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May 20, 2002

2002 Biking Season

For the past couple of years we’ve done the STP (Seattle to Portland) in two days. This year we decided to up the ante and do it in one day. This means more long rides ahead of time, as well as training at a faster pace. (Last year we did the 2-days at an average of 17.7 mph.) We’ve setup to ride with some other tandems from the Evergreen Tandem Club and have been practicing pacelining together. Using this technique you take short “pulls” (about 2 minutes) in the front and then you get to draft, thereby maintaining high speed while resting.It’s a lot of fun and will enable us to “fly” to Portland together as a team. You can read about our planned rides as well as our completed rides on our training schedule.
Click to enlarge
The big news is that we purchased a new daVinci tandem (and therefore sold SweatHard). How did that happen you ask? Finding ourselves with an unexpected sum of money from the sale of our seldom-used Toyota camper, we suddenly got the urge to upgrade our tandem. Sweathard, our two year old Rodriguez, was a great bike and has served us well. But we longed for a bike we could travel with. For tandems, that means you need to have S&S couplings which allow you to break the bike down to a size which fits in airline luggage. We began to look for our next bike.

Click to enlargeSpencer had always been drawn to daVinci tandems. In fact, we’ve actually coveted one ever since we first saw them at the 2000 Bike Expo (months after acquiring Sweathard). Made in Colorado, the daVinci is a solidly made bike with an innovative drive train, shown left. Instead of locking the captain and stoker together with a timing chain, as every other tandem does, daVinci developed a new drive set up. They built in an intermediate drive shaft to which separate captain and stoker chains apply power. Those chains are on freewheels so they can independently coast.

This system seemed to make a lot of sense for us. Spencer traditionally performs at too high a heart-rate level. Sheila has trouble getting into her training zone, Spencer’s greater strength prevents Sheila from working to her potential. With independent coasting, theoretically Sheila can work harder while Spencer can cut back as needed.

An additional design feature provides a wider range of gears on the daVinci than on our old bike. This means we could have an easier time going uphill and still have more gear than before when we head down the other side. Both sound great to us.

The nearest dealer is Gateway in Portland, so we test-rode a daVinci in Seattle that belonged to some members of our tandem club. We loved it. It seemed like it would be a perfect bike for us.

We spent a lot of time talking with Mike at Gateway and Todd at daVinci planning what we would have on our new bike. They were very helpful throughout the process. We really had the emails flying as we fine-tuned it. Todd even agreed to purchase a kind of paint he’d never used in order to give us the color we wanted. It’s Kameleon like Sweathard, but she was green/purple and the new bike is Click to enlargeturquoise/purple. Very attractive, especially with the stainless couplings. The model daVinci we got is called the Global In2ition. The Global means it has the couplings.The photo, right, shows the S&S Couplings up closer. We’ve named the new bike Clio.

Jul 13, 2002

2002 Training Schedule

Although this schedule stops with the STP, we won’t. We’ll keep training for another Ride Across Washington (RAW). Bold indicates commercial rides. Their links are included in the Comments column. Italics means Evergreen Tandem Club rides.

