Monday, September 28, 2009

My Computer Doesn't Like Long Rides

Okay, I've had a blog for over two weeks now and I haven't posted a rant yet, so it's high time, don't ya think?

I use a VDO MC 1.0 computer on my Surly Cross Check to keep track of how far, how fast, and for how long I've been going. It's a pretty nice computer for the most part, it does the basics of speed, distance and time reasonably well, and adds an altimeter to track things like total climbing, % grade, current elevation, etc. It's worked well for me in the 2,500 or so miles I've been using it with the exception of two rides.

Since I've had it, I've done two 600k brevets with it. Both times, about 300 miles into the ride it spontaneously reset itself. Not a full reset, but all of the ride data went away and started back at zero. The first time it happened, I just assumed that it was either a loose connection that momentarily disconnected the battery, or maybe it was pilot error and I accidentally pushed the wrong buttons (quite possible after 300 miles). When it happened on my second 600k I got suspicious. It had never happened on any other rides and both times it happened about 300 miles into the ride. That's just too much coincidence to be... well, coincidence.

So today I finally got around to doing some googling to see if this is a known problem with this computer. Lo and behold, right there on page six of the owners manual it says, "Important: If the ride timer overflows 19:59:59 h, it is automatically reset to 00:00:00. Simultaneously, your average speed counter AVG SPEED is reset to zero. If your trip counter overflows 999.99 KM or M, it is automatically reset to 000.00 Simultaneously, your average speed counter AVG SPEED and your ride timer RIDE TIME are reset to zero." Note that I have the Instruction Manual at home, but had to use Google to find this information. And to rub it in, the manual repeats this information in Deutsch, Français, Italian, Español, and Nederlands.

Finding this in the instruction manual (or Manuel D'Installation Et D'Utilisation if you prefer) tells me that this is not a bug, but it's actually a feature of the product. Okay.

I mean, I realize that not a lot of VDO's target market is out there doing 20 hour rides, but still you'd think the failure point would be somewhere so far outside the norm that you wouldn't run into it unless you're really looking for it, right?

Apparently not.

So since this information had me a bit annoyed, I posted this on Bike Forums in the Long Distance Cycling section to see if anyone there could recommend another computer that didn't have the feature. It turns out that this feature is not unique to the VDO MC 1.0. For example, I'm told the CicloMaster 4.3A only displays ride times up to 9:59:59. Another poster mentioned that he didn't know of any computers that would record more than 24 hours.

So, I guess I'm just going to live with this feature of the VDO MC 1.0. After all, it's not like knowing my average speed over an entire 600k is essential information. Still, I'm starting to notice an annoying trend in cycling products designed for the mass market. The product designers are apparently making the assumption that the users of their products don't actually do much cycling. I suppose they have a point. There are an awful lot of bicycles in this country that are stored in the basement next to the Nordic Trak and are used primarily for drying laundry.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Budget Randonneuse

A non-randonneur friend of mine saw the pictures in the post about the SIR Mountain 600k and was curious about my bike and the way it’s set up. It definitely doesn’t look like the typical mass-market racing oriented bike, so I thought I’d write a thing or two about my bike and why it’s set up the way it is.

First of all, to understand my bike you have to understand something about me. I’m basically a cheapskate. I think my bike has worked pretty well for the few brevets it’s been through so far, but it’s far from the dream randonneuring setup. Many of my fellow randonneurs have spent several times as much money on their rides, and it shows. Anyway, here’s what I’m riding on brevets:

The frame is a Surly Cross Check. I went with the Cross Check because it had the features I wanted, it fits and it’s inexpensive. I wanted a frame that would allow the use of wide tires (more about that later) with fenders, uses cantilever brakes, has braze-ons/eyelets to attach fenders and racks easily, and is made of steel. The Cross Check isn’t the lightest frame available with these features, but it is inexpensive and has a great reputation for reliability and ride quality.

You can buy a Cross Check as a complete bike or as a frame only. I went with the complete bike because even though I intended to swap out some of the key parts, it’s still a bargain and many of the parts are quite usable.

