Saturday, February 28, 2009

Seattle-Woodinville-Carnation-Issaquah Saturday Loop

We were supposed to be doing the Carol's Greater Seattle century today, but instead Robert and I followed the route for a while (until Carnation), but then broke off and headed home. So we ended up doing what I'll call an "88-mile century".

He needed to be home earlier rather than later, and I did a century+ last week, so I was in no real rush to actually do the whole ride anyway. And when the ride is unofficial it's soo much easier to bail. I guess we wanted to get all of the the "I want to quit" feelings out of our systems. And hopefully we did.

Before rolling, we had coffee and more at Vivace on Broadway.

Cue sheet for the day:

Once in the U-district it was already time for the ride to start (9 AM), and we were still on the BG Trail. So we just continued north on it, hoping to run into the back of the pack, or be passed by the front of it at some point. But we never saw the pack!

Instead, we just rode on, pedaling over roads new and old - even if most of them do look exactly the same!

Great views on Snoqualmie Valley Road:
A nice winding road:

Old structure in "downtown" Carnation:

After Carnation, we decided to break off the official route and start heading back to the I-90 bridge. But not to be lazy about it, we were sure to include the 8-13% Tolt Hill Road, as well as 244th Ave leading to Sammamish. On the way down Inglewood Drive I think we hit close to 50 mph, but that damn stop light at the bottom meant we never got a chance to really push it there. Oh well.
We made our way south on E. Lake Sammamish Blvd, a road that both of us remarked seems to always slog on forever. I think the problem with that road is that each part of it looks about the same as the last, so there aren't any punctuations that tell you where you are along it.
In Issaquah we headed for Newport Way, stilll heading back to Seattle. We passed a rider in a yellow jacket, who ended up catching up to us and chatting a bit. Turns out he was on the WTS ride as well, but felt it was too "competitive" so he dropped out. We tried to explain that the WTS rides were jointly run by Cascade & SIR, and that it was probably the Cascade riders that were getting competitive. (Then again, some randos do this from time to time... but we made sure not to scare the guy away!)
Lucky for him, we were headed back to Seattle as well so he bike-pooled it back with us.

In the I-90 Tunnel, Robert and our new friend (Allen, I think):

Full photo set on flickr. Hopefully Robert will post a "snot-rocket" shot he got of me, that should be a good one!
Here's a graph of elevation (orange) and speed (blue) from the 141 km ride - we paced really well!

In fact we paced so well that our "peak 60 minutes" (based on speed in this case) was actually towards the end of the ride.
And here's a map of the route we ended up doing. We just about got lost up north in the Woodinville area, but eventually found our way back on course.

Entire workout:
Duration: 5:53:13 (6:33:57) (~40 minutes not rolling)
Distance: 141.617 km (~88 miles)
Elevation Gain: 2291 m (7,516 ft? That's what WKO reports. Garmin Training Center reports 5,200 feet)
Min Max Avg
Speed: 0 75 24.7 kph (15.3 mph)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Unofficial 200k - Seattle To North Bend Loop

The forecast called for a great day, and it was right - 50-something degrees, and light wind in Seattle. Oh, and the forecast for North Bend said 20 mph winds from the SSE - man was that ever correct..

I left the house at 7:30-ish, headed for Marymoor park where this week's training ride started.

The view east over I-90 and Mercer Island couldn't have been better - I was headed somewhere towards those mountains in the background:

It took a little longer to get up to Marymoor (via W Lake Sammamish), and I got there at about 9:10 - the ride started at 9:00! Oops, my plan of getting a cuesheet at the start was out the window too. Luckily I knew the first parts of the route, and had seen the map. Just needed to get to Novelty Hill road, and I at least knew the general direction to it.

And soon after I started out I saw the group of brightly-colored jackets - lots of them, like 50 or so, telling me these must be the group I'm looking for. I rode through a wooded area, partially unpaved, to get onto the road they were on. I kept my eye on a few stragglers who were also catching up, and just followed their turns.

And by the time we actually got to the Novelty Hill climb, I saw a snaking paceline of at least 50 riders!

And this is when I made a mistake in the ride - I took off towards the front, passing many other riders. Briefly saw John & a friend of his, and dropped them (temporarily) by accident. For every group I would catch up to, there seemed to be another group about 100m up the road.

