Thursday, July 30, 2009

Too Funny

William Shatner is a national treasure. Here he is reading Palin's tweets as free verse. Very funny.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sunday Dog park pictures

On Sunday, Kristin and I met some friends at Magnuson Park for some fun. We tried to schedule it later in the day to avoid the heat but it was still very hot. Though not as hot as it is today in Kirkland, 110.5 F right now.

Raptobike upgrades

Raptobike being assembled
With the Raptobike in the shop, I am performing a few upgrades while it is there. Terracycle idlers are now available for the Raptobike. My stock idlers were a big draggy so am upgrading to the Terracycle product. I am switching to 35-406 and 35-559 Schwalbe Kojak tires front and rear. I am also adding a rear rack to serve as support for my soon to be built tailbox and a front fender. Oh yes, I am also adding 2 B&M cyclestar mirrors.

I should have the White Rabbit back next week sometime. I await completion impatiently.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Raptobike being assembled
The Raptobike is in the shop right now. It took some big hits during the STP and so I am not riding. I have the Corsa and am commuting on it but I am not training right now. Part of this is my left ankle is still healing from a sprain, but part is that I miss my White Rabbit.

My brain has been occupying itself with designing new bikes and tailboxes in my head. I have a decent mental plan of a tailbox for the White Rabbit. My current plan is to join the various coroplast parts using a hot glue gun and a technique that Garrie Hill published for joining coroplast. There should be 5 major components of the tailbox. The part that goes against the seat back, the left side, the right side, the bottom inverted U shape part and the top cover. The entire structure will rest on a tubus rear rack and have 4 thumb screw attachment points to the seat. This should make the tailbox easy to remove for transport.

The bike designs are more fantastical. Flowing shapes that want to be carbon fiber or maybe aluminum monocoque. Dual 520 wheels, forward triangulated seat that is integral to the frame, triangulated rear end, front suspension, front wheel drive, etc. I think I need to buy turbocad to start putting ideas into more rigorous form. OTOH, I have convinced myself that if I can get a front fork for the raptobike with suspension, I want it.

Ah well, I wish I were riding but at least I managed to get some ideas in more concrete form than daydreams. Just couple of weeks to be without the Raptobike, so maybe I will have it in time for the new house.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I am a little short tempered right now. The Raptobike is in the shop being repaired after my STP crashes (multiple). I am buying a house and one of the seller's banks is being annoying. These minor personal annoyances mean that I am having trouble taking other issues in stride.

Here is a list of highly annoying things:
  • Press coverage of health care reform. It is startling how easy it is to see the hand of corporate money in supposedly neutral press coverage.
  • Libertarian morons who all apparently believe they are Renaissance men, capable of doing everything for themselves and anyone who might need help is weak and should be purged.
  • Actually all libertarians are annoying, I find it amazing how a group that self identifies as intelligent is so short sighted.
  • Motorist apologists and the dangerous drivers who threaten cyclists every day. One of that tribe hit a pack of 5 cyclists in Ottawa recently.
  • The religious right and their parade of hate, guns and bigotry.
  • Overt in your face religion of all stripes really pisses me off right now. Probably the side effect of being a preacher's kid. Right now, if you are overtly Christian, I will happily assume you are a bigot, a misogynist, and a republican. Redundant as that list is.
  • Science deniers, this includes the anti-vaxxers, the global warming deniers and creationists. I hate the selfish con-men that most of you are. And without a doubt you are all selfish bastards or sad deluded tools.
  • Bankers. This includes anyone who works for Goldman Sachs.

I could go on but you get the idea.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

STP 2009 Collage

STP 2009 Collage, originally uploaded by Watson House.

Here is a nice link to all of my STP photos. The Seattle to Portland ride was great, I had a lot of fun and learned that I can and will push through adversity when I am properly motivated.

210 miles over two days was a big accomplishment for me.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Marymoor Park with the dogs

Marymoor 001
We went to Marymoor park today instead of our previous plans. It worked out well as both Casey and Lucy love the dog park. It is hot today so Lucy spent a lot of time lounging around.
Marymoor 147
and Casey played fetch the whole time.
Marymoor 003
We did see a number of other dogs, including this beautiful German Shepard
Marymoor 068

All in all a great day. Click through on the pictures to see all 130 photos from today.

