Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Rapha Festive 500 -- A "Meh-pic" Ride Report

Delicate bags.  

Yes, I said it.  Delicate bags.  Some people call them lingerie bags.  Go with whatever works for you.  I'm cool with that.  

It feels good to get that off of my chest, really.  

You should get some.  The Honey-Can-Do 3 Bag Set on Amazon is a good starting point.  I got four sets.  I know, that sounds like a lot of delicate bags, but go with it.  I'm sure there is a forum somewhere devoted to delicate bags where you could waste a lot of time.  

That three bag set will give you a good mix of sizes. They are sort of the road bike, mountain bike, and cruiser of delicate bags.  Nothing too tricky.  Maybe you are not really into the cruiser, and one could make a convincing case that instead of a cruiser, that last bag is like your fixed gear.  In any case, they are the three useful ones.  

At first the little ones don't seem that useful, and I was all about the big ones.  But you know, for things like keeping the velcro on your gloves from tearing apart your favorite bibs the little ones come in handy.  

And, I don't mean to get too personal, but your gloves stink.  You should wash yours more often; you don't know where those gloves have been. 

Anyway, just HTFU, and click "Buy It Now."  You can thank me later.  

Perhaps I'm getting a little ahead of myself.  You came here to read about the Rapha Festive 500.  



When the challenge was announced, I found myself trying to get motivated after recovering from a little leg surgery in October.  I managed to finish the Coffeeneuring Challenge and the Winter Solstice Ride nighttime 200K on my freshly overhauled legs, but I needed something to get me moving.  

With a "how can I make this easy" approach, I broke mine into five 100k Seattle International Randonneurs USA permanents

December 26.  Maltby - Granite Falls with Mark 
27th. Testy Chef with The Bully.
28th.  Testy Chef with Vinnie, Rick, and Mark.  
29th.  A Day of rest.  And it was good.  
30th.  Olympia - Summit Lake with special guests Greg, Corey, Andy, and Rick
31st.  Maltby - Granite Falls with a small gaggle of randos.

I figured the randomness of 500K in the winter would score enough "epic" points, but it was not to be.

Now I need to be clear here.  This was a blast.  I got out and rode my bike with my silly friends for 500k.  A good time was had by all.  I'd do it again tomorrow.  I totally appreciate Rapha for creating this.  It is a great idea.  

Unfortunately, sometimes things just go right.  


My bikes just seemed to work.  I got one flat, but it must have been in the car on the way home; it didn't really matter because I had already chosen a different bike for the next day.  Nobody ran out of tubes, cracked a frame, or tore apart a Campy Record hub laced straight up three cross with brass nipples. Nobody's fancy-pants carbon bits failed catastrophically just as they approached the apex of a turn with a dreadful drop.  

At some point, I think Mark's chain squeaked a bit.  It was an annoying noise, to be sure, but it happened just as we coasted to the finish at Starbucks, and he remembered to lube it by the next morning.  

I got hungry, and the Testy Chef was open and still serving breakfast -- exactly as planned.  The whole staff there was in a really good holiday mood too. 

I don't know the roads that well down near Olympia, and on the fourth ride, I started getting hungry for second breakfast just as we rolled into a town with a little diner.  Corey and I thought bacon and coffee would be great just then, and the whole group went with that as they seemed to think the idea was brilliant.  

The clerks at the controls were all in good moods -- even the one at the Chevron in Redmond, but she's always in a good mood.   The woman in the pizza place in Granite falls seemed genuinely happy for our business as did the barista the next time we passed through there.  

The dudes with the giant diesel trucks north of Snohomish gave us wide berth, and they didn't even do that thing where they make a bunch of smoke as they pass you.  

There wasn't any ice on the side of the road.  There was fresh snow on the mountains, which really looked beautiful as the sun came out, but on the roads not so much.

I forgot my chamois lube, but it didn't matter. 

My cue sheets all worked, and I never went went off course some unholy distance on some abandoned logging road to get back to civilization.  I didn't ford any rivers.  



A buddy needed a 5mm wrench on a pretty easy bit of the trail with plenty of daylight, and he got his pick from everyone in the group.  I don't think it mattered anyway, as he could have ridden in with whatever was loose.  

