Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Brutal. I’m talking about hot, muggy, end-of July central Washington weather. I’m also talking about how I felt by the end of my last lap on the Roslyn MTB Festival course this past Sunday (July 26): brutalized.
With proceeds from the race going to benefit the Roslyn Library, sweating a bit for only 18 miles (22+ if you count the practice lap) seemed like a minor sacrifice. Ah, the blissful optimism that gets crushed and kicked around by hindsight.
The place: Roslyn is a tiny town (population ~1,000) near Cle Elum, Washington (also a tiny town). Primarily known for its cameo in the "Northern Exposure" television series’ opening credits, Roslyn was hopping with cross-country mountain bikers this weekend.
The conditions: By 2 pm Sunday afternoon, the arid terrain was radiating heat. It was a mere 94 degrees, but in the thick of the woods, it felt like a stifling 110. By the time the pro/open categories got underway, the switchback descent portion on the backside was “technical” by virtue of it having become a dustbowl. But we aggressively-hydrating riders were game for it.
The course: Everywhere you looked, and everywhere you rode, there was dirt, dust and sand. Riding behind someone won you a lungful of fine dust, which you were sure to be coughing up later in the day. The first half to two-thirds of the smooth-rolling course traveled in the Up direction, but after the steep climbing sections and an intermission or two of snaking descents, you found yourself flying downhill, the dust flurries gusting off your wheels. One lap down. Repeat.
Post-race: On the drive back to Seattle, a friend and I stopped for dinner at Rogue Brewery in Issaquah, and my friend ordered one of the special brews called Brutal Bitter. As I tasted it, I felt quite satisfied. A brutal ride isn’t all that bad, once it’s over:)
Monday, July 20, 2009
Photo courtesy of Adam Leahy
Here’s how to start the week off right on your Voodoo Sobo:
· Sunday: a 15-mile race through wooded groves in Bellingham, Washington
· Monday: a 30-mile, get-lost adventure in central Washington’s West Fork Teanaway wilderness near Roslyn
· Tuesday: a climb up above 5,000 feet on Sun Top for a scenic photo shoot overlooking Mount Rainier.
On Sunday, July 12th, the 17th annual Padden MTN Pedal race at Lake Padden in Bellingham, Washington, brought out the local talent to frolic in the blustery, surprisingly cool weather. The half hard-pack, half-loamy course was roller-coaster fast, and the few short but steep climbs made this race a “roadie” fave—except for a few surprise technical sections. Thanks to all the nice men who pulled over to let me pass on the downhill side, and thanks to Mark Peterson and the course designers for including a few crucial sections of technical trail punctuated with roots and small drops, not to mention a thrilling sequence of switchbacks carved like smiles all the way down the mountain foothillJ
Photo courtesy of David Waugh
Local pro Russel Stevenson of BRI won the open men’s race, with Eric Tonkin riding into second place for Kona. The women made up a small but fast field, and after five undulating laps my hot, fire-truck red Sobo steamed in second, just a minute or so off the lead.
Then on Monday I took my Voodoo and went exploring near Roslyn, Washington, with some friends. Here we are, bushwhacking through a mountain meadow. Don’t let rainy Seattle fool you; central Washington is way drier than the Seattle side of the Cascade Range.
Although it doesn’t look like it from the hike-a-bike pics, I did, in fact, get on my bike during our ride. Here I manage to pick my way from stone to stone over one of several creek crossings without getting my feet wet. Surprisingly, neither of the gentlemen I was riding with offered to carry me across. Ah, the chivalry...
Finally, on Tuesday I headed south from Seattle toward Mount Rainer to climb Sun Top (over 5,000 feet) for some photo ops. Is this gorgeous or what? Just don’t look down.
Until next time—Angela + Sobo =J
Thursday, July 02, 2009