Friday, December 25, 2009

Winter Solstace 200K.

No, Munchkinhead didn't ride the 200k, but she did play in the snow. With the requisite kid picture out of the way, we return to our regularly scheduled ride report.

Mark sent out an innocent enough e-mail, and 13 or 14 of us showed up at Peet's Coffee ready to roll at 9:00PM.


"Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it." - Daisy in the Great Gatsby.

"I'd hate to wait for the longest night of the year and then miss it." - Me

"Here we go (all night long)" - David Byrne

"You know the night time is the right time." - John Fogerty

Enough already, you get the point. All night permanent Sunday night to greet the winter solstice at 9:30 Monday morning.

Easy pace; hang out at Denny's (80km) and Shari's (140km). Like a fleche in the winter.

Meet at Redmond Whole Foods for a 9:00 PM departure. Permanent #606-Redmond-North Bend-Leschi-Redmond.

BYO route sheet, registration/waiver, warm clothes, and good lights.

Leave good sense at home. Won't be helpful.

(There was a complete lack of Photoshop this year. All of these images are straight from the camera.)

TRFKAF did a nice report here.

We rolled out into a pretty good rain. I'm always amazed how comfortable one can be in nasty conditions with the right clothing. If you read the rabbit's report, I also overcooked the descent to the valley; it was an odd mixture of not enough breaking with a fear of applying too much breaking with no visibility. It turned out OK, but I think I'd carry oh, about half as much speed, next time.

We had a guest along for the ride -- world famous blogger and wet weather clothing tester, TRFKAF. Cecil came too. I had not ridden with Cecil and Floyd since the Berkie 200 in the Spring. Believe it or not, we agreed that the Berkie was much wetter. Yeah, no kidding.

TRFKAF likes to snuggle with a Planet Bike Superflash. Seems reasonable.

We spent a bit of time stinking up the grocery store in North Bend. I think this was just after midnight. Robin looks tired, which I don't understand; he checked the "go fast" box on his Waterford order form. Somehow I missed that box. I will need to talk to Richard about that.

The researchers at Very Big Sports Food Company Of America would not be happy with Vinnie's food selection here. Real food; it's for controls.

We later stopped at a less luxurious gas station control in Newcastle. We made up for the food with extra stink. This stop was a bit odd. It felt like we were in a movie about all the strange things that go on at a mini-mart in the middle of the night. We did our part to contribute to the scene.

We've been talking about these burritos all fall. I have not tried one twice yet.

Mark brought along a weather appropriate pen. "Rite in the Rain."

Robin brought along his "go fast" pen. He claims this is the secret to his speed. I'm going to buy one and attack!

It didn't matter what kind of pen Steve had. His control card was a bit moist.

And now let's play, That's Rando!

When we got to the finish, there was no question, no question at all, who today's winner was. Vinnie isn't one for records, but he likes riding his bike with his friends. I did spy a tiny little extra smile as he handed in his card.

From Geoff to the SIR List:

Congratulations Vincent !

Monday morning Vincent broke the legendary Dan Driscoll’s 2007 record of 21,244 K in RUSA rides. Vincent now has 21,307 K of RUSA rides for 2009… and he’s not done for the year! It is fitting that Vincent broke the record on a truly rando ride – the first annual (?) Winter Solstice ride … riding through the night, in the rain, with a dozen other odd ducks.

When you then add in his international riding – the Granite Anvil 1200, t he Sydney-Melbourne 1200, his riding in the Pyrenees – and the PAC Tour Mountain week, it is simply astounding.

It’s been great riding with you this year !


Chapeau, Vinnie!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

When is 480 = 200?

I wanted to get my December R12 in the books early this month. It rained yesterday, and then it dropped below freezing. The roads were pretty darned icy, and they were icy for a long time. I left the house with a normal bike, but it was so slick driving, that I went home and grabbed the freshly built 1971 Roberts with studs shown here in repose.

Greg pointed out that quite a few people signed up. Most showed up. Some started. A few finished.

He is going to make a nice flow chart illustrating the decision process and the relative brightness of the different choices. I don't suspect the finishers will come out on top.

Vinnie, with a killer jersey, had not ridden since the 1200 in Australia that finished the day before yesterday, so he was in.

We ate healthy as usual.

There was a beautiful sunset over Lake Sammamish.

It was a great day. A couple of riders went down in Renton on the ice. After everyone checked out OK, some smarty pants told Greg that he was really glad he crashed because he needed to stop and pee. Said smarty pants does not take credit for this line, as Greg has heard this before.

I was really really slow with the studded tires, but my 480 studs helped me feel safe on my 200K. Yeah, I'm sort of a belt and suspenders guy.

Today's That's Rando! winners are everyone who thought about riding, didn't ride, rode, DNF'd, or finished the ride. Group hug.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This Just In: Brad Still Out Of The Office!

Sometimes on rides, blackberries and iPhones come out at controls. Today was no exception. People check up on news, wives, facebook, etc. Sometimes people even navigate with these things.

Today, we checked in early and often just to make sure Brad was still out of the office. He is. We refrained from calling his assistant and asking if he could come out and play. Hopefully we will see you soon, Brad.

The parrot is thriving, and there are hats near the university.

Mark likes to ride his bike.

One of the best things about the convenience stores -- besides the rotating hot dogs (for display purposes only) - are the things posted on the bulletin boards. Heck, you can find real estate agents, tire chains, and lost dogs on these boards, but today we found this.

Pretty much sums it up.

Vinnie and gang, if you check in before the big ride, give 'em hell.

