Friday, July 31, 2009

Discord In The Workshop

I'm like a little kid on Christmas Eve. I can hardly wait. And like the real Christmas, it probably sounds all warm and romantic to you. But at real Christmas-time, the elves are probably pissy as hell by the 24th - behind the scenes stuff you would never want to see. And around here, things are about to come un-glued. It's a big family weekend on Patty's side. Everybody's in town. And while I'm trying to strike a balance and do what I can, I'm bailing on a bunch of stuff, out of necessity. Nobody, and I mean nobody, understands why I am doing this ride. So I'm somewhere between a lunatic and a royal bastard. The only thing that surprises me is that they are just now figuring that out.

Patty's been a saint - she's trying hard to understand and doing the best she can to make excuses for me. It will all work out. It's not like I've never begged her family for forgiveness. But I'm locked in on this - I've done a lot of work and I'm just about ready. I'm going riding.

New pads for the occasion. Despite Glen's recommendation, I'm going with the salmon Kool Stops. Glen has forgotten 1000 times more than I will ever know. Ignoring his advice makes me an idiot. But I've always wanted to try Kool Stops.

New bar tape for the occasion. If I can get the moonlight to hit it just right, I'll be showing up on Sunday morning with a tanned face.

If tonight is any indication, we'll have lots of natural light.

Damn the weight . . . I'm packing a spare.

No mountain shoes I own would get me anywhere near 100 miles without subjecting me to pure torture so I did splurge on some new heat-moldable shoes. I hope me feet be singing happy songs come Sunday morning.

If you never hear from me again just know that I died doing something I love. But I'll probably survive which means you'll be subjected to some mobile posts or possibly a boring, long-ass trip report.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I've Been Wondering

How much does it weigh?

1 @ 1.5 l = 51 oz
3 @ 24 oz = 72 oz
1 @ 22 oz = 22 oz (slightly shorter bottle fits under the downtube without rubbing on the front tire)

So 145 oz = 1.13 gal x 8.4 lb/gal = 9.5 lbs.

The nice thing is, you get lighter as you go.

Wow. So I could start out hydrated and take in almost 10 lbs of water and end up dehydrated, which could account for another 5-10 lbs.

That means I could sweat and/or pee 15-20 lbs of water between midnight and 8 am. Probably not, because it won't be that hot. But still. It's possible. That would be so righteous. A custom, commemorative t-shirt would be in order. Just kicking around some ideas:

"I Lost 20 Lbs Before You Even Got Out Of Bed"

"My Sweat Weighs More Than Your Baby"

"Got Water?"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Finding Your Way In The Dark

If I was doing the Midnight Century, I'd be comforted in the knowledge that there's some good places on the side of the road to sit down if you get lost and sleepy.

On the not-so-happy side, you could get eaten by wolves.

If I was doing it, I'd wanna know generally what direction to pedal towards as the pee was running down my leg.

Here's David Blaine's original map:

View Interactive Map on

Here's my re-do that takes advantage of the fabulous auto-follow and auto-cue capabilites of the new & improved mapmyride, but only between stateline and the FLT trailhead, because I'm too lazy and impatient to map the FLT and CT.

View Interactive Map on

Electronic gizmos are swell and all, but paper rocks when the chips are down. I've put together a pdf map just as if I was doing the ride. It's 10 pages long but if you print it on both sides you can knock it down to 5 and shove it in your back pocket so you have half a chance at saving your sorry ass at 4am in the middle of no-effing-where. If you want it, let me know and I'll email you a copy. If you print it on an inkjet and your butt sweats all over it, you get what you deserve.

Right On, Ladies!

Patty and Jacque competed in their first-ever triathlon this weekend and totally rocked it.

My job was to support them, drink a lot of coffee and take pictures. I nailed the coffee part.

Rolling into the parking lot just after 6 am. (Now you know the reason for all that coffee.)

Nervous rookies? Not by the looks of it.

Sold out show. 500 spots, 500 competitors.

Patty out of the water . . .

. . . and onto the bike.

Mid-course action.

Ditchin the wheels and headin' out on foot.

I'm pretty sure nothing has ever looked so sweet to Patty as that finish line.

