Monday, February 6, 2017

Abandoneé in Amity

Since that last 200k, attempts at actual riding have been a bust.  We sat in the North Plain McDonalds watching people slip and fall, and decided to be prudent.  Then there was another attempt last week, only to find the trail closed with many downed trees from our snowstorms.  Plus all those snowstorms.  We've gotten a decade's worth of snow so far this winter!

The Oregon Randonneurs Feb 200k was Hillsboro-Dallas.  It isn't a difficult route.  I've set personal speed records on this one.

The day before, we had freezing rain (!)  It melted early enough that Michal could drive up the night before.

It was going to rain.  We had ALL our rain gear organized for the next morning.

So, the next morning, it was warm (high 40's).  We both ditched a layer, but I, at least, stuck mine in my saddlebag.  It wasn't even raining very hard.

However, the headwind was relentless.  Trying to draft Michal was challenging; the wind kept shifting little bits, making it really hard to find that sweet spot.

By the time we got to Amity, we were right at minimum pace, with the hilliest part of the route in front of us, and no places to shelter from the wind.  My pace had been dropping, and I didn't see that changing.

I called it in Amity (46 miles) and was completely prepared to ride back solo, indeed, I told Michal (several times) to keep going.  I could even ride home from the start, or, barring that, visit my newest grandson, who lives close by.  He wasn't buying it, so we went over to the Amity Market (wait, what, it is a Mexican Restaurant and Bar now?) and got something to eat before heading back.

I did put on that dry baselayer.

The tailwind was nice for awhile, then it tailed off (boo).  Graham found us in Dayton, and we rode along for a few miles, then he went ahead.

We eventually made it back shortly after 6pm, so we'd been out there 10 1/2 hours.  I'd been hoping the tailwind would have pushed us all the way back, but not so much.

On the bright side, my heart rate was 30 beats per minute lower on the return.

Only a randonneur would consider a 94+ mile ride a failure.

Friday, December 2, 2016

First 200k In 11 Months

And, oddly enough, our it seems to be annual "Ride a 200k on Civil War Day", the civil war in question is the Oregon State - University of Oregon football game.

I took the Coast Starlight from PDX to Eugene, given as how they've now got bicycle service AND a better schedule than the Cascades.

Sweetpea waiting to board

Pro: better schedule and cushier seats
Con: coach passengers sit in the very tail end of the train, baggage car is right behind the locomotive.  It is a very long train and "the stop in Eugene is 4 minutes!".  No wifi, and the water dispenser in the car was empty.  And the lighting was dim.

But with all that, I made good progress knitting on my sock, to the point of finishing it, but not weaving in the ends; I wanted better lighting!

First off the train, and scampered up to the front (as the conductor was announcing Last Call!), to find Michal holding my bike, waiting for me to show up with the claim ticket.  Whew.

Our route was Bill Alsup's Perm #1177: Eugene to Beaverton.

And so, up at 5am for the 7am start.  The drop down Michal's hill was kind of scary in the dark, like it always is, but I didn't work up to the whole bike shaking, like has happened before.  We found Chris at the coffee shop, and got ourselves some coffee as well.

Sunrise wasn't until 7:25am, so we got to enjoy heading north out of Eugene in the dawn.  All the coffee for breakfast and at the start meant that the customary pause at Armitage State Park was again observed.  We also decided that it wouldn't be raining any time soon, and ditched our rain jackets. Once over the McKenzie River and through Coburg, we were out in the rural Willamette Valley for most of the day.  Not that we could SEE anything, because there was a persistent fog, which stayed with us until we started the climb on Gap Rd (mile 22 or thereabouts).  We then dropped into Brownsville, pausing at the Chevron c-store, where I discovered PayDay bites, a convenient form factor presentation of the PayDay bar.

North through Brownsville, re-enacting the final scene in Stand By Me, then out the other side, eventually arriving at a road blockage.  Now, there's nothing OUT there, but looking ahead, we could see a small herd of cattle on the road.  It turned out to be the annual moving of the bulls from one field to another, and we watched them being herded by several guys on ATVs and an SUV bringing up the rear.

