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John W
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« on: January 04, 2011, 01:00:10 AM »

@011 Ride Reports and comments go here
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John W
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 01:14:51 AM »

Tom suggested that we modify our Saturday ride to join the traditional New Year’s Day Group Ride out of Bellevue.  We agreed to meet at Coulon Park, for an easy warm-up to Bellevue for the 12 noon start with the group.  As I drove down Maple Valley Hwy toward Renton, the temperature was 26 degrees.  The air was still as Tom, Ron, Chris, Chet, and I headed north toward the starting point below the I-90 Bridge. 

All of us had expressed reasons and/or concerns (head colds, freezing cold, road ice, fears of crashing) for keeping the speed down, except for Chris, who was sporting his new bike, a Felt with Dura-ace…very nice!

I was in the lead as we started across the I-90 boardwalk section.  Tom had mentioned that if it’s really iced up, we might want to walk our bikes across it.  I gingerly rode out on the glittering ice crystals.  My tire turned white as the crystals stuck to the rolling surface.  It felt like we were riding on large grit sandpaper, the traction wasn’t too bad, but I kept the speed under control at maybe 5 mph, better safe than sorry.  Suddenly I heard a voice behind me and realized that I was being passed by a girl who was going 6 mph.  Good!  If she falls…I’ll have something soft to land on.  Over the steep bridge and back on dry pavement.  Was she actually talkin’ trash when she went by?  She gapped us by 15 or 20 yards…

Under the I-90 Bridge, riders gathered waiting for someone to announce the start.  In about 15 minutes
the group swells to about 100 riders representing various teams and clubs.  John McC___  joined us.  An announcement is made that the traditional course will be altered to Bellevue Way to avoid some icy road…and we are off.  I take a position in about the middle of the peleton.  I can see the WCT jerseys in the first third of the group.  Chet (in white) and John (in non-WCT colors) are also up there, but are much harder to spot in the crowd.

Down Bellevue Way, as we approach the left at Main, sirens approach from behind.  Since the Peleton is in the turn lane, the fire trucks pass on our left.  The pumper truck turns left, the ladder truck turns right…huh?  A moment later the ladder truck passes through the intersection right to left, evidently he couldn’t make the left turn and had to go up a block and make a u-turn.

The peleton was large enough that it took two or more greens to clear each intersection.  I was a second light guy the whole ride.  Seemingly every time we bridged the gap to the first group, it was red light time again.  Chris stopped on the side of the road to add a layer of clothing (Chet loaned him a white vest), and Chet stayed back with him.  Tom and John had warned us that groups of riders would be joining and breaking off from the main group for the entire route.  I figured that if you stay with the main group…

As we turned left toward the Kirkland waterfront, there were shouts behind us…Bob, Steve, Bill, go straight!  We stayed with what appeared to be the main group.  Single file, the fracturing pace line rode into the business district.  Small groups peeled off toward coffee shops, while the main line continued up the hill to the north.  Behind me, John and Tom were calling out, “This group is going around the lake, and we don’t want to do that!”  Re-group, turn around, and head back south.  Following John, we reversed our path to I-90.  Since we didn’t see Chet and Chris, they must have gone straight at the light…they’ll beat us back to Coulon.   

Tom, Ron, and I were really surprised that Chet and Chris were not back yet.  Phone calls to both were not answered.  They’re big boys, they’ll get home.

As I drove toward home, Maple Valley Hwy was a balmy 36 degrees.  Ride stats: 37.6 miles of fun, 14.7 mph average.

John W.

