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Jan 23, 2003

S2 Cycling Team 2003 Trips

This photo was taken by Spencer’s brother Chris at the Northwest Tandem Rally. The rally route went right by Chris’ house on Bailey Hill Road in Eugene, Oregon.

This is the first year that we’ve actually gotten out on our tandem in the winter. In the first two weeks of the year we actually did two rides totalling more than 55 miles. Not a lot but for January in Seattle, not bad. In February we only rode once (36 miles). In March we headed to Arizona and put on 172 miles. So we feel like we got off to the best start ever. At the end of the season our total mileage is at an all-time high of 3,586. You can read all about our training season here.

Below are the major trips we have completed this year. Each is linked to our photo journals about the trip.

  • March: We  flew to Phoenix to visit friends and get in some informal riding in the sunshine. Click here to read all about it and see photos.
  • July 12: We completed our 4th STP. Read all about it here.
  • July 13-19: Immediately following the STP rode the week-long Tour-BC.
  • Sept. 27-Oct. 4: GABA: Grand Canyon to Mexico Bicycle Tour
Feb 27, 2003

2003 Training Season

Our goal this season was to do a one-day STP faster than 20 mph average. We figured that was possible since we’d been around 19 last year. But we also decided to get some help in making that goal a reality. We hired a coach.

Thomas Chappel is a bright, fun, intelligent guy who is now a Joe Friel-approved trainer. We chose to work with him because he seemed to know his stuff and had a good sense of humor.

He set up a program for us which included more rest days than we were used to taking each week (2). The overall schedule was set up so that we trained hard for 2-3 weeks, then rested a week, then trained hard again. It is called periodization. He gave us weight workouts as well as cycling routines. He rode with us while we were in Phoenix in the spring. He gave us pointers about pedaling motion and drills to improve our technique.

It was a lot of information. For the most part, we did well on the stationary bike. When we got on the road, we continued in our old patterns of Spencer working too hard while Sheila barely got out of zone 2. We were pretty frustrated having to watch our heart rate monitors all the time. By May we were ready to quit the program.

A long talk with Thomas changed that. We lightened up our expectations on outdoor rides. We allowed ourselves to start enjoying the riding again. That was more important than meeting training goals. Not surprisingly, when we were having more fun, we rode better.

Click to see Dave & Kelly Van Horn largerPart of our training this year was aimed at putting together a good paceline group to ride the STP with. We had Dave and Kelly (shown right) and Jay (our tailgunner on a single, left) from last year, but wanted a couple more teams to make a strong line. We gained Monte and his son Christian from a note we sent to Portland riders. We only were able to train with them on the Click to see Jay Nordquist largerRide Around Clark County in May and the NW Tandem Rally in July. Dennis and Louise Fugier said they’d like to try riding with us. We included them in a couple of training rides. A couple named Bonnie and Vince said they wanted to ride with us. They couldn’t make any of our scheduled practices. So the entire group never got together before the STP.

Dave and Kelly, Dennis and Louise, Jay and we went out for a 100 mile ride in late June. Dennis had been ill the week before so they dropped off early. Then, when we were at mile 80 (after a fast day of riding), we crashed. We were going around a corner in downtown Puyallup when our front tire folded. It had a slow leak we hadn’t noted and we were thrown to the ground.
Sheila's road rashSheila suffered a lot of road rash on her right side (as seen a week into healing in the accompanying photo). We went to a neighbor’s house and got first aid, then continued home. It took almost 3 weeks for the wounds to completely heal. She used Tegaderm patches which allowed the wounds to breathe, but sealed them off from the environment. Her rash cleaned up quite nicely, except the little one on her ankle that the doctor only used a regular bandage on. New technology works!

A week later we rode at the NW Tandem Rally. We made the first day an easy day of riding. We actually spent more time socializing on the ride than riding the ride! But that is what rallies are all about. The second day we connected with Dave and Kelly and Monte and Naomi. We cruised through the day at a splendid clip. It was fast and fun. We felt ready for STP.