Cattle Drive on Brownsville Rd (Chris A in the foreground)

That settled, we continued on north.  Now, it was supposed to be raining most of the day, but we hadn't seen any rain to this point, and the skies looked like we wouldn't, for awhile anyway.  There were even bits of sunlight!

pic by Michal Young
Passed through Lebanon, and Crabtree, on to our first control at the Hoffman Covered Bridge.  Although, the info control answer was found at the corner of Crabtree Drive and Hungry Hill Rd, rather than at the bridge, 1.6 miles further along.

Michal at the Hoffman Covered Bridge (first control)

After the bridge, a driver stopped to warn us that there was a chaser dog up ahead "on one of the downhills".  We did not find the chaser dog, but I did find a shard of glass, so there was a pause to fix the flat.  I just swapped in a fresh tube.

A few more ups and downs, and we found Chris waiting for us in Scio.  It wasn't a control, so we kept going, encountering the Leffler Grade.  I didn't know if I'd be riding up it or walking it; maybe a third of the way up, walking all of a sudden became a very attractive option.  Once at the top, we rolled along the ridgeline, finally dropping back down and entering Stayton (67 miles), our first open control.  On this route, the preferred stop is the Safeway; for other routes, the Roth's Market.  Drank down a half teaspoon of salt before going in.

I got a rice bowl with orange chicken, and Michal and Chris cheerfully refilled my bottles (one with plain water, the other needed hot water for the Gatorade-Tea-Maltodextrin beverage).  I ate about half of the orange chicken and rice.  I really like orange chicken, and white rice seemed to be a good thing for my stomach. Michal thought he'd have a taste, and proceeded to make serious inroads on the leftovers.

And with that, my stomach was all of a sudden very much happier, and we had a tailwind to Aumsville, and all was right with the world.  It looked like it might start raining at the corner of Shaw Hwy and Hwy 214, so Chris pulled on his rain jacket.  Michal and I didn't bother; we couldn't see where it would get any worse than a bit of drizzle.  And, indeed, it cleared right up.

pic by Michal Young
We also had a helpful tailwind on all 18+ miles of Howell Prairie Rd, and the first 2+ miles of gentle uphill didn't seem burdensome at all.  There's not much to say about Howell Prairie - the berry bushes are pretty with their fall coloring, lots of wide open space, the elevators at the Pratum Co-op.  Once you cross the Little Pudding River, there are more trees.

At the northern terminus we crossed Hwy 99E, turned into the wind for a bit, and then picked up Boones Ferry Rd (we'd see a lot of this road off and on for awhile), and ended up in downtown Woodburn, our next control.  We usually stop at the Del Sol market and get tacos or tamales.  We both ordered tacos, and I am pleased to report that I managed my entire transaction in Spanish (and yes, there was an actual conversation), then foraged around the store for other things.  I found Arroz con Leche (rice pudding!) in the refrigerated case, in a single serving container, and promptly snapped it up.  It was much better than the tacos - I had ordered Asada tacos, and they were dry and bland; I kind of expect Carne Asada to be moist and flavorful.  We never found Chris; he had gone ahead.

Rice Pudding!

Michal noted that the cars passing by had their windshield wipers on.  Darn.  On with the rain jackets and rain legs.  I was already wearing my Showers Pass waterproof socks; they'd likely get another trial.  I didn't bother to pull on the helmet rain cover.

So now it was dark and raining.  My helmet headlight seemed rather uninspired, and the stretch from Hubbard (just north of Woodburn) to Aurora (just south of Wilsonville) was not clear in my mind.  Michal had been fiddling with his gps and got it working again, so we'd be ok.

