Kitsap Color Classic (Raging Lunatics on Bikes Invade the Peninsula)

Since I had to miss Chilly Hilly, Flying Wheels and STP due to surgery recovery and only got to ride the last few miles of RAPSody, I was not about to miss an opportunity to spend some quality bike time with my biker scum crazy cylcist friends.

The Kitsap Color Classic was last Sunday, so I rushed around like mad that morning (after a 12 hour work day the day before) and got out the door 15 minutes later than I had planned, and crossed the Narrows Bridge into the hilly wilds of the Kitsap Peninsula.

My cycling buddy Bill who I haven’t seen in longer than I can remember also decided to join us and rode over on the Ferry from Edmonds where he spent the previous night.

This ride has two starts; one at the Edmonds Ferry dock and another in Kingston at the other end of the run. About 2/3 of our little group were coming over from the Seattle side, so we arranged a meeting place at a little crepe shop just up from the ferry dock on the Kingston side.

In addition to leaving the house way too late, I realized almost immediately upon crossing the bridge I hadn’t been paying attention to my fuel tank. With the red “check gauge” light glaring at me, daring me (“Do you feel lucky? DO YOU?) to go just one more exit for a better price/easier access, I finally pulled over in Silverdale.

Looking at the clock I realized I was going to be seriously late after having to stop for gas.

When I got back on the highway, I realized that I had absolutely no idea where the Kingston Ferry Terminal is, more or less the registration area/food stop which was two miles up the road.

I managed to take the correct exit and catch the left turn that took me towards Kingston/Port Gamble and away from the wrong ferry (seriously, this place is lousy with them)

Once I got close to Kingston, I could tell that the ferry had just unloaded as there was a stream of cyclists descending on the unwary inhabitants of this normally quiet area.

I noticed one particular rider, a hairy legged guy wearing a festive autumn inspired tutu… I knew Kevin had made it on the ferry. (he looks pretty manly in this thing if you ask me)


I found the crepe place easily, parked and walked across the street to see my friends gleefully stuffing their faces.

I hadn’t seen Julie in far too long and we stood in the middle of the street in a long embrace. Mind you, this embrace was quite interesting to behold as we were both wearing bike gear and brightly colored, sparkling tutus… I can hear the locals now, “Earl, just look at that shameful display… Those must be some of those heathen naked cyclists that hang out in Fremont.”

Since I was so late, I didn’t want to delay the group by ordering, so no crepes for me this trip. I got back in my truck and headed up to packet pickup. Due to barriers down near the ferry dock, I had to take a back road, got turned around and realized that I was hopelessly lost in Kitsap (as long as I didn’t hear banjos, I’d be OK)

I finally found my way to the registration tent and arrived about the time Bill did. He hadn’t seen me since I lost all the weight from the medical surgery stuff, so he looked at me and said, “You don’t have any boobs”.

“I never had boobs Bill, now I’m just skinny again and don’t have boobs.” What a gentleman eh?

Seriously… Who’s “the boob”? 😉


Of course, Leo made an equally appalling social faux paux and actually lifted my tutu… (I guess that’s the male version of a woman lifting a man’s kilt?)

What a scoundrel eh?


After the obligatory shenanigans at the start line, we (Leo, Julie, Bill, Eric, Paula, Ann, Mike, Lynn, John and myself) headed out on the Hainsville Loop. We were actually shooting for the longer and less painfully hilly Port Gamble loop but were so busy talking and laughing we missed the Dan Henry for that turnoff (this ride has three loops of varying degrees of quad destroying hills and mileages allowing you to customize your ride with any combination of loops).



The first couple of miles was a hill (there is no flat ground out there, it’s even worse than Tacoma in the hill department)

After some ups, downs, twists and turns, we made the descent into Hainsville… (and yes, the climb back up and out was a bitch)


We found a lovely little scenic view spot and pulled over (well, all except for bill who never slowed down at the base of the screaming hill and never knew we pulled over)

Mt Baker is in the background here somewhere, I suspect that Leo’s butt is blocking it. We look like we’re on a day pass from the asylum don’t we?


This particular shot has been described as “the worst super hero team photo ever” (Leo has been dubbed “Sani Can Man”)


Lynn didn’t have a tutu, but she was quite festive in her Irn Bru jersey (she’s from Scotland)


We started the long and ugly climb out of Hainsville after Leo finally yelled at us enough to quit with all the flitting around, socializing and picture taking. This is where I taught Ann the “bike butt dance” which is even better with a tutu to shake; she will have one on the next ride.

There were many more wonderful, scenic back roads and lots of laughter. The weather was absolutely perfect and we were talking about how days like this will be the memories we talk about later in life (you know… when Julie and I are crazy cat ladies knitting… Oh wait…)

Then the hills started back up in earnest.

Leo backtracked and yelled at us (as if he hadn’t been yelling at us to quit yacking, get in our big rings and ride like we meant it-I don’t think he knows what to do with himself when he’s not a ride ref) SHIFT DOWN INTO YOUR LOWEST GEAR!!! DO IT NOW!!!

I don’t see him get like that often, so I did it.

The hill did come up suddenly on a blind corner and is probably the equivalent of McCurthchen Hill on the Tour De Pierce and Daffodil Classic rides, but it was nowhere near the 22% grade we had been hearing about, nor the stair step half mile long 12-14% grade that has also been described.

I gave him “the look”. He said, “That was it.” I knew it wasn’t and told him (and everyone else so) and of course, I stayed on the small ring.

Another couple of miles down the road was another sharp turn away from the water, and there it was… The monster, 22% of evil, chain dropping, quad burning, vomit inducing hill from hell. I dropped down through the rest of my gears and dodged those who were wobbling , stopping and walking.

No way in hell was I giving Leo (who was now smirking like a lunatic) the satisfaction of “walking the dog” aka “the walk of shame”. I made it up that hill on pedal power (which can’t be said for a large number of people) just to spite him.

Leo and I have ridden together for years as Cascade volunteers (he as a ride ref, myself as a medical support rider and as a ride ref) on all the big rides, we’ve faced a lot of inclement conditions, interesting things, danger, injuries and bonks together and always have each others’ backs. We can say pretty much whatever we want to each other (harassing each other for over 100 miles at a time is “our thing”) but if someone else crosses the line with one of us, they have hell to pay from the other.

Why do I tell you this? Because after all of these years, and hundreds (no, at this point it’s into the thousands) of miles we’ve ridden together, this was the day that I finally dropped the F-bomb on him.

We re-grouped at the top of the hill and gave everyone a chance to catch up, catch their breath and drink water.

This hill may not look that bad on first glance, until you look again and realize that we were down by the water when we started the climb.


Once back at the food tent, some folks went back out to ride part of the Port Gamble loop and Bill, Lynn and I opted for food and beverage overlooking the water. As undertrained as I was this year, I wanted to finish the ride on a positive note, feeling good.

