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


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


Spin it Baby!

My Tacoma-Pierce County YMCA adventure continues.

Because my body just didn’t hurt enough from the masters swim class last night, I decided to spin (OK, due to licensing issues, the YMCA has to call it “group cycling” but we all know what high intensity cycling done to music on spin bikes is, right?)

I had a Harmon Bike Club meeting tonight (just how many bike clubs do I belong to? 4?) to kick off the Courage Classic and the St Leo’s food bank ride so I had to do something earlier than the offering at the downtown Y.

I realized that I can go to any Y and that the Morgan Family Y on Pearl St is only 4 miles from my house. I checked their schedule and there was a spin class at 4:30-PERFECT! I’m kind of spoiled by having the downtown Y (which is 15 and over only) so close (a mile, if that) and was wondering what the family one would be like.

The locker rooms were split between upstairs and downstairs, with the downstairs filled with squealing kids getting ready to swim and the upstairs being very much like “my” Y downtown, 15 and over only.

This Y was older, but well maintained and full of interesting things including an indoor climbing area.

But back to the task at hand.

Even though I’ve ridden century and double century rides, I’ve been extremely intimidated to try spin. Afraid that I’m too out of shape (especially at this time of year) and wouldn’t be able keep up.

But everyone I know that takes spin classes in the winter totally rocks the hills come spring and I know I need to get back on my training. (I’ve been a slug) Spin is the way to do it when days are short and torrential downpours and ice are making the roads unsuitable for outdoor riding.

I showed up 10 minutes early (as requested for first timers) so that the instructor (Denise who was awesome) could help me set up the bike the first time. I set it up just like I set up my road bike so that was a no brainer.

The critical thing to learn about a spin bike is that they have weighted fly wheels and you can’t just stop them by stopping pedaling. They have a break lever down near the tension knob.

I had fully intended to stay in the far back so as not to draw attention to my out of shapeness and lack of spin juju, but another woman in the class told me to get right up front with her. (she was rehabbing an injured knee) The guy on the other side of me was an instructor, so the front and center row ran the gamut.

We did a warm up and then did “hills” (increasing the tension according to our own comfort/fitness/challenge level) and had the choice to stand up on the pedals or not (when riding hills on my bike, I tend to “sit and spin”. We also did sprints, a long “hill” increasing our grade 6 times over the course of the hill. We pedaled for cadence of 80-110 rpm; I was averaging a bit over 100.
I surprised myself not only by finishing the workout, but by really cranking the tension on the hill climbs, standing up and going for it.

Denice was awesome and made sure than everyone was comfortable and knew that at any time they could reduce tension or speed.

It was so NOT intimidating. There are no neon lights over your head telling people what your tension is set to or how hard you are working.

The music was fun, the instructor was fun and the whole workout was GREAT!

I could feel the burn during the workout but my legs feel great now (we’ll see how they feel tomorrow)

This will help me with cardio and hill climbing, but is obviously no substitute for long rides (several hours) to build my lactic acid threshold, help my muscles burn fat instead of glucose and build endurance for 100+ mile rides in the summer.

I can’t believe I didn’t suck it up and try it before now.

Tomorrow is my 2nd masters swim class.

Spin Tues-Thurs, Master Swim Mon-Wed. I need to get some weight training in there and probably start running at work at lunch as well as longer runs on weekends.

If I can keep this up, I’m going to be an animal (or at least not suck) by the time triathlon season starts. And maybe I’ll get this middle aged winter pudge off of me. (and hopefully not put it back on next winter)

Oh, one of the spinning websites I checked said 40 minutes at a 80-100 rpm cadence equals 15-20 miles, and I averaged 100, I’m giving myself 18 miles towards my Frostbite Falls goal.


Mood: tired


Janet & Lisa’s Awesome Bike Adventure

My friend Janet and I had a wonderful sunny day out riding our bikes.

I was excited that it was finally warm enough to wear my sleeveless Cycles Gladiator jersey.

