Sunday, May 31, 2009


Bake McQuaide rips up the Mullet, now with 30 percent more bridges!

SONG: No One's Gonna Love You, Band of Horses


Saturday, John Clark and I got a ride in that we've been wanting to do for a while--Chuckanut Mountain, then on to Blanchard. Conditions were perfect--blue sky, temps in the 60s and 70s and, far as we could tell, no wind. After having to stop at the corner of Eldridge and Walnut to watch the largest Donut Ride peloton we've ever seen pass by, we set off in the opposite direction just after 7 a.m. for Fairhaven. There we picked up the Interurban Trail and followed it just about to the end.
From there, it was up Fragrance Lake Road to the Lost Lake Trail, where we took a right (passing by the base of Little Chinscraper/Double Black Diamond) up, up, up to the shoulder just above the Lost Lake basin. Here we took a right (where the Dictionary used to be) and after passing through some disgusting mucky pond-puddles headed down, down, down a steep rocky gully on what the map calls the Overlander Trail. By map, I refer to the super-useful Chuckanut Recreation Area map (Square One Maps) which I highly recommend.

Eventually things level out, then go down some more, then up, then down and so on. Back here, it's all forested and winding dirt and gravel roads, the intersections of which all look basically the same so the map was invaluable. We'd ride for a bit, stop and consult the map, ride due south, consult the map then ride due north, then due south and so on. (See super low-tech map image below that kind of shows our route penciled in.)

With somewhat a sense of relief we hit the British Army trail, which was our super-steep Stairway to Blanchard. According to the map, it climbs 580 feet in just over a mile but I bet most of this is in the first three-quarters of a mile. We'd ride (seemingly straight up), then walk, then ride when we could, then walk, eventually making it to Lizard Lake where we dined on Power Bars, some kind of chicken wrap thing I bought at Haggen's that morning and Gatorade. From there we headed east along the lake, past a horse camp, to the Alternate Incline Trail which gets my vote for the funnest descent we've ever done on a mountain bike. Steep, but not scared-for-my-life steep, rather just this side of my downhill abilities.

From there, Road 1000, map-map-map, until we rode around a locked gate, passed a No Trespassing sign and popped out onto Roy Road near Camp Lutherwood at the far west end of Lake Samish. A great ride. Other folks do this ride and add the back way into Pine and Cedar lakes but we'll save that for another day. As it was, our stats were 40 miles, 4-1/2 hours of riding time, 4,400 feet of climbing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Baker and I got out on our first MTB ride in a while. First time with the helmet cam too. We rode Cedar Dust, among others. Please enjoy.


I've got a story in today's Seattle Times Northwest Weekend section. It's about outdoor recreation in Leavenworth. (Leavenworth, Wash., not the prison in Kansas.)

To read it, click here.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Bellingham's World Championships yesterday and what a day for it--perfect weather. High 60s, little to no wind, and best of all, I didn't flat during my mountain bike leg. Yay! Yay! Yay! I didn't flat! Get a flat during Ski to Sea and you're not just flatting for yourself, you're flatting for seven other people, several of whom you've never met (or met just hours before) but, for some reason, you still don't want them to think ill of you.

Our team was Awesome Dawson Descending Masters (pictured above: Tom O'Moore, Matt Eichenberger, me, Scott Young, John Clark, Pete Dawson, Rick Lingbloom and camera-shy Brad Haggen) and as far as I can gather, we finished 29th overall (out of the 398 teams that finished), 4th in the Masters division.

The mountain bike leg was pretty killer. No flats! (Did I mention that?) As opposed to say, Graham Yountsey, whom I saw attending to his second puncture at about the 3-mile mark and who wrote on his Facebook that he had "three flats and a broken spoke". Thankfully, RD Charlie Heggem diverted us away from the nasty puddle of goo at the end of the RR track section but the tracks themselves were still uncalled for. (Were I Charlie's parent I'd send him to his room for a time-out for including that section.) Saw Beau Whitehead after the race; he flatted on the tracks and also busted his chain on Marine Drive and ... still beat me by three minutes! (My time was 52:47.)

Wanna see something hilarious? Check out my photo on I look like I'm reminiscing about the fetid railroad puddle:

Below, Baker watches the kayaks come in to Marine Park.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


(Just added a second video at the bottom.)

Here's a quick vid shot today of the new Ski to Sea mountain bike course designed by Charlie Heggem and others whose names escape me right now. Pretty fun, pretty darn challenging. Lots of lumpy, bumpy fields, but thankfully many wide stretches on which to pass and be passed, and, if my calculations are correct, a fair amount of mud in certain spots. One fun bit not captured on the vid (my disk had filled up) includes the bumpity-bumpity railroad tracks down by Squalicum Parkway with about a mile to go to the finish. I expect the phrase "Are these really necessary at this point?" will play about more that one rider's mind.

NOTE: Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd and his lovely wife, EmJay, make an appearance about halfway through the video.

NOTE II (About three hours later): I just pulled three thorns from my front tire. Also, my bike reeks with a certain sewage-terpentiney funk, I believe picked up from riding through the giant goo puddle at the end of the RR track section.