We ate at “The Filling Station”. Lynn and I had what can only be described as “food porn”. Roasted garlic and goat cheese with toasted baguette.


It was a lovely afternoon to sit on the deck (and it’s amazing how tiny the Space Needle is from there)


It was the perfect day, with the perfect (albeit batshit crazy) fiends….

The End 😉



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Tri Again

OK, here’s the long awaited race report.

Oh, and this was my first time in the 50-54 age group. USA Triathlon regulations specify that you race in the age group you will be on Dec 31st of that year. Since I turn 50 in a few weeks, it was my first race as a fifty year old. Woo Hoo! New age group for me!

For a comprehensive list of every thing that went wrong, you can check out my blog about how not to do a triathlon.

I did do several things right, one was using natural “real” food for electrolytes/hydration. I used blackstrap molasses instead of energy gels and coconut water in place of sports drinks. I’m very pleased with both choices.

I overslept just a bit, but arrived at Meridian Lake in plenty of time to pick up my packet, get everything set up in my transition area and get through the port a potty lines. Come on race directors (all of you) you’ve got a bunch of athletes who’ve been hydrating like crazy, drinking coffee like mad (this is after all the Pacific Northwest) and really need to take care of other [ahem] bodily functions before squeezing into their wetsuits.

It was a lovely clear morning with steam rising up over the water.

I did the Friday Night Swim Race here the previous week so I knew the course which made me more relaxed and confident. I did one open water swim at Steele Lake the previous week and wasn’t feeling too good about my swim performance, my technique was terrible so I was working way harder than I needed to and was pretty darn slow.

This is something about having buoys to site on and other swimmers in the water that put me right back into the “tri zone”. I was not fast at the swim race, but I came in at just over 20 minutes (and that included getting out of the water and running up the ramp)

On race morning even though I was not at my best physically (see aforementioned blog post) once we were off and running (errr… swimming) I was really “in the zone”. I started and stayed in the back. It wasn’t too long before I started to pass people (those who started out too fast) I wasn’t swimming fast because all I wanted was to get through the swim with enough energy left to complete the bike and run. But I really felt good, relaxed, in control of my breathing, and with pretty decent rotation.

After the third buoy I found myself in a “swimmer sandwich” getting kicked in the head by the gal in front of me, and kicking whoever was behind me in their head. Such is the way of things. I wasn’t giving up my line.

I exited the water at 21:17 almost a minute slower than my race time the previous week. It wasn’t a great time but I sure wasn’t last, so I’ll take it especially since I was trying to conserve energy and had to stop and fuss with my goggles.

Next was the bike.

My transition time wasn’t great, 3:11:09 but it certainly wasn’t terrible and I made sure to get some more blackstrap and coconut water down. I do need to work on getting out of the wetsuit more quickly and would be better off getting my bike shoes on if I dried my feet off a bit before putting my socks on.

The course was mostly rolling hills; I was able to get some extra speed and stretch out a bit on the aero bars. My friend Russ recognized me from behind (I was pretty easy to spot with the word “Hammer” emblazoned on my ass in bright pink lettering) so we chatted a bit on the course.

There was one super nasty hill (worse than the hill in downtown Portland on the old STP route) which had volunteers stationed at the bottom to warn us to gear down.

as you can see, four out of five cyclist in this photo could not get up on their bike…

You KNOW it’s ugly when I come up off the saddle (I’m normally a sit and spin girl)

I took 1:03 to get through the bike course, which while not my best time, was not terrible according to my time, I averaged 15.5 mph which included the mount and dismount areas and getting in and out of transition. My bike computer says that I averaged 17 miles per hour which isn’t bad.

My T-2 transition time was pretty decent at 1:46:6 and I was off and running… Literally. I of course had a wicked case of “rubber legs” after getting off the bike and was just determined to finish this thing upright. I did have to make a short visit to the bushes which didn’t help my time any, but 35:14:06 was not horrible for a 5 K, especially after swimming and bike racing first.

I raised my arms in the air in triumph as I crossed the finish line right after this pic was taken.

Total time… 2:04:35:09 Not stellar, but not really that bad.

I almost cried. I had done it. I had overcome all of it, the hemorrhaging, the weight gain caused by not being able to work out for almost two years, the arthritis and scar tissue in my spine and pelvis which also got worse during that time, the stress, the dangerously high blood pressure and two surgeries.

I may not be fast, but I’m back and this triathlon medal means more to me than all of the others combined.

despite everything my body has been through-I am still a triathlete

Oh, after a quick nap, I rode out on the RAPSody bike course to meet up with my long time ride partner Leo and ride a few miles in with him since I wasn’t able to do the ride this year and missed the rest of our usual rides reffing together for CBC.


I slept well that night!

Next up…

the Iron Girl 10K
the You Go Girl Half Marathon
and if I get through that uninjured
the Seattle Marathon.

Seattle was my first full marathon which I did when I turned 40 to celebrate that and learning how to walk again after the accident that fractured my spine and pelvis.

It seems fitting that I should do it again when I turn 50 and to celebrate overcoming my recent obstacles.


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How NOT to do a Triathlon


#1 Sign up for a race that you don’t have time to train up for because it is the only one scheduled on your only day off during the week.

#2 Don’t rest the day before your race. Make sure to spend at least ten hours on your feet (bonus if in the sun on a hot day), lift heavy stuff, and walk no less than eight miles. Also make sure to rack up at least two nights of sleep deprivation.

#3 Make sure to wear brand new flipflops with stiff straps that dig into the skin on your feet and give blisters the day before. Bonus if the straps are thinner than the ones you usually wear and you get sunburned on the white stripes on your feet adjacent to the blisters.

#4 Be too busy to eat or hydrate properly the day before, then drink so much water and electrolytes that you’re up peeing all night long.

#5 If you are a female of child bearing age, not on hormonal birth control, by all means ovulate a day or two before the race; the resulting hormone surges, bloating and constipation will make everything: eating, sleeping, fitting into your trisuit/wetsuit, not feeling like a moose so much more challenging. Bonus if said condition makes you too nauseated to eat on race day.

You may experience the benefit of running/pedaling faster to catch up with that super hot guy in the trisuit ahead of you. After all, our lizard brains are looking for good strong breeding stock and these guys are it!

#6 Load up on fluids and fiber to offset the post ovulatory constipation and drink plenty of coffee; the resulting “flush” will keep you occupied all morning long both before and after you get to the race (and perhaps on your way there and after you put your wetsuit on) Bonus points if said race has insufficient port-a-potties on site.

#7 Don’t bother going through the process of filling your wetsuit with water, then climbing up on the beach to let it drain out, leaving only a thin layer of water for your body to heat up like the suit is designed to do. Just jump in and freeze your butt off. The chattering of your teeth will greatly amuse everyone in your swim start wave.

#8 Don’t adjust your swim goggles properly before starting out; it’s super fun when they fill with water. Bonus if you wear contact lenses.

