Group Rides

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


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Layer up

Forecasts for the winter are for warmer than normal temperatures and a little more rain than snow.  That's fantastic to keep riding.  I haven't moved toward a studded tire bicycle but know people who have.  However, wet roads are something that is easily done - just ask all those daily commuters in the Seattle area.  Some good fenders on your bike help limit the road grime and spray and make the ride a little more enjoyable.  Check out options at the Recycle Bicycle shop.

More importantly is to properly layer your clothing while riding.  If it's 40 degrees or warmer I usually have three layers up top - polypropylene or some other sweat wicking material, a jersey and lightweight jacekt (I tend to work hard and heat up a lot).  For temperatures under 40 degrees I'll usually add a base layer to aid in the warmth factor.   I also use either mid-weight leg tights for temperatures above 48 and up to the mid-50's or so and then switch to leg warmers above the mid-50's to low 60's.  I'll wear protection on the legs until it's a little warmer thanks to arthritis that has developed.  Normally the guideline is 60 degrees or warmer you don't need tights.

The feet have three different options - lightweight toe covers, mid-weight full booties and heavyweight booties.  The heavyweight ones are used only on the coldest days - rides below 30 degrees.

For the hands - either a lightweight wool liner glove followed by a mid-weight full fingered glove - down to temperatures between 40 and 50.  Above 50 I'll just use the mid-weight glove.  Below 40 I typically what I call a penguin glove- thumb and only two fingers with a cover that's neoprene to keep the cold off the hands.

Finally, for the head either a lightweight cap under the helmet or a balaclava for the colder days.

Proper layers make those winter rides more enjoyable.  With the roads being fairly clear so far - even with the temperatures being colder - the riding has been great through November and here's hoping for more through February.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Profile - Richard Stripes, local teen racing enthusiast

One of things we're missing in Ellensburg is encouraging younger riders to get into the sport and even to race if they want to.  Over the years a few riders from Ellensburg have been successful on the state level racing front but more in the area of triathlons and time trials.  Several have had success on the mountain bike trails.  One type of racing getting very popular is cyclocross (see my earlier post about this type of racing) and Ellensburg has seen excellent participation over the past few years in the cyclocross racing circuit.

One of the local riders who got involved in cross racing this year is high school student Richard Stripes.  This fall is his first season racing and the results are showing his potential as he scored his first win just three races into the season.  Richard is still ranked 3rd in the MFG Cyclocross Beginners Men category despite missing the past three races because of a non-cycling injury.

I had an opportunity to ask Richard some questions about cycling and his getting involved in cyclocross racing.



What prompted you to get into cycling?

 Richard:  My cycling story starts in the spring of 2011. Ever since I was young I've loved riding bikes no matter what. But in March of that year my dad decided to start riding his bike. I got my bike fixed and "it" began. My dad did a 15 minute,  3 mile loop and decided to say he was faster than me. I corrected him and we timed mine. After I finished he forgot to save the time but we concluded that I was faster. Ever since then we have been going at it seeing whose faster on that loop up the hill down the hill on the flats. Finishing many rides in a sprint finish. I was prompted by my competitive nature to start trying to be better than other people. I then fell in love with riding my bicycle.

Do you have friends who ride? If not, what do they think of you?


Richard:  I have no high school friends that ride due to them all being major wussies. But I do have people and bike shop employees I have met on group rides that have become friends.

I have found three basic opinions on my cycling: 1) the people that hate it 2) the people that like it but think I'm stupid for doing it how I do and 3) then the ones that love it. The first ones aren't athletes and are lazy and don't understand whats so amazing about what cyclists do.  The second group are the ones that think I look stupid in my awesome ReCycle Shop jersey but think that I am a badass on an expensive bike.  The third group are people that ride a lot and also the bike shop employees that understand the significance of what cyclists do. Carrie and Jordan are my closest riding friends and think it is awesome that in a summer I put 3000 miles on my bike. But, of course, being me I don't get any attention from girls or high schoolers in general about how much better my sport is than anything the school offers other than cross country. 

What's your favorite thing about cycling?

