Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This weekend's ill fated ride and a race report on the race I didn't run

I left the house a little before 6. It was later than I had planned, but I still had 5 hours before I needed to be home. The plan was to head over to Seattle to cheer on some friends at the inaugural Rock 'n Roll Seattle marathon (little did I know it would only make wish I'd been able to do it...). Then after that, get as many miles in as possible on this last high mile day before the Seattle to Portland in 2 weeks.

It always takes me a good hour to warm up when doing these long rides, so I wasn't worried about my pace starting out. After about 4 miles of slow and steady incline I hit a 1 mile descent that lets me cruise at 35 mph. Except this time my tire finds a lot of glass. Flat number 1 for the day is only 5 miles into the ride. That's not good, and I only had one spare (I know, silly for such a long ride). Tubes swapped out, packed up and back on the bike, I cruise across the lake and 1 mile from Seattle I flat again. I have yet to unpack the tube to see what did it in, but I suspect an errant piece of glass I didn't catch the first time around.

I was done, no more tubes. And with the marathon, there was no way I would be able to call my wife to come get me, as it would be impossible to find a road that was open. I figured mile 8 of the marathon course would be a good place to see some of the action. Sure enough, a few minutes later the half-marathon leaders came through with the marathon leader only 30 seconds behind. These guys can haul!

Half-Marathon Leaders

I waited for a bit and saw Dan and Zac, 2 coworkers, come through and surprised them with support I don't think thought they'd get! At this point, I had no plan. I couldn't cross the street at this point as there were 25,000 people running in a constant stream for miles. That would have provided me a chance to make a short(ish) walk to downtown Seattle and catch a bus home (yep, always carry a bus pass). Instead I decided to walk the course and see who I could see. I knew about 20 people running the race and ended up seeing around 10. Since I was walking against traffic, I literally saw every single participant! I even saw some pretty good bands playing. One band even cranked out the theme to Rocky! (sorry about the quality - camera on my phone...)

A little while later I noticed that there were at least 20 racers taking pictures of a tree. I got up there and realized that there was an Eagle sitting 20 feet above the road, posing for pictures.

After 4 miles of walking in mountain bike shoes an angel of a cyclist asked if I needed anything, then offered a tube. I've got to start carrying extra tubes around so that if the need ever arises, I too can help out a fellow cyclist in need. After swapping out the tube I was on my way. 20 miles to home and back right around 11 as planned.

So instead of 80-100 miles, I did 35. But I must say the folk at Rock 'n Roll know how to put on a race. I had a great time just walking and cheering runners on. The music was good, and spirits, for the most part, were high (although I saw people before the half way mark!). I even saw a kid who brought a battery powered amp and his guitar to a street corner and was hammering out 'Sweet Child 'o Mine' with his dad banging out a rhythm on a box. I came home and told my wife that I may just try to get a band together next year instead of running (that's right, I play guitar - www.myspace.com/jaysonwisermusic).

I got home and got working on stuff around the house. I also made a trip to my LBS to talk about tires. I took the bike as I discovered a half inch crack in the tire. I know so little about these machines that it never occurred to me that the rubber in the tires would dry out. I know rubber dries out, but I just never thought of it in this context before. In addition to the crack, there were about a dozen smaller cuts that were compromising the tire and were probably responsible for the 7 or 8 flats I've had over the last 6 months.

So, after some discussion, I picked up a new set of Specialized Armadillo tires. Their heavier than my previous Michelin race slicks, but better for the kind of riding I do. I put them on tonight and took them out for a short test ride. They are quite a bit stiffer than the other tires, and I felt a lot more road vibration, but that could have been because I was riding in normal clothes. I feel better about the STP with these new tires. I would hate to be "that guy" in the group that gets a flat every 10 miles the whole way down! After I got back from the shop, we packed up the kids and headed out for groceries. Then upon returning my daughter helped wash all the bikes down.

To cap the day off, I went to the concert that night. The race bib gets you in, but I had ordered another ticket thinking the wife and I would call it a date. Plans change, and I only had the extra ticket and not the bib. Keb Mo was headlining, and it was a great show. I'd seen him once before a few years back when he opened for Jonny Lang. The venue was great. Grass seating with trees backing the stage. Good music, good atmosphere, and a drunk lady who tried to hurl a bouquet of flowers onto the stage from 100 feet away. Good times!

The day did not go as planned (plan a or b), but it was still a great way to spend a sunny Saturday.


  1. Sorry it didn't work out, but yeah- I think we had a good Saturday anyway :)

  2. What a great idea for a ride--very entertaining to see the marathon. Cool!