Description

An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Green River Cyclery and Busted Bike Cafe Grand Opening

I attended the Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Green River Cyclery and Busted Bike Cafe yesterday -- also still going on today -- the first time I'd done so for any bike shop (or any business at all, that I can remember).

The shop has been in existence since some time in 2014. How is it that I hadn't heard of this place until just a little over a week ago? Regardless, I have now, and I can say that I'm glad. A fellow rider had opted in for their Grand Opening on Facebook, which then showed up on my news feed. Hurrah for social media!

I'd introduced myself to Josef Forsberg, owner, over Facebook messaging prior to the day. I came in with some ride flyers for the Elbe Multi-Strada Loop Ride and the Lucky Masochist's Gravel Deuce, and business cards for Mjolnir Cycles and he welcomed me warmly. We had a short conversation, and then I took a look around.

The layout of the shop is a little different than anything I'm used to, and it is a refreshing change: the checkout stand is right in front of you when you walk in the door, and the shop/repair station is right behind it. To the left lies a 4-sided display of tools, locks, pumps, and patches, and clothing beyond. A half-dozen or so bikes are on display also.

But the thing that sets this business apart is the area on the side of the bikes. A full cafe, with sandwiches, pastries, coffee (and this being Seattle-ish and all, it's not just coffee -- full barista fare), beer and wine. Wait, what? Beer and wine too?

There's a Calfee fit-cycle to help with getting your ride dialed in perfectly, Brooks saddles, Surly, Jamis, and State bikes, Park tools and Pearl Izumi and Surly clothing. And several other items and lines I'm missing.


As I waited, I bought a sandwich and drink, and talked with some of the others that were gathered around. Turns out many of the people there were extended family. I had a nice conversation with Josef's father, Bruce, about bikes and the shop. At some time, Bruce related, Josef told him that he had been his inspiration for picking up cycling and eventually opening the shop. Josef's wife Kyla had always wanted to run a cafe, so this is their dream and collaboration.





There's a great atmosphere here. I can easily envision dropping in for an issue with a bike, and dropping into the cafe for a repast while the mechanic sorts it out. Or just stopping in as a refresher during a long ride.

The shop is not large, and I don't think it needs to be. At 8 S. Division St in Auburn, situated just a block east of the transit center, in sight of City Hall, and just a short hop from the Interurban Trail, they've got a good location. While this isn't so much "local" to me, I make my way into Auburn often enough that I can still stop in a couple times a month without going out of my way.

I wish them well, and see good things ahead for them.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Who'll stop the rain?

Still I wonder...

Have I mentioned that I hate the rain? Truly. As in I'm-about-to-pull-up-stakes-and-move-to-Mercury hate. Though the U-Haul rental might be a bit steep. Maybe the Sahara would be cheaper.

The unfortunate upshot of my Christmas/New Year break from the daily grind was that -- while we had some beautiful (to look at) days, they were very cold, and due to the water left over from the rain (grrr), very icy -- I got one outdoor ride. On my last day of work before the break, when we traditionally get an early dismissal, my plan to do a trail ride was quickly thwarted due to the mix of weather: light rain, heavy rain, rain and wind, rain and snow, and more rain. Combined with the low temperatures (yeah, that mixed snow), this made for hypothermia by 45 minutes. I threw the bike back in the car and headed home for an hour on the stationary trainer. It took several hours for my feet to warm up.

Even with the dry summer we had this year, the tale of the rain gauge says we took it in the soggies for the entirety of 2015:

    Annual Average rainfall -- 36.85 in    2015 -- 44.83 in

But it seemed to really hit in December.

    December    Avg Precip -- 5.62 in    2015 -- 11.21 in
                       Avg Precip days -- 19  2015 -- 26

I was seeing standing water in places I've never seen it before. So my lunchtime off-road rides became exercises in spray management. Some days I just gave up and reveled in the inanity of it. Most days I avoided the REALLY wet trails until the final 10 minutes, knowing that a warm shower was waiting for me at the end of it. There were days where a pontoon bike would have been a better choice.

My logs tell me that I spent more time on the trainer in December than any month this year, and likely more than any month in the last several years. And then I catch wind of flywheel failures on Computrainers and some older Minoura models, with shrapnel causing some rather grisly injuries (I'll leave it up to you to Google those -- my stomach is still queasy from the details). Oh, yeah, my trainer is a Minoura that I've had since about 1992. Time to replace that puppy. But in any case, I've watched more bad movies on Netflix than I can count. And a few series. All on the trainer.

And so far January isn't any better.

I've known I'm a desert dweller at heart for a long time. I love the warm weather. Low- to mid-80's is awesome. And sun. Like that old (and short-lived) TV series The Phoenix, I seem to get energy from warm sunlight.

We always seem to get a teaser week in February. Temps will inch up to near 60, and college campuses will be rife with shorts and tank tops (and WHITE appendages), then it'll be dark and wet again until May, nothing reliable until mid-July.