Richard: My favorite thing about cycling you ask? I cannot pick one single thing! Its all a great sport! If  I'm on, or around, bikes I'm usually happy. But, if I had to pick one aspect I think it would be the freedom a person can have by simply moving their legs. The long solo rides mostly through scenic areas. Scenic riding is really fun, especially climbing mountains. I mostly like the fact that you can see all kinds of beautiful places while getting activity and having fun. It's a great way to clear my head and have freedom, on the road and trail I make the decisions on what I'm going to do. I can go as fast or slow as I want given I don't crash.

Why cyclocross racing?

 Richard:  My cross story starts when I got my Specialized Tricross. For the first month after I got it I did not ride or corner fast or take it off road. Then I rode the John Wayne trail. From there I went to Carey Lake and rode those trails. After that I loved cyclocross so much I'd ride it everyday. Then I started going on group rides. Once people noticed my cross bike and the riding ability I had to go with it they started asking . me if I was racing cross in the fall.  I said maybe until August then I started saying I hope so. Then Jordan, Ken, and I went riding in the Naneum and I was hooked on it after going 28 mph down a dirt road. So the day before my first race I spent the afternoon with Carrie riding and cleaning my bike hanging out at the bike shop.


Walk us through a cross race - do you utilize a strategy or is it every racer for them self?


Richard:  Cross racing prep starts Thursday or Friday when I get home from school. I start with downing water from Thursday night until the race. The day before the race I usually go to the bike shop and buy a Cliff bar and talk to the staff there. Before every race I clean my bike. I get two good nights of sleep before race day. 

At the race I will ride the course once and decide where I'm going to do what, such as how to deal with the trickier sections, best passing areas, how I'm going to do the barriers etc. I warm up by riding around in a low gear high cadence to get my blood flowing. 

At the start line I take deep breaths and clear my mind as much as possible; thinking about bikes, girls, any thing that I need to in order to calm down and mellow my heart rate. Then right before the start I close my eyes and take 3 deep breaths. The man says go and I explode off the line accelerating the best I can. But then I slow down and start pacing because I know its only the beginning. My strategy is to just keep pushing and pick off riders one by one or stay on the leader's wheel because I have a decently good sprint from behind.  Once I get on someone's wheel I can stay there no matter how bad it hurts. I've found that racing and riding is mostly mental so long as you train properly. 

Have you thought about road racing? What about track racing?


Richard:  I enjoy all the cycling disciplines I have tried. Cyclocross is my favorite. But I enjoy mountain, road, and want to try downhill but I'm not that crazy.  I hope to have a Specialized Allez (the aluminum version of the Tarmac) before next summer. And I'm hoping to get involved in road racing before I graduate high school and hope to get onto a pro team sometime in my life. 

 Do you have a favorite professional cycling racer or star? Why or why not?

Richard:  It is hard to pick a favorite pro rider.  I like Tom Boonen, Levi Leipheimer, along with Bradly Wiggins, Tejay Van Garderen, Thomas Voekler, Yens Voight, and many others. But Specialized being my favorite bike maker I'd have to say Tom Boonen because he is a great bike rider and racer.

glassesYou've mentioned there's no cycling club at the high school, what would be the goal of a cycling club if one were to start?

Richard:  If there were a club the goal would be simple, have fun riding and learning about bikes. Have a few different disciplines and try new extremes when it comes to riding. It would mostly be a fun place to go hang out and do what cyclists do - talk about, work on and, most important, ride bikes. I think it would be a great club to keep students away from drugs and future health problems by getting them in the habit of fun exercise. 

There you have it.  A local teen with a lot of upside potential.  My favorite rider was Greg Lemond, who also started riding with his dad and having sprint and climbing contests with him.  Maybe we'll see some similarities.  A cycling club at the high school would be a great way to encourage cycling but also finding other students that may also excel in the sport. The Northwest has already produced some good cyclists like Wenatchee's Tyler Farrar and Chris Horner from Bend, OR.  I see no reason there can't be at least one from Ellensburg, WA.

A really fun fall ride

I finally got the opportunity this fall to ride the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes in north Idaho.  If you haven't had a chance to make the drive to do this ride I highly recommend it.  The only hills are on each end and no more than 2-3% gradient.  The trail has a total length of 73 miles - all of it paved on an old railroad bed.  I've heard of many people who ride one way, stay in a hotel and ride back the next day.  Making a two or three day trip out of it would allow you to also check out the Hiawatha Trail and it's nice long tunnels.

