Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Silly and the Smart

Ok and when I say silly it should really read stupid.  One of the roads I take is a nice slow 25mph winding up and down type road that goes past a lake.  It's not a big lake and there is a road that goes the other way around it that is 35+mph and less scenic and flat.  There are bike lanes on both sides of the flat road and nothing much on the scenic.

Coming home last night (on the scenic road) traffic goes from a stately 20mph to nearly a stop for no particular reason.  Oh, but there was one.  See someone on a bicycle with really great gear (nice fenders, commuting tires and really bright lights) was riding on the shoulder of the road.  That in and of itself wasn't really an issue.  But the cars with their headlights coming up the hill were blinding the drivers going down the hill and because of the really bright bicycle lights they knew someone was on their right.

The only major problem is that person was traveling against traffic.  But wait there's more.  There was another cyclist going with the flow of traffic on the right side of the road also trying to get past the wrong way cyclist thus causing traffic to slow.

It only took a couple of seconds for everything to work out, but the issue remained  because of one person and a whole lot of people had to make a lot of right decisions and that one person was riding a bike which caused the little spark of hatred motorists have with cyclists flare just a little bit, when by riding on the proper side of the road everything would have been fine.

I felt bad for the person doing the right thing because the cars that had to wait for everything to get sorted out took out their frustrations by passing them closely as they were accelerating.  LEARN THE RULES OF THE ROAD.

Now the smart.  It was a cop.  I have a lot of respect for law enforcement, but probably underestimate exactly how knowledgeable they really are.

My late night route takes me past one of the Everett stations.  On my way by I saw a cruiser pull out, but it's a station so I didn't think anything of it.

Just past the station is a short section of MUT and other the other side was a cruiser.  The timing was too coincidental.  I checked the plate cruiser number.  Another street and the cruiser rolled past then another section of trail.  At the end I saw the cruiser roll by again.  Another section of trail and the same cruiser.  You would have to be very familiar with the area to know all the twists and turns the trail takes in order to be at the end and you would have to be moving quickly to beat a cyclist on them.

Finally there is a long section of road that goes slightly downhill and two sections of path that are downhill as well.  I pushed hard and lost the car.  For a little bit.

I swing back up to a road-only return and shortly after I did the cruiser rolled past me again.  I felt better seeing them.  It was fun to play the hide and seek game with them through the trails and road, but they not only knew the trail intimately enough to keep up with me most of the time, when they figured out I hadn't back-tracked up the trail they went to the most likely route back for a cyclist and found me.  Smart.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Finally, a nice long (longish, would you believe good ride length?) ride.

A birthday party, a decent day for the PNW, good riding partner and a newish route with some varied terrain.  Sounds like a good day for a ride.  I had a nice warm up ride into Edmonds to pick up my FIL.  It was supposed to be close to freezing but without a lot of rain.

The first part of the ride followed that forecast and while I wasn't moving fast I did ok.  Going back up to Lake Stevens there is some climbing to get into Everett but the brutal hill comes going into Lake Stevens.  20th Ave is about 3/4 of a mile with an average grade of 15% and an upper grade of over 18%.  That combined with a sketchy cross of through traffic moving at 50mph or more made it fun.

The ride back was wet.  It never really rained, but the roads were wet and leaving Lake Stevens is a lot of high speed downhill.  My feet were soaked through before Everett.  Good thing for wool socks.

I had to stop for food before we got back to Edmonds.  With a breakfast of about 300 calories and 150 calories in my bottle I was running a huge deficit and was probably on the edge of stellar bonk, but Starbucks came to the rescue with a rice krispie bar.  The return trip included a good climb from the Snohomish valley to Everett and then again over 164th.

All told for the day I covered 62 miles and close to 4500 feet of climbing.  Speed wasn't really high but considering amount of additional clothing gear, weather and the fact that I"m very out of "bike-shape" I count it as a win.  I wasn't even sore the next day.  One of things I need to do beside clean my bike is check my seat height; my left knee was twitchy on the front which generally means that my seat is too low.

Of course the ride wouldn't have been possible without the continued support of my wonderful wife, who made sure I had the time to ride and my FIL for keeping me company.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Whoops, it's been a few days

I had good days and bad...ish in the last few days.  Mexican food is NOT good for a diet, but good for my tummy!

I have been tracking and for the week I'm down nearly 2700 calories, which is about right for my pound and a bit of weight lost.  I haven't been as far under as I could, because I'm not burning it.  I have been eating consistently and with a good balance.  For the week I have a perfect 50/18/32 split in my food with my protein being nearly 1 gram per pound of weight.  My water intake is up and I don't feel like I'm starving.

The down side...very little riding.  The weather hasn't been horrible, cool but dry.  A lot of is simply a lack of time.  I was able to get out and do my long Mukilteo loop today though there is a major discrepancy between my computer reading for climbing (1130') and the website's that I use (2600').  So I will have to look at that coming up.  It was nice to get a little ride in at 25 miles and gave a 1000 calorie boost to my numbers.  Riding makes all the difference!

I also had good news this weekend.  I will be opening a bike shop!!!!  Not tomorrow, not the day after but in the next couple of years.  The agreement is that once I finish school I begin the work to open my own store.  I am very VERY excited by this prospect.  Lots to do between now and then and my time is already at a premium so home, school, work and training first.

I'll be around here too...I promise