#9 Don’t do a complete mechanical check on your bike; it’s super fun when one of the armrests on your areo bars comes loose and you almost fly off your bike as your forearm swings around wildly while your going 30 miles per hour.

#10 Be sure to make certain your feet are good and soaking wet from the swim while you attempt to put on your socks and bike shoes. The bunching that follows will provide entertainment throughout your bike and run.

#11 Make sure to over hydrate so that even after peeing in your wetsuit on the swim course (oh don’t look at me like that, everyone does it), you still have to make a choice as to if you want to pee while sitting on the grass in transition or duck into the bushes on your run. Bonus if you’re wearing a bright pink trisuit and everyone running past you on the trail knows what you’re doing.

#12 Don’t practice transitions and getting out of your wetsuit quickly. It will be a great source of amusement to your fellow competitors when you trip over your own feet, land on your butt and roll around on the ground in the transition area yelling, “GET IT OFF ME!!!” *note, this will not be amusing if you are in the aisle blocking someone from getting their bike in and out and could result in tire tracks across your face.

#13 Forget how the mutli sport function on your Garmin works and hit the wrong button immediately after exiting the swim.

#14 Hammer out a super hard pace on the bike for the entire course as if you don’t have to run afterwards, so that your legs are jello and you are disoriented when transitioning to the run. Bonus points if you run into a tree.

#15 DO… have a sense of humor about it all, because if you finished the race upright and walked away with a medal, it really is pretty damn funny.


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The Return of Hammer Butt

Rites of passage… (is it it repassage?)

One of the very last things I need to do to consider myself “fully recovered” (more important, to really feel like myself again) from the year and a half of hemorrhaging followed by recovering from two surgeries was to sign up to do another triathlon which I haven’t done in well over two years. I’ve coached and been a “swim angel” for Danskin and a “swim sister” for Trek, but haven’t competed myself in far too long.

Since I only just got back to running and did my first 5K since it all began two weeks ago, haven’t logged any serious mileage on my bike because I’ve only been commuting back and forth to downtown and Proctor on the beast of a commuter bike, and haven’t done an open water swim since volunteering as a swim angel at Danskin two years ago, I was hoping to find one that took place in late September or maybe even early October to give me enough time to, oh you know… actually get trained up

After I posted my intent to do a triathlon on my accountability group, I went online to sign up for one of the races I was certain would be in September. Sadly, there were no Bob Green races (my first ever tri) on the calender, No Trek Women’s Tri that I can find this year, the Subaru Tri (my first USAT sanctioned race) is now the Toyota Tri and happened early this year. My last hope, the Black Diamond Triathlon is on Saturday this year, and I work Saturdays.

So I signed up for the Meridian Lake triathlon, Which is… August 26th.

I am in NO way trained up or ready for this. (at least I was smart enough to sign up for just the sprint distance and didn’t try to get right back to Olympic distance)

I hopped on Diva, my carbon fiber triathlon bike that has not left the basement for over two years, for a quick spin around the Scott Pierson Trail to see just how out of bike shape I am.

First Sunny Ride of 2010 - Febraury Insanity 001

I almost crashed within the first block because being a full carbon bike, it weighs next to nothing and felt super squirrelly, especially with the areobars.

I’ve been riding on the platfrom side of my combo pedals on the commuter bike wearing flipflops, so I’m also not used to being clipped to the pedals; having to come to a fast stop and not getting stuck and crashing is a concern at this point.

I managed an 11 mile ride (need to get up to 15 for the tri) and managed not to crash . I’ll be fitting longer rides in wherever I can for the next two weeks. I’ll start commuting to work on my road bike and taking the long way home as well.

Yesterday was the big day.

I headed out to Steele Lake for a solo open water swim.

I couldn’t find parking in my usual spot down by the boat ramp, so I had to put on my wetsuit the in main parking area. I’m sure it was a source of entertainment for a lot of folks. I’m thankful that we start out suited up, and that putting the suit on is not counted in transition time.

It wasn’t pretty. It was slow, clumsy, executed with very poor technique and it was pianfully apparent that I am extremely out of shape swimming wise, as I had to stop to catch my breath a lot and was a bit “wheezy” (common for me to not expand my lungs fully when they are compressed by the wetsuit)

The first mishap was forgetting to put my nose clips on. The first time I put my face in the water a huge rush of burning lake water rushed into my sinuses. In addition to the fact that it is painful because it’s the wrong pH, I got my first ever sinus infection a few years ago training in this lake (which being surrounded by houses/yards/septic tanks/dogs/fertilizers/etc…) is not what you want to have up your nose.

After a few stops to blow the water out of my nose I started getting into my rhythm. I’m still doing OK breathing bilaterally, but my sighting is off and I need to really work on that so that I don’t get off course during the tri.

I made it just shy of a mile.

I chose to swim off the beach rather than the boat ramp so that I could get someone to watch my shoes for me (and perhaps call 911 if I disappeared under water, in which case the lifeguard can would be a good marker as to where to find the carcass) and because the last time I swam off the boat ramp (where a lot of people fish) I stepped on a fish hook which embedded into the neoprene socks I was (thankfully) wearing at the time because the water was super cold.

What I didn’t realize is that there is freaking MILFOIL in the beach area. I didn’t notice it going out, but coming back, the first time I tried to put my feet on the bottom, I stepped in a big matt of it, and almost squealed like a girl. Being completely squigged out by the stuff, I flipped over onto my back and swam the rest of the way in that way until there was sand underneath.

The whole thing, start to finish was undignified, including realizing that I have completely lost the skill of getting out of the wetsuit quickly meaning my T1 transition time is going to suck.

But any open water swim (especially solo) you can walk away from right?

I also managed to get my run mileage back up to five miles, as I had to start over from ground zero after having my innards poked, prodded, cut, scraped and burned. It used to be that I never bothered to go on a run that was less than five miles, it has since become a goal. Life is weird.

I headed out to Pt Defiance and had a lovely run around Five Mile Drive. I took it very easy since increasing my long run distance or overall mileage too quickly will put me at risk for another round of illiotibal band injury, but I ran the whole loop (in the reverse direction going up the vomit worthy hill by the zoo and again between Camp 6 and Fort Nisqually) and I felt good afterward.

I did finally achieve one of my major goals this week, and that was to dump the 25 (yes TWENTY FIVE) pounds I gained whilst dealing with all the stress, medical, surgical crap and not being able to work out. (and of course, hanging out with those who regularly ate and drank to excess over the holidays which I will not be doing again)

I forget how much it is because all I can see is how much work I still have to do to fix my body composition fat/muscle ratio (and then there’s that whole, pushing 50 body changing stuff that goes on as well) so I only realize it when others who haven’t seen me for a while comment.

Several folks have asked how I did it.

The answer is, “There is no quick fix, there is no magic pill and there is no substitute for discipline and hard work.”

I ate and drank less and exercised more.

I dumped foods out of my diet that where empty calories and focused on nutrient dense healthier foods.

