Friday, December 30, 2011


Here's a couple long shots from the Hemlock Trail on the north side of Chuckanut Mountain. (That's the one that connects Arroyo Park to Pine and Cedar Lakes.) This just might be my favorite XC descent around. Scott Young (Titanium Cancellara) is the rider.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Here's July through December. 
July. A lovely summer afternoon climbing the upward-tilted Burnout Road with terrific views overlooking Samish Bay. Samish Island is the foreground (ish) strip of dark forest with super-steep Mount Erie in the distance.

July (part 2). Mount Shuksan as seen through the spokes on one of my repeat rides up the ski area on the Mount Baker Highway. Because of 2011's mega-snowfall, this year the road never opened all the way to Artist Point.
August. Mount Shasta Summit Century. Ultra hard, ultra long ("That's what she said" joke goes here.)--130 miles with 14,750 feet or so of climbing, 10-plus hours on a bike. Glad I did it but it was the day I realized that anything longer than about 6 hours begins to enter the This-isn't-a-whole-lot-of-fun-anymore zone. Also in August, I turned 50.

September. Riding across the Skagit Flats on the way to La Conner and back with the Cowboys Titanium. Seventy-three miles, a stop for coffee in L-town, some hellatious town sign sprints thoughout--certainly one of the year's most enjoyable rides.

October. Crazy Jacob Stewart holds onto his bike for dear life after dropping down into a hole atop Anderson Mountain. This was on a cool MTB ride with Jacob, Ryan Rickerts and Scott Young. 

October (part 2). I just really like the colors on this helmet cam photo of Titanium Cancellara pedaling down the Interurban Trail. 

November. Another helmet cam shot, this one during a warm-up lap of the Cross-Border Clash CX race outside Ferndale. That's Glenn Gervais in blue; he won the men's master C race that day.. 

December. I've not taken many bike photos this month. (We've been running too damn much.) Here's a snapshot taken from a helmet cam video I shot of our Samish Loop ride 'n' bushwack. The reason I'm not wearing a helmet is that I'm pointing the camera at myself whilst riding.

Happy New Year, y'all!   

Monday, December 26, 2011


Here's January through June 2011. (Might be more than one photo per month.) Enjoy!

January. The Ridge Trail on Galby with Titanium Cancellara and John Clark in the background. So much snow. Heavy wet snow. Every week, it seemed, through about March.

February. T-Cancellara gots himself a single-speed 29er. The frequency of our visits to the pain cave increased significantly.

March. Sights like these started becoming more and more common up at Galby. This is just off Cedar Dust.

April showers during the Saturday morning Donut Ride.
May. Stottlemeyer 30-mile Mountain Bike race on Whidbey Island. Scott won the single-speed, John took 3rd Masters. (I was 4th single-speed finisher and ended up in the bushes when I overshot the finish.)
May (part 2). Couple of clowns we saw on the ferry ride over to Whidbey.

June. David Longdon climbing killer McNeil Canyon on the amazingly beautiful Chelan Century Ride. I'm going back in 2012 fer sure!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


... from the Titanium Cowboys! (Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Titanium Cancellara for the cool bottle.)

Friday, December 23, 2011


Here's the link to my holiday hikes story that appears in this Sunday's Seattle Times Travel section, but is available now on the Times innerwebber site. All pics are from the cool Padilla Bay Shore Trail, just off Highway 20 on the way to Anacortes. Enjoy! And Merry Christmas too! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Wore my helmet cam (mounted on a chest harness) during today's first-ever Deception Pass 25K, another cool event put on by James Varner and Rainshadow Running. While the majority of phots came out blurry as heck, here's a sampling of the 40 or so that didn't and that hopefully give you and idea of what a terrific, unique course this is. I'm pretty beat so I'll write more words tomorrow.

(OK, now it's tomorrow ...) Above, first time across the Deception Pass Bridge. Kinda freaky, kinda scary, but way, way beautiful! (Kinda innerestingly cooincidentally appropriate: "Under the Bridge" by R.H. Chili Peppers came up on the iPod as we ran the North Beach Trail just under the bridge. "Starlight" by Muse played as we crossed it; perfect in its own way.)

One of the cool, waterside jaunts on the many little loops. Not sure if this was loop 2 or 3. (Or 4?)
Here was that weird, squishy seaweedy (and to be truthful, stinky) section.

The start, about a mile on pavement out along Cranberry Lake.
The bounteous aid station.

Refilling the bottle with booze, cocaine, methamphetamine--whatever it took to get me through my first 3-plus hour run in almost 5 years. 
Running one the cool bluffs on Loop 4, I think. That would make this Rosario Head. That's not a bear lying in wait, but a photographer.

The return run across the bridge. By this point, I was too tired to be freaked out about dangling 180 feet above the water.
The cruel climb up Goose Rock. By this point my goose was more than cooked. (Rimshot.)

One of many slippery bridges.
Up and over the top of Goose Rock. (Finally.)
On the north side (Fidalgo Island side) looking back after crossing the bridge for the first time.

With cars on one side, and that freaky-stunning view on the other, it was a tight fit crossing the bridge.

The excellent Christy Fazio before the race; she finished first Masters woman and took home a cool mug.

Scott Young (Titanium Cancellara) added to his legend. Despite doing an extra loop, adding about 2 miles, he took 2nd Masters and 9th overall!
Here's where I got off-course on the Pass Lake loop and ended up in this person's front yard. D'oh!

A great race. Results come out later today, I believe.

Side note: After the race, I talked to the climbing-ultrarunning legend that is Doug McKeever and he told me that Krissy Moehl plans to open up the 2012 Chuckanut 50K to 1,000 runners. Wowzer!