Drive Train
The Cross Check came with a 2 X 9 speed Shimano Tiagra drive train with bar end shifters. I kept the Tiagra front and rear derailleurs, but changed out the shifters to Dura Ace ten speed downtube shifters. I like downtube shifters for randonneuring because they are about as simple and reliable as it gets. If the indexing gets messed up on a long brevet, you just switch them to non-indexed shifting and ride on. They may not be quite as convenient as the ubiquitous brifters, but it doesn’t bother me at all to have to take my hands off the bars to shift gears. The Tiagra derailleurs are nothing special, but they work. I’ll probably upgrade to Ultegra when they wear out.

I’m using the stock Sugino crank set with the 48t and 36t chain rings on the front, and a 10 speed 12 – 28 cassette on the back. A lot of randonneurs use lower gearing than that, but this setup has worked for me just fine. I ride a single speed bike a lot, so I’m used to standing up and grunting to get up hills once in a while.

Wheels and Tires
The wheels are hand built with DT Swiss r520 rims laced to Ultegra hubs. These wheels came on another bike I bought a while back and they seem to be very reliable so I moved them over to the Surly and they’ve performed well. They are not particularly light but they are tough, which is fine because that’s sort of the theme for this bike.

I use Panaracer Pasela 28mm tires. They last fairly long and are pretty flat resistant, but what I like best about them is that they roll very smooth and cushy. So why wide 28mm tires when most of the racer bike crowd uses the much skinnier 23mm width? It’s basically a trade off between speed and comfort. Narrower tires are supposedly faster because of reduced rolling resistance and the aero advantage. Wider tires are more comfortable and generally get fewer flats. In my experience the difference in speed is minimal (if there even is a real difference). The plusher ride and flat resistance of wider tires on the other hand are very real and noticeable differences. And the smoother ride becomes a huge factor once you get beyond about 200 miles on a ride. So why do most road bikes sold in the US have 23mm tires? Because that’s what Lance and his buddies use, and what they use is sexy. Randonneuring is the anti-sexy.

Here’s where I did the most customizing and didn’t worry too much about cost. The handlebars, seat, pedals, brake levers, are the user interface of the bike. If you spend a lot of time on your bike, you’ve gotta get this part right. I use a Brooks B-17 saddle. Brooks has been making saddles like this since Moses was riding brevets. They aren’t light, they aren’t sleek, and they are about as sexy as Sandra Day O’Connor, but they are comfortable for many hours of riding.

I use Nitto Noodle handlebars. They have a non-ergo old school shape that allows a lot of different comfortable hand positions. Being able to move your hands around to different positions is key to staying comfortable on long rides.
I swapped out the cheap stock stem for a Velo Orange stem which is pretty and shiny and otherwise does what a stem is supposed to do.

Another reason I like downtube shifters is because it allows me to use these Tektro brake levers which are cheap, well made and very comfortable for riding with your hands on the hoods, which is where I spend most of my time.

I use Shimano SPD MTB style pedals. SPD pedals are easy to get in and out of and they make for more walkable shoes than typical road pedals, which is good when you’re heading into the convenience store for some Jojos and V8.

Fenders are pretty much required for Randonneuring in the Pacific NW. They keep you and your bike much cleaner and drier when the road is wet, but probably more importantly, they make it much more pleasant for the person behind you when you’re riding in a pace line in the rain. My fenders are from Velo Orange and they’re aluminum. They don’t weigh much more than plastic but they’re much tougher (once again, not light but tough).

Rack and Baggage
I have a Nitto M12 rack on the front which is there to support a Velo Orange Campagne handlebar bag. There are lots of ways to carry stuff on a bike; panniers, saddlebags, trunk bags, handlebar bags, etc. I like having a handlebar bag because it can carry enough stuff for a 600k ride up front where it’s all accessible while I’m riding. I can get to food, clothing, my camera, and anything else without having to pull over. It also has a nice little map holder on top that works well for cue sheets. Carrying a full load on the front of the bike effects handling a little, but not so much that it bothers me. It probably creates a little more wind drag than a trunk bag, but the easy access makes it a worthwhile tradeoff for me.

