Sunday, November 1, 2009

11-1-09 Hills of the West Coast Halloween Comes a Day Late

Miles: 45 Climbing: 3000' Route: Downtown--Mercer Island--Honda Hill--Newport Way--164th climb--Newcastle Golf Club climb--Coal Creek Parkway--89th--Lake Washington Blvd.--Downtown Bellevue--Lake Hills Connector climb--Kamber Rd--Mercer Island--Downtown Attrition rate: 0%

Yesterday (Halloween) was my birthday. Without going into the morbid details, it was kind of a big one, at least to me, and an occasion like that is always a good excuse for introspection. As far as bicycling gifts, Tracy gave me the new book by David Byrne called Bicycling Diaries, but the real gift comes on the road. I'm getting older, but I am still getting faster, and that is really my motivation. My goal is to try and keep improving my times on certain "benchmark" climbs as long as I can.

I've posted recently about Personal Records, and the various ways we all have of keeping track of how we are doing. I'm hoping that a combination of a healthy diet and smart riding can keep me improving for a while yet. I have several older friends I ride with that have me convinced, through their own example, that I can continue getting better. These guys are riding hard, going really well, and often times going faster than people a lot younger. I think the 2010 version of me can go better than the 2009 version, and that is really the only "performance" goal I have.

Today's ride started off on a rather subdued and mellow tone. Things didn't really get wound up until we got out to Cougar Mountain. Emil led our group of eight, and I believe we did the Lake Hills Connector climb east from Downtown Bellevue for the first time ever on the HOWC. All in all, it was a great and varied route. The photo below was taken by Tim near the Newcastle Golf Course clubhouse. I'm the one wearing the white shoes (in November-faux pas?) and Downtown Seattle is to the left of Jeff's (in yellow) head.

Considering it is now November, we climbed at a pretty high standard. We didn't have that many climbs, but they were great climbs, and a lot of fun to ride hard. Besides the shorter miles this time of year, about the only difference is that I didn't get the sense that people were "keeping score” on the climbs as much as happens in the summer; at least I wasn't.

Emil is leading the ride through November and into December. We are trying something a little different this year, in that we are going to ride on Saturday in the winter. We figure if it's crappy on Saturday, we'll reload and give it a go on Sunday. I hope to see you out there.

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