Sunday, February 28, 2016

Age Group Winner

Kathy is doing a half marathon every month this year. I signed up with her to do the Richland Run Fest half marathon. I wasn't really looking forward to the run yesterday. I hadn't trained sufficiently and it was supposed to be windy and rainy. Fortunately, the weather situation improved and we only had wind to deal with. We started together but ran our own races, although we both were setting out to run and finish, not race.

After two miles I realized I was running a nine-minute mile pace. I told myself to slow down to ten. I was concerned I'd run out of gas since I hadn't trained. My training had consisted of several four-mile runs over the last month and one six-miler two weeks ago. At the four mile mark I was still at a nine-minute mile pace and again told myself to slow down. Although I thought I was, I wasn't. When I reached the halfway point I was feeling pretty good so I kept up the pace.

With about four miles to go I took my Vibrams off and ran barefooted.

Side story: We had a new judge come on board last month at work. I hadn't met her yet because she's in our Yakima courthouse. While running barefoot I passed a woman who was also running the half and she asks me, "Hey, do you work at District Court?" I said I did. She introduced herself and I got to meet our new judge. My IT guy in the Yakima office had told her I'd be there and that I like to run barefoot so I made it easy for her to pick me out.

Running barefoot felt great at first but then my gas tank started running low. My legs were starting to flag and it was affecting my form, which meant blisters if I continued barefooted. So after two miles of naked feet I put the Vibrams back on. I reached the finish at 1:59 and some change. I was pleased I did so well, more so because it's been so long since I've done any distance running after trashing my ankle almost three years ago. The ankle felt great during and after this run so I'm confident it's back to 100% now.

Kathy's second half marathon this year.

Surprisingly, I got third place in the men's 55-59 age group, which meant I received an age group winner award--a beer glass. How appropriate.

Prepping For Prep Time

I'm slated to ride the Idaho Hot Springs Loop in July with my brother John and my oldest son Geoff. Part of my preparation will be to load my bike up and ride it to work. The reason for this is to reduce the amount of time my training takes me away from Kathy. I can leave the house and spend a couple of hours on my commute so that works out well. She travels a lot for work and on the days she's gone I can load up and do a s24o with some extra mileage. So I did the Strava thing and I've been exploring and mapping out some routes to work. Anything involving Argonne Hill seems to work really well.

 I like this route the best because it has some gravels roads and more elevation gain.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Favorite Commute Route

I took the long way to work this morning and it was worth every minute of the two hours I spent in the saddle. I get to ride almost 26 miles and don't hit a traffic light until I arrive at work. Rutter Parkway and the Centennial Trail and quiet and soothing, in spite of the climbing involved, during the wee hours of the morning.

Obligatory route map.
 View of the Spokane River.

 What's not to like about riding to work with this beside you?

 To top it off, I have John Speare, aka Mr Cycling Spokane himself, 
greeting me while I wait for my only traffic light to change.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Almost Forgot

This is what the beginning of your ride looks like on Strava when you suddenly remember you forgot your helmet.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Future's So Bright...

...I gotta wear shades.

I dropped the Haulin' Colin Porteur rack off to get painted. Neon orange will look horrific on the NFE, which is another way of saying it'll be awesome. Since one pound was the smallest amount of powder I could order I decided to have my old Specialized Rock Hopper frame painted too. That'll give me a good reason for building that bike back up. It'll look good next to the neon yellow Elephant and neon pink Viscount single speed.

I think that orange is just bright enough.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Taking A Big Step

Almost six years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law and after many failed attempts to repeal it and after many unanswered questions as to what Republicans would replace it with, Cathy McMorris Rodgers has finally seen the light.

"We've got to write the specific replacement to the Affordable Care Act." 

Given the lack of specifics she's given on any questions asked of her on her Facebook talks and at town hall appearances, I don't expect to see much progress.

But still, it's encouraging to see an 11-year member of the United States House of Representatives come to realize that offering replacement legislation may be a viable alternative as opposed to the failed 50-60 repeal votes over these intervening years.

It's like running into a brick wall over and over and over and then realizing, "Hey, let's try the gate."

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Get Off The Road

I took the NFE out yesterday in search of some dirt or gravel roads and some elevation gain to go with it. I've been fine tuning the fit during my work commutes and I wanted to get a better feel for it on the stuff it's designed to ride on.

I tooled around on the high ground between Argonne and Mount St. Michael's. I really enjoyed how the Thunder Burt tires felt so secure on the turns in both wet and dry dirt and gravel.

