Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tree Huggin'

Saturday, rode bikes to the 205 bike path and joined Friends of Trees.

Helped plant these three trees, which I saw this morning on the way in to work.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

VBC Ladies Beginner Series

My good friend Ayla has been teaching clinics and leading beginner rides for several years now. She is an absolute saint for training hundreds of women new to cycling. Many of them go on to be ride leaders, century riders and even racers!

The rides gain intensity throughout the summer and include lessons on flat-fixing, riding in traffic, changing gears while riding, pace lining and hill-repeats.

Ayla had knee surgery and can't quite ride yet, so she asked me and some other girls from the club to come out and ride with the newbies. There were thirty (yes, thirty!!) girls there. All sorts of body types, bike types, riding paces and riding styles were represented.

Here's everyone at the start.

And here's some riders taking a left turn.

This week's ride was just 10 miles with 1 small hill repeat. Can't wait to see what's in store for next week's ride!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

PIR - Season Opener

Worked for Inge Monday evening. My competition from last season has morphed into my friend and teammate for this season. I pulled, pulled off at the sprint and she got first. So I'm proud of getting last place this time!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

French Toast - April

A good-sized group showed up for breakfast and bike-riding on Sunday.

Here's a blurry "go, it's green!" picture.

Laird & Mary, sittin' on a tandem - S-P-I-N-N-I-N-G!!

Later, Scott challenged "the kid" to a short race on the bike path. I was elected the "ready, set, go" girl and required a LeMans start.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Lorelei

I joined Rebecca and the VBC for a 30 mile ride in Washougal on Saturday morning. 30 miles - easy, right?! Did I mention the 2700 feet of elevation gain?

Spotted a pink barn on this newly-paved beautiful Blaire Road.

I find cemeteries motivating. This is where we're all going to end up anyway, may as well ride ourselves silly until then!

Thanks to the meticulously detailed (and slightly soggy) cue sheet, I was able to ride the whole route. However, I was out there til the cows came home!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pedal Nation 4/10/11

What's a trade show without a goodie bag? Here's John with his:

Miscellaneous bikey-ness:

Fashion show!

Tall bike try-outs:
How do you get on this thing?



Friday, April 15, 2011

An Interview with Rebecca

I met Rebecca Smith on a recent evening at the Bagdad CafĂ© on Hawthorne, where we could watch scores of different types of cyclists go by. We saw fixies, tall bikes, commuters, girls in skirts – you name it. I wanted to interview Rebecca to find out who’s been writing (and riding) the charming, dynamic descriptions Vancouver Bike Club members have been enjoying on the ride calendar.

Beyond simple curiosity, my hope was to find out what inspires new VBC ride leaders like Rebecca. Within a few minutes, it became apparent that my prepared basic questions were not nearly advanced enough. The unexpected happened – I had stumbled onto “Cycling Greatness”. That’s right. Cycling Greatness.

Without even a hint of arrogance or its snot-faced cousin cockiness, this intelligent-looking woman with a teddy bear broach on her lapel shared just some of her accomplishments with me. I marveled as she shared just a small portion of her list. Things like attempting Race Across America solo. Competing in RAO (Race Across Oregon), the Furnace Creek 508 and the Davis 12/24 in the same year (which no one else had done before). Beating the course record of the Furnace Creek 508. By three hours. “It’s easy to break records now that I’m over 60”. You know, the typical things you expect to hear when requesting someone’s “cycling portfolio”.

So, what’s next? How about a 600k in East Wenatchee, which is only a qualifier for the Hoodoo 500 in Utah this August. She’ll be doing both solo. That means no support – she can’t even accept a spare tube. Prior to that there’s the Lewis Clark 12/24 at the end of May. While I’m riding the Columbia Gorge Explorer tour, which involves a few hours of pedaling followed by many hours of hanging out, Rebecca will see just how many miles she can ride in 24 hours. She’ll also be competing in RAO again, solo. Maybe she’ll beat the 2nd overall placing she accomplished in the 2002 RAO. Even with this crazy calendar, she still finds time to lead rides.

What inspired Rebecca to lead rides for our club? Nothing too mystical, actually. She enjoys coming up with clever ride descriptions to practice her creative writing. But mostly she wanted some company on her training rides out in Washougal. Her advice to new ride leaders: “pre-ride your rides”. She learned this lesson years ago after leading her first ride (for the Portland Wheelmen) using only computer map cue sheets. There were a lot of disgruntled people that day. “There’s probably skeletons in the bushes out there with cue sheets in their curled-up fists.”

I went looking for inspiration and found it in spades. But it wasn’t the races and records and distances that inspired me. It was her attitude, which can be summed up like this:

“There’s nothing that will stop me from riding”

“It was cold and wet and miserable today but I kept going by listening to the different sounds raindrops make”

“After a while, your body’s fit. Then you’re just exercising your mind”

"People keep thinking I’m such a racer. I am not a racer. I am not some uber person. I just get on the bike and stay with it. I’m not a super strong rider. I just go do it.”