Back in February or so when I decided to commit to doing the three separate events of an Ironman this summer, I knew I was lobbing a freakout to my future self. There would come a time when the training runs, rides and swims would start to load up heavy and I would wonder what I was thinking. It’s mid-July, and cue freakout. The training load hasn’t gotten that heavy yet, but as summer mounts and the event dates are more real, my weekends are somewhat committed. And with summer travels, I have to figure out how to do 11 and 13 mile runs in unfamiliar places like Middle of Nowhere, Montana and Extremely Humid, Missouri respectively.
So far, training for all events is on schedule. In addition to celebrating my birthday this past weekend, I checked off a 9-mile run and a 60-mile ride. For the run, I got a lift from Uber (thanks Hussein!) to Green Lake and met up with Paul and Geoff, who birthday hugged me and ran me most of the way back to my place in Leschi. Our route, for those who know Seattle, traversed some of the city’s great parks and Olmstead routes–Ravenna Blvd, Cowen Park, Burke Gilman Trail, Union Bay Natural Preserve, Montlake Bridge, Foster Island, Arboretum, Azalea Way, Lake Washington Blvd. And the last mile: Madrona Drive–1-mile up hill, hard–to Café Verité for my favorite birthday cupcake–chocolate cake with lavender frosting. (They don’t make these anymore; must pre-order it.)
I couldn’t rope any pals into riding 60 miles with me, so I decided to tap a local resource I’ve known about for years, but never used: the Cascade Bicycle Club whose mission is to create a better community through bicycling. Though I had to swallow hard and tuck in the cynicism when I saw a guy in a Star Trek jersey, it was really a great group of people. I can see why they have a little bit of a reputation for being dweebs. Ripe for parody are their big arm signals and calling out of every damn thing on the road: Car back! Runners up! Glass! But it made me a better/safer rider. And I made up some of my own callouts: Aching back! Eagle up! It’s very impressive what CBC does. Hundreds of free group rides a month–all paces and distances, led by volunteers who manage to get large groups of riders safely along. I will definitely be doing more of their rides and donating to the Club in appreciation.
The ride I took started in downtown Renton, went along the Cedar River trail into Hobart, Issaquah Highlands, between Cougar and Tiger mountains, into downtown Issaquah, along Newport Way, Factoria, the I-90 trail, around Mercer Island, south to Seward Park and back to Renton. I yo-yo’ed on and off (mostly off) the 14-16mph group, but it was a good push for me, especially since I was adding 15 miles to my longest ride so far this year. Thanks CBC!