Sunday, July 19, 2009


The Native Planet cycling group do one thing, they climb up hills and descend and repeat, and yes they are a very sociable group. Their Tuesday evening training ride is basically 3000 feet in 20 miles in the Issaquah alps and the Thursday ride have hills nicknamed "Goat Hill" "Death Threat" "Guillotine".
When Rosemarie the ride coordinator scheduled Sunrise-Chinook-Sunrise, an 85 mile ride with just under 9000 feet of climbing and descending as recorded by my VDO, I was in.
The Club plans its ride to accommodate what they define as Social, Moderate, Strenuous and Super strenuous. The ride is set up so that at any point if you change your mind you could just wheel around and coast to your car. This ride was definitely not a social one, I was going to have to be ready to spend the day with people who do not mind being in the red zone.

Traffic was a strong presence with the glacier that brilliant.

Starting from the Crystal Mountain parking lot there is water at the bottom of the Sunrise climb at the Ranger station and also at the visitor center at Sunrise at over 600o feet above sea level.

Also the park authorities were letting in cyclists for free on this day. Otherwise you have to pay $5.00 at the gate for the day without a season pass.

The first climb up to Sunrise I was having odd aches and pain, with the abrupt warm-up.
Going up to Chinook I was beginning to find my legs. It was not that difficult to repeat Sunrise, but no time for photos this time.
I took the last one on a little bonus climb from the east side of Chinook pass.

Hamburger and beer at the Naches Tavern in Green Water with good friends after the ride, and home to catch tour action.

I think Fairwind had a great time, she was dressed for it and felt light as a feather and stiff as a board.

Go Astana

Friday, July 17, 2009

For You

There is a magazine I flip thru all the while
Tells a story of a man-child on a bike
And there are digital images here and there
Images that I would seek to share

Pictures that show the Rando way
The way that I seek to live today
Of course there are thoughts that could be only mine
Relics that are fading out with time

So for the recumbent that ploughed the air for me
For the mountain top that enabled me to see
For the rider that showed up on demand
For the blogger that helped me understand

And I still find tantalizing things now and then
Mesmerizing things, inexplicable Zen
Leftovers from brevets that I rode
Rode, loved and cherished on the road

Thanx to the three volcanoes

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Icarus Flies

At least for a while.
When Geoff called for a ride of SIR permanent 0187 counter clockwise, multiplicity was aligning.
When he was non responsive to the kind suggestion of BunnyHawk to consider the more humane forecast of Sunday as opposed to Saturday there was not even a hint of duality left. This is a near perfect example of what I call "high and hot training". How could I resist.
Like Icarus the wax that hold my wings together melt in the sun.
If you have no life and have managed to read my playful treatment of the Fleche.
"The sun comes up on Icarus
Its so cold the night clothes stayed

Yet it lights the maps and diagrams
That Geoff and Mark had made"
So don't get me wrong I like the sun and the light, I just melt when the temperatures push past the seventies as towards the sun I pedal in frequently exposed areas.

AKA the mountains, my first love on a bike, more duality for I do not have the morphology of a climber. I have to power up a hill and generate a lot of heat, my body then has an inappropriate response, by pouring out salt and water from all my skin, the things that I need to keep in right then. To boot this response is not a very efficient coolant in proportion to the losses. To complicate the picture the body has to ration critical blood flow, the working muscles are a priority right then, the exaggerated response steals blood flow to the skin short-changing the gut who has the arduous task of replacement.
I am a salt looser, not all bad, I have a blood pressure that would make a 20 year old seem unhealthy, though both sides of my family do have high BP, and my body type has protected me in many a crash.
Whatever! I know that I am not unique, people before me have overcome this, need adjustments.
First adjustment was to ride in winter, more duality, I am African and was born there.
I tell you I work better when I am cool, but winter riding is a whole different game and the mountain roads are closed.
Time for hot and high training.
I was pleasantly surprised at the interest in the ride (9 or 10 of us) and early in the morning ran into Charlie White at Enumclaw Safeway as I scrambled to get cans of Ensure. I was slightly embarrassed and remained so for the rest of the day because of my white skins, I generally wear black bottoms and just felt that I looked kinda stupid.
It was cold in Greenwater and I was eager to get going before it heated up.
Michael Wolfe was another pleasant surprise, recently trans located to Seattle I have always admired his riding and his optimism. As usual Michael wanted to get going and I had to pedal rather hard to get to the tail of his Baccheta, perhaps I should have saved it for Chinook. But it was cool and protected by old growth forest and I just liked to see a recumbent go uphill that fast as we climbed to the first pass, Cayuse. A few hundred feet from Cayuse as it got more exposed I backed off and let him go, only to be joined from behind by Eric Anderson Sporting a few gears, now thats always dangerous. Unimpeded descent down Hwy 123 to go join Hwy 12 with Eric in front we were joined at the junction by Charlie "Big Watts" White. As we headed up to white pass, the training conditions that I call "Kryptonite" were materializing. Again I let them both go concentrating on not sweating too much. All four of us met at the White pass control and if I was concerned about my white skins, a look in the bathroom mirror left me horrified. I washed the gobs of salt of my face and arms, filled my water bottles and chased after the already departed three with no thoughts of really catching them.