DateRideEst. MilesActualComments
9-Marneed to start!200Weather too miserable to start riding!
10-MarPaceline Training2018ETC Pacelining Workshop with Tamara & Michael (center). Jay and Sara (shown left) are the only other ones who showed up for this rainy & muddy ride besides us.  View photo
17-MarMercer Island  Loop2022COLD! WINDY! But we rode!
23-MarFrom house to Seward Park2020First sunny day, fast out & back.
24-MarETC Snohomish Country 4540.3Great route, some hills, overcast but dry.
30-MarETC La Conner-Guemes 300Spencer sick all week so we didn’t ride
31-Mar200Spencer sick all week so we didn’t ride
6-AprFt. Dent5011Blow out so aborted ride. Ran into Sandy Weiss & Duane Wright and rode the last half with them with a great tail wind.
7-AprNorth Lake WA loop2040Rode with Sara & Jay
8-AprLeavenworth4020Spring Break, visiting Ellen & Hans, gorgeous, sunny day. Rode out to Eagle Creek Ranch and back. Lots of hills.
9-AprLeavenworth6050Not sunny, but at least it didn’t rain. Followed a cue sheet from Sleeping Lady Rally taking Chumstick out and looping back into town on Route 2. Very cold with accumulated snow pack in some places.
13-AprCarnation-Monroe7066Rainy and windy on and off, longest ride to date…feeling virtuous and exhausted.
18-AprTest riding daVinci around Capitol Hill & to Ballard7
We liked it! We’re going to get one!
20-AprMathews Beach to Marymoor and back3636We averaged 16.3 and focused on spinning at 90-100 rpm.
21-AprDaffodil Classic5052We rode with Mike & Cindy and Dave & Kelly from ETC and practiced paceline riding. We’re hoping to pick up a few more tandems and train to do the STP together in one day. We averaged 17.6 over 52 miles compared to last year on the same course at 16.2.
27-AprETC Tulip Ride35 x 254.3There were a dozen tandems and it turned into a sunny day. We volunteered to ride sweep the first hour. We rode at 10-12 mph pace, practicing spinning at 100+ rpm, on the flats visiting with a couple who came down for the ride from Canada. Then in LaConner we took off with two other, faster, tandems and added an extra 20 hilly miles to the original 35. We picked up our pace significantly bringing our average up to 14.8 overall. Had a great visit with one of the couples we rode with. Turns out Bob Strzelecki rides track races on a tandem and won a medal in the ‘96 Olympics!
28-AprETC Cedar Valley River trail5557.75A gorgeous sunny day from the get-go. This was a combined CBC/ETC ride. There must’ve been at least 50 bikes there (about 6 tandems). It was great to see the teams wearing the new ETC jersey. We ended up with a mechanical problem within the first 5 minutes which set us at least 15 minutes behind the last riders. We played catch-up a lot of the day, helping lost riders who didn’t have maps find the route. This was a very hilly ride and we managed a 15.6 average. That means when we weren’t trudging up big hills we were kicking butt at 20-22 mph! A couple of singles complimented us, saying we were already in mid-season shape and we won’t have any problem doing the 1-day STP with the way we’re riding now. We think we’ve recruited another couple to join our training group for the STP.
4-MayETC Yakima Tour8079Stayed with Jay & Sara at Greg & Elisabeth’s house. There were about a dozen bikes for the weekend. Everyone else did 40 miles. Kevin & Saliha rode part of the second loop with us.The first 40 miles we averaged 17.1 finishing with a 16.2 average by the end of the fairly hilly ride. We felt strong.
5-MayETC Yakima Tour2019Recovery riding with the ETC crowd at a very slow pace.
11-MayPt. Townsend Rhody Ride6265We met up with Greg & Elisabeth from Yakima for this extremely HILLY ride. Unfortunately, having given blood on Friday, we really couldn’t keep up with them. They were gracious and waited for us at each rest area. We were pleased to be able to average the 15 mph pace we did. We enjoyed the sunshine and staying overnight on Friday with our friend Robin who owns The Annapurna.
12-MayCarnation to Monroe RT3036This was our second STP paceline training ride. We had GREAT fun riding at a 20.4 mph average with Mike & Cindy and Dave & Kelly. We’ve advertised to try to recruit another 2-3 tandem teams to join us.
DateRideEst. milesActualComments
18-MayVancouver WA8085We picked up the new daVinci Fridy night. Today we rode from Cindy’s house in Portland over the 205 bridge and picked up the Ride Around Clark County route. The weather improved as the day progressed finishing in 70 degree sunshine. It was a very hilly ride. We saw 4 other tandems and even rode with Diane & Michael for awhile. We LOVE our new tandem. This was a bit long for a shake-down ride. The stoker bars weren’t right and there was a chirping sound we couldn’t find to elminate.Also the bike computer would only show cadence.
19-MayPortland – Salem5045After getting the bars fixed at Gateway we took off and from from Portland to Salem. The weather wasn’t as nice as Saturday but it didn’t rain. And the route was significantly flatter. Our bike computer started working about 15 minutes into the ride (after the only hills) so it showed our average as 17 mph. We left the bike at Gateway for some more tweaking and will get it again next weekend. Then we can get some photos online.
26-MayMt. St. Helen8587We rode from the freeway up to the Coldwater Visitor Center. It’s a long hard climb. This is the third time we’ve done the whole thing and our best time ever. We completed 87 miles in 6:13 saddle time (7:35 clock time includes breaks). Our maximum speed was 43 mph. It might’ve been faster except we had a strong headwind going down the mountain.The day started cloudy and we got spit on more than once. It eventually turned warm and sunny by the end. The cobbler we picked up at the 19 Mile House was incentive to finish strong.
