Sunday, December 23, 2007

Probably the Last Ride of 2007

Beth and Cecil

Cecil, Beth and I were to meet up and ride out to Smith and Bybee Lakes, and Kelley Point Park. Cecil ALWAYS rides out here to meet me, so I rode over to her house to meet her. The weather was, um, wet and grey, and the descent through Washington Park and Portland was intense (note to self: new brake pads on Bleriot).

Over the Hawthorne Bridge, east some more, then south to Cecil's. At this point I elected to put on the booties - the PI gore-tex shoes were perhaps being overloaded by relentless rain. Cecil's agressively friendly Corgis helped.

Then northward to meet Beth. I couldn't tell you how we got there, exactly, although I did recognize Peninsula Park as we passed it, possibly because it had a sign. And rosebushes. I elected to change to dry gloves at this point.

Beth took us further north, then through the backside of the Portland Meadows racetrack, where several jockeys had the horses out training, in the mucky wet track. Then through the industrial area, and down a ramp the wrong way, which put us right on the trail along the Columbia Slough.

Eagle in the Columbia Slough

We saw a bald eagle, and lots of geese. No herons today. Passed behind PIR and Heron Lakes golf course, past the water treatment plant and out to Smith and Bybee Lakes. Looked pretty much like it did last week - gray, rainy. The ducks were in pretty much the same spot, too.

Smith (or Bybee) Lake

Bleriot at Kelly Point Park

Then out to Kelley Point, where today we saw some grain barges and a big container ship. We elected to go back the way we came, which would lead to a shop with hot-beverages-of-choice and pastries. I must say, Cecil and Beth know every pastry and hot beverage shop on the east side! The waitress in Cup and Saucer kindly let us drape our wet stuff at one table and sit ourselves at another table. Hot-beverages-of-choice and a basket of scones helped thaw out some.

Then Beth had to get home (figure skating viewing was waiting), so we all headed out. Eventually Beth peeled off, and Cecil and I continued south to the base of the Hawthorne Bridge, where she headed home. After careful direction from Cecil, I rode across the bridge, west on Main, left on 3rd, right on Jefferson, followed Jefferson all the way until it was just about a freeway on-ramp and hopped onto the bicycle trail, which took me up to the entrance of Washington Park. Nice! Avoided the Salmon Street climb!

Climbed through the park in persistent rain; fortunately no accompanying traffic at the steep pitch out of the Rose Garden. At that point, the climbs are easy, and then once I'm at Sylvan Summit, it is all downhill...

Today is a GOOD day to ride!

50.59 miles.

Riding on the east side of Portland is different. There are lots of wide, low traffic streets. It is MUCH flatter. I see a lot more cyclists. The riding is more stop-and-go, then out on the west side. There are still the drivers who blatantly run red lights at high speed. But it is generally not too high stress, and there are coffee shops on every corner.

More pictures here

Monday, December 17, 2007

What I want

I want persons who operate large vehicles on the public roadways to wake up and pay attention to where they are going.

A repeat of last year's close call. Riding eastbound on Jenkins, moving over to the center lane to turn left onto Ecole.Car turns right off Ecole onto Jenkins (westbound), traffic isn't moving quite as smoothly as they'd like, so they cut over into the center lane. Except at that point, it is a double yellow line, and they aren't supposed to be there, as it would interfere with the traffic turning left onto Ecole. I was the traffic turning left onto Ecole. Painfully bright headlight, plus flasher on helmet, plus reflective strips on the jacket. I yelled. I smacked the car with my hand. I saw it slowly move forward and turn left into my place of employ.

Maybe someone will come yell at me tomorrow for terrifying someone who was coming to pick them up from work. I don't care. They'll get it with both barrels. If they'd smacked ME, they would still go home to a nice dinner, and with any luck, I'd be in the ICU.

Other things I want:

I expect other vehicles to pass me SAFELY.

Not pass when they can't see far enough ahead - this includes uphills and curves!

Not pass when there is oncoming traffic - most roads out here are not wide enough for 2 motor vehicles and a bicycle.

Not pass so close that I could reach out and touch them.

Not pass so close that I am crowded off the road.

Not pass and then immediately turn right.

