Category Archives: Other Rides

WTS 6: Kent-Dash & Brown Pts-Black Diamond – February 11, 2017

Hello Randonneurs!

All ready for some nicer weather? Looks like we may get some this Saturday, 2/11.

Come on down for our next training ride. No bothersome paperwork – just riding.

Remember that Soos Creek start won’t accommodate enough cars so we request you park at Kentridge School, 0.5 miles away.

Ralph has rerouted to avoid Green Valley Rd. Closure – his alternate route has an intriguing (on street view at least) climb that I have not done. He also calls out a fine looking espresso establishment in place of the BD Bakery.


Print out your own custom cue sheet – sign in on the Cascade site and I can just put a tick mark by your name when you arrive at the start:

Did I say “no paperwork”?

-Noel Howes

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PCH Randonneurs Five Rivers 300k

A trip and ride report by Andy Speier with a few comments from Jeff Loomis

Andy (L) and Jeff (R) enjoy some sunshine.

The opportunity to ride 300 km in weather above 40 degrees sounded good. After riding several sub-40 degree rides in January, I was in need of some re-warming. The flat 5 Rivers 300 out of Corona sounded like it would do the trick. I sent out an email to my local guys and Jeff responded back. Yes, he would love to get a 300 in early in the season but did not want to sacrifice a day off from work. Ok. Less than ideal, but, with a flight out of Seattle at 5:00 P.M., we could do it and be in bed by before midnight. With an 0600 start we could get 5 hours of sleep. More than an overnight control. Perfect.

As with all plans, they started to crumble a bit on the day of the departure. Alaska Airlines alerted us to a delay of 45 minutes. As the day progressed, it became 90 minutes. No harm done. We arrived and waited for our rental car. Jeff had spoken to me at length about the advantage of using Avis and being a “Preferred Member,” so I have reserved a car and enrolled in their program. There is only one Avis guy on duty. A family of 8 is working through the details of their reservation with 4 children running around. The insurance liability conversation seems to go on forever. Jeff is lecturing me on the virtues of the Preferred member status and that I have not attained that designation. [Jeff:  Unfortunately this is an accurate accounting.]  At one point a second clerk appears and he inquires whether any of us are Preferred Members. I say I am. He asks if my name is Chappman. It is not, so he calls the next person in line. When it is my turn, he asks to see my ID, hands me a car key and calls the next person. Apparently, I am in the club. They are just a bit less organized at John Wayne Airport.

Our transportation is an SUV that swallows up our bikes and bags with room to spare. Off to Corona. A 27-29 minute drive on 55 and 91. There is some mention of a toll road, but it is now 11:30 at night. Traffic is flowing quite well. Off we go. After about 10 minutes the traffic slows and then STOPS. Jeff consults his mobile app. There seems to be a long red line. How long? Very long. I will spare you the details: our 29 minute drive becomes 2 hours. Wow. We arrive at the hotel at 1:30. The bad news is there is only one bed. The good news is that it is a king and there is plenty of room.

Now the fun stuff: build up the bikes. My bike is done in an hour. Jeff finishes soon after. [Jeff:  We made the decision to go fender-free because it is California and it speeds the assembly/disassembly process.]  I am in bed by 2:45. Jeff by 3:00. Up at 0500. 2 hours in bed. Yes, this is a 300 with an overnight control.

Morning upon us, we check in with Terry, the ride organizer, at 0530. There are around 14 participants. Nearly all from the LA and San Diego area. Michelle has flown in from Minnesota. The CA folks are bundled up. Jeff and I not so much. It is 54 degrees at the start. Within the hour we will be stripped down to short sleeve wool jerseys, shorts and fingerless gloves. At one point sunglasses are critical to being able to see. [Jeff:  We received many comments during the day about our lack of clothing.]