Here's Jacque, killing the run.


Life is good when you have your first tri in the bag.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Blowing The Roof Off

Wow. Jeff and Lisa have created a monster called the FBC. You couldn't do this if you made it your life's work, but they've managed to pull together an ever-humungouser and wildy diverse group of Spokane cyclists on a monthly basis. I wonder if they occasionally sit around slapping their heads and exclaiming WTF.

If there's anyone who's not having a blast, I can't tell who they are. We never even made it inside The Swamp tonight - we hung out at the outdoor bike street fair with bike friends from all walks of bike life. We counted over a hundred and ten thousand parked bikes. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Doctor's Orders

Remember this classic Far Side?

That's kind of me and my doc. Check-up yesterday, results today.

When it comes to medical, my ears don't do bad news. At my age, only hope registers.

" blah, blah . . LDL . . . blah . . . Blood Sugar . . . blah . . . Prostate . . blah, blah . . Lab Work . . blah . . Recommend Diet and blah . . . More Excercise and . . . "

Wait! Huh??? I'm pretty sure I heard him right. He said, "You need to spend more time on your bike!" Just like that. Wow.

Okay. If I have to.

(Good dog, Ginger.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Food & Water

This is what I'm thinking. Hypothetically.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Prisoner Of My Mind

I'm all warped out about the Midnight Century. There is no way. I haven't put on any miles since freaking April. I've been pounding $5 Subway 12" Meatball Marinara Subs like I have nothing to live for.

John thinks he's preoccupied . . . jeez, he should spend a few minutes in my head. And I'm not even doing the damn ride!

Or am I?

I know. It's insane. But with riding season slipping away, I'm grasping for the gold ring. Not that I'll do it, but just having the idea and pretend-preparing and thinking that maybe, just maybe, I can squeeze in enough riding in the next few days to get me ready. Preposterous.

Tuesday was Recon-1:

Tonight, Recon-2.

It's these gorgeous roads. John can have his handlebar tweaks. I dream-float through the descents like dogs must dream of chasing cats.

The angst is damn-near unbearable.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tiffany's Cool Spoke Card

Her artwork showed up at my door
I have not heard her name before

She is a friend of Jon's for sure
I'd guess they go back many years

Jon & Tiff: Friends they are
Although they don't go back that far

She made a spoke card for our guy
It's something that you cannot buy

I do not like green eggs and ham
I do like orange bikes and weird hands

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spontaneous Combustion

Maybe one of the few consolations of getting older is that you are quicker to recognize experiences that are truly once-in-a-lifetime. They generally come out of nowhere. Like tonight, for instance.

I was minding my own business, riding home from work. The weather was perfect, the ride uneventful. That is, until I jumped onto Trent or Spokane Falls Blvd or whatever they're calling it these days. You know, the U-district. I was westbound, just east of Division, by Midas Muffler. The 'Don't Walk' sign was flashing and I knew I was toast, but I stood up and hammered anyway. And whadya know, it held. I generally LOVE this next part because you're rolling downhill past the Convention Center and traffic is moving slowly and you can get in the mix and get your adrenaline rush on.

Unfortunately, tonight, I pulled up behind a big-ass class A diesel-pusher multi-hundred-thousand-dollar behemoth motorhome. There was cussing and moaning and bitching and no picture-taking going on, but it was about this size and color:

The light changed and this monstrous dude spewed a bunch of black smoke out the back. I turned my head and coughed, which I normally reserve for my doctor, and then I called him un-thinkable names, which I normally reserve for my doctor. I couldn't see the light because this mammoth blocked everything including the sun. But I decided that I was getting on his bumper - I would just stay close and let his shadow to drag me through the light, no matter what color it was.

And then it happened. I think maybe he had one of those rear-view cameras and got freaked out about some idiot on a bike tailgating him. Or maybe not. Whatever. He punched it. So I punched it. It was effortless! I suddenly realized I was drafting behind a two-story building . . . I was riding in a vacuum!!!!! Just imagine staring at a wall of fiberglass like this as it pushes all the air out of your way!

