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.


Link to Cascade 1200

Link to Seattle International Randonneurs

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Munchkinhead Micro Fleche

It's a stick-close-to-home weekend as The Momster is off doing her doctor thing.  Lizzie and I decided to do a microfleche.  We were a team of two.  We had one control at IHOP.  Surprisingly, Ralph and Carol didn't show up with bananas or cookies. Those guys don't volunteer enough!

There was no fire, but other than that, the similarities with last weekend were spooky.

Both rides had most excellent graphics:

We rode in close formation:

We carried all our junk in fancy bar bags:

Snacks were eaten by us. (passive voice points)  I'm partial to sparkle polish lately: 

We both rode single speeds today (hers was the pink one):

We stopped for pictures with our buddies:

We took naps when we needed them:

Lizzie has applied for a RUSA number, and we are waiting for ACP to validate the results.  Before she fell asleep, she said something about using this as the first month of an micro R-12.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Let's First Play, "That's Rando!"

Normally we start with the ride report and save "That's Rando!" for the end.  Not today. We will get to the ride report, but let's start in the middle this time, shall we?

Greg's cabin was about 65 degrees warmer than it was last year.  Hold that thought.

After the ride, we went over to Vinnie's cabin for some dinner and beer. Of course there was no real reason to let Vinnie know this ahead of time, and knocking on the door is so 1970's, so we all just showed up, made ourselves loudly at home, and did our best to wake up Vinnie.

Vinnie, of course, woke up all smiles and started cooking.  Pots were rattled.  Knobs on the were turned.  Bottles were opened.  The passive voice was used by many.

The cabin was a bit chilly, and I'm not sure if Vinnie wanted to practice Kent's Flammable Frito Fire Starter Trick, but pretty soon the kitchen was nice and warm.  We had a nice crackling fire going which would have been nice if someone had intended to have a fire.  It turns out that not only do Fritos burn nicely but so do really big bags of chips left on the stove if you turn the stove on.

The oven knob is a completely different knob than the stove knob.  Who knew?

Question: How many randos does it take to put out a fire?

Answer: One, but the others do pause slightly in the conversation to comment.

It's sort of like changing a flat when the whole pack is still together but with less urgency.

I didn't get a picture as I was a bit preoccupied, but Mark said my Photoshop ban would be removed just this once for good behavior to create this somewhat embellished reenactment.

You will be happy to know that we managed to put out the fire, warm up the cabin, and save most of the chips.

That's Rando!

Oh, and we did a bike ride.  It was wet.  Then it was night.  Then some of us slept.  Then it rained.  A lot.  Then we ate.  A lot.  Then we had a big banquet and told stupid stories.

No question the Fleche is one of the best rides of the year.  Thanks so much to Ralph and Carol, my fantastic team, and the rest of the crazy folks in the club.

I'm tired, so I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story for now. 


Friday, March 26, 2010

An Open Letter to Fatty -- Let me in, and I'll do two laps.

Dear Fatty,
Due to an administrative error (I forgot), I failed to sign up for the 100 miles to nowhere.  But, you see, I would still like to ride.  What can I do?  How about you let me in, and I'll do two laps?

Pretty please? 

For those of you living under a rock (the real world) you may have missed the call. Here.

"The 100 Miles of Nowhere is a race without a place. It’s an event in which hundreds of people participate . . . all by ourselves.

It’s a very strange thing where you pay $95 for the privilege of riding your rollers, trainer, or a very small course (like around the block) for 100 miles. And then the profits from your entry go to LiveStrong, to help them as they help people, worldwide, in their battles against cancer."

Besides, I will have my army of devoted  readers (two or three people) barrage you with e-mail asking for you to let me in.  

Friends, email and ask to "Let Joe Ride Nowhere!"  

Joe "Wanting To Ride Nowhere" P. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bellingham 200K

It was a beautiful spring day in the Pacific Northwest.  Fenders were left home once again.  A guy could forget where he lives if this keeps up.  We had a fantastic route with about 80 riders.  That's a pretty big gang given the chili feed was last weekend and there is a 300 next week.  I hear something about a big ride on the other side of the pond next year; I wonder if the turnout has something to so with that.

It started off much colder than I expected.  I think it was just at freezing when we rolled out.  Since we were starting at a grocery store, and I didn't have any booties, I stuffed a plastic shopping bag in each of my shoes; they worked really well, and they are light.  Rapha could print these up in pink and sell them for beaucoup bucks.

At the first control, Vinnie had a busted cable.  It turns out he busted the cable because his shifter was buggered.  We set him up with a two speeder, and he hung out for the rest of the ride.

I finished with the fastest guy today.  Thing is, he rode to the ride, finished, and then rode back twenty or so miles to ride back with us, so technically, I finished with him.  That's my story.

But really today was all about hanging out and being social. Being at the back of the pack gives one a chance to see the archeological evidence of the ride.  This pretty much sums it up.

Thanks guys for a most excellent day. 

Oh, and here are my two favorite shots from the chili feed.

Maggie says "talk to the hand!"
Now, let's play, That's Rando!

At first, I was pretty sure Dr. Codfish's busted water bottle would win.  Then, I was liking the subtly counterbalanced PBP / Bike Snob pins.  I thought it was game over.

Unfortunately for the Good Doctor, Noel figuratively threw his bike at the line for the win when he emerged from the penultimate control with this beautiful Bic lighter.  I'm not sure if he had some old inner tubes upon which he planned to vulcanize pre-WW2 patches or if he was planning a pig roast at the finish, but clearly, this belongs in everyone's kit.