Archive | January, 2010

playing hooky

29 Jan

Today I talked the lad into taking a mental-health half-day so we could take the long way home – the realllly long way. So after lunch we freed the Surlys (Surlies? I need a proofreader) and set out around Lake Washington, panniers stuffed with work clothes and rain booties and jackets which we didn’t have to wear because it DIDN’T RAIN! Oh the joy. I’ve taken about 25,683 pictures along this route already, but this was the perfect time to try out all the fun photo gadgets on my fancy new iphone:

Hey baby. Come here often?

I am so dorkily excited about this. So many cool filters! I’m going to be even more annoying to go on bike rides with now, since I’ll want to stop every 5 inches to take another picture. Like this, which was about two feet from the last one:

tunnel vision

And look! Five feet later it looks like this:

This is the 9th prettiest spot in Seattle.

Luckily the lad is a patient man, and he even let me take some pics of him. I assured him that I was using the Tom Selleck filter, so he said I could post one here:

modeling the stylish and durable Fat Cyclist water bottle.

We made tracks and were all the way to Marymoor before I got the camera out again, but then there was a stoplight that stayed red for 15 hours, so I broke out the TiltShift:

TiltShift! You are my new best friend.

And then we were on the Sammamish River Trail and it was apparently hawk happy hour, because they were everywhere! I didn’t take any pictures of them, because I don’t like to give birds of prey the opportunity to do what I know they really want to do, which is gouge out my eyes and feed on my entrails. But I took a quick pic of the gorgeous trees that line that trail:

This is what these trees looked like in 1974.

And then we were in the home stretch, where we were greeted like champions by this weird torch-wielding alligator:

What a croc.


Lost & Found in Translation

29 Jan

In reference to the ‘Ladie’s post from the other day, ’bout our Centennial Trail day, the song went like this, officially:

Oh I’m about an inch away

And it’s a cinch I’ll stay

‘Bout an inch and a pinch away;

Real suckers get the wheel suckers…

Can’t you just imagine that sung in a Munich beer hall, with two-tonic gusto? In that case it would be more like this:

Oh I’ m, Könige einer ungefähr, das des Zoll entfernt Wurst von Chicago zu den Supermännern

beugen Und it’ Gurt I’ S.-A.; ll Aufenthalt auf den Schutzblechschnüren vom schönen blonden

auf dem Treppenhausschacht nahe bei der verlassenen Brücke der Verzweiflung; ‘ Zeitraum

ein den Zoll und eine Klemme weg; warum fragen Sie warum? Reale Sauger erhalten die Radsauger…

I’ve had a crappy couple of months. Yet. I’m turning the corner. Feeling much better. Today we left work early (12:30… take that ‘Man’!) and did the half Lake Washington Loop. And did so down to our wool jerseys. What a crazy month this January has been. This time last year I was probably grumbling about snow. And here it was today, even on a nominal rain ‘cording to the ‘casters, and yet the sun came out and we had an awesome ride.

We saw a few other bikers on the paths and roads of Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond – most of the wanna be racer types were in their ‘team kits’ and I got to thinking, as I was chomping stolidy along in my solid Surly wool (got it for Christmas from me ma) – I kind of like my dorky commuter chic. The knickers, the wool top, the bright neon yellow rando sash, super dorky helmet light sticking up from the helmet like some sort of bad sci fi Buck Rogers rig. I even, on super rainy days, wear the bottom halves of dishwashing gloves (cut off the bottom, non finger part) stretched across the top of my booties, to help keep rain out even better than the booties can natively provide. Yep, two bright yellow bands around my ankles. I looked for dishwashing gloves in celeste green but all they had was yellow or celeste rose, so yellow it goes. In that case I become not just commuticus dorkus, but a banded commuticus dorkus. But I don’t mind, as long as I’m comfy and all the racer types are hating on my stylin’ ways to fuel my own slow winter base mile building plan to dominate their asses in June when their legs are not only like noodles but the flaccid plastic noodles such as are found in Campbell’s chick’n soup.