The route is 80 percent on paved bike trails. Though there has been recent rain and local flooding,  there is little sign of this on the trails. [Jeff:  A few puddles early in the day make us briefly regret the lack of fenders.  Andy rides straight through some of these, having forgotten his bike is naked.] The trails mostly follow rivers, waterways and freeways. This would not be described as a beautiful cycling adventure on rural quiet roads. Often there is the sound of highway traffic. When not along a highway, the trails run alongside rivers and waterways. Most are empty or trickling and filled with debris along the sides. There is much garbage in the trees.  [Jeff:  many of the trails are bordering older neighborhoods that now appear to be low-income areas.  Interestingly, there are large clusters of shacks and paddocks housing horses right here in the city.]

I did this ride last year and saw several homeless tent sites. This year there are tent cities along the trail. Most of these we pass by during daylight hours. There are large cities under the overpasses and at night this will resemble a scene from a Mad Max movie. The good news is that there appear to be several bike repair / replacement shops within the cities. Enter at your own peril.

Andy on top of the Santa Fe Dam

[Jeff:  Heading into Long Beach we chat with a new randonneur from the area.  He is interested in our bikes and has clearly been reading Bicycle Quarterly.  A new recruit!  Andy has much to share…  A bit later Andy is stopped to answer nature’s call and a guy riding the other way on the trail sees our bikes and asks if we are on the Five Rivers ride!  It turns out he has ridden in in a previous year.  He offered to take our photo (at top of post.)]

Across the River from Compton LA River and bike path

[Jeff:  Near this point we also pass a small convoy of mini-bikes and maybe one full-on motorcycle riding the other way on the bike path!]

We hit the Pacific Coast Highway and cycle through towns of Sunset, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach. There is an option to ride the bike trail along the coast and that is a blast. A bit slower than the highway, but it is the beach. The ocean. Waves. Did I mention we were cycling in shorts? Though it becomes windy, it is not a blow in your face knock you down wind, and we are quite happy. It has got to be one of the flattest 300 routes you will find. Terry has done an awesome job of linking up the various trails.

Between the route sheet and Jeff’s ride with GPS app, we get around quite well. We, of course, blow a couple of turns in the dark and add a few bonus miles here and there. “No flats or mechanicals,” I’m thinking as we are 6 km from the finish, topping the hill on a bike trail with a small group of randos. I hear something fall off my bike, but write it off to a stick, as everything on my bike is packed up well. The bike is still functioning and we are beginning to descend. (Note to self: stop and check the bike.) Jeff notices that my chain has too much slack and that something is wrong. I continue to pedal thinking I am not in gear. Then it dawns on me. I stop and investigate and, sure enough, I have lost the lower rear derailleur jockey wheel. Hmmm. Not good. Jeff is upset. We are so close to the end.

I tell Jeff I’m going to go back to look for it. Jeff is skeptical. “You’ll never find it in the dark,” he tells me. [Jeff:  Andy reminds me I am a “naysayer.”  Guilty.]  We turn around and start to ascend the hill we just descended. My bike does not want to go up hill so I run up the hill. I pull out a spare light and begin searching. Found the jockey wheel. Ok. So far so good. How about the bolt? Found it. Jeff is shocked. So am I. Jeff looks for the bushing and side plates, but I’m good with what we found and re-assemble it. A bit of friction, but it actually works. I can use all the gears and I can stand up and pedal going uphill. The bonus is, on the way bac,k I find my spare gear cable and the hotel room key, which I  lost when getting my light out.

We are a couple of km from the finish when we come upon road construction. Road closed. The Police Officer gives us directions and, after climbing a fairly long multi-block hill, we check Google Maps directions: we are now 4 km from the finish. Nothing ever comes easy. At this point it is downhill and flat with more downhill. We arrive at the Best Western Hotel, but don’t know what room Terry is in. The hotel clerk is not allowed to tell me, so I ask him to call. Done. Room 116. Pizza and snacks are waiting. It is nearly 10:00 pm. Not as impressive as our finish just after 7:00 last year, but it was a comfortable 300 in good weather and company.

