Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tally Ho!

So things are shaping up nicely for another go at “Mt Brooklyn”. I'll ride the complete Lacey-Brooklyn-Lacey 200K perm this weekend. This is actually getting exciting; I have not been so 'up' about the prospect of riding my bike over a very muddy, steep, mountain road, in early February, since …. Hey wait a minute; did those words just come out of my mouth?

Well obviously it does not take much to get me excited. I would lay that down as some sort of distinction, but get this: There are lots of other cyclists out to do this, and other equally outlandish bike events this time of year. If you are a year round bike nerd you know just what I mean. If you just lurk here to get a whiff of what bike geeks think is ‘fun’ well, this must seem odd. The truth is I’m not unique, just one of many who hear a different drum up the road and ride their bikes to see if they can catch up to it.

I took Tuesday off to ride herd on the HVAC contractors who were putting my house 'right' once again after the flood damage of last month. They were great guys, no tricks or surprises, and upon completion I am satisfied that things are better than new. I thought about getting down in the crawl space with the camera but, I just can’t imagine there are many of you out there who are aching for those photos.

I did suffer some flood flash backs: Remembering last winter when there would be multiple contractor trucks in the driveway, workers like ants tapping away at various parts of the house. The heat was off, it was cold and overcast, it reminded me of how trying that time was for us. For those folks out there who lost their homes in this years flooding let me just say, keep pecking away, this too shall pass.

In between home handyman peeks over the shoulder, I spent time cleaning, lubing, adjusting and otherwise getting the big horse ready to romp.

I told you on my last go I had a flat and then flatted the second tube. In the light and relative warmth of the shop I found the pin holes in the two tubes I flatted and I also found the culprit in the tire: I expected a fine gauge snip of wire that often adorns highway shoulders after Semi’s bust a tread off. This is a particularly common source of flats in late winter and spring when the shoulders have not yet been swept and they are littered with truck tire remnants. Not this time: It was that mini-micro, needle sharp cinder from a piece of flint (more likely basalt here in our country) that was just small enough to completely embed in the tire tread and still barely able to poke through and cause pin holes in the tube(s). This was probably spread by a DOT sand truck on Hwy 101 sometime this past winter. I dug the shard out of the tire tread, patched the two tubes, put one back on the bike and the other in the seat bag and was ready to go, or so I thought. Not so fast there speedy. About half an hour later the tire was again spongy. I pulled the tube out and found that the patch was fine, but there was another teeny, tiny leak at the base of the valve stem. So glad I picked that tube to put back on the bike instead of in the seat bag as a back up!

While I was at it I replaced the Jack Brown ‘Greens’ with their slightly beefier cousins, the Jack Brown 'Blues'. Sure this adds 136 grams to my overall weight, but there are some pretty obvious ways for me to reduce my rolling weight. I‘ll trade a slight weight penalty for a slight increase in flat protection any day, or at least till I get down to about 160 pounds.

I checked the weather again, check out this little bit from our pals at the National Weather Service:
I love this feature, if you log on to the Seattle station site you’ll get a map, click on the map and you are likely to get a local prediction. As I said in my last post I routinely click on the Grays Harbor area and get the Grays Harbor Bar forecast which usually mentions the onshore or offshore flow (wind) prediction, probably more important to mariners than to me, but important none the less. Now I’m a Wa State Native so I know better than to pack my bags more than a day or so in advance based on a weather prediction, but this site has said the same thing for the last three days, which helps me believe that we may actually get a gentle shove from behind on the homeward leg of this 200K. I can use all the help I can get.

By the way, did you catch the big flap about the republican Senator being nominated by the President for Secretary of Commerce? Who cares? I care! It just so happens that a few years back, the esteemed senator voted to abolish the Department of Commerce! You still don’t get it do you? The National Weather Service is a branch of the Department of Commerce! No sudden moves Mr. Secretary designate, I’m watching you!

Really, I have not been this ‘up’ for a bike event or a coming bike riding season in some time. It is great to get back on the bike. I am in terrible shape and every time I do something like this it is a big challenge for me. I won’t say painful, but the doing is challenging, and finishing is rewarding. This is not a big problem for me, I seem to have always had a penchant for doing things the hard way, and to be honest, I suspect there is no ‘easy’ way to regain fitness lost.
I took the Tournesol for a quick spin out to the buffalo ramch and back after the clean up and on that ride I had an epiphany: If you swallow a bug on a bike ride, can spring really be far off?

I’m not sure how many riders will be rolling out with me at 6:30 Saturday morning, but I understand there will be a decent pack coming after us at 8:00 am. This hare and hounds thing adds a little something, for me anyway and as I said above, every little bit helps.

See you up the road.


  1. See you in the morning! I'll be at Stbx around 6. Anyone else starting early? Josh

  2. Two others I am fairly sure of (Brian and John), beyond that there is no requirement for people to let me know so we'll see what we see. I plan to be rolling out at 6:30 sharp. See you then.