Seattle to Portland set for July 9, 2011

Cascade Bicycle Club has set the dates for the 2011 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic at July 9th and 10th.  Registration for the event – which does sell out – will start on January 4th for club members, and sometime in February for non-members.  While not required to ride in the event, club membership can be purchased at various levels starting at $35 per person.

After the amazing time that I had riding the 2010 event, I will definitely plan on being in Seattle for the 2011 start.

Note: Also see the updated date information here.

Riding across the Dumbarton

Part of my Sacramento to Palo Alto commute has me transferring to a bus that drives me across the bay into San Francisco.  Unfortunately, the company that Amtrak has contracted for the bus service has removed the bike racks from the front of their busses.   This is a little frustrating given the fact that they finally just got them on 6 months to a year ago.  It is further frustrating because they took them off so that they could install the FastPass transponders that tick when the go through the toll booths.  I’m not exactly sure why the entire front of the bus doesn’t allow for both the 8-10 inch transponder and a bike rack, but whatever. Keep reading →

2010 Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic: Check!

As hinted at in my uber-short, from the freeway blog post yesterday, Melissa and I successfully completed the 2010 Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic event.

Photo by Brian (@poptopvw)

It is said that over 10,000 folks started the event this year, where the 202 miles (plus or minus, due to some construction detours) is covered in either one or two days.  Given that neither Melissa nor I had ever completed a full century prior to this event, we opted for the two day option.

Keep reading →

The long road to Seattle

The Group Health Seattle to Portland classic is this coming weekend. What does that mean for me – it means I’m blogging from the highway (literally – while Melissa is doing the driving.) What does that mean for you? It means you can ride it vicariously through me, either here at JustAnotherCyclist.com, or by following my tweets on Twitter.

The road from Sacramento to Seattle wasn’t a straight, direct path has it has been in the past.  Started late on Tuesday night, stopping off in Medford for a few hours of sleep.  I was actually holding up on leaving Sacramento, hoping that my promised delivery of my Tour de Cure jersey would arrive so that I could take it along to Seattle.  By 7:30 pm – no jersey.  Oh well.  When I got to the hotel around midnight, I checked its shipping status:  delivered.  Figures…
Keep reading →

Doing three grand tours of my own this year

There are numerous races both large and small that make up the pro cycling season.  However, none get quite the attention of the three grand tours:  the Tour de France, the Giro de Italia (Tour of Italy) and the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain).  However, this year I’ll also be doing three of my own grand tours:

* My wife Melissa will be with me on these two rides

Wait.  The Tour de Ross’s Commute?  What the heck is that??

For over three years now, I’ve been commuting an average of 3 days a week between my home in Sacramento, CA and my work in Palo Alto.  It is about 125 miles or so by car.  Of course, I don’t do it by car.  However, after a couple of the “Oh – did you ride here from Sacramento” jokes from coworkers as I rolled my bike into the office, I decided to make it so that I could actually answer “Yes!”

That’s right, I’ll be throwing my faith (and bike, and life) into the hands of Google maps and their new bike route mapping to plot my safe path the 139 miles I’ll be riding.

There are some interesting challenges and points of interest in my route:

I don’t fully know what to expect of this ride yet.  That is part of why I am so excited about it!

Seattle To Portland Ride Packets

I got home from work to find that the entry packets for next month’s Group Health Seattle to Portland Classic (STP) had arrived for my wife and I.  I’d actually been kinda looking forward to this.  However, upon opening one of the two envelopes, I was a little bit overwhelmed by the explosion of materials and promotional items that poured out.

  1. Flier for an additional 10% off of anything (including bikes) at select Pacific Northwest Performance Bicycle shops.  Also worthy of note – the Seattle location near the start line is open 24 hours on the night before the start.  Brilliant thinking on the part of the store management if you ask me.
  2. Ad from Carter Subaru.  Apparently the Subaru Outback is great for carrying mountain bikes.
  3. Flier for STP merchandise.
  4. Sample of Chamois Butt’r.  Cause there is no better time to try out a new chamois cream than on a double century!
  5. Ticket to get my bike transported back to the University of Washington from Portland at the end of the ride.
  6. Parking pass allowing me to leave my car (the Prius mentioned earlier) on the UW campus while I do the ride.
  7. Flier for Marathonfoto.com.  Apparently they will take pictures of me.
  8. Jersey number with 2 attached luggage tags.  They transport bags for you from Seattle to the end, and to the midway point if you are doing the ride over two days as my wife and I are.  My wife got number 4771, I got 4772.  Clearly she is the team leader.
  9. Handle bar numbers.  (Huh?)
  10. Helmet number (a sticker).  (OK, so to end the confusion that I had on the handlebar/helmet numbers, I read the FAQ.)
  11. 4 saftey pins.  Presumably for jersey number.
  12. 3 twisty-ties (you know – those paper-coated metal wires)  Presumably for the handlebar numbers.
  13. One branded rain jacket / wind breaker
  14. Cloth bag.  I’d like to say it is a musette, but the straps aren’t nearly long enough.
  15. Route sheet for the Personal Support Vehicles.  I don’t have one currently.  Maybe I can pick one up from Carter Subaru?
  16. And finally – the ride guide.  All 23 pages of it.

