Thursday, March 23, 2017

Errandonnee 4 and 5

Two errands today.

#4 Weaving class at Multnomah Arts Center.  I'll file this one under work/school commute :-). It wasn't going to rain until 4pm today, so I got to ride.  Yes, I could ride when it is raining, but I'd have to bring a change of clothes, as I truly hate hanging out in wet clothing.

So, today's plan was to wind the warp for my next project - Overshot Dish Towels.  Last week I took my 3.7 lb cone of 10/2 Georgia cotton in to use for the warp; today I wound a 530 end (thread) warp.

The warp is draped over the loom.  40" weaving width, 8 shaft loom.  Could be fun.

#5 Knitting Group, filed under, oh, I'll figure it out later.  Ate my sack lunch at the conclusion of Weaving Class, then proceeded over to Karen's house, where I knitted with a group of like-minded folk.  This group has been meeting for years.

And then home.  I could have gone by the library, as a book is waiting, but I didn't want to have to lock my bike up again, plus there was too much stuff on the bike to leave it unattended, even if it was locked up.

13.7 miles.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Success on the North Plains - Banks Vernonia Trail Perm Pop

The last time I had a successful through ride on the trail was the Verboort Populaire in November.  Since then we've had snow, ice, biblical quantities of rain, and so on.  We've tried to ride the trail twice, and been turned back both times.

Surely the trail would be open.  I recruited Ray by promising no thunderstorms (hey, it's his perm pop!), and we set out at 8am-ish this morning.

Epic Ride Weather's take on the day:

It wasn't raining when we started out.  No rain jackets.  I had a wool base layer, jersey, and neon wind vest.  Skipped the waterproof socks; living dangerously. We passed through Banks (ugh, school traffic; Banks has one street.  Maybe it has more, but only one major one.) and onto the trail.

There was a picture pause at Wingham Farms (home of Romulus and Remus, the herding dogs), because they'd moved the chickens into the cow pasture, and had the cows in the chicken space.  They also have cute baby goats.

Onward.  The sun came and went.  Upward (railroad grade).  We got to the Stub Stewart Park road crossing, and... there was a sign - "Trail Closed 1 Mile Ahead".

As we say, there's closed and there's closed.  Nothing at a mile.  We kept going.  There might have been a landslide, but nothing on the trail.  Eventually we starting seeing staggering numbers of alder trees broken off and on the ground, although the trail was clear.  Closer to the summit, we came across some trail workers.  After a conversation, where they said the trail was usable at least as far as the summit, we went on.

Lots of alders down, although the trail was clear, except for some silt from the rain.  The pictures don't really do it justice.

Past Tophill, there was a lot more small litter on the trail.  We found one branch to move off, some short areas of deep silt and gravel, and, closer in to Vernonia, one downed tree with branches across the trail - easily managed.  By now we had a fairly persistent light drizzle, not enough to dig out our jackets.

Beaver Creek and the Nehalem River were running fast and high, but not flooding.  Heading out the the lake, we finally had to concede that it was, in fact, raining, and quickly donned our jackets.  We looped around the lake and decided we did have enough time for some coffee.

Off to Black Bear Coffee.  We walked in the door and... "where's your case of pastries?"  They'd moved the coffee/pastry operation to the far north end of the building!  They now also have a punch card - we are both there often enough to make it worth our while, so, yes, we each snagged one.  Mine will stay in my rando wallet, so as to always be at the ready.  The one cinnamon bun left was so very large that Ray and I elected to split it.

We were fairly expedient and headed back out, still wearing our jackets.  Not very far along, we pulled them off, and I went on, figuring Ray would catch up soon.  He found me before Tophill.

Down, and up.  Tophill is the only steep section of the trail.  I stress about the climb on the return, but found myself almost all the way up before realizing that I was past the steepest switchback and hadn't been thinking about it at all.  Nice.

We then enjoyed the descent (as always!), realized we had over an hour and only 8 miles to go in Banks, and finished up.

Fancy pic from the bike computer:

6:14 elapsed.

Gotta mend these! (I was wearing these when I was left-hooked; all the abrasions showed up as ever-growing holes a few months later)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Errandonnee One, Two, and Three

And it was a good thing I had receipts, totally forgot about the picture thing until the last stop!

March 20, 2017

From home to the dentist - 7.3 miles.

I went the northern route, on the Hwy 26 bike path, then experimented with staying south of Hwy 26 at Camelot Ct (mi 2.4), rather then the usual path continuation to Skyline/Scholl's Ferry with the interesting left turn onto Humphrey/Hewett.  Learning there - more steeper climbing that way!

From there, I would have normally dropped down Dosch to Sunset (mi 5), but both Google Maps and RWGPS suggested I continue up to Fairmount Blvd, and then drop down through the neighborhood side streets.  Every road descending from Fairmount is steep.  Intellectually I knew that.  I did.  How bad could it be?  9-10% downgrades, narrow twisty roads, and generally more potholes and grit than pavement.  I was never so happy to make it down to Sunset Blvd in my life.  Once there, I only had to go another easy mile.

As for the dentist - I will say that N20 makes a dental visit much less stressful.  Plus, the dentist decided it was much less work than originally estimated, so it cost me much less as well!

