Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chased by a...Chihuahua!

This was definitely one of the "Dog" days (sadly, not always good for the dog).

First when I was heading along Goddard Rd (off Tilley) a big dog decided to bark and give a bit of a chase. I yelled, "NO!" just as a guy across the street also yelled at the dog. I don't know why the guy ACROSS the street was yelling at that dog but, it worked.

Then, I was riding along on Hwy 12 after Oakville. I could see something big and black in the middle of the road ahead. From a distance (and my less than perfect vision), it looked like a big piece of tire rubber. As you have probably guessed, it wasn't. It was a big black dog. It looked like, maybe a Rottweiler mix. It had a collar on. Someone is missing their dog...

I had planned to ride to Elma where Hwy 12 joins Hwy 8. I realized I was going to possibly run out of time (I had a meeting at 5:00), so instead I turned onto Mox-Chehalis Rd. at Malone. Mox-Chehalis is a rough chip seal road. I alternated between the aero bars and the handlebar. Still, it was tiring. When I was still on M-C Rd., I could see ANOTHER black dog up the road (fortunately, this one was alive). This dog was standing facing the direction I was going and...howling. When I came up to it (he or she was a black standard poodle), I said, "Why so sad?". It just barked, but didn't chase (probably beneath poodles to chase people on bicycles).

With about 2 miles to go on Mox-Chehalis, I was vibrating along, when out of a driveway comes this itty bitty chihuahua barking and running as fast as it's little legs could carry it. Oh, he was trying his best to be as ferocious as possible! Of course, I slowed down. I didn't want to hit the little dude! About that time, a guy came out hollering, "Tony!". Tony ran alongside of me for a little bit, until he decided to listen to his owner. His owner apologized. I told him Tony would have, unfortunately, come out worse between the two of us.

After the chihuahua encounter, I didn't have any other dog meetings. I rode into McCleary for lunch at Subway, then returned to Hwy 8 for the final 25 miles to home. It rained off and on, but was otherwise uneventful.

Total miles for today: 80.8
Average speed: 14.7 (not the greatest--I think my hands are still numb from the vibration)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Going Nowhere or...Enough With the April Showers

Today's ride was abit unusual in that I didn't go anywhere, but I rode for three hours with an average cadence of 73. Yes, I was on my trainer in my garage. So, what's unusual about that you ask? I ride my trainer all the time, right? That's certainly true, but this time was different in that I rode as if I was riding out on the road. That means I took rest breaks (even getting off the bike after an hour and eating a bar) just as I would out on the road. Normally, when I'm on my trainer, I ride for two solid hours non-stop, then I'm done.

At noon, after two hours, I even got off and came in for lunch at "Chez Colleen's Kitchen". I must say, the service wasn't very good. I even had to fix my own meal! Too bad there wasn't a Subway!

After lunch I got back on for another two hours. I was tempted to turn the bike around for the ride "back". Since the view would have been the back wall of my garage, I opted not to do that. At first it seemed slow going (yeah, yeah, I know, it was NO going). Once I warmed up again, things were fine and I was back to the sweat factory (downside of not actually riding--more sweating for sure!).

At the three hour mark, I realized I must have ridden MORE than halfway before lunch because, SURPRISE, I was home! Okay, okay, I'm not crazy. I know I never really left. But, my BUTT was done. That's the funny thing about the trainer vs the road; even though I took rest breaks, I was never "coasting" like when I'm out on the road. There are no steep downhills on the trainer. So, the butt is sitting completely on the saddle all the time (except when I stand up to pedal).

The one thing that makes riding in the garage for three hours tolerable is that I can listen to music. Ya gotta love Pandora for that!

Hopefully, we'll get back to some nice days so I can actually ride out on the road; not just in my head (in the garage). Bring on the May Flowers!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Jay Jix New to Jay Jix Old

Finally a day of sunshine and upper 60s! I know we have had a nice day here and there, but after a couple of days riding in the rain, those nice days seem far away.

I started my ride with an errand to the Westside of town to collect a check for my now sold Giant Cypress. The friend I had hoped would buy it didn't, but his neighbor did. I guess I have to look at it as still getting another person on a bike--even if it is a stranger. The guy who bought it seemed excited to possibly do some commuting to work as well as some riding on the rail trails with his wife. So, it's all good!