We blistered our way past Azteca and Kinko's. The Opera House was a glass-and-concrete blur. We must have been doing, uhhh . . . 75. Yeah. He tried to drop me, but I was the BICYCLE KING OF THE UNIVERSE! For two blocks. And then the light at Washington turned red and my crown turned to dust. But it was the sweetest two blocks of my life. And what made it the best was that he punched it. Good luck finding a grandpa behind the wheel that will do that.

You know that I know that I can never duplicate this experience. So if you see some dude on a bike this weekend chasing motorhomes down the Argonne on-ramp . . . it's not me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spokane Pedicab

Spotted them downtown on the 4th. Did you know about these guys? I had no idea. This is cool.

Inter-city travel? Man, these guys have some energy! Typo, I hope. ;-)

A bit more info.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

An Xtracycle In The Hands Of An Idiot . . .

. . . is a dangerous thing.

I was supposed to paint the garage on Friday. Completely. It wasn't that I didn't try. But I simultaneously ran out of paint and beer. That damn siding soaks up paint like I soak up beer.

So I was ready to finish off the job today. But first I would have to get more paint and beer. Fortunately, I now have the right bike for the job. So no problem. Sherwin-Williams on Grand for the paint, then on to the Conoco on 29th for the suds. 3 gallons of paint, 2 bags of ice, a six-pack of decent beer and some other auxiliary backup canned beer. And oh yeah, some oil for the paint sprayer. A good sloshy liquid load.

I was pedalling my bad, local, green, proud self home when out of nowhere . . . "THUD". I didn't even have to turn around. I knew that sound. Shit! For just a split second, I thought about standing on those pedals and burning rubber. But I had to do the right thing. And that was to turn around and park my bike right in front of the puddle of rapidly-drying paint oozing from the ruptured gallon paint can and figure out what to do. I was on the pestigious corner of Manito Blvd and 27th. Parking in front of it was important so that cars didn't drive through it and track my 20-year legacy all the way to the prestigious corner of Manito Blvd and 23rd. I was trying not to cry.

You don't stand around taking a bunch of pictures of a crisis you created, but I did sneak this one, right after I picked up the can.

Luckily, the great residents of Manito Blvd didn't want to see their street messed up any more than I did and rushed to my aid. Jeff came over with a roll of paper towels and a bunch of plastic grocery bags. Then a very nice lady whose name escapes me came over with this cool flexible spatula and some containers I could scoop the paint into. I sprung into action. She returned later with a bucket of water and some brushes. It was totally awesome and I contained the spill.

I pedalled very, very slowly after that, and made it home with my load intact.

You're probably saying, "Shit, Pat. It's no wonder your paint fell off. All that beer and ice squeezed it right off the back!

I guess you could look at it that way, but I had a little different perspective. The paint fell off, but the beer didn't. To me that was a sign. Cosmic forces were signalling that this was not the right time to be painting and that beer-drinking was in order.

Patty's interpretation was a bit different and I ended up painting. But before I started, I rode to The Scoop and bought a couple of gift certificates and delivered them to the neighbors that had been so helpful so that I could treat them to an ice cream. It was just so cool that people would stop what they were doing and come out and help me deal with this situation that maybe seems like not that big of a deal but which I really wanted to set straight and could not have done without their help.

On the way back, the stain was drying and looking pretty good. Bullet dodged.

For the most part, even though, my hands were covered with white paint, I somehow kept it off the Xtra. I do have this one scar to remind me what a dummy I am and to be more careful in the future. I'm sure this is the last mistake I will ever make.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Root That's A Fruit?

One of the great things about living in Spokane is that you are close to Walla Walla. And one of the great things about being close to Walla Walla is that for a coupla months every summer, the stores are flooded with the best onions the world has ever tasted. Bar none. The Vidalia people have been trying to tell us theirs are the better. Serious? Get real, guys.

For two months a year we take WW's for granted. And then for the other ten, we're pissed because we can't get them and we bitterly judge all others against them. Maybe it's time to consider root cellars, which I remember from my granfather's place and which are seriously cool.

A lot of people, mostly old-timers with diminished mental capacity, say that you can eat them like apples. Sounds good. You go first.

The only thing I know for sure, and proved tonight, is that if you haul them home on your bike, they taste 2 to 3 times as good.