Back in our room, we take our bikes apart and, just after midnight, we are back in bed. Bikes packed with an afternoon flight, we are all set. Real sleep tonight.

We receive an alert from Alaska airlines of a flight delay. We arrive at the airport and it is delayed yet again. Again, a 90 minute delay. Such is life. If all goes well, we’ll land safely and be home by 6:00 tonight…



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Doug Migden’s Transcontinental Race

Doug Migden on his bike with flags of Turkey and Greece behind him, showing that he has just crossed the border into Turkey.

At the border of Greece and Turkey with less than 300km to go…

Doug’s goals were simple: ride all the way to Istanbul, and finish the race. Doug was clueless about what he was really getting himself into; but why not give it a go?

Doug Migden started randonneuring in 2010 and the distance bug bit him hard. 1200km PBP 2011, 1600km Miglia Italia 2012, 2200km Giro Ciclistico delle Repubbliche Marinare 2014, 15, 16…

What’s next when you’re riding that kind of distance? For Doug, the Transcontinental Race (TCR) from Belgium to Turkey presented an attractive answer and an irresistible challenge.

You can read about Doug’s 2015 TCR in a piece by David Longdon on The Seattle PI Blog, which also includes Doug’s detailed ride report and photos. Check it out here:

Doug will be riding the TCR again this year, starting on July 29th.

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PBP – Following Rider Progress

#parisbrestparis2015With PBP only 11 days away, some SIR riders have already headed to Europe, others are packing their bags and making final preparations. But how can you follow rider progress if you’re not riding?

Michal Young of the Oregon Randonneurs has set up a group tracking site for Pacific Northwest randos carrying SPOT trackers at PBP:
If you’d like to add your SPOT track to the group, please contact Michal (see his original post in the SIR group on Facebook).

There should also be tracking provided by the PBP organizers, here. (under construction at the time of this writing).

On Instagram, randonneurs from all over have been posting using #pbp2015 and #parisbrestparis2015

Know another way to follow along from home? Please share in the comments. Thanks!

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Paris-Brest-Paris: You Know You Wanna Go

by Mark Thomas, SIR President/RBA

It’s a PBP Year!

The Paris-Brest-Paris 1200km grand randonnée is the premier event in the world of randonneuring. The challenge is to ride your bicycle from Paris to Brest on the English Channel coast and back again in 90 hours or less. It was first run in 1891, and is now held every four years. This year’s edition starts in Paris on August 16, and it’s time to start planning! Seattle International Randonneurs has been well represented at PBP since 1995, and we hope to have great participation again this year. It’s a riding and cultural experience you’ll remember forever.

SIR in Paris 2011

SIR in Paris 2011

We will be holding a Paris-Brest-Paris informational meeting on January 25, 2015 at the new offices of Cascade Bicycle Club in northeast Seattle in Magnuson Park. The meeting will be of interest to anciens / anciennes, as well as to those who have never ridden this event but are interested in learning more. In addition to reviewing qualification, registration and logistics, we will also offer insights from PBP veterans on training and equipment, and what to expect on the ride itself.

We also hope to have information on our new SIR club jerseys and reflective vests, including a special PBP edition, which can be ordered online.

There will be light refreshments, so you will have the opportunity to share stories about past cycling exploits with new and old friends, and to discuss riding plans for the year ahead. Even if you are not planning on going to Paris this summer, it should be a good get-together.

Where: Cascade Bicycle Club Offices, 7787 62nd Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98815. The offices are located in the Magnuson Park complex off Sand Point Way in northeast Seattle. Turn off Sand Point Way into Magnuson Park at NE 74th Street/NOAA Blvd.; then take your first left; and then take your first slight left onto 62nd Avenue NE. The offices are down the street on your left.

When: Sunday, January 25, 2015, 3 pm until 4 or 4:30 pm.

Bonne route et à bientôt!

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New Record: 13 SIR K-Hounds

If you’ve been hearing howling, that’s our record-setting pack of 13 K-Hounds! 

