Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last Spin Class of 2008

I went to spin class this afternoon. It was the last spin class for 2008. Probably won't ride tomorrow. There is no class and the weather is looking too nasty for an outside ride.

See you in 2009!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day After Christmas Workout

My daughter and I went to a special "day after Christmas" spin class at our gym. Instead of the usual one hour class it was 1 1/2 hours long. It began at 9:00 AM. It was a great workout too. Our instructor this morning really mixed it up and pushed us. She had us do intervals and a lot of climbing. I'm glad I went!

The weather is beginning to warm. Rain is expected tomorrow which will melt all the snow. I'm a bit worried about flooding. Not for me but for the people in the lower areas and near the already overflowing rivers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What a CRAZY Two Weeks!

School is out for winter break and I am off for the next two weeks returning on January 5th, weather permitting. Actually I got an extra 3 days off! With all the snow and cold weather we have been receiving school was canceled on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (December 17, 18, and 19th). It was nice but that means 3 snow days to make up before the end of this school year. Hopefully there won't be any more school cancellations due to snow!

I have been very busy preparing for the holidays. Shopping, shipping, baking, wrapping, decorating and on and on. With all this extra holiday work plus the bad weather we have been receiving very little biking has been done. Okay zero biking has been done this month. With the exception of December 6th (my only real bike ride this month) all exercise has been at the gym. On Sundays I go to Flex Class and on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday I have been going to spin class. I even went to spin class twice in one day a couple of times this month. The 5:30 AM class and then the 5:30 PM class. Those were exceptional days. Plus this little fact, my daughter made me go! :-P

Yes, this has been a very hectic and busy month. The good news is we have passed the winter solstice which means the sun is making it's journey back to the northern hemisphere! Yippee!

Spin class and the gym will see me through this winter. When spring and warmer weather finally do arrive I will be ready to start training for my 128 mile ride on June 20th.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I woke up this morning early and looked outside. This is what greeted my eyes:

So much for a bike ride today. I guess it's the gym today and probably the rest of this week. 26 degrees F. So much for mild winters in the pacific northwest. Our climate is definitely changing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Has Arrived!

It started yesterday. First the dark clouds, followed by high winds, then came the rain, and this morning the snow! The temperature outside right now is 34 degrees but the weather report for the weekend said 24 by tomorrow with lows around 17! So much for a bike ride this weekend. So it's the gym. I hate being indoors but when you have weather like this it's the only way to get your exercise and training in. Sigh!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


After a month off my bike because of work, weather, and travel, Joe and I got out today and rode for 30.02 miles. It was wonderful to be on my bike again. It sure beats spin classes at the gym. That's what I have been doing four times a week; spinning at the gym.

We started our ride at noon and finished at 2:33 PM. It was 45 degrees, calm, sunny with a few high clouds. We rode on the Orting Trail. When we passed the Carbon River we noticed it had changed it's course. The heavy rains a few weeks ago caused flooding and you could see where it came over the trail. But today the river was low and it's course definitely was not the same when I last saw it in September.

Even though I have been going to spin classes for the last two months today's ride wore me out. My legs were definitely stronger, thanks to spin class, but my stamina and endurance that I had all summer long is definitely gone.

No complaints from me though. I had a great ride! Hope to do a repeat next weekend. I just hope the weather will cooperate next Saturday. Tomorrow it's the gym and spin class.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Two Hours at the Gym

I went to the gym and worked my butt off. First there was my flex class at 8:15 AM. One solid hour of a very high-energy workout. Maximum calorie burn and a full body workout. My instructor really pushed the class this morning. After the hour of flex I then did an hour of spin class. I hope I will be able to move tomorrow morning.

I would have loved to have gone on an afternoon ride but the weather was not cooperating. Raining and windy all day long.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Busy Week

I went to the gym on Tuesday and Thursday and did the 5:30 AM spin classes. Today Joe and I went mountain biking. We had fun. The trails were covered with fallen leaves making the ride pretty interesting. Tomorrow my daughter and I are going to the 8:30 AM flex class at the gym. I may do the 9:30 spin class immediately after the flex class or go home and do a road ride with Joe. It all depends on tomorrow's forecast.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Gloomy Rainy November First

Our weather today was the typical rainy, gloomy, windy pacific northwest pattern. So Joe and I went mountain biking. I doubt I will be doing any road riding in the next 3-4 months. We left the house and drove to Lake Sawyer around noon and rode on some of our favorite muddy, twisty, technical trails in the rain for 2 1/2 hours. We forgot to put our fenders on our mountain bikes so we got extra muddy on our ride but that's okay that's all part of mountain biking. The important thing is we got out and rode and we had fun. We forgot how hard mountain biking can be. By the time we finished and got back to the truck at the trailhead we were exhausted. We got home, Joe cleaned the bikes, I unloaded the truck and started washing our muddy bike clothes. We both showered and then had dinner. Then we both collapsed and chilled out (slept) in the family room in front of the TV.

Rain is called for all weekend long. Tomorrow Joe and I will go to the gym. There is a 9:30 AM spin class on Sundays and we decided to join our daughter and go to it.

It will be the gym all week long after work. Maybe next weekend the sun will make an appearance. If it's sunny we will ride our road bikes. If it's raining we will be on our mountain bikes again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Club Ride . . . Rivers, Falls, Colors Galore, and Great Fun!

Yesterday I went on a Cascade Bike Club ride. The ride started at 10 AM from the town of Fall City. We met at Quigley Park which is right on the Snoqualmie River. About 30 riders showed up for the ride. It was a big turn out but that was to be expected; the weather was beautiful. It started out cloudy and wet because it rained last night. When we started the ride the roads were still wet but the sun broke through just as we began and by the time we finished the roads were dry the sky was blue and the sun was shining brightly. We rode from Fall City to Snoqualmie Falls, then through North Bend's back country roads finally returning to Fall City. We crossed the Snoqualmie River about a half a dozen times, saw Mt. Si breaking clear of the clouds, and was treated to beautiful trees in their fall wardrobe, fields, and farm critters. We stopped in North Bend for lunch. Our total miles was a little over 45. I sure hated to see the ride come to end.