I decided to ride from Plummer (the west end of the trail) to Kellogg and back.  Total distance was 102 miles.  Start time was approximately 9 am on October 11th.  Unfortunately, going this early in the year means a cold start especially when combined with the six mile descent to Lake Coeur d'Alene at the start.  Because this was a Thursday and mid-October I saw very few people on the trail until I started getting closer to Kellogg at about mile 44.  There was one stretch where I went close to an hour without seeing any other trail users.

Below are some photos of the ride that I'm sure will become an annual trip for me. 




As you drop down to Lake Coeur d'Alene you're greeted with this view



After leaving Harrison, ID the trail parallels the Coeur d'Alene River almost the entire way to Kellogg



My trusty and fantastic ride - 1984 Gitane Tour de France




Saturday, October 6, 2012

Some other cycling options

Road cycling, mountain biking, fixed gear riding, commuting, etc.  They all can get a little old without mixing things up a little bit.  Add the boring indoor trainer and it can really get bad.  So, what other options do you have?

How about cyclocross?  This sport has been huge in Europe.  Many professionals race cross.  Even the famous Greg Lemond used to race cyclocross in the off season when he was living in Europe. Ellensburg has a decent contingent of riders who travel every weekend to race cyclocross.

But, what is cyclocross (or cross, or CX)?  It's typically run in the fall and winter and consists of lap races on a course that encompass pavement, gravel, grass, mud (when it rains), obstacles, trails and steep hills.  It really could be considered a combination of mountain biking, criteriums and cross-country cycling.  It can be very demanding especially when navigating the obstacles often requiring a dismount of the bicycles.  Personally I've never raced cross - I don't like being wet, muddy or both - despite how much fun it looks.

The bikes can be a little heavier and are fitted with wider knobbier tires for extra grip on the off road sections of the course.  This is one of the fastest growing cycling sports in the world so you definitely want to check it out.



There's another area of cycling that is getting quite popular with the masses.  Called a Gran Fondo race in Italy, or a Cyclosportive in France,  they are timed road cycling events, often with the fastest riders treating it truly as a race and a cut off time limit that you need to finish by.Many cycling superstars from the past sponsor their own versions of these races which encompass a variety of distances.

The origin for these races seems to be Italy but also some credit could come from the randonee events in France.   La Marmotte in France is one of the most popular and was also the first of these events -beginning in 1982 with the route starting in Bourg d'Oisans and taking in the Col de la Crois de Fer, Col du Telegraphe, Col du Galibier and Col du Lautarer before climbing to finish at the top of one the most famous Tour de France climbs at at Alpe d'Huez.  Course often will include paved and gravel roads and in Europe even some of the famed cobbles that are raced each year by the pro peloton.

Some local Fondo rides include:

Coeur d'Alene

Ephrata

Bend, OR

Hood River, OR

Finally, there are the rides patterned after the famous L'Eroica ride in Italy each year.  According to Velo News, "L’Eroica is a unique bike event that celebrates the glorious days of the pioneers of cycling. It is a vintage sportive where riders have to ride bikes built pre-1989 following three strictly enforced rules: NO clipless pedals, NO internal cables and ONLY downtube shifters.

The event is the brainchild of Gaiole in Chianti native, Giancarlo Brocci. In 1997, with his passion for the history of cycling and his region, he started the event. Brocci explains “This is not a race, but a ride. It celebrates the pioneers of modern cycling and also my beautiful region. I wanted to save the historic Strade Bianche from being paved.”

The strade bianche or “white roads” are Chianti’s version of Flandrian cobbles. Made out of white gravel, they are a central feature of L’Eroica.

If you look back to the old photos of cycling, strade bianche is the surface that many of the races took place on."

The event would be a blast to do in person in Europe to experience all that you can of cyclings past.  It's no surprise that I love vintage bikes and to be able to ride these roads on one would be fantastic.

Here's a great video of the ride:


For 6 years now there's been a ride in Montana in honor of the L'Eroica run the second weekend of September called Cino Heroica.  An acquaintance on Bikeforums.net has done this twice and has convinced me to do it next year.  The wool jersey alone would be a prized possession in my book.

Cino Heroica

Monday, October 1, 2012

Manastash Metric is cancelled for 2012

Today, unfortunately, I have to present some bad news.  Due to the wildfire situation in the hills north of Ellensburg the lower Kittitas Valley has been dealing with poor air quality for close to a month.  Because the outlook for the air quality clearing up by October 6th was not very positive the decision was made on Friday, September 28th to cancel the 2012 version of the Manastash Metric/Half Metric Century bike ride.  Below is the text from the organizer, RSVP of Kittitas County.