27-MayMercer Island2023.52Did a nice fast loop around Mercer Island from our house. Averaged 16.6 mph. It was warm enough to ride without long sleeves. In fact it was muggy out.
1-JunWenatchee Apple Century100105We stayed at Ellen’s in Leavenworth Friday night with Ralph & Carol Nussbaum from ETC. The ride was changed this year so it didn’t have a mass start. We felt strong all day even as the temperatures rose to 80+ and finished the 105 miles averaging 17.7 mph. We were especially working to keep our off-saddle time to a minimum and managed to spend 6 hours in the saddle and 1 hour off, averaging less than 15 minutes per rest stop.
2-JunRecovery Ride3028Rode from the house to Seward Park then through the Arboretum onto the Burke Gilman to Fremont and back home. Spencer’s goal was to not get higher than zone 3 (heart-rate) and he was pretty much successful.
8-JunHome to Auburn RT9091Unseasonably cold weather (55 degrees) and some hard rain and wind made this a challenging ride to do alone. We dealt with mechanical issues and detours. All in all our least favorite ride in a long time.
9-JunCarnation to Monroe5036STP Paceline training ride. What a difference a day makes! Today was gorgeous, sunny, dry weather, close to 70 degrees. We had a great, fast ride and planned out the remainder of our training schedule and STP strategies.
15-JunCamano Climb & Skagit Flats110100We forgot to check the schedule or we would’ve done the extra ten miles! We improved on last year’s pace around Camano Island from 15.5 to 16.7 for the 50 miles and increased our top speed from 52.7 to 55.4! Then we tacked on another 50 flat miles through the Skagit Flats
16-Jun3031Did a Great Harvest Bakery run and picked up bread in our panniers. Ran into folks we knew on the way. It was a short, leisurely ride.
20-JunMercer Island2023.75A beautiful, hot Thursday and Spencer was out of school so we went for an impromtu spin around Mercer Island from our house. Sheila dislikes the ride from the house to MI and back due to traffic but we both love racing around the island’s curves and hills. We averaged 16.5.
22-JunFlying Wheels100104Cascade Bicycle Club is the biggest bike club in the country. They produce many large and excellent events, including the STP. This one is no exception. We had fine weather (a bit hot by the end). They reversed the route but it’s still pretty hilly (5 big ones). We rode with Mike & Cindy from our training team and Jay Nordquist who’ll be joining us on STP as a tail-gunner on his single. We averaged 18.2. Our only complaint is that they really needed one more water/toilet stop on the route, especially on such a hot day. 1:45 minutes between rest stops is simply too long.
23-JunETC  Ride4051.5This ETC ride started at Sedro Wooley and turned around at Concrete. There were 7 tandems led by Don & Carol Hayes. It was another gorgeous day, a bit cooler than yesterday and the route was wonderful. We’d never been on these roads. Not only scenic, but light traffic and the ups and downs were so gradual it felt all but flat. This was a recovery day for us and the ride was advertised at 14 mph but the group ended up averaging a healthy 17.4 with some pacelining. It was great to ride with Steve & Denise on their new tandem. They helped set the blistering pace!
30-JunSeattle > Mt. Vernon < back140138.3Today was quite an adventure. After getting up at 5:30 a.m. we met Dave & Kelly and Jay in Woodinville and started riding at 7. The forecast was for rain. It stayed cool and cloudy and spit on us a few times. At mile 47 Kelly’s cold got the best of her and they decided they needed to turn back. Since Jay’s rear tire was giving out, we all rode back together to Jay’s house in Lake Stevens. Jay & Sara took Dave & Kelly back to their car in Woodinville and we continued on alone. When we came back through Snohomish we ran into the ETC Sno-Mon loop ride just coming out of the pie shop! It was fun to see Steve & Denise who lead that ride. Somewhere along High Bridge road some blackberry bramble jumped out and attacked us. We both had bloody arms. We ended up doing 138.3 miles at a 17.3 mph pace. Not too bad considering we did half of it alone and there were a fair number of hills. We rode through some sunshine with more rain spitting at us and at Maltby, 7 miles from the end, it started to downpour. We donned our rain gear and finished the ride at 5 p.m. It was a long day and we were pretty tired. It’s the longest ride we’ve done in one day, ever. Today we reached 1000 miles on our new tandem, Clio.
6-Jul6036We met Jay & Sara at the airfield in Snohomish. We swapped stokers so Sara could try out the independant coasting on our daVinci. The hope was it would be good for her bum knee. While we had fun, her knee still hurt. We did a nearly flat 18 miles. Then after switching stokers back, we did the loop again, without them. The weather was gorgeous and we’re hoping it’ll be the same for next Saturday’s STP.
7-Jul2047.8Today was our final training ride with our STP training group. Unfortunately Kelly was still not feeling well so they weren’t able to ride. The rest of us rode from Tracy Owens Park around the north end of Lake Washington including a loop around Mercer Island. After yesterday’s weather it was hard to adjust to the marine layer that brought clouds, colder temperatures and eventually rain for the last part of our ride. Mike’s foot came unclipped and he hurt it. We’re hoping it’s a minor setback.
13-JulSTP200199.3Click here to see our full photo/report: STP
Jul 13, 2002

