Thoughts and Adventures From Greenlite Heavy Industries

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We Ski

While most of the country bakes, we ski.

The Nisqually Chutes on Mt. Rainier were fully formed and held some nice 'n easy corn snow. Sam and I were skinning from the Paradise parking lot.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why Not Ride

Sam had a big swim meet here on Mercer Island, and the parking lot, as well as all the surrounding streets, were bumper to bumper. Sam, Sophia and I simply bypassed the headache and rode our bikes. I wonder why nobody else had the same idea. I'd say thirty or forty percent of the folks at the meet live within five miles.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Little Voodoo

The day after the STP I was wide awake at 6:00 AM, so I slipped quietly out of bed and walked across the street to find Joe, drinking Joe and the neighborhood Starbucks - he'd been awake since 5:00. Bradley's wife, Leigh, was jonesing for a maple bacon bar, so we did a phone search on Voodoo Doughnuts and began the mile or so walk.

It was a pleasant morning and the streets were empty. We smelled the pink cinder block building before we arrived. I like oddity, and Voodoo certainly was odd. I ordered us up a mixed half dozen and we headed back to the hotel for a big bacon and egg breakfast. We all chuckled about the pretzel stake piercing the heart of the vampire maple bar.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I had to take a photo of my bike computer before resetting it. Two hundred and four miles, dang that's a long way to ride a bike.

Monday, July 11, 2011

STP 2011

I rode my bicycle down to Portland on Saturday – 204 miles leaving from my back door. I wanted to cut out the car entirely by riding from home, returning by train and then riding from King Street Station in Seattle to my house on Mercer Island, but the less than helpful folks at Amtrak couldn’t give me any assurance that I’d be able to get my bike from Portland to Seattle. In the end Joe and I had my friend Ron take our bikes back, we rode the train and Melony picked us up at the station.
I rode to Portland with four friends as part of the Seattle to Portland (STP) bicycle ride. We were five of the twelve thousand riders making the trip. Most ride it in two days, but there were a shocking number of single day riders as well. I can’t believe that they can convince that many people to ride that far.

The weather was perfect – clear skies, mid seventies and a significant tail wind. We sailed right along and with the exception of two flats – one resulting in a ruined tire - we had no problems. Just south of Seattle Bradley ruined his rear tire going over some railroad tracks, from now on I think I’ll bring a spare tire on these long rides, it’s the difference between a small hassle and having to call for a ride home. Luckily the guys at REI donated a nice Continental Ultra to our cause.

The wind blew out of the north the entire day and we were nearly pushed all the way into Portland. The final fifty miles down Interstate 30 can be fairly miserable, but on Saturday we rolled along at twenty miles per hour without hardly breaking a sweat. We climbed a long hill at over twenty mph and I kept wondering if I was experiencing some kind of optical illusion, but no we were being pushed uphill.

We rolled into Portland, each took a shower and then went out for hamburgers at the Kennedy School. I got the burger with the fried egg on top.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Flat, Fast and Furious

Back in 1989 I rolled my Schwinn up to the starting line at what was then known as the Seattle International Raceway (SIR). I’d come down to Kent with a bike racer co-worker who’d encouraged me to enter the one hour “citizen” race (there were no Cat 5’s back in them thar days). I raced twice at SIR, and up until 2011 those two starts were my only experience with bicycle racing.

Fast forward twenty one years and I’m back, only now everyone is riding carbon instead of steel, and the track has been redubbed Pacific Raceways (PR).

Ten Cucina Fresca (my team) riders rolled out for the Cat 4/5 start. I have to say that I’m a bit bummed that my first two starts as a Cat 4 have been in 4/5 races but I guess as the season progresses and Cat 5’s get more experience it makes sense to combine the two. We had some real powerhouses out there and it was nice riding with a strong team presence. Unfortunately we weren’t the only strong team.