After passing what seemed to be most of the ride, I reached the limit of how far "forward" I could get. It looked like the head group in front of us, so I broke off and tried to bridge the gap, only to leave myself in "no man's land" - not fast enough to drop the group I was trying to drop, and not fast enough to actually catch up to the group ahead of me. Battling the wind alone. Not a good tactic on what will be a 100+ mile day.

So after the group behind me swallowed me up again, I settled in with them (at a 22mph pace) and we cruised towards Carnation. After about an hour of this, I had burned one too many "matches", and had to drop out of the paceline. A drop from 22 mph to 18 was just what I needed. I knew I had to pace it, since it was gonna be a decently-long day.

After dropping from the paceline, I was left alone to enjoy the scenery, and take some pictures, like this one of the Ciocc & what I believe is the Snoqualmie River:

Soon after, a group of riders showed up behind me:

After riding with that group into Carnation, I stopped to get more water and some fuel. I'd brought an Ensure, a banana, and a cookie, but I knew it wasn't enough for the whole day. Was hoping for some fresh doughnuts, but alas all they had were crappy pastries. But those did just fine.

At this point I saw John (along with many others) pass me, and I soon got back on the bike to catch up to someone. It ended up taking a few hours to catch up to anyone, and it was really bad timing for that too: the predicted headwinds in North Bend actually started just south of Carnation. And I was riding right into it.

Not afraid to take a break now and then, I stopped on Fish Hatchery Road for another shot of the great scenery around here:

After the climb up to Snoqualmie Falls, I just kept on pedaling as I passed the gift shop with its water and ice-cream. In an effort to save time, I skipped it - and I had plenty of water anyway.

Since I still didn't have a cuesheet, I was mostly patching the ride together from previous expeditions and a loose memorization of the route. After a turn, and a climb, up Tokul Road, I was presented with a great little road, Reinert(?):

Soon after that I was presented with the foothills we'd been heading towards all day. I used to think it would take a camping trip to bike out this far!

Mount Si: The River:

The headwinds were still grueling at this point, about 60 miles into the ride. I eventually latched on to a small group, and we pacelined/slogged (at 15 mph) through "downtown" North Bend, into the winds.

At the turnaround point in the Tanner area, I stopped for a short break and met up with John again. Robert was supposed to show up on the ride, but we never saw him. There was some residual snow out there, just like last year:

After turning around, we were all looking forward to getting on the open road and enjoying the tailwind we'd been thinking about for the last few hours. And indeed, it was nice! After we passed that hotel we started one of last year's 400ks at, I was cruising at a good 27-30 mph pace! After I took this picture I realized I'd ridden away from the paceline:

An old structure somewhere on the outskirts of North Bend:


Issaquah-Fall City Road, I think:

After getting up Issaquah-Fall City road, I was alone and wondering exactly what the route was back to Marymoor. I knew to take a right, and that I needed to get onto E Lake Sammamish Blvd, but I wasn't sure how. I kept looking for Duthie Hill Road but I think I was on it.. After riding a few miles and hitting that big downhill near 202, I turned around and headed back. Saw some riders turning down this one non-descript road, good thing I saw them! It was quite the adventure running around sans-cuesheet.

After that turn my adventures off-route weren't over, as I ended up on 266th (or something), a slightly-hellish road with big hills and even bigger SUVs. I plowed over the hills, knowing Inglewood Drive wasn't too far away, and that it would take me to where I wanted to go.

The 12% grade sign on Inglewood: After a screaming descent on Inglewood, I hit E. Lake Sammamish and sped off towards Marymoor. Well, not sped off, since I was really tired at this point. Not "done", but tired.

After about 6 hours of riding and 100 miles covered, I was back in Marymoor. A few minutes of chatting and then I was off for the ride home. I took 40th Ave NE (uphill) towards the MS campus, and then hit Bel-Red road to get to Bellevue. Stopped at Wendy's for some grub, it was time for real food!

Sunset on the way back:

You can see Rainier from Yesler?! Apparently:

Ciocc back in the city, on Yesler:


More photos on flickr. Ride stats for the day:

Entire workout (161 watts):
Duration: 7:31:09 (9:03:59)
Work: 4501 kJ
TSS: 355.1 (intensity factor 0.687)
Norm Power: 199
VI: 1.2
Pw:HR: 14.85%
Pa:HR: -0.64%
Distance: 127.067 mi
Elevation Gain: 11859 ft
Elevation Loss: 11885 ft
Grade: -0.0 % (-27 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 866 166 watts
Heart Rate: 92 185 149 bpm
Cadence: 15 147 72 rpm
Speed: 0 54.4 16.1 mph
Altitude: 16 834 277 ft
Crank Torque: 0 1752 196 lb-in

From looking at the workout in WKO, the graphs tell the story of falling energy (and therefore power) levels. Splitting the entire ride up into two parts, you can see hte difference between them - this half's Normalized Power is 214 watts.

