Archive for Seattle

Getting Ready for the Launch on Day One.

Eoin in Gregg’s Cycles

Eoin introduces us to William and Mark’s bicycles, which are hanging from the ceiling in Gregg’s Cycles of Green Lake, Seattle.

(Pardon my chronology – this video was taken last week but due to time constraints is only being posted now)

Eoin introduces the bikes

A Peek at Day One…

The Cycle starts at the West Coast. Guided by Shaun Darragh, a local cyclist, the Team cycles from the water to Gasworks Park for a last look at Seattle. We then head east on I-90, calling in at the Seattle Gaels annual picnic on the way.

Day One Down!

The Cycle of America Team have finished the first day of the cycle all in one piece. We’re kicking it back (and recovering from the trip!) at the luxurious Salish Lodge and Spa here in the beautiful Snoqualmie Falls, who’ve been kind enough to put us up for free. Great food too!

Thanks again to Fidelma, Randy and Rosemarie, and all the other fantastic people of Seattle whose generosity and willingness to help out has left us humbled. We couldn’t do this trip without people like you!

Sleepy heads have hit pillows now to recover for the journey tomorrow. The cyclists will be trekking uphill to Ellensburg, while the logistics team pop back to Seattle to collect the last of the gear, before turning back east to race the cyclists to Ellensburg. Wish us luck!

Williams’ blog – Day 1: Seattle to Snoqualmie Valley

Date 1s Aug
Seattle to Snoqualmie Valley
Distance 82km

1st day of the cycle is our shortest day of the entire cycle! We had to go to the bike shop for 10 o’clock to get our bikes and pick up our gear. We met Sean our tour guide for the 1st day! He kindly agreed to direct us to Samananash Park where the Irish American Heritage association were hosting a party. We arrived to a heroes welcome with everyone cheering and being very supportive!. We stayed for the BBQ and played a bit of hurling before jumping back on our bikes and heading for Snoqualmie Valley. The IAHA were very friendly and welcoming. We just want to say thanks for the great welcome.

From Samananash to Snoqueline Valley we got a little lost and ended up adding about
20km onto our original journey plan. After some tasty climbs and Schlek/Contidor climbing from the lads we finally made it to Snoqualmie Valley. We got a great welcome from the Salish Lodge Hotel.

The COA2010 Launch Party

On Saturday 31st of July, Irish pub F. X. McRory’s in downtown Seattle hosted the Cycle of America 2010 launch party.  It was a fantastic night full of music and craic, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely .  Many thanks to all who attended, and to Fidelma McGinn for making the whole event happen!  Here’s a short video of the night’s festivities:

Watch the video of the Launch Party

A Massive Thank you!

A massive thank you to our hosts here in Seattle, Fidelma McGinn of the Artist’s Trust and her husband, Randy. They’ve been accommodating the team this week, picking people up from the airport at unsociable hours, organising our Launch Party and are helping out in numerous other ways!

The cycle would be starting with a whimper rather than a bang if it wasn’t for this generous pair.

Thanks Fidelma and Randy!

Arrival of William and Mark

Date: 31st July
From Dublin to Seattle
Time 06.30 Irish Time – 05.30 Irish Time 1st Aug

1st day was a little bit of a disaster! We arrived at Dublin airport nice and early on the Saturday morning ( 6.30) in anticipation of the a busy bank holiday weekend! Well it was packed and we may aswell of stayed in bed! Our flight was delayed 3 hours so myself and Mark cruised around Dublin airport posing for pictures and signing autographs!

With the flight being delayed 3 hours it meant we missed our connecting flight to Seattle from Chicago. We had to wait another 5 hours in Chicago International to get the flight to Seattle! We arrived at 11pm local time, 6 am Irish time. This meant we missed the fundraiser organised in Seattle! Eoin, Rob and Donal flew the flag for COA at this event. But that didn’t stop young Mark AKA the Terminator hitting the town, this man survives on little or no beauty sleep! Although its badly needed.

So hopefully tomorrow will run a little more smoothly – we have to pick up the bikes at 10 o’clock, dip the wheels in the Pacific Ocean and then our Journey begins.

Its going to be some challenge for the lads but its no fun when its easy!

Getting there

So my first day of travel in Cycle of America 2010 started early at 6am on Thursday 29 July. My reliable alarm clock (my Mam) ensured I was only half-asleep when we grabbed the taxi to Dublin airport. My main worry for the day was getting my bike safely through two flights. The bike had been kindly boxed up by 2wheels bike shop in Sandymount but it was awkward to lug around – about the size of a wall radiator!

However the whole day went fine which was a huge relief. I checked in my bike box through excess baggage in Dublin; it appeared in NYC; I then checked it in through excess baggage in NYC; and it appeared in Seattle. I even got away with not paying the $80 bike charge in JFK airport!

The flights themselves also went fine. Dublin to NYC was about 7 hours, most of which I spent reading Tony Griffin’s ‘Screaming at the Sky’. Tony is a Clare hurler who cycled 7,000kms across Canada a few years back. But the book covers much more than that, including the ups and downs in his hurling career, and how losing his father to cancer affected his life. It was an honest, open and inspiring read. Tony also sent the COA team an email today simply saying ‘Enjoy the journey, that is the reward.’

Near the end of my first flight I got talking to a girl sitting beside me from El Salvador who was heading to see her parents in Orlando. She described El Salvador as a scary place with corruption and killings getting increasingly common. Cycle of El Salvador 2011 will have to wait.

Reaching NYC I had a six-hour stopover in JFK airport, which I mistakenly thought would have plenty to keep me occupied. However my stopover consisted of watching baseball on a TV with no volume and wandering around the terminal gates. Although the free wifi did keep things bearable. JFK airport also provided the excitement of ordering a burger through a touch-screen computer at Cheeburger Cheeburger (not a misspelling). I approached the counter, and said to the guy in uniform “Can I get….”, only to be interupted by “Order through the computer Sir.” Technology gone mad.

NYC to Seattle was another 6hr flight, added to by 50mins sitting on the runway because of bad weather in the area. The one bonus was when we were taxi-ing to take off, I looked around to see the vast skyline of NYC (including the Empire State Building) against the backdrop of a deep red sunset. It looked brilliant, and i’ll be glad to get back there in 7 weeks time to take a bite from the Big Apple.

Flying with JetBlue was ‘interesting’ – JB don’t take cash on flights, and they also don’t sell hot food, so I was glad for that tube of Smarties I had stocked away. I did manage to sleep a couple of hours though, and in hindsight I think that was a saviour.

I landed in Seattle just before midnight local time and was greeted by Donal (one of our support drivers) and Fidelma – a friend of Donal’s family from Leixlip who moved to the U.S. 18 years ago. Fidelma drove myself, my suitcase, and my bike box to her house in the Ravenna area of Seattle and provided a comfy bed for this bloodshot-eyed Irishman. By the time I hit the pillow I had travelled nearly 24hours, 2hours of which had been sleep. Fidelma you are a Godsend.

Tomorrow brings shopping for supplies, calls to newspapers, and maybe a trip to town that night for a Lucozade or two.

Random pictures:

First Days in Seattle

Here’s a short video of some of Seattle’s finest sights, including Pike Place Market and the Seattle Aquarium.  We also pass by the Safeco Field, home of the Mariners baseball team.

The song is White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes, one of Seattle’s finest bands.