Monday, September 03, 2012

August Mileage

August wins the award, by a long shot, for most miles I've EVER rode in one month with just over 700 miles or approximately 37,000 calories burned.

In the I-10 Challenge I've made it to San Antonio, TX with 1057 miles rode. At least according to Mapquest.

The Courage Classic raised a total of $596,506 with my personal addition of $1,125. $375 over my goal. 

Monday, August 20, 2012


Today's ride was a fifty mile out and back up Burke-Gilman. I wore the heart rate monitor today and the caloric burn is comparable to what Endomondo says. About 2700 calories. So I guess Endomondo is doing a pretty good job in that regard. According to the heart rate monitor 50% of that was from fat. Yea! My max heart rate was 169 with an average heart rate of 122.

For the I-10 challenge I've made it to Texas and I'm about 50 miles away from Houston, according to Mapquest.
Time to change the chain again. Only got about 1500 miles out of this chain.

Odo - 6610

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tour de Peaks

On a spur of the moment I signed up for the Tour de Peaks ride. It's a 100 mile ride starting in North Bend and traveling up through Snoqualmie, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, and almost up to Monroe, then back. It's all full of beautiful country roads, farmland, rivers and views of Mt Si. The Tour de Peaks website claimed it had only 600 feet of elevation gain but in reality it's closer to 2300. The first 50 miles were outstanding. The second 50 I was feeling pretty beat. I wonder how much fatigue was influenced by the Courage Classic just a weekend before or the fact that I only slept for about 4 hours the night before the ride. This ride was in no way supported like the Courage Classic. There were water/snack stops but I can only eat so many cookies. No SAG vehicles. Not that I was expecting any. The whole thing took me about 8 hours. Three days of commuting later and my legs still feel tired. In the last 12 days I've rode over 380 miles. Hey at least my knees feel OK. In fact, no real pain anywhere except for fatigue and slight soreness.

As for the virtual I-10 Challenge I'm only 30 miles from the Louisiana/Texas border having rode a total of 730 miles since it began in July.

At about 7800 miles on my Brooks B17 saddle I've given the tension bolt it's first adjustment. 1/2 a turn.

Odo - 6515 (17,847)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Courage Classic - Post 4

The ride is over. It was grueling, hot, long but also challenging, full of great support, food and people. Rest stops about every 15 miles, sponsored by local Rotary clubs, offered tasty food and treats. UPS transferred our bags, each day, to the next camp. There was always a mechanic tent. Fortunately I never needed them. Also plenty of SAG cars out on the road which had their job cut out for them with all the flats people were having. I heard of people having 3 or more flats in one day! Cloth rim strips and puncture resistant tire liners people! I can't say it enough. People are so caught up in bicycle weight they won't add a few ounces and would rather change 3 tires a day. Of course, you know, I'm now the polar opposite. I left everything on my bike for this ride. The racks, fenders, lights, and the bomb proof wheels with the generator hub. My bike is probably, on average, 15 pounds heavier then everyone else's. It also stuck out as one of the most beautiful. I got compliments constantly and many people took pictures but I digress.

The first day started out with perfect weather but got pretty heated by noon during the final climb to Snoqualmie summit. This day was a mix of country roads and I-90 freeway. The freeway had a decent shoulder of about 6 to 10 feet so we generally weren't to close to the cars/trucks but was full of debris. Although I noticed that even though the cyclists would complain about the debris they would still add to it with their flatted out tubes. Lunch at the summit was spaghetti. Unfortunately we didn't get to descend off the summit because of construction and were shuttled for about 10 miles or so. After this was more I-90 and then back roads of rolling hills up into Cle Elum and the campground. I discovered on this day that when the bottom of my feet start burning all I need to do is stop for about 5 minutes and I'm good for at least another 10 miles. I didn't push it to hard this day as I wanted to conserve my legs for the next two. I didn't want a repeat of the STP ride. Here is the first leg to the summit - and the finish for the day to Cle Elum -

I reached the finish sometime around 2 or 3 and got a perfect camp site in the middle of the field. In the late afternoon shade, away from the trees so I could watch the stars and the moon come up, close to the bathroom, dinner and the beer garden. Oh yeah, free beer garden put on my Redhook. Thank you. My plan was to shower and take a nap, then get up and bike into Roslyn to The Brick to watch a raggae band I had heard about but this didn't work out. I went to the beer garden, started talking to people, hit the shower, dinner and finally crashed at about 7pm. I woke up at 9, brushed off the whole idea and fell back asleep. I really didn't know where it was anyway and my smart phone, which I would have used for the maps, was running out of juice. Maybe next time. (Did I say next time?!) Turns out it was only about a mile and a half away.

