Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BRSCI-XIV: Seattle to Cle Elum and back, Aug 9-10, 2014

I was afraid BRSCI might not happen this year, scheduling issues and whatnot, but Ocean and Dyno worked it out, and the new flagship cycling event of BRS was on, like Donkey Kong!

I admit, had I known I was about to ride a double century, ¾ of which would be on ass-crushing gravel, I prolly would have bagged to work on the lecture slides that are due tomorrow morning (I can still get up at 1am and start/finish them, maybe…) I shoulda known after hearing about Dyno’s “Roslyn Ramble” and experiencing that long trek on private property gravel at last year’s BRSCI that “adventure” is a loaded word. But as usual, I completely ignored logic. Luckily for us Ocean did not, and was to meet us in Easton.

One of the New Yurt’s selling points was being only a couple blocks from the I-90 “Mt to Sound” bike trail. I noticed right off Dyno forgot his helmet (Grrrr).  But we were already behind schedule, and apparently helmets are not required outside of King County? Was that a load of crock or what.

We stopped periodically so Dyno could check directions. I was only too happy to follow blindly and dilly dally as much as possible, it was a beautiful sunny day and I had not been out riding much, being the Japanese tourist and enjoying the orange flower sculptures randomly on the path.

There was the I-90 trail, then fairly soon we were “off road”. So far so good…the Issaquah-Preston trail, the Preston-Snoqualmie Trail.   A couple brief detours, then onto the first cyclo cross section, the “Lincoln Logs”.

An unexpected monster climb up Lake Alice Rd (felt almost like Zoo hill) I had to walk over half of it while Dyno rode it twice, the weight of Raul and lack of training too much for me.

A long paved downhill in Snoqualmie…. Awesome long/ fast descent tainted only by the knowledge that we’d be going back up this hill tomorrow….

We got to North Bend much later than anticipated, there was a huge lunch crowd due to the Moby Duck truck filled with Seafair pirates and toursists that landed at Scott’s Dairy Freeze at the exact same time.

And onto the JWPT. There were spectacular trees and mountain views.

But I had never done it uphill, only seen the pissed off cyclists while running down it in my favorite marathon, the Tunnel marathon. 26 miles staight uphill, albeit only 2% grade is a long climb.
Toward the end of marathons when I’m tired I have an irresistible urge to knock a cyclist off their bike and steal it to the finish line. Now I know what it feels to ride the course. We stop for a rabbit shortly before the tunnel.

There were tons of tourists at the 2 mile long Tunnel. Spooky dark and cool. I gotta get some headlamps like Dyno.


Just after the Tunnel/ Hyak tailhead is what Ocean would call the “white meat chicken” of the course. Spectacular lake views and flat relatively light gravel, mirror-like reflections of the lake.

Then we hit an intersection with a road, and Dyno says we should try this other road (which looks much smoother) that eventually meets up with the trail. We swerve onto this road, and I learn first hand that there is indeed something worse than riding on gravel…. It is riding on horizontal washboard gravel.
Luckily there is a crossover path and we cyclocross back onto the JWPT. We dilly dally a bit more, so I can be a Japanese tourist and Dyno can point out the local flora, including thimble berries….

I tried to text Ocean that we were running hopelessly late… but the messages didn’t go through. Finally I called and learned he had failed to find the trail and was already settled at the Aster Inn in Cle Elum. The last 13 miles from Easton to Cle Elum were some of the roughest gravel …. I so wanted to be done and drinking beer.

We arrived nearly 11 hours after we had started, I was covered in dust but soooo happy to see the BRSCI sign in the window and a freshly grilled burger, salt & vinegar chips, and beer waiting complements of Ocean.

Too soon my iPhone alarm was ringing, the Boys were already up but I still had dark circles under my eyes from a week of sleep deprivation (and being old). We walked over to the local breakfast place for the best part of cycling, which is eating a very large breakfast with a pot of coffee and bacon.

I thought it would be good to hit the roughest gravel when I was “fresh” in the morning, but it wouldn’t be a BRS event if I didn’t fall at least once. Where was that HUGE rock I rode over? Everything hurt, hands, neck, shoulder, thighs, ass.

I resolved to not dilly dally but it was another freakin beautiful day full of freakin beautiful views. Dyno very patiently stopped so I could ooh and ahh (Awww man, ANOTHER picture of the lake? Ok….)
mirror reflections.

We stopped to look at some Maidenhair ferns, eat fresh blackberries from the bush. The 26 mile downhill on JWPT was among the best descents in history. Gravel is less annoying when you are going fast.

Then the Snoqualmie paved climb...It was hot hot hot by then, and shade was welcome. 
Stopped again at Scott’s Dairy Freeze (3rd burger in 2 days), and Salted Nut Rolls, my new fav race/ ride snack. Sharp switchback off the trail.

