Category / Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (2007)

Finally! May 7, 2007 at 10:20 am

Last week I was ill most of the week. On Tuesday I had planned on cycling into work because that was the start of the National Bike to Work Month. There was no way that I would have made it into work. In fact, I wasn’t really able to even go into work until Thursday and even then for only a couple of hours. I was bummed, but sometimes that is the way it goes.

This weekend I rode 55 miles on Saturday with the Team in Training group. I enjoy riding with these guys because we all seem to be in roughly the same physical condition and pacing with them is good. Sunday I road 64 miles with the Cascade Cycling Club on the Cascade Training Series of rides. This ride was OK, but it gets really annoying when people keep on telling you to slow down. I guess I am just not that good at “pulling” on a pace line. Depending on conditions I can set a pace at 21 to 24 on the flats. On Sunday I would get yelled at if I went over 21. Sunday was a day that I was naturally tending toward about 23. That is the pace the just felt right to me. This is based on both my heart rate and the energy expenditure that I can sustain. I wasn’t the only on that felt that the “fast group” was a little too slow. It kinda sucks in some ways. 10 years ago I wasn’t any ware near the shape I am in now and I was one of the people that would have complained. In fact, I wouldn’t have been IN the fast group at all. Now due to a combination of both physical ability and the bike I ride on I can really fly compared to many.

Don’t think for a minute that I am ready for any kind of racing. I may be in pretty dang good physical shape and may fly compared to many of the folks I ride with, but I am in no means in a the category of Lance Armstrong or Floyd Landis. I don’t even pretend to be that good.

I suspect that if I found another group to ride with that trained a lot harder, I would end up being one of the slow pokes. So the real question is if I continue to be a fast fish in the novice groups or a slow fish in the semi-pro groups. I could also just load my bike down with extra weight and that would slow me down quite a bit.

On that note, I finally was able to ride into work today. I took the “long way” around Lake Sammamish on my hybrid. This thing weighs a TON compared to the road bike I have been riding the last month or so. My commute in was 17.2 miles and look me just over an hour. My average speed was 14.9mph. Now I really notice how much better the road bike configuration and weight makes a ride. I am feeling that the hybrid is not long for my world. I’ve already started looking to get another road bike that I can use as a commuter. There is no way that I will load down my Leopard M1 with lights, fenders and other junk that makes the commute safer.

The commute is a Win/Win/Win situation. I win because I get my daily exercise in without trudging along at the gym. I win because I save money on gas. The world wins because I emit less pollution. (no one really knows how MY tailpipe emissions factor in.) There are other benefits like not having to fight for a parking spot at the office and a few drawbacks. Overall I see it as a positive.

ill’n May 3, 2007 at 8:22 am

I have been ill the last couple of days. So much for a great start on my Bike to Work quest! Tuesday was the beginning of the Cascade Bicycle Club’s Bike to Work Month. My plan was to cycle into work at least 4 times a week. This week is looking to be a bust for riding. I had high hopes that I would be able to ride in today. The sucky part is that the weather this morning is even perfect. My mind says YES my body is telling me NO! I have spent the last couple of days napping.

At this point I am going to attempt to go into work for a little while today. I am not sure how I will feel or if I will be able to stay long. This sucks.

More time on the bike… April 29, 2007 at 5:50 pm

This weekend I just kept on going farther and farther. Saturday I road with my Team in Training group and we did 60 miles at an 18.0 mile per hour average. I was off and actually not feeling at my peak. Still, it was a good day.

Sunday I road with another rather large group of people; well sort of. After feeling off on Saturday I figured that I should take it easier today. I decided that it would be best if I went with a slower than my normal pace group. This was my first mistake. The pace was just too slow for me and after the first few miles I decided to try and catch the faster group at the first rest stop. You would think I would remember how BAD of a navigator I am, but I was feeling rather good and that was my second mistake! I ended up missing an important turn and going an extra three miles before I figured it out. Add 6 extra miles. I paid much closer attention to the queue sheet after that. It was a little fun climbing hill faster than the “slower” groups, however I ended up missing ANOTHER turn in Black Diamond and this time it was an extra 4 miles and a nice little extra hill climb. Add 8 more miles.

In Kent I missed a very important turn, but I was aware of the mistake but I really couldn’t actually figure out what I had missed even after going back and trying again. I did eventually find the trail again after some short cuts. In the end I also lost track of some turns within the last 2 miles and ended up going over another nice hill on an appropriately name Monster street.

