I commited to commute to work by bicycle a minimum of two days per week averaged over a month's time. I had earlier commited to start commuting by bicycle, but I had to really think about what constituted a solid numeric commitment I could keep.
Two days seemed like a good number. I figured it would get me started and take away the "I'll do it when I can" non-plan that I'd been on. The result of the non-plan was uneven patches of commuting by bicycle followed by long periods of driving only.
Well, look what appeared in our mailbox today! A big, colorful set of cards encouraging me to pledge to reduce my drive-alone trips by at least twice per week. And if I commit online or by sending back the card they'll reward me with passes, gift certificates, all manner of goodies.
In Motion, a program of our King County Government, is the driving force. By signing up today they're going to send me other cool things like an In Motion Yard Sign.
I guess other neighborhoods have been doing this already, but my neighborhood, Columbia City, is up to bat now.
So, how is all this for timing? I said I wanted to do two days a week by bicycle, and they send me this whole packet. Makes me wonder whether King County Government employees have been reading my blog?!
And just yesterday I posted about planning and what the lack of planning leads to. Hmmm. It's all a little too eerie.
Just for perspective, there are many, many who commute every day or even more...have given up their oil burning beasts. They should know: they are inspirations to the rest of us. Thanks!
Thanks also to those who passed along commuting tips and resources!
Keep it In Motion,
Update: Look what came to my door today.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A medal I'll plan to win in 2010.
I had convinced myself that since I completed one each of the 200k, 300k and 400k brevets this season that I might as well go for the 600k. That is, until I saw that the only 600k I could really attempt was a brutal one.
At first, I was bummed. The SIR Mountain Pass 600k looked tough, and by all accounts it was, with lots of climbing over multiple mountain passes. When I consulted the intermediates/veterans, they advised against this being my first 600k. Particularly because of the remoteness.
Good logic, but still a little bummed, I pondered and cast about. California? Maybe, but is this really how I want to spend my and my family's time and resources? Dartre said that if I really thought California was a shot, I should look at it. If I completed a 600k, I'd win the Super Randonneur award. The lure of the Super Randonneur called me like Die Lorelei, the famous German siren who wooed sailors to their death on the rocks of the Rhine River (At least something stuck from High School German Classes. Thank you, Herr Nelson!).
For the uninitiated, the Super Randonneur Award is given to randonneurs who complete a 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k in one season. The medal is pictured below.
The more I pondered and visualized crashing on the rocks, the more I harkened back to my ultimate goal: PBP in 2011.
That gave me the clue that continual long distance training is what I really need, and so that naturally turned me toward the R-12. The R-12 is an award for randonneurs completing a 200k or longer brevet every month for twelve consecutive months.
Now that is doable, excellent training toward my ultimate goal, and something I can start on immediately. Therefore, on the same weekend that the intrepid were tackling the SIR Mountain Pass 600k, I did my first permanent to move my R-12 objective forward to two months in a row. A modest beginning, but then a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single crank revolution, according to Confucius, I think.
And of course, the 600k and Super Randonneur Award still beckon for 2010.
I got to this eventual peaceful place albeit with objectives unmet in part by reading David Rowe's eBook, The Ride of Your Life, Aligning heart and mind for success in long distance cycling. The book has been reviewed a good bit elsewhere so I won't review it here. What I got from it was a reinforcement to stay focused on what really matters--family, for me--and that planning is central to meeting objectives. So balance, naturally, is the watchword
Truth is I didn't begin the year with a plan, so I feel pretty good about what I did accomplish. The planning for next year begins now. And October 11, my next 200k Permanent and part of my longer term training plan, is coming soon.
Keep it in your dreams, then plan for it,
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
DartreDame had a work retreat in Bremerton, WA beginning Sunday morning, so we hopped on the ferry boat Saturday afternoon to see whether we could wedge in a quick ride. Above, Dartre poses in front of the General Store in Seabeck. Last time I visited I was on my first brevet ever, the Tahuya Hills 200k put on by the Seattle International Randonneurs in July of 2008. I had no idea what to expect. My ride report is here.
Above is a local fisher describing the size of the Silver Salmon he'd been catching. Honor system here so you can subtract the usual fisher brag factor. But then again, he was such a sweet soul I'll bet you could add a little back in and get pretty close to the size he demonstrates. His smile's a keeper, for sure.
When he inquired with some indication of awe whether we had just ridden up the hills then down again to get to the beach, we used a little inverse fisher factor to slough them off as nothin'. They probably weren't nothin', but then we didn't get to actually see his Silver Salmon either.