1st half:
Duration: 4:16:08 (4:29:36)
Work: 2826 kJ
TSS: 232.3 (intensity factor 0.738)
Norm Power: 214
VI: 1.16
Pw:HR: 15.88%
Pa:HR: 5.47%
Distance: 69.852 mi
Elevation Gain: 6691 ft
Elevation Loss: 6394 ft
Grade: 0.1 % (297 ft)

Min Max Avg
Power: 0 866 184 watts
Heart Rate: 94 185 155 bpm
Cadence: 15 120 75 rpm
Speed: 0 54.8 16.5 mph
Pace 1:06 0:00 3:38 min/mi
Altitude: -24 663 221 ft
Crank Torque: 0 1747 210 lb-in

And here's the 2nd half of the ride - Normalized Power is 173 watts.

2nd half:
Duration: 3:13:30 (4:32:52)
Work: 1659 kJ
TSS: 114.9 (intensity factor 0.597)
Norm Power: 173
VI: 1.21
Pw:HR: -7.79%
Pa:HR: 8.87%
Distance: 56.918 mi
Elevation Gain: 5116 ft
Elevation Loss: 5472 ft
Grade: -0.1 % (-355 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 799 143 watts
Heart Rate: 98 168 141 bpm
Cadence: 15 147 67 rpm
Speed: 0 90.4 15.6 mph
Pace 0:40 0:00 3:50 min/mi
Altitude: 8 834 350 ft
Crank Torque: 0 1752 179 lb-in

Here's a graph of the ride from WKO+:

  • red = heart rate

  • yellow = power

  • orange = elevation

  • I also added some estimated markers

While I already know the story of the ride, the data here tells the details. You can see the downward slope of the red & yellow lines - meaning at some point I hit a wall and had to back off. That's normal for a longer ride, the question is when does it happen, and how hard do you have to push it to get there?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NW Local Wins Tour Of California Stage

Huge congrats to North Bend native Tom Peterson, winner of stage two down in Santa Cruz! I hear Lance called the rain & low temps "hell." At least it wasn't a very long day in hell though: 5 hours, 6 minutes to cover 116 miles. Which is, insanely, somewhat slower than the breakaway win from the day before (107 miles in 4 hrs 11 mins).

Most randonneurs can't compete with fast paces like that, but we sure can relate to the "hell" part. In fact, maybe we could teach the pros some tricks for making riding through rain more enjoyable? Let's start with fenders - they even make carbon ones, I hear. Although maybe it's a tactical advantage to be able to direct your roadspray at someone's face. Well if they won't put on the fenders, how about some wool? I wonder if any of them secretly rock wool socks on those cold days.

And to think, Tom D. P. just might be the guy that I tried to race across I-90!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Little Bit Of Justice

So on the commute home tonight I was cruising down a little hill on Mercer Island at 25+mph, heading towards Seattle. It was dark, and I could see a car's headlights on my legs and on the road - so I wasn't surprised a sedan shot around me, of course 50 feet or so before a stop sign, a classic move. (I wonder how much fuel is wasted on dumb accelerations around the world?)

All I was thinking was that they're probably even going over the speed limit (30?) just to get in front of me and then immediately stop!

And then whaddya know? All of a sudden the surroundings light up with blue/red flashing lights!! And then a commanding voice on the loudspeaker. I've never been happier to see those lights.

Guess the cop was watching the whole thing. I made sure to come to a complete stop at the sign, with the foot down (not the usual "Cali stop"). I also made sure to give a nice wave/smile to the driver, just to rub it in. Justice!!

The ironic thing is that had the driver just stayed behind me in the first place, I'm guessing I would have been the one pulled over (for not stopping completely). Just goes to show, patience pays.

Stop Reading Here, If You Hate Power Data!

Alex pointed out that my FTP (Functional Threshold Power) was probably set too low (it was at 259w), since last weekend's 4.5 hour training ride scored 300+ TSS.

I think it comes down to the the 20-minute test (NP: 271w) I did that included cars & stop signs to slow me down. I really need to do that test again..