K-Hound Logo

The K-Hound award represents 10,000K of randonneuring in one year. A few of our beloved overachievers rode 1.5x or 2x that distance. In total, they rode 149,880K+ (some results still pending) — that’s enough for a Galaxy and a Mondial award, or to wrap around the equator 3.75 times.

Last year, SIR took the lead for most K-Hounds in any one club with 10 members riding the required distance. This year we bested ourselves with 13, thanks to several repeats and a few first time K-Hounds.

Here are the K-Hounds and their distances as of (12/28/2014 at 23:24). And a hearty congratulations to all!


Jan Acuff (#2163) 11,134K

Rick Blacker (#2806)

Rick Blacker (#2806) 10,094K


Jason Hansen (#6652) 10,026K (first)

Hugh Kimball

Hugh Kimball (#4914) 22,651K

Joe Llona

Joe Llona (#3439) 10,128K (first)

Audunn Ludviksson

Audunn Ludviksson (#7563) 10,840K


Keith Moore (#5355) 10,391K (first)

Vinny Muoneke (#5004)

Vinny Muoneke (#5004) 15,086K

John Pearch (#5290)

John Pearch (#5290) 10,358K


Theo Roffe (#5988) 10,006K (first)

Andy Speier

Andy Speier (#3911) 10,202K

Geoff Swarts

Geoff Swarts (#4089) 13,953K


Mark Thomas (#64) 15341K


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Le 1000 du Sud 2013

Le 1000 du Sud 2013
By Hugh Kimball

Again I was the only U.S. finisher in le Mille du Sud, the same result as in 2011. One of the reasons I’m writing about this ride is the hope that some more SIR riders will ride this spectacular ride. True, there was about 55,000 feet of gain. But also true is that SIR has riders that routinely go faster than I. Another way to look at it is that doing the ride in the time limit is not important. The challenge and effort are more important. If you find yourself not going fast enough, you can slow down even more and enjoy France.

Hugh after le Col de Paruetout - by Michel et Christine

Hugh after le Col de Paruetout – by Michel et Christine

On Monday 2 September I left the apartment in Sisteron for Carcès. The ride is about 120K and I had all day. So I did not need to push it. I arrived at the hotel about 6pm and stayed there two nights prior to the ride. On Tuesday 3 September I took it easy and ate a lot. People were arriving and it was good to see old friends. That evening was a pre-ride banquet with lots of good food.

The ride started at 8am Wednesday 4 September. Leaving Carcès I was excited and stayed with a large group of riders who were going pretty fast. In the afternoon I was riding with Guy Bouillot and others. Guy and I finished together in 2011. Guy, Robert Kérautret, Michel Bailleul, and I had dinner in Crest. There were also other riders at that restaurant. I especially remember a German speaking group.  I was not hungry: a sign that I nearly bonked in the hot afternoon. I drank a great deal of ice water and nibbled at my pizza. But after dinner I felt better and the four of us headed into the night.

About 23:00 Wednesday we got to Pont-en-Royans (313km) where we all had un cola. Guy and Robert decided to get some sleep at a hotel while Michel and I continued. A little before first light at a stop on the outskirts of Grenoble (388km) we stopped for a one hour rest. We were on asphalt and in spite of the warmth of my space blanket I did not sleep. Michel and I found a bar for coffee and pastries. Food stops are always welcome but especially after a long night. At Valbonnais (437km) we stopped for a good meal. After the meal I continued on as Michel wanted to wait for Guy and Robert. A few km from Valbonnais is the start of the climb of Col de Parquetout. The climb is only 7km but it has continuously steep sections. Fortunately, I had the company of Henry Rijkenberg a Dutchman who speaks very good English. He stayed a little longer at the secret control as I continued on. Christian Handler was also at that control. Christian and I would play leapfrog on the course that day. I saw him at la Maison du Col du Festre, at Ancelle, and the secret control before Embrun.

It turned out that there were five secret controls. These controls were staffed by the excellent volunteers from Provence Randonneurs. The last one I passed on Friday afternoon was manned by Joseph Maurer, who must have spent a long time there.