See receipt #1 for documentation.

From the dentist to the library - 7.6 miles.

The plan from here was to cut between Wilson HS and Rieke Elementary down to SW Vermont, work my way to Multnomah Village (we'll be back here at least once this coming week), and then follow my known route back to Beaverton, except continuing on SW 5th to the library, rather than turning north just before Hwy 217.  Really, I only needed supplementary navigation assistance from Fairmount to the dentist, and then from there to Multnomah Village.

The only unknown was would the Fanno Creek Trail be open?  There had been some contentious trail closures (Portland Water Bureau has a sewage pump station on the trail OUTSIDE THEIR CITY LIMITS AND OUTSIDE THEIR COUNTY!) for pump station work, and the proposed detour put cyclists on SW Garden Home Rd.  Sounds bucolic and all, but that section is a highly traveled, very narrow 2 lane road with ditches right at the fog lines.  I myself pestered both our parks district (it is their trail) and the road department, and they did put up Bicycles on Roadway signs.  The few times I rode that way, though, I crossed Garden Home and paralleled it through the neighborhoods until SW Oleson Rd.

To make a short story long, I was pleasantly surprised to find the construction finished and the trail open.

Felt a few rain drops along here.

So, right, the library.   I was picking up a book which was an interlibrary loan, and, after fruitlessly searching the Hold books racks, I asked where it was - turns out ILL books must be picked up and checked out at the service desk.  The book came all the way from Nebraska.  Pretty cool.

See receipt #2 for documentation.

From the library to the fabric store - .8 miles.

Nothing to report here.  Got to the fabric store, bought my velcro for the Porteur Bag Sewing Project (for flaps to attach the removable lining), had a great conversation with the cashier about the project, as I was adding the velcro to my plastic bag (suboptimal and tacky).

From the fabric store to home - 1.3 miles.

Since I had gone to the fabric store, I continued directly east through the Hall Creek Enhancement to SW 114th.  While it is very short, I love riding through there.  The creek was very high, and I only saw a couple of Canada geese.  Usually there are ducks everywhere.

See receipt #3 for documentation, and I even took a couple of pictures.

I could have stopped for coffee, but I was getting tired of locking and unlocking my bike.  There is good coffee at home.

Beat the rain home.

The route.

Total distance - 17 miles.


Success With Rickey's Populaire

Last weekend was the Oregon Randonneurs Rickey's Populaire.  A fun ride.  It has two climbs, and much gentle rolling, rural scenery, and finishes at a brewpub.  Can't go wrong.

In previous years I have ridden to the start, since it was along my regular work commute, and fairly mindless.  Not up to that this year; I was just going for success.

The weather took a sudden turn for the worse, so, of course, I modified the wardrobe.  To keep my feet dry, I wear the Showers Pass Waterproof Socks, my Lake boots (if they were waterproof, it didn't last), and some battered Endura shoe covers over that.  My feet get damp, but they don't get wet, so I suspect all the liquid is self-generated.

No plans to ride with anyone, but that's ok.

But wait!  At the drippy start (riders huddling under RBA Susan France's car hatch), a car pulled up.  It was Andrew, who I haven't seen riding in awhile.  But the bike...  he pulled a lovely Atlantis out of his car, with dual old-style Schmidt E-6 headlamps.  Wait.  Wait.  Wait.  "You bought David R's Atlantis!  Good deal!" (mystery of why he was selling many bike parts solved; he didn't need them any longer)

He allowed as he had not been riding and it would be slow and lonesome.  I was quick to assure him it wouldn't be (lonesome, that is).

His front bag, sadly, was still back in his garage.  He had a reusable grocery sack in which to stow items, but no way to attach it.  But wait!  I had a Rivendell-approved John's Irish Strap in my saddlebag.

At 9am we set out.  Given the weather forecast (plug for the Epic Ride Weather app), it wasn't a large crowd.

Andrew, Ray, and I were toward the back, and rode "together" for the entire route.  Sometimes they'd get ahead and wait.  Sometimes we'd be stopped, and I'd go on and they'd quickly catch up.

So we spent a rainy day chasing colorful zip-ties.  I was, of course, slow on the climbs, but I got there.  No walking, which might have been a possibility on Plumlee.

The first four hours were continuous rain, but not cold rain.  While every single watercourse was full, and the Killin wetlands were really full, and Gales Creek was higher than I've seen it, there was only one very shallow road flood - Gaston Road, where the Tualatin River and Wapato Creek bracket the road.

We were mostly quartering into the wind until somewhere on Gales Creek Rd.  Fortunately we turned east just as the wind was racheting up to "really annoying", and enjoyed the push to the end.

From Gaston until the end (20 miles), the rain stopped, which was also enjoyable.   We stopped on LaFollette Road to pull of the rain gear and maybe dry out a bit.

Then they smelled the barn and I rode the final 10 miles in solitude.  Not that I was unhappy about it.  For that matter, no thoughts of gloom and doom at all on the ride.

No pictures, because it was so very wet.  Well, pictures were taken of the info controls (with Timestamp Camera, a free app), so I wouldn't have to take my card out to write on it; took care of that at the finish.

Visited with Susan at the finish, and helped her with her basket of tots.

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.