The very hard part was changing who I spent a majority of my time with.

When one is making any big changes in their life (even if it’s just getting back to who you used to be) you do have to be conscious about who you are spending your time with

If you hang out with people who regularly drink to excess and base their social life around alcohol and usually too much food; it’s going to be a heck of a lot harder to be healthy. Some will want to be supportive, but it’s just a bad environment, and others will actually (be it intentionally or unintentionally) sabotage your efforts by telling you that you’re “no fun anymore”, “loosen up, just this once; it won’t hurt” or by filling up your glass when you aren’t paying attention or shoveling more unhealthy food onto your plate.

I’ve actually had morbidly obese friends tell me that I’m “too skinny” and “look anorexic” (uh, hello, I just barely got under 150 which is right in the middle of the healthy weight range for my height) When I was running marathons, I was down to my high school track running weight of 135.

Trust me, it’s much easier to be healthy (and happy) when you’re around other people who have the same goal. (as an added bonus, it tends to put you in a much more drama free environment)

All of these scenarios have happened to me at the hands of well meaning friends, despite the fact that my blood pressure had risen to a level where I could have had a heart attack or stroke at any time and had to have my second surgery postponed because they were afraid I’d stroke on the operating table.

None of this is about vanity (as has been asserted by one or two of my less than supportive “friends”) it has been about not just regaining but literally saving my life.

It doesn’t mean that you can’t ever hang out with your “party friends” just that it’s best to limit that time and when you do see them, try to do so in a more controlled environment.

I cut out most alcohol. When I do indulge, maybe twice a week, it’s normally only one beverage; maybe two if it was after a good workout like in the beer garden at the Great Kilted Run. I did have three glasses of wine over the course of a long night at a long awaited reunion with friends, and I made sure to work my butt off before I headed over there so that I had the extra calories to burn for both the wine and the wonderful desert that included ice cream and drank plenty of water. And of course, these are friends who would have totally supported my stopping at one glass (or not having any) had I so chosen.

I do still treat myself (I had Anthony’s Salmon and Chips and a beer just the other night) but do so on days that I’ve burned enough calories to allow it.

A tool that I have found incredibly useful is

It works on a computer/tablet and there is an Android app (I’m assuming it’s available for iPhone as well)

Your program your personal information, height, weight, goals (how many pounds a week to lose) and it tells you how many calories you should eat/drink each day to achieve that goal (to lose a pound a week you need a 500 calorie a day defecit, 500 X 7 = 3,500 calories = 1 pound of fat)

Once that is done, you log everything you eat and drink into the program and it keeps a running tally of how many more calories (and other variables you want to track such as carbs, protien, fat, iron, etc…

If you want to “earn” more calories, you have to exercise (which you should do anyway) you just enter the type of exercise you did, how long you did it and the program calculates and adjusts how many more calories you can consume that day and still meet your goals.

It holds you accountable and teaches (or re-teaches) you to think of food as fuel (which is what it is)

I have lost 25 pounds without depriving myself (which just leads to binging) While I try to eat mostly healthy foods, I have enjoyed pizza, beer, ice cream, mexican food, the occasional margarita, fish & chips, real cream in my coffee and real butter on my baked goods.

The other tool that my friend Christina told me about is the FitBit

It’s super tiny and I just wear it clipped onto my bra.

While I’ve never been a fan of pedometers, this thing is a “pedometer on steroids” has a great computer interface and integrates with many other programs including MyFitnessPal.

It not only measures steps taken, but floors climbed (there’s some motivation to take the stairs) calories burned, etc… I’ve found that it’s pretty darn accurate.

I syncs with your computer and keeps a running tally of your steps, miles, floors, calories burned and active score.

You enter your information, set goals and it tells you what you have achieved each day.

For me, that number on my desktop goads me into doing a bit more before the day is over.

One of the really cool things it does, is measure your sleep; how long it takes you to go to sleep, how many times you wake up at night and calculates your sleep efficiency. Lack of sleep contributes to weight gain, so this is actually important to know.

I do not have it synced to MyFitnessPal, because not everything I do is recorded by the FitBit (cylcing/swimming) and while you can manually enter it, I like using it as a separate tool which I can double check against.

I still have a LOT of work to do (at a few weeks away from turning 50 it’s not as easy as it used to be) but…

Hammer Butt is back… (I’ll be taking an updated Hammer Butt photo before the tri…)


~ L

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STP 2011 – 204 miles of undertrained fun with 10,000+ of my best friends

I spent the last weekend biking it 204 miles from Seattle WA to Portland OR with 10,000+ of my best friends riding the STP (Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic)

I brought along Roady the duck who I found in a ditch on the Flying Wheels Century last month. I decided to bring a duck call and Leo made one out of a squeaky toy that sounded more like duck farts than a duck call.

I already posted my ride ref report to the Cascade Bicycle Club message board, BikeTawk and the Ride Ref list, so this will be my personal report…

I’ll start out with the “short report” and then ramble 😉

short report

Was grossly under trained and had no business doing this ride…

Did it anyway because I missed last year due to broken foot/big toe and I was committed to be a ride referee…

The weather was perfect! A far cry from any of my previous STP experiences.

Humor goes a long way in gaining cooperation from riders as a ride ref…

Duck calls make people laugh…

As my friend Kevin said, this year should have been known as the Tour De Crash”…

Left sleeping bag at home, got very lucky and scored a real bed in Centrailia…

Mile 174 is my nemesis… this is where my mind and body break down…

Stopping to render mechanical/medical/traffic assistance, restarting and pedaling like heck to make up time over and over and over is way harder than just riding it…

Really enjoyed no escorted mob ride over the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon; much more relaxing to make the descent in the bike lane not surrounded by riders of questionable judgment/experience…

Loved the new route over the St John’s Bridge in Portland…

Did manage food/beer at finish before boarding bus (big improvement over last time)…

Lost the bike truck lotto despite the rush to get bike on the most fully loaded truck, had to drive back to Seattle on Monday to get my bike…

Recovery takes longer when you’re not trained for distance…

Things I did well

Ate real food and ate it often (seriously why eat stuff I don’t like and don’t normally eat when pushing myself?)…

Rested and loaded up on nutritionally dense/high protein food before the event…

Although I tried to avoid “energy/race” food, I did have a couple packs of honey stinger chews (tastier/easier to get down than Cliff Shots) for dire moments when I really needed some quick carbs…

Drank bottled or filtered water, not nasty tasting hose water provide at rest stops (seriously, pay the $1 for a bottle of water that doesn’t smell funny); makes it easier to get down in the later stages, alternated with NUUN for electrolytes (never Gatorade or the like)…

Rode/Paced to my comfort level not against a speedometer/clock/ride partner…

Sunscreen application well timed; no burn at all…

Things I need to improve on

Did I mention I was grossly under trained? Longest ride in the last two years, 65 miles. Longest ride this year, 1 30-miler, a couple of 20-something milers-next year, do the mileage it will hurt less in the long run…

Waiting until the night before to pack/gear up lead to panic, sleep deprivation and forgetting my sleeping bag-next year, suck it up and do it early (maybe take that Friday off)…

Did not sleep enough before or during the event; I need more sleep to stay healthy…

Waited way too long (50 miles) for first application of chamois butter-next year apply at first rest stop… (why no Leo, your groin is not supposed to burn when you put it on…)

Tape my wrists if/when they start to hurt (of course, proper training might prevent that)…

Add extra meal between Riverside stop in Longview WA and St Helen’s OR to prevent physical and mental breakdown at mile 174…

Drink even more water, alternating with NUUN of course…

Take more pictures…

Save the money to get a motel room in Portland for Sunday night; it’s no fun to have to rush for the long bus slog back to Seattle; I want to enjoy the finish line festival/beer garden with my friends after the ride…

The long, boring, gritty details

I was up bright and early (4:30 AM) to pick Lynn up in Renton, stop at Starbucks and head to the start line.