Handsome freelance writer told never to come back because wife inadvertently brings Starbucks cup into restaurant.
BELLINGHAM—In a bizarre exchange Saturday afternoon at a downtown Bellingham bagel emporium, the shop’s owner unleashed a stream of vitriol and bad tidings that recipient Mike McQuaide, a youthful-looking sort with prodigious hill-climbing skills on a bicycle, could only term “bizarre, weird, and really f***ed-up.”

“You’d think I told him his wife was fat and that I’d enjoy lying with his two daughters at the same time,” said McQuaide, who has no idea if the owner is even married or has children. (It’s merely a witty phony quote written for humorous effect.)

It all started when, after a downtown haircut and visits to a new skateboard shop and Starbucks, the McQuaide family—Mike, Jen and Baker—decided to visit the Bagelry for lunch. Mike McQuaide, who frequented the bagel shop daily when he was a Bellingham Herald reporter in the ‘90s, estimates that over the past two decades, he’s probably spent about $5,000 there.

After spending another $13 for bagels, drinks, and soup, the McQuaides settled into a seat by the window. Shortly thereafter, the owner, who just moments before had greeted them with a “Hey Mike, how’s it going?” approached them.

Anticipating further pleasantries, the McQuaides were instead surprised when the owner, in a not-at-all friendly tone—one that a fed-up teacher might take with an out-of- line student who won’t quit shooting spitballs—told Jen that he’d rather she not bring coffee from other establishments into his restaurant. (Jen had inadvertently carried her Starbucks cup into the bagel shop.) Though it was obviously a accidental one-time occurrence, the owner’s manner was as if Jen was in the habit of doing this three or four times a week. In short, he was rude.

“Crikey, you’d think she’d been shooting heroin in the restroom and fallen asleep on their toilet after vomiting all over the floor, the way he talked to her,” said Mike McQuaide.

When McQuaide approached the owner to express his opinion that the owner’s tone was perhaps inappropriate, the owner chose an alternative tack than the old saw ‘the customer is always right’. Three highlights from the owner’s angry vituperative response—all offered while nine-year-old Baker McQuaide stood nearby—were:

-“You’re an idiot!”

-“Don’t ever come back here!”

-“I’m putting a curse on you, Mike, that one day you own your own restaurant!”

(This last, McQuaide said afterward, was perhaps the most bizarre thing anyone had ever said to him; it kind of freaked him out.)

During the exchange McQuaide pointed out that the bagel shop owner’s hostility seemed a strange way to treat loyal customers in what are surely troubled economic times. The owner responded by saying that McQuaide wasn’t loyal and implied that the visit to Starbucks was emblematic of McQuaide’s flawed character and immorality.

“Gimme a break,” said McQuaide. “I’m as into the ‘Buy Local’ ethos as the next guy, but for some business owners, there seems to be bit of unreasonable entitlement behind it. Kind of a ‘Buy Local, or Else …’ mentality.”

Emotionally shaken the rest of Saturday, McQuaide began to feel better on Sunday after a three-hour mountain bike ride with John Clark. McQuaide even began considering ways to mend fences, as it were.

“With the holidays coming up, maybe I should get the owner of the Bagelry something for Christmas,” said McQuaide, who’s always thinking of others. “Perhaps he'd like a Starbucks gift card.”

Friday, December 09, 2011


Looking forward to tomorrow's Deception Pass 25K, my first run longer than 10 miles in almost 5 years. Not sure what to expect, really. My approach will be that it's really just a long run-walk(ish) training for next month's (izzit really only next month?) Orcas Island 25K. Regardless (or irregardless--is that even a word?),  it'll be beautiful (hopefully we can see the lunar eclipse on the way down there) and not a little freaky crossing the quarter-mile long Deception Pass Bridge ... twice. As you can see from the above photo, the guardrail is not high and race rules state that we're not allowed to run in the road.
It's kinda narrow too, innit? I'll be fine; I'll just keep my eyes straight ahead and as with mountain biking and snowboarding, look where I want to go, not where I don't want to go. (Over the side.)

Sunday, December 04, 2011


On Saturday, the Titanium Cowboys rode one of our favorite running routes from years past, the Samish Loop. Very simply, head up through Arroyo Park, continue south on the Lost Lake Trail--climbing one of the toughest sustained, no let-up climbs around (1,200 feet in less than 2 miles)--to Lost Lake, then across to the Land of the Lost, up another mega-hill (Sick Joke) to Pine and Cedar Lakes and down Hemlock back to Arroyo. (All phots are stills from the video I shot; in above pic, I look like some droopy-faced cartoon dog, don't I?)
John and Scott switchbacking through Arroyo Park.
South of Lost Lake, the trail is barely runnable, much less ridable, and requires what one of us had termed a "10-minute bushwack." However, when it comes to bushwacking, actual time has been scientifically proven to be three times that of the estimated time. Thus, our "10-minute bushwack" really took 30 minutes.

Scott and I took a couple falls; conveniently, my camera was turned off during my spills.

The Cowboys on the shores of Lost Lake. A hella ride: about 23 miles with 3,200 feet of climbing. Next week, Scott and I run the Deception Pass 25K; John runs B'ham's Jingle Bell Run. For those of you so inclined, here's the vid from Saturday's ride featuring a cool tune by Two Door Cinema Club (I hope).

Here's the route on Strava:

Thursday, December 01, 2011


I'm in caption-writing mode now for the 100 or so color photos that my Classic Road Rides book will feature. (Comes out in May, by the way.) Never had a color photo book! Above, racers in Enumclaw. Below, riders head north out of Winthrop during the Methow Fall Bike Festival.

The last hairpin turn before Artist Point.

The last mile on the oh-so-steep McNeil Canyon climb near Chelan.

B'ham town's Donut Ride passes through Fernburg.

Man vs. clock in the race of truth during the Tour of Walla Walla.