Sunday, August 31, 2008

8/31/08 Hills of the West Coast Ride Report

We had better have a nice Indian Summer this fall, because we certainly have not had much of a real summer. This last day of August felt more like the last day of September…or October. It was about 50 degrees at the ride start, and 53-55 for most of the ride. We rode on wet roads on the east side, and got drizzled on at Bitter Lake. The thermometer topped out at 59 degrees at the end of the ride, and this with a normal high for the date of 75 degrees.

Considering the gloomy early morning skies, I was a little surprised to greet nine regulars and one new rider to the group. Paul, a criterium racer, had recently moved to Seattle from NYC, and he seemed happy to have a few more climbing options than in the Big Apple.

The ride went off at a hard, but not super hard pace, certainly nowhere near the pace of the last few HOWC Sundays. Luke, who has been like a locomotive lately, must have tired himself out on his recent three day mini-tour in the Rainier-St. Helens area.

We went to the north in a counter clockwise direction. Given the typical fair weather north wind, and the fact that I like to return with the wind, we usually do this route quite a bit during the summer months. Another testimony to the goofiness of the 2008 summer weather is that this was the first time we have used this route all summer.

We wound up with around 61-65 miles, and 4300-4750’ of climbing depending on whether you threw in the optional Holmes Point and Innis Arden climbs.

As an aside, I now have about 50 miles on the Hipster, my new singlespeed/fixed gear bike. I absolutely love riding this bike. So far, I have only ventured into the fixed mode for one short ride. Obviously it wasn't long enough for me to grasp the "Zen" experience of being one with your fixie, as I intend on using SS freewheel for the near future. For me at least, it seems counterintuitive to keep pedaling when I am trying to slow down! Having to worry about pedaling at 165rpm down a hill or dragging my inside pedal in a fast turn...and then going back and forth between fixed and two bikes with a 10 speed freewheel cassette...hmmm, not my idea of fun.

My biggest fear is jumping on the fixed gear after not riding it for a while, and then being forced to make a panic stop. I visualize executing the perfect hard stop, first throwing my weight to the rear as I straighten my arms and nail both brakes, and then launching myself into orbit as I forget where I am and stop pedaling!

If fixed was all I was going to do, maybe I'd give it a shot, but it still limits your cornering and descending speed, and I'm not willing to give that up.

Next week is the High Pass Challenge down at St. Helens, and keep your fingers crossed that the long range forecast for good weather holds up. The following week is the Cascade Spawning Cycle family event ride, so there is no HOWC scheduled until 9/21 at 8:30am.

I hope to see you on the road.


1 comment:

LB said...

The pace was somewhere between ‘ride hard for some last chance HPC training’ and ‘better taper for HPC’. It seemed to result in a pace that was relatively relaxed in the flats but strong on the climbs. I guess Reg was fired up after nearly being right-hooked by a careless driver. His high pace on that final climb surprised and punished us all.