Several people mentioned that day two was the best day and I completely agree. We rode from Cle Elum to Leavenworth on two lane highways with little traffic through farmland up into the mountains and over Blewett Pass. It was a long climb to the pass but, looking back, it didn't seem as difficult as the first day. The 10+ miles of descent after the pass was my favorite. Fast enough but not to fast. I kept it around 30 mph because of the winds blowing up the canyon and gusts coming off trucks passing. Frozen Icy Pop rest stop at the bottom where I met up with a new friend (who I met the day before at the beer tent) and his team who generously let me ride with them for the rest of the event. They are good people. Fun, easy going. They even asked me if I was going to join their team for next year. Let's see if I'm up to this again first. Anyway we all took a plunge in the river about a mile after the Icy Pop stop. It was HOT this day. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Here's a map for this day -

Set up camp, shower, wander around Leavenworth for the afternoon then dinner and the 7-10 beer garden with my new friends. Free shuttles back across town to camp.

Day three was a long day of climbing. Up in the mountains to Steven's Pass. It was rough. The hardest day of the three. At the last rest stop before the final ascent (the cookie stop which I ate a lot of) I heard it was only 4 miles to the top. I had nothing to lose. This was the last 4 miles of the last big climb of the weekend. I got my second wind, turned on the "steam engine" and pounded my way up. It was STEEP! At the top was probably my favorite lunch of the tour. A fantastic baked potato bar. I was looking forward to the descent but I admit I found it a little intimidating. Very steep and fast. The shoulder was to rough to maintain speed on and I didn't want to be that close to traffic so I kept it slow to around 25-30 mph. Towards the bottom the route took us away from traffic a little while on the Old Cascade Hwy and then it was gentle rollers right into Skykomish. Then maybe an hour and a half bus ride back to the start. Here's a map for day 3 -

Day 1 -
  • Distance - 54.49 miles
  • Time - 4:47:27
  • Average Speed - 11.37 mph
  • Max Speed - 37.38 mph
Day 2 - (Including riding around Leavenworth)
  • Distance - 60.95 miles
  • Time - 4:53:40
  • Average Speed - 12.45 mph
  • Max Speed - 36 mph
Day 3 -
  • Distance - 61.85 miles
  • Time - 5:05:51
  • Average Speed - 12.13 mph
  • Max Speed - 34.02 mph
Total Distance - 177.29 miles
Odometer - 6300 (17,632)

Elevation profiles for day one -
Elevation profile for day two -

Elevation profile for day three -

A little side note here - My legs feel pretty good after this ride. There's only a little pain behind my left knee and I believe this could be relieved if I actually stretched and used my foam roller on a regular basis.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Courage Classic - Post 3

I signed up for the Courage Classic on July 16th. As I stated before once signed up each rider has to raise a minimum of $750 for the cause. The ride was just 3 weeks later and I was sort of freaking out but not only did I meet my goal, I managed to raise another $255. Yeah, $1005. I know it's not a lot to some but it's a good job for me. It helps working in a department with over 90 other people. So far the entire Courage Classic has raised over $430,000 this year. Thanks again to all who sponsored me.

Now . . . the ride.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Did the Mercer Island loop again today before work. Saw three big ass black tail deer there. Practically ran into one coming around a corner.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Courage Classic - Post 2

Raised $550.00 now. Only 200 to go.

Also I've rolled over 6000 miles just one week late of my 3000 mile a year average.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Courage Classic

I decided to ride in the Courage Classic. It's a 3 day ride over 3 mountain passes in the Cascades covering 178 miles. It's similar to the distance I rode in during the STP but where the STP was relatively flat the Courage Classic has about 2500 feet of elevation gain each day. Although STP was only over 2 days this ride is over 3 so it breaks down to around only 60 miles a day. Am I worried about the climbing? Well I've done Chilly Hilly several times and it has just as much elevation gain in one day as each day of the Courage Classic so no.

