Monday, February 25, 2008


Rode the Donut Ride on Saturday, the venerable early Saturday a.m. rain-or-shine ride that's been going on since the mid-80s. No phone calls or e-mails, just show up at 7:00 at Kulshan Cycles or a little after 7 pretty much anywhere along Eldridge Avenue/Marine Drive and hook on. Head up to Fernburg, across to Birch Bay, down along Red River Road and back to Bellingham. I don't ride it as much as I'd like (Bake's soccer games, chess tournaments, etc.) but most Saturdays I've ridden it, I hook up with some great people and am pleasantly surprised to have ridden 45 miles by about 9:30.
Above is Steve VanderStay, English professor at WWU, and Columbia neighborhood homey. Below is what was left of the group by the time we hit the Paris-Roubaix section, that kind of rough road behind the Cherry Point Refinery. There're only seven riders left at this point (riders peel off at various points); odd that it was such a small group. A dry, not-freezing-cold Saturday a.m. in February is rare and I thought there'd be many more taking advantage of it. Looking back is Marty Reimer, terrific triathlete and winner of the Baker's Breakfast Cookie triathlon a few years ago. Kinda cool--I just got off the phone with Chris Carmichael, Lance's long-time coach. He's presentih' and representih' at the Seattle Bike Expo in a couple weeks and I'm writing a little thing about it for the Seattle Times. He says Lance will run the Boston and New York marathons with year, with goal times of low 2:40s and mid 2:30s respectively. Also, Lance plans to ride some ultra endurance mountain bike race this year but he doesn't know which one. I asked him if this is all leading up to an Ironman triathlon but he said no, he didn't think so. (I bet he does.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


This is on Charlie H's Norka Recreation site: ( Check out the stud at about 5:37 to 5:40--looks like Lance to me.

Also, see Thursday's Seattle Times for my story on Crystal Mountain's new Northway Chair: (

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Sunday was Bake's birthday. After our neighborhood birthday walk, as seen above, (not that it's a tradition or anything, it was just sunny for the first time in a while; though it does seem like a nice tradition, dunnit?), we headed north to Vancouver. That's where the Pink Pearl ( is, Bake's favorite restaurant. It's a vast Chinese place with dim sum that's out of this, or any other world.
The Pink Pearl happens to be on Hastings Street, definitely the scariest, skankiest street I've ever been on in my life. Nothing but junkies, junkies, and more junkies! Last November, we stumbled upon it on our way to the Pink Pearl from Chinatown and had the holy bejesus scared out of us. See my November archives for my write-up of that thrilling experience. (Though I didn't include the bit about the ancient, scraggly junkie with the upset tummy who pulled down his pants and well, I'll leave that to your imagination ...)

Luckily, the Pink Pearl is not on the real, real bad section of Hastings. Below, please take note of me pretending to vomit from having mainlined too much H. (I understand that Vancouver officials are pretty freaked about the impression that Hastings and its environs will give to visitors during the coming 2010 Winter Olympics. No Doubt.)All righty. Enough about that. Sunday was also Fanatik team picture day, but of course I wasn't there. But here they are anyway:

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Rode the North Shore Circuit Race ( course today with Fanatiks Stewart Bowmer and Chad Clarke. Stewart started at 7 a.m. with the intention of doing eight or nine loops of the eight-mile course. I showed up about 7:30 or so having parked at Bloedel and ridden the five miles out to the course. Though I did just 4-1/2 laps, it was tough, very tough.

Stewart is a font of race experience, always full of tips, advice, etc., and race wisdom. All of which I try like heck to absorb and make sense of--when to attack, when not to attack, when to not do any work at all, etc.--but it's not really going to make full sense until I'm back in a race again. Which should be sometime in March.

The North Shore course is challenging with two hills which, in the Cat 4/5 race I'm planning on doing March 29, is really 10 hills because we'll do five laps. Total elevation gain is 2,934 feet. It ends on a short but very steep hill that Stewart had us practice sprinting up on consecutive laps. He'd lead Chad and I out and we'd sprint about 150 yards until my quads felt like they'd explode. Heartrate hit 183 and 181 at the top. When we came to that spot the third time, we were talking and kind of forgot about doing another sprint. (Thank god).

In all, I got in 50 miles riding with 3,200 feet elevation gain. Good for mid-February.

Bake's birthday tomorrow--9 years old!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Above, Bake McQ, in way-cool headband, skies for a rebound in Saturday morning's Under-9 basketball game. Quick as a cat, he then puts it back up for two points at an especially tense juncture in the last game of the season. The soundtrack, which consists mostly of "Rebound! Rebound! Shoot it!" and "Yeah!" is provided by his parents, free of charge.

Below, the boy Bake (at far left) keeps the beat playing a bongo drum in a terrific performance last Thursday night at his school, Cedar Tree Montessori (two s's, one r, right?). It was a full night as he also tread the boards playing a windmill in a dramatic treatment of "Don Quixote". Later, Baker played the Man of La Mancha himself in a tableaux!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


On Saturday Bake took 10th at a chess tournament in Ferndale. (The same day, it turns out, that I forgot my sister's birthday. That's all right, I'm pretty sure she's got another one next year.) Forgot the camera though so no pics of him in deep concentration trying to outwit his opponent. Once again, he took three out of five games, qualifying him for the state tournament in April. (Which he'd already qualified for.)

Sunday was a fun as heck 50-mile ride with the Fanatik team. Out Red River Road where we practiced sprints and attacks and the like, and where the trees were filled with eagles. We must've seen 60 in all.

We also came very close to being purposely sideswiped by a white Mount Baker Cable van, the driver of which we later came upon waiting in line at the Lummi ferry terminal. When members of our group expressed their displeasure at his driving so close, he made it abundantly clear that he was no cycling fan and that we had no business riding on the road. Then we all laughed, shared a hug, and went to his house to watch the Super Bowl. (That last sentence isn't true.)

The above image I found on Tom Boonen's website: ( in the Webshop section. The listed price is 0.00 Euro, which seems about right.