Monday, May 18, 2009


Here's a couple of cool photos taken by nice guy Ronald C. Allen of yours truly riding scared during Sunday's Whidbey Island Mudder. (BTW, Allen is the rider in the video post below.) Check out his photography/videography website:

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Today, I raced the Indie Series ( Whidbey Island Mudder race, two laps of a really fun 6-mile technical (for moi) course that had some BMX-ish pump tracks and these funky mounds that were like giant anthills. Sandy, dirty, kinda kooky lotsa fun. A couple fast descents--I got up to 29 mph at one point--and some steady sandy climbs that broke up the field pretty good.

Guess what--I winned the 45-plus Beginner Race again which was great fun. Haven't seen the results yet but I think Erik Evanson, riding a single-speed, finished second just like two weeks ago.

Above is a video of part of the course shot during a warm-up lap with my new helmet cam. (I'm hoping someday to get a monkey cam, just like the old funny David Letterman show.)

Friday, May 08, 2009


Tomorrow, two members of Team Unattacked are heading to the bustling metropolis that us Maple Falls for the Silver Lake Time Trials. ( Scott "Cowboy" Young will ride the 22-miler on his road bike affixed with my aero bars. (Thus, when he sets a blazing time, I can take partial credit.) I'll ride the 7-miler on me Felt 29er mountain bike and follow that with the 22-miler on me Tarmac Pro sans aero bars. (Because I don't want to scratch its pretty carbon handlebars.) Weather looks good and the event has a reputation of being rather low-key, so I'm looking forward to a fun morning. (John "Mellow Johnny" Clark, the third member of Team Unattacked, is doing the Haggen to Haggen 5K tomorrow.)
In other news, the Giro d'Italia starts tomorrow. Here's my podium prediction: Levi, Menchov, Basso.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


"Second place is good, I can be happy with second place," I thought to myself. "Second place is top three, innit?"

That was me as I began the last lap of Sunday's Beginner 45-plus Indie Series Mountain Bike Race at South Seatac Park. (That's a mouthful.) Located within spitting distance of SeaTac airport, it's a lovely spot of greenery with loads of winding wooded trails, and big jumbo jets taking off so close you're just waiting for your toupee to fly off, never to be found again.

Back to the race, I was in the lead and pulling away, I was pretty sure, but for whatever reason, my default was to assume that at some point something was going to happen wherein my pursuer--in this case, Eric Evanson--would pass me by, take home the victory and all glory would be his. I'd be second. And that'd be fine. That'd be nice.

It occured to me that Tom Boonen and Lance Armstrong probably don't think this way. But of course, they're Tom Boonen and Lance Armstrong. Then it occured to me that my buddy John Clark probably doesn't think this way either--I've seen him in races where he's just positive (without being cocky or arrogant) that he's going to catch whoever it is that's ahead of him but who has John's personal bullseye on his back. And almost without fail, John catches them.

Then I remembered talking to my own son Baker, about the cyclocross race he won last year and how, when the kid he was battling with for the lead hit a tree and Bake shot ahead, Bake knew he was going to win. He had no doubts; he just went ahead and did it without giving it a second thought.

So that's what I tried to do: I told myself, "Screw it, I'm going to win this thing." Which immediately felt like an uncomfortably heavy psychological weight had been placed on my shoulders. Wasn't it enough that I was hammering this course as hard as I could--my heartrate averaged 172 for just over an hour--and now I'd added this?! I couldn't imagine the pressure Tom Boonen must've been feeling when he'd ridden alone to victory at this year's Paris-Roubaix. (But of course, he's a professional, highly paid and a world-class athlete.)

But it was also exciting because to me, it was new territory. Probably in lots of things in my life I've said, "Ah, good enough; it's not the best I can do but second (or third or whatever) is still pretty good." How many things have I missed out on because I compromised by not giving my best effort?

So I rode hard, focused, really concentrated and only had one moment when it almost slipped out of my hands. Swooping up after a quick dip I turned right where it felt like the trail should go, but instead found myself momentarily tangled in the barrier ribbon; the race course went left. It was a kick I needed for it really forced me to focus even more intently for the race's final 10 minutes or so. I ended up winning by about a minute, the two guys on 29ers taking 1-2 in this race. Huge props to Evanson who was riding a single-speed. (And here, I'd been impressed with myself for riding the whole thing in my middle chainring.)

Winning is nice, but I think what's even nicer is learning something about myself. That I don't have to settle for something inferior if I think I can do better, or be better.

This was my first Indie Series race and I was quite impressed with how they run things. Among other things, every time you ride by the race announcer, he gives your name and tells what place you're in--with several races going on at once, it was the only way I knew I was near the front. It was only my second mountain bike race ever but the first one where I really tried to be competitive. (Boggs 8-Hour was a great event but more of a survival thing for me.) Thus, my reasoning for racing in the Beginner division.

(For a previous blogpost about the time I won a 5K running race--which also appeared in "Runner's World"--go to:

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Real quick as I'm quite ded tarred after four hours drivin' and an hour and 2 minutes of mountain biking with me heartrate averaging 172 beats a minute: raced the Beginner race at South Seatac today and winned the 45 and over division! Yay! Quite excitin'! Ended up finishing ahead of the 35-44 year-olds. As you can imagine, I've been patting myself on the back all evening. (Think I pulled a deltoid muscled too.) I'll write more tomorrow.