The Manasash Metric HAS BEEN CANCELLED FOR OCT 6.
We regret to inform our riders, volunteers and supporters that this years ride has been cancelled due to poor air quality from our wildfires.
We had to make a decision today, Sept.28th to allow notifications to all involved. This was the only fund raiser for the RSVP and Volunteer Center so it was not an easy decision but the safety and ...

health of our riders and volunteers was our top concern.
We will be calling all of the riders who registered with us on Monday and Tuesday to confirm that we have cancelled.

You will all receive a full refund in a couple of weeks from CWU our sponsor. Some have indicated that they would like to just donate their check to RSVP and Volunteer Center. If you would like to do so, you may send us an email indicating so to rsvp@fairpoint.net

For further information please contact us at 509 962-4311. Again we are so sorry about cancelling this years ride and we will be back for next year for sure!

We appreciate your understanding during this terrible wildfire situation and hope you understand that the safety and health of everyone concerned was our top priority.

Thank you!
Carol Findley
 
 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Manastash Metric is coming up quickly

The annual Manastash Metric/Half Metric Century ride is coming up on Saturday, October 6th.  Early registration ends on September 21st and then the registration cost goes up by $10.  Check out my earlier posts on the route changes.

You can go directly to the Manastash Metric website here.

Bucket list - meeting one cycling legend

I have a lot of things on my cycling bucket list including touring cross country (diagonally from Washington to Florida), going to the Tour de France and riding STP in 2015 in one day - the 30th anniversary of when I rode it the first time.

 But, tops on my bucket list would be an opportunity to meet, and ride with, Greg Lemond.  The primary road bikes in my stable are from the 1980's.  This was the time period I fell in love with cycling as a teenager and couldn't get enough of it.  It's also the time period that ABC and CBS sports started paying some attention to the Tour de France.  Broadcasts didn't include the entire stage as they do today but, rather, just snippets of them.

I'll never forget the sheer pride I had when Lemond won the 1986 Tour de France becoming the first American to do so.  It was a huge day for American cycling.   And who can forget 1989 and the miracle 8 second win on the last time trial over Laurent Fignon.  That race saw the introduction of clip-on aerodynamic bars and aerodynamic helmets to shave time off the stage performance for the first time and it was extremely controversial.

The drama of that race was unbelievable.  I remember sitting in my father-in-law's living room, eyes fixed on the tv, unable to move because of the suspense.  Afterward, pride again swelled up within me knowing that Lemond had come back from a hunting accident and got that second victory - a victory that would give some legitimacy to his 1986 win.

The 1980's were the last decade of the great, lugged steel racing bikes.  Of time trials that relied more on brute force and power from the rider than aerodynamics.  Of downtube, non-indexed shifters that required more skill in handling a bike versus today's option of having the shifters and brake levers integrated.  Heck, even the sight of non-aero exposed cables above the brake levers prior to the mid-80's gives me such a rich appreciation for the sport of cycling and the skill of the riders from those days.  The rider and the machine had to be so tuned to each other. 

Greg Lemond is a true American cycling hero and should be remembered for that.  I loved watching Lance Armstrong race but if there's one cycling legend in American history that I want to meet it's Greg Lemond.  Sorry, Lance, it's been that way since 1985 and it will never change.

Pondering Lance Armstrong

I know, what in the world is the Ellensburg Cycling blog doing discussing Lance Armstrong?  As my riding mileage has finally been able to increase since the middle of July I've had time to ponder a lot of things and one of those is Lance Armstrong.  More specifically my thoughts have revolved around his recent decision to not seek an arbitration hearing with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency investigation against his alleged doping while riding in the peloton.  And, the subsequent announcement by the USADA that Armstrong was stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles.

I should say I was, and still am, a huge Lance Armstrong fan.  He is an amazing athlete with an ability on the bike that goes beyond anything I could ever hope to do.   Will the USADA decision change my feelings about him.  Probably not.  He won the 1993 World Championships before he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and none of these doping accuations are from that time period.  He was always a strong and gifted rider but he was also a different rider after the cancer treatments.