All joking aside, I’ve been very impressed with the organization of this event from the first minute I started checking out the website.  Given over 200 miles of planned route and 10,000 participants, I would hope for nothing less.

Sacramento to Portland – via Seattle

There are now only about six weeks remaining until the group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic.  My wife Melissa and I will be doing the double century in two days.  This is actually a ride I’ve been waiting to do for quite some time.

Keep reading →

Orgy of cycle racing over. Now what?

Well, we’ve wrapped up both the Amgen Tour of California, and the Giro d’Italia.  Both had some amazing stages, with final results that could easily be thought of as surprises by some.  But now that I’ve gotten somewhat accustomed to catching the live Giro footage uber-early, and then following that up with the California events, I can’t help but feel like I just got fired and am now unemployed.  I mean, how will we all spend our days now?

Well, I’m sure we’ll adjust.  For me, it is time to ramp up the training for my wife and I’s Seattle to Portland ride in mid July.  And of course there is my real job.  I’m sure I can put an hour or two a week into that now that I’ve got more free time (Yes, coworkers, that was a sarcastic joke.)

I think more than anything, however, I’m going to begin plotting and scheming about the possibility of traveling to every stage of the Tour of California next year.  I learned a thing or two about following, capturing and writing about a major stage race.  I’ve got big ideas for next year – so we’ll have to see how things pan out.  So to all of those that enjoyed the california sun (and rain) with me this year – good times.  Hope to see you next year if not before then.

Safe riding, and keep those cow bells ringing.

A cyclist’s career in review

Not sure what it was exactly.  Maybe it was the new year, 2010.  Maybe it was riding home in the cold and the dark at 9:30pm.  Maybe it was the realization that the ride I do daily and casually – to get to and from work – would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago.  Whatever the impetus, I started to reflect on how far I’ve come in cycling, how far I have to go, and how quickly it has all happened.

It is the latter that really struck me.  Cycling is a big part of my life.  It is my primary mode of transportation (by time, and by miles some weeks) as well as my primary recreational activity.  It invigorates me, motivates me, and in many ways defines part of who I am.  It is such a huge part of my life that I feel like I’ve always been a cyclist.  But in fact it has been more like 3 very short years.  That’s right – three.  And it all began because of a little job I took in Palo Alto – while living in Sacramento.

Keep reading →

Celebrating the “cycle” of life

Just celebrated my 36th birthday with my family.  Just me, my wife and the three kids.  Good times.  Being a cyclist, there was definitely an overriding theme to the gifts – due to both my family knowning me, and a couple of “hints” about what I would like.

So what does a cyclists 36th birthday look like?  Well:

  1. I’m still older than Mark Cavendish
  2. I’m still younger than Lance Armstrong
  3. I’ve never ridden pro, but I can still ride with the “Masters”

Socks!

And the gift list?

  1. Blue, long sleeve Perl Izumi jersey (Comfy!)
  2. Arm warmers (Toasty!)
  3. 3 new pairs of socks.  (Sweet!)
  4. and 3 new BlueRay movies – clearly intended for the post ride recovery/relaxation period 🙂

So at 36 I know I’ll never ride in the pro peloton – unless I get filthy rich and buy my way into some silly sponsorship, ride a stage type deal.  I’ll also never be as fast as those young bucks that blow past me on the trails.  I’ll also never be as fast as some of the “old” guys that blow past me on the trails.  But I am faster than most of the people I interact with on a daily basis, and I’ve got many thousands and thousands of miles lined up for these legs.

There are big plans for this coming year.  I want to try my hand in an actual criterium at some point.  I’ve also got a century on the schedule (the Tour de Cure) as well the Seattle to Portland ride – either a double century, or two centuries back to back on consecutive days.  Sounds like a good year for this old fart.

There you have it – a cyclist’s blog entry about a cyclist’s birthday.  Cheers to all, happy new year and I’ll see ya out there.  I think I’m gonna go out for a ride now.