So what happened to Chet and Chris?  Read on…(see part 2)
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John W
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2011, 01:16:59 AM »

Subject: Sat
John,
Sorry about not catching up with you guys on the return trip home. It seemed the ride was going to very casual during the first 10 miles and I was really looking forward to an easy 30-40 mile ride with my cold. I was riding along side Chris as we were headed to Kirkland and the pace seemed to pick up a bit. At the restroom stop in Kirkland I saw some people peel off and a bunch continued up the hill toward Juanita. I rode up to the first group at the top of the Kirkland hill and I thought everyone would sit up and let everyone rejoin. But up and over to Juanita they went. I eased going down hill hoping to see our group following up. Chris slid up on his new Felt and instead of staying on the east side, the group headed through Juanita towards Kenmore at a clip (I knew heading to Kenmore was going to make this ride and little bit of a longer day). I stayed third wheel and just wanted to keep contact and see how this “group” ride was going to unfold. I didn’t get the opportunity to look back too often, mostly because of the increased pace and icy roads (it was a better idea to keep my nose pointed forward). Over the top at a quick pace with one guy jumping to crest first, I really had no idea how much throttle or distance this ride would need so I stayed with the other two riders. On the downhill to Kenmore I basically sat up waiting for Chris and others. We finally all sat up at log Boom Park. Chris regrouped and we waited for John, Ron and you. Chris said that you guys most likely stayed on the east side and rode back to Coulon Park. So off we headed to Seward Park via Lake City Way and the UW (I was on my turf and Chris was completely lost). I told Chris he had to make a choice of crossing over the I-90 bridge or stay on the west side and head to Renton Airport. He asked for the flattest ride so we stayed on the west side. Man the roads were icy and it was damn cold. I think I had my face covered 75% of the ride (looking as though I was about to rob a bank). We actually motored to Renton make a brief stop at Seward to reset my contact (that had gotten dry and was folding and making seeing marginal). I don’t know our pace but Chris mentioned we had gone 51+ miles and we were still in one piece. Unfortunately, we missed hooking up and with you guys on the return and being as smart as you guys are, you found a shorter way home and were able to get home sooner. Hopefully, we get together and ride soon. Have a great time with your “new” vehicle and don’t let some young cute rider tell you how to ride on an icy bridge. She didn’t know how many times you’d biffed this year and I definitely wasn’t going to push through that section knowing what a pain in the ass this year has been for your collarbone and shoulder. I would have walked that section with you to avoid another biff. Talk to you soon and stay safe.
Chet
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John W
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2011, 04:14:21 PM »

It’s Tuesday, where’s the ride report?  My list of excuses:
Saturday afternoon, Seattle Seahawks vs. New Orleans Saints
Sunday, I went skiing
Monday night, Oregon vs. Auburn

This morning I received an e-mail from Chet:

John,
I didn’t know if you were going to write a ride report for last week. I don’t know what I would have said. It was windy and cold with two and a half riders (Drafting behind Ron doesn’t really count as a draft. It’s more like a full pull). We went here, there, back to here and around to there. Done!
I hope you don’t get stuck or struck in the proposed snow this afternoon.
Ride safe, be safe or as they say in the north end; safety second.
Chet

The only thing I would add...somewhere along the way we discussed “Where’s Big Dave? & “Where are Little Dave and Mike?”

Three riders, 40 miles, and 17.5 average.  Enough said.

See you next week.

John W.

« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 04:46:20 PM by John W » Logged
John W
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2011, 05:49:11 PM »

The weather report predicted temperatures in the high 40’s / low 50’s and heavy rain in the afternoon.  Tom, Ron, Chris, Chet, and I headed south on West Valley Hwy.  Since the route was not yet determined, Tom suddenly declared Brown’s Point.  I questioned, “Do we really want to change being caught by heavy rain that far away?”  Followed by, “There is one spot on that route where I’ll really slow down, ya know it was a wet day like today, when the (evil) RR tracks bit me.  Truthfully, I really like the Brown’s Point ride, but I’m not really ready to face that stretch of road yet, but I’ll go along…”

I was on the front as we approached the Peasley Canyon turn.  Suddenly Tom declared a route change to Victor Falls.  Cool!  We continued down West Valley, and then left at Stewart to avoid the mud slide that we knew was covering the road in Sumner.

Somewhere along the way, Tom complained about his heart rate being high because of the winter riding conditions.  “Back the pace down about a mile an hour, we are going a little hard into this headwind.”   Chet and I noticed an American Flag hanging (limp) from its pole. 