Looking back on our training, it almost feels like we didn’t train enough. It seems we did very little hill work. That showed when we got to Tour BC, which was all hills. It is so hard to know if you are getting maximum benefit from the drills, etc. We did two time trials during our training, but that wasn’t enough for us to gauge our improvement. I’m sure we’ll refine our techniques next year as we continue our quest for the perfect season.

Mar 15, 2003

Sunshine in the midst of winter!

S2 heads to Arizona

PLEASE NOTE: All thumbnails images will enlarge when clicked and close when clicked again.

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Thanks to the generosity of my teaching partner, Colby, we were able to take 2 weeks off in March to head to Arizona. We combined a meditation retreat with some cycling and visiting to create a wonderful getaway.

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeIt would also give us a chance to try out uncoupling our new bike for the first time. We packed it away in two, airline-legal suitcases (26”x26”x12”) and set off.

Click to enlargeWe flew to Phoenix on Saturday, March 8. We stripped off our layers of NW clothing as the planes hopped from Seattle to Salt Lake to Phoenix. It was definitely shorts and sandals weather in the Valley of the Sun. Our friend Gail picked us up at the airport. We were happy to see our cases make it through the baggage system safely. When we got to Gail and Tom’s house (shown above), we met their 3 dogs and 2 elderly cats (see photos in sidebar). They became used to us pretty quickly, although they had lingering doubts as to why we were hanging around.

Click to enlargeOn Sunday I began rebuilding our bike. I thought something had gone horribly wrong in the transport because the cranks were hitting the chainstays. Sheila called a few names from our Tandem Club of America list. Immediately, Dick and Jayne Lewis offered to pick us up and run us over to a bike shop for help. The problem turned out to be minor and we were ready to ride in minutes.

Click to enlargeDick and Jayne are accomplished cyclists. Both are in their 70s and Dick rode more than 7,000 miles last year! In comparison, we didn’t break 3,000. They also knew all the good rides in the Phoenix area and had written a pamphlet about them. They gave us a copy and told us which way to head.
Click to enlargeMonday we rode a 52 mile loop around Camelback Mountain. It was a blast, literally. Especially when we had a sidewall blowout on the return leg. As a matter of fact, that sidewall blew out 3 times before we gave up and started pushing toward a bike store. Another friendly septuagenarian tossed our bike in the back of his truck. He rebuilds bikes for kids who can’t afford them. Arizona seems to be full of helpful folks. The fellow shown here was at the bike store and turned out to be from Port Townsend, part of our stomping grounds. The shop had cool metal sculptures.

A new tire and 3 new inner tubes from the bike store and we were rolling again. It was quite different from riding in Seattle. The heat was hot and the cacti were plentiful, and we hadn’t even left the metropolitan area. We were able to find bike lanes or trails almost everywhere we went, which made for very pleasant riding.

Click to enlargeTuesday we caught a shuttle to Tucson for our meditation retreat. We sat with Phillip Moffitt for 5 days at the COD Ranch just outside of Oracle. (That’s us with Phillip at the ranch.) It was very nice. Since we’d been off work for 3 days already, we settled into the quiet quite quickly. Although it was short, it had a sweetness unlike other retreats. The horses, for one, grabbed my attention. They seemed so thoughtful and steady. They were nice to be around. The staff was great and the food was resort-like.

When we left the retreat, we got to share Phillip’s ride to the Phoenix airport. That gave us an additional 1.5 hours of visiting, which was very cool. Once again Gail picked us up.

Then the rains fell for 2 days. We did find a yoga studio offering the Anusara style of yoga we’ve come to prefer. Other than that, we watched movies and hoped the war wasn’t starting soon. We went to a candle light vigil in Phoenix. That felt good, but had no influence on the war plans.

