Monday, April 03, 2006

Tandem training

Sunday, 19 March

I confess up front that this entry is mostly to test the blog software. But it was a great training spin on the last day of winter, so it's worth saying that much at least.

This was one of those double-ride tandem Sundays. First, we join up with Hank's ride, a "spirited" trip around Mercer Island. Everybody pushes the pace as hard as they can; we manage to mostly hang on for the uphill sections, and then everyone sits on our wheel on the switchbacks on the east side of the island. There's one painful drag just after we get onto the island that is a killer when you've raced the day before, and another short steep hill on the other side that you cannot just sprint up on the tandem. After we give everyone an awesome lead-out for the finishing sprint (but can't wind it up fast enough to take the sprint ourselves), we head back across I-90 to Leschi.

The early part of the Leschi ride this week was sedate. This never happens. Martin was using the brakes rolling down Rainier Avenue! I was testing out some new handlebars and was all ready to go hard with my head down--but there was nowhere to go. After the usual pause at Coulon Park, we rode hard up McDonald's Hill; Clint and others politely waited until a third of the way up the hill before they came around us about 5 mph faster. The tandem can go faster on the rollers (well, down the rollers, anyway) after the top of the hill than a single bike, so (with hard work) we caught almost all of those lighter climbers before we got to Coal Creek.

Todd told us afterward that our pace across May Valley was like motorpacing for everyone on our wheel. We (the tandem) turned on SR 900 to take a shortcut to Issaquah due to "time constraints." We managed to again get the tandem up Cougar via the zoo. This feat amazes me. We passed one poor soul who, as Martin said, would not give in and shift onto the small ring of his triple, so he was barely moving (we, however, could not be so concerned with appearances and were in about the lowest gear we could find). There's a really steep right hairpin near the top of the first half of the climb, and we were going so slowly by that stage that we had some navigation issues. But we were able to get in and out of the saddle on the stairstep rollers at the top.

Lots of fun descending back down to I-90, caught the faster members of our original group as we approached 405, and had a nice trip back across the bridge in the sunshine. We got helpful feedback on both rides about our riding style(s). Total miles for me: 89 (71 on the tandem).

Martin's tabloid comments about this ride are here.

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