So far of the six brevets I’ve ridden, only three really required riding at night. I was able to get through all of those using two Cateye EL530 headlights and a couple of Planet Bikes Superflash taillights. The EL530s work okay for speeds up to about 16 mph. But I learned on the SIR Mountain 600k that they don’t really cut it for descending mountain passes at 35 mph. A lot of randonneurs use dynamo front hubs to run powerful headlights that almost rival car headlights. They’re expensive systems, but after some really scary descents in the middle of the night I’m now ready to jump on the band wagon and upgrade to a dynamo hub system. Bright lights and no more batteries to eventually end up in a land fill…

So if you put all that stuff together, you get a bike that is part touring and part racing, which is pretty much what randonneuring is all about. It’s tough and reliable and most of the parts can be serviced on the road if you’ve got the right tools and parts. Without baggage and water bottles and lights, it tips the scale at about 23 lbs. That’s a lot more than a high end race bike, but pretty typical for a randonneuse. When it’s loaded up with everything I need for a 600k ride, it’s more like 35 lbs.

Monday, September 14, 2009

SIR's Mountain 600k - Because Finishing Was Easier Than Quitting

When asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, George Mallory famously said, “because it’s there.” Maybe… but I suspect Mallory was also stuck in a trap similar to the one I got myself into this weekend. Sometimes when you take on some incredibly difficult and foolish endeavor, you get yourself to the point where backing out becomes more unpalatable than actually doing the stupid thing. So you just do the stupid thing. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

This weekend the Seattle International Randonneur’s held their “Mountain 600k” brevet. This would be my second 600k, so I thought I could handle it… until I started learning about the details. Not only did it included four major climbs for a total of over 25,000 ft, but the organizer also took a very Spartan approach to support on this ride. Most of the contrôles (checkpoints) were unmanned and far away from any services. There would be no SAG wagon, no drop bags, no tables filled with yummy snacks along the way. Nearly the entire course was out of cell phone service areas. The ride organizer and other volunteers were traveling by bike so even if you could call them, there’s not much they could do for you other than to tell you to harden up and get on with it. There would be stretches of well over 100 miles with no open stores and few opportunities for water. And to top it all off, the ride started at 9:00pm Friday, so it was nearly impossible to avoid riding most of the course during the night.

Route Elevation Profile :(

I rushed home from work Friday and scrambled around making sure I had all my gear together. After quadruple checking my list and loading the bike in the car, I headed down to Enumclaw for the start. I got there at about 8:15 with plenty of time to get checked in, pass the bike inspection and then sit around worrying about the ride. If the intent of the choices of a tough course, minimal support and a dreary start time was to scare riders away from this event, then the turnout proved them successful. Thirteen riders showed up (cue the ominous music). After a brief pre-ride talk from Jan Heine, the organizer, it was time. We rolled out into the night with 374 miles ahead of us and our sanity falling off into the distance behind us.

Jan and Kole Kanter immediately disappeared off the front and the remaining eleven stayed together as we left Enumclaw headed for Mt. Rainier and the first big climb. At this point, nothing was feeling right to me. My knees were hurting, my hands were going numb, my neck was sore, it just felt weird to be on a bike. I suppose that was mostly because I’m not used to starting a ride at night, but it had me worried. We rode on as a group moving along pretty well. I’m not crazy about riding in a pace line at night, but the first couple hours of the ride required a bit of navigation so I stayed with the group. If we got lost, we’d get lost together.

As we approached Eatonville, I realized the navigation was easy from there on out, so I pulled ahead of the group. I figured they’d catch up to me again if they stayed together. Heading out of Eatonville I was all alone and heading into some pretty dark and lonely stretches of road. A little scary, but it’s always easier when you know there’s someone behind you.

I made a quick stop in Elbe to refill my water bottles but kept it quick. I made the entrance of the Mt. Rainier park at about 12:30. My goal had been to get there by 1:00am, so I was moving well (too well?). Once in the park, the climbing started. The Paradise climb is really not too bad. Maybe it’s because it was early in the ride, but I was feeling great at this point. All of the aches and pains and awkwardness I had felt early in the ride were gone now and I was just enjoying the solitude. Every time I came to an opening in the trees, I’d look up and see Orion lying on his side in the sky above me. The moon was also up and quite stunning. Unfortunately it’s tough to look up at the sky much when you’re on a bicycle, but I snuck peeks whenever I could.

Going by Longmire on my way up to Paradise at about 1:00am Saturday morning

I pulled into the visitor center at Paradise (elevation 5,400’) at about 2:00am. Kole was there in the parking lot when I arrived asking if I had seen Jan. I hadn’t passed him so apparently he had snuck off the road to attend to some business or something because he pulled up behind me a couple of minutes later. I went into the lodge to fill water bottles and there was a group of about ten people having a little party in the hallway that lead to the bathroom. They had a guitar and hamonica, and apparently a LOT of beer. What the musicians lacked in talent, they easily made up for in drunkenness. As I walked past and said hullo, I’m pretty sure most of them were trying to figure out whether or not I was an hallucination, what with the spandex and helmet and all. I’m certain I wasn’t. Kole and Jan had left while I was in getting water, so it was time to roll.

