Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Repondez S'il Vous Plait from Seattle to Vancouver?

Sure, there was some riding done last weekend, but really, this is about the food consumed and the stops enjoyed while wending my way to Canada on the 2009 version of Cascade's RSVP. Kristina from two posts below came in with an injury serious enough that she wouldn't even be my stoker. I was planning on just riding as a pirate on this one but when she still hadn't sold her ticket, I bought it off her and thus began my journey with George.

It all started off early in the morning of Friday, August 14th. George told me that he wanted to get there early so I showed up at his house for the ride to the ride promptly at 6 AM. For breakfast, I had two fried eggs, three pieces of bacon, and two pieces of toast, lovingly sandwiched together. The eggs were cooked a little hot, but I hadn't finished packing until 1 AM so I was a little out of sorts. I should back up a little bit. The pre-ride meal was actually a sumptuous meal provided by my good friend Michael Hatch who gathered us all together at the Seattle Tennis Club to help support Susan Hutchinson for King County Executive. She's nice enough but her rhetoric reminds me of vintage Phyllis Schlafley so I just smiled and got myself another helping of the best baked brie and roasted pork I've ever had. Thus nourished and prepared, I went home, put the kids to bed, and then prepped my bike for the next morning's ride.George offered me some breakfast but as I had just eaten two consecutive fatty meals, I wasn't in the best place to take on more. He cooked up some nice eggs for himself and offered me a chocolate brownie but I declined. I don't know when the fake foods shown in the foreground were consumed by George during the ride but I trust that they were. At some point after that, a little before 7, we were off and running and I convinced George to take the hilly way directly east from his house to the ride start. We were met at the ride start by the cycling equivalent of the supply depot in Apocalypse Now. Music was blaring, trinkets were exchanged for other types of favors, photos were taken, and then we were off on the ride. Found here, George is really more fun in real life than depicted in this photo. After just a little bit of riding, we ended up in Snohomish where George knew of a great pie place. Apparently, George has plans for all of the free time his lovely wife, Kathleen has during the day with only three little kids at home so he would like her to open up a pie shop. I'm sure that she doesn't have enough things to do already. If she does as well as the one we found in Snohomish, well by golly, George may be able to retire, or at least go work in the kitchen. While there, I ordered a piece of Strawberry Rhubarb a la mode and found it excellent and well balanced, but somehow lacking the love that I feel while eating pie that Claire and I make on occaission. You see Claire and I mix it up as I make the filling and Claire does the crust. Is that fair? She really makes a mean crust and mine are like concrete. After pie, we rode up to Arlington and along the way ran into Mark Canizaro who, with HAM radio mounted on his bike, was marshalling or something. Upon reaching Arlington lunch was made imminent and required and so we haggled for a while over what we would eat. Mark wanted mashed potatoes and I was dying for Thai. We settled on a diner where I found chili. It was burned. I brought along a sandwich that I had made that morning and then shared some cookies that I brought, and here is where things get tricky for the people reading this who were on the ride. I merely chose them and cooked them, Claire mixed them up. Lots of butter, Chocolate chips, pecans, and dried cranberries. Lunch took forever, like an hour and a half and the aforementioned chili was burned so I was glad to get out of Arlington post haste. The next section was a whole bunch of flat punctuated by a very nice hill up and around a lake. The boys were pretty well set up as their sandwiches looked great and the potato salad was both tasty and mountainous. I just hope that George got around to his. We stopped for water and a single outhouse in the rain, then onto the next feed zone. This one was at a school in Mt Vernon or Burlington or thereabouts and we found cookies, water, magic drinks (don't touch the stuff), and then tada! Canteloupe and watermelon. That will do. George tweeted away and we found our way to the Cascade sponsored trough. Upon arrival, George let us know that last year, he took a nap at this stop so I steeled myself up for a lengthy rest period. It wasn't too long and I found out how to work headphones on my iphone. When you take a more relaxed approach to a group ride like this, and you are helping people who are pulled over with technicals, you find that your coriders get slower and slower as well. You start to notice that the people around you don't look quite as fast as they did in the morning and then you notice that they are different people. Don't get me wrong I really dug the canteloupe, but but suffice it to say, we were not going to break any records, and the water supply was typically nearly gone by the time we got there. I ate oreos, water, some canteloupe, and just dawdled around. So be it. It was relaxing. One statistical outlier in this hypothesis was a girl we kept leapfrogging in a full HAMMER team kit. Before Snohomish, I asked her if she was going to do the whole ride on Hammer products and she said "more or less, yes". I think that she was in the same laughing grupetto that we were though so I hope that the Hammer worked. The only problem is that I also saw her eating where we were eating and I was eating too much, so I can't imagine eating while on the bike as well as she claimed to be doing. Mark is another breed of cat. The watermelon really was that great. After naps, the boys were refreshed and we were off through the Skagit valley, looking for Chuckanut Road. Just a few miles down the road, we encountered another private supply tent manned by a Bellingham race team. They were young and fun and didn't seem to have their act together so I put $10 in the donation jar and they gave me a can of coke. They were just adorable and I'm sorry I didn't take a photo. Needless to say, we made it up into Bellingham and to the endpoint for the first day, but not before stopping for the famously gorgeous lemonade girl, whose mother was doing all the work and whose little sister handed me a cup of lemonade completely unsolicited. In Bellingham, they had massage tables, repair car, more bananas and treats, and a Schwanns truck, where Mark got us all ice cream sandwiches. It was nice. After a brief pause, we three amigos sauntered on. Mark had a room waiting for him on the strip and George very nicely allowed me to bunk with him in Lynden..... in this: Oh yes, we slept in a windmill. The girl at the front desk was sufficiently guarded and reserved to make as feel as though we were truly in the Netherlands, and we searched around for some Dutch food. We ended up with Greek, but it was slathered in Mozzarella cheese and contained inside a half chicken on top of marinara noodles. Let's just say that it must be hard to really nail greek food in a dutch town in farm country in Whatcom county I slept well and had wonderful dreams of speaking at an Obama rally wherein I revved up the audience and they all went begging for a real public option in healthcare, rather than the silliness we have planned now. The next morning, We got up and went into the dutch breakfast spot so heartily recommended by everyone. There, we found a regular American style breakfast replete with scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, biscuits, and gravy; tasty but not very Dutch. Where were my Pomme Frites with mango Mayonaise? I digress. Soon, were on the road and I decided to make some brisk time into Vancouver. I just wanted to see if I still had the mojo after 26 hours of, should I say more relaxed touring. We happened upon a nice group of Canadian legal advisor who races Cat 4, a South African couple from Seattle who were in great shape but never really pulled, George, Mark, and a bunch of other pack fodder. We found some tandem rabbits to follow to the border, and then pushed ourselves up to Fort Langley where the next feed zone was found. The Canteloupe was still fresh and the Oreos were much better. We were earlier in the placing so the water jugs were nearly full and I was is good spirits. After a short stop off, I rallied the other good pullers and we set off. Mark let us know that he might not be able to keep up the pace and then within 100 meters his pedal fell apart, thus cementing his statement. He got a ride in to the end with another marshall and we were off. Well, actually, he stopped, we didn't wait because he told us not to, and we were glad to see him at the end. From there to Vancouver, we just decided to keep a good pace and keep laughing. Gloria, the legal advisor from Vancouver, was especially great at keeping us all in good spirits. Gloria also knew the way into town and had some great advice on how to negotiate traffic in Canada. We were delighted to find a huge, ratty, old Chevy Blazer with mud tires and bomb can paint job and the words "Fun in B.C." on the front right fender. This car was so polite and trust me, this type of car owner is NEVER nice to cyclists in the States. From here, you can tell that I really use my camera just to find out who is still around in the group. I wonder if Popyvich or Hincapie or other domestiques use this powerful method. In the photo you see tired me, and Flying George.