Wouldn't you love to have a driveway like this, lined with beautiful trees on both sides?!
Town of North Bend with Mt. Si just breaking out of the few remaining clouds.
This picture was not taken on yesterdays ride but I had to put it up. This was taken on an early morning ride about a week ago from my house.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Harvest Century

What a great weekend! The weather was autumn perfect and the Harvest Century bike ride was one of the best organized rides I have been in all season long. On a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is the worst and 10 is the best, I give this ride a 10+!

It all began in August when I found the web site of the Harvest Century on line and thought that it looked like a wonderful ride in which to end the 2008 season. Fall rides can be very special and spectacular, especially if the weather cooperates. Fall brings with it shorter hours of day light and chilly mornings, but the frosty mornings and shorter day light is off set with magnificent views of colorful trees, fields of pumpkins, and warm autumn sunshine. And we had all of these, fields of pumpkins, gorgeous foliage, and sunshine on our ride yesterday. My friend Jennifer and I did the 75 mile course which was described as having rolling hills (and a lot of steep ones too) for example the 14% grade hill that we had to climb when we got off the Canby Ferry. What a leg burner that was! But regardless of the hills it was the "day" that made it so perfect. The sun appeared around 10 AM, the sky became a clear blue, the temperature was a not too hot not too cold mid sixty degrees and the course was marked with Dan Henry Pumpkins or should I say Jack-o-Henry legends!
The only negative thing I can think of is the constant headwind we had all day long.

my husband Joe was going to do the ride with me but instead he went to Montana to hunt with his brother. Being the understanding wife that I am I knew how much this meant to him so I said have fun and be safe. At work I talked about my ride and discovered that a coworker was also a cyclist and was looking for bike rides to ride in. I told her about the Harvest Century and she said it sounded like a great ride so she signed up to do the ride with me. I think I should have asked her how fast she was before I agreed to ride with her! She hammered up the hills and left me in her dust. Her pace was totally above mine. She was strong and fast. The first half of the ride I was able to keep up with her but my legs started to cramp from her faster pace plus the hills, oh those hills. After our lunch stop I told her not to wait for me. I would finish but at my own pace. I saw her at the last rest stop. She said I wasn't too far behind her (hmmmm was she being kind? probably). She really pushed me and I loved it. My rides with my husband are always casual pace. We rarely push ourselves except on the flats which my husband just loves. He hates hills but I think hills are what make you a stronger rider.

Jennifer left for Portland on Thursday along with two other teachers from my school. They were attending a WLMA conference on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I drove to Portland on Saturday afternoon and checked into my hotel at 2:00 PM. As I was walking my bike from my car to the hotel Jennifer, Hillery, and Cheryl pulled into the hotel's parking lot. Perfect timing. They had checked out of their hotel in downtown Portland Saturday morning when the conference ended and joined me at my hotel in Lake Oswego.

That night we had dinner reservations at the Greek Cusina restaurant. It had a purple octopus outside just above the restaurant's door! The food was great! The entertainment fun. We got to break plates and watch a belly dancer.
The dinner was another highlight of my weekend in Portland. It was a lot of fun. We arrived back at our hotel a little past 10:00 and immediately went to bed.

Early the next morning, at 5:45 AM, Jennifer and I got up while Hillery and Cheryl continued to sleep. We dressed as quietly as we could, grabbed our suitcases and bikes and packed them into our cars. Then we went back inside to the hotel's breakfast room for breakfast. We had coffee, omelets, and English muffins. Fueled we left for Champoeg Park (pronounced sham-poo-ee) where the ride was to start.
It was still very dark outside when we left the hotel at 6:30 AM. The temperature was 42 degrees. Jennifer and I arrived at Champoeg Park around 7:20 AM. We parked our cars and walked over to the registration table to pick up our packets and numbers. We returned to our cars got our bikes out and started the 75 mile course.

A field of dahlias (I believe) along the route.

The first 15 miles of the ride it was very cold. It was overcast and sunless but after riding for about 10-15 minutes I began to warm up nicely. At mile 15 we reached our first rest stop at the Historic Canby Ferry. The ferry takes you across the Willamette River. It could only carry 60 riders at one crossing so we had to wait. The line of cyclists was beginning to back up and Jennifer and I did a little calculating and found that we would make the fourth crossing. It took the ferry 12 minutes to cross to the other side, unload it's passengers, and then return. So we had a good 48 minutes to wait. When we stopped at the Canby Ferry rest stop we were sweating and hot; as we waited we began to get cold. I couldn't wait to ride so I could get warm again! Brrrrr was it chilly waiting for that ferry.

Line forming for the ferry crossing.

Cyclists arriving for the ferry crossing behind Jenn and I.

On the ferry.

Jennifer and me after the we got off the ferry and just before that 14% grade climb!

One of the Jack-o-Henry Legends that marked the 75 mile course.

Start and finish of the Harvest Century at the Champoeg State Park.
Pronounced Sham-poo-ee.

Jennifer and me after our ride.

We stopped at mile 42.7 for lunch. The organizers had baked potatoes, cheese, chili, salad, cookies, and fruit for us. We got our plates and loaded them up and then found a nice sunny spot to sit and eat our lunch. After lunch and with only 32 miles left we set off again.

Jenn flew up the hills while I slowly ascended them. With each hill she got further ahead of me. She is quite the climber! I was amazed! She went up them like they were nothing. If I'm going to ride with her again I have my work cut out for me! The course was so well marked and there were so many cyclists and sag vehicles on the road I just told her to go for it! The second half of the course my legs were just cramping terribly. Especially after the lunch break. Every time I pushed on a hill my left quad would begin to cramp. So I had to spin up the hills in my lowest gear. But I made every hill. The downhills were pretty awesome and I really looked forward to them. But with every downhill there came an uphill and a climb. Willamette Valley is a very hilly place to ride. Great training, in my opinion, if you want to get hills into your workout.

