Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chillin' on Crash

Literally chilled on Crash, temperature & speed wise. I've finally discovered my airborne shuffle pace with the panniers. This ride was probably the clearest ride for me to date. So I've got to note, this past year or so, I've spent so much time with a bunch of misfits, who are so unclear at times. Mostly, Ennui, CW, Skirtsteak, and myself. Yet, without all our confusion, I wouldn't have been able to connect with such a clear ride today. Go figure.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

When you least expect it…

Really rough week at work. Constant headache for 4 days, back to my advil abusing ways, waking up at 3 AM with left facial numbness, pounding headache, nausea, and feeling as if I had not slept at all, then forcing myself into the office without a run for 14 unproductive hours, then repeating the cycle. 

Thursday night I was supposed to meet VVN for a screening of a movie about mountain runners at a local running store. It seemed like a fine idea at the time weeks ago, when I had agreed to go, but that day the thought of navigating across town in rush hour to sit in a room full of skinny people and having to smile through this headache was too much to bear.  As soon as I learned she was meeting others there, I realized I would not be missed, and left work early.  I told Julius about the headaches and he said, “funny, you don’t look sick”. Guess I know how patients feel. 

I took a sleeper and slept 7 straight hours, then slept some more. Felt like a new person Friday. Good thing because Saturday 6 AM I had a 50 mile road race in Nevada I had signed up for last minute.

Landed in Vegas just after 8 pm but it took a million years to get off the plane and into a rental car. Drove to the Hacienda Hotel in Boulder City, about 45 minutes east of Vegas, near Hoover Dam on the AZ border. Stopped by Albertson’s to buy boxed wine and Starbucks in a can, then McDonald’s to buy dinner (Big Mac) and breakfast (McRib). It’s no accident I’m the heaviest I’ve been since the last VT100. 

Took another sleeper and got to sleep by 10:30, then up at 4 AM to get ready for the run. 26 degrees, going to a high of 34, much colder than last year but here, no ice. There were only about 30 of us addicts lined up for the Running from an Angel 50 miler, an "easy" road race. 

Love the wide open desert, the meditative turning over of the legs to the new tunes from NSM 2012. The only things I have to think about is not chafing and not puking.

Chatted with other runners, paused to take some pics. At the half ran into another runner I knew who runs a lot (once did 50 x 50 milers in a year and is a 2-time Badwater finisher, and though 11 years older is much faster than I am). She was having a rough day/ GI virus. She pulled me for a couple hours and the miles flew by, until she decided to take a more lengthy porta potty break and I kept going. Somehow the usual mile 43 slump didn’t hit me and I knew if I could just keep going another 7 miles….

8:53:09, another PR (by less than 2 minutes), and 3rd place finish. OK, so there were only 9 women in the race, one of them probably had rotovirus and I was over an hour behind the 2nd place person, but I’ll take it. Legs feel OK despite carrying the extra gallon, may actually be able to do the planned 50m/ 26.2 double I have planned in March. Got a bottle of bath salts as a prize, which raised some concern with airport security. 

Next morning met Ocean for situps, pushups, road march, and dumplings at Shanghai Gardens. Less than a month to get ready for DC Sequim 2013.

Port Townsend or Bust (3 Ferries Ride, Jan 5-6, 2013)

I can only think of a couple of good ways to blunt the brutal reality of post-40 birthdays: get the hell out of town and drink to unconsciousness, or run/ bike a lot. Or how about this, get the hell out of town by riding your bike a lot AND drink to unconsciousness with your besties BRS buddies?  

We had planned to do the 3 ferry ride last summer but alas, summer days ran out, so what better time than the historically coldest weekend of the year? Only 8.5 hours daylight = an excuse to stay overnight in Port Townsend, rather than slogging through the whole near-century route in one day. A great way to test out my new full fenders, waterproof panniers, and saweet hub-powered lights. Can’t wire any Cateye or Garmin due to the lighting wires but I guess that’s the point of touring, no hurry, no counting miles. Stop for pictures and views, eat when hungry, drink when thirsty. Sounds like paradise to me.