I'm still looking for the photos where we are eating the finish line meal, but first, 20 miles from the end, we had another feed zone. It was amazing. Here I had bananas and canteloupe. It was nice, I also adjusted my drivetrain which had devolved to the point that it would not go into the bit ring and it would ghost shift every time I got out of the saddle. With everything adjusted, we were off (I was the straggler this time) and covered the last 20 miles in just over an hour.

At the finish line, I enjoyed blaring music (just like the beginning of the ride), lots of spandex, and rather standard burgers with potato chips. The onions and the pickles were the highlight for me. A fun photo of George, Mark, and I around the table eating is coming from my wife's camera.

After the ride, I met up the Claire, T, A and Claire's dad Chip at Stanley Park. We found the Durhams, who had also traveled up with kids, wife, and father in law. We were all tired, T fell asleep, so we just headed back to Seattle but not before buying $212CAN of chocolate, juice, and yogurt. Party at our house!

The stats are as follows:
1st day: total mileage: 131 miles 5:30 AM-8 PM. 9 mph average
2nd day: total mileage 70 miles 8 AM-1 PM. 14 mph average

All averages include stops. Trust me this is the only average speed that matters. George may have the average Riding Speed which will look much more favorable, but I don't have a cycle computer for religious reasons so you will have to catch him here.

Food consumed during ride (not including night before meal (the real point of this blog post)):
1 egg and bacon sandwich
1 turkey and cheese sandwich
10-12 homemade cookies
1 bowl of chili
1/2 portion half chicken over italian noodles under cheese (couldn't even eat half of this monstrosity but oh so wish I had taken a picture)
1 greek side salad
1 plate of american breakfast (superfat, with jam)
2 glasses orange juice
1 can coke
2 glasses cherry coke
2 bananas
4 servings cantaloupe
2 servings watermelon
1 piece of pie a la mode
10-15 oreos
1 apple
1 ice cream sandwich
1 hamburger with everything
<5>6 bottles of water

Needless to say, I did not lose weight on this trip.

Ride well, my friends.

P.S. One gratuitous photo of my son with really cool hair:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We love the Durhams


As many of you may know, George and Kathleen Durham are made of the best stuff on earth. I know this because they also make the best stuff on earth. When A came into our lives, They arrived on the spot with a wonderful meal that we got to share. They left the dessert in our freezer and it became an instant hit with T. Witness.
video

It is therefore that I wish Kathleen a very happy birthday on this, the 11th day of August.