I seemed to get a second wind, or "life" into my legs about 7 miles from the finish. I found a group of cyclists and fell in with them. We hammered to the end. I thought for sure I would have severe leg cramps last night but they never came. Thank goodness. My legs seem fine today. I plan on going to a spin class this Wednesday to see how they do.

I finally came rolling in and Jenn was packed up and waiting for me at her car. We did it! What a great ride it was but Jenn and I still had to drive home from Champoeg State Park, which is about 20 miles southwest of Portland, back home to the Seattle area. Oy vey, something I was not looking forward to. Tired and exhausted I arrived home just before 7:00 PM. I did stop on my way out of Portland for a burger and fries. That was the best burger and fries I have ever eaten!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

First Day of October Ride

Today after work I went on a 25 mile bike ride on the Orting Trail. It was warm and a bit humid. Rain is on it's way and today is supposed to be the last nice day for a week. Or so say the weather people on the local news. But what do they know, right?

Mt. Rainier was hiding behind a thin veil of high stratus clouds. The clear blue skies of the weekend are gone. Leaves are really starting to fall from the trees that line the bike trail and when the rain and wetness finally do arrive they will be treacherous to ride on. But for now they were quite pleasant. As I rode over them they made that crackling dried leaves sound. People were still fishing along the banks of the Carbon River. The once crowded banks at the beginning of the king salmon season a few weeks ago are now thinned out with only the most dedicated fishermen still casting out their lines.

Today's ride was easy and casual. Just spinning and getting my legs stretched. Enjoying the autumn day, the ride, and my bike.

Along the trail I passed a farmer on his trackter in his pumpkin field. I took a picture with my cell phone's camera. It didn't turn out too good as the sun was directly in front of me. But you get to see one of the beautiful views I cycled past on my after work ride today.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Club Ride to Mount Rainier

Riders checking in with ride leader.

Today Joe decided to go hunting instead of going on a bike ride with me so I went on a Cascade Bike Club ride. When I read about the ride on the club's website it sounded like the perfect ride for a beautiful autumn day. The day was very sunny with clear blue skies and afternoon temperatures in the mid 70s. The ride started from the park in the town of Orting and climbed up to the Carbon River Ranger Station on Mount Rainier, returning through the farmland of Buckley and back into Orting. Total miles for today's ride was 62! I had to ask another rider at the end of the ride for the mileage as my cyclocomputer died on me. Probably needs a new battery.

The ride time was listed as 9:30 AM starting from the Orting City Park. When I arrived there were lots of cyclists already there. I parked my car and got my bike ready. Then I went over to meet the ride leader. I introduced myself and told him I was here for his ride. He said he would be giving a description of the ride as soon as everyone signed in. After about 10 minutes everyone was finished signing the ride waiver. Gary, the ride leader, introduced himself and then quickly went over the route for today's ride. He also handed out cue sheets. We were almost ready to leave. Final count, 23 riders, Wow!

Our first brief stop was in the town of Wilkeson.

Yes, it was going to be a beautiful day for a bike ride but we had a chilly start. Overnight a marine layer rolled in but it was already beginning to burn off as we started the ride. The sun was breaking through the mist and fog. It was chilly enough at the beginning that I wore my jacket. By the time we reached our first stop in the town of Wilkeson the sun was out, the fog was gone, and I was ready to put away my jacket. The steady climbing also helped warm me up. We were making good time, everyone was in high spirits, and all agreed that this was going to be a special ride. And it was!

Bridge over the Carbon River just half a short distance from the Ranger Station.

After we left Wilkeson we passed through Carbonado the last town before Mt. Rainier. The ride was a steady climb from Orting. Some climbs were very steep. The climb out of South Prairie must have been a 9 or 10 percent grade (if not more?!!!)! You could feel the burn in your legs on that hill. Finally, after one and half hours of climbing we reached the ranger station where we all took a bathroom break and enjoyed our lunch. Stomachs full and legs rested from the long climb up we were ready for the ride down! And wooo hoooo did we ever fly down the hills! All 23 of us! For me it felt like I was in the tour or a bike race. All of us screaming down hill together like one long living creature coming down the mountain at very high speeds! On our climb up, from the town of Wilkeson, it took us, I believe, an hour but on our way down we were there in half the time!

On or way back down we stopped in Wilkeson to buy water and/or powerade and snacks.
After our rest stop in Wilkeson, to replenish water and snack foods, we were ready for the farmland part of the ride through Buckley which would return us to Orting. This part of the ride was up and down rolling hills with stretches of flat roads where we picked up the pace. Just about 7 miles before the finish we had one winding, swooshing, downhill which dropped us back down into the valley where we jumped onto the Orting Trail where we cooled down on the leisurely multi user trail. After 5 1/2 hours we arrived, all 23 of us, safely and happily back in Orting. What a day, what a ride! I really enjoyed today's club ride and the people I met and rode with. Kudos to the ride leader Gary and to his helpers who made sure everyone was present, doing okay, and not left behind. I'm still smiling from the ride and will save the memory of this ride for when I need it on an especially gloomy winter day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Perfect Weather For A Ride!

Today Joe and I left at 11:30 AM for a bike ride. The sun was out and shining brightly. The sky was a clear blue. The air was cool and the temperature was, perfect for a ride, 62 degrees. We wore shorts and short sleeved jerseys. I put a vest on but really I did not need it. We did a little over 25 miles today. My legs felt a bit heavy but that's probably because I have not been on my bike since last Sunday's hard hilly metric in the rain. I should have gone to the Tuesday and Thursday spin classes after work this last week to keep my legs in shape. Oh well, definitely this week!