Riding down Lake Alice Rd was a little scary, but unexpectedly after all that descending the late afternoon sun (87 degrees in Issaquah) suddenly hit me hard. I looked over the highway overpass and saw a sign for 405. What? We were only at 405??? I knew it was only 10 miles to home but it suddenly seemed insurmountable. God bless Dyno, who kept stopping though he prolly couldn’t understand why after 180 miles I couldn’t just do 10 more.

After yet another stop for hydration and sitting for no good reason on a park bench, made it back to yurt. I actually had to fight back tears. Not sure if I was just sad or glad the ride was over. The Fin du Monde beer and splash of cool water on my sunburned face helped. I’d do it again, (maybe minus the Easton to Cle Elum gravel) but there are so many other rides waiting to be done…

I'm a little sad that Tour de Muk won't be happening this year (Ventoux, aren't you sad too?) but BRSCI lives on. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2014 NMN Categories, New Calendar, and Favor

2014 New Music November categories are:

1-5) 25 year artist/group. 5 songs, with at least 5 years between each song. Example:
1) Bob Dylan 1970
2) Bob Dylan 1977
3) Bob Dylan 1982
4) Bob Dylan 2000
5) Bob Dylan 2005
6) TV show theme song
7) Song from 2013-2014
8) Original song (8&9 are connected)
9) Cover/remake of original song
10) Song with hand clapping
11) Song from a Kevin Costner movie
12) Song by an artist who is under the age of 18 (currently)
13) Song by an artist who is over the age of 65 (currently)
14) Song in a foreign language
15) Previous Grammy Award winner for Best Comedy Album or Best Spoken Word

I also updated the BRS Calendar. Please add as you see fit and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Lastly, 1st Class, I've got a BIG favor. Next time you're at work, if you see one of these guys, can you get me an autograph? Thanks a lot in advance.

It's 1:15 in the morning and my ass is on fire

I wish I didn't top off the burritoe lunch and the ham sandwich/ceasar salad dinner with a Luke warm Duck dog. My ass is breathing out flames. It's hard to resist a duck dog when it's sitting in a box resting on a tractor inside a shed. So my crew is made up of myself and three teenagers who leave to go get stoned for pretty much the entire shift. So I'm the only one who's around to really empty the garbage cans. I get bored and so I constantly walk around Hayward Field hoping to find a can that needs to be emptied. Needless to say, some of the volunteers keep laughing at me for always carrying a trash bag to the trash area. They think I'm a hard worker and a clean freak. I've got them fooled on both fronts. I just play a hard working clean freak in public. I saw Jordan Kent, Jackie Joyner Kersey, some other person and yep, from the balcony of the Bowerman building, Phil Knight. He has a moustache. It looks good. I told him I weeded his parking space at the football stadium lastautumn. He told me to keep my distance and shave the pubic hair off my face.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

it's 1:43 in the morning

It's 1:43 in the morning and I just walked back from Hayward field where I was on garbage detail for 8 hours for the world junior championships. Those young athletes make us look weak and out-of-shape. And they're super tall. They're legs are pretty much the length of me. I don't have much else to say except that I wouldn't' recommend eating pizza with pasta salad. Eat a regular salad. Yeah, that's right. I got a free meal at work. I medaled dinner. It's one of the perks of garbage detail. That was awesome. I wrote this post on the kitchen floor on my phone. That's awesome too. Technology.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

7/11 - Free Slurpees

Yup, that's right. My first free slurpees. Got two on Fri with Dyno-M's son. But let me rewind about a month...

On 6/11, I improvised, and drove down to Eugene and met-up with 1st Class at Burt's place. Actually ended up meeting Burt & Liz. Very nice people. Next day took in the view from Skinner's Butte, lost in tennis, and went to Halsey. Ended up crashing at Papa V's place while he and his family were chilling on the beaches of Greece...

Then on 6/25 I drove down to Portland and picked up 1st Class at the Greyhound station. Talk about first class travel! We then hung out and painted the interior of my place. We also swigged a lot. Watched a lot of world cup soccer and 1st Class had a lot of photography work. We didn't play much tennis. We only hit one day, and then I beat his sorry-ass the next time. That was a lot of fun. Watched the movie the Gambler. This visit was what I'd call fascinating. Learned a lot about 1st Class that I didn't know before. Mostly, what I'd call 1st Class logic. He certainly has a system to his way of thinking...

Then it was back to Eugene. I ended up driving him back in Mrs. Ocean's car. Got a rock chip in the windshield that couldn't be repaired, had to be replaced. Once again crashed at Burt's and met Burt for a second time. Next morning, dropped off 1st Class at Skinner's Butte for a photo gig, and met-up with Papa V. Celebrated the 4th of July with his talented rapping daughter. Beat 1st Class in a game of CAT. That was a lot of fun. Ended up passing out before the fireworks...