In the end I made it back and riding 73 miles. My average speed was only 15. Part of that was because of the hills, some of that was because of my back tracking time and time again. I would have been better off staying with the group I started out with!

Lesson learned? I doubt it!

55! April 15, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Today was one of those days that was meant to be spent outside. I had thought about doing a ride early this morning. At 7:30 the sky was clear and things looked good. By the time I was ready (I had forgot to dry my riding clothes from yesterday) It had clouded up and was raining a little. That cleared up and by noon I was getting ready to go for a ride. I had to do a small amount of work on the bike and I had planned to just do a quick trip around Lake Sammamish. I was feeling pretty good so I changed my plan and went over the Sammamish Plateau. When I go to Redmond, I was still feeling pretty good and decided I would take the Sammamish river trail up to Woodinville and have my snack and then head home. I was still feeling pretty good so instead I continued around the top of Lake Washington on the Burke Gillman Trail through the UW and finally across the I90 and back home. I rode a total of just over 55 miles today. That is the longest I’ve gone this century on a bicycle. I feel pretty good too. I was a little ill prepared for the ride and didn’t bring enough fuel, but I made it. The last 6 miles was the worst, but nearly as bad as the last time I came across the I-90 Bridge. That time I was beat. I am tired and I will feel this ride tomorrow, but it was a good one!

Some of the people I ride with are trying to convince me that doing the STP in one day is the way to go. There are some appealing reasons why I am not completely turning my nose up at the idea. I have a little while left before I must make my choice.

“Only” 62 miles this weekend… April 8, 2007 at 11:39 am

Yesterday we had a team ride on Vashon Island. Because of the “hills” the ride coach made this ride shorter than rides we have been doing lately. For ME this wasn’t required, but I am not the only one on the team and not everyone is in the same condition. Some are in much better shape and others aren’t. If the weather had been nicer, I probably would have looked for a route to add another 20-30 miles onto the route we took. It was a fairly easy day and while I did notice the hills, they were not much of a challenge. I hope these aren’t famous last words.

Today I hadn’t completely planned on riding, but the weather was just too incredible NOT to ride. I started by going over Lakemont and then road around Lake Sammamish. My average for today was 16.6 miles per hour, but the computer stopped recording speeds under 5mph. I think (hope) it is because the sensor is too far away from the computer. After I had done about 20 miles a really GOOD rider was in front of me. He was setting a pace of over 24mph. I was able to keep up with his pace for about 2 miles, but when he got to a hill, I backed off and didn’t see him the rest of the morning. My pace was around 20 after that. That just goes to show you that no matter how good you are, it is highly likely someone else is that much better!

A few people on the team have commented that I am a speed daemon. Ha! I was barely able to keep up with the same people on my hybrid after about 20 miles, now the pace they set is just way too slow. I am truly amazed how much the new bike has improved my performance. I wasn’t expecting such a marked improvement.

I’ve been saying I am going to start commuting into work for the last couple of months. Will I finally start? I hope so!

Around the lake! March 31, 2007 at 3:43 pm

Today I did something that I have talked about for at least 10 years. I rode around Lake Washington on my bicycle! This 50 mile journey was incredible and I feel great! Today’s effort was in preparation for the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic in July. During that ride I get to do over 100 miles two days in a row. So now I know that I will be physically able to do at least 25% of that goal. The way I feel today, I am certain that I could have done another 15-20 miles easily. I didn’t have a computer on my bike today (new bike, didn’t put the sensors on yet) so I don’t know my averages and I am going by the distance that another rider said his computer indicated.

Today I felt pretty good. I had to hold myself back quite a bit while waiting for the others in my group. I was probably just feeling really good being on a new bike and having a good day today. Other days I have not been so up. I wish I knew my averages, but I will live this weekend without knowing.

The energy that is flowing through my body right now feels intense. I really feel good after this ride.

Tomorrow I plan on doing a hike. We shall see how my legs feel after two days of a good activity. Some of the days I went skiing after a bike ride almost wiped me out.

If any of this inspires you, please make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society your sponsorship of me goes to help fund vital research and help those that are living through treatment.