The descent down from Paradise was freezing! I don’t think it was really that cold out, but I had got myself good and sweaty on the way up and I didn’t put on enough clothes for the trip down. It was all I could do to keep the bike traveling in a straight line since I was shivering so violently. But once the descent leveled some and I was able to start pedaling again, I warmed up.

From Paradise to Packwood, it was almost all downhill. There were virtually no cars on the road (actually I’m not sure if I saw any) and I was feeling good so I made pretty good time. I rolled into Packwood around 5:00am. When I pulled into the Shell station in Packwood, Kole was just coming out the door. He had a problem with his tire that he had fixed there, and he was eating some deep fried convenience store monstrosity. I decided I didn’t really need anything, so I got back on the bike and pushed on to Randle another 15 miles or so down the road.

I stopped at the convenience store in Randle and actually had to stand in a line to buy my breakfast. Apparently the convenience store is the place to be in Randle at 5:45 in the morning.

Breakfast in Randle. I washed that down with some Gatorade.

Rolling out of Randle heading toward Windy Ridge

The sun was starting to come up as I pulled out of Randle heading for Windy Ridge. The ride up to Windy Ridge is one I had done before, in the High Pass Challenge last summer. I would be taking a slightly different route up this time, using FR-26 instead of the main route on NFD 25. FR-26 is a beautiful bike road. I think I saw only one car and six elk, so the elk far outnumbered cars. There were some steep sections near the top that were 15% grades according to my fancy-schmancy cyclocomputer. Luckily they didn’t last too long. All along the way I had stunning views of Mt. Rainier in the distance, and the Mt. St. Helens blast zone as I approached the top.

FR-26 on the way up to Windy Ridge

Mt Rainier from FR-26

One thing that often strikes me on these rides is the incredible distances you can cover on a bike. That’s Mt. Rainier in the distance. I was leaving Paradise on the slopes of that mountain about five hours before this picture was taken. Now it looked to be a long ways away.

FR-26 goes right through part of the Mt. St. Helens blast zone

At 9:45am I got to the Windy Ridge overlook. I saw Jan and Kole briefly on the way up since there’s an out-and-back section of about seven miles to get to the overlook. They had both already been to the overlook and were on their way down. Jan was a little over an hour ahead of me at that point, and Kole was maybe 45 minutes ahead. On the way down from Windy Ridge was one of the two contrôles that was actually staffed. A fellow named John Pierce (?) was there with pancakes and some other very welcome goodies. He had slept there in the back of his car and told me stories about hearing elk calls while he was off in the weeds with his pants around his ankles (no, really). I also saw Vincent Muoneke heading out to Windy Ridge as I was coming back. He was about 45 minutes behind me. Vincent was the first I had seen of another rider behind me since Eatonville about ten hours before.

The velo takes in the view at the Windy Ridge overlook

While I was at Windy Ridge, I talked to a tourist who had driven up to the overlook. He was asking the usual questions about where I had ridden from, when I started and where I was going. I’m positive he thought I was pulling his leg every time I answered another question. He was giving me a look like, “what kind of idiot do you think I am?” I suspect most Randonneurs love to be asked those questions because of the crazy looks and weird responses you get when you answer honestly. Yes, we get that 99.9% of people think we’re insane for doing what we do.

The descent from Windy Ridge is a screamer with some tight turns and the occasional pothole and crack in the road to keep you awake. I was glad to be doing this one in the daylight. It was warming up as I came into the lowlands. My fancy-shmancy cyclocomputer said it was about 85 degrees as I pulled into Packwood for the second time at 1:30. Time for lunch.

A nice barn near Packwood with Mt. Rainier peeking through

I decided to spend a little time in Packwood, eating some “real” food and resting a bit. I had a phenomenal meal of a turkey sub sandwich with chocolate milk (I love the way a long bike ride can turn convenience store “food” into the best tasting delicacies you’ve ever had). After 30 minutes, which was by far my longest stop so far, I was back on the bike and headed for White Pass.