Seattle to Portland STP 2002

Click to enlargeWe recorded another S2 Cycling milestone July 13, 2002, as we completed our first one-day STP. We rode 200 miles at a 19 mph pace as we traveled backroads from Seattle to Portland. That is about 55,440 pedal strokes. (Aren’t computers grand?)

We rode with a team of folks from Evergreen Tandem Club. There were three tandems and one single. Working together we were able to increase our speed while decreasing our net energy expense. Plus it was lots more fun that way.

The Comprehensive Report by Spencer

As with any big ride, the actual report must start with the training.(see complete schedule) We’d practiced paceline riding with two other tandems for 2 months before the event. In pacelining, bikes ride nose-to-tail in order to take advantage of reduced wind resistance. It is an art, plus you have to learn to communicate well with your fellow riders. We did 5 paceline training rides, plus many other rides to get us more than 1,500 miles on the bike before the STP started. Mike and Cindy Gaudio, Dave and Kelly Van Horn, Jim Van Horn, and Jay Nordquist made up the rest of our team. Jay and Jim were going to hang onto the tail of the tandems and make sure other people didn’t get in there to mess up our line.

We hosted a pasta feed for the team at our house the night before. Unfortunately, Mike and Cindy couldn’t make it and then Kelly had to bow out of the ride because she was still sick. That was disappointing for all of us. Dave and Jim decided to ride the tandem together, leaving Jay in the tailgunner slot alone.

At 4:15 the next morning, we all collected at our house to begin the ride. It was dark but warm enough that shorts were all we needed. We started in the pre-dawn light and quickly joined the other riders on the course.

The first hours were fast and smooth. We set up our line easily. We were able to keep an average of between 18-19. Since we knew we’d stop often to balance our fluids, we kept our time at the rest areas very short. We zipped up the dreaded “hill” in Puyallup without difficulty. The day was staying cloudy, and even threatened rain occasionally. But we stayed dry.

North of Tenino we were passed by a long paceline led by a tandem couple who we recognized as racers. About 10 minutes later, we passed them! It was one of the high points of the morning.

We pulled into the halfway station after 5 hours of riding, 10:30 a.m. by the clock. We were entertaining visions of getting to Portland by 4:30. It wasn’t meant to be.

The weather continued to heat up. The clouds didn’t ever completely break though, so it got muggy. When we’d stop at lights, the heat rising from the pavement was stifling.

Mike began to have stomach pains. We’re not sure why. It became increasingly difficult for him to ride. We took a long break at the 138 mile mark so he could rest up. It didn’t help, and at the 144 mile rest station, he and Cindy went their own way so they wouldn’t hold us back.

As it turned out, Dave’s bike was making weird noises so at that time he had a mechanic look his bike over. After a half hour of fussing, he said there was nothing he could do, but that the bike should last the trip. The remaining 5 of us took off after Mike and Cindy.

We crossed the Longview bridge into Portland and caught a strong tailwind blowing us toward Portland. Hooray! Our speed increased to 22-24 mph. We were 50 miles from the finish and smelling the barn. We passed Mike and Cindy just short of the last rest area and vowed to see them soon at the finish.

The food at that stop was abysmal. Was that their way to get you to keep moving? They had day-old PB&J, stale bagels, unripe fruit, boiled potatoes, and yet more Clif Bars. Having PB to spread on bagels would have made all the difference.

Anyway, we took off at a good clip. We were 5 miles from the finish line when disaster struck. We were leading the line when we came upon a fist-sized rock on the shoulder of Hwy 30. We called it out and avoided it. Dave, on the tandem right behind, also missed it. Jay wasn’t so lucky. In one second he was down. Another rider following Jay also crashed. Bikes were swerving all over to avoid the carnage.

Fortunately, both riders only suffered bruises and abrasions (road rash). Both got flat tires. We were able to clean them up and repair their bikes so they could continue. It was pretty scary though.

We finally pulled in to Cathedral Park at 6:30 p.m. We were a pretty tired crew. About a half hour later, Mike and Cindy arrived. They’d had to stop to buy water after the last rest area. But we all made it. We all had fun. All in all, a great day.

My favorite memory of this day will be how nice it felt to be part of a paceline that functioned so well. Two minutes in front, peeling off smoothly, dropping back into place at the rear, Jay letting us in, four minutes of relaxing pedaling – knowing the guys in front were keeping the pace right and setting a good course. It felt like clockwork when we were doing it right. Plus, we had people to share the experience with. My thanks to all those who rode that day, but especially to Dave and Jim, Mike and Cindy, Jay, and of course to the best stoker in the world, Sheila.