Chet led us down the Orting Hwy.  Just beyond the slight “S” curve, a dump truck turned in front of us.  We sprinted to catch the draft, which only lasted about a mile until he signaled a left turn.  A good draft while it lasted at 31+.

Ron was in sign sprint mode all day.  Funny thing, he would break away and then slow down as he approached the signs.  I guess he thought nobody would be able to close the gap.  Chris or Chet got him more often than not.   

Cruising up the Interurban, I flatted my front tire.  Repairs made and back to Russell Road.  The rain drops began just as we were leaving the parking lot.  A perfect ride!  We went 41.4 miles at a 17.9 average.

See you next week.

John W.

PS.  Big Dave reports that he has a new frame ordered.  Should arrive at the end of the month.
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John W
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2011, 02:48:13 PM »

Grey clouds north, clear sky to the south…of course; Chet suggested north, “We’ve gone south for the last two weeks.”  With that Tom, Chris, and I followed him out of the parking lot.  Destination Leshi.  Tom was muttering that he really missed stopping for coffee last week.  Chet and I countered that beating the rain was a good trade off.

We traded pulls up the Interurban.  Chris and Chet were riding strong.  Tom was riding his good bike with race blades that “are so easy to attach.”  Near South Center, Chet pointed out that the rear blade was rubbing on the tire.  Adjustment made.

Chet & Chris gapped Tom and I in the hills going to Seward Park.  As Tom and I watched them go, we discussed our heart rates, winter conditioning, and just being out of shape.

At Seward Park, Tom quickly adjusted his back fender.  We maintained a brisk pace all the way to Perts.  Tom got coffee, I made a slight seat adjustment, and I think Tom fiddled with his fender.

It took us two signal cycles to make the left turn at the Renton Fred Meyer.  Evidently the car behind us didn’t get close enough to trip the sensor.  Left arrow and Chris sprinted away and kept going.  He looked like a man with a mission.  The three of us were dumb-founded.  Is he doing a “Christian - bonk off the front?”  After we all hollered at him…he slowed down and we regrouped.

Tom adjusted his catawampus fender.  The sun came out, the temperature rose to 50 degrees, and all is well in the world. 

Chris took the pull down Oakesdale at a nice 20 mph pace.  As we approached the signal at S 180th, the light was green!  We have never had a green light here!  How many times have I been on the front dreaming of a green light?  Chris has my green light and momentum for the sign across the street!  I’m on the back!  Tom has the presence of mind to make the move from the third spot to take the sign honors.  The rest of us cannot believe the light was green.  Good job Tom!

An amazing day!  39.4 miles, 18.1 average.  See you next week.

John W.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2011, 03:20:17 PM by John W » Logged
John W
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2011, 03:16:13 PM »

 Last week, steady rain convinced me to spend Saturday cleaning out my home office.  This morning the early morning TV weather folks were talking about scattered showers in the morning with increased rain later in the afternoon.  About six blocks from home, I passed Titus of the Four Corners Team; he was heading home from what appeared to be an early morning solo ride.  He may be the smart one here…a fine mist was starting to cover my windshield.

At Russell Road, there was no mist, and no other cars or riders in the parking lot.  After carefully considering the weather and recent rides, I headed north toward Alki.  On the Interurban trail, I passed a few riders, all of which are sporting rain gear.  A light mist developed.  As I headed up MacAdam the mist intensified, making my glasses wet and foggy.  I’m having trouble seeing the road.  Over the top of the hill and down the other side, it’s really raining.  I stopped under the freeway overpass…WCT vest off, rain gear on.  I head down the Interurban Road toward the car, enough of this!

Back in Kent, the mist is gone, it feels warmer, and my glasses are clear & dry.  I continued south to Pacific.  Very pleasant riding, but a headwind started building.  At the south end of the trail, I turned around and headed back to Russell Road.  With a nice tailwind, I’m suddenly feeling strong and the pace creeps up...