This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

She rode over to my house (she lives about 4 miles NW of me) and we headed to downtown Tacoma for coffee and relaxing.

Then, I wanted to vindicate myself for missing the back way down the hill to the valley and Inter Urban Trail so we headed out through Fife, Milton and up the trial to Edgewood.

This time, I made the correct turns and we ended up in the right area. We had a bit of confusion because I couldn’t find my cue sheet and we couldn’t read the street numbers on the map.

We stopped off at Five Mile Lake (where it looks like Gene, Annie, Kathy and I should be able to start our open water swim training as it’s no longer life threateningly cold)

algonabike 002

We found our street (it was 368th) and raced down the steep winding one way road to the valley below and found the link with the Inter Urban Trial down in Algona.

We wanted to go on the Tacoma Wheelmen’s Courage Classic Training ride, until we discovered that it was going up the same trail we just came down and out to Kent where I work.

We opted to head out to Orting on the Foothills Trail and return to Tacoma via the Puyallup River Trial and River Road.

We had a GREAT time out riding in the sunshine.

algonabike 006

algonabike 008

We rode out to Orting and decided that a nice cold beer would be good.

algonabike 005

We had a nice mellow ride to the Foothills Trail Head where she showed me the super seekret squirrel Wheelmen route to the Puyallup River Trail.

After that, I actually braved riding on River Road (which can be scary to drive a car on some times) but I did it.

We made a big loop around Tacoma back to her place and then I rode just past home to meet the Icky Boy at the HUB for Buffalo Chicken Pizza & a beer. (he couldn’t’ come ride because of his sprained ankle)

I got 64 miles in which was not the 7 I wanted, but it was a great day.

And now I need to get to bed because it’s my bed time and I’m tired.


Mood: Tired


Critical Mass is a Critical MESS!!!


I am more than disappointed to learn that today there will be a Critical Mass ride in Tacoma.

I’m now going to feel LESS safe on the road with motorists that this event has (INTENTIONALLY) pissed off and made an enemy of cyclists.

Critical Mass has no structure,  no leadership and most important no accountability.

There is an anarchist element in Critical Mass and I’m  not going to be involved in illegal activity such as corking intersections and harassing motorists.

The rides have escalated to violence in many cities, notably this headline from Seattle not that long ago:

“Mob of bicyclists injure motorist”

It was (of course) a “Critical Mass” demonstration in Seattle. For those who are blissfully unaware, Critical Mass is a cycling group that rides (as a form of demonstration) once a month to “assert” the rights of cyclists to use the road.

There is a HUGE difference between educating or advocating and “asserting”.

The groups “cork” (block) intersections, ride illegally (not to mention dangerously) and intentionally disrupt traffic. They antagonize motorists and violent altercations often occur. That’s not only illegal and uncool but it does nothing to make life easier for law abiding cyclists.

Although the “ideal” of the group and event “might” be a good one (in theory), just like any other form of “protest” a certain segment of society has to get in there and make it unsafe, illegal and violent. That appears to be what happened last year in Seattle when a motorist had his tires slashed, windshield smashed and was struck in the back of the head (bad enough that he required hospitalization) with a pregnant passenger in the vehicle no less.

Story of Critical Mass ride gone bad here

We cyclists do not need bad press and we certainly don’t need idiots like this claiming to represent us. One already takes their life in their hands riding a bike around here (I often joke that cyclists and pedestrians are a prey species in Tacoma) and we don’t need drivers having reason to hate us and want us off the road more than they already do..

This YouTube video, which was meant to show “Police Brutality” against the “poor innocent cyclists”, does exactly the opposite. It doesn’t show what lead to the arrest of the two riders, but it does show me that these are people I do not want to associate with.

They do NOT represent me as a cyclist

I belong to the Tacoma Wheelmen and Cascade Bicycle Clubs as well as the Bicycle Alliance.

These and other groups teach and promote safety and riding legally. They work within the law to create bike paths, trails and bicycle friendly communities. They teach safety classes, fit kids for bike helmets and encourage legal and safe riding on club sponsored events. They promote cycling as a healthy recreational activity and as an alternative to commuting through vehicle gridlock and paying through the nose for outrageously priced gas.