Friday, July 17, 2009

STP retrospective

STP 2009
The STP is over and I have had time to recover and mull over my performance as well as the bikes performance. I had a bit of bad luck going in. I broke my prescription sunglasses at my house the morning of the STP. I hit 2 major potholes on a 33mph descent at around mile 15 during the STP and crashed with a front flat at mile 20 and mile 155. My rim needed to be repaired by use of pliers and sandpaper. And I received some 12 sq inches of abrasions during those falls. All of this obscured the performance of my riding and my bike.

Looking back after a week I can now see how I did without the blur of the accidents that occurred. I averaged 16.9 mph for the first 120 miles, I slowed down from Winlock onward after a near brush with heat exhaustion. I now know how important it is to douse myself in water while riding to keep cool in hot weather. This is something I have been told before but it didn't really sink in until I noticed symptoms of heat exhaustion on the way to Napavine. Clammy skin and feeling cool at the skin layer (best I can describe it). I stopped when I noticed the clammy skin and used my spare water bottle to cool down.

Due to my wheel issues from the crash I also climbed Puyallup using a gear of 34.6 inches. I didn't love it but I was able to without too much issues. This tells me that I could and should bump up my gearing on the raptobike putting my low at 25gi instead of 20gi. I will also add a water bottle cage to the raptobike on the handle bars. This will free up my jersey pocket that I dedicated to this.

I also found that Cytomax is awesome and I do very well with it as long as I have water besides. Next year I will do the STP in one day. I have a number of modifications to the raptobike that I plan on.
  1. Terracycle Idlers - the current ones are not as efficient and the power side idler currently is dragging badly.
  2. Water bottle cage for the handlebars.
  3. A second mirror (B&M Cyclestar 901/3)
  4. A rear rack probably from Tubus, maybe the airy. A good base to mount my tailbox too.
  5. a homemade Coroplast Tailbox. I have a design in mind that will be aerodynamic, have a decent carrying capacity and have a latching enclosure. I will also build cargo stops inside to allow me to keep smaller loads closer to the front and near the seat.
  6. 38mm Schwalbe Kojaks to replace the 28mm Schwalbe Duranos.
  7. A front fender.
  8. A larger front chainring (62T)
  9. slightly lowered handlebars
With all of these changes the Raptobike will be an all weather bike that can handle the rough roads and carry decent cargo. It will also be more aero and have water bottle and hydration bladder options. I will have locking storage via the tailbox and the tailbox will be removable via thumb screws high and low on both the left and right sides. Cheers to winter projects!

Monday, July 13, 2009

STP 2009 - a great ride.

I have now successfully completed my first STP. DKW and I started at 5:30 or so on day one. Here we are riding away from the start line.
STP 2009
Coming down some of the hills I hit some potholes at 30+ mph. I could feel the new dents in my rims when I tried my front brakes. I cursed but since the wheel was still true I just rode onward. Later at mile 20 or so, I turned a bit to the left to avoid hitting a women rider in front of me and down I went. A pinch flat took me out and I skidded to a stop on my left side. A nice rider named Tom was behind me and almost went down with me but managed to miss me. He stopped and helped. We didn't know why I went down until we saw the flat front tire. An STP support vehicle was helping us before I even managed to get the front wheel off. I switched modes as Larry took over the wheel, tire, tube maintenance. DKW borrowed the first aide kit from the support team and gave me an excellent field dressing.
STP 2009
After Larry bent my rim into shape with a pair of pliers and I sanded down the interior rim edges to prevent any more pinch flats we were back on the road. I did have to repair a double set of classic vampire bite holes in my tube. This patch job lasted over 130 miles.

We stopped at the next rest stop to use the port-a-potties and top off our water.
STP 2009
I unfortunately needed to help some one day riders who wrecked with directions for their support car to pick them up. They were through for the day.