Tomorrow Joe is going hunting with our son but I'm ready for another ride. A longer one so I signed up to do a club ride tomorrow. It starts at 9:30 AM and is listed as a 62 mile loop. The ride description says that this ride is a very special fall loop which will start in Orting then on to the Carbon River Ranger Station on Mt. Rainier. Then back to Buckley along low traveled country roads. It says the scenery will be gorgeous so I will take along my camera for this ride.

Check back tomorrow evening for a report on tomorrow's club ride.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wet Ride

This morning I was up at 4:30 AM so that I could be in Issaquah by 6:30 AM for the first annual Cycle the WAVE. A ride for Women Against Violence Everywhere. There were two courses, the girly girl course a 30 mile ride and the burly girl course a metric. I signed up for the burly girl ride. I arrived by 6:30 and riders were arriving by the minute. I parked and then went to the check in and picked up my number and packet. I got my bike ready and then rode over to the start. The burly girls were scheduled to leave at 7:30 AM and the girly girls at 8:30 AM. We were a little late starting but finally at 7:50 we were off. It was misty and wet. The course was very very hilly. There were some pretty steep and long climbs and a couple of long fast descents too. One descent had a 10% grade and the hill was over 2.5 miles long. There were three fully stocked rest stops on the metric course. The ladies working the rest stops were awesome. Even though it was raining off and on all morning and afternoon long I still had a great time. I rolled back in around 1:24 to cheers and applause. I was given a ribbon by a young girl as I crossed. I'm very tired but very happy I did the ride. I will sleep very soundly tonight.

My Tshirt and medal with purple ribbon. Given to me by a little girl as I crossed the finish!
I will treasure it always.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gorgeous Weekend!

Joe and I rode on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Both days were exceptional! A beautiful Indian Summer weekend! The morning was chilly and cold but once the sun came up it warmed up nicely. We reached a high of 75 on both days, just perfect for anything outdoors!

On today's ride we saw eagles flying overhead, people fishing along the Carbon River, trees just starting to turn red, yellow, and orange, and dry fallen leaves across our path. Mt. Rainier was majestic against a clear blue sky. Many people had the same idea as Joe and I on this gorgeous autumn weekend. We saw people cycling, rollerblading, walking, jogging, and just out having a good time.

Yesterday Joe and I did a 67 mile ride and today we did a 33 mile ride. I know that this weather will soon be a distant memory but right now I am enjoying every single perfect day. These are the kind of days to treasure and save in your memory. The memories you save on days like these will get you through those miserable, rainy, cold, dark winter months that will be here all to soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Week In Review

A new school year has begun and once again fall has arrived and with it my return to work. We are having exceptionally beautiful weather this fall and it sure makes it hard for me to go in to work. And when I do get home between 3 and 4 each day I have so much to do that my weekday rides are few and far between. I have started walking after dinner but I did ride on one day this week. I went on Wednesday. It was a short ride, 15 miles, but it was a gorgeous ride. I started at 5 PM and the sun was casting long shadows through the trees. There leaves on the trail, a true sign of autumn, and the air was clean and clear. The autumn sun's shadows were dazzling off the water on the Carbon River and through the leaves on the trees. I felt like I was in another world. It was an awesome ride. Too bad it was so short.

My long rides will now be on the weekends now that I am back at work and the days are getting shorter. So here's to those fall and winter weekends. Hopefully mother nature will hold off her bad weather for the weekdays this year and save the nice days for the weekends. I can only hope!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Headwater Century Bike Ride

Parking lot of the high school where the ride began and ended.

My bike ready to go!

What a perfect day for this event. When I woke up this morning it was just getting light. I looked out my kitchen window and there wasn't a cloud in the sky! I started the coffee and Joe walked in and told me he was going to load the bikes into the truck. When we finally left the house at 7:20 AM the sun was shining brightly and the air was beginning to warm. We arrived at the event's start and picked up our ride packets. My friend from work Jennifer arrived about 5 minutes later along with her friend Brook. The four of us were ready for a great ride on this gorgeous September day. We were on our way at 8:11 AM. The cool September air was chilly but all of us decided to leave our jackets and vests in our vehicles. Within 10 minutes we were warm and toasty. There was zero traffic on the back country roads. We decided to do the 45 mile course. At mile 15 we arrived at our first rest stop in Flaming Geyser State Park. The stop was stocked with cookies, bananas, cantaloupe, peanut butter, bagels, granola and yogurt, water, gatorade, trail mix, well let me just say it was very well supplied! The four of us took a bathroom break and then walked to the food! We chatted and stretched and ate! We were having a great day! After our break we continued on the ride.

Flaming Geyser Rest Stop
Joe and his bike at the first rest stop.

Right outside the park entrance we took a right and began to climb! Yes, awaiting us after our first rest stop was a 1.6 mile steep, winding climb! We all made it and continued on. We had a straight away for about 4 miles and then an awesome downhill with another steep climb. The next 5 miles were hilly. Ups and downs. Finally, we reached our second rest stop in Ravensdale. Again well stocked.

After our second break we were ready for the last 20 miles. More straight aways, hills, and this time a headwind. We made good time though. Joe was setting a 25 mph pace on the straight aways. We were flying and slicing through the headwind. We made good time on the last 20 miles averaging 17.5 mph.
We rolled back in exhilarated! We loaded our bikes into the truck and then walked to the high school to claim our strawberry shortcake dessert. One thing about the Tacoma Wheelmen, they always serve you strawberry shortcake after all their events. And it was DELICIOUS!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

River, Mountain, Fishermen

I went for a bike ride around 1:30 this afternoon. The day was beautiful. Clear skies, sunshine, and very windy. Rainer was out and he was looking mighty fine. I set a casual pace because tomorrow Joe and I are riding in the annual Headwater Century Bike Ride. Today I just wanted to get out and stretch my legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy the beautiful late summer early autumn day. It did not disappoint me.