One aspect of the Courage Classic, however, is that every rider must raise a minimum of $750 for charity. That, in itself, might be my greatest challenge. So far I've raised 1/3 ($255) towards the goal. Here's a letter describing the ride, what the money goes to and a link for anyone that wishes to donate -

Dear friends,

I am participating in this year’s 21st annual Courage Classic Bicycle Tour, August 4-6, 2012.  The Courage Classic is a 3-day, 173-mile ride that traverses the Cascade Mountains, including Snoqualmie, Blewett, and Stevens Passes. 

The ride is well known for its beautiful scenery, the camaraderie among the riders, the food, and the incredible support from the Rotary Clubs of Pierce County and United Parcel Service.  But the Courage Classic is so much more than that.  It is the largest single funding source for the Child Abuse Intervention Department (CAID) at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, WA.

Each year the CAID provides treatment to more than 500 child victims of abuse.  This crisis is not limited to our community.  In fact, the national average is that one in three girls and one in five boys will become the victim of abuse by the age of 18.

The Courage Classic is really a good news, bad news story:  The bad news is that child abuse is pervasive in our society; but the good news is we are doing something about it.  Last year alone, the Courage Classic raised more than $739,000 for the CAID at Mary Bridge.  And since its inception in 1992, the event has generated more than $5 million.

That’s where you come in:  In order to participate in the Courage Classic, all riders must raise a minimum of $750 in pledges.  I have created this online fundraising site to make it as easy as possible for you to contribute to my efforts. Please consider making a 100% tax-deductible pledge to this very worthy cause.

Thank you in advance for your generous support!

-Brian Pickart
Courage Classic Rider

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Ride of the day was from home up the waterfront, across the Ballard Locks, Fremont, Downtown and home. For future reference that route is about 23 miles. I just weighed my bike without the large saddle bags and it's a little over 37 pounds.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Today's ride was the straight shot down Interurban South and back with a little jaunt to the post office in Auburn resulting in 58.62 miles. Funny little side note, my banana exploded. I had it lodged in my spokes as I've seen other people do and as I was zipping down a hill it flew out, hitting the fork and exploding everywhere.

Monday, July 09, 2012

I-10 Challenge

A friend and I have been using the Endomondo app to log our miles. He created a challenge for us. The Interstate 10 challenge. The length of I-10 is 2460.3 miles. Our point of the contest is to log as many miles, and of course, be the first to do it. The contest started July 1st which put me at a bit of a disadvantage because I was in San Diego for that week. So far he's logged 100 miles in incremental rides of about 20 miles per ride. I need to pull something out so I did a 32 miles ride today. The Mercer Island loop. The weather is perfect. Summer is finally here in Seattle. This will motivate me to get back out there instead of just riding to work and back.

Also I'm at 5,812 (17,144) miles on my odometer. I have to get 188 miles in one week to maintain a 3000 mile a year average. I don't know if that's going to happen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I took the long way home tonight, around Alki. In the process, according to Endomondo, a gps/cell phone app, I rode 3 miles in under 10 min. (9:56). This is comparable to a personal 3 mile time trial I did back in 2006 - Time then was 9:04 but there are some exceptions. Back then I stripped the bike down to bare min for weight, put on my spandex junk to reduce drag and I was actually trying for time. Tonight I was just having fun, riding fast, on the way home from work. The bike is heavier then the previous one and it was fully loaded with the front/back racks, frame pump, tools, bags, fenders and lights.

Monday, June 11, 2012


First 40 mile ride in at least a year. See it here. Rode over Fremont bridge and up Burke-Gilman to Bothel. Came back about 17:00. Lots of bike commuters out. Lots. I figured I need to get in about 400 more miles to keep my 3000 mile a year average and I need to do it by July 15th. The 50 or so miles I log to work each week wasn't going to cut it by then.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Replacing Chain today. 5100 miles. It was a little over due according to my chain wear tool. This winter has been pretty hard on my drive train. Maybe I just didn't clean my chain as often as years before. I'm gonna need a new 46t chain ring pretty soon. I'm not looking forward to that since it's 70 bucks. Also I just replaced my bottom bracket from a spindle length of 118mm to 122mm to give a little more distance between the chain and the chain stays.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I also had a blow out a few months ago. The Michelin City tire I had on the back tore right along the bead enough to allow the tube to push through and rupture. I didn't see the problem until I replaced the tube and started pumping up the tire again. This is a good reason to carry a spare tube as will as a patch kit. The patch kit wouldn't have helped me with such a large blow out.
Mid March I rolled Tanager over 5000.