Heading out of Hubbard, we picked up Boones Ferry Rd again.  The traffic was rather heavier than in previous years; maybe these were folks headed home from the aforementioned football game.  I see now that we just head north on Boones Ferry, cross Ehlen, and then turn right on Keil, cross a very busy road (the rain had gotten much heavier), follow Keil to Airport, and head north to Miley, at which point I no longer need a cue sheet.

Yes.  Well.  From Miley Rd to get to Wilsonville, there is the small matter of crossing the Willamette River.  At this point the only way across is the Boone Bridge shoulder, which is a busy stretch of I-5.

So, dark. Pouring rain. Four lanes of high speed traffic.  Lots of debris on the shoulder - wheel parts, shredded tire parts, possibly a departed opossum or two.  Good times.

After exiting I-5, turning left onto Wilsonville Rd (there is also the part where one must leave the shoulder and move left two lanes), and onto the relative quiet of Boones Ferry Rd...  Whew.  We then turned into the industrial park, and I was on my work commute home from my stints at Microsoft in Wilsonville.

After topping out on the small climb on Boones Ferry Rd (there we are again), we dropped down into Tualatin.  There is usually a bike lane until there isn't, and the descent is ever so much more fun in the summer evening sunlight.  By now I was feeling soaked through, but not too much further to go!

Through Tualatin park, over the river and into Cook Park in Tigard, north on Hall Blvd, left into Old Downtown Tigard, then out the west side, the non-intuitive left onto Greenburg Rd, cross over Hwy 217, and ride up the back side of Washington Square Mall...  North on Scholls Ferry, and finally the left turn into the neighborhood before the last bit.  We actually got across to the turn lane without having to resort to the crosswalk and sidewalk to get to Elm St.

Through the unmarked and very subtle cut-though (always helps to have a local guide at this point), down 5th Ave (where I just wanted to turn right through the office park and go home!), under Hwy 217, up Griffith, and done.  12:22 elapsed time.

Michal at the finish at Starbucks

I barricaded my bike with tables and chairs up against the Starbucks window, and went inside to find hot coffee, and Chris A and Chris W (who rode one of my local perms and was planning to meet us at the finish).  They had obviously been there awhile, certainly long enough to change into dry clothing :-)  They eventually took their respective leaves, we finished our hot drinks, and rode the last mile to my house, where Fitz and Cyndi were awaiting our arrival.

Hot showers first, but Fitz had made an enormous pot of turkey chili and fresh cornbread.  With pie for dessert.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Weaving Side Trip

I have been sucked into band weaving.  Not that I am entirely sure what I'd DO with the finished product, other than as hang loops for dishtowels, but I am sure I'll think of something.

Options were a band loom with two foot treadles (nice, but $$$), a tiny little table loom with two treadles (also nice, but $$), an inkle loom (just no), a kiddie rigid heddle loom (findable on eBay, or new, $), or a backstrap setup.

Also, to do pickup (patterns), there would want to be a different type of heddle, and a nice, but not required shuttle.

So I got myself a Harrisville Easy Weaver rigid heddle loom, via eBay.  The original owner had woven 5 picks and given it up (!)  Given that the warp was by now moth-eaten, I threw it away.  This loom will be useful for 10" rigid heddle weaving, card weaving, should I want to try that, and band weaving.  Plus, grandchilden can play with it.

Harrisville Easy Weaver Loom, slightly used

Not yet having received the Sunna heddle from Sweden, I wound a warp for a plain band out of expendable yarn, and practiced with that.  I should get the plain weaving better under control before I branch into patterns.

Working on the band

The stick shuttle that came with the loom works fine for plain weave.

Finished woven band, 44"x1.3/4"

So, less than 24 hours later, I had a 44" band.  It might want to be a belt.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016, #6 and #7

#6: Verboort Sausage Festival
Date: November 5
Destination: Verboort Sausage Festival, Verboort, OR
Beverage: Hot Chocolate
Bike Friendliness: Leaned the bike somewhere outside the Bingo tent
Bicycle: Sweetpea
Total mileage: 2.8 miles

Coffeeneur #6: Verboort Sausage Festival

I really had planned to have a theme of "Places I Have Not Coffeeneured Before", but that fell apart today.  Too much rain.  Way too much rain.

