Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mountain Bike Gran Fondo at the Pass- an epic day of riding

A few weeks ago I took a last minute trip East to embark on a mountain bike adventure with my dad- an organized mountain bike Gran Fondo, or "great distance" ride.  A celebrated ride format in Europe, the Gran Fondo is just catching on over here across the pond.  This particular Gran Fondo, organized by Bicycle Sales and Service , a North Idaho bike shop, offered a number of distance options- 10 miles, 17, miles, 35 and 50- to explore the trails at 4th of July Pass, just east of Coeur d' Alene.   Dad had called me a week prior to ask if I was interested.  I said maybe, let him know I'd get back to him, but he called three days later to let me know he had signed us both up for the 35 mile option.  I had no choice but to hoof it over the mountains to join him, or face serious shaming.   

Chad and I left Seattle at about 7:30 on Friday night, putting us in to Spokane about midnight.  A night cap with buddies resulted in my staying up until about 1:30 am, leaving just four hours of sleep before dragging myself out of bed time to make it out to my dad's and meet him before the start of the race.  Eesh. I'm definitely getting too old to do long endurance rides on that short of sleep.   

We rolled into the parking lot at the top of Fourth of July Pass at about 8:15 am, which gave us plenty of time to register, eat and stretch before the official start of the ride.
A bit of a festive feel greeting us at the starting line

Dad getting his stretch on- he's gotta keep that 'ol back of his limber.

We took off for our first lap, a 10 mile warm up loop to the south of I-90, with some up and down rollers but nothing too crazy.  There were about 25 other riders opting for this distance and we left the start together then settled into our own pace.  I was amazed at the diversity- a rage of ages and lots of women represented, which was something you don't always see at mountain bike events. 

Some ladies of team REP getting ready to ride (photo borrowed from the event album).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Averting a bee-mergency (stopping a swarm)

The other morning I was doing a routine check on the bees and I noticed that bees in Venessa's hive were clumped around the entrance, not being as active as usual, just kind of hanging out, in large numbers....  basically, showing the first signs of swarm behavior, so far as I could tell.

Yup, we're just bees, hanging out, waiting to see where the party is... (scary for the beekeep!).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CX Bike Lust: Sweetpea Boom Boom

It's July.  And raining. Although last week was nice, this has been one of the crappiest seasons for road riding in a long time.  I've been making weekly journeys east of the mountains to just to experience any kind of real summer.  Given the weather, along with the cancellation of the Cascadia Crit series this year, I'm just not really feeling road racing right now.  You know what I am excited about, though?  Cyclocross!!!!

This weekend our team will hold its first cx clinic of the year (more than a month earlier than last year, woot!), and many of my SCCA ladies have acquired or are shopping for cx bikes. I honestly cannot wait to get dirty with these ladies!  Chad is talking about trying some races too, and I can't wait to heckle him- oops, I mean cheer for him as he gets muddy. 

I also wanted to take an opportunity to share with you the current object of my bikelust.... I present to you a little teaser... a shot up the skirt, if you will, of the Sweetpea Boom Boom.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Buck Mountain trail ride (and a crazy coyote encounter)

We recently headed to the Methow to celebrate our friends' Morgan and Casey's wedding at Spring Creek Ranch, the same amazing venue where Chad and I got hitched. We rolled into town early Saturday morning and set up camp at Buck Lake Campground, a beautiful quiet spot about 14 miles northeast of Winthrop.
After the tent was assembled and air mattresses/ sleeping bags rolled out, we still had a few hours before the wedding.  We set off to explore Buck Mountain Loop, one of the more famed Methow Valley mountain bike rides in the area, heading out along a forest service road which followed the edge of Buck Lake.