Sunday, August 17, 2008

Whidbey Rise and Fall

Yesterday the Washington Chapter of the BRS Cycling Club met at gates of the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry dock around 7am, not sure what the upcoming day's tour of Whidbey Island would bring. It was going to be sunny and hot and we were all well outfitted with plenty of gatoradegelsbars. This first picture is quite a few miles into the ride already, bringing the first water views from our bikes as we look southwest over Admiralty Bay.

In order to take the pic with the shutter timer I had to rig this driftwood tripod. As a snap this one Gerald is finding relief behind that shrub.The Furnace is now equipped with the best computer I've ever seen. In addition to all the usual bike computer stuff it had our course plotted, told us when to turn, what the inclines were (length, grade, frequency), told how we were competing against our virtual pace buddy (who travelled at an avg rate of 14.11, but slowed on the rises and accelerated downhill like we do), and got us lost only twice.
Here we see Crash deftly ascending the first big hill of the day with his newest partner, Eloise (her name for now at least).
Gerald found her name on a local sign. The real Gerald was looking on, very puzzled.

Action shot of Gerald as we get more glimpses of the water and the Olympics, neither of which showed up in the picture very well.

The Furnace coming up fast behind me along a lonely stretch of highway.
Chugg and I, tresspassing. Just killing some time while we wait for the rest of the club to catch us.
A welcome stop at a waterfront park in Freeland came just in time. We were all flirting with completely empty water bottles. After refills and bathroom breaks we were all in higher spirits. enough to muster wide smiles for another group photo, on another makeshift tripod.
Here's Crash during a short break. Furnace had some route recon to tend to. I really dig that tree behind him, enough that I suffered nettles on my shins in order to snap the pic.

Finally back at the ferry dock, grinning, sunburnt and wind molded helmet hair.

Tired, hungry, ready for a nap? Yubetcha. Best day of cycling evar? Ditto.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Butterfly Fail

For the record, Mark Spitz went to my high school and I am actively rooting against Michael Phelps. Enjoy the Steak Knives Serbia

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fear of (open) water

It was 58 degrees and drizzly this morning, nearly talked myself out of attending the Mary Meyer triathlon/ open water swim clinic. Have been avoiding water since March, would much rather run 30 miles or bike 100. Time to break out the Zoot Suit.
The water was not too cold but choppy due to wind. Did the drills OK, but when it came to doing the 350 yard loop with 100 other swimmers, I did what everyone talks about, panic. It looked like this photo but swimmers closer together. All it takes is 1 mouthful of water, some seaweed tangled around your leg like tentacles, and limbs kicking in your face. The worst was the rolling waves which reminded me of the Wisconsin Dells wave pool. I got motion sick and felt like I would vomit, the wet suit was choking me, etc. etc. The coaches shaking their heads, just concentrate on the stroke and slow it down, it's all in your head.
So I got 1/2way through and bailed. Elderly people more than 50% of my body weight skimming past me with ease. Even if you fall on a bike (something I'm very familiar with), once you have stopped moving you're OK. In swimming you either drown or you don't. Danskin next week is 800 yards, more than twice the distance I failed today. It's all in your head, and that's what I'm afraid of...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Swiss Alps

The Swiss Alpine Marathon at Davos was by far the hardest marathon I've done so far. I did the C42 which was billed as the "easy marathon" because it was mostly descending, whereas the traditional K78 and K42 involved climbing the alps into the snow (not to mention 78 km distance which the winner did in 6 hours). It started out pleasant enough, the K78 and C42 runners together doing rolling hills and trails, I had read reviews that warned of "4 or 5 decent sized inclines", but I lost count after 10. It was nonstop hills up and down, steep at times and almost all trail. None of my photos are trail because the paths were single file and I had to concentrate on not tripping and breaking my ankle on the rocks or tree roots and splitting my head open. Picture climbing to Lake Serene and descending, then throwing in a half dozen Ferry Hills to total 42.2k. The hardest part was being unfamiliar with trail running and having to run in my too-warm shirt because I forgot to pack my running shirt. Anyway, the photos don't do justice to how amazing the scenery was, or capture the feeling of being practically alone in the middle of Swiss mountain forests or countryside. I could barely walk for 3 days afterward (thankfully I got to visit a Swiss "mineralbad" spa with pools of warm massaging jets of mineral waters) but now I'm hooked on trails.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Altitude August

(present on Mt. Dickerman, but not pictured: Crash & Mrs. Crash).

We are all flanked by the Cascades. Get out and climb a mountain. This month's challenge is to record your elevation gain. Tally at least 3,000 ft. 2 pts for the person who logs the most.