Y'all have a great Thanksgiving, OK?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hors Categorie

So Kent offered to lead a mixed surface ride. He knows dirt; it says so right on his jersey. After a Metro bus brushed me back on Newport Way -- what's up with that? -- four of us rolled out at 10:00 sharp from Issaquah.

It was windy here a few days ago.

Kent said something about being on I-90 for one exit. At each exit ramp, however, Kent would check the traffic and cross over to stay on the highway.

The three of us in the back were cracking ourselves up as we just kept heading up to the pass.

"I wonder if he's going over the pass?"
"Which pass? There's more than one pass if you keep going."
"I think he will bang a right in Polebridge."
"Nah, I think he needs to start in Banfff this year."
"I think it's a test to see who complains first."

Perhaps 4-5 miles from the top, Kent pulls over and lets us know we missed the turn. Everyone was really upset. It took a while to recover. Well, not really.

Before we knew it, we were bundled up and buzzing down the Iron Horse trail.

Which took us to coffee in North Bend.

And back to the brew pub in Issaquah.

There were two Stumpjumpers of different vintage on the ride. They both roll about the same.

Now let's play "That's Rando!"

There was some serious competition today. From just a few players, there were many worthy entries. I'll highlight just a few.

This pink beverage like substance had a list of ingredients that went on like a grand randonee. If your body needs it, it's in there. It matches Rapha colorways and Pedro's pink tire levers. Lizzie voted for this one. Bravo.

There's not much that good Chicago blues can't cure. I imagine Hound Dog Taylor could write a few mean blues on any number of rando issues. Most days, this would be a clear winner. But this was not most days.

Kent's cheese wedge won hands down. It's an "Hors Categorie" entry. Many state transportation departments have even placed signs on the road honoring Kent's cheese wedge. They typically put them on the hardest climbs to salute the effort. Well played, Kent.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

State Of Clear

I recall from a pseudoscience class that L. Ron Hubbard claimed if you follow Dianetics you can reach a state of clear and see all your past lifetimes. Well I don't know about that, but I thought clear would be nice.

This bike started out life in the early '70s as a 27" Roberts touring bike. When I got it, it had cantilever brakes and a ton of rust. It was a beautiful British racing green color with decent Roberts decals which I'm a bit fond of.

The problem was that I really wanted to be able to swap wheels around and the brakes were in the wrong place for 700c wheels. I suppose this was like a 650b conversion but bigger.

I tried to get Dr. Boxer to take his torch to the bike and do a bunch of braze-on moving, but he's too busy, so I got out the dremel and some cutting wheels and grinding stones and had at it. That's kind of rando, no? I'm actually glad that Dan was too busy to fit this in because it means people are jumping on new Boxer bikes. You should sign up for yours before he has really long wait list, no?

Anyway, once I hacked off the canti studs, I knew I'd be in for a repaint. Seattle Powder Coat blasted the frame clean and put on a nice gloss clear coat for $150 plus tax. It would cost $25 less if I didn't have them mask the chrome dropouts. When I left the bike, I thought it was pretty likely they would call and say they blasted through the frame because it was so rusty; I had that happen with a Paramount track bike on high school.

I fit in some big fat studded tires and went on a run to the coffee shop today. It rides great. It has a huge wheelbase, and some very very slack angles.

I like the way it turned out.

Munchkinhead likes it, but she's just silly.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wheel Building 101

Greg decided that it's about time he made up a fixed commuter bike. As part of a highly negotiated deal, I ended up with another Brooks saddle and a promise to put together his wheel.

Lizzie was all done moving the barbells up to the attic, so I put her to work.

Seriously, though, I am so proud of her. I showed her the pattern, and she put all the spokes in the hub for me. She also put the first couple of sets of spokes through the rim before she went back to her regularly scheduled pomegranate munching.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Three Rivers Cruise 200K. With Bonus Tooth Fairy

Munchkinhead is in on the secret of the Tooth Fairy's identity; she thinks it's pretty cool since most of her friends don't yet know. She was out collecting rando food last night.

Beautiful ride today. Started at the civilized hour of 8:00. Thanks Don!

My burrito, on the left, with a food-like-substance wasn't as cool as the other which was carried in.

These were on the counter at the same gas station with the burrito-like product. There is definitely a Craig Ferguson joke here involving Hollywood Boulevard.

Surprise! Greg's way ahead and on his crackberry at the control.

Great day, gang.

Now let's play "That's Rando!"

An excellent group of competitors today. This color coordinated bungee ensemble is both stylish and practical. However, this contestant was removed from the competition when it came to the judges' attention that he received professional clothing consultation on his socks from an actual bike shop.

This sporty Look had a multi-tiered laminated fender structure that would make Jaja proud. The photo isn't so good, but if you look closely, you will see eight - count 'em, eight -- stays supporting the structure. These aerospace grade rivets would make the harshest FAA inspector proud. Clearly someone has CATIA 6 and finite element models of this beauty. Notice the clean lines at the joint which must have been made with some kind of a cutting tool.

Ruling: Too nice.

Now, I have spent many miles studying the next loose assemblage of fender parts, and it was a contender for today's prize. In contrast to the entry above, time was not wasted to actually cut the extension; why bother when simply tearing off a jagged chunk of fender is so much quicker?

It's got some serious elements -- color matched zip tie, duct tape, electrical tape, and inverted old bottle flap.

Sadly, the ruling: Too sloppy.

Now, this wing nut mudflap fitting is just right.

As Python would say it is like a stream of bat's piss. It shines out like a shaft of gold when all around is dark.

Today's winner. Well played. Simple. Elegant. Functional. Rando.