I rode the Orting Trail. It's a beautiful trail with a lot of trees on either side of it. It was also very busy. I guess I wasn't the only one who was out enjoying the day. There were moms and dads with their kids. People on roller blades and skateboards. There were walkers and hikers and of course a ton of bicyclists.

There were also a lot of people fishing on this fine day. As I rode by the Carbon River I saw dozens of men, women, and kids with poles in their hands. The king salmon run had begun and people were out casting their lines in hope of catching the big one. The Carbon River is very silty from the glacier run off from Mt. Rainier. It is also very cold! I stopped and watched for a while and then continued on with my ride.

I got a good 29.77 miles in and finished around 4:00 PM. It was a good day and a good ride, I hope there will be more rides just like this one. I'm ready for tomorrow's ride. Check back for a report on it. Tomorrow is supposed to be as gorgeous as today.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beautiful Late Afernoon Ride

Well it's happening. Summer is coming to an end and and as summer ends work for me begins again. Yep, I went back to work today. And what a beautiful day it was. Warm and sunny making it very hard to go to work when all I wanted to do on such a beautiful morning was jump on my bike and ride. Finally the dismissal bell rang and 30 minutes later I was off and on my way home. Joe went to work early today so he was home early too. We decided to go for a ride before dinner. We got dressed, got our bikes and off we went. The sun was casting long shadows, a true sign of the end of summer and the introduction into autumn.

Joe and I rode past the Carbon River and both sides of it's banks were full of fishermen. The king salmon run had started. We stopped to watch for a while. The sun sparkled and danced on the water. There was a splash and one guy had caught himself a large salmon! We watched as he reeled it in and then released it. After a few more minutes Joe and I continued on. It was a wonderful ride on a beautiful day. We rode only 15.5 miles but it was the most wonderful ride. It's just hard to describe. Days like the one today are exceptional.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cool Morning Ride

Joe and I had a pretty good ride this morning. We had gray clouds and wind but no rain. The high was only 54 degrees. It actually was a great day for a ride.

We rode through Black Diamond, Ravensdale, and the Maple Valley area. We saw many other cyclists out on the road too. We began slow, to help our legs warm up and then we picked it up. We were averaging between 21 and 24 mph on the flats. This route had many many hills which brought our average speed down but we didn't care we were just out enjoying the day and our ride. It felt like an autumn day. I think summer is over.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Gray Clouds and Wind But I Beat the Rain!

I wanted to get an early ride in today but other things popped up all morning long. Finally at 1:30 I got the opportunity and off I went. The noon weather report said rain this afternoon and looking at the clouds I agreed that yes indeed it was going to rain. They were big, gray, and fat! Probably filled with rain! And the wind was really strong too. The clouds were moving right along. I could see spots of blue but then the gray clouds would blot it out. I wanted to get 30 miles in but at mile 10 the clouds were getting darker and the wind was really starting to blow. I decided to turn around and head back. Right into a headwind. Even though the return ride was all downhill I had to pedal hard to maintain my speed. I made it back. It never rained. It's still cloudy and windy but still no rain. Probably later this evening. Oh well I did get 20 miles. Better than nothing!

I did notice on today's ride leaves all over the trail and road. Autumn?! Already?!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Ride

Joe and I left at 8:30 AM for a beautiful late summer morning ride. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and the air was chilly. But we knew that within 5 minutes we would be nice and warm so we left our jackets at home and endured the 5 minutes of shivering. We got 30 miles in before arriving back home. This is what weekends are all about!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August Recap

August was a crazy month for me. In July I rode almost every day. It was wonderful! But August was an entirely different month, cycling wise. On August first Joe and I left for his home town of Havre, Montana to attend his mom’s 90th birthday celebration. We drove the entire way in one day. A 13 hour drive not including rest, meal, and gas stops. We brought along our bikes thinking we might get an opportunity to do some riding while visiting but it did not work out that way. Instead we sat and visited with all of Joe’s brothers, sister, and relatives and talked and ate and ate and talked. It was good to see everyone but I missed my daily ride. Oh well sometimes you have no control and just have to live with it. We stayed through Tuesday and decided since we did not get any cycling done while in Montana we would stop in Idaho and ride the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes. A great plan but my back thought otherwise. With all the sitting in the truck and sitting in Montana my back went out. I was in pain and we had to forgo our ride on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and get me home asap. Perhaps next year.

The birthday girl!
We pulled into our driveway on Wednesday afternoon and I called my chiropractor immediately. I saw him on Wednesday and Friday. I did a lot of stretching and icing on my back and I was beginning to feel like my good old self again. Just in time for my flight to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

My daughter and I flew back to Pittsburgh to visit my parents and siblings. We were there for ten days. We also drove to Sandusky, Ohio to visit my niece. Jackie and I did a lot while in Pittsburgh. We went to Cedar Point in Sandusky, to Kennywood Park in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Zoo, and the Carnegie Mellon Museum of Natural History. We went out to eat with my parents and with my brother. We were on the go from the moment we arrived until the moment we left.
The weather was hot and humid. Jackie and I were not used to it and it did take a lot out of us.
My nieces private beach on Lake Erie.

Cedar Point in the distance from niece's beach.

My dad, my mom, and my daughter at Carnegie Museum.

Baby elephant with her mom at Pittsburgh Zoo.

We returned home to Seattle on Wednesday, August 20th. As much as I enjoy going home to visit my family it still feels wonderful coming back to your own home. We returned to rain. So I did not get to ride my bike immediately, I had to wait until this morning.