I wished my friend, Mr. Jay Jix a happy birthday and, in honor of his birthday, I planned to ride from his new house (across the street from the guy who bought the Cypress) to his old house out Steamboat Island. I haven't been out that way for quite awhile. It's mostly an out and back ride of 52 miles, but the rewards of seeing the Olympics, Cascades, and Mt. Rainier; as well as the Sound, make it worthwhile. Plus, I like doing the little loop around tiny Steamboat Island where the houses are built up rather than out to maximize the space. Some are fancy and some resemble a fish shack (that may have been their original use). Almost everyone has a view of the water. I'm sure it's a very tight knit community.

It's a one lane bridge to the island. Coming back across the bridge there is a fabulous view of Mt. Rainier. Today would have been a great day to be kayaking in the Sound with the mountain in the background. But, it was also a great day to be biking!

I took the little loop on Island Dr. (curiously, not on the island) which eventually brought me back to Steamboat Island Rd. From there it was back the way I had come. There are some options to turn off Steamboat Island Rd., but they are mostly just an opportunity for punishing hills (trust me, I've been on all of them).

On the way out, I had seen a little girl selling lemonade on the other side of the road. I had just eaten lunch so I didn't stop. I thought I would catch her on the way back. Unfortunately, she wasn't there anymore.

When I got back into town, and knew I had about 10 miles to go, I decided I wasn't quite ready to call it a day (well, in 10 miles). It was just too nice out! So, instead of straight-shotting it home, I headed out toward Boston Harbor. I just went as far as Woodard Bay Rd., then cut over to the Chehalis Western Trail and rode the trail back into town. I bypassed getting off the trail at Yelm Hwy in favor of going on to 67th. I'm so glad I did because I caught up to a couple on Bike Fridays! I told them they were the first Fridays I had seen in Olympia. Turns out they are from Seattle (darn!). They had taken the train down to visit some friends and were headed back to the train station to go home. I rode with them as far as 66th in Horizon Point. They headed off to the station and I headed home.

The two photos are both taken from the Steamboat Island Bridge. One looking west and one looking east.

Total miles for today: 63
Money added to my Adventure Fund: $250!
Meeting two fellow Friday riders: priceless!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back to Back E-Towns

For the time being, I have shifted my riding focus to training for July's Seattle to Portland Bike Ride (STP). Yes, I have a two week tour of the Olympic Peninsula coming up before STP, but I don't really need any additional training for that. I'll be doing STP in one day as I did in 2009. That's 204 one day. For that, training is most definitely required!

I've done a few upper 30s mile rides a 50 miler and, last Saturday, a 62 mile ride with my friend Lorraine who is also doing STP. All these have been on my road bike (a Trek Pilot 1.2). I've been working on staying in the aero position (aka praying mantis) for extended periods of time as well as increasing my average speed (needs to be 15-17mph to finish in one day--I'm aiming for 17 which I did in '09).

At least three of my rides have ended up in the rain and/or cold weather. Well, yesterday we finally got some awesome (Saturday was nice too) warm weather; mid 70s! Perfect weather for a long ride!

I like to ride out of Olympia on Hwy 8 toward the Coast. Once I get up away from the water, the road becomes flat to rolling...and fast! I was easily cruising along at 23mph! Even though it's the highway, the shoulder is wide and mostly debris free (and easy to maneuver around what debris there is because the shoulder is so wide). I had decided I would ride out to Elma, have lunch at Subway (of course), then ride back the same way. I figured it would be somewhere between 65 and 70 miles roundtrip. I had a picture in my mind of a Subway in Elma. As I got closer though, I realized the "picture" was actually the Subway in Montesano. That's 10 miles further down the road. After the first exit to Elma, I resigned myself to riding to Montesano to have Subway (REALLY, Subway SHOULD sponsor me!!!). However, as I came upon the second exit, I saw the Subway sign! That's right! There IS a Subway in Elma! I don't think I'd ever eaten at that one though. So, I didn't have to ride to Montesano afterall.

The ride back wasn't quite as fast as the ride out, but still, over 71 miles, my average speed was 16.4mph! Not 17, but getting there.

Today, the weather was again looking good. Hmmm...where to go???...well, there is always Eatonville! Oh, hey, Eatonville starts E just like Elma! AND...there is a Subway in Eatonville! That settled it. Off to Eatonville I went! A couple of things about the ride to Eatonville, one is that it is a general climb once I turn onto Hwy 702 in McKenna. Afterall, it is on the way to Mt. Rainier! The other thing is, almost every time I have done this ride, I have had a nasty headwind coming back (even the general downhill doesn't help). Today was no different. Consequently, my average speed was only 14.7. There are also a number of granny-gear hills. Still, it was a great day, and I did 76 miles!

Now, for tomorrow...Elbe? Enumclaw? Nah, I think I'll pass.