Critical Mass does nothing for the cycling community but make it look bad and undo all the hard work that legitimate groups do.

Critical Mass is a critical mess.


Mood: Pissy


Of Pancakes and Peeps

It’s spring; and Easter (for those who celebrate it) is rapidly approaching.

I am remind of this, by all the hits is getting on a certain page.

Yes, I have a web page dedicate to “peep jousting” and microwaving peeps.

click here for PEEPS!!!

Why yes, I am easily amused, why do you ask?

Mother nature seems to have forgotten that it’s allegedly spring, at lest here in the Pacific Northwest. On Friday we were treated to a wicked hail storm (which actually is typical of our spring) nand yesterday morning, unforecast freezing fog.

It was butt cold yesteday morning, 29 degrees F to be exact (for my friends who measure in Celsius, that’s 3 degrees below freezing). It was also very damp out and we actually ended up with ICE on our eyelashes. That was weird.


I did not wear my neoprene bike shoe covers on yesterday morning’s ride (I wear mesh mountain bike shoes because they are the most comfortable most of the year, and need to cover them in freezing weather). I also didn’t wear my insulated winter gloves (left them in the truck because I figured they’d be hot miserable in the return trip. I had to keep checking myself for cappilary refill to make sure I wasn’t going to get frostbite (in addition to sub-freezing temperatures, there’s the issue of wind chill when buzzing down the road on a bike. Oh, and it was even colder when we got to Spanaway.

It was still a fun bike ride with the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club. Every month or so there is a ride to the senior center in Spanaway adjacent to the LeMay car museum.

The proceeds go to charity, they enjoy having us there, and we get a great breakfast of coffee, juice pancakes, eggs and ham (2nds if we want them) and it’s a lot of fun (oh, and great exercise)

After the ride, I went for a swim and felt really good. I think that adding extra protein to my diet (hard boiled eggs in the morning and branch chain amino acids is helping. My legs don’t hurt or feel fatigued and I’m going for a run today.

Here’s the route we took (roughly 37 miles).

If you are viewing this on LiveJournal, via RSS feed or another method that does not display the map/track properly, you can click on the link that says “view larger map” and it will pop up for you.

View Larger Map

Oh I did a meme… (and am not surprised at my Canadian Slang score seeing as Canada is just up the road eh?)

You Speak Canadian Slang

Canadian Slang: 100%

British Slang: 75%

Aussie Slang: 50%

Southern Slang: 25%

Victorian Slang: 25%

New England Slang: 0%

Now that I’ve eaten and the sinus headache is going away, I’m going to get out for a run (well, more like a waddle, but whatever)

Oh, and like a dork, I’m going to go run in the trees… (yeah, the ones that are spewing pollen) Of course, it’s not like we have a choice here. The silly trees are everywhere…


Mood: cold

Happy Birthday Flash!!!

I was talking to my friend Gene today and mentioned that although I feel bad about not having my bike mileage up to where I’d like it to be. I followed that up with, “But at this time last year, I didn’t even have a road bike.”. Then I went and checked my records.

I got flash One year ago TODAY March 20th.

In that time, I’ve ridden her approximately 2,300 miles including:

Two Duathlons
Three Triathlons
The McClinchy Mile (26 of them actually)
The Daffodil Classic
The Tour De Pierce
The Peninsula Metric Century
The Flying Wheels Century
The Seattle Century
The Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (2 day ride)
The Bike MS Ride (2 day ride)
RAPsody (Ride Around Puget Sound 2 day ride)
Numerous rides from Golden Gardens Park in Ballard to the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville
Lots of rides around Pt Defiance
Several trips across the Narrows Bridge
Many wonderful Monday rides to University Place for coffee
Lots of other fun rides with the Tacoma Wheelmen Bicycle Club

and most important, fun rides with friends, new and old.


I can’t wait to see what adventures 2009 holds for Flash and I


Mood: yeah baby