Did Lance Armstrong dope?  I'm pretty sure he did.  Does it matter in my mind?  Nope, not one bit.  Most of the peloton was doing it.  It doesn't make it right but it's also just the way things were.  The riders take a lot of risks and doping is one of those that they know could, ultimately, take their life.  But, it doesn't seem to matter.  Doping in the 1970's and earlier consisted of cocaine, amphetamines and other substances to dull the pain the body was feeling.  It wasn't performance enhancing it was mental "dulling".  Let's face it - a three week stage race can be one of the most brutal on the body especially the mountain stages on multiple days.  Granted the peloton may "relax" for 100 out of 175 km of a race but those last 75 km can be all out.  To do this day after day tears a body apart.

I was never a fan of Laurent Fignon but reading his autobiography a couple of years ago after he died I came to a new acceptance of what these riders do to themselves.  Riding with broken bones, severe tendonitis, saddle sores so bad that they bleed the entire time they're on the bike and on and on.  Yet, they climb back on the bike day after day and push themselves beyond limits we will never really comprehend.

Doping will always be in the peloton.  I remember watching with utter amazement during the 2009 Giro d'Italia as Danilo Di Luca raced up mountains day after day with no apparent ill effects from the prior days hard climbing.  Explosive accelerations.  Covering break aways.  Bridging gaps.  It was incredible.  Then a couple of months later announcements are made that he tested postive for CERA and was banned for two years and his second place finish vacated.  That explained the explosiveness in the mountains.  I wasn't surprised.  And, again, I didn't really care because the racing had been phenomenal the finishing time trial having suspense like I hadn't remembered since 1989.

Lance Armstrong won seven Tour de France titles.  Jan Ullrich, who could potentially be awarded the win in three of those events, was reported to have said he wasn't interested and he knew who had won those three races.   Lance Armstrong was a great rider and doping wasn't going to make him that much greater.  In the end, I don't really see what the USADA gains by all of this.  There's absolutely no physical evidence - just testimony by former teammates and other members of the cycling community.  By most appearances it looks like a vendetta by one man at the helm of the USADA and that smells about as bad as doping itself does.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

County chip seal program details

I've probably missed the beginning of the annual Kittitas county chip seal work but better late than never.  Here's a list of roads being sealed this summer.  Of note is Denmark Rd out by Kittitas from I-90 to Thrall and then continuing to 4th Parallel Rd.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Manastash Metric routes

The new routes for the Manastash Metric Century and Half Century have been approved and posted on the Mansastash Metric website.  Check it out - click on the elevations map to see the actual course.  Should be a great ride - all in the lower valley - and essentially flat.  Two climbs for the 100K route at Hayward Hill up to Hwy 10 and the annual trek up Hungry Junction.

Rumor has it there could be a full century (100 mile) course added in the next couple of years.  Stay tuned for more on that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Manastash Metric route update

If you haven't already heard, or figured out, Hwy 10 is closed through October, 2012 for a bridge replacement.  Since that has been the route back to Ellensburg for the Manastash Metric bicycle ride a new plan had to be formulated.

The sponsor group, RSVP in Ellensburg, has been working diligently on a new route and have two options for this year's ride.  The routes are with the state for approval by the Department of Transportation.

We expect the routes to be posted on the Manastash Metric Facebook page and also on the Manastash Metric website the week of June 25th.  Stay tuned for more information.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A short ride synopsis

Time is often the bane of a cyclist. Having a family with multiple kids involved in team sports makes it difficult to get in much more than an hour a day for training purposes.  So, when I found out our family schedule had opened up for a visit back home to the Palouse region in eastern Washington I had to start making plans for a good ride.

I have not been able to do a century ride since 1997 when I was training for the cross state Cannonball one day ride.  I negotiated with my boss to let me work Monday (Memorial Day) and then take the following Friday off (our weekend trip).  My entire plan was to head out from home between 9:30 and 10:00 am and ride east on I-90 until my wife caught up to me around 5:00 pm.  Since last fall's attempt at a 100 mile ride ended abruptly at mile 14 when my dad crashed on his bike and broke his pelvis, I have been thinking non-stop about doing a century.  Everything was falling into place perfectly.
I started accumulating the things I needed the day before the ride.  I waffled for about a week on which bike to take and finally decided on the Spectrum titanium because it had two water bottle cages versus my other vintage bikes with only one.  I grabbed the larger, expandable saddle bag from my mountain bike and proceeded to fill it with  patch kits, a spare tube, Nuun electrolyte replacement tablets, a multi tool and four granola bars.  In my pockets were the mp3 player, fourteen fig newtons, my cell phone and a sandwich bag with my drivers license, health insurance cardit, credit card and some cash.