41 February 10, 2007 at 2:37 pm

I was only supposed to ride about 30 miles today. That was my intention anyway. If I had been able to stop at about 30 I would feel not too bad. I ended up having to do just over 41 miles and I am beat. It is a good feeling, but after roughly 3 hours (according to the computer) of riding I need the rest. The good news is that is close to half of what I will need to do in July for the STP. The bad news is that today shows how much I really need the training. Better to learn this NOW instead of two weeks before the event.

I hope to start riding my bike into work at least once a week starting this week on Tuesday. To start, I will probably just go in the easiest way with the lowest traffic. Probably in March I will start riding around Lake Sammamish to increase my distance in the mornings. In April I will have to extend that even further. My commute home I’ll most likely keep simple until the days get longer. A straight shot home is about 7.5 miles. My guess is that will take 35-45 minutes depending on my condition.

I have never ridden on Mercer Island before. In fact I had never even done even part of the I-90 trail until today. It was pretty cool. I am off to do some errands before I collapse. I need to rest for skiing tomorrow. That is going to be fun with my legs all jello-y.

First ~good~ (road) ride in many years February 3, 2007 at 7:09 pm

Back when I purchased my current bicycle (a little over a year ago) I still didn’t own a car. My previous vehicle had been stolen and I went nearly a full year without owning car. I figured I would use the bike for commuting into work (about 7 miles at the time). One glorious and sunny day, I road into work. I nearly killed myself. The effort was more than my 338 pound extremely out of shape body could handle. Contrast that with today. Today I road about 10 miles to get to a 15 mile bike ride! It felt wonderful! OK, what really blew was that riding to the ride was great; the actual ride was very pacific northwesterly. It rained. I have the gear for this, and while we were riding I was plenty warm except my left foot and my fingers. I wussed out and got a ride back home after the ride. By this time my hands were warm from the effort, but my left foot (which was catching the spray from the cyclist in front of me) was soaked and chilled to the bone. On the way back I picked up some wool cycling socks. That should rectify that!

My trainer will be very happy about my workout. I got my heart rate up and did way more than my normal hour of cardio. I am planning on repeating this feat on Tuesday with a few less miles as I ride in to the office. The majority of the ride to the ride is the same as my “short” commute minus a hill.

My commute is about 7.5 to 8 miles each way depending on the route I take. In the morning I get my choice of two large hills. Thank goodness that they are on the way IN to work! It is much easier to coast down the large hills when you are tired!

Riding into work at least one day a week is going to be a regular occurrence for me. As it gets warmer I am certain to increase the number of days and the route I take into the office. It is likely I will ride all the way around Lake Sammamish to get into work when I need the distance and the extra cardio.

I’ve been thinking about all the good things that will come out of me training for the STP.

1. I am raising money for an important cause.

2. I will continue my excellent cardio activity needed to maintain my weight loss.

3. I am reducing the amount of pollution I contribute to the environment.

4. I will meet lots of other people that enjoy cycling as much as I do.

5. It is cycling!

I can’t believe how much I missed being on a bike. I noticed it while riding with my brother in LA over Christmas, but hitting the Sammamish River trail today reminded me of the good times to be had. Woot!

Something New… January 17, 2007 at 12:07 pm

Just under a couple of weeks ago I decided to do the STP double century ride. During my musings with the staff at the Pro Club, my dietician recommended a group called Team in Training. I ~have~ done century rides before, but not in this century! I know I was going to need a regimen of training to be able to handle a dual century. I looked into a couple of training groups, but of all of them TNT seemed like the best idea to me. I know that I would be able to do all the training on my own. But when you are with a group of people that are all pushing for the same goal it makes you want to work harder. Plus I get the benefit of helping others in need as well. I think that is one of the main reasons I liked this option better than the others I looked into. I win because I get the training. TNT wins because of the funds raised and the people that are helped.

Last night was an introduction meeting. I took the plunge and I am committed. There are still more informational meetings being held around the greater Puget Sound area. Thinking of running a Marathon or doing a Triathlon? TNT also helps with training for those events as well!  TNT has groups all over the US…

YOU can help me reach my goal….

Every Donation Helps!

Seattle to Portland January 9, 2007 at 2:57 pm

It is time for a new category of writing on my blog.  On my Birthday I made the choice that this year was the year I do the Seattle to Portland double century ride.  This marks the first entry on my journey towards making that goal a reality.

In one week I am attending a meeting for a group that helps training.  I am looking forward to meeting others that are also interested in the same outdoor activities. 

Not much other than my confirmation that THIS IS THE YEAR.  Stay tuned…