These graduate students pair volunteering and racing. The couple’s Boston terrier, Ashley, is an unofficial mascot of Cascade volunteer parties.
James: Data analyst, Microsoft Chemistry Professor,
Stephanie: S. Seattle Community College
James: PhD Chemistry, University of Washington
Stephanie: PhD Chemistry, University of Washington
James: Memphis, TN
Stephanie: Maple Plain, MN
James: 1 day per week, 25 miles
James: custom steel Jeff Lyon
Stephanie: Scattante R550
Tell us about your volunteering with Cascade Bicycle Club?
James: We’ve been members for about four years. We wanted to do the [Group Health] STP and RSVP. As grad students, it made sense to volunteer hours for our tickets. It was also really attractive to get low bib numbers; I’m #13.
Stephanie: I’m #15. For STP, I’ve been doing data entry eight hours per week and James has been stuffing rider packets.
James: Some of the work is tedious, but there’s a fun social aspect. This is also our fourth year route marking together for STP and third year for RSVP.
Stephanie: Each route is divided into areas that are marked by groups of about three riders. We usually mark about 20 miles, but for RSVP we’ve marked up to 77 miles. In some jurisdictions, we route mark undercover.
James: The years it rains, we bring hair dryers to dry off the pavement before we can mark it.
We’ve also been volunteer bartenders for Bike Expo and Cyclefest. There’s a certain quality assurance that goes with that job; it’s a nice perk.
Ed. Note: Cascade uses Aervoe brand spray chalks and water-base spray paints for route marking. The chalk disappears in 10 to 20 days when exposed to water and traffic; the aerosol fades to a clear film within 35 days.
What’s your favorite ride?
James: My favorite training ride is DARWIN (Darrington to Winthrop), up and over Rainy Pass and Washington Pass. My friend Jeff Scott organizes it every June. The first 54 miles out of Darrington are pretty flat, but coming from the other direction the grade is almost 8%, almost as much as l’Alpe d’Huez. There’s 7,000 cumulative feet of elevation gain. It’s great training for a one-day STP.
Stephanie: It’s 117 miles. I do WINDAR; I drive support the first day; then I ride in the reverse direction about 30 miles from Winthrop to meet the group at Washington Pass.
Each June, we also take Amtrak to Centralia. Then we ride to Napavine and return to Seattle. It’s another great training ride, about 130 miles.
Ed note: Alpe d’Huez is the most famous mountain climb in the Tour de France. 21 bends climb to 6,069 feet in eight miles with an 8.1% average grade. Washington Pass is 5,477 feet; the grade from Mazama is 6%.
Tell us about your racing?
Stephanie: I won the first race that I ever did last year. This year, I joined the Wines of Washington Team. They have a strong development program for new riders. I’ve done about five CAT4 races and crits this season.
James: At a race, I met Michael Pruitt when he needed to borrow a wheel. I gelled with the team and now I’ve been racing for Axley USA for two years. I like the Seward Park crits on Thursday nights and the Pacific Raceways circuit races in Kent. It’s a two-mile NASCAR track; it’s so fast, racers average 25 miles per hour!
Why do you enjoy cycling?
Stephanie: I bike for the challenge. I like long rides.
James: I just love to be on my bike, racing or riding recreationally. I do like the intensity of racing and long-distance touring. I would ride full-time if I could.
What’s your most memorable cycling moment?
Stephanie: James woke up in an ambulance once.
James: Apparently I didn’t eat enough, passed out on my bike and hit my head. My helmet was destroyed. I spent two days in the hospital.
Stephanie: When he woke up, his first question was “where’s my bike?”
Any visions for the future of cycling in Seattle?
James: I see lots of opportunities for the Club. Within the last five years, I’ve seen lots more cyclists. With Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan expanding, the City and King County are becoming a lot more bicycle friendly. Cascade plays a role in facilitating that process.
You can read more about the adventures of James and Stephanie on their blog at http://my.opera.com/unlisted/blog.
Send comments and nominations for cyclist of the month to: email@example.com