Bonus: no honking, yelling of "encouragement", or throwing things.

I don't ask for much.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Volunteering at the Community Cycling Center

My co-worker Evan organized a group of us who know how to work on bikes to volunteer at the Community Cycling Center, for their Holiday Bike Drive. Most volunteers clean bikes. If they think you know what you are doing, you may wrench on the bikes. As these kids bikes are donated, many of them need a little (or a lot) of attention - they will be the first bike the recipients ever had. Remember your first bike? That's the feeling they want these kids to have. (mine, by the way, was a 20" red Ross.)

We did this as part of the United Way Day of Caring week. I've done volunteer time at both the Food Bank (bagging beans and rice) and CCC, and thought I'd go back to the CCC this year.

Co-worker Ian and I planned to ride over - yes it was across town, but we could skip the hill climb and subsequent steepish descent into town by hopping MAX, and getting off at Goose Hollow, riding through downtown, over the Broadway Bridge, thence making our way over to Williams, north on Williams, then zigzagging east and north to get to NE 17th and Alberta.

Ian, riding the MAX over the hill

The weather was, to not put too fine a point on it, bad. Heavy sideways rain, wind... I had wool everything on, so I'd stay warm once we quit riding. Ian had the same approach. We met at 11am, rode over to the Millikan Way MAX station (adjacent to the Tektronix campus), where I really did try to buy a ticket. First machine wasn't selling the ticket I wanted, second machine was not taking bills. Ian gave me a 2-zone ticket so I'd be legal, at least until the next stop. We got off at the Beaverton Transit Center and managed to buy a ticket there with a credit card, then hopped onto the next waiting train. Whew!

Off at Goose Hollow, then north through downtown, onto 14th, then Lovejoy, over the Broadway Bridge (just a BIT windy up there), and then following the above-mentioned route. Traffic was light, as it was midday. We arrived the at same time everyone else (who drove :-) )

Got the intro tour, paired up (I went with Evan - I have worked on bikes, I have built my own bike, I have majorly overhauled other of my bikes, but kid bikes are a bit different. I wanted a bit of guidance), and got started. Our first bike took a really long time - it needed new wheels altogether - we went into the basement and brought some up, but the hubs were not wide enough. I went back downstairs, and scored a set with red rims. This was a red bike, so it would look nice. Adjusted the crank. Installed one wheel; Evan did the other. Replaced the grips. It got a new chain and a replacement pedal for the missing one. Evan kept being called off to check everyone's work or offer advice.

We were working in an outside covered area, with a tarp roof and tarp walls that rolled down. The walls were lowered one by one, as the afternoon proceeded, and the rain got more sideways. We had to move our work stand - it was originally positioned under a major drip.

"This is not your bike. It won't ever ride as nicely as your bike. Given a choice between a loose hub/headset/bottom bracket, or a slightly tight, notchy one, go for the slightly tight. No one will ever adjust this bicycle again. Grease everything. Tighten down the bolts! Tight!"

Leif and Evan

After a lot of rummaging around for a rear reflector AND a nut/bolt combination that would hold it on (the bin labelled "bolt/nut pairs" lies. It has many bolts, some nuts, and they are not matched up :-) ), the bike was almost ready. Neal checked it over (everyone's work is checked by someone else. Neal and Evan had final checkout responsibilities, so Neal had to check Evan's work). Loose stem... Evan had to go find a cheater bar and really reef on it.

Evan still reefing on that stem

FINALLY that bike was ready. I celebrated by walking down to the coffeeshop and getting a mug of coffee and a muffin for Evan.

Evan: "did I tell you I was cursed? I end up with all the bikes that have complicated repairs and take forever."

We started in on bike #2. Evan got called away, so I adjusted the bottom bracket (Cool! Got to use a pin spanner!) to perfection. I declared the headset indexed, and after some tweaking, got it to behave as well. We removed the front and rear brakes (all the kids bikes leave with a coaster brake), then started in on the wheels. The rear hub was beyond sticky. Again, more adjusting, and it turned out very smooth. Smoother than I would have hoped, actually.

Bike Number Two

Starting to run out of time. We did manage to finish bike #2. Yay!