But there are other ways to estimate your threshold, and one (crude) method is looking for the drop-off in your power distribution chart. Well, according to that method it looks like I'm closer to 300 watts. Sweet!
(chart is not including zeroes, and the bucket size is 15w)

Anyway I still need to do another test, but hopefully the numbers are indeed better than I thought.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

SIR Winter Training Series: Woodinville Leg Burner

Today I got up early and headed out by 7:40 AM for a ride up to Bothell, to be at the fifth of SIR's Winter Training Series. I haven't been doing many of the "official" training rides so far, but this one was sure to please, given its title.

The plan was to ride to the ride, to get in some extra miles given the approaching brevet season.

Breakfast - I'd forgotten to pick up some bagels or the usual morning food. So instead I went for some leftover Alu Mutter Paneer with naan bread from last night. It's actually one of my favorite foods:

Certainly not my usual morning fare, but the fried cheese gave me enough protein to last the day.

On the way to the ride, heading down Lake City Way - I saw this pile o' tires. Had to stop for the requisite shot:
Blurry front end, heading to the ride:

The ride start at Blyth Park in Bothell:The ride started off at a conversational pace, with 40 or 50+ riders sticking together for the most part. There was an interesting section where we had to walk around a fence, over some dirt. That certainly split up the ride at bit, but the hills really did it.

On Jaunita drive I felt good, and held a nice pace up its gentle grade. There were a few riders ahead, and eventually two more caught up to me. Chris from the local Byrne race team, another guy, and I made a three-person paceline on the way down, and I was the designated navigator, as they didn't have cuesheets. Mine was hard enough to read as it was (just a ziploc clamped to the handlebars, that flaps in the wind), but we made it.

There was a large pack of 10-15 riders behind us, that must've been caught up by stoplights.

We eventually caught up to Thai and a rider who I later found out was Brian at a stoplight. On the hills Brian would easily outclimb us all - trying to keep up with him was fun. I didn't even look at the Garmin unit (under the cuesheet anyway), since I didn't want the distraction of numbers. Riding with these fast riders was pacing enough!

Here's a shot of Thai, Brian, and another guy, with me making the "lead" pack of four riders
You can find the full photoset here.

I was hoping to turn around at some point to see Chris, Robert, and John, but that never happened. Sorry guys!

In the last 10 or so miles I was getting really hungry - the fact that all I'd had was the paneer for breakfast, coffee, and a banana for the 55 miles I'd done was catching up to me. But I was thinking about how hunger isn't always the same thing as bonking, and that I could hold with the pack for just a bit longer. And I did!

After arriving back at the park at 11:57 AM, we hung out for a few minutes, and Brian told a tale of a 12-hour 400k (with Chris Ragsdale & Urs Koenig). I don't think I'll be at that level any time soon, but it was fun to hang with the head of the pack for a day! I think I'll have to tone it down a bit for the bigger rides, but the interval training has certainly payed off.

In the end it was a perfect day of riding, and I even felt decently strong on the way back, up the hills of 5th Ave.

Power data for the ride:
Entire workout (178 watts):
Duration: 4:29:58 (5:28:46)
Work: 2906 kJ
TSS: 366.4 (intensity factor 0.902)
Normalized Power: 222
VI: 1.24
Distance: 74.172 mi
Elevation Gain: 7126 ft
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 868 179 watts
Cadence: 15 124 69 rpm
Speed: 0 62 16.2 mph
Pace 0:58 0:00 3:43 min/mi
Altitude: -221 497 180 ft
Crank Torque: 0 1779 221 lb-in

Also I hit a new peak five minutes (4.1 w/kg) - as you can see it was up an 8% grade, somewhere along the route:
Peak 5min (298 watts):
Duration: 5:00
Work: 89 kJ
TSS: 14.1 (intensity factor 1.299)
Norm Power: 320
VI: 1.07
Distance: 0.738 mi
Elevation Gain: 330 ft
Elevation Loss: 4 ft
Grade: 8.4 % (327 ft)
Min Max Avg
Power: 0 571 298 watts
Cadence: 40 83 58 rpm
Speed: 3.4 19.5 8.7 mph
Pace 3:05 17:33 6:55 min/mi
Altitude: 17 344 172 ft
Crank Torque: 0 779 449 lb-in

Training ride stats:
Total Distance: 45 miles
Total time: 2 hrs 57 mins
Total gain: somewhere around 4,000 feet