It was beautiful today. Sunny, clear, and warm; it feels more like an autumn day then a summer day. Joe and I got up early so that we could get our ride in before he had to go to a meeting at 1 PM. We left the house at 7:30 AM and finished at 10 AM. We started with our jackets on but after 5 minutes we were warm enough to remove them. The back country roads where we usually ride were deserted and we had the roads all to ourselves. Mount Rainier was out as were the local farm animals that we passed. We rode by fields of corn and other crops. It was a good ride. After almost three weeks without a ride it felt wonderful to be back on my bike again.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Easy Ride

Joe and I went for a leisurely 15 mile ride this afternoon around 4 p.m. We just returned from Montana on Tuesday. After a 13 hour drive to Montana on Friday and then sitting around all weekend long visiting family I was ready to ride today. And it felt great! I hope to get two more rides in this weekend. On both Saturday and Sunday before I fly east to visit my folks. I'll be with them for 10 days. 10 days of zero riding!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Ride

Today was a very beautiful day. It was a sunny comfortable day. The temperature was in the upper 60s lower 70s. I began my ride at 12:30 PM and got a good 65.8 miles in with an average speed of 15.38 mph. Tomorrow rain arrives. We had a good run of sunny days (no rain since the 4th) and I guess we need it. The grass is brown and the leaves are falling from the trees because they are in much need of moisture. I hope the rain only lasts just the one day. I want to ride on Wednesday and Thursday before Joe and I leave for our trip to Montana on Friday. Of course we're taking our bikes along with us! :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Ride

This morning Joe and I got up at 6:00 AM. We were going to ride with our friend Jim this morning. Joe called Jim last night and told him we would pick him up at 7:30 and drive to Enumclaw for a nice early morning ride. Joe went out to the garage to get the bikes ready while I started breakfast. After eating, dressing, and loading the bikes we got into the truck and drove to Jim's house to pick him up. Jim was up, ready, and waiting. We loaded Jim's bike into the truck and off we went. First a stop at Starbucks for my morning ride's mocha. I always get a mocha on the days I ride. I swear it gives me energy. Laugh if you want but it's true I've tested this out on numerous occasions and on the days I skip my mocha my legs feel like lead and I have no energy at the start of a ride. On the days I do get my mochas I feel energized and ready to go from the start! So laugh if you want but it really works for me! Joe says it's all in my head but I tell him it's all in my legs and feet! LOL

We finally arrive in Enumclaw and unload the bikes. I try to decide whether or not to wear my vest. The guys, Joe and Jim, say it's nice out and there is no need for a vest. I on the other hand say it's cold and wear my vest. After we start off I'm glad I decided to wear my vest. The air is chilly early in the morning and once I warm up I just unzip my vest and I feel fine.

Enumclaw is so peaceful on an early Saturday morning. The only ones up are the cows, birds, and deer! Hardly a car passes us. We enjoy the scenery and casual conversation. We try to decide how long of a ride to do. Should we bike to Black Diamond and stop at the Black Diamond bakery, a 45 mile loop? Or should we just stay up here in the Enumclaw area and do the 25 mile loop. In the end we compromise and cycle to Kanasket Palmer State Park. Making our ride 33 miles long.

We stop at Nolte State Park first. It's a beautiful park. There is a lake there, Deep Lake, that is very peaceful and beautiful. There is also a trail that goes around the lake. A favorite trail for the local runners. When we arrive the first thing we did was head to the bathrooms! Then we sat for about 5 minutes talking. There were people setting up for a picnic, people out walking their dogs, others arriving with fishing poles. It seems everyone was out having a good day like Joe, Jim, and me. Refreshed and releaved we set off again. We decide to bike up to the next park four miles up the road, Kanasket Palmer State Park. We reach the park entrance in very little time. We cycle into the park and descend towards the river. At the bottom we hear the river but we don't see it. We find a dirt path through a thick patch of trees that leads to the Green River's edge. We walk our bikes to the river and lean them against some trees. The river is pretty low right now but it's still very fast. This is the point where hard core kayakers launch to run the river. The category here at the Kanasket entry is category 4. The hardest river run. Not a place for amateurs or intermediate people to be getting into the river with their float tubes or kayaks.

After enjoying the Green River we walk back up the dirt trail to the road and begin our climb out of the river valley. We reach the top and leave the park. We decide to turn around here and head back to Enuclaw. We turn right into a nasty headwind. It was hard going but we make it. We arrive back at the truck around 11:30 and load up the bikes. Starving we decide to go to lunch. Our first choice, The Mint, would have been nice but it so happens that Enumclaw is having some sort of big celebration. First there is the fair going on at the fair grounds but there is also things going on in downtown Enumclaw. Roads are closed, parking is full, and there are people and vendors everywhere. So we decide to drive over to the next town, which is Buckley, for lunch.

We arrive and enter the bar/restaurant. I don't remember the name of the establishment. I'll have to ask Joe or Jim. Anyway we place our order and relax and talk. It was a great ride. We should do this more often. Our food arrives. My goodness but the onion rings were delicious. Greasy and delicious! I will surely pay for eating these greasy onion rings tonight or tomorrow but at the moment they were so good!

It was a great ride! I hope we really do ride a lot more and enjoy more rides like this one!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Much Better Ride Today!

Yesterday I only rode 15 miles because of some major road work being done on a section of highway on my route. I made up for it today and rode 65.7 miles! I started my ride from the East Puyallup Trailhead at 9 AM this morning. I followed the trail into the town of Orting and then continued on to South Prairie where I jumped onto the now freshly paved highway and climbed out of the valley into Buckley. I cruised around the outskirts of town keeping to the back roads. On my ride today I saw 4 deer. My first encounter was a doe and her twin fawns as I was climbing the long hill out of South Praire. They were on the side of the road and we noticed each other at the same time. I broke into a smile and they did an about face and went back into the woods. The second deer sighting was in Buckley. She was in the middle of a big corn field. I bet she was one happy deer with all that corn surrounding her! And I bet she had little ones too. They were probably hiding in the corn.