Oh! Also, we got iPhones last weekend, and I finally had a chance to play with it last night and download some apps, including comic books, games, and a cycling thingie called Cyclemeter. Look what it produced for me:


You'd think we'd just go in a straight line...


It’s got a GPS thang, and stopwatch, and mileage, and mph and elevation gain. Probably tons of other stuff too. Oh man the iPhone totally rocks. I feel like Tarzan must have when he saw his first Nintendo NES.

The only weird thing is that Cyclemeter app, when I emailed the results of the ride to my main computer, showed our average speed was only 10.3 miles an hour. Now, I’m all for putting in a modesty algorithm to encourage racers to train harder, but what about us poor average joe’s who really just want to know how fast we’re going, and not something that automatically deducts a third or so. Hmph. Oh well, aside from that this thing is pretty cool. It ran the battery down fairly fast, but I think I didn’t have the power saver mode on.

Now I’m gonna download some calorie counter and gym training apps, the latter to take with me to the gym tomorrow as I start up with that again. I’m hoping to get back on the core wagon again, to build for the spring season.

And, with that, I think I just beat the Lady before she could get her post on… heh. She’s at the other computer trying to race me. Never gonna happen! And I threw in jargon!

Sunday at Centennial

24 Jan

Today we headed up to the Centennial trail for a leisurely Sunday spin. It was raining, so looked mostly like this:

As you can see, my glasses are useless on rainy days like this, but I like to keep them on because they make me look smarter than I actually am. Since I can no longer see through them, I navigate using echolocation, emitting a constant high-pitched sound, like a fruit bat. It’s surprisingly effective, and has the added benefit of deterring any unwelcome drafters. Anyway, It was cold and grey, and sort of grim for the first half. But then! We came across these guys:

And they were for sale! This is why it’s dangerous for me to go anywhere near Snohomish County. I start thinking that it makes perfect sense to have two horses, and then I name them (Charley and Seeamanabouta) and then in my head we’re all just frolicking around my pasture. Except I don’t have a pasture, dangit. So after much pouting on my part we rode on in silence. At least I was silent. The lad was composing and singing a new song about wheel sucking that I’m pretty sure is going to win him some Grammies. Good stuff. Right around lunch time we passed an apple tree with the most stubborn apples I’ve ever seen:

I wasn’t sure if it was a sad meditation on the vitality of youth and the wrinkly desperation of hanging on to a glorious ideal, or an inspiring metaphor for perseverance in the face of impossible hardship. But whatever it was, it kind of made me hungry. So we finished the ride with the traditional stop at Pilchuck Drive-In, home of the hamburger so good it almost makes me cry:


Biking cures the crazy. At least for a while.

19 Jan

I rode to work for the first time in a hundred years today and, oh my god, it was very necessary. I’ve reached the point in my Winter Bike Deprivation Psychosis (WBDP) where I’m doing things like measuring the length and width of my hair with a ruler. Both pre-fluffing and post-fluffing, to establish an accurate baseline. I think the next step is sewing up some loungewear for the cats, and I want to stop that before it starts. So I was so happy that it wasn’t raining when the alarm went off this morning. Rich Marriott told me exactly what I wanted to hear and we headed out just in time to catch the gorgeous sunrise over the water. So invigorating! By the time I got to work I was bursting with energy, or at least my muted version of that, which my coworkers probably interpreted as Well-Rested Zombie. But whatever, I’m sure it was a welcome change from the Zombie with Insomnia they’ve had to work with for the last month or so. The day zoomed by, and the lad had to work late so I set out alone to soak in the last few minutes of daylight. Even after that went away, it was so warm all the way home! I could use a lot more days like this. Actually, I’m hoping spring just decides to come early this year because we joined my friend’s team for the Tour de Cure charity ride, which means the first century of the season is scheduled for May, which means I need to get back into some kind of shape. Also by May, according to my calculations, my hair will have amassed such great horizontal and vertical volume that it will no longer fit under a standard helmet. But I can’t worry about that now. Not with these cats just laying around here naked! Here, kitty kitty…let mommy take your measurements!