Lately my brakes have been squealing like banshees. I don't know what the deal is. I adjusted the toe-in. I had a shop adjust the toe-in and even went with a different compound. The only two possibilities I can think of are that the brakes have "loosened up" and they flex when applied enough that the toe-in is shifted or that something is getting on the brakes. I'm leaning towards the latter of the two. When I examined the pads today they seemed to have a metallic shine to them and there were a few tiny metallic shavings embedded within. I removed the shavings, lightly sanded the pads and they make no sound while on the stand. I haven't road tested it yet. I think this might be just due to the heavy rain lately. The bike gets really dirty really quick when there's a lot of standing water on the roads. All that grit wears through brake pads pretty fast and I'm sure it's producing some wear on the rims. I'm thinking the metal from the rims mixed with road grit is leaving some sort of residue on the pads. Why I've never had this problem before, I don't know. We'll see if the sound is gone during my commute to work tomorrow and if it comes back during more fair weather riding.

Monday, March 19, 2012

St Patty's Day Dash

Needless to say I stopped running. I had two runs that just didn't feel good. I never blogged them. They were either to close together for my knee to recover or I was exhausted from working. Then I signed up for Estrella War and my training completely shifted direction away from running.
So the St Patty's Day Dash came and I ran/walked. I didn't do to bad compared to all my friends that ran with me, in fact I beat them all in time but my knee hurt. And it hurt the following day. Today, two days later, I haven't noticed it at bit, which is a good thing. The Dash itself was cold, rainy, and it snowed right after.
  • Overall place: 3480 out of 7540
  • Gender place: 1999 out of 3243
  • Time: 36:34
  • Pace: 10:03

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Running Week 4

Treadmill.  2% incline.  Only covered 2 and 3/4's of a mile today.  I walked the first 1/4 then ran for about a mile, proud that I was ahead of Christine, then I dropped my ipod.  Stopped the treadmill and had to start the workout all over.  I was running again for a while and my knees started to bother me.  I think it's due to not getting enough rest.  I've been working early for the last 3 days and staying up late, sleeping only 5 or 6 hours each night.  But I continued on for the full 30 min.  Oh well, they can't all be great runs.
  • 458 calories, 35% from fat
  • Max heart rate 176 or 95%
  • Average heart rate 145 or 78%

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Running Week 3A

Treadmill, 2% incline.  Alternated 1/4 mile laps between running and walking again although this time I ran 2 to 3 laps in a row and then walked.  Christine was, again, doing a 50 minute "easy" run next to me and I kept pretty close to her on the distance up to the 3 miles.  Quarter mile laps went like this -
  1. 4.5 mph
  2. 7.0
  3. 4.5
  4. 7.5
  5. 8.0
  6. 7.5
  7. 4.5
  8. 8.0
  9. 8.0
  10. 4.5
  11. 8.0 with a 9.0 sprint
  12. 8.0 with a 9.0 sprint
  13. 4.0 cool down.
Total of 3 and 1/4 miles in 33 minutes.
Calories 473, 35% from fat
Max heart rate 176 or 95%
Average heart rate 144 or 78%

I'm still amazed sometimes at how long I can keep my heart rate so high and feel just fine.  No knee problems but shins still a little sore from Monday's run.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Running Week 3

I didn't run last week because of Snowpocalypse in Seattle.  Again on the treadmill at a 2% incline.  I actually beat Christine, tonight, to the 3 mile mark but she doing a recovery run in a slower heart rate zone so it doesn't really count does it?  To the best of my memory the laps went like this -
  1. 4.0 mph
  2. 7.5
  3. 4.5
  4. 8.0
  5. 4.5
  6. 8.0
  7. 4.5
  8. 8.0
  9. 8.0
  10. 4.5
  11. 8.5
  12. 4.5/7.0
So you can see I was still alternating most of my laps between running and walking except for laps 8 and 9.  I admit I'm still afraid of having knee issues by running the whole time.  Next run I think I'll try to run more consecutive laps.  Maybe I'll run 2 and walk 1, run 2 walk 1, etc.  I did the whole thing in 31 minutes so it must be a improvement from last time.  From the heart rate monitor -
  • Duration 31:43
  • 445 calories, 35% from fat
  • Max heart rate 182 or 98%
  • Average heart rate 143 or 77%

