Yesterday felt like time for a long, over distance trail ride on my cross bike. Actually, on Mdm Kona Single Speed. Accompanied by 55+ Masters phenom Cosmic Miller, we departed the sleepy town of Duvall and headed south on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail to join up with the John Wayne / Iron Horse Trail for the journey up Snoqualmie Pass to the turn-around point at the Hyak ski area. I have done portions of the route but never the entire 103 mile round trip journey. It was a perfect day to ride: sun, cool, a slight headwind on the return trip and some overcast courtsey of the afternoon on-shore push coming in from the Olympics. The trail is an old railroad grade right of way now turned into a hiker, bike, and equestrian paradise. The route take you through farm lands, wet lands, river valleys, along the ridge of the Casacades, on old tressles above deep chasms, to finally emerge after a 2 mile trip in pitch dark to the other side of Snoq Pass. Enroute we saw deer, equestrians, rabbits, lots of birds, fisher persons trying their luck on the banks of the Snoqualmie River, climbers working some of the sport routes adjacent to the trail, and other cyclists coming and going through the tunnel. Even with all that activity. Cosmic and I had the trail to ourselves, allowing us to ride side by side almost the entire route. 38×18 gearing meant that my legs were constantly pedaling on the 2% grade. Other than some dusty bikes and legs, the ride was uneventful – car to car 8 1/2 hours of pedal pedal pedal over distance… A ride I would recommend to anyone… Now it is time to get down to business: hill repeats, intervals, and threshold rides in preperation for the seasons first CX race on Sept 3rd. Bring it on!!!
Paul G, Edmonds, Wa.
My brother-in-law, Tony, and I rode Chilly Hilly today. Got up early and made the first ferry at 7:55. While parts of Seattle were being treated to hail, rain, snow and slush on the roads, Bainbridge Island sat in the rain shadow. Save for some sun drenched snow snifters while we were waiting for the ferry home, we were treated to cold, clear, crisp, calm, sunny and dry conditions. After the first stop, I was able to pack away the rain shell for the remainder of the ride. Ride was incident free and the group we went off with, having the road ahead all to ourselves was patient, courteous and rode at a decent pace, not the chaos we experienced in previous years. A grand time indeed! Totals on the day: 42 miles, 3 hours moving time, avg speed 12.5, 2890 feet gained (and lost), avg HR 138 with max HR of 177 (on several of the steep and long climbs). Avg temp was 43 degrees F with a minimum of 39!!!
Paul G, Edmonds, Wa.
Last race of the season for me as the snow is flying, the chair lifts are turning and it is time to hang up my skin suit and don my ski patrol jacket and pack. Yesterday rode the State Champs along with 17 others in my class. The course was dead flat but with enough chicanes through the trees and in the straightaways to keep everyone on their toes. There was one barrier section through tufted grass which made you think do I run or ride it. And the long curvy sand section with only one single track tested an ability to ride a straight line! Finished 6th; places 2 through 6 were seperated by 13 seconds or ~ 3 seconds a lap! The winner from Walla Walla smoked us by over a minute+… Good day of racing under clear, cold but sunny skies. Great way to end the season… For me it is time to rest, clean the bikes and begin to put in long steady distance prepping for next year. For those of you going to Natz, to Masters Worlds or finishing your local races, good luck!!!
I don’t know what it is but I seem to be the magnet out there for guys to put their wheels into my derailleur. Today was WinterCross at the motocross course. I was interested to see if the hard training was going to pay off since I haven’t raced for 2 weeks. I got a great start and sat 3rd wheel and when we hit the fist hairpin turn someone from behind decided not to slow down and plowed into the field and of course my derailleur and bent it. 30 seconds into the race and my bike is messed up. The gears were skipping away and the other riders were riding back. I had to to a hole lap to get to the pits. I put it in a gear that wouldn’t skip and finally made it to the pits and grabbed my B bike. The goal now was to see how many people I could pass. Lap after lap I felt good and dropped guys here and there and finally made it to see the leaders. 2 laps to go and I was sitting 4th after moving up from the back. I stuck on rd place with 2 laps to go and was waiting for one lap to go when we get close to the finish and they say you’re done and 3rd stomps it and it’s over before I knew what was up. That stupid 80% rule in effect again. We didn’t even get passed by the leader of the 1/2 race. At least I know the fitness is coming around. I felt great today. I’m hoping my bad luck with dudes crashing me out is over, because it sure it getting old and the big races are coming up with USGP Bend next weekend and Masters Worlds in January.
The 6 race MFG series concluded with the Woodland Park GP and, as reported by Joey in CX Mag, “cold hands, colder winds and harsh heckles made the final race that much better”. Situated within the woods to the east of Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington, the course had features upon features: lengthy gravel sections, sticky off camber turns, single and double track course routing through trees, a set of barriers by the tennis courts, and a run-up consisting of a set of wooden stairs followed by a large log placed across the run-up, this course had something to challenge everyone. The entire day was action-packed with pain, jeers, broken bikes and memorable crashes, but the place to be was the stair / log run-up. It was a party for both spectators and the racers. The Cat 4 Masters 35, 45, 55+ and Cat 4 Women took to the course at 9:30; all 200+ of us, seperated by one minute. It wasn’t long before the faster riders began nipping on the heels of the riders in the race ahead… Navigating the already tricky course through traffic made the race even more interesting. 13 toed the line for the Mens Cat 4 55+ race, and almost immeditely a seperation occurred. I rode a steady, incident free race, finishing on the “podium” in third for the first time this season! The result also propelled me into third place in the final Cat 4 55+ standings, a very pleasant end to the series. I have two more races left this year, before my ski patrol duties force me to trade two wheels for two freeheel planks: this Sunday the SCX series race in Tacoma and the State Championships in Arlington on December 4th. Hopefully the Crossniacs colors will shine brightly in both of those races…
– Paul, Edmonds Wa.
Barton Park is generally high on most Portland-area racers’ short-list of best venues. A fast course with two make-you-cry run-ups that evolve for the worse (devolve?) with each successive race of the day.
I’m in the Master B’s and there’s three races ahead of me. By the time I get to the course, there’s already been three races and it looks like horses have been galloping up the inclines.
But what really makes Barton Park a red-letter day on the race calendar is it’s tendency to turn into a mud-bog at the slightest hint of precipitation. The week prior to Sunday’s race saw lots of rain and the forecast called for it to continue through Sunday. Yipee. There couldn’t have been more anticipation if Christmas had been approaching.
However, the rain stopped Saturday afternoon and we had the sun shining down on us by 8AM Sunday. It was still cold, barely 40, and there were a few decent mud puddles here and there and the course was nice and tacky. So all was not lost.
I had just installed GORE Ride-On sealed brake cables on my bike and they performed as advertised. Previously there had been significant drag in the rear brake cable, but the GORE cables were ultra-slippery. So much so that I had to turn down the spring tension on my Paul cantilever brakes.
I had a good warm-up on the trainer and by the time my start rolled around I felt ready to go. However, once I got out on the course… all the strength seemed to have evaporated from my body and my quads felt like they might cramp at any moment. Little did I know that this was just the opening shot in an ongoing battle with that particularly shitty little virus, influenza.
Here it is over a week later. I’ve missed the last Cross Crusade race. So that put me for a grand total of three out of eight total Crusade races this season. There’s another couple of smaller races coming up — including the Kruger’s Crossing this weekend — and my ability to do anything in those races besides merely turn the pedals is looking pretty iffy. But hey, that’s the flu, right?