At one point, I started getting a little cool.  Night was approaching, and my tail light batteries had died.  Unfortunately, I had extra dry layers in the bag, and my second light was fresh.  Plus, I was slathered in a couple square meters of reflective tape, so I was unable to avoid being seen early by all the courteous drivers out enjoying their holidays.  

I was mildly tired after three days in the saddle, but I had scheduled a rest day, and that really helped.

On the last ride, I was a bit warm, so I pulled over to shed a layer. Scarcely able to believe my eyes, I looked down. But one glance confirmed my suspicions. Behind a bush, on the side of the road, there was *no* severed arm. No dismembered trunk of a man in his late fifties. No head in a bag. Nothing.

This was *not* to be the start of any trail of events which would not, in no time at all, involve me in neither a tangled knot of suspicion, nor any web of lies.  

(Apologies to Monty Python for totally stealing their Ralph Melish skit.) 

I'm Ok with epic when it comes to me.  Hell, I'll bend your ear off about that last night trying to stay awake into Dreux.  When I go bald, all my friends are going to laugh at the chainring scars in the back of my head from that damned criterium on the boardwalk.  I'm pretty proud of the time I fixed that tandem tire on the Dingle Peninsula with dental floss. 

But try as I might, this was just a bunch of buddies riding around between the holidays.  

For this, I give thanks.  

Oh, and if you find yourself preparing for the Festive 500 somewhere traditionally wet and cold, get yourself a shit load of delicate bags, because that laundry is going to be epic.  



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Wreck of the Old 520

According to Wikipedia, The "Old 97", a Southern Railway train was en route from Monroe, VA to Spencer, NC when it left the track at Stillhouse Trestle near Danville, Virginia on September 27, 1903. The wreck inspired a famous railroad ballad.

Apologies






Well they give him his orders in Lumberton station
Sayin' Mark you're way behind time

This is not a perm, this is old 520
You must put her into Sunset on time

Then he turned around and said to his black, stealthy, motor
Shovel on a little more coal

And when they crossed to South Carolina
Watch 520 role

But it's a mighty wet road from Garland to Shallote
With a straight on ten mile wind

It was in that wind that he lost his Ensure
Hear what a cry he made

He was in that wind makin’ twelve miles an hour
The dog came up out of a dream

He was found in the ditch with his Lanticeptic
Covering his bits with the cream

Then a telegram come to Seattle station
And this is how it read

Well that great big rando that did the audacious
He's lyin' in Lumberton dead

So now all you ladies
You better take a warnin'
From this time on and learn

Never speak harsh words to your true lovin' rando
He may leave you and never return. 
 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Order Beer Glasses by Dec 1st.


Well, it appears that bikes and beer do indeed go together!

Based on all the e-mails I got back, I'm happy to do a group buy. 

Here's the deal:

Glasses are $10 each.  You can pick them up at the solstice ride (you will be there, right) or at my house.  For people who live out of town, I will mail them for $5 per order.

In order to try to get them in time for the solstice, I need your payment by December 1st.  

Oh, and while it is very very likely that I have these by the solstice ride, I'm not going to promise.  

You can either send money to paypal


So that's not too many days out.  Order before midnight tonight. 


Friday, November 19, 2010

Buttons and Beer Glasses

No not beer goggles...

So I was ordering up some solstice ride buttons from my button guy (everyone has a button guy, right?), and I was surprised to see the package arrive marked "Fragile."


What's this?  Are buttons now fragile?  Should I be careful not to over inflate them? Can they no longer be jostled on a lapel without failing catastrophically? Should I save them for event day and stick with pins for more pedestrian efforts?

No, rest assured, the buttons are as tough as ever.

My button guy decided to throw in a lovely etched beer glass as he has some new production toys to play with.  For SIR, I'm sure it was a toss up between beer glasses or a demitasse.  After concluding that a demitasse would be insufficiently manly to appeal to a wide audience, he went with the beer glass.

So why am I telling you all this?  Well, first, I wanted to show off the buttons which can be yours for the princely sum of zero dollars if you come to the solstice ride.

Second, if there is sufficient interest in obtaining your own SIR beer glass, I'd be willing to handle a group buy.