Since I can’t even find my way out of a paper bag, I’m glad Dyno has prepared the route and even sent us this cute little packing list:

    a couple versatile top layers, will probably recycle them for day two as well
    a jacket
    two pairs of gloves (one warmer than the other)
    two hats (one warmer than the other)
    two sets of cycling bottoms, both pretty warm (one for each day)
    my regular grey pedal-pusher pants
    shoe covers
    two pairs of my warmest wool socks
    two bike locks (cable around waist and a u-lock) i have an additional small keyed u-lock if you want me bring it for someone (but I won't haul it for you)
    a pair of 'regular' pants (for walking around PT)
    a pair of light sneakers (for walking around PT)
    some basic food but plan on mostly eating along the way?
    what am i missing? (toothbrush, advil, cell phone charger)
on bike: lights, spare tubes, tools, batteries

Much less anxiety provoking than preparing for a solo 100 mile run out of state, but then you realize you’ll be hauling every ounce you pack up and down the hills of Whidbey.


How to start the day off right: Speedway CafĂ© for unlimited coffee, eggs/ bacon, potatoes, and dry rye oh my. It’s my first ride in the dark from Mukilteo to the Edmonds ferry terminal. It’s cool riding in the dark, though I kept spooking Dyne who kept mistaking my headlights for a “car back”. 

We got to Edmonds really early, checked out the tourist pamphlets advertising the lavender in Sequim and the Washington State Ferry system. 

Then shortly after the Buttcrack of Dawn, we waited in a special ferry waiting area just for cyclists. I got to use the brand new Orca card I got for my birthday!

Finally time for ferry boarding, short ride.
Soon we disembark in Kingston. 

We lucked out with only 40% chance of rain and temps in the balmy mid-40’s. 

Here you can see Dyno being blown sideways by the cross bridge winds on the Hood Canal bridge:

Winding country roads with views of water.

We stop to view an ancient threshing machine at the Olympic visitors center museum:

When is lunch again? How about now?

Lunch in Port Ludlow. 

Ocean has packed an earnest ham sandwich lunch but I’m too hungry and too frickin old to skimp. It’s the best goddam burger on the peninsula along with pots of Earl Grey tea and hot tomato veggie soup, prepared by Chef Dan at the Riverside Rresort. 

Then more country roads, this time dirt trail (the Discovery Trail) which is probably the closest thing to off-road riding I’ve done since Switz, a bit muddy/ soft for road tires. Saw lots of horsies wearing coats. 

Pretty soon we’re ready to reach Port Townsend and beer. Which way do we go?

Wind was picking up, saw pretty whitecaps.

Checked in to the Aladdin motel, which has the Pourhouse across the street. But no food there, despite being part of the Olympic Culinary Tour, presumably for its beer collection. But they allow people to order food in from other establishments, so I guess it's OK.

But felt like seeing the town, walked to Water Street and met fellow Maniac Rob who lives nearby, at Public House for dinner.
Then walked back to the Pourhouse, where Dyno socialized with locals while I admired their unusual taps: 

The rest of the evening is a bit of a blur, but I do recall by an unbelievable twist of fate that Hot Tub Time Machine was on TV. Me thrashing, Ocean snoring, and Dyno peeing in the sink in his sleep? Good times, good times.


Next morning before Buttcrack we rode to a coffee house we had seen near the ferry terminal. With a name like “Better Living Through Coffee”, you can’t go wrong.

It was a bit chilly, and the road was closed due to a water main break. Quiche, individually brewed gigantic cups of coffee, and some homemade cookies for the road.

The ferry to Keystone (the Kennewick, which apparently means “winter paradise”, who knew?) was a bit larger and more modern than the ones we’re used to riding in Muk. A million dollar bike storage facility on the 2nd floor?

After landing in Keystone, we knew the windy plains were awaiting us.

Is there an elephant on Whidbey? The only thing harder than the “invisible hills”, were the actual ones leading up to Freeland.

After a nice break, down a new road lined with a tunnel of trees.

And finally the last ferry!

FERRY #3: CLINTON TO MUKILTEO on the Cathlamet

Almost to the finish line.

I’m watching the seagulls while Dyno is already busy planning the 4 Ferries ride.

My legs are toast. I know the 500 ft. ferry hill awaits but so does the finish line. Too bad Lombardos (best crust ever) is closed for lunch, instead head to Ocean’s for the Seahawks game and Newcastles.

Blasted Skirtsteak’s NMN mix while dropping Dyno at home in Everett. We just beat the rain.

Taking votes the bike’s new name?

1.     Louis Winthorpe IV
2.     Raul
3.     Chef Dan
4.     Nanook