As it was getting dark on Thursday I came upon the secret control before Embrun. I asked the control workers (Bruno and Maria) if there was a hotel near by. They said that they did not know of one, but I could use the tent. So I slept for 3 hours and was much better for it. I left the secret control about 22:30 and proceeded down a very poorly paved road to Embrun and to the control at Guillestre . I left Guillestre a little after midnight and climbed the Col de Vars. At first some sections were quite steep but it eased and the road was brightly lit as this is a ski resort.  Descending Col de Vars was like a bobsled run. The road was truly amazing. I did this at first light. It was now Friday. Thirty hours and 400K to go. That should be easy, but then I was tired and there were hills to climb.

I continued through the day keeping a steady pace. I was with no other riders and was glad to see Joseph Maurer at his secret control.

Then came the third night, I found myself very tired and my pace was slowing to a crawl. When I get tired I cannot steer straight. So I needed some rest. I found a comfortable place in grass on the side of the road. I wanted to sleep only an hour at most so I did not use the space blanket. I was asleep immediately and woke up in 45 minutes, as I was cold. At this point I knew I was behind. So I reacted by being mad at myself and pedaling hard to get my endorphins going and wake myself up. It worked! I woke up and I felt better that about my forward progress. And I was not having trouble steering.

Descending Col du Noyer

Descending Col du Noyer

At 886.5 km I miss read the cue sheet. I thought that I had missed a turn so I returned on my route to the last junction that I knew was correct. It had only cost me a couple of km. When I came to that junction there were Philippe Chassagne, Alain Séverin, and Patrice Courel looking at a map. I was so glad to see them! They cheered me up! We started off together and I was so glad I promptly picked up the pace. Well I slowed down a bit. Then Patrice got going. Patrice had Schemer’s neck, but his legs were still strong. So it was decided that Patrice and I would go on ahead. We were not much ahead for when we got to Castellane, Philippe and Alain were soon there. Philippe and Alain took a short nap in Castellane while Patrice and I proceeded to La Palud-sur-Verdon. There, Patrice took a 5 minute nap while I found a bakery. After waking Patrice up and giving him a croissant we finished the ride. I had a hard time keeping up with him at times. Shortly after we finished, Philippe and Alain finished.  We all made it in under 75 hours.

A week after I got back from France I noticed a rash on my arm. I did not think much about it, thinking it a spider bite. But twhen it did not go away for 3 weeks I became concerned. My wife Janet suggested I look up Lyme disease on Google. I did and one of the pictures on the web looked like my rash. The rash comes up about 8 days after being bit by a tick infected with the parasite. Eight days before the rash appeared I was on the last night of le Mille du Sud. I slept in grass at the side of the road with no tent, bivy sack, or even space blanket. I had been bitten by a tick and got Lyme disease. So I started antibiotic treatment and I am as cured as I am going to be. Next time I plan to bivy on the side of the road I will take my bivy sack, which weighs a little less than a pound.

What did I learn from this ride?

  1. Keep going! Yet a short rest can be good.
  2. One way to wake up is to pedal very hard.
  3. Use a bivy.
Water basin before climb of Col de la Cayolle

Water basin before climb of Col de la Cayolle


Davidson titanium bike, 28mmX700mm tires, front tire 80psi, rear tire 100psi, triple crank 52-30, cassette 12-28.

Small front bag and large Caradice rear bag to carry: wool jersey, raincoat, wool leg warmers, wool mittens, and extra food. 2- 28oz water bottles. There are many public water basins with good water, especially in the mountains.


Stores are usually open in the morning, closed around noon, and open again in the afternoon. So plan accordingly. Have a way to carry food.
Bakeries are often open early and supply bread, pastries, pizza, quiche, and flan. Grocery stores have yogurt, cheese, sausage, juice, etc. The old French grocery stores are fantastic. Unfortunately they are being replaced by Super-U’s.


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