I got a fruit and cheese plate to eat while waiting in line to get into the UW parking lot, but didn’t have to wait, so I stuffed it in my jersey pocket and off we went (after fussing with gear, ride ref supply pickup and a lot wait for the portapotties)

We stopped briefly at Seward Park so I could make a phone call, because along Lake Washington I realized I’d not packed my sleeping bag which was going to make for a very cold night of camping. Normally, I’d bypass that stop as it wastes more time than anything else.

Leo started a bit later and caught up to us after the hill climb out of Seward.

The REI rest stop is always lots of fun and we always stay too long. This is where I “should” have applied my first does of chamois butt’r and where I did eat my breakfast (which should have been a 2nd breakfast)

There were many ride ref duties attended to between Kent and Sumner; everything from flat tires, to falls to multi bike accidents.

We stopped at McDonald’s for “first lunch” I don’t normally eat there, but a burger and fries helped power us up the hill. I’m pretty surprised that Leo didn’t hurl his milkshake on the side of the road.

At the Spanaway stop, I snarfed down a chicken wrap and a jamba juice (2nd lunch) This is also where we discovered that the 50 mile mark is too long to wait for the first application of chamois butt’r. Leo came out from behind his hidey place and said, “Is this supposed to burn your groin when you put it on?” Uh… “No Leo, and I didn’t need to know that.” Yeah, my nether regions weren’t happy either…

Next was negotiating the always dicey Highway 507; lots of accidents, thankfully, none involving us, despite the idiot woman between Roy and McKenna that jumped out into traffic in front of a big red truck then screamed and almost took me out. Had I not been in a Ride Ref uniform, I’d have said more to her than, “You need to look before you pull out in traffic, and you need to call out when passing” after she said, “I’m going to get killed out here”.

It took every ounce of self control I had not to react when she got snotty with me. Hey, cool! Break the law, endanger yourself and others, and then cop an attitude on the person you almost knocked down an embankment. No Bueno!

I was still twitching by the time we got to the McKenna rest stop where we refilled our water bottles. We rode another couple blocks and got ice cream.

The Yelm-Tenino Trail was a relief as it got us off the carnage filled highway. Since they got rid of some of the worst roots (there are still a couple doozies) and pulled those darn posts out; it’s a lot safer than it used to be.

This is where I finally had some room to safely get down on my aerobars and kick it up a notch. It felt good to get into a different position..

After a break in Tenino, we rode those last long miles into Centralia. Last time we rode this, I bonked here, this time it was Leo. He responded well to my honey stinger chews (which saved me the next day) and we made decent time through the rollers and into town.

This is also where I picked up the “stealth drafter”.

Seriously dude, if you’re going to ride that close to me, you should buy me a drink or at least introduce yourself. Better yet, say “On your wheel” so I know not to stop or swerve suddenly and have you take us both out. Even better… offer to take a pull rather than having me pull you all those miles without reciprocating. I tried to shake this guy by slowing down, speeding up and glaring at him, but he was not getting off my tail. I guess the ride ref jerseys say “Take a free pull” on the back. I could smell beer garden so I wasn’t going to pull over.

Leo, Lynn and I agreed to proceed straight to be beer garden when we pulled into Centralia and we did, even bypassing the creamsciles. We ran into Kimiko, Harry, Damian, Mongo, Brian, my friend Dan from Seattle who just felt like stalking me that day and a host of other biker types where we enjoyed music, sunshine, pizza (first dinner) and free flowing beer. This was very welcome after 100 miles of stopping, riding hard to make up time, stopping, over and over and over again…

Running out of beer has been an issue in the past, but not this year. There was plenty of pizza and beer. The beers started magically appearing without us even getting in line. It was most definitely the royal treatment. We liked it.

On the way in, Rocky (the house with the mister set up out front) recognized (seriously, I can be picked out of a crowd of well over 10,000?) and yelled at me. I went over to ask if I could pay him and Patsy to use their shower as I wasn’t interested in a cold trailer shower. As it turns out, they hadn’t advertised any rooms because it had been a crazy year of traveling etc… so they invited Leo and I to stay in their spare rooms. Real shower, fabulous dinner of elk lasagna, organic salad from the garden and garlic bread with friends I hadn’t seen in two years, and a real bed. This was made of awesome. (Lynn’s husband had brought blankets for me so I was covered either way)

The next morning I shoveled down a bowel of cereal (1st breakfast) and headed out to Chehalis for the Soroptomists breakfast in the park, while Leo pedaled off to figure out where his stuff was. I had a lovely 2nd breakfast of eggs, sausage, pancakes and orange juice and headed out a bit of ahead of Leo to get up that darn hill to Napavine and because I was freezing.

I encountered a guy with a bent rim and another with a broken crank on the way up, but they had folks coming for them.

We regrouped in Winlock and headed off to Vader for an espresso break. (espresso line in Winlock was too long, Soroptomists breakfast served [gasp] Folders with powdered creamer)

It was pretty funny to watch the (very nice) folks who run the store trying to help us through the lines more quickly by offering a 2nd line for just plain coffee and or ringing up store items. Nope, we were all staying in the espresso line.

After the guy made several offers, I piped up with, “They did tell you we all rode from Seattle right? We are latte sucking stereotypes ;)”

We had some fun at Castle Rock. I was in the portapotty and Leo walked up and blew his little squeaky toy duck fart call. I responded with my real duck call form inside the porta potty. Dead silence from the crowds outside, then peals of laughter.

The ride to Riverside was non-eventful. I had a turkey sandwich, some fig newtons and fruit for (1st) lunch and then walked over to the taco stand for a couple of asada tacos… (2nd lunch) then we headed off for the dreaded mob ride across the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon. I picked up another stealth drafter who was just someone who did not know better than to get too close and who crossed skewers with me, so I pulled over to let her go past.