Friday, January 13, 2012

Running Week 2A

I think I am seeing more progress here and it gives me hope.  It's only been 2 days since the last run.  My knees felt fine.  My shins and legs didn't feel sore.  So I did another 30 minute run tonight with Christine at the gym.  Yes, still on a treadmill.  2% incline.  Tonight I ran/walked a whole 3 miles in 34 minutes.  A 1/4 mile increase from two days ago and 1/2 mile increase from week one.  Small steps, but progress. 
Tonight I started alternating walking at 4 mph and running at 7.7 mph in 1/4 mile "laps" for the first mile.  For the second mile I walked the first lap at 4 mph and then ran two back to back laps at 8 mph.  This really got my heart rate up.  Then I walked another lap.  For the last mile I ran a lap at 7.7 mph, walked a lap at 4 mph, ran most of a lap at 7.7 and then sprinted at 9 mph, then walked most of the last lap at 4 with a 7.7 mph sprint to the finish.  From the heart rate monitor -
  • Duration 34:39
  • 501 calories burned, 35% from fat
  • Max heart rate 182 bpm or 98%
  • Average heart rate 145 bpm or 78%
I keep looking over at the distance Christine ran, for the same amount of time, on her treadmill next to me and I get a little closer each time.  She doesn't walk.  If I can actually retrain my knees to running I might actually look into triathlons.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Running Week 2

It's been exactly one week since my first day back running.  My shins were still sore up until yesterday from last time.  Hopefully my legs won't be as sore for as long this time.  I did another set of intervals today, alternating between walking and running again.
  • 1/4 mile @ 3.7 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 7.5 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 3.7 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 7.5 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 4.0 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 7.7 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 4.0 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 7.7 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 4.0 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 8.0 mph
  • 1/4 mile @ 3.7 mph
 This time I totaled 2-3/4 miles in 30 minutes.  That's 1/2 mile over last time plus I added a slight incline of 2% to the treadmill.  The knees feel pretty good.  Only a slight soreness in the left.  66 days left until the St Pats Dash.  From the heart rate monitor -
  • 432 calories burned, 45% from fat
  • Max heart rate 175 bpm or 95%
  • Average heart rate 132 bpm or 71%

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


A group of friends, my wife (the runner) and I have agreed to all run the St Patricks Day Dash.  It's a 5k.  So it's not that far but the way my knees have been, when it comes to running, for the last 4 years or so it will be a challenge.  I believe I just need to retrain those knees and I'm taking the same approach I did with the STP two years ago.  Slow and steady.  Today was day 1.  I did 30 minutes on the tread mill, next to Christine, at the gym.  I sort of did intervals between running and walking as my knees gave me trouble.
  • 1/2 mile @ 7.0mph 
  • 1/4 mile @ 3.8mph  
  • 1/4 mile @ 7.0mph 
  • 1/4 mile @ 3.7mph 
  • 1/4 mile @ 8.0 mph  (This gave me a little more pain but bearable)
  • 1/4 mile @ 3.7mph 
  • 1/8 mile @ 9.0mph (Couldn't do a full quarter at this speed.  I want to make progress, not damage myself)
  • 1/8 mile @ 3.6mph
  • Last 1/4 mile (lap) split up into 3 increments 3.6mph then 8.5mph and ending again with 3.6mph.
2 and 1/4 miles total at a little over a 5mph pace according to the treadmill.  I'm pretty happy with this for a start.  It's been about 4 hours and my knees feel good right now.  I know my calves will be sore though.  I'll see how everything feels in the morning.  In a few days I'll give it another shot and hopefully be able to make progress.  Cardio wise I felt great.  That first 1/2 mile at 7mph I hardly broke a sweat.  I'll be happy if I can just run the entire thing without stopping for pain.  I have 78 days left to train.