Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Burke-Gilman Trail Repeats, and Some Sightings

This past Saturday I did the Burke-Gilman trail from Gasworks Park out to Remdond's velodrome. I usually avoid the crowded, flat, and bumpy trail that is the B-G, but since I'm recording some popular local routes for a magazine, I had to do it.

The velo at Gasworks:

The strange "Wall of Death" - apparently modeled after those crazy cylinders that motorcycle riders do at the circus:
Beauty of the Burke-Gilman trail:

Rider at Marymoor Velodrome:

End of the Burke-Gilman trail:

Nice view of the lake & seaplanes from the B-G trail in Kenmore:

Perty sunset at Gasworks:
Sunset is only looking better by the time I'm back up on Capitol Hill:

Made it out to Redmond in about 1:25, pretty good pace. The air was clear, a great day for a ride in light wool. At the velodrome I watched a guy do a few laps, and talked to a guy thinking about riding with SiR. Ended up dropping him on the Sammamish River Trail on the way back, sorry about that!

After the ride I got home, plugged in the GPS unit, and learned a tough lesson. GPS units don't work when they're in your jersey pocket! Guess you can file that in the "duh" category, but now I know at least.

So on Sunday I set out... to do the same damn trail that I happen to hate! But hey, if these pics & the GPS recording end up in the mag, then it'll be worth it.


On Sunday, while pedaling through the U-district, I spotted a small peloton and instantly recognized the blue SiR jerseys speeding towards me. Saw a smiling Vincent and gave a quick wave. I'll have to join the "team ride" one of these days!

And by the way, I was proud of the SiR group for not crowding the whole path! (Unlike a certain "Cucina Fresca" team that almost took me out around a blind curve on Saturday.. next time your badass team should get in the street, if you ask me. Or at least keep your peloton to one lane of the bike trail??)

In other sighting news, I think I've been crossing paths with cycling celebrity Kent P. on the I-90 trail through Mercer Island. Well, he looks like Kent, and has a mustache, anyway. Kent, is that you? I'm they bearded guy on the grey Pacer with hammered Honjo fenders.


Now let me address something annoys the hell out of me now that I've been commuting in the dark lately: those super-bright LEDs/HIDs that blind oncoming traffic (me). That's awesome you can light up the road from here to Spokane, but you're also burning my retinas!

Some riders aim their lights down, or at least cover them when they approach someone. But so many don't. I've been trying to yell "can't see!" as I pass these blinding riders, but I doubt they can hear me over all the road traffic. Do they even care?

I could aim my Schmidt E6 upwards and give them a taste of their own medicine, but then again we might both wreck in that case... Also thought about spraying water on the offenders as I passed, but that's a tad extreme.. although there would be a small amount of poetic justice in temporarily blinding them with water in the face.

Anyway, people! Aim that shit down... (after ranting now I'm wondering if I'm blinding anyone.. sure hope not!)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Seattle-North Bend 200k Permanent - On A Rainy Fall Day

This morning Robert, Chris, and I took off from the Lechi Starbucks at 8 AM, setting off for a 200k permanent that would take us on a circuitous route through Redmond, Carnation, Fall City, North Bend, Newcastle, Maple Valley, Renton, and then back to Seattle. It was another great ride, and it was awesome to ride with a small group, almost Audax-style.

Passing through so many close-together places meant that I really didn't need two water bottles, but I brought two out of habit. Or maybe I bought water at every controle out of habit, even if I had one full bottle. Having been tested with stretches of 80 km of no services, this cyclist is wary of running out of water altogether.


The Leschi-North Bend-Lechi permanent was relatively hilly, sort of like doing the Lake Washington Loop 2.5 times. But maybe a little hillier.. an interesting variation of this route could include Cougar & Tiger Mountains, although the thought of that right now sounds very tiring.

The amount of climbing we did was 5k feet or so. The climbs included Novelty Hill Road (the descent on the other side was scary, since it was wet!), Snoqualmie Falls climb, Tokul Road (near Snoqualmie Falls), Issquah-Fall City Road, Newport Way - after that I don't remember any big climbs. Surely I'm forgetting some though, especially the short ones with no names.

The max elevation of the route was in the 600-foot range, so it's not like we were doing passes or anything - but round here it's hard to go very far without going up or down. And for some reason I was in the big ring most of the time today, even on some of the climbs. 

Rain & Gear

At first the rain was light, but it eventually turned more medium than light or misty. My feet started to feel a bit wet - I should have used the plastic-bag trick on the feet.. but my new Ibex light wool jersey held out nicely to the 47-52F temps we saw today. And eventually the feet dried out.

Luckily I brought two pairs of gloves, since one of them was soaked by the first 50 miles or so. But my wool knickers were perfect, and never felt wet - even with no rain pants on!

The Sealskinz gloves worked well, even in the cold, and my wool cap kept my ears from getting too cold. It's not super-cold yet, but 10+ hours of exposure can sometimes leave you colder than usual.

Ride Pictures

Starting the ride on Lake Wa Blvd, heading north towards the U-district:

Even though it was raining, the scenery was still great:

100th Ave near Carnation - totally covered in water! We had to ride down to Ames Lake Road(?) to get around it:

Chris shining in the sun:

Really cool road near North Bend:

Awesome view heading into North Bend:

The North Bend QFC, and what I can only assume is Mt Si in the background:

The view on Railroad Ave:

Trying out a new setup - jacket strapped to bars, above handlebar bag. Less weight in the rear makes climbing easier, it seems:

Sunset over Lake Sammamish - at 4:30 PM! Damn fall..

I love the motion conveyed in this shot - this was on Coal Creek Parkway, I think:

the finish at a restaurant in Leschi:

More photos on flickr.

Much thanks to Robert & Chris for inviting me on one of many installments in their R-12 quest. While the brevet season is over, the riding season isn't! As the saying goes, "there's no such thing as bad weather - just bad gear."

And thanks to Narayan & Geoff for handling the paperwork for these crazy rides! Now that I know the drill for riding permanents, I can see quite a few in my future.