One of the distinct things about heading east on I-90 from Ellensburg is the prevailing tailwind to crossing tailwind that you can encounter.  I was hoping to have some of  those winds as I was a little nervous about the ride having not been able to get the training miles to a level I'd like to see at this time of year.   Starting out I felt great and made it from my place (10 miles northeast of Ellensburg) to the Ryegrass rest area in about an hour and ten minutes.  I topped off the one water bottle I had already gone through and then headed out.  I'd never ridden down to Vantage on I-90 and, I must say, it was quite a bit of fun in averaging 33-40 miles per hour for eleven miles.

The only nerve wracking portion of the entire trip is crossing the bridge over the Columbia River at Vantage that has no shoulder.  I timed my entrance to that portion between two semi-trucks, put the bike in my 42-19 gear and started pedalling hard.  Only three cars decided they had to honk as they went past and and I quickly entered the shoulder after clearing the bridge and prepared for the mile climb. 

Another advantages of riding the interstate is well spaced rest areas 34-45 miles apart.  Confidence builds in knowing you can go through two water bottles and be able to fill up every couple of hours.   You also get to answer a lot of questions from motorists stopped at those rest areas who 1) can't believe you're riding on the interstate and 2) are interested in where you came from and how far you're going.  It definitely makes the ride a little more enjoyable.

After fixing a flat tire at mile 64 it was short distance in to Moses Lake where I quickly stopped for a Snickers and Coca Cola to prevent a low blood sugar situation from building.  Then it was on for the last few hours of riding.  By mile 85 I was starting to get tired - my longest ride the prior year was 73 miles and I had a total of four mountain bike rides in the prior three weeks thanks to a hectic work schedule.  I rolled into the next rest area about 3:15 and took a more extended break to eat some food.  This was at mile 95 and I decided based on the time and distance (43 miles) to the next rest area I wasn't going to make it there before the family caught me.  Ritzville would be the termination of my ride.

That last 23 mile leg was the toughest of the entire day.  The legs were getting more and more tired even though the cardiovascular system still felt strong but the brain was starting to shut down knowing I was almost to the end.  I rolled into the parking lot at Ritzville at 4:35pm and let out a big sigh followed by 10-15 minutes of stretching to try and stay loose.  The ride stats were 118.5 miles, 6 hrs 1 minute of riding and a 19.7mph avg. 

Finally, a 100 mile goal had been reached.  This was the longest distance I had ridden since 1997 and it felt good to check that one off the "list".  Now it's finding a way to stay motivated to do more centuries.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Been slacking a little

It's pretty clear I've been negligent in updating the blog lately - no real excuses other than work, kids sports and cruddy spring weather and some increasing miles on the bikes.

It's been real encouraging to see the number of cyclists out and about.  It really appears that the number of riders has steadily increased over the past 3 years.  Maybe it's the slow recovering economy, the appeal of new bicycle technologies or just a realization that cycling is a great, low impact (as long as you avoid the crashes) form of fitness.  Every weekend I see 10-12 riders at a minimum riding the roads northeast of town.  It doesn't hurt that we've got so many miles of paved roads in this county with low to almost non-existent traffic.

From a dog perspective there's only one I've encountered this year that has been a problem and that just east of Fairview Rd on Brick Mill Rd.  The first house on the right after the fire station there's a large German Shepherd that can be fairly menacing.  Be careful if you're in that are.  When heading west it can be more problematic because the dog can see you approaching and "be ready" for you.

Mountain bike riding:
As many know most of my riding is done in the Naneum State Forest - no trails per se but a lot of fire roads, jeep trails and main "green dot" roads.  The spring has been wet but the roads there are in pretty good shape.  I haven't climbed an significant altitude so am not sure how high you can go before running into snow - there's a lot of that still back in the basin and up at the higher elevations.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has done a lot of work on the main ride from the end of Naneum Rd to the bridge at the junction for Boulder Creek and Swift Creek.  Starting last fall they started removing low branches on many of the fir trees lining the road and also taking out other shrub brush and smaller trees along the road.  The advantage is it opens visibility on several of the tighter corner areas around mile 3.  The negative is it has opened the road up to more wind exposure.