As Day one progressed DKW and I both stuck mostly together and regrouped at mini-stops and/or hills. We made good time and averaged well over 16.5 mph for the first 100 miles. There was 13 miles of bike trails that were nice except for stop signs on the path yielding to driveways, which annoys me to no end. I am feeling good as we ride through here though I am keeping an eye out for potholes or bumps as I don't want to go down again.
STP 2009

We continued onward and left the trail about 13:30. Though it looks dark here it will soon be the hottest part of the day.
STP 2009

Later at the hills approaching Napavine on Rush Rd I started to feel clammy skin and I got cold instead of hot, these are signs of heat exhaustion. I stopped on the hill and dumped my spare water bottle all over my head and neck. I rested and waited for DKW to catch up. While recovering I snapped this shot of people climbing up Rush Rd.
STP 2009
A Gullwing rider stopped for us as well and gave us some bottled water which DKW and I both used to cool ourselves down. The temperature had spiked to the 90s here and we just weren't prepared. From this point onward I took the advice of a cyclist friend of mine (Willie) and kept dumping water on my head and neck any time I felt too dry. Another excellent example of the CBC support crew on this ride, I needed that extra water and I should have been keeping my skin wet with it well before the 110 mile mark.

DKW broke a spoke somewhere between here and Castle Rock. So we found an excellent stop at Castle Rock with a full bike repair crew setup. The repair team from Bothell Ski and Bike replaced DKW's spoke, trued his wheel and got him going again.
STP 2009

At this point the Broadus team caught up to us finally. They got a late start and it took them a hundred and twenty miles to catch up. One of the other riders took a picture of us all together at Castle Rock
STP 2009

At this point the Broadus team took off and DKW and I chugged along the final 35 miles for the day. I tried to keep up with the Broadus's for a bit but it was a fools game and I dropped back. I ended up following a pair of one day riders all the way to the bridge into Oregon. This was a bit too far and luckily DKW called me. I biked back to DKW and we went to the drop point to pick up our bags. I managed to hit another pothole at this point right in front of the drop point. I went down with the second bent rim and pinch flat of the day. I was not a happy camper but we walked to the drop point and then to our hotel. After dinner I bought a pair of pliers and DKW helped me get my rim back in shape. Even after all this abuse the wheel is still true. Only the rim bent which is amazing. I know the wheel is through though and after the STP I will need to get a new wheel built with my Rohloff hub in it. All of the accidents are due to reduced sightlines, I was following people too closely at mile 20 and at mile 155 I was just tired and my glasses were covered in sunscreen. I could barely see shapes let alone shadows.

Sunday morning we get on our bikes, ride back to the drop point with our bags and I start my computer again. Here we are riding off in the sun, happy to ride our final 55 miles to Portland.
STP 2009
STP 2009

Day 2 is nice but almost all of the riding is on RT 30 which is not the nicest experience. I am taking care not to hit any more bumps as there is no way my front rim will survive any more surgery. After 50 miles we finish the STP in Lloyd Center.
STP 2009
STP 2009

It was a great ride and I really had a blast.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

STP - start

Lake Washington Loop -preride
I am just about to head out for the STP. Life has been very hectic with planning for the STP and trying to buy a house. Everything is packed, the dogs have been walked and fed, I have been fed and showered. So I will soon be heading out to pick up DKW and off we go.

I will be riding the Raptobike. Everything is ready, time to go!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Commute - a photo essay

My morning commutes in the summer are beautiful and a great way to start the day. Hopefully this gives you an idea of why I like it.
A view of my morning commute
DKW arrives at my house to start the ride. We head out from here N on Market. That route quickly gets us to Juanita Dr. Since there is a downhill section on Market I wait for DKW after the left turn on Juanita.
A view of my morning commute
Here I am.
A view of my morning commute
Here is DKW.
on my commute
DKW snaps a picture of me as we start up the hill on Juanita. After the 2 or so miles uphill there is a long downhill section, I normally hit 38 mph in traffic, 43 mph if there is space. I generally lose DKW on the downhill. Today I made both lights and had a bit of time to wait.
A view of my morning commute
Here I am.
A view of my morning commute
Here is DKW (hiding in my helmet). We now get on the BG trail and take it to the Sammamish River trail.
A view of my morning commute
Here is the river.
A view of my morning commute
The headwinds give me the advantage on this part of the ride
A view of my morning commute
A view of my morning commute
DKW is a machine though and rides alone with me even when I push it on the SRT.
A view of my morning commute
The trail always has such nice views.

Check out my entire photoset for more pictures of the commute. I love this ride. It always makes me feel good in the morning.