Oh did I mention I did not ride the entire 65 miles at once?! I rode twice today. In the morning by myself and then again in the afternoon with Joe. On my morning ride I got 53 miles in by 2 PM. I went out again at 3:30 PM when Joe got home from work. He wanted to go out and ride the bike that he just finished building. He had ordered this beautiful SOMA frame. He worked on it all week long and finally last night he finished, it was beautiful. We did a short 12 mile ride to see how the bike performed. It performed beautifully; we had a really nice ride.

Yehuda Moon and the Kickstand Cyclery.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Short Ride

This morning when I left for my ride at 9 AM it was a chilly 53 degrees. The sun was shining brightly in a perfectly clear sky. And even though both of my arms were displaying hundreds of goosebumps within 10 minutes they were all gone. The sun shining on the Carbon River created thousands of dancing, glittering, diamond reflections on the water. There were a handful of early morning joggers, walkers, and other cyclists who were also out enjoying the early morning peacefulness along with me. We nodded as we passed each other or waved or spoke a friendly, "Good morning". Little did I realize that my plan to ride 60 miles today would not come about. What's the say? Something about "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry" well they sure did about 8 miles into my ride today.

Summers are great for us bicyclists. The weather is finally nice, the days are long, the temperature warm but summers also means road work! It's also good weather conditions for the state, counties, and towns to get all their road work done. Yes, one of my favorite routes was having some major road work being done on it. When I arrived at the "hill" there was a long line, twenty plus vehicles lined up waiting for the pilot car to take them through. I didn't want to deal with it so I turned around and got almost 16 miles in. Whooo Hooooo! I went home and showered and took my son out to lunch. Tomorrow I will ride a different route and try for that 60 miles that I didn't get in today.

As Dorris would sing . . . Que sera sera!

Oh during lunch with my son I learned that Star Wars the Clone Wars will be coming to theaters August 14th. He is very excited about this movie animation of the Clone Wars. Hey I may go and see it myself.

May the force be with you . . . and ME! Tomorrow I want to get a 60 mile ride completed!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Ride

I went out at 11:30 AM for a ride. My bike ride was great except for the road crew that I ran into at mile 9 of my ride. They were resurfacing a section of the highway I was riding on this afternoon. I had to wait in line along with the cars and trucks for the pilot car! Even so it was still fun! I had a great time and got a 30 mile bike ride in by 2:00 PM.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Movie and a Bike Ride

Joe, our son Aaron, and I woke up early this morning so that we could go to the 9 AM matinee to see the new Batman movie The Dark Knight. It was great! It is by far the best movie I have seen this year! Heath Ledger was great as the Joker. It's sad that he is not here to claim his star!

We got back to the house just before 1:00 PM. Joe and I decided to go for a ride and Jackie our daughter joined us. It was a leisurely ride. The sun was beating down and very hot. There was a headwind during the entire ride. We got 20 miles completed by the time we returned home. Tomorrow I will get a longer ride in and I will start much earlier in the day, before it gets too hot.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Ride With Joe

This morning I woke up to a cloudy and chilly morning. Over night a thick marine layer had come on shore and was still hanging around. When I looked at the thermometer the outside temperature was 51 degrees. So Joe and I decided to wait until noon to begin our ride. We were hoping that the sun would burn through by then and begin to warm things up. But noon came and still no sun. Not wanting to waste the day or let a little marine layer get in our way of a ride we decided to drive into the city of Orting and start our ride from the city's park. We arrived at the park a little past twelve and unloaded our bikes from the truck. We were almost ready to go except for the fact that Joe and I were having a difficult time deciding whether or not to wear our jackets. It was still quite chilly but we also knew that once we began to cycle we would warm quickly. And the weather report did say clearing in the afternoon with full sunshine. After much debate we decided not to wear the jackets. And 5 minutes into our ride we were both quite happy with our decision.

After 7 1/2 miles of a gradual climb out of the Orting valley to South Prarie we reached the "climb"! A 2 mile hill with a 6 percent grade. We ascended the hill on new pavement. The work crews had been busy these past two weeks. The road was so very smooth, every cyclists dream road. Oh the descent back down would be sweet!

After the climb we were about 2 miles from the town of Buckley. The ride from the top of the hill into Buckley is beautiful and it has very little traffic. Once we arrived in Buckley we rode around the perimeter of the town and then headed back down the big hill to South Prarie and then to Orting. Total mileage for this route is almost 29 miles. Exactly it's 28.87 but I always round up.

Oh I almost forgot, on our way back this guy on a bike passed us and Joe decided he just couldn't allow this. So the last 4 miles of our ride Joe, me, and this guy were in a sort of three person Tour de France. We were the sprinters racing towards the finish. Happy to say Joe and I won! We passed this guy and left him in our dust. We put a lot of distance between us too. Joe was happy. He gets like this occasionally and it actually was fun. I guess Joe was feeling pretty good on our ride today. I felt pretty good too. It was a good ride. Oh and the sun did come out. Finally about 1/3 of the way through our ride it started to burn those marine cloud layers away. We finished with full sunshine!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cool Morning Ride

This morning I went for a 30 mile road ride. During the night a marine layer came inland from offshore. I actually had to wear my jacket on this morning's ride. The temperature when I left my house was only a chilly 53 degrees. Add the wind chill factor and it was a brisk ride. At least in the beginning. After about 5-10 minutes of constant pedaling it's amazing how warm you will get.

It was a quiet ride. Not many people were out this early especially with the cool chilly temperature. I'm sure many riders were waiting for the sun to break through, which it did around 1:00 PM, before going out for a ride. I had a great time on my bike this morning.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Club Ride on Vashon Island

I went on a Tacoma Wheelmen ride today. We rode around Vashon Island getting a little over 40 miles in this afternoon. It seems that all the islands around Seattle are hilly and Vashon is no exception. If you want to ride hills just catch a ferry to Vashon (or Bainbridge). Both will give you great hill training for rides like RAMROD and Courage Classic. In fact two of today's riders are doing the RAMROD in two weeks.