Ian, Scott and I prepared to leave. But no. Bleriot had a flat front tire. :-( Fortunately, I had it in a great location. We wheeled the bike INSIDE. (Warm. Dry.) I put it up on the stand and set to changing the tire. I wasn't putting the tire back on until the cause was found - the weather was awful, and I did not want to have another flat. Scott finally found a bit of glass. The mechanics all had to come look at my bike, of course.

That done, we headed out into the storm, aiming for the Rose Quarter Transit Center, on the east side, so we could get our bikes on the train before it was too crowded. I suppose I'd get used to in-town traffic, if I did it every day, but it was a little stressful. If it hadn't been raining sideways, it would have been better.

Long MAX ride to the Sunset Transit Center - power was out, so the train had to go slowly. That was fine, Ian, Scott and I chatted the entire way. Finally there. Carried my bike up all the steps, crossed over the highway, crossed Park Way, went to turn on my helmet light. Felt something fall down my arm. Half a block later, I looked in my rear view mirror. Oops. I walked back and forth along that half block stretch 4 times, before I finally found it. It was raining so hard that it was hard to see anything!

Whew. Down the hill, home, everything in the laundry.

More pictures here.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Visible AND Recognizable

We invited Rebecca and Jessica over for dinner tonight. They live a block from where I work; it was conceivable that our paths would intersect on the way to our house for a couple of blocks, on Ecole and Walker roads. Not that I could tell. It was very dark, but (yay!) not raining, for the first time this entire week.

Over dinner: "wow, you are sure visible from the rear! We saw you! Lots of flashers! Really BRIGHT!" (I'm running three at the moment - 1 on the helmet, 1 on the jacket loop, 1 on the rack)

I was wondering how they knew it was me. To quote a co-worker: "I can't tell any of you apart, you all look alike". Must be the yellow jackets :-)

Rebecca: "your FENDERS!".

Yeah, not too many commuters out there with hammered Honjo fenders.

Also, as I was heading toward Wilshire, a cyclist came up behind me, and asked about the flasher on my jacket (Blackburn Mars 2.0, fresh batteries). He also thought my gloves were amazing - he was behind me when I signaled to turn left. Another plug for GloGlovs. Don't commute without them.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Can Have Peculiar Titles, Too

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Very Lady Lynne the Mellifluous of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

And then, the Unitarian Jihad Name:

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Dagger of Quiet Reflection.

Get yours.

Thank you, Cecil...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm my father's daughter

Why go to a store, when you can fix something with objects you have laying around the garage? Especially since nothing is ever thrown away :-)

The escaping waterbottle cage now has a gasket made of a strip of old innertube, which should keep the bolts holding it to the frame from slipping through.

And the rattling fender, which really needs one more hole drilled (and a breathtaking amount of rack and fender removal to do so), has something thicker wedged into the bridge - some nice squashy old handlebar tape - thicker than the inner tube pieces, but not thicker than a double layer which wouldn't fit.

Here is to future quiet, and mechanically uneventful rides.

But I should still put a couple of zipties in my bike bag :-)

Wine Country Populaire

The last scheduled Oregon Randonneurs event of the season is the Wine Country Populaire, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The weather was to be clear and highs in the mid-40's. The night before, the forecast changed to maybe some rain, definitely cloudy, and I'm not sure the temperature even hit 40 :-)

I modified my clothing to change to the Pearl Izumi AmFib tights, and the Showers Pass jacket. I was sort of hoping to not even carry it along, but I should know better by now.

So, picked up Jason at 7:05am, headed out to Forest Grove to find.... an empty parking lot. Wrong day? The ride started an hour earlier? What happened? After a walk into the Grand Lodge, it hit me - the ride perhaps started at 9am, not 8am. Walking back out, we found Susan setting up in the parking lot. After she got over laughing at us, we signed in (first! no line!), then went back into the Lodge for more coffee, crashing the Seattle International Randonneurs table.

Properly fortified, back out to the frigid parking lot (temp 31 deg F), where I put on toe warmers, my new Pearl Izumi Gore-Tex shoes (mine are thankfully black with hot pink accents), and booties over that. I did not want cold feet. Hot pink Shebeest hat with hot pink Shebeest vest over a heavy pink jersey (going for pinkness on this ride), then the Showers Pass jacket