Let me know if you are interested in beer glasses.  (Beer not included.)

email thatsrando at gmail dotcom

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Solstice Ride and Festivus Celebration


Bring your own cue sheet and signed waiver, and I will give you a card at the start.  

When: We are running two rides:

Saturday night December 18th to Sunday morning December 19th.

And Tuesday December 21 to Wednesday December 22nd.

8:30 PM (20:30) start for both rides.  If we ride slowly enough, we will see the sun rise near the finish.

Where: Redmond-North Bend-Leschi permanent 606 STARTING IN REDMOND at Peet's Coffee.
Peets is at 17887 Redmond Way, Redmond WA.

Cue sheet is here: Link

Registration form is here: Link 

This route touches enough places to get coffee and giant slabs of salmon that we will be OK in the middle of the night. 

Last year, Mark Thomas was the instigator of a silly fun ride -- the first annual SIR solstice ride.

Here is last year's ride report.

I will have permission from the permanators to handle the paperwork.  You bring a signed waiver and a cue sheet, and I'll have a card for you.  

Email me at thatsrando at gmail dot com if you need anything.

The actual winter solstice this year is at 3:38 PM Tuesday, December 21st.  We are running a version on the weekend as well as a Tuesday night for the purists in the group. 




The Winter Solstice "occurs exactly when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun.Though the winter solstice lasts only an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used as midwinter or contrastingly the first day of winter to refer to the day on which it occurs. More evident to those in high latitudes, this occurs on the shortest day, and longest night, and the sun's daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time."



I think Tap captures the shear massiveness of the event:



What this means in practice is that it's going to be dark.  And cold.  And probably a bit moist.  



This also means that riding all night with your friends will be stupid fun.  

But wait, there's more!


Festivus "is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23. It was introduced into popular culture by the TV show Seinfeld. The holiday's celebration includes an unadorned aluminium "Festivus pole," practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength."





We aired some grievances last year without being fully aware of the Festivus miracles we were experiencing.  Yes we did, and we're pretty much still friends.  

So, come play. 

Bring lots of stuff to make you visible.

Bring a friend.  We are hoping to get a bigger group to add to the the silliness.  I'm not promising anything, but it is possible that there will be support at one of the controls for the weekend ride. 

This is gonna be great!




Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cascade 1200 Mad Libs




OK Gang,
I couldn't help noticing how everybody's experience on the same ride can be so different.  Sure, we are on the same course, but we are spread out over hours, and our abilities cover quite a range.  I thought I would help out and give a template everyone could use to describe their experience.  Play with a friend!











Cascade 1200 Mad Libs

(Explicative)!  That was quite a ride!

I tried to describe what a 1200K was to someone, and they seemed a bit (Adjective).  After I told them 1200K is (Number) miles, they exclaimed, "Heck, I wouldn't even take a (Vehicle) that far!

Lining  up at the start, I was oddly both (Emotion Adjective) yet (Emotion Adjective).  Once we rolled out, I felt better and settled down to the task at hand. It was fun chatting with the fast guys as we rolled through familiar roads towards Issaquah.

Over the course of four days, I went through some pretty big swings.  At times I was (Emotion Adjective), (Emotion Adjective), and even (Emotion Adjective).

I suppose the worst was when I needed to stop at the gas station  for some (Over The Counter Medicine); until it kicked in, I was pretty sure I would DNF with (Disease)(Name) reminded me I had (Number) hours in the bank, so I shouldn't panic. That was good advice; I bounced back over the next few hours.

Riding along each night as the full moon rose was a wonderful experience.  I rode for hours with a moon shadow version of myself keeping me company.

You can get some good stuff at mini-marts; who knew there were so many calories in (Food) or (Food).

The control workers were (Adjective), (Adjective), yet (Adjective).  When I was (State of Mind) they fed me a combination of (Food), (Food), and (Beverage) that sounds horrible, but it really hit the spot.

The third day was the hardest for me;  it lasted (Number) days.  There were (Number) tough climbs, but it was the heat that really got to me.  At times if felt like it was (Number) degrees.   

I really liked riding with (Name) and (Name) from the local club as well as the guy from (Country) and the woman from (Country).  They made the time pass quickly.  I'm glad we were able to avoid the (Animal) that attacked us on Loup Loup pass.