Meet Rohmer

16 Jan

We picked up a bike today – operative pronoun being ‘we.’

Parlez vous?

I got this idea for finding a bike that would be a size somewhat close enough for both the SurlyLady and myself, i.e. something that would fit maybe a 5’9″ person. The purpose would be to go on the trainer permanently and, with the addition of some racks and fenders, be a nice grocery getter that both of us could ride. For both tasks, the cramped confines of a garage-based trainer and a heavy hauler, I figured a mixte frame would be ideal, no swinging of legs.

Moto Bacon

So we picked up this Motobecane from Craiglist today. All original, in amazing shape really. Owned by a woman who apparently never rode it, who must have (according to the story) purchased it in the late 70s when she herself was around 60 years old. Best of all – she was part of the original STP – 30 years ago! She was the ‘Longview snack station’ comprising bananas and water. How very cool that is! I love the artifact/historical aspect of certain objects, the connections and stories they have with people.

Nice levers.

Rigida rims, Normandy flanged hubs, Huret levers, derailleurs front and back and cassette even. The pie plate is even French looking, more of a galette plate. Then there’s the Nervar cottered crank, the Weinmann sidepulls and brake levers, the bakelite handlebar grips, the ‘PUFF’ San Marco made in Italy quilted seat  (quickly switched out the Brooks for that). Even more amazing are the original Motobecane ‘Racer’ gumwall style nylon ‘tyres’ – with the original Schrader-style tubes.

Je m'appelle Rohmer

It’s definitely a bit of a cramped ride for me, but totally fun nonetheless. There’s a lot of seatpost with the mixte so I’m good, and I actually think it’s about the perfect size for the SurlyLady (BTW she took all these amazing pix).

The name Rohmer is not only perfect in its own right, but also a tribute to Rohmer’s passing this week.

Pilgrimage to the John Wayne Trail

10 Jan

Cool to the touch.

Check that one off the mental list of the mentalist: redo the Iron Horse trail, same bike, same pedals, same speed, don’t crash. Well, I did slow down in that same fateful spot where I broke my collarbone in order to pour some Cardenal Mendoza with a “this one’s for my homey clavicle” – I’m nothing if not high class, if I may contend so meself.

So it was the ‘Lady and I, on our mountain bike steeds (washed them in the driveway last night, about a year’s worth of gunk, derailleurs etc all shiny, even the rims – originally black – looked black again), trudging up the long, cold mountain. We got about 12 miles up until we hit a stretch of solid ice, and not just any ordinary, variegated ice, but smooth, melted and then iced-over again skating rink ice… made it about 20 yards into that and then turned around. Oh well, much further than our abortive trip last February. It was more than a little odd riding the mountain bikes again – hadn’t done so since August 2nd. Very different posture. But so much fun going over bumps and rocks and potholes.

Then, a stop at Ooba Tooba in Redmond on the way home, for a little tin-foil wrapped sunshine:

Are you going to eat that?


9 Jan

Mega work stress for the mister and next to no sleep for the both of us has kept us off the bikes this week while simultaneously and unsurprisingly upping the grump factor, so naturally the only thing to do is move to Oklahoma and hermit out on a farm, right? At least that’s what I’ve been suggesting all week, since I am a flighter, not a fighter. But then today the sun came out and reminded me why I’ll probably never leave this place:

okla-what now?

We went for a lovely walk around Green Lake, where the pink-sweatered Chihuahuas numbered in the hundreds and a mean little pug tried to eat my dog’s face for breakfast. I’ll bet there aren’t any fancy little designer dogs on the plains of Oklahoma. But then there’s probably not much of this either:

they call them "plains" for a reason.

We saw a great big bald eagle fishing in the middle of the lake, then he swooped right over our heads. Too bad he didn’t land in this tree, or this would’ve been an awesome picture:

Sit, eagle, sit! Bad eagle.

Sorry Oklahoma, but Washington wins for now. And tomorrow we ride!