So, upon finishing the Verboort Populaire, there I was in the Bingo tent.  I went for the Hot Chocolate and Sausage on a Stick, and, in a very first (I've been doing this ride since 2007), I played bingo.

After finishing up the hot chocolate and sausage, and not winning at bingo ($3 grand prize), we then rode back to the start, in Forest Grove, 2.8 miles.  Sadly, because Porter Rd is closed (bridge reconstruction), we did have to take Martin Rd.  The shoulder is good almost the whole way back.  Almost.  The rain, which had been consistent, but not heavy all day, decided to up its game and dump on us the whole way back.

#7: Ridgewood Park, Coffee Outside
Date: November 8
Destination: Ridgewood Park
Beverage: Coffee
Bike Friendliness: of course
Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot
Total mileage: 2.1 miles

Coffeeneuring, ready to go

We've got a freshly-remodeled park in our neighborhood, just the other side of the elementary school.  The original reservoir, with tennis courts on top, has been replaced by an enormous reservoir, a pumphouse (of which we got a tour when the park re-opened), tennis and pickleball courts on top, new trails, an excellent new play structure, a bocce pitch, water fountain, and a covered picnic area.  The water department and parks district have really stepped up their game.

Coffee Outside gear updates this year were an Optimus Terra HE cookset, which is probably overkill, but I still have this secret wish to go bikepacking some time.  And I'd been organized enough last year that I could lay my hands on the cookset/Svea 123 stove (fits inside the cookset) right away.

Ground some coffee, put water in my insulated coffee mug and milk in a little bottle, then figured out how to carry everything up to the park.  Maybe last year I said I need to sew up a twee porteur bag.  I am saying that again with a little more emphasis.

Coffeeneuring #7, Ridgewood Park

Recently Added-84

Cruised around the neighborhood, then up to the park from the new park entrance, and established myself in the picnic area.  Maybe some knitting happened while I was waiting for the coffee to brew.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Verboort Sausage Populaire 2016

As we were sitting at the table in the bingo tent, with sausage, hot cocoa, and a round of bingo cards, the woman across the table asked "wouldn't it be nicer to ride if the weather was better?".  Our reply "it would, but bad weather is traditional".

Yeah.  The weather forecast was for a dry, sunny day on Friday, another dry, sunny day on Sunday, and an astounding amount of rain on Saturday.

With that in mind, I made sure Sweetpea had the raingear and extra gloves on board.  My helmet had its first raincover and neckcover event of the season, and I'd finally get to test out the new Showers Pass Waterproof Socks (wool version).

Preparation for the Verboort Populaire

No plans to ride with anyone, but I did see many familiar names on the signup list, most of whom exercised good judgement and stayed home.  However, Anita was there, and we'd ridden the first half of the Solstice permanent together almost a year ago.

It was raining lightly when I arrived at the start, but it slacked off to perhaps a faint mist heading north on Gales Creek Rd.  It was so light that I swapped the jacket for a vest.  That lasted almost all the way to Hwy 6, where I pulled the jacket back on.  At the Hwy 6 turn, I suggested to Anita that she didn't have to wait for me, because she was pulling ahead and then having to wait in the rain.

Hwy 6 was a pleasant surprise - it had been repaved, and all the rumble strips were now buried under a layer of pristine asphalt.

About 3 miles later, the route left Hwy 6 for the delights of Timber Rd.  It has a brief initial climb, then rolls along for several miles, then gains 500+ feet in the space of two miles.  The rain increased on the climb (of course).  Victorious.  Nothing going to stop me now.

Then the drop down to Timber itself, another brief climb, some flat, and then another drop down to Hwy 26.  I was very lucky, and was able to cross right away.