Overall an enjoyable ride, 34.3 miles, wet weather average of 16.6 mph.

See you next week.
John W
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John W
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2011, 02:36:18 PM »

Chet, Chris, and I met at the parking lot.  Grey sky and a forecasted storm coming in the afternoon.  Chet commented that the winds should build out of the south.  Chris led out and headed north.  I suggested that we will be facing a huge headwind on the way back.  Chris continued north, apparently Chris wanted to head toward Leshi.

When we entered the hills beyond the Renton Fred Meyer, I began to drop off the up-hill pace.  I started wishing Tom was along, we could be discussing our heart rates and winter conditioning.  In true Wheelsport fashion, back in the flats we regrouped on the fly.  How’s that for a fancy way of saying; “They slowed down so I could catch up?”

I enjoyed a tailwind on one of my favorite pulls down Lake Washington Blvd, at the end of which, I learned that we were going across Mercer Island.  Big surprise, I got dropped up the hill through the park.  I revisited my internal conversation about my heart rate.

I-90 and the Crosswind: A Story of Leaning to the Right.  Enough said, except that my legs were really starting to feel like lead. 

Across the island, then over the elevated concrete Mercer Slough section.  Bumping across every section of concrete feels like the “Built Ford Tough” obstacle course.   Am I the only one who hates this section? 

Heading toward Coulon, we get to do the big rollers into a stiff head wind!  Chet drops back realizing that I’m hurting, and powering down Clif Shots – Margarita flavor.  I mentally drift away…south of the border where it’s warm… a gentle ocean breeze…lounge chairs…

Chris is doing battle with Peter Storm and races off for the Renton sign.  Whoohoo!  Good for you…I don’t care.  In Renton, I blow through a red light and proclaim, “I’m Bonking off the front!”  Wow, that feels really good!

Heading down the Interurban, we all struggled against the wind.  Chris seems to be spending more time on the back.  I’m feeling a little better – Clif Shots kicking in.  When we arrive at the parking lot, Chet had a few choice comments for Chris’ route choice…I add a few quaint suggestions as well.

Overall a tough day for me, but if you don’t work through the hard ones, you don’t appreciate the good ones. 

42.1 miles, 16.0 average.  See you Saturday!

John W.

PS – Went out for a solo ride on Sunday and felt great! 

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John W
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2011, 10:27:42 PM »

The first thing I noticed as I drove into the parking lot was a new bike on top of a car – Big Dave?  Drawing closer, I noticed it’s a Specialized.  Dave’s a Cannondale guy.  I’m struggling to understand…Oh!  It’s Middle Dave with a new 2011 S-Works.  Very Nice!  Good to have you join us today!

Tom arrives and announces that the airplanes are taking off to the North.  Duh!  The wind has the flags around town standing out straight.  Chris quietly says he won’t be making any route suggestions today.

Chris, Middle Dave, Chet, and I, followed Tom north up the Interurban.  We traded pulls against a huge headwind.  Up and over Monster Hill, Chet easily took KOM, followed by Chris.  Heading toward South Park, Chet pulled the full straight section into the wind.  He was working so hard that he didn’t see a good sized branch. I was second wheel and was able move left and motion the rest of the line around it.  Chet swept through it and kept going.  Since we were enjoying his pull, nobody gave him grief about it until the return trip.  Chet later said he saw my hand sweep, just as he hit the branch.

In South Park, we hit a light.  Green light and I’m the only one who realizes there is a town sign across the street.  Chet reacts to my jump.  Too late…Ha!

Going up Marginal Way we picked-up a strong solo rider, but somehow he never made it to the front of the line…thanks for the help buddy.  I took the lead around the point and toward the coffee stop.  What was I thinking?  Chet later commented that the wind must have been blowing at 25-30 mph.  Once around the corner, our speed increased to a very easy 28+.

After a brief stop we headed back.  Once around the corner, wind at our backs, the speed crept up above 25.  Tom and Middle Dave, who have both been off the bike for awhile, made it clear they weren’t too interested in ripping it on the way back.