Returned back to Seattle, and broke in the new yurt with a food club. Japanese food. Japanese beer. Pretty hot weather, and went for an evening stroll with Dyno-M and Gerald over the Dr. Jose Rizal bridge. Lots of fun...

Which brings me back to 7/11 and free slurpee day. Met-up with Dyno-M the next morning and drove out to Belfair to pick-up Dyno-M's girls from summer camp. Chilled out at the Bremerton ferry, while the kids enjoyed the huge naval water fountains. Really cool park. Then enjoyed probably my favorite ferry ride ever, back to Seattle. Can't fully explain why, but that was the most inspiring ferry ride for me...

Woke up this morning, and decided to tackle two long-standing car projects. Recharged my AC, and tore apart the passenger's side door. Literally. Removed the glass, and just waiting to get the parts that I need from Dyno-M's Amazon Prime. We ended up charging Dyno-M's AC partially, and polished off a Scotch-Ale growler from Lazy-Boy while watching Germany v. Argentina. Well that concludes my 2014 World Cup and also represents my summer so far.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bromptoneering (Tour de Pierce, June 29, 2014)

With Davey it was love at first sight. But with the Brompton, I was enamored before I even saw it for the first time, at the Folding and Electric bike shop in Ballard last weekend. It is a British-made folding bike that has a cult following for its simplicity and rideability. It's not just a commuter, people race and go touring with these things. If you can get over the dork factor of riding a “clown bike”, you can carry this thing with one hand and fit it in the overhead compartment of a plane, no tools required and just a few seconds to fold/ unfold it.  It accommodates riders of a wide range of size, though if your leg length is >33 inches you would need a seatpost extender. There are many options, the sporty straight “S” bar, the ultra clown-like “H” bar for taller riders, or the standard “M” bar. It comes in 3 speed or 6 speed, even a titanium model for $600 more. I got the standard M6R off the rack because I couldn’t wait.

I first heard about it from fellow MM Marilou. A veteran of numerous ultras, she was also a former champion of the RAMROD ride back when it was a race. When she broke her ankle last year and couldn’t run, she looked for a compact bike to fit in her garage, which led her to folding bikes. After the Brompton, there was no going back to regular bikes. She has converted a couple other riders into this cult, which is known as the “Brompton Mafia”,
and is competing in the Brompton National Championships next month. In this 6 mile criterium style race, one must wear the proper dress (jacket and tie), fold the bike at the end and run across the finish line with the folded bike. If you win, you get a free Brompton and a trip to London for the World Championships.

This morning as I got my bike gear ready I had to figure out how to carry water without a bottle cage. Couldn’t find the bladders that went with my backpacks so just packed a bottle. Went to pump the tires (which I understand is crucial to keep the tires at 90-100 psi, because of the 3 internal gear mechanism it’s a pain in the #$*%&^ to change a rear flat), and realized, DOH! it has Schrader tubes, and my pump only takes Presta. Rookie mistake. Well hopefully someone there would have a pump. No clips though, so I picked by stiffest trail shoes. Thought about switching out the pedals, but couldn’t figure it out well; the pedals on the Brompton fold in.

Drove down this morning to Puyallup to the WA state fairgrounds, saw Marilou with 2 other fellow MM, Joe and his wife Nikki, as well as several of their riding friends who are deaf and somehow communicate with each other by hand signals while riding.
I could not help but admire Marilou’s Brompton, which had a burnished finish with hand-welding in gold, Brooks saddle, front Ortlieb bag, Velcro water bottle cage, Kevlar tires, and flat cork handlebars.

Joe was laughing at me because I wobbled at first, but it was actually surprisingly easy to ride. The shifting took some getting used to, and something popped on the one hill of the ride and I was left with just 2 gears for awhile until I found the loose screw. My feet felt flying off the clipless pedals every time I shifted. 

But the simplicity of it made me feel like a kid again, tooling around the neighborhood on my Schwinn banana seat bike in the ‘80s. It was actually a totally different experience, in part from sitting so upright you really feel like you’re touring. Fun Fun Fun. You can’t take life too seriously when you’re on a clown bike, but you can’t expect to be anonymous either. You can’t go as fast on those little 16 inch fat tires, but fast enough to feel free.

The thing about the upright seating, my neck and arms did not hurt but boy was my ass talking to me. My left butt cheek went numb about 45 miles in, then it started pouring rain. We missed a turn an ended up on a busy road, and a huge truck ran Marilou into a curb and she fell. There was a fair amount of flesh wound but luckily nothing broken just 2 weeks before her Nationals ride. In bow tie and gold lame jacket!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Welcome to New Yurt

I know I've been a blog hog but I had to post a note of thanks to Ocean, who is the bestest friend ever. Instead of wall to wall boxes I was delivered from Seatac to this:
Next food club saturday?