But back to the bridge, they queue us up, then stop traffic and the fabulous Goldwing folks escort us over. This always makes me nervous as it’s a huge mob of people who are not used to riding in crowds and poorly secured water bottles and pumps fly off bikes on the downhill side when tires hit the expansion joints.

For some reason, we got lucky and they just waved a few of us over the bridge and we got to safely ride single file in the bike lane rather than wait for the road closure. MUCH BETTER. I also didn’t have to listen to Leo’s annual “We’re all gonna die” speech about how dangerous the mob bridge crossing is.

Highway 30 was highway 30 many many miles of long rolling hills, fast highway traffic, and unsafe passing. One set of women were riding two abreast taking up the entire very narrow bike lane on the most dangerous stretch causing riders who wanted to pass to hit a dangerous edge and go out into the single lane highway traffic. We asked them to please ride single file; they gave us a snotty look but complied (no duck call for you).

I always hit my mental and physical wall about mile 174 coming into Deer Island/St Helens Oregon and this year was no exception; it was even worse than normal because of not doing the distance, my wrists really hurt and my right knee was acting up.

We stopped at Burgerville in St Helens for chocolate milkshakes (fast calories and sugar that will stay down) and then began the last 30 mile slog up the rolling hills into Portland. My wrists were hurting, my butt was hurting and my knee was hurting. Leo could tell that I was in a bad way because I was super quiet; he made mention that he could tell I was in my own “personal hell” and let me just deal with it while being there for me. (I tease him a lot (well he is kind of a pain in the butt), but he is a good friend and a good ride partner)

He pulled up next to me (on the part of bike lane which was as wide as a lane and next two where the highway was two lanes) to tell me about something, when one of the gals we had talked to before rode past me and snarked about how we told her not to do that (uh yeah, on the dangerous part of the road where you were causing a problem…) I decided to just wish her a nice day. (once again, displaying remarkable restraint considering that at this point I was in what Penguins (my running group) like to call “the bite me zone”)

Just before the St John’s Bridge, I noticed yet another stealth drafter. I was about done with people I don’t know/trust riding inches off my back wheel, so I just pulled over. He pulled over with me; I took a drink of water, gave him “the look” and rode off without him on my tail.

Seriously 20-something dude…. you really need to be pulled by an out of shape woman who is nearly 50 years old?

The windy hill to get up to the St John’s bridge (a change from recent years’ routes into Portland) looked worse than it was, and in my opinion was a fabulous way into town with a stunning view of Mt Hood and the Columbia River (way better than the slog through the industrial zone). Of course the red lights when we got downtown were a pain, but I still think it was better…

By this time, my knee and wrists still hurt, but I could no longer feel my butt.

I was quite happy to cross the finish line. Kevin as there to greet us and take our photo (the duck too) I rushed to get my bike on the fullest truck (the full truck leaves first) so that it would be in Seattle when I got there, grabbed a Gyro and headed to the beer garden.

I got to visit with friends long enough to snarf down the food and one beer before it was time to get my luggage and get on the last bus. (next year, no rush, I’m staying the night in Portland)

Our bus driver went all road ragey in Seattle and almost caused a huge accident under the convention center on I-5 when he lost it and started to bully a little blue car (not once, but three times). Yes, I reported him to his company and Cascade; State Patrol wouldn’t take a report the next day.

My bike was not there (I lost the truck lotto and the other truck left first) so I had to go back up and bail flash of out “bike jail” the next day. At least I made an enjoyable trip out of it and took my friend Francine with me for lunch and a beer on the waterfront.

What a crazy thing to do (over and over again) I’m sore, tired and my cells are swimming in lactic acid.

I’m already planning next year.


Mood: Tired


Cycling around the 253

We got very lucky this weekend and had some breaks between torrential downpours, so it was time to get out on the bike for something other than a wet, soggy slog of a commute.

After a great Friday night at El Guadalajara unwinding with friends after a long work week, I hopped on my bike (sans rain pants, but they were in the panniers) Saturday morning and headed over to the Proctor Farmer’s Market for a cup of Feisty Gals Coffee and to visit with friends Janet and Daniel who also cycled over.

From Drop Box

It was the Jr Daffodil parade so it was really fun seeing the school bands and floats and it also made the market an even more busy/happening place than usual.

After visiting with lots of friends and vendors, we rode over to the Rosewood Cafe for an awesome lunch. We shared a warmed brie covered in a fabulous pecan balsamic/honey reduction served with apple slices and warm crusty bread; there was also roasted pepper soup, bruschetta and good microbrew.

Sunday also provided a rain free (albeit cold) opportunity to get outside and play. I brought my negleted road bike Flash up out of the basement and rode her figuring that I wasn’t going to need the disk brakes or ability to carry a change of clothing that I have with Xena the commuter bike. She has half fenders, so if it rained, I wouldn’t have a streak of mud up my backside. (a LiveJournal friend of mine in another state commented that he had never seen a bike with areobars AND fenders 😉

I rode over to the Narrows to meet my friend, stopped by to chat with another friend in the same neighborhood and headed over to Pt Defiance for a lovely ride through the old growth forest along Five Mile Drive.

After a stop to visit another friend, we rode down to the waterfront (always fun negotiating the Ruston tunnel on a bike) for a burger and a beer at the RAM.

Even on a cold cloudy day, Tacoma is a pretty awesome place to live.

From Drop Box

and the beer was good too 🙂

From Drop Box

Of course, the most “fun” part was climbing back up to the hill from sea level.

It doesn’t make sense, but for some reason, I think that Starr St has a gentler grade than McCarver, so we went that way. (the road bike doesn’t have the low gears that the commuter bike has)

That ride ended up being about 20 miles with around 1.100 feet of climbing.

Any spring weekend up here where you can get out on your bike both days is a good one.


Mood: Happy


Commuting by Bike and Train

In an effort to walk (or rather pedal) my talk I have chosen to leave my vehicle at home during the week and use my bicycle to get to and from the train station on a regular basis as opposed to just doing it during bike to work month as I have in previous years.

I have had more than a little bit of trepidation about getting down the highest part of the hilltop in Tacoma safely in the dark wee hours of the morning (lived in a different neighborhood last year) and hauling my out of shape butt back up in the afternoon (not to mention the extremely bicycle UNfreindly streets of Kent).

Here’s a video I made of my first ever bike-train-bike commute in 2008 (didn’t live up on the hilltop then so the Tacoma portion was much easier) *there will be a video of this commute if I can get a bit of extra time in the morning and some dry weather.

make with the clicky clicky to see the video (I do NOT miss those stairs)

After the successful test ride on the new bike in the pouring rain (thank goodness for disk brakes) to the farmer’s market on Saturday, I was confident that I’d be ready to give it a go on Tuesday morning (I don’t work on Mondays)

Between the time change and my nerves I barely got any sleep on Monday night. I was up well before the alarm went off and scrambled to get my gear on and get out the door (lunch and work clothing was already packed up and ready to go).