Tom flatted.  Well, as he pointed out…”Actually, it’s just a slow leak.”  Never the less, a tire change was required.  Now understand; I was not the first to give Tom grief that he was riding on his “Never have a problem, never go flat Continental Tires…complete with Mr. Tuffy Liners.”  Once it started, the temptation to pile on was just more than I could stand.  Truth is, if you flat on a Saturday ride; expect abuse.  What else is there to talk about while you change the tire?

Repair completed, and we were quickly back to the parking lot.  An excellent ride!  Strong - Blind Man of the Day Award: to Chet for some amazing pulls into the wind.  Outstanding Rider of the Day: to Middle Dave for a Super Effort on a very tough day!  Tom, good to have you back…the rides are so much more fun when you are with us.

43 miles, 17.1 average, and the tailwind was really fun!

John W.
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2011, 03:39:13 PM »

My phone rang at about twenty minutes to ten.  Chris asked; “Chet and I are wondering if you’re coming down today?’  “Gee Chris, are you in a hurry?  I’m two blocks away.”  As I pulled into the parking lot, I realized that at 25 degrees, we don’t want to stand around very long.  Chris said that Ron was on his way up the trail.  I quickly put on layer number five and we were off, south to meet Ron.

After Ron joined us, we continued south.  Near Emerald Downs we followed a coyote down the trail for a hundred yards or so.  Very cool!

We altered our usual route to avoid a couple of roads that are torn-up by construction.  Soon Chet and I were wondering “Where are we going?”  Chris took the lead, right turn, left turn, right turn, left turn…straight, more turns.  Personal note: Puyallup is the Bermuda Triangle of the northwest.  My internal compass just spins & spins every time I’m in the area.  Occasionally I recognized a landmark before we crossed the bridge and headed toward Kent on West Valley Hwy. 

Chris and Ron spent the day battling for signs.  Chet and I discussed the merits of keeping the rubber side down on such a cold day.  Fortunately it was a “Dry Cold,” so the streets weren’t iced over.

Back at Russell Road the temperature had warmed up to a balmy 32 degrees. 

This was the coldest WCT ride on record.  35.9 miles @ 18.1 mph, 25 degrees

John W.


   
 
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John W
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2011, 08:11:04 PM »

It’s 46 degrees and feels like summer compared to last week.  Chet and Chris are both sporting their black knit ski masks.  Are they WTO Protester wanna-bes, or will we be robbing a convenience store later?  Tom, John McK, and I evidently use a better brand of moistening face crème. 

We head south into a slight headwind.  Just below the train yard we stop to wait for Ron, who evidently was going north on the trail, while we were heading south toward the trail via the 24 hour fitness route.  Ron didn’t get the memo regarding the intended robbery attempt ether.

Tom asked, “Where should we go?”  I suggested the Puyallup hill route.  Done.

Chris and Ron battled for signs.  Chris took a massive pull from the Cannery to the all the way to the signal.  Ron came from the back to take the sign.  Chris wasn’t happy.  So when we turned onto River Road, the peloton told Ron to “take the pull all the way to the sign.”  He did.  Chris came from the back, racing toward the sign.  Now the question is; did he know Chet was on his shoulder the whole time?  Chet by a wheel.

Up the Puyallup hill.  I cannot report who took KOM honors, let’s just say I took the “sweeper position” to make sure nobody got dropped.  On the downhill to the fairgrounds, I took the Big Dave - Speed Demon Award.  Chris commented that he stopped peddling too soon.  Nice excuse, except I stopped peddling first, closed the 40 yard gap, and dropped him like dirty underwear.  Downhill – size matters.

In Sumner, Chris called a last moment left turn to avoid road construction.  He and I managed the left, the other four guys went straight.  Stop and re-group.  We headed back by way of West Valley.  A slight tail wind and the speed increased more than the push.  Ron peeled off and headed home.