It was a pretty descent through Rimrock, into a stiff head wind. I like to believe the lake had a cooling effect, but past the lake playing "Snakes and Ladders" with the Tieton River the temps began to fly, by the junction with Hwy 410 we were well in the nineties. Now for tailwinds to help climb the last pass, it was marginal at best and had the effect of making the air seem still. I concentrated only on making it to the Cliffdell control and there lay a few surprises, I ran into my three fellow Randos though Michael was just getting ready to leave, I arranged for him to carpool with me. I spent a little time recovering with Charlie and Eric and was also surprised by young ladies in bikinis. Out in Cliffdell! I guess a river runs through it.

I bade the boys farewell as they left, taking a little more time again to clean off salt, today it was Allure Libre. The final climb put me face to face with a good number of the dilenmas. I was careful to go slower than I felt like and yet I could feel the overheat, I opted not to use water from multiple sources to douse myself, and rationed my 2 big bottles of ice water. The 3rd bottle was a mixture of maltodextrin and honey to make it palateable and this supplemented with 2 cans ensure had been total source of calories. I had spaced out the endurolytes and had a V8 at Cliffdell, but felt quite sure that I was behind after the glances in the mirror. First problem was that I had a really hot right foot and resorted to pulling instead of pushing the pedal which caused the hamstring to complain. Now I was anxious about having a spasm, so more fluids, more electrolytes, calories and a hyperventilation to send hopefully more oxygen to cover the debt. The last 3 miles was the steepest, toughest, exposed, and my VDO was reading 96 to 97 degrees. Eventually my gut starts to get queezy but I have already chewed some mylanta. I drip some precious cold water on my right Sidi (shoes) which are extra wide and a I have already maximally loosened the straps. I decide that pain is temporary but a hamstring spasm is bad news so I resume pushing the pedal. Best decision was to stop at the parking lot a 100 feet or so from the top, after this it was business as usual but everyone was in the mood for fun.

A bomb down and a little work brought me to my three friends at the final control at Green Water.
As we are driving towards Seattle, Michael tells me "you are not supposed to mix complex carb (maltodextrin) with simple sugar (honey)", now for a new formula.

Thanx for the advice Michael

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reckless Rando

Running! Reckless! Rando!
I have been three days on the road.
Northwest Days early in July
That blow hot and cold.

Out on the vast seclusion of nowhere
The split tongue wind speaks.
In my face about my attitude,
Nudging me on with a gentle breeze.

She says; there are snakes on a brevet
And there are eagles up above.
What are you, dragging mud flaps in the dust,
A hawk, or a dove?

I said; I come also from a rain forest,
Given some wit, and a lot of spleen.
Last nite I dreamed of the old ways
As fireworks lit up Aberdeen.

My soul cried for those old eagle ways
Knowing how much I have tried.
But the wind laughed at me
Saying; your snake cannot be denied.

My snake empties a Fosters oil can
And checks out the woman at the bar.
Know when you put me on your endangered list
I am so much like you are.

Frightened of the unknown altitude
When will this mountain crest?
Endless struggle between yes and no
Out on the line once more for saying; yes!

That nite under stars and stripes
In the home of the brave and the free.
Both reckless and afraid;
Definitely duality, if not multiplicity.

Behind my motel door,
The snake and the eagle are at war.
The snake wants nothing in the way of the mission,
The eagle seeks clarity of vision.

Strange trinkets these battles win
These highs and these lows.
What about the bragging rights?
Who has more suffering to show?

So we ride up to clear vistas
And disguise our fears with a smile.
There is enlightenment and danger,
Living The Rando lifestyle.

I touched you on the road my kin,
Three shadows overlap on an open field,
Where neither snake or eagle will yield,
To me it was skin to skin.

Thanks to my son Ugonna (Eagle of his father)
AKA Ugo (Eagle)