After crossing Hwy 26, the route continues for another 9 miles through a valley, before joining up with Hwy 47 a mile or so outside of Vernonia.  I headed right for Black Bear Coffee Company - there were some cyclists leaving, and Anita sitting inside.  She said she hadn't been there long.  Consumed the traditional sticky roll and a mocha, refilled my bottle, and we headed back out.

Verboort Populaire Vernonia control

We had a fun ride back along the Banks Vernonia Trail.  The muck right at the summit had all been cleared away, and I completely enjoyed the descent.

We spent the final stretch from Banks to Verboort chatting.  And yes, it was raining all the way from Vernonia to Verboort.

Michael, Lynne, and Anita.  Picture by Michael Powell-Parich
Michael was lurking by the entrance of the bingo tent, so card rituals were completed, and then we got sausage, and, in my case, some hot chocolate.  Michael and I both sprang for a round of bingo, not that we won anything :-)

Coffeeneur #6: Verboort Sausage Festival

So, finished in 6:18 elapsed, which is quicker than last year.  Always good.

Anita and I then rode back the 2.8 miles to the start, in steadily increasing rain.  While it had rained the whole ride, it hadn't been heavy.  Nowhere near that projected inch of rain.  It was trying to make up for that now.

My feet were a bit damp, not unexpected, because they do sweat, but they weren't wet.  Nor were my feet cold.  I am declaring the socks an initial success.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016: #5, Lionheart Coffee

#5 Lionheart Coffee

Date: October 30
DestinationLionheart Coffee, Beaverton, OR
Beverage: Mocha
Bike Friendliness: wave rack, but I didn't use it
Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot
Total mileage: 10.85 miles

Another new coffee shop for me.  I also needed some more knitting needles (I know, you look at my stash of needles and wonder how I could need more...), and there was a yarn shop close by, plus the library had a book for me.  The weather was grey, and drizzly.

The most expedient way south to the main part of the Fanno Creek Trail is through the Fred Meyer.  I didn't really want to go through the Freddie's parking lot on a Sunday afternoon, so I headed south on 106th (past the alpacas), crossed Canyon on to 107th, thence to SW 5th, and turned right to pick up the route through the neighborhoods to the terminus of the trail on Denney Rd.

I was hoping there would be good fall color on the trail, but as it is all native vegetation, that isn't as flamboyant as the imports.

Heron.  It was having a good day.

It had been raining, and Fanno Creek was starting to fill up.  The trail does flood, but fortunately, I wasn't riding through any of the known flood spots.  There was this one:

Fortunately, I wasn't riding that way.

I hadn't been to this yarn store, and was pleased to see they had an excellent selection of knitting needles, and exactly the ones I needed.  If I'd had more time, there would have been some browsing, and possibly some more yarn acquisition, so it was a good thing there wasn't more time.

First stop was a knitting store

From there, I rode west a block to Lionheart Coffee.  Like most coffee shops in the burbs, it is also in a strip mall, but a strip mall with direct access to the Fanno Creek Trail, and a wave rack.  Not that I used the rack; I am getting tired of going through the whole "lock up the bike" ritual, so I helmet locked it, and bungied it to a chair right outside where I could keep an eye on it.

Super nice staff; I ordered a mocha, and sat down to work on my knitting project, knitting from a way too long circular needle onto my new 12" circular needle.

transferring from a super long circular needle to a short one

One of the staff inquired about my fenders - he needs some, and really liked mine.  Honjos, making friends everywhere.

Art on the Fanno Creek Trail

After finishing the mocha, I returned north, on to the Beaverton Library.  Sadly, I did have to lock my bike there; the missionaries who lurk outside (and watch my bike) were not there this day in the rain.

Stopped at the library on the way home

After getting my book, I came out to find a guy working on a bike on the repair stand.  I asked if he needed anything.  After a bit of conversation, he asked if I had any misdemeanors.  Nope, fresh out.  By this point, I figured his grasp on reality was a bit tenuous.

From here I returned home, to the best fall foliage on the route:

Our Japanese Maple