Friday, December 21, 2007

The Evil Streets of Seattle

I bent my rear rim on this devil of a pot hole Wednesday. I normally go around this hole but for some reason I was spacing out, watching traffic or something. Maybe it was the fact that it was raining and full of water. Anyway, I saw it at the last few seconds and tried to bunny hop over. I only succeeded in lifting the front wheel off the ground. The rear wheel and all my weight hit the far edge, and hit hard. Knocked me out of my toe clips. I didn't think to much of it until I was coasting down the other side of the Lower West Seattle bridge and heard that little sound of a wheel, out of true, rubbing on the rear brake pads. It wasn't so bad so I continued to work knowing I would have to get it trued the next day. Upon my ride home I felt a distinct flat spot each time the wheel turned around. At home I saw one of the eyelets had pulled out and I thought for sure that that spoke was broke. The next day my bike mechanic said the spoke is not broke, the eyelet has an inner and an outer and that there really shouldn't be a problem with the outer one missing and he could true it up. But upon closer inspection he saw that I had bent the rim. "Yeah, this rim is shot!" Surprised I didn't get a flat. This means that I will have to get the rear wheel rebuilt again. He was able to push the rim back out and get the wheel almost completely true. Said I may even get another 1000 miles out of it. So I should be able to put it off until after the holidays. For those of you wondering this hole is on Fauntleroy, between Alaska and Avalon, going Northeast.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Tim recently moved to West Seattle and now lives only about 1/2 mile away from me so we've been riding to work together whenever possible. We were working late Friday night and had to be back at 05:00 for a breakfast shift. He said he'd meet me at 04:15 in the usual spot for our ride in to work and I said, "You wanna race?!" Tim agreed and the competitive banter ensued for the rest of the night and the ride home.

I got home around 22:00, took a shower and shaved so I wouldn't have to in the morning. Stripped off all the unnecessary gear from my bike and lubed up the chain. Laid out the cloths I would wear and went to bed by 00:00. But I couldn't sleep. Maybe it was all the chocolate I ate the night before, maybe it was that my usual bedtime is around 02:00. I don't normally work those early shifts. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had to be at work before 09:00. Finally around 01:00 I left Christine with the whole bed, went out into the living room, and watched the Fellowship of the Ring. An hour before our rendezvous I started getting dressed and had a bowl of cereal. A half hour later some coffee. At 04:05 I left.

Here is the route - Race

A few minutes later I was riding across the Alaska Junction, where we would meet. It was cold out. About 30 - 34 degrees. I had on a thin head, face and neck hood thingiee, a t-shirt, thermal top, long sleeve shirt, long sleeve bike jersey, gloves, tights loose shorts, and long knee socks. This kept me warm, fairly sleek and intimidated Tim a bit. He was circling the intersection and as we both rolled over the far crosswalk the race, unofficially, began.

Tim stayed right behind me down Alaska, onto Fauntleroy and then Avalon. There are a few ways to go from there. Basically we have to get to Delridge to access lower West Seattle Bridge. You can shoot down Avalon, onto Yancy, then 28th Ave and SW Andover but that involves a few tricky little tight turns and blowing a stop sign at the bottom of a steep hill. Either a little dangerous or slow. Or you can fly down a super steep hill on Genesee straight to Delridge. I regularly do forty down this hill and I know that he doesn't really like fast descents. But Tim knew Genesee would be my preferred route and he blew past me, around the corner with a hoot.

I let him go. There were a few bumps on this hill, and it was dark. If he went down he wasn't taking me with him. We dropped 130 feet in less then 1/4 mile. My computer said 41 mph as we started to ascend the 40 feet on the other side. At 26th Ave SW I hung a left. To get to Delridge Tim would have to climb another 25 feet in the next block plus as he looked back he had no idea where I was.

One quarter mile. Now a right on Andover. One block and a left on Delridge. I'm ahead, but not by much. Up to the Lower Bridge and he's right behind me. I pull away a little on the west side of the bridge. From all past experience I've got Tim beat going up hills. It's the flats that he might take me. He's somehow able to push those big gears when I have to downshift. On the other side of the bridge I know he will continue straight on Spokane until he gets to East Marginal Way. This will work for him if there's traffic but not at 04:30. I cut across the empty street to the bike trail. Interesting note; at this point some guy on a tall bike passes me going the other direction. The bike path swings me around onto Marginal. I see Tim is now about 100 feet behind.

This is where it gets tricky. I've got my secret weapon; my heart rate monitor. I figure I'm in better cardio shape then Tim. I was definitely in better shape 9 months ago but Tim has been riding more and lost some weight. Still, I know I can hold my heart rate at 170 beats per minute for at least 25 minutes and I'm hoping Tim will wear out long before that. One and 3/4 miles of flats with a slight headwind and he still seems to be falling behind. At one point it looks like he's 250 feet back! I'm feeling like it's in the bag. A few cars go by and I try to catch a draft off them. No good. I look at my heart rate monitor. 172. The voice in my head says, "No harder. Just keep it at 170." But he starts catching up. We're getting near a turn off point. He's only 10-20 feet behind me. I swing out so he can't draft off me. He calls out, "Pretty good!" Pretty good?!? What's that mean? Is he trying to psych me out? I don't reply. Nothing from me but hard, cold determination. That's what he'll get. Cold as the air we are riding though.

I turn right on to King street. Then left on 1st. He follows. We start the long, slight climb of 1st Ave. We're crossing Seneca now. It's an off ramp for the Alaskan Way via-duct and a delivery truck is using it. I make it with no worries but Tim slipped behind a little and has to slow and wait. My heart rate is still at 170 beats per minute. About 90% of my maximum heart rate for my age. Maybe I pushed it to long. I can't power up this street like I normally do and the grade is getting steeper. Tim turns right up Union. The grade is worst this last block before Pike. My heart rate is now 175 bpm, 95% and I can feel it. With an authoritative yet calm voice two words come into my mind, rest now. I heed the command. Just 1/2 a block to level ground again.

I turn right onto Pike now just in time to see Tim pull out from 2nd. He's almost a block ahead! I'm waiting for my chi to come back. I get a little bit but it's not enough. Tim beats me to work by about 10 seconds.

We're in the garage now. Panting. I'm walking around in circles on a natural high. Tim is leaning up against a wall, hunched over.

Me - "Awwww that was a good ride!"
Tim - "Pant Pant Pant"
Me - "Dude! Are you alright!?"
Tim - "I gotta sit down.
He really pushed it. Good job man.

My time from the house to work was 21:42. This goes down in 3rd place for my record time to work. Although the fact that they relocated the bike rack may be adding a few seconds, but the standings remain. Other stats are as follows-
  • Average speed - 16.3 mph
  • Distance - 5.92 miles
  • Max speed - 41 mph
  • Total descent - 628 feet
  • Total climb - 552 feet
  • 457 calories burned; 25% from fat
  • Max heart rate - 175 bpm; 95%
  • Average heart rate - 162 bpm; 88%

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Another Ride Home

It's been a while since I really pushed myself so tonight I did and I beat my old record by 2 minutes and 4 seconds. It was chilly and pretty clear, about 41 degrees. Very little or no wind. Light to no traffic and all the downtown lights stayed green for me.

From work -
  • Distance - 5.91 miles
  • Average Speed - 13.7 mph
  • Max Speed - 25.5 mph
  • Time - 25:55
Odo - 5401.3