We liked this gate.
Dartre absorbs the mountain/cloud drama at Scenic Beach State Park.
The biggest hill, Anderson Hill, is steep and long. Here's Dartre's first attempt of the famed Anderson Hill Road. When I road the brevet last year one experienced randonneur told me of his walking up old Anderson Hill Road the year before. He was quite pleased to have made it when we rode it.
Darte feeling like she'll make it.
Happy Dartre at the top of Anderson Hill Road!
This is looking back down to the "belly", if you will. The cruelty of Anderson Hill Road is that you climb steeply for a while only to go back down losing all you've gained so you can start back up again. Dartre claims she reached 47mph at the belly, but that's only a claim because if she were going 47mph she was probably violating the speed laws. She wouldn't do that.
We rolled back into the Comfort Inn, showered and hit the Boat Shed for a nice meal of steamers, pasta, and pan-fried oysters. Another post-ride yummerific meal!
Next day, Dartre went retreating as per her plan and I lazed around and worked my way back to the Bremerton ferry terminal for the boat trip back to Seattle. The sun is warm, the day is fine and I get hailed from the pedestrian walkway overhead: "Hey randonneur, who are you?"
I was wearing my SIR wool jersey (so comfy) that announces my rando-ness. Turns out it's none other than Eric Vigoren, Treasurer of BOTH Randonneurs USA and SIR and Maggie Williams, SIR Newsletter editor (and funny writer).
They had spied me en route to the ferry and wondered who I was. Last time I saw them I was in the middle of the March 8, 2009 100k Populaire to which I had dragged DartreDame, much to her and my chagrin. It was snowing the hugest snowflakes ever seen at the start. I was fixing my second flat when they pulled alongside in their warm car, and Eric told me I could still make the controls in time if I hustled.
As it turned out, Poor Dartre had to abandon, and I was Hors délai. I think that technically means that I finished, but not within the time limit. I don't quite understand that distinction since the whole idea is to finish within the time limit. Seems you either do or don't. In any event, I didn't. After that miserable experience, it is truly amazing that Dartre even rides with me anymore.
I just have one thing to say to Eric and Maggie: Thank you for all your volunteer work that makes our sport possible!
Today, however, the skies were end-of-September-in-Seattle blue.
Looking back toward the inlet to Bremerton and the Olympics from the ferry.
The good old Walla Walla carried me back to Seattle where I wove my way among the Seattle Seahawks fans.
I finished my part of Dartre's and my adventure with a final post ride delight: grapes from our backyard arbor.
It was under this arbor that Datre and I wed two years ago. I've never seen the vine so full.
I like them best when they are blush, less purple than these. Yum!
And so these fabulous Fall grapes mark the end of riding days like this weekend. Not many more crisp, cobalt blue-skied days, but that's OK.
More adventures to come around this turn of seasons.
Keep it bittersweet,
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Fish swimming up our mighty Northwest rivers tempted me mightily. I love to fish so I had to pause and watch and talk to the fishers, but in the end I did finish my brevet. I finished my first ever Permanent, the Seattle International Randonneurs Permanent #0562: Renton-Dash Point-Orting-Renton. Yippee!
A Permanent, for those who aren't acquainted, is a pre-approved brevet route that a randonneur can ride any time (with pre-approval) and for which he/she can get essentially the same credit. For me that means that because I rode a 400k in August and I just rode the 200k Permanent on September 12, I now have two months in a row of 200k or better. That puts me two months into the R-12 Award which is for successfully completing a 200k brevet every month for 12 consecutive months.
Cows don't fish or cycle. Poor cows.
This stream fed into one of the larger rivers, and it was low and crystal clear indicating a lower elevation (non-glacial) source.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
There are sizeable trout, but I only caught Smallmouth Bass. They are a hoot. Very agressive and great fighters.
This foundation wall is all that's left to mark the spot where over 30 Chinese gold miners were massacred in 1887. Though local folks were indicted, the jury of their peers convicted no one as the Chinese were not valued fully as humans. Sad spot as there was nothing to commemorate it. As if it hadn't ever happened.
Pictograph from ancient peoples. Plant dyes remain; understanding eludes us.
On river, we spotted a Black Bear cub, very reddish in color. Also Eagles, Osprey, Canyon Wrens, Deer, a couple of Western Rattlesnakes.
I scoured, and I mean scoured, the mountains for Big Horn Sheep or Mountain Goats. None. None.
Personally, as much as I love Steelhead fishing on the fly and boy do I love that, I think I dig the BiRaftathon idea the most right now.
Keep it afloat,