My neoprene bike shoe covers were the first “sticking point”. They’re very tight and next to impossible to get zipped up quickly. I tried every position imaginable to get leverage and at one point ended up on the floor.

I think I pulled a butt muscle.

Next was turning on the plethora of lights on the bike. Paranoid girl likes to be lit up like a Christmas tree when she rides.

My favorite lights are the spoke lights.

I made it out the door and down the front steps onto the wet, wild windy (and gritty, don’t forget the grit) streets of the hilltop and had Epic Fail My rear tire was flat and I could not be late that day, so I ended up driving.

That night, I pulled the rear wheel off (rear tire flats are great fun with a long derailleur and disk brakes which is why I didn’t think 5:15 AM in the rain while rushing to make a train would be the best time for my first attempt) and replaced the tube. I couldn’t find any glass or debris in the tire, nor a hole through the tire, but did discover that the tube had been kinked/folded over on its self inside the tire which if not the cause was not likely helpful.

After obsessively -compulsively- anal retentively checking and rechecking the tire pressure that night and the next morning, I was ready to try again.

I had gotten a bit more sleep than the night before (still nervous) and gearing up went smoothly, all except the stupid shoe covers. (again)

I think I re aggravated my pulled butt muscle.

I wound my way around the neighborhood, chose a route down S 15th, to Fawcett to 23rd recommended by a friend and fellow Tacoma Wheelman who has worked on the Tacoma Master Mobility Plan, Steven Garrett and made it down the dark, steep wet hill in one piece. (have I mentioned how much I love disk brakes?)

I pulled up to the train platform on the closest end as I was worried about time and wanted to be able to jump on the closest car if I had to, but wanted to get up to the front car as that makes my departure from Kent station easier. I swiped my Orca card (my jacket is just a bit too thick to leave it in the sleeve pocket darn it) and trotted up to the front car while pushing the bike. The conductor giggled and said, “No need to worry or run, we have two and a half minutes)

I made it in plenty of time, strapped my bike in and sat down to enjoy the ride to Kent. The train is SO much better than driving)

I have several “train buddies” who get on and off at different points on the route. ) One of my Cascade Bicycle Club friends Robert, gets on in Auburn, so we get to visit between there and Kent.

I got off the train, swiped my Orca card (have to remove it from the sleep pocket to make it work, grrrr…) turned my lights back on and proceeded to find the least life threatening way to my office.

I was greatly amused to see folks standing in line waiting for the DART in the cold and the wet (I sure don’t miss that)

Since you can’t make a left turn onto James Street from the station, I chose to ride on the deserted sidewalk on the side of the street I was on until I could hit 4th St to head North. I was doing well until my bike tried to go out from under me. You see, the sidewalks around Kent Station are quite ornamental and there is a wide gap almost exactly the width of a bicycle tire that runs its length. Wet tire, wide gap… great fun.

How embarrassing would that have been? Crashing on the sidewalk of all places?

Heading up 4th St made bit a bit nervous as there are no street lights at all and it’s pitch black, but the other alternative was the much busier West Valley Highway (oh hell no) or the Interurban Trail which I would never consider riding alone on in the dark through that part of town.

S 228th was the usual no sidewalk, no shoulder, no bike lane, impatient speeding driver gauntlet which I was glad to get on and off of as quickly as possible.
I managed to finish the 1st half of the commute unscathed.

One of the most challenging parts of this is no coffee until I get to work, and then a wait until the café opens.

After work, I did take the Interurban trail down to the station. During the day, I can see who and what is around me (and there are more legitimate trail users out), as opposed to in the dark when someone can see me and my blinky lights coming from a mile away and I can’t see them until they decide to knock me over and mug me.

This time, I chose the most Southern car so that I’d be closest to my direction of travel when I got off the train. (remove Orca card from sleep pocket, swipe, return to pocket… again…)

The route up the hill (after once again, removing my Orca card from my sleeve pocket to swipe it) I chose was suggested by another experienced and community minded Tacoma Wheelman, Carla Gramlich who suggested that I head around S Tacoma Way as it is a more gradual hill and has much less traffic than running the gauntlet downtown. It is blocked by construction, so I followed her advice and rode up Delin St just to the South, crossed the bridge over to S Tacoma Ave and headed up the hill.

The mistake that I made was exiting S Tacoma Way on Yakima Ave; as I turned the corner to head up 25th (a nice, wide, low traffic road) I was faced with one of many short steep hills from hell in Tacoma. I have to (with some shame) admit that I made it about ¾ of the way up and then put a foot down lest I go over from lack of momentum.

Holy crap, I am out of shape. I was hacking stuff up out of my lungs that I didn’t even know was there. Of course, a few more weeks of this and I’ll get back into shape real quick.

Today, I’ll continue up to J Street (as she advised) which will give me a more gradual hill on which to get to 25th St.

When I got home yesterday, hot, sweaty, gritty and tired, I found the opera gloves I ordered for the Royal Wedding Tea Party at Serenity Garden Design. I was pretty amused by the elegant satin gloves being held by the gritty cyclist.

Here’s a bike to work video I did in 2009 when I rode the entire distance from my home in the Stadium District to my office in Kent WA. (since it’s a two hour ride, I don’t do it on the morning end of the ride often) When the days get longer and I need longer training rides (and I’m in way better shape than I’m in now), I’ll ride all the way home at the end of the day instead of using the train.

I feel more energized when I get to work in the morning (despite the delayed caffeine gratification)

It’s taking 11-12 minutes in the morning to get to the train station (I have to use my brakes a lot going down the hills) and about 15 to get to work. Another 15 in the afternoon to get back to the train and a slower 20 minute slog up the hill.

This means that by just going to work, not only am I saving gas, reducing emissions and traffic congestion, but I’m getting an hour of exercise in each day.

I call that “winning” (please forgive the pop culture reference; I just couldn’t help myself 😉


Mood: Tired


Epic Fail – Yeah I Feel Smart

It’s not even 7:00 AM yet and today is already made of fail.

Not just fail, Epic Fail.

I hardly slept at all last night (don’t even get me started on the idiocy of changing the clocks back and forth twice a year; that’s a rant for when I have more time) because I was worried about the storm, and the hill, and getting out the door on time, and this that and the other.

Other than the usual fight with my bike shoe covers (I think I may have pulled a butt muscle), it was an uneventful morning and I got out the door in time to make it to the train station.

I had packed lunch, my clothing and taken care of everything I needed to the night before.

Or so I thought.

I turned the corner and thought to myself, “Wow, the bike is rigid and heavy, but I shouldn’t be feeling every little bump in the road.”

And of course, I had a flat rear tire (for those who don’t cycle, rear tires are a pain to change out because you have to deal with the chain and rear derailleur)

This bike has different rims that I’m used to, no quick releases for the wheels and disk brakes (all of which make a tire change more difficult/time consuming than my other bikes) which meant that I wasn’t about to make my train if I changed the tire there in the cold wet street. Heck, I still struggle getting the panniers on and off the bike.