Maybe I can make til then... Or maybe a warm-and-dry destination road trip is in order.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Turn the page

The pages have all been flipped, and it's time to start anew.

2015 came to a close, and 2016 began. With it, thoughts naturally tend toward looking both backward and forward.

Sometime into the year, around mid February, in fact, I finally solidified my riding goal as 500 hours of saddle time. I'd just come off almost a week off the bike (for what reason I can't recall), and was ramping up the time a bit. To that point, my average daily time was around an hour and ten minutes, almost 12 minutes per day lower than I'd need to complete the 500 hours by December 31st.

But I made the 500 with time to spare, as I wrote in my last post here, and finished up with 522 hours 39 minutes of riding.

How did this break down?

108 of those hours was on the mountain bike, usually on the fire roads and "trails" at my place of employment. Almost 29 hours were what I would call "gravel rides", not on the mountain bike, and primarily on dirt and gravel roads. 127 hours plus were on the stationary trainer (so that means a lot of Netflix). And just over 258 hours were road rides.

If I consider the road rides to be at an average of 17 mph (a conservative estimate), that makes 4389 miles. If I take the MTB and gravel rides to be 12 mph (which is a pretty close approximation), that's another 445, for a total of 4834 miles actually traveled on a bike. If I take the trainer rides to be the same mph average as a road ride, that adds another 2164, for a grand total of 6998 equivalent miles. About. I suppose I could round that to an even 7000, given that this is all approximation anyway.

Along the way to making all that mileage, I had 54 days off the bike over the course of the year. If I take those days out, then I averaged 1:40 for every day I swung a leg over a top tube and turned the cranks.

For the coming (okay, HERE) year of 2016, I'll renew the 500 hour riding goal. It shouldn't be a stretch.

I'll ride a few events to keep myself honest and to help get the Mjolnir Cycles name into the local cycling scene.

There will also be a couple rides to put on -- a chapter 3 for the Elbe Multi-Strada Loop Ride and a part deaux for the Capital Forest ride (Lucky Masochist's Gravel Deuce).

And have a lot of fun with it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Soooo close I can taste it

Unless something drastic happens, I'll hit my "mileage" goal for the year today.

In reality is wasn't a mileage goal, but a riding time goal -- 500 hours in the saddle. That works out to an average of 1:22:12 on the bike each day, 365 days. Of course, I haven't actually done that. So far, I've missed 49 days, and will likely miss at least one more by the time Auld Lang Syne is sung. But that works out to an average of 1:40 and small change for every day I actually rode. So far. There's still more than two weeks to go!

The last time I made a year goal was 2011, when I targeted 1000 running miles. I ended up just 2.5 miles short and injured.

As of today I'm just 30 minutes shy of the mark. And the weather looks to be decent enough that the lunchtime ride will be at least not as wet.

I'll update with the breakdown once it's all done and dusted.

Monday, November 30, 2015

I'm a poacher

For the past two months, approximately, I've been a renegade, a scofflaw, one of those in-the-shadows ne'er-do-wells secretly destroying... Scotch broom.

My day job has me plunked smack-dab in the middle of the hundred acre wood, replete with gravel access roads sprinkled about. I've worked at this site for a little over eight years now, and I've run and biked these gravel paths so many times I could likely do it in my sleep. Who knows, maybe I have.

A trip around the perimeter, door-to-door, is about 5.7 miles total, by the longest route. That gives you an idea of just how much land we're talking about here.

There are several vast areas that are also left to nature, and the deer and coyotes have had their run of the place. But no more...

I'm a poacher.

I've been spending some time cutting new trails into these pristine (haha... more on that in a bit) forests, to the tune of up to 30 minutes a day on days I ride out there. It adds up. Leaving a set of long-handled brush cutters at the end of the current under-construction trail helps in not having to carry them out each day. That might be considered bad form, and could attract some unwanted attention from those who would have this shut down in the name of the current bubble-wrap-think (safety, they call it).

So far I've been mostly cutting down Scotch broom, that insidious weed which was imported to help stabilize disturbed soils around highway construction sites. It will grow in anything, including the glacial till which comprises the majority of the site. All it took was the construction of two very large warehouse-like manufacturing buildings, and moving the "soil" across these hundred acres (okay, I don't really know just how many acres this site owns, but it's big), and there you go -- forests of alder, cottonwood, and Scotch broom. So these areas have had maybe 20 years to overcome the stripping, while others have what looks to be an older, truly untouched forest growing.

I've put in much of this work basically widening deer trails. One trail is a fairly straight and flat traverse that I'd been looking at for a good four years, thinking it would connect through easily. And there are some great spurs I have planned to increase the trail network there. Another one tops a HUGE rock pile (also covered with cottonwoods and Scotch broom) and meanders through the flats. In all I've cut in over a half mile of new single-track. It's like installing a new swing-set at the playground.

The plan is for much, much more, just adding a little bit at a time, on the sly. Poaching the land to add trails.

And riding them.