Click to enlargeTuesday through Friday we rode every day. We rode loops of 35 and 20 miles from the house by ourselves. On Thursday we rode 60 miles with our coach, Thomas Chappell (that’s him with Spencer). He had a truck so we drove out to the Sun Valley Expressway, “the road to nowhere.” There was indeed nothing there. In 3+ hours of riding, we only saw a dozen cars on the 4-lane highway that goes around the White Tank Mountains. Thomas gave us lots of stuff to work on. He’s knowledgable and very funny. We got along well.

Click to enlargeOn Friday we connected up with two riders from the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists (Rich & Bill shown with Spencer). They took us on a 26 mile tour of the ritzier neighborhoods of Phoenix. I called it the golf course tour. We saw homes that had parking circles twice the size of our lot in Seattle.  It was a great ride. Then I broke down the bike and repacked it.

Click to enlargeWhen we weren’t riding, we were watching the war news or DVDs with Gail and Tom, or going out to dinner. Had a great Indian meal one night. I fixed Phad Thai on another. It was a very relaxing time.

An uneventful pair of flights on Saturday brought us back to Seattle. Amazingly enough, the sun was even shining. It was great to get back to our own home and our very special cats. Thanks to Archie (former student) for keeping them happy and fed.

Jul 12, 2003

One Day Seattle to Portland

Saturday, July 12, 2003 STP Ride Report

We had been planning to do the one-day STP faster ever since last year’s ride. We decided to get a larger group of tandems, practice more, get fitter, and be stronger.  We were successful in all of those except the practicing more as a team. The day of the ride dawned and we still hadn’t even met everyone we’d be riding with. Oh well. The best laid plans…..

Click to see early morning start group largerOur team (sans Monte and Christian, who were starting at the UW) met at our house at 4 a.m. on Saturday, July 12. We were: Dave and Kelly (who had trained with us the previous year), Vincent and Bonnie (whom we hadn’t all met until then), Don and James on their recumbent tandem, Sheila and I, and our stellar tailgunner, Jay. I had decorated our bike with white Christmas lights to add some fun for the gloomy morning hours. It was so warm that we doffed our jackets and leg warmers. We were going to go light and fast! We set off at 4:30. (more…)

Jul 12, 2003

Tour BC: Sunshine & Whales

July 12-19, 2003

Billed as seven days of adventure on the Sunshine Coast of beautiful British Columbia, Tour BC was scheduled as the big regional trip for the S2Cycle team this summer. Little matter that it started the day after our one-day STP. “We are fit. We can do it.”

Or maybe that should be, “We’re in pretty good shape. We can manage it.”

Or maybe, “We are greedy. We can somehow stumble through this hell.”

After weeks of planning the packing portion of this extravaganza, on Friday, July 11, we finally packed up all our gear, less the necessities for the STP, the first day of riding of Tour BC, and our toiletries. This included a cooler of vegan food for us to ensure we had enough protein for the week. We dropped it off at Patty and Ron’s house in Seattle. They were also going on the tour and agreed to cart it all up for us.

Sep 27, 2003

Grand Canyon to Mexico Bicycle Tour

The 23rd Annual “Great Arizona Bicycle Adventure”
September 27 Thru October 4, 2003

After much preparation, on Friday, September 26 we flew into Phoenix. Our friend Gail picked us up and took us to the official GABA (Greater Arizona Bicycling Associaion)  hotel where Spencer set about putting our tandem back together from the two travel suitcases. If you haven’t seen this miraculous process yet you can see pictures from our first trip to Arizona earlier this year.

After a lovely evening with Gail and Tom we got up early Saturday  to load our bike and gear on the truck and take the bus to the Grand Canyon. There were 120 folks on the tour including 3 other tandems, a few recumbents and one hand-cranked bicycle.

GABA Route Map

Here’s a map of the route we took on this fabulous tour. Total miles for the official tour, Monday through Saturday, was 517 miles with a total elevation gain of 25,200 feet!