Chilly Hilly 2010

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For some crazy reason, I signed up to do the Chilly Hilly ride again. (Apparently, I hadn’t remembered last year’s ride well enough.) T and Susan were doing the ride with me and M & J were accompanying us on the ferry again. Unfortunately, T woke up not feeling well, so it ended up just being a four-some. Susan was riding M’s bike “Shifty” because she couldn’t bring her bike up on the train. (All the bike spots were full, wtf?)

We decided to take the second ferry this year in the hopes that it would be a little less crowded than last year. Yeah, right!

We waited for a little while after the ferry unloaded to let the crowds disperse a little bit. (Unfortunately, we still needed to wait a bit longer because the first big hill was a huge cluster.) I felt a lot better on the ride this year than I did last year. That didn’t stop Susan from thoroughly kicking my butt, but you’ve got to hang on to the little things, right?

The weather was gorgeous. We stopped at the mid-way point rest stop in a pretty park with a clear blue sky. Susan did a little dance to the music that was playing. (It’s easy to see where T gets his dancing ability. Zing!)

The rest of the ride was filled with stupid people and stupider hills. There are a couple of butt-kickers during the last few miles that just plain suck. But I survived them and we made it into town and rewarded ourselves with Blackbird Bakery. Mmmm, deliciousness. I’d promised Susan a trip to M’s favorite fabric store, so after we “refueled” we headed over there. I must admit, it’s a really good fabric store, especially for being on a small island.

Susan found some really cool fabric and M found some more cool fabric. 😉

(J was a good sport and waited outside, safe from the “oooh, that’s adorable”s and “oh, look at this one”s.) After all that, it was time to hit the ferry line for home. We just missed a ferry, which put us toward the front of the line at least, which was good because it was a crazy long line and I’m not sure all of cyclists made it on the ferry. While we waited in the sunshine, we were entertained by the smartest Girl Scouts on earth working the line and a “ferry-police” dog sniffing the cars. (Drugs or bombs, I’m not sure what they’re looking for. It’s hard to imagine Bainbridge Island having either one… )

All in all, it was a fun day, even if a little tiring. T was recovered enough to make us some pizza, while Susan and I crashed on the couch. A little Gran Turino from Netflix and our Sunday evening was complete.

Susan hits the town

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T’s mom, Susan had a work-related training in town and took the train up early so we could hang out. Having Susan visit is fun – she’s really low-key, so we don’t have to “entertain” her. But as much as we enjoy Susan’s visits, it’s nothing compared to Wally. He LOVES Susan. From the ecstatic greetings in the car to snuggling in the bed with her at night, he can’t get enough of her. Here he is keeping her company on the couch:

We had plans to hang out with M & J in the evening, partly to have a lovely Saturday night dinner and partly for T to help M install some stuff for her studio. What can I say, the boy is handy!

After a delicious dinner and many glasses of wine, somehow Susan dared M to take her picture. Bad idea! Before she knew it, the studio was being set up and a portrait session was on!

Please note Susan’s awesome monkey socks, oh yeah! But out of all of the chaos, came a gorgeous portrait. (I’m sure others will follow, but this is the only sneak peak I’ve seen.)

I love this shot, it’s so gorgeous. It was a really fun evening and apparently if you taunt a photographer, you will be shot! Tee hee!

Head for the hills

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With Chilly Hilly coming up next weekend and the sun still shining outside, today seemed like the perfect day for a hill-repeat workout. I used to do these in Portland and they really help build my climbing (both in terms of confidence and ability.) I’m “lucky” that my neighborhood has a ton of hills to choose from, so I put together a workout of three different hills to climb, interspersed with some flat multi-use path in between. I started with a flat warm-up to Golden Gardens, where I was greeted with this beautiful spectacle:

Gorgeous! I picked what I judged to be the 2nd most difficult climb to start with and ended up taking a wrong turn and not going the route that I’d intended (I’ve gone down this hill more often than up, so I misjudged which side of the fork I should take.) I don’t know if the route I took was better or worse, all I knew was BOY, AM I OUT OF CLIMBING SHAPE! I was more than a little nervous as I headed to the hardest of the three climbs, the “Golden Gardens hill.” This climb is twisty, steep and on a terrible road. I had to stop and rest at one point, but made it up the rest of the climb relatively unscathed. I took a brief rest at the scenic overlook on the top of the hill to take in the sights (and catch my breath for a second):

It was very peaceful and you could hear sea lions barking down in the marina. But no rest for the wicked, I had a third hill to climb. I saved the most straightforward hill for last – this one was just a long gradual climb that starts with two steeper sections, but the rest is not too bad. It’s a good hill to build strength on, because it’s never so difficult that you think you’re going to have to bail, you just have to take it slow and steady. It’s also a really fun hill to go flying back down. And best of all, it ends with a nice little local coffee shop – Caffé Fiore. I stopped for a “recovery mocha” and a little treat to celebrate finishing my ride. Since I was in M’s neighborhood, I decided to swing by her place. So, I got my treats to go:

While there, I finally got to see the elusive Flowerpot – the neighbor’s Maine Coon cat with the raddest name ever. M has been trying to meet him for weeks and successfully made contact today thanks to the “irresistible wiggling fingers.”