I'm getting just a touch of front knee aching and my hands feel like I'm putting too much weight on the brake hoods. I'll be adjusting my saddle height a smidgeon and seeing what I can do with the stem.

Mum's The Word

I was visiting my mom and while we were chatting she got this conspiratorial look on her face and says, "If I show you something, you promise not to tell anybody?"

"Sure," I say.

"I got some lotion that's supposed to be good for my arthritis."

And she shows me this.

From their web site: Ultimate gift for your hands and feet. Great for all over! Premium Cannabis Flower and tea tree kill bacteria and fungus that create infections, foot odor and athlete’s foot. Premium Cannabis Flower and arnica montana treat the pain, swelling and bruising of muscles and joints, headaches, migraines and symptoms of PMS. Together they relieve symptoms from arthritis, tendonitis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and diabetes. Organic Hempseed Oil nourishes, protects and helps soften dry, callous skin. Great for rashes, burns and skin tumors. Helps with symptoms of eczema, psoriasis and other skin ailments. Massage area and feel the satisfying tingle while you are bathed in the healing powers of topical cannabis.

Which, as far as I'm concerned, is awesome. If it works for her, great. Even if it's just a placebo effect.

Then mom start told me about how she told other people and instructed them that "mum's the word" to which I replied, "Mom, if you're telling everybody then mum is not the word."

The cannabis ingredient is hempseed oil, which does not get you high. And the label states the lotion does not contain any psychoactive ingredients.

But I noticed a new shelf in mom's kitchen.

I can imagine mom getting pulled over for a traffic stop and I see her throwing a jar and maybe a tube of lotion out of the window in hopes she doesn't get busted.

"It's not mine. It's my friend's. I have never used that stuff for my arthritis, officer."

Friday, February 12, 2016


One aspect of bike commuting I really enjoy is having a wide variety of routes at my disposal. I see something different every day. I get to know different parts of the city.

We're trying to sell our house and move closer to downtown. Once we do I look forward to incorporating the south side of town into my commuting routes. Who says you have to take the most direct routes, right?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

New Steed In the Stable

Today was Super Sunday in more ways than one. I picked up my Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer from Glen Copus at eight this morning. Like a Siren this bike beckons you. I jumped onto the saddle as soon as I stepped out of the shop and cruised down the block and back.

Once I got home I ate a quick breakfast, changed into my riding clothes, and headed for Riverside State Park. I cruised around for a little over an hour getting to know the bike. It was a blast to ride. It's light and nimble. I hated to get it dirty but, even though the looks may indicate otherwise, I am not looking for a trophy bike.

This will be my bike packing bike. After my front rack arrives I will have it painted to match the pedals and handlebar tape. I'm really looking forward to doing some long riding on some one and two-night camping trips around here. I plan to ride the Idaho Hot Springs Loop this summer on this bike.

I faithfully follow Rule #12.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Riverside In The Snow, Ice, Mud, and Water

I spent three hours riding around Riverside State Park yesterday. There are still a few areas where I had to leave my footprints because of the unrideable--at least for me--snow.  The snow was mostly rideable when I started but as the day warmed the deep stuff predictably became unpredictable. I would suddenly sink in a soft spot, which wiped out all my momentum. Sometimes I could power through. Sometimes I would have to catch myself before falling over sideways.

I felt much better this time around. The second time going up Five Minute Hill felt better than the first. Maybe because I was fully warmed up by then.

My Strava map.

Making new tracks.

Snack break at the top of Five Minute Hill.

I had to strip down before getting into the car.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Savin' Souls

Two gentlemen on the left were busy trying to save souls yesterday. One was politely handing out tracts to anyone who would accept one. The tract was full of warnings about hell. The other gentleman was yelling nonstop about everything and anything in the bible or what he believed the bible to mean. And he was aiming his words at the STA Plaza. Most people ignored or quietly endured him. But some decided he wasn't the only one who could raise their voice and would return in kind. It was entertaining for a while.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sing Along Time

I've been riding my single speed to work since last week. Since I can't put the panniers on it I've been using a backpack to carry my stuff. I added my Bluetooth speaker system and I've been cranking out tunes as loud as I can during my commute.

On the way home from work these evening I passed by a house and an older gentleman was standing on the porch. Quiet Riot's "Bang Your Head" was blasting from my backpack. Danged if he didn't start singing along.

Rock on, dude. Rock on.