I’m pulling just as we crossed the Green River Bridge; Tom is hollering left turn, left turn.  Chris is hollering left turn.  I look back to see Chet and John McK moving to the left turn lane.  Left turn onto Kent-DesMoines?  Huh?  Tom and Chris are gone, nowhere to be seen.  We turn around and head back toward the Green River trail to follow them.

Detour signs led us through the apartment complex parking lot…speed bump city.  Back onto the trail, or should I say Sandbag Lane?  At one point the trail narrows from two and a half feet, to…well, I had to stop and turn my handlebars on an angle to fit them between the sand bag and a post.  Isn’t this Special!  Appropriate grief was dished out back at the parking lot. 

John McK gets a special tip of the helmet for riding from home and back…an estimated 85.67 miles.  A very nice early season ride!

45.67 miles, 17.4 average - including the Sandbag Lane detour.

See you next week!

John W.
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2011, 11:51:24 PM »

Now we know that Chet is a true sandbagger
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John W
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2011, 02:39:04 PM »

As I left home there was a very light mist on the window.  Chris had sent me a text, saying that he had something else to do this morning.  The mist became light rain and continued to pick-up its intensity.  This could be ugly.  I pulled into the space next to Chet’s car, rolled down the window and looked at him…it was pouring.  The conversation went something like this…“Really?”  “This sucks!”  “I won’t be happy five minutes after we start.”  “Starbucks?”  “I’ll follow you.”

For the next hour or so…we solved the world’s problems.

John W.

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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2011, 02:41:40 PM »

Chris, Chet, Tom, Middle Dave Ron and I gathered for this day’s ride.  After the usual banter regarding potential routes, we set off to do Big Dave’s Route – Renton, Cedar River Trail, Witte Road, a stop at the Black Diamond Bakery, then through Auburn and back to Russell Road Park.

As we motored up the Cedar River Trail the scattered clouds parted…sunshine and warmth!  We actually stopped on the trail so that everyone could shed a layer or two of clothing.  At times we faced a slight down canyon breeze…mostly when I was on the front; at least it felt that way.

At the Bakery, the weather was so nice that we sat on the wall across the street and enjoyed the sunshine.  For those who haven’t been by the Bakery lately, the street has been re-paved, with parking, sidewalks and a short retaining wall added.  Bob K., this is your Black Diamond property taxes at work…thanks.

Chris and Tom led us out of the Bakery.  Tom was talking about heading down the big hill to Green River Road.  Imagine my surprise when we continued toward Hatchery Hill, followed by a quick left.  Oh, Tom wants hills.  Past the golf course, up, down, up, down, up a steep one and I missed a shift…I almost come to a complete stop, big chain ring, somewhere in the center of the cassette…I refused to stop or fall over…this is going to hurt.  Needless to say, I got dropped going up the hill.

We rode through Auburn at a relaxed pace, enjoying the weather and discussing a wide range of topics.  Of course, I flatted about a mile from Russell Road Park.  After a quick repair we finished the ride.

It was a very enjoyable 49.5 miles, 17.3 average.

See you next week.

John W.

 


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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2011, 03:48:21 PM »

Rain in the south and promised rain across the area, convinced Tom, Chet, Chris, and I to head toward Flaming Geyser.  Maybe we can get out and back before it rains here.  We set a moderate pace on the way out, but had to slow and pick our way through a lot of vehicle traffic at the soccer fields. 

Chris took a really nice pull on Green Valley Road.  We took a brief water stop at the radio controlled airport and headed back.  Tom suggested that we might lengthen the ride by adding the Game Farm loop.  It sounded like a reasonable idea.  Chet was on the front when we spotted another group of riders a mile or so ahead of us.  Two or three curves later we greeted them…as we motored past.

Drip, drop, drip, drop and the rain began in earnest.  Nobody said a word, but we didn’t make the turn to the Game Farm Loop.  You know I had to point it out to Tom.  “Yeah, I noticed.”  To avoid the soccer traffic, we took the road that loops around the backside of the soccer fields.  The rain continued to fall…

Despite the rain, it was a fun ride.  37.1 miles, 18.1 average.

John W.


 


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