Today was not a day where I had the luxury of being late. I had things that had to be done before I head into an all day training session (don’t get me started on having to waste an entire day sitting though a recertification on CPR/First Aid/AED when I’m more qualified than the instructor and used to teach the instructors)

So I hauled the bike back into the house and drove in to work. (Epic FAIL)

I’ll take everything off the back of the bike and change the tube out after work today when I have time, and light.

Tomorrow is another day, but I’m super annoyed with myself because if I had checked the stupid tire last night, I’d have found it and fixed it.

Yeah, I feel smart.


NOT Amused


Walking/Pedaling the Talk

As part of my rant against the futility (and down right ignorance) of a one day “gas strike” I offered up some suggestions on making an actual difference, which ran the gamut from contacting legislators directly to lobby for clean, renewable energy sources, to eating locally grown sustainable food (better yet, growing our own) to making daily (or even weekly) changes in our driving habits to reduce consumption of and dependency on fossil fuel.

I was challenged by someone on a Facebook page demanding to know if I “walk to work one day a week.”

Uh, no… 21 miles (one way) is a bit more of a walk than I’m up for on a daily basis.

I work a compressed schedule (4/10s), taking me out of the commuter pool one day a week.

I am taking public transit (the train)

But in order to really walk pedal the talk, I’m making a bigger change.

I took money that had been earmarked for a vacation (sigh, no Alaska cruse for me) and instead put it into a commuter bicycle.

Starting tomorrow (I don’t work on Mondays) I will not be using a car, or even a metro van pool to get to or from the train station. I will ride my bike on each end of the journey.

Yes, you can take your bike on the train or bus.

Meet Xena… (name that because she’s a road warrior)

She’s a Scott Sub 20 urban bike with a strong frame, wide tires, and disk brakes to get me safely down the steep plunge off of the hilltop, and 11/32 gears on the rear cog to get me back up that hill at the end of the day (which is going to totally suck for the first few weeks)

Here she is “naked”

New Commuter Bike (Xena the Road Warrior) 001

and here she is all geared up with a trunk bag, panniers, and lots and lots of lights for those dark mornings.

New Commuter Bike (Xena the Road Warrior) 007

New Commuter Bike (Xena the Road Warrior) 011

New Commuter Bike (Xena the Road Warrior) 013

The first place I rode her was to the Farmer’s Market in Proctor for some Feisty Gals Coffee… (which just happens to be roasted a mere four blocks from me)

New Commuter Bike (Xena the Road Warrior) 014

Where I also danced in the rain with a farmer… (hey, there was music)

cell phone photo by Francine Mastini

This is actually going to be an interesting experience coming down off the Hilltop-I’ve ridden my road bike (which would never withstand nor be safe for daily all season commuting on this hill) down from my old place in the Stadium district (much gentler hill) but this is going to be an entirely different animal.

There will be video once we get a dry morning.

Wish me luck, I think I’ll need it for the first few weeks.


Mood: Mildly Tredpidatious


Kicking It Into High Gear-Getting Fit in Tacoma

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions-I do birthday/Samhain/Celtic New Year challenges at the end of October, but that’s another story all together.

January still lends its self to getting back on a schedule after the hectic holidays, and in the case of athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, getting back on track so we don’t crash/bonk/vomit/have to push our bikes up hills

I got super out of shape last summer after breaking the foot/big toe, moving, renovating, etc… Then I took the nasty fall down the attic stairs, then the holidays (a time of year in which I take entertaining and celebrating quite seriously) hit.

January is IT by golly, I was going to do it! It was perfect timing; the holidays were over, I was healed up and friends were also motivated.

Well, of course, I got sick. Not only did I get sick, but I got hit with the upper respiratory infection from hell that took out almost everyone I knew (including the uber fit and healthy).

So I started (two weeks) late, but at least I DID start.

I need to be in good shape for Chilly Hilly at the end of February. Leo and I are ride reffing again, and it’s just bad form to vomit while pushing one’s bike up the hill when you are an event volunteer and supposed to look like you know what you’re doing 😉

Chilly Hilly 2010 009

Chilly Hilly 2010 020

January is when my running group, the penguins (yes, that IS because we waddle, why do you ask?) begins our virtual trek to Frostbite Falls (if you click on the link, my friend Karen explains the challenge which anyone is welcome to join)

Since I’m a “Tri-Penguin” I usually swim, bike and run to the falls (I’ve also been known to ski and snowshoe)

Since I’ve been on the spin bikes as opposed to my real bike, it’s taking me more than 100 miles to actually get there 😉

I keep a spreadsheet with distance/mileage, time, calories burned, elevation gain… to track my progress.

My friend Francine found a great smartphone/online program (yes, there are several including RunKeeper and Nike which a lot of my friends use) called Endomondo which not only helps track, but acts as a social networking/motivating tool.

What I like about this particular program is that not only can you use your GPS enabled smart phone to track and transmit your data. It will also take Garmin uploads (my preferred fitness tool, but it’s nice to know I can use my phone in a pinch) as well as manual data. It also supports many sports/activities that other programs don’t. You can also connect it to Facebook if you want to share your workouts with your friends.

My totals thus far: (remember, I didn’t start until Jan 15th, so it’s only two weeks, not a full month)

Cycling: 90 miles, 4048 calories, 5 hours
Running: 15.33 miles, 1998 calories, 4:42
Walking: 8.97 miles, 439 calories, 2:45
Swimming: 6 miles, 2453 calories, 4:30

I also tracked 4 upper body workouts, 0 miles, 476 calories, 2 hours

run in the park

So that’s 19 hours spent exercising…
120.30 miles covered
And 9,414 extra calorie burned (yes, that should be nearly three pounds lost, but since I’m gaining muscle back which weighs more than the fat I’m losing, I’m holding steady on the device to be avoided because it tells you nothing about fitness, the scale)

It’s a start.

If you want to join Endomondo to help motivate yourself and your friends (networking with friends sure keeps one honest on getting out there and doing it) you can do so by making with the clicky clicky here.

If you’re one of my friends and looking to connect, you’ll recognize this picture from last year’s St Paddy’s Day Dash in Seattle (the back side of my shamrock shorts says “feeling lucky”

In addition to sites such as the Penguin Runners and there are some great local resources.

Most Notably the “Y” (YMCA) of Pierce & Kitsap Counties Did you know that swim lessons from beginner to masters are included in your membership fee and that membership fees work on a sliding scale for those whose finances might not allow them to join otherwise?

Another is the Tacoma (Beer) runners

Another is the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club

We have a local version of the penguin list; it’s not been very active lately, but a group of interested locals could change that. Puget Sound Penguins

For those interested in Triathlon, there is South Sound Triatheletes

My short term event goals are Chilly Hilly, the Tacoma St Patty’s Day run, the Seattle St Patty’s Day Dash, and the Tacoma City Half Marathon. I haven’t set my triathlon schedule yet.

See you on the trails…