Friday, July 10, 2009

The Weirdness of Seattle

I've lived here a while - from 1994 until 2008 and then from almost 2 weeks ago until now.  It's sort of nice have a fresh perspective on Seattle - I sort of hated it when we left but Ben constantly forces me to think about the good - that and Greta loves it here AND I try not to be negative. 

I don't have much of a theme, so it's sort of random - basically as I've spent time here I experience something and go 'that has to make it into the blog'.  So here.

I work at Microsoft and somehow there are a lot of people here who have actually read my blog.  Not just read it but read it and remember.  Like when I say I'll never wear compression socks a few months ago and then wear them.  I can only imagine what sort of feedback real writers get. 

I did my first crit last thursday at Seward park - a true highlight of every week for me.  Of course I haven't ridden with more than 2-3 people in probably 5 years - so it was weird being all around folks.  Luckily, between car racing and racing crits for years - I didn't get freaked out and even went into a few holes only sprinters dare go - the gaps between people where you have to actually move people with your arms to get through.   I hit over 1,100 watts in the race.

I'm swimming with a group at the pool with my old coach in a tri swim class. there's a 6am class that has 3-4 people in a lane or the 7am which has 1-2 people per lane.  It' isn't that competitive - so I hope more folks show, it's nice to have a good workout with people to push you.  I've yet to meet anyone who is a gung-ho racer.  I might audit the 6am from time to time - not that I'm not getting in a good workout, it's mentally more of a workout to keep pushing.  That and we get a lot of rest between sets.  I noticed that there was a girl, sort of not your typical looking triathlete.  She didn't even have goggles and didn't swim so well - but she never gave up and swam every set.  Turns out she's blind.  Pretty amazing I thought.

People in Seattle are so passive aggressive.  More aggressive than passive.  I've been yelled at by more cyclists and motorist in 2 weeks than I did in 2 years.  Cyclists here are pretty much the biggest wankers anywhere.  No one waves or says hi.  My friend Lilia calls this the Seattle Freeze.  In CA, you could ride with someone and exchange a story with them within a mile or two- so long as you both could hang, you were on the same team.  I did the crit last week and no one said a word.  Even if you say stuff to people, they get by with offering as little as possible.  I rode home yesterday with a guy from Ukraine and even he said folks were unfriendly. He of course was as chatty as could be.  It's the most liberal city anywhere but the least friendly of anywhere I've ever lived.  But the friends we have made here - we've had for years and years.  So maybe I'll give it more time. 

There are a lot of people here at work who 1) need sunshine 2) need to exercise 3) carpool

I've been asked by more than one person to see my calves.  Even more have mentioned them.  I don't blame them one bit. 

MaccaX is a lot of work - but lots of fun.  I started a Facebook group and it has over 300 people in it in about a week - some pretty impressive names in the Triathlon world.  The site, which hasn't even launched has got over 1,000 people registered.  We're giving away Macca's Specialized race helmet, his race kit, race numbers, bag - all autographed and likely his bike. We hope to have the full site launched at Kona before the Ironman starts- but will have other things up before that.  We're putting together team racing kits, bike kits, t-shirts and other stuff - Under Armour is helping with all of this.  They're basically awesome. 

I got a new Under Armour recharge suit - it's top and bottom compression gear.  Except, it's too big.  So now I'm a size M.  Hope to get a new one right after Vineman. 

I met ANOTHER blog reader after the crit last week.  Jennifer not only reads it - but she remembers it and forwards it on!  She's a triathlete too.

I'm getting more comfortable riding to and from work - but it makes for a long day.  Yesterday I rode in at 6am- 30 miles, then ran a 10k hard at lunch and then rode home- getting in around 7:15pm.  Below is the elevation from my ride last Thursday.  You see that I raced a crit with a hill every single lap. My Commute has a 1.8 mile decent at the start and about a 1 mile climb at the end.  Otherwise it's pretty flat.  Below you see a hill in the middle - that's the climb over our new home town of Mercer Island.

image

We did find an awesome house - exactly 50% of what our place cost in CA.  It's on the best riding route in the whole area - literally on the route!  We have a killer fenced in back yard for the kids and Jack (the dog) and it's perfect for entertaining and for spending time together. 

I rode 200 miles this week.  This is going to be pretty normal.  I do this in 3-4 days of riding. Generally 3.

Having Greta's family so close - I can go out with her a bit more and we're not so dependent on Soda (our only babysitter in CA) or a nanny to go out or squeeze in a workout. 

It's actually really nice weather here.

Last night I rode home and the cyclists (generally) aren't as strong as they are in Marin.  There are more people who commute - but it's on mtn bikes.  A few have road bikes.  Yesterday AM I rode in and a guy passed me (gasp).  I was going about 20mph - easy.  He went by and pulled in front and didn't go any faster.  So I just sat behind him.  He looked back about 50 times over the next mile and then started waving me by.  I showed him my wheel and a few hundred watts for the next few mins - he was gone.  I stopped for water and then got caught at the only light in 25 miles.  He caught me at the bottom of the climb up to the office and preceded to pass me and then sit there.  Then he started freaking out and waved me by again.  I also see the same 2 guys each day - one rides with a bandana over his face and the other rides with a full on neoprene head and face mask.  It's been mid to high 70's here!  So back to last night's commute.  We get to the ONLY light on the commute (mostly) and there are about 8 guys.  They take off and I slowly get going and latch on.  In Marin, it would be a hammer session and you would latch on for your dear life.  This wasn't as fast - but I thought it would be fun to go with the group and get home a bit faster. They were pulling like 20 - and of COURSE I can't stand it and have to take them up a notch.  Plus there's a nice headwind. So I just kept going to about 350 watts and just stayed there.  The group rotated through about twice.  At one point I dropped my water bottle and had to stop and go get it - then chase back on!  Ugh.  Then I went to the front again and kept at it.  So much for the easy spin home!  One guy said 'how long are you going to keep this pace up' and noting that it was about the pace I had to hold at Vineman I said 'until the end'.  Fast forward another 15 miles and there's one guy left.  It's this Ukranian kid who is on a commuter bike - a road bike but clearly not a 16lb bike.  He rides up next to me and with a thick accent says 'I am very sorry but I cannot go this pace much longer' - he lasted 25 miles at 21-24mph, through a headwind and despite my every attempt to blow his legs - he clung.  I told him he needs to race bikes and that he did an amazing job.

1 comment:

Mark Brinton said...

I have not met many friendly commuters either. Although I did meet another guy also from the Ukraine at the mall the other day. He was fascinating. He had just turned professional in table tennis and had many thoughts on athletics in general. He was taking a week off because in the prior week he played 60 hours of table tennis and said it was a little bit much. I think we could learn something from the Ukraine.