He even got comfortable enough to set a sunshine belly trap:

But little Fergus was unamused with sharing his mother’s attention:

The rest of the day was filled with errand-running, napping and blowing off the run I’d had scheduled. It’s still early in the season, so I’m not too stressed about that. I am a little nervous about Chilly Hilly next weekend, but hey – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

That’s what she said…

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We’ve been having ridiculously gorgeous weather this week and it’s actually stuck around over the weekend for a change. Naturally, when it’s sunny on a weekend you have to ride your bike outside. It’s the law. T was buried in homework, as his mid-term project is due on Tuesday, so he wasn’t going to be able to ride with me. So, I put a status up on Facebook in the hopes of luring M into a bike ride. My bid was successful, but there was one hitch in the plan – Shifty had a flat tire. Thus, we got to have M’s first tire-changing lesson, courtesy of T, who is a way more experienced “bike tire changer”.

For quite some time now, I’ve enjoyed the “that’s what she said” joke from The Office, but apparently changing a tire is the mother lode of “That’s what she said” jokes. There were so many, it just got to be too much after a while. “Now, stick that in the hole.” “It’s too big for my hole!” “Now, it will start to get hard.” and so on… We were in tears… (well, I was anyway!) Amidst all of the jokes, T managed to teach M how to change a tire:

George was unamused with our antics:

And Wally, of course, wanted in on the action…

But finally, success!

Our ride was awesome! It felt so nice to be out in the sunshine and we did a nice leisurely ride on the Burke Gilman. I also managed to drag T out of the house for a swim at our gym’s pool of freaks. (That’s a whole other blog post for another time.) All in all, it was a good day of training followed by a fun dinner of homemade pumpkin gnocchi with M & J. Vive le Saturday!

One fine Saturday

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This morning brought some unusual February weather – sunshine and blue skies! I’d been wanting to try a recipe that I’d seen online for Migas. I didn’t have corn tortillas, so I subbed out with tortilla chips (in the future, I’ll make sure to get the tortillas or get thicker chips as mine didn’t stay as crisp as they should) I roped the boy into helping me:

I also roped Wally into not helping me:

Behold the Miga deliciousness:

And when it looks like this outside, how can you not go out and play?

I had a bike ride on my schedule, so I again conned the boy into joining me. It’s been so long since he’s ridden, (probably not since this post) his bike was covered in dust. I took some pictures to shame him with on Facebook:

I opted to do the route that I take to work because it was largely flat with a nice hill just before the turnaround and a good coffee shop at the turnaround point. I didn’t want anything too long or that would be crazy crowded like the Burke Gilman trail. As we hit the first hill, I waited for T to roar past me like he always does when we climb, but it didn’t happen. For an awesome 15 seconds, I thought I was somehow that much faster. But when I glanced back to see where T was, I didn’t see him. Since I was almost at the top, I finished climbing the hill so I could stop and see where he was. He was way at the bottom of the hill putting his chain back on. Should have known.

Once the boy caught back up, we headed on to the next climb, through Interlaken Park. We stayed together for the first part and then I invited him to pass me, which apparently caused him to drop his chain again, so I got to climb alone for a little while. I was pleased by how long it took him to catch me and the fact that he didn’t really put any distance on me for the remainder of the climb. Woo!

Then it was time for some coffee and sitting outside:

We had an uneventful ride back with no mechanical failures from T. 🙂 The events of the day apparently taught T a valuable lesson about bike maintenance because he actually cleaned his bike:

The dogs were none too happy to miss out on the fun, as evidenced by drama queen Wally’s piteous cries from his crate as we were leaving. So, he hatched a little scheme for next time – cyclist costume:

(Yes, I know we’ve done this before.) We finished out our awesome day by hanging out with M & J, while J cooked a delicious miso-soba noodle dish and some homemade bread. We watched the dog show, which was fun and filled with “Ooooh, I want that dog!” from all of us. All in all, it was a great Saturday.