Cycle U had definitely come to race. This was the first time I’d ridden against an organized team that was out to win, and I have to admit it was eye-opening. Honestly I was spending the majority of my time trying not to wipe anybody out, but I did notice that the Cycle U guys were continually pushing forward.

The race is an hour long, which kind of puts it somewhere between a road race and a criterium. The route varies from week to week and this time it was on what they call the flat course. The nice weather must have swelled the turnout as I think we had over sixty starters. Man that flat course is fast and furious. Without the hills you don’t have to worry about that sucking air oxygen debt thing and oftentimes I’d look down at my computer to see that we were going over thirty miles per hour. It was a screaming wild ride.

I’d eaten a diced up and boiled potato on the drive down and those carbs were fueling me just fine. In other words I was feeling great. At the two laps to go bell I decided to start moving up. Position is everything, and in my other races I’ve always just ended up stuck somewhere in the middle, unable to move up, and so this time I figured I’d get up in fifth or sixth place. As we approached the final lap I was moving up on the outside left when I noticed my teammate Chad up front. For no good reason I threw down and whipped in front.

I’m not sure what I was thinking, maybe I thought I could bring up a few teammates and then we could control the race from the front. I suppose I should have communicated those thoughts. In reality I was feeling good and just took the shot – what the heck.

I led for awhile and then pulled off, Chad was still in behind me, I was fairly well gassed but pulled in as soon as I had a chance. After the second turn things got a bit dicey as riders started to push forward on the slippery burn out strip (where dragsters heat up their tires), but we all made it through. I took a tight inside line on turns three and four but as I came out of the final turn the top ten guys were already out of their saddles heading for the finish line. The finish was a bit crazy as we ran smack into the back end of the Cat 1/2/3 group, combine that with poor visibility due to the setting sun and we had a real kerfungle.

All in all it was a great race, I can honestly say that it was the most fun I’ve ever had on two wheels.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not the Only One

Went down to Burien to race in the Joe Matava Memorial Crit yesterday. I wanted to try my hand in the 9:00 Masters race but when Melony got wind of the 7:40 Cat 4/5 start she “encouraged” me to get up early. The course was perfect: big wide turns with a little hill work thrown in. I have to figure out those corners because my typical lap was hold my own on the downhill, lose a little time on two corners, move up on the uphill and then get passed on the next two corners; in the end it was a zero sum gain. I was happy to be racing with four other Cucina Fresca riders, we didn’t make any big moves but it was good to be out there with the bruddas.

At first I thought it was just me who drove like a maniac after completing a bike race, but now I know different. After every race I get in my car and start tearing around like I’m at LeMans: I zoom up on the unsuspecting Hyundai or Prius and then stomp on the accelerator swing around and tuck back in. Following yesterday’s race I was following the Thumbprint Cycling team van as it went from Highway 518 to I-5 and was, I guess, happy to see that big old Econoline E350 rolling at 60mph just three feet off of the bumper of this little blue Honda. Once on I-5 the driver gunned it and slingshoted around. I wanted to catch up and give him a thumbs up, but my four cylinder Subaru couldn't close the gap.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Crapping out at Poo Poo Point

Under spotless skies Sam and I took off from the Tiger Mountain parking lot in search of some seriously good downhill singletrack. I'd ridden Tiger back in the nineties - back when my bike were merely obsolete, instead of its current designation of "vintage" - and I remember a long fire road grind up to some stellar downhill single track. Today, looking at the map, I see that we were on the wrong track from our very first pedal turn.

Instead of cranking up East Tiger, as was planned, we rode all the way around the Tiger Mountain Massif ending up, after a steep grind, at Poo Poo Point. We took a break at the top to watch a few paragliders take off, I knew this place was popular but this was crazy - well over three dozen folks were either in the air or preparing for take-off. Maybe there had been a Groupon deal or something.

We just had to turn around and ride back the way we came. After the initial descent all we had was miles and miles of uphill fire road. Sam got plenty and finally just said, "I'm tired of complaining." That was a new first. We'll have to go back to Tiger, but this time we'll take a map.