Friday, December 3, 2010

CX Season Wrap Up

Yesterday was the final CX race of the year- it took place in Monroe, WA at Evergreen State Fairgrounds. It was raining, so at least not snowing- but I swear it was colder even than the race at Sprinker. Thank goodness for Bob's Red Mill Burger serving up warm oatmeal!

The point structure of the Seattle Cyclocross series heavily favored this last Monroe race, giving it double the points of any other race of the year.  One racer from Rad Racing was only one point behind me in the overall, meaning that I'd need to beat her to stay ahead of her and maintain my position in the overall standings.

As per usual, I rode the course a couple of times before the race (and also to keep from freezing to death!).  It was a flat course with one gradual uphill, two short but steep run ups, and two steep, short descents on loose gravel/ dirt that saw a lot of carnage. Here's some video of the action, taken by a super fast single speed racer (courtesy of KB Productions in cahoots with Cyclocross Magazine).  Check out the hairy descent at 3:43 and the funny run up footage at 4:37 (and a blooper at about 8:00):  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Woodland Park and Sprinker Rec Center CX Races

The last two weekends involved two more CX races- one at Woodland Park and one down in Tacoma at Sprinker rec center.

The Woodland Park race had an immense field (pics by Chad):

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Maris Farms CX- racing through the pumpkin patch

Sunday's race was took place at a pumpkin patch.  Although I've spent a lot of time in the country, I found it surreal to be out at a farm, cruising around in and out of the rows of horse stalls, while warming up for my race.  Reminiscent of 4-H shows of my youth, only this time riding an aluminium steed rather than a living, whinney-ing one. The race course itself was lined in pumpkins.  Here are some beautiful images of the day from flickr photographer Ryan Richardson:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Silver Lake CX Race

This last Sunday I raced in the Silver Lake CX race up in Everett.  Although it was a beautiful, sparkling sunny day, the course was quite brutal- it included a long, long LONG run across the beach.

Her'es a little montage of some sand shots (all shots by Chad):

That's me on the bottom right, my speedy friend Kate L above me, TBD to the left, and
 SCCA/ Sbux team president Paul above him giving cx a try.  Hint: click on the montages to view larger images.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beverly Park Cross Race.. Mud, Mud Mud

Last Sunday's race was possibly the muddiest experience of my life.  The skies opened up right before my race started, and the cat 4 women, stripped down to race jerseys in anticipation of the start, were soaked in a torrential deluge of rain.   Every square inch of the course, minus the short section around a clay track, was mud. The run ups were complete mud, a slip and slide fest, right out of the gate.  The upper section of the course, which wove back and forth across a section of turf, was no respite, as the turf was waterlogged and quickly turned to mud.  From the turf, we rode down a muddy decline, back across the track, and to the back stretch, which was not rideable due to mud.  Back and forth we slogged, bikes on shoulders, mud to mid calves.
Definitely one of the most intensely wet and dirty experiences of my life- but there is something fun about being that dirty.  A momentary relapse into a mud-covered childhood, perhaps.

Here's a roundup of my favorite images from around the web of that day:

Monday, October 4, 2010

I heart cyclocross!

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I get excited about crisp cool mornings, apple harvest, pumpkins, falling leaves, fall fly fishing trips.  Recently I've discovered another reason to love fall-  cyclocross!  For those of you unfamiliar with this strange event, cyclocross is a type of bike race which takes place on a mix of turf, pavement, dirt (and mud!) often requiring great bike handling skills to navigate tight corners and objects like roots, rocks and potholes.  Every cross course also has a run up, requiring you to dismount, throw your bike over your shoulder and scamper (or stagger) up a steep hill.  There is usually also a set or two of barriers- you must dismount and hurdle over them while carrying your bike. Often there is also a section of sand or mud that is impossible to navigate on two wheels, so you have to hop off your bike and carry it over your shoulder as you run along.  All the running mixed in with intense cycling makes cross HARD.  But, you do laps on short courses, which means that people are sprinkled everywhere along the course cheering you on, taunting you to go faster, ringing cowbells, and sometimes handing out goodies to keep you going (so far I've been offered both beer and bacon!). 

I ddin't take either of the first two raced I did very seriously- I arrived only about 40 minutes before my race time, got registered, ate a snack, did a quick warm up and started racing.  Both races went something like this:

First lap:

Originally uploaded by StarbucksCyclingTeam

Feeling fresh!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our epic bike ride over the North Cascades Highway... to our Wedding!!

I've spent most of my summer getting ready for our wedding, which happened about three weeks ago in Winthrop, WA.  It was a phenomenal event that many of our friends participated in- people poured their hearts and souls into it!  Recaps will be posted on the wedding blog soon, but this post is about our epic bike ride to our wedding.  That's right- up and over the North Cascades Highway.

