Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fort Steilacoom Cyclocross

And off they go....

The first half of the race was on wet grass with lots of muddy turns. I fell once during one of these turns but snapped back up and continued. The back side of the course consisted of single track, climbing, loose gravel roads, hair pin turns around trees, and one stretch of pavement.

Around the barn and into the barriers.

More tight turns in the grass....

And the sprint for the finish. The fellow in front of me started in the 45+ group so I'm not racing against him.

The race was well organized, the course was well marked and it was a beautiful day for racing. My bike was a muddy mess after the race. After it rained most of the night, we were all were surprised to find the course in good condition.

Halloween Cross in Seattle

This morning at 9:15 AM the first Seattle CX race started at Steilacoom. Among the regular dressed participants were the following:

After raining most of the night, the morning sun pushed the clouds aside creating a cold but beautiful day.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Davis, CA

40 Years ago my wife and I graduated from UC Davis. At that time, the campus only had 8,000 students. Now it has 30,000+ students. On our way home from San Francisco we decided to stop and bicycle around Davis, CA and see what we could remember. After 40 years, there have been so many changes that there is not much to remember. The Quad is still there...

And Putah Creek.....(but largely expanded). There is a large new arboretum on the west side of the campus.

And several lecture buildings are still there but the dorms have all changed.

The city of Davis is flat with plenty of bike lanes and the car drivers are easy to deal with. Because the entire city is so flat, there are many cruiser and one speed bikes. We enjoyed seeing the campus but between our fading memories and the physical changes to the campus, we did not recognize very many things.

Burlingame trip

We drove down to Burlingame, CA to see Grandmother and while I was there I rode the foldie bike along San Francisco Bay. I started just south of the international airport and rode south until Foster City. They have completed the trail around Coyote Point so now the entire trail is protected from car traffic.....very nice.

I was poking along minding my own business when another rider passed me. Since I don't know the area, I decided to tag along hoping that he would show me the trail. But instead, he tried to rub me off his back wheel. The foldie bike does not look fast but it can move right along. Needless to say, he could not ride me off his wheel and I enjoyed the challenge.

The following picture is taken with the iphone so I could not zoom in to show you the pelican perched on the rail watching for fish. Except for a strong north wind, the weather was beautiful.

Try this on for road furniture. The following image shows the arch of a small suspension bridge which crosses one of the many canals. The supports are in the middle of the trail.

Burlingame is a nice area for shops and restaurants but the streets are busy and the drivers are not very friendly toward bikers.

Later that evening, it started to rain. The above image shows a rainy Burlingame train station. Just blocks from here are some of the best Italian restaurants anyone could hope for.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beautiful day before the storm

It appears that this will be the last of the beautiful fall days before the storm cycle starts. NOAA has issued a weather warning for storms starting tomorrow.

This is what it looks like to follow Ben and Mike around the south end of Lake Washington. We included Mercer Island in our travels and had great fun on the curvy road on the east side of the island.

38 total miles
17.4 average speed
Number of suicidal squirrels jumping for my front wheel - 2
155 average heart rate

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bellevue, WA

What a beautiful day for a bicycle ride. Sunny and 62 degrees.

Statistics so far this year

The above photo shows my finish at the Silver Lake Cyclocross race.

From 1/1/2010 until today

4,316 miles
248,990 feet of climbing
215,967 calories

These figures are from my Garmin 705. These figures do not include cyclocross races which are only about 10 miles long but the 45 minute workout is intense.

Silver Lake CX sand

Above is another view of the sandy section of the Silver Lake CX. In the image I'm just about to plow into the first sandy section and beyond me you can see how far the sand extends. I need to learn how to ride in the sand. I did way too much running in this race.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Silver Lake Seattle Cyclocross

For me, the Silver Lake Cyclocross course was difficult and technical. It had a very long (about 200 yards) of loose sandy beach and then a hilly forest section with plenty of off camber turns.

Here is a small portion of the sandy beach.

The sand was were I had the most difficulty. It sapped my endurance and made it hard to steer the bike. Because the sandy section was so long, I was unable to ride the entire section and had to get off the bike and run.

There was another obstacle that I though was very diabolical. After you finished the long run down the beach, you got back on your bike and did a short section of pavement which lead you around a building. Just as you came around the building, you encountered a barrier which was placed just before an up hill, single track section. So, after you were totally out of breath from crossing the beach, you ran into this lung busting up hill single track that, because of the barrier, you had to run. Killer!

For this race I got 5th in the cat 4 over 55 group.

Oh! by the way, it was a cool but very sunny day in Seattle and the Silver Lake Park was beautiful.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I just did something that is scary and exciting at the same time. I signed up for the 2010 Cyclocross National Championships in Bend, OR coming this December. I will be racing in the 60-64 year old category against a group of very good riders. It will be cold, probably with snow, and feature a very demanding course. This should be a great learning experience.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

CX Season

The Seattle Cyclocross season is in full swing and I have raced 6 times already.

StarrCrossed 45th place in the Cat 4 35+
MFG Big Finn Hill 8th place in the Cat 3/4 55+
MFG Issaquah 9th place in the Cat 3/4 55+
Seattle CX Evergreen 5th place in the Cat 4 55+
MFG 5 Mile Lake Park 11th place in the Cat 3/4 55+
Seattle CX Beverly Park 4th place in the Cat 4 55+

My best placing was 4th at the Beverly Park School race. I don't have any pictures of the Beverly race because it was raining and my friendly photographer did not want to risk water damage to the camera. Just before I went to the start location, I talked to Chris (who raced in the first race) and he said there were places on the course that you could not ride or, running was faster than riding. It had rained all night and so the mud was really deep. If you were a very good bike handler and had plenty of power to motor through the mud, you did well. I did not fall off the bike but managed one recovery after another. I can remember one particular off camber downhill turn where I saved the front end big time. Later, I found out that the leader of our group took a big spill at the same location. I feel that my new tubular tires helped me keep the rubber side down. (25 psi in the front and 28 psi in the back)

Cyclocross racing is crazy. You start in a big pack (sometimes 80 riders) and race to the first obstacle whereby everyone bunches up. After the obstacle (run-up, barrier or mud hole), things thin out and you race to pass whoever is in front of you. Most of the time the 55+ year old group starts at the back of the 45+ group, so we don't get a clear shot at the first obstacle. The rest of the race involves bike handling and endurance. At the finish, you smile, catch your breath, and say it was fun.