Group Rides

Join us for evening indoor training rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm at the Recycle Bicycle Shop in downtown Ellensburg.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bike Swap

This past Saturday was the Seattle area Cascade Bicycle Club's annual bike swap. This was the first swap of any kind that I have attended. And, I have to say, I had an absolute blast.

The doors opened at 9:00am and we arrived about 10:15 to find ourselves around 150th in line or so. The forty five minute wait went by really quick and then the insanity started. Maybe it's the nature of a swap meet or maybe it's the economy but it was a "madhouse" in that building. There were approximately 100 vendors - some large and some only having one half of a table. There was a lot of used parts and clothing and quite a bit of new stuff at some of the larger booths.

And deals could be had. I bought a nearly new Selle Italia Mundialita saddle (very similar to my Italia Turbo Saddle) for $8. My friend with me bought what looked to be brand new handlebars for $5 and a SRAM derailleur and grip shifters for his mountain bike for $20.

What did I wish I had more cash for? The celeste Bianchi frame and fork that was $100 was to die for and sold in less than twenty minutes. An older Specialized Allez carbon with aluminum lugs looked really nice. And, then of course there was the beautiful and complete Eddy Merckx steel bike. Next year I'll definitely have a list with me and will spend even more time.

I will say my best deal came via One of the members was giving away an older Nishiki bike that was my size. This is a great way for me to get into a bike and take it apart followed by building it back up. I received a "goodie" box that was incredible. The frame was made by Giant for Nishiki in April, 1982 so the bike is most likely a late 1982 model or early 1983 model. I have already started disassembling the bike and preparing for different parts to go on it.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Webster's New World Dictionary defines patience as 1a. "the will or ability to wait or endure without complaint" or "1b. steadiness, endurance or perseverance in performing a task." It also states "patience implies the bearing of suffering, provocation, delay, tediousness, etc. with calmness and self-control."

Why am I looking up the definition of patience? In short, because it's now February and the weather is sometimes good and mostly bad. Winter can be a long haul and I should be thankful this year hasn't been that bad. I was able to ride until the third week of December, got a couple of days on the road in January before it turned bitterly cold again, and then pulled off 116.5 miles a couple of weeks at the beginning of February.

It takes a lot of perseverance to do the indoor training consistently and wait out the weather and icy roads. I won't ride when the roads are wet with the chemical de-icer - I don't want that stuff on my bike, let alone myself.

I've felt the positive results this year of sticking with my indoor program(on the bike 4-5 days a week and lifting weights 2-3 days) in not losing the fitness level I had at the end of the year that I find mentally I am able stay motivated a little more. Besides bringing nasty, sweat soaked clothes into the house and watching the pained expression on my wife's face is almost enough motivation itself. She finds it disgusting that I can sweat that much in a workout.

Stay positive, spring is quickly coming and we'll be outside riding soon.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What a spinning class

There are benefits to living in a small town. Each winter the owner of our local bicycle shop has spinning classes inside the store. Bring your own bike and hook up to a trainer (I've brought my own trainer the past couple of weeks because we ran out. Until this past December I had always done indoor training by myself with headphones or in front of the TV with Tour de France videos or a movie.

This year I am forcing myself to attend one of these classes each week for three reasons:

1) I can meet other local cyclists and get more people informed about the group rides we want to do.
2) Provide a spark to the training routine
3) To get some quality conversation in with other cyclists (riding by yourself gets pretty boring).

These are fantastic and tough workouts that find me soaked in sweat by the end. Last night was "time trial" night. This consists of ten minutes of warm up and then three twelve minute sessions in a large gear and 80-90 repetition pedal stroke. There is a five minute rest (lower gear) break after each session. The goals are to keep a consistent heart rate above 150 for each session. I usually average between 170 and 180 beats per minute and get up over 190 for the final five minutes or so. At 43, that's about all my body can take.

It's a mind and body cleansing experience, though, and I look forward to it every week.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Premiere cycling races in the Northwest

USA Cycling has announced that Bend, OR will host national cycling championships for junior, under-23 and elite divisions for the next two years. This is a fantastic opportunity to have national level competition in the Pacific Northwest.

You can read about it here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

2009 outside riding is starting

The weather has given us a reprieve. After two days of riding at the beginning of January when the weather warmed to the mid-40 degree F range we spent the final three weeks of January back below freezing making the riding a little too cold for me.

This past week we again reached the 40 degree mark and I hit the road on Sunday Kevin Adkisson, the CWU track and field coach, for a 39 mile ride. Everything went well until a goat head thorn caused a flat with my front tire. 15-20 minutes later we had a new tube in and some air in the tire so we could finish our ride. Some observations of that ride:

  1. it felt real good to be outside riding, even if it was cold
  2. harder effort rides are tough in the cold weather because it's tougher to breathe in the cold air in large amounts.
  3. winter training has really helped - I felt strong for most of the ride
  4. always carry a spare tube and have a good frame pump
  5. riding with friends makes it go by so much faster

Monday I was able to squeeze in a 18 mile ride in 57 minutes which felt good. Observations for this one:

  1. cold air makes it tough for sustained, hard efforts
  2. dogs don't care if it's cold or not - they run just as fast
  3. I can now ride until 4:45 pm with plenty of light
  4. the long 8 mile steady climb home still sucks

Overall, the benefits of the winter training are very evident. The 2.5 mile hill in the middle of our ride on Sunday did not take nearly as much out of me as it did back in July. In fact, I probably could have ridden it another mile per hour or two faster - as it is we maintained a comfortable 10.5 to 11.0 mph up a steady 5-6% grade. I'm anxious to try it again on my own and see how hard I can push it up the hill.

So, folks, get out and ride as soon as you can. It's great for both body and spirit.

EDIT: On Wednesday I decided to do the 38 mile ride from Sunday again by myself just to see where I'm at. The results showed me at 2 hrs and 5 minutes, 10 minutes faster than the first time I did it in July and an average speed of 18.2 vs. 17.5 in July. I was able to maintain 11.5 to 12.0 mph up the hill for all but the final 1/3 mile or so and that definitely felt good.

On the ride home I have to go up Hungry Junction Rd (you can coast down this thing at 35 mph or higher) and it's always a killer because it's at the tail end of your ride. Out of curiosity I mapped the hill on and discovered the steepest portion is a 19% grade. Holy !!$$&#*@#$". No wonder your legs take a good half mile to recover after going up it. Fortunately, it's short.