Pardon my French, but the climb up to White Pass is a bitch. It goes on and on and on… It didn’t help that I was climbing during the hottest part of the day and it was nearly 90. This climb was really where the suffering started on this ride. I mean, there were some painful little climbs on the way up to Windy Ridge, but there’s pain and then there’s suffering. White Pass was all about suffering. I also made a bit of a tactical error when I left Packwood. I had two full water bottles. I thought about filling a third because I knew I couldn’t make White Pass on only two bottles. But, I figured I’d save the extra weight and find a place to refill on the way… There was no place to refill on the way. About five miles from the summit and moving at a snail’s pace, I was nearly out of water and really thirsty because I had been trying to stretch what water I had as far as possible. I pulled into a scenic overlook to rest for a minute and take a picture. There I met a couple of angels driving a motorhome. Pat Something-or-other and his wife (whose name I can’t remember) from Iowa were on vacation and had stopped to take pictures of Mt Rainier. Pat came over and started asking about my bike and what I was up to. It turns out that Pat, now 68, had done a century ride back when he was 45 and it had been one of those special achievements in his life that he loved to relive. That century ride was Pat’s winning touchdown pass in the last minutes of the homecoming game. When I mentioned that I was a little low on water, Pat invited me into the motorhome and pulled a couple of ice-cold water bottles out of the refrigerator. A chorus of Pat’s angel buddies burst into song as I chugged that water. After hearing all about Pat’s ride twenty-some-odd years ago, I thanked Pat and Mrs. Something-or-other profusely and told them I needed to get on the way. Pat got me another of bottle from the fridge for the road and wished me safe travels.

After my encounter with the angels, the last five miles to the pass weren’t so bad. I reached the summit at about 5:00. I snapped a couple pictures and then hopped back on the bike for the easy coast down to Rimrock Lake and the overnight contrôle about 13 miles away.

The obligatory summit sign picture. Thought I’d never get there.

The overnight was at a nice little cabin on the shores of Rimrock Lake. Ryan Hamilton was there generously serving up chili, soup and sandwiches, filling up empty water bottles, and offering a shower and a cot to rest on.

Because of the 9:00pm start time of this brevet, the overnight contrôle really wasn’t much of an overnight. Traditionally, the overnight contrôle is about 400km into a 600km brevet. Most riders will finish 400km in the neighborhood of 20 hours, so if you start the brevet early in the morning you’ll usually get to the overnight late at night, generally a great time to stop and rest for a while. I arrived at the contrôle at about 5:30pm, 20 ½ hours into the ride. Even though I hadn’t slept in about 36 hours at that point, my body just isn’t wired to sleep at 5:30 in the evening. I had a couple of bowls of chili, took a shower, got back into my gritty sweaty clothes and then laid down on a cot to rest. After tossing and turning for a while, I eventually dozed for twenty minutes or so. But real sleep was elusive so I just decided to get on with it. I thanked Ryan for the hospitality and started getting ready to ride. The sun was going down, so I put on nearly all of the clothes and reflective gear I had and headed out at about 7:40.

Leaving the overnight contrôle. Not crazy about the idea of spending another night on the bike.

While I was napping at the overnight, Vincent had arrived. He had wolfed down some food quickly and got back on the road a couple of minutes ahead of me. Vincent and I played leapfrog for a little while as we cruised down the long gradual downhill to Hwy 410. Eventually I pulled ahead and was once again, alone with the night.

Looking back at the sunset over Rimrock Lake as I head toward Hwy 410 and Chinook pass.

I reached the junction of Hwy 12 and Hwy 410 near Naches at about 9:00pm. Here the route starts a looooong, albeit gradual climb up to Chinook Pass. At first there were plenty of cars on the road, and this being the part of the state where you wear lycra only if you’re a pro football player and it’s Sunday morning, many of the drivers were shouting obscenities and honking their horns. As the hours slipped by, there were thankfully fewer cars on the road until eventually only the bicyclists and the drunks remained.