A mighty group of 10 riders, all in all, we started the ride in Newhalem.  Well, all of us except Jeremy, who is insane (and a super strong rider) and left from Seattle at 3am to do the complete 190 mile ride in one day.  The rest of us opted to do a "mere" 65 miler with about 7000 feet of climbing, up and over Rainy and Washington Passes.  Anyhow, we met up with Jeremy at about mile 130 for him, at Newhalem Creek Campground, just west of Newhalem. Accompanying us was our awesome sag wagon driver, Mr. Connor Hegarty, and first mutt Miss Lexi Lou. Here's the route we took:

View Larger Map

Friday, May 21, 2010

Atlantic City Nursery visit by Mayor McGinn

This past Saturday morning I hopped on my bike and rolled down the hill to welcome Mayor McGinn as he toured the Atlantic City Nursery, a property in Rainier Beach formerly operated by Seattle Parks and Recreation. For the past few months I've been working with a group of friends, neighbors and urban agriculture advocates, called Friends of the Atlantic City Nursery (FACN), to advocate for turning the site into a working urban farm, following a model based loosely on Will Allen's work with Growing Power.

The mayor's visit was a significant step in a planning process that started last year, when Seattle Parks declared that they would no longer be using the nursery and issued a call to the public for ideas on future uses for the site. Since hearing this announcement less than a year ago, FACN has organized neighbors and leveraged funding sources, done extensive outreach and led a successful community visioning meeting in March. (I should mention that my involvement has been pretty minimal until this point- I've really only helped orchestrate community events, I can't take any credit for the work happening behind the scenes or for shaping the broader vision)!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A bicycle fence

Gardening season is upon us, and Chad and I have been enjoying our first season in our garden.  We've put a lot of work into installing raised beds, planting seeds, and watching our little plants grow. 

Since our vegetables are in their infancy and therefore very delicate, we've been trying to keep Lexi and other furry creatures out of the beds to avoid trampling.  None of our methods, to date, have worked, so we're going to build a fence around the beds- something small and not too tall, but enough of a separation to delineate the space.  We have some parameters, of course.  First, we have a very small budget for this project, and conventional fencing supplies seem to add up in a hurry.  Second, I would love something that upcycles a material otherwise destined for a landfill.  I also want something that is aesthetically pleasing and has meaning for us, something kind of funky and personal, something not mass produced.... something involving bicycles!  Last summer while on a bike tour of the San Juans, I spotted this fence at the Hub Community Bike Shop Cooperative in Bellingham: 
(photo from my own collection) 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Methow Mountain Bike Weekend

A few weekends ago I headed east to the Methow Valley, one of my favorite places in the state to visit, with Chad, Lex, and good friends Tyler, Leslie, Tye, and Christine.  Tyler, Tye and I first got to be friends through working at the ASUW bike shop in college, where we spent long, long hours pondering life through deep conversations while attempting to learn how to work on bikes.  We've been great friends ever since, and have had many adventures together, bicycle and otherwise.

Normally the snowpack this time of year in the Methow prohibits any kind of mountain biking, but this year's low snowpack and warm weather were an exception, so we figured we'd try our luck to see if anything had thawed out enough to be enjoyable.  Local beta dictated that Pipestone Canyon would be the best bet for us to get our early season dirt fix.  We headed east from Methow and, with me navigating, took the, uhhhh, scenic route to the trailhead.  Eventually, we did manage to find the right fire road- we drove up it for a bit, but the slush got too deep for Tye and Christine's car, and soon it was stuck.  After rocking it back and forth a few times, Chad, Tye and I got it unstuck- so we backed down the trail to a slightly drier place, parked, and got ready to ride.   

From Methow Valley MTB weekend 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tour De Dung Race Report

Well, first race over and done with, I had a blast, and I learned a heap about racing.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day in Sequim- sunny blue skies, and the mountains were dressed in their finest whites.  It was chilly and windy, however-  when teammate/ long time bike buddy Justin and I arrived, it was about 36 degrees.

 (brrr!  smiling through the chill....  photo by Justin)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Getting ready for my first road race

My very first road race ever is tomorrow!  I'm headed out to Sequim, WA, for the Tour De Dung with the ladies on my cycling team, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/ Starbucks.   I've spent much of the night getting ready for the race.  First, I cleaned my bike, which proved to be a formidable task (all that road muck from a winter of commuting definitely added up).  Next, I sewed my number on my jersey....

Sawyer Lake mtn. bike

Last weekend my friend Alana and I took advantage of the sunshine to go mountain biking at Sawyer Lake, down by Black Diamond.  Neither of us knew the trails very well, so there was a lot of riding around in circles, getting lost, and getting confused, but we didn't care- it just felt great to get outside!  Here we are, lost but enjoying ourselves: 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A glorious bicycling weekend!

Over the past month or two, my commutes and training rides have been more about character building than about pleasure.  I've been surviving rain, darkness, greyness, parts breakage, and one extremely windy day in Squamish, training with teammates in such severe blusters that one of our riders literally got knocked over by the wind.  Generally, I don't mind this type of riding- in fact, I take some pleasure in the perceived misery of being out on your bike in the rain, snow, sleet and hail.   The truth is, the actual riding is never as bad as your perception of how bad it must be when you're looking at the rain and grey from a warm living room, or out the window of a bus or train.  Once you get out there, it is actually enjoyable, and I like being reminded of this every time I roll off in the drizzle that defines Seattle winters.  In fact, I get so used to the greyness that I forget how wonderful the sun is.