The other fantastic thing DNR did these past couple of weeks is grade about 7 miles of the road and then smooth it out with a large roller.  It is packed hard and very fast - smoother tires would be an easy thing to ride on now.  Makes for a fun ride.

Finally, DNR will be putting a bridge across High Creek that will allow mountain bikers to ride a circular route from the entrance on Naneum Rd across High Creek and back to Wilson Cr. Rd without having to ford High Creek - i.e. stay dry.   Should be a great ride with significant climbing and fast downhills.

Kittitas County updates:

Here's a link to the county 6 year transportation project plan

http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us/publicworks/engineering/2013-2017-TIP-map.pdf

And, a chart of planned improvements for the next six years.

http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us/publicworks/engineering/2012-2017-6-year-TIP.pdf



Monday, March 26, 2012

Kind of different but also cool

Thanks to technology our modern world has really shrunk. My brother-in-law travels around the world 8-9 months out of the year. For years we never knew where he was and were lucky to receive a letter once a month. Now we sometimes know daily what he's doing thanks to email and Facebook. Friends I haven't talked to in 25 yrs have been located and even coordination for a classmate's funeral a couple of years ago was made easier by the internet.

But, I wasn't really ready for what happened last week. One of the places I have utilized for cycling related products since the early to mid-1980's is Performance Bike. Originally they started as a mail order operation. Now they have stores across the country, including three in the Seattle area. I've linked up with their Facebook page and last week commented on a post that showed some images from a 1990 or 1991 catalog. It's what happened after I made that post that was strange.

I'm a somewhat skeptical person because of my career in an industry where there's a lot of false information provided or trying to "work the system" by customers. So, when I got a Facebook message from a person I didn't know in North Carolina I questioned whether I should even open it. They say curiosity killed the cat but it also got the best of me.

After reading the message I was instantly intrigued. Here was another cycling fan who was wanting to work toward a goal of a century ride this year and was looking for an "anonymous" accountability and training partner. Wow! This was a different concept. The more I thought about it I was struck on how original and potentially rewarding this idea was. Here was a way to have someone you don't know hold you accountable for your training. Someone to motivate you when the doldrums of late summer and early fall riding start to creep up. Someone to celebrate the successes of accomplishing goals with.

It didn't take long for me to decide to jump on the opportunity. We have communicated the past few days and found we both ride classic (1980's bikes), we both aren't into the flashy, super expensive modern things that are marketed in all the cycling magazines and we're separated in age by one month. We both just love to ride, smell the fresh air and get some quality exercise at the same time. I'm excited to see how this works out as I think it could be a fantastic training tool.

So, Gary, get the bike out and get ready to ride. I look forward to the future conversations we'll have along with comparing notes, rides and adventures. Great idea and I'm happy to be a part of it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A couple of reminders

The Seattle Bike Expo is this weekend. This is a fun event to peruse and see what's new in the cycling world. Our local Manastash Metric sponsor, RSVP will have a booth there. See the information below - be sure to stop by and say hello.

Seattle Bike Expo
March 10 and 11, 2012
Smith Cove, Pier 91 in Seattle

Lots of fun, equipment, clothing, demonstrations, free samples, tour and ride information etc.
Saturday time 9am until 6pm
Sunday time 10am until 4pm
Costs $10.00 a day or $12.00 for both days
Children under 15 years old are free


Manastash Metric Bike Ride for Ellensburg will have a booth to promote the Kittitas County Bike Ride.
Booth #354

One other event of note is the CWU Cycling Clubs spring race with up to 11 universities participating. Volunteers are needed and RSVP is helping with that. See the post below from the Ellensburg Manastash Facebook page.

CWU Cycling Club Race will be held on April 14th in the Kittitas area. Volunteers are needed to help with a variety of jobs to insure the safety of the racers, parents and people attending the event. Racers will be participating from approximately 11 universities.

Volunteers are invited to help 7:30am until 2:00 pm. All volunteers will be served lunch.

If you would like to help, please call RSVP and Volunteer Center at 509 962-4311 or email at rsvp@fairpoint.net

Great way to support the CWU students and the Cycling Club!