Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Besides having my sixth book come out ("75 Classic Rides: Washington") and wrapping my head around our family's upcoming move to Luxembourg (more on that in the coming days), I'll remember 2012 for several things: 1) the new folks I added to my ever-widening circle of cycling friends, 2) the trio of amazing fall gravel grinders we rode, and 3) my foray into the Bellingham cyclocross scene. Here're some pics:
I rode to Artist Point a bunch this summer. This is early August when I rode from Kendall with Reg Norbert, the Legendary Tom Meloy and John Pottle; ...
... and this is two weeks before that with Pat Skaggs and Steve George (himself, also of the Legendary persuasion); ...
... and two weeks before that with Titanium Cancellara. As you can see, the Artist Point parking lot had yet to be plowed clear. (We couldn't wait.)  
Also in July, I had the honor of hooking up for about 20 miles with the Chain Gang, some Atlanta-based riders in their 60s and 70s who were finishing up an 800-mile multi-day bike trip with a ride through Whatcom County to Lynden. Inspiring folks! 
Oh yeah, almost forgot about the super-early (6 a.m.) weekday rides throughout the summer with Grandmaster Glenn Gervais and his crew. Here we are mountain biking on Galby but we also rode Chuckanut Mountain and got in a few road rides too.  

And of course, there was Johnny Boy Clark and late July's Tour de Whatcom.
August brought the gravel grinders. On the hottest day in recorded human history, Brian Ecker, Scott Young (both too legendary to even begin to get into) and I rode an amazing 82-mile Winthrop-Conconully loop that reached heights of almost 7,000 feet. (We gained more than 10,000 feet in all.) 

It was seriously the bomb and probably one of the top-5 most strenuous things I've ever done. 
A couple weeks later, Brian and I ground our way to the top of Slate Peak, above Harts Pass, on the highest road in the state. 

After a 5,500-foot climb fom Mazama, we reached Slate's 7,488-foot summit where we were treated to amazing views.
Speaking of views, check these out from a September gravel grinder to Twin Lakes/Winchester Mountain with Glenn and Steve VanderStaay. 
After pedaling the steep, rugged, chopped-up road to Twin Lakes (passing the Yellow Aster Butte trailhead along the way), we ran-slash-hiked the 1.5-mile trail to the Winchester Lookout. A highly recommended duathlon of sorts.
September was also the Mount Baker Hill Climb. 
The best Northwest summer weather I can remember lasted into October and gifted us with this early fall day on which the Titanium Cowboys headed for Blanchard Mountain above Samish Bay.
When fall finally did hit, I filled it with the dirt and grass and ... 
... sand and ... 
... mud and pain and ... 
... falling of cyclocross.  
December brought more cyclocross, the Deception Pass 25K and more adventures with the Titanium Cowboys. Happy New Year! Looking forward to an amazing 2013!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


(Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Titanium Cancellara for the awesome shirt!)

Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 IN PHOTOS (Part 1)

As 2012 draws to a close, I thought I'd share some pics from throughout the year. Lotsa, mostly, pretty much all bike-related. Here's January through June. Enjoy! 

Saw about three dozen Snowy Owls just north of the border at Boundary Bay. Here's one on the wing.

Orcas Island 25K. We're heading over there in about a month for the 2013 edition. 

(We'll skip FEBRUARY AND MARCH. Everything I shot then was gray 'n' rainy.)

I met governor-elect Jay Inslee at the top of Badger Mountain above Wenatchee.

Some CX-ploring at Sage Hills on the other side of the Columbia River above Wenatchee. Much of this area would be scorched by fires in the fall.

My latest book, "75 Classic Rides: Washington," came out!

Riding across the Skagit Flats with the Titanium Cowboys in the Skagit Spring Classic. 

Here I am as featured guest author person on the Chuckanut Radio Hour.

Met with Seattle's Tom Meloy (seen here) to rip it up down at Duthie Hill Bike Park.

The Manson Loop of the amazing Chelan Century Challenge.

Titanium Cowboys at the top of McNeil Canyon during the Chelan Century Challenge. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I didn't wear the helmet cam during yesterday's Thriller Cross race so here's all I got--pics of some crazy freakazoids taken after C race. 
Here's Santa, whose pants got ripped up when they got caught in his chain and who told me he had to stop to remove them during the race. 
This blonde lass is Carter Maden who sadly flatted in the swamp area near the lower softball field. That would be the same area, I believe, where my front wheel was seemingly swallowed whole by the muddy goo tossing me o'er my handlebars whereupon I landed rather unceremoniously in said muddy goo.
Dueling Santas.
Race impresario and jellyfish, Ryan Rickerts. 
Dr. Professor Steve VanderStaay.
Moi, representin' for the Titanium Cowboys.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I'm thinking that Saturday's Thriller Cross at Bellingham's Civic Field is a good time to break out the fringed cowboy shirt. Its last appearance was at the '09 Padden Mountain Bike Duathlon (also known as the most painful hour-and-10 minutes known to man), as seen above. Ryan R. is encouraging a zombie or Christmas theme at Thriller Cross and since I'm not much for zombies, the red is sorta Christmasy. Ish. 

