should be easy to repair, and if not I can afford to fix it. Shit Happens. I didn't feel like dealing with police to get a report either, even if that would somehow change bike stats in Seattle.

Pacer's Damage

Twisted handlebars/brakes (fixed at the scene), untrue wheels (front won't spin at all). No visible cracks or bends on the frame or fork, but I'm definitely gonna have the shop check it out to make sure. I'll have to true the wheels before I can even walk/ride it down there!!

My Damage

Left hand hurts a bit, right elbow is skinned a little, and my lower back hurts a decent amount. And just below the knees I'm pretty well bruised, both from the car and the top tube of the bike.

I'm glad I had a helmet on, as I'm pretty sure my head bounced off their roof or windshield, and then most likely hit the ground. It was definitely crooked when I got up.

Car's Damage

Saw a cracked windshield, and I would assume from the paint on my fork there's a little paint damage too. Hopefully the guy will learn a lesson to not cut the round-abouts anymore.

And all I wanted to do was ride! Take it easy out there folks, you never know what's around the next corner. Or round-about.