Now I don’t have a lot of experience as a Randonneur, but from what I’ve seen every ride of 300km or more has a stretch where time seems to come to a stop. I had reached that stretch of road. One of the good things about riding in the dark is that you can’t see your computer to see how slowly the time and the miles are going by. But every so often, curiosity would get the better of me so I’d turn on my headlamp and take a peek at the computer. “Oh great, a half mile since the last time I looked! Woo hoo.” From the junction to the pass was the longest 47 miles I’ve ever traveled on a bike. I talked to myself, I sang, I hallucinated, but through it all I just kept turning the cranks. I didn’t really feel too bad all things considered; still the time and the miles went by incredibly slowly. But amazingly if you just keep turning the cranks you’ll eventually find yourself at your destination. I crept over Chinook Pass to the sound of elk calls shortly after 2:00am. I was wide awake at that point since I had had a bit of scare a few minutes earlier when a big shrub beside the road had me convinced that it was a mountain lion.

Back at the overnight contrôle Ryan had said that once you reach Chinook Pass, the ride is basically in the bag. Sure, there’s another 60 miles of road between you and the finish, but it’s almost all downhill. Ryan is a big fat liar (I mean that in the nicest way). Okay, you know how I said that last stretch was the longest 47 miles I had ever traveled on a bike? Well, at that time it was. But that’s only because I hadn’t done the stretch from Chinook Pass to the finish yet. Surprisingly it was on the downhill that everything started to hurt. I was also having a hard time with approaching cars not dimming their high beams and forcing me to slow way down to avoid going off the road from being blinded. And I was freezing my ass off. Oh yeah, and then there was the little side trip up to White River campground. Someone said it was basically flat. NOT. I suppose at any other time this measly 60 mile ride from Chinook Pass to Enumclaw would have been a stroll in the park for me, but after more than 300 miles, and nearly 30 hours on the bike, not to mention two nights without any real sleep, I was ready to be done.

Somewhere along this part of the ride I started thinking seriously about quitting. I mean really, I didn’t need to finish this stupid ride. Then I started thinking about what quitting meant. Here I was, nearly hypothermic, nowhere near cell phone range, in the dark, what traffic there was was all going away from civilization. Quitting would mean curling up in the ditch wrapped in my space blanket. Yeah, that idea was even less appealing than just soldiering on. And the idea of telling my friends and family that I had to quit was almost as painful as my sitbones. So, I did what Randonneurs do. I kept turning the cranks and eventually… I… got… there.

I arrived at the Kings Motel in Enumclaw at 6:45am, about 33 hours and 45 minutes after leaving. I had traveled 375 miles, climbed ~25,000 vertical feet, slept 20 minutes, and had consumed an incalculable number of calories, mostly sugary goo or something from under the heat lamps at a gas station/convenience store. Of the 13 riders who started, nine finished. I was the third rider to finish.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What This World Needs is Another Blog

Yeah, probably not... Anyway, I'm starting this blog as a service to my friends and family. For the past few months I've been emailing detailed descriptions of long boring bike rides to my friends and family, clogging their inboxes with jiggly photos and long descriptions about fascinating topics like gear ratios and what I wore and ate on a nine hour bike ride in the rain. Well, the emails are coming to an end. From now on I'll post my ride reports here for the whole universe to ignore.

If you haven't been getting my ride reports in the past, here's a little history:

Over the past 12 or so years I've commuted by bicycle from my home in North Seattle to jobs in downtown Seattle, Kirkland and Bellevue. It wasn't always every day, and it wasn't always year-round, but still I logged quite a few miles getting myself to and from work. But for most of that time, my bike was nothing more than a commuting tool. I almost never went for a ride for fun or exercise and I almost never rode more than 20 miles in a day. And then one night I got drunk with a friend...

In February 2008 my friend talked me into riding the STP--a 200 mile group ride from Seattle to Portland. Most do this ride in two days, but we were going to ride it in a day. So I bought myself a new bike and started riding more to get in shape. I finished the one-day STP later that year along with a few other organized (and some disorganized) century rides. Somewhere in the countless hours and miles I spent on my bike that spring and summer I had a bicycling epiphany. I - love - to - ride. I love riding in all weather, the longer the ride the better, up hills, down hills, on the flats, wherever... I love to ride.

In my search for new places to ride and new people to ride with, I stumbled upon the whacky sport of Randonneuring. I now ride regularly with the Seattle International Randonneurs, and am planning to ride the muthah of all Randonneuring events in the fall of 2011, the P-B-P 1200k.

I also really enjoy writing about some of the more epic rides I do. I realize that the ride reports aren't terribly interesting to anybody but me and a few other likeminded nuts. That's okay, it's really just for me. Oh yeah, and my mom.