On the way down Loup Loup, I got (Name of Song) by (Name of Band) stuck in my head.  That seemed appropriate, and I sung out loud as the miles passed.

As I got to the top of the last pass, I thought I was home free.  Just then, I got (Sickness) and thought I was done again.  This ride just kept coming!  I mean, right up until the finish, I suspected my (Bike Part) or my (Bike Part) which started squeaking would finally give out, but it held.   I had an extra in my drop bag, but it would be no help on the road.

As we approached the finish, I didn't feel my sore (Body Parts Plural) and (Body Part) at all; I just felt great.  I pedaled (Adverb) for the first time in days.  My (Body Parts Plural) are still numb, and I wonder if I will ever feel my (Body Part) again.  I have never been scabbed on my (Body Part) before; that's a first.

In total, I suspect I slept (Number) hours, while the (Adjective) guys were able to get quite a bit more then that.


I've been (Bodily Function) and (Bodily Function) pretty much constantly since the finish.  (Name of Prescription Medicine) and caffeine seem to help.

Looks like I'll be going to (City) in 2011.  What an experience that will be!

Thanks again, SIR.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cascade 1200. The Opposite of Room 101






















So, in about a week and a half, I'm going to line up with about a hundred like-minded people and head off on the Cascade 1200.  Some of you know better than I do what I'm getting into, and some of you have no idea.

I have some idea, but I'm going to take it as it comes.  Heck, a butterfly in Uganda probably just put into motion a set of events that will determine how hot it will be.  It's out of my control.   

I'm not gonna kid you; this is going to be an interesting four days.

The Cliff's Notes version goes like this:

The ride is 1240Km. (770 miles)  One has 93 hours.  For a guy who grew up in Joisey, that's about the distance from Trenton to Jacksonville, Florida.  Sure, it's a good hundred miles shy of the distance from Urumqui to Tashkent, but you get the idea.

You could think of it as about 413.3 laps around Green Lake, but then you might go crazy.

I've been known to tell myself, "heck, it's only one lap around Green Lake to the next control, you can do that."  Unlike Green Lake, I doubt there will be Spuds fish and chips on the ride.  Ensure, Cliff Blocks, chocolate milk, Double Shots, PB&J, rotating hot dogs (for display purposes only), and Payday bars will probably appear in abundance, but I'm guessing there will be no Spuds. 

Here's the deal: I'm not as ready as I hoped to be, but I'm ready.

I'll start off easy, and then I'll back off.  I'm going to eat this elephant one bite at a time.

My bike is good to go.  I'm bringing the Waterford.  I flirted with bringing a lighter bike, but after the 400, I never got around to tweaking one to work better on long distances.  My Waterford just works; I forget about it.  It is the bike I've used on three 600's and a 1000, and it is the one I'll take this time.  I like the way it rides with some weight in the bar bag, and I like the way it handles when I hit a pothole at night on day 3.    

A couple of years ago, I worked the first overnight control on this ride.  I had just completed my first series, and I didn't think I'd ever attempt anything as audacious as the Cascade.

Of course I knew I would attempt the Cascade; I just didn't admit it to myself.  They gave the workers shirts that year with a big heart attack looking route profile on the back and a map of the state; it feels sort of odd wearing it.

Come on Kid, have just a taste; you can stop any time you want.  But look, all the cool kids are doing it.  Come ride a Populaire; it's free.  Here's a shirt, Kid; sure you can wear it.  No big thing.

I don't know how this is going to turn out, but I know arriving in Whitefish, Montana last year was a feeling you can't buy for all the tea in China. 

I rode the Flying Wheels century last weekend with a friend who did his first century.  The course overlaps with some shorter loops, so you get to climb the last hill with people of all abilities who are out there doing it.  Some were walking or sitting on the guard rail.  Some were just goofing off, but they were all out there.  Good on 'em all, as they say.

I know a couple of guys who have held the national 24 hour record and have been competitive in RAAM; I'm not one of those guys.

For me -- for right now -- this is the hurdle.  The bar is magically set just right. It is exactly hard enough.  It's the opposite of my Room 101. Sure, I'll probably peek at the room along the way, but I'm not going there.

DFL>DNF>DNS

Link to Cascade 1200


Link to Seattle International Randonneurs