Still feeling the effects of last Saturday's Deception Pass 25K. I'm finding that trying to serve two masters--that of cyclocross racing and of long-distance trail running--is tough. One is short, hard and intense (CX) and the other is long, slow and requires more recovery (trail running). In recent years, for the most part I'm  90-percent rider/10-percent runner from about February to September. In fall, I get it in my head that it'd be cool to do a couple trail races--the last two years it's been Deception Pass and Orcas Island--at which time I become about a 40-percent rider/60-percent runner. 

But this year I also became totally obsessed with cyclocross. It was pretty hard not to, what with Ryan Rickerts putting on seven races practically in my backyard. (Two of them are within a mile of my house.) Thus, getting in long runs before Deception Pass was tough. I think I had one 90-minute run, one 2-1/2-hour run, and most everything else was an hour or less. But I tried to make them intense hours--either track workouts, interval sessions on the treadmill or just hard tempo runs. Still, as race day approached I was dreading it. 

Brian Ecker, a Bellingham coach and cyclist extraordinaire, tried to allay my fears by telling me that cyclists always think they need to run more than they really have to to perform well in a running event. That if they've been getting a lot of fitness through their riding, they (I) don't really need to get out for weekly two- to three-hours runs leading up to race. Ha-ha to that, I thought. That's good for you, Mr. Annual-Winner-of-Tour-of-the-Unknown-Coast, but not for us normal, average, everyday folks. 

Turns out, Brian was exactly right! First of all, I was super pleased just to finish. (Before the race, I figured that if I'm not feeling good, I'll just cut my race short by turning right after the second crossing of the Deception Pass bridge and head back to my car.) Secondly, I was super pleased to have enjoyed myself the whole time. (I remember that at the previous year's event, I had fun for the first hour-and-45 but that after that, it was a Death March to the finish.) This year, I dug the race the whole time--the island views, the swirling boil of water below the bridge, the forest, being out in the community of cheery trail runners, etc. Thirdly, and lastly, I was super super pleased to beat my last year's time by 11 minuted and to finish in under three hours! So, thanks Brian. Much appreciated!

My serving of two masters continues: Thriller Cross this weekend, with Chiller Cross and Orcas Island 25K in January. Wish me luck!        

Saturday, December 08, 2012


Love this photo of a super-happy number 191 finishing the Deception Pass 25K. I don't know who it is or if there's any story to it, but her enthusiasm and excitement are quite inspiring.  
Like the top photo, I shot this as we were heading out. I believe it's Gary Robbins, who's about win the 50K in a smokin' fast 3:57--wow! Which means it took him less than an hour more to run twice as far as I ran--I finished the 25K in 2:58. Still, I'm pretty happy; I took 11 minutes off last year's time and my run training for this year's race was fairly sporadic. 
The Deception Pass 25K is incredibly beautiful. You're forever running cliffside trails with epic bridge- and water-views or through deep, dark forest--not to mention you run across the 180-foot-high bridge twice--and I heard many folks saying that it's the most beautiful race they've ever done. (I assume ditto goes for those who ran the 50K.) It ain't easy either. You climb 2,800-plus feet, and in places the skinny, rocky trail is sehr technical and in several stretches can feel a bit crowded with racers running in both directions.

James Varner and Rainshadow Running  doing a great job and host races that have a really cool vibe, as well a bountiful post-race spread. (Those chocolate chip cookies were friggin' amazing!) But, hmm--and I don't put on races myself so I don't have a clue as to how difficult an undertaking (I'm sure it's hard as hell)--an awful lot of people seemed to have gotten lost or off-course yesterday. I personally didn't, probably only because I ran it last year (when I did get off course) and was extra vigilant to keep it from happening again. Late in the race at the top of Goose Rock, lots of folks had no idea where to go. I remembered that last year  a photographer (Glenn T.?) was set up here, so this year I knew to run straight across and back into the woods. But I heard tales of 10 or so racers up there, turning 'round and 'round trying to figure out where to go. Again, I know it's difficult as heck to come up with volunteers who'd be willing to stand around all day in the cold and wind, but just something to keep in mind for next year. 

All that said, the Titanium Cowboys (below) had a great time yesterday--another super fun adventure! Lookin' forward to Orcas Island 25K in the New Year!

Monday, December 03, 2012


I've been doing mostly cyclocross and running this fall and thus haven't been out on the MTB in a while. So it was great to hit the Galby on Saturday for three hours with the Titanium Cowboys. We even got lost (sorta) a couple times which added a bit of variety to the experience.
Check out Scott's sleek and sexy Niner carbon fork which makes his already feather-light titanium rig even lighter. Oh goodie!
Mellow Johnny whooping and woodling.
Deception Pass 25K is this Saturday. (Yikes!)