There were six of us that showed up for the ride today. We met at the Point Defiance Ferry Dock and caught the 9:15 AM ferry to Vashon. As soon as you disembark from the ferry you have two big climbs waiting for you! You can turn left or right off the ferry. Take the right turn and you have a short steep climb and left is a longer less steep grade, but still a pretty good climb too. We opted left and off we went. If you want to warm up quickly just find a hill and climb!

The day was beautiful. We had a great ride. Around noon we stopped in town for lunch. We decided to give this new Indian restaurant a try and we weren't disappointed. The food was delicious! After lunch we rode for another 1 1/2 hours before arriving back at the dock to catch the 3:10 ferry back to Point Defiance.

This is Erin. We met him while waiting for the 9:15 AM ferry. He joined our group for a while. We learned that he will be leaving in a week to do a cross country bike ride. From Bellvue to Key West, Florida. We asked to be put on his mailing list. I wish him good luck and look forward to reading all about his adventure on his blog.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Morning Ride

I went for a short road ride today. My legs are still recovering from Saturday's hard mountain bike ride. They felt like lead on today's ride. I did a lot of spinning. I did enjoy the ride. The temperature was 61 when I started at 9 AM and only 67 when I finished at 10 AM. I got 15 miles in with an average speed of 15.09 mph. My ride was an out and back. I had a gradual climb at the start and a nice gradual descent on the way back. My legs were starting to feel good when I finished. I think they will be fully recovered by tomorrow. So where shall I ride tomorrow? Come back and find out.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Epic Mountain Bike Ride

Today was a great day! One, the weather today was perfect, low 80s with very little humidity. Two, Joe and I rode on one of the Pacific Northwest’s most epic mountain bike trails with a group of good mountain bike friends. The day began when I woke up at 5:30 AM. I went down to the kitchen and started my coffee. Joe woke up about 20 minutes later. He said he would get the bikes ready and then load them onto the truck while I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and filled our hydro packs with water. We decided to stop at Starbucks for swirl mochas and then Burger Kings for their sausage croissant breakfast sandwiches. Joe also had an orange juice which he shared with me. Finally, with our breakfast sandwiches and Starbucks purchased we drove out of Enumclaw towards the Dalles Campground in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest to meet up with our friends. About ten of them were camping there in the Dalles Campground for the weekend. But a few of us, Joe and me included, could not do the campout. But we couldn’t miss out on today’s ride, so we drove there for the day just to ride this epic trail.

The Dalles Campground is 26 miles east of Enumclaw up highway 410. We arrived around 8:30 as our friends, who were camping there, were just finishing their breakfast. We were the first “day riders” to arrive. We had to wait for 5 more people who were driving in to do this ride too. While we waited we sat around and talked and caught up with bike rides. Who did what ride, who was doing what ride, new bikes, crashes, friends doing the STP this weekend, etc. Finally around 10:30 AM the last rider drove into the campground. Half of us were going to shuttle to the end of the road and the other half were going to pedal up the forest road (8 miles) to the trailhead. The ones riding up set off while the rest of us got our bikes loaded onto the two vehicles that would be shuttling riders up the forest road. The road was very steep and winding, I give those riding up a lot of credit. Maybe if I had been riding a lot more than I had been I would have rode my mountain bike up the hill today but today was not the day. After about a half hour in the truck we reached the end of the road. We unloaded our bikes and began pedaling . . . up! Yes, we still had to climb 3 more miles before we could begin the awesome descent which starts on the Suntop Trail. It was a very steep and hard climb. Why is it that the last few miles before a crest are always the steepest? But our hard work soon paid off. We reached the top and the view from there was eye popping! There was Mt. Rainier in all its glory! With a clear blue sky for a backdrop! Just breathe taking. After much oohhing and aahhing we set off and picked up the Suntop trailhead and the single track.

Some parts of the trail were smooth but other parts were rocky and had some pretty difficult drop offs from water bars, roots, and rocks. But everyone was in the “zone” and we swooshed effortlessly down the mountain. After about an hour of riding we stopped on a gorgeous section of the trail for a break. Food, water, rest, and a good stretch break. We sat around and talked about our ride and how great it was so far with yet more miles of fun ahead of us. Then we were back on our bikes and back to the rapid descent towards the river valley below.

The next few miles of the trail had some surprises for us. First the descent became a lot steeper. We were flying down the trail. To prove how hot a disc brake can get, Joe spit some water onto his brake and steam hissed off the disc. This section of the trail was also very dusty and rocky. I had to fall back because the dust from the rider in front of me was irritating my eyes. Then came the switch backs. Very sharp ones! And if you didn’t pay close attention you could fly off the edge to the trail below. We also had to stop and carry our bikes over some trees that had fallen over the trail. Next we encountered about a mile of trail covered with snow! We had to walk this part. We also had 4 streams to cross. I unsuccessfully tried to keep my feet dry but the rocks were slippery and no sooner had I started across I was up to my ankles in ice cold water. Finally we reached the bottom of the mountain! But our ride was not over. Now we picked up Skookum Trail and followed the White River to the Dalles Campground 11 miles downstream. This part of the ride was very difficult. Parts of the trail had been washed away this past winter and we had to detour it up and over roots, rocks, trees, and debris. After about 4 or 5 miles of this it began to get better. The trail returned and the final 5 or 6 miles were sweet swooshing, winding, up and down single track through a quiet old forest.

After almost 6 hours of hard mountain biking we reached the campground. Both exhausted and exhilarated. What a ride! What a day!

A few pictures from my ride today!

I took a picture of everyone from this view point.

Fields of high mountain wild flowers.

Close up of Bear Grass

Friends finally on the trail and the descent down to the river valley

My mountain bike. She is a sweet ride!
Crossing trees that had fallen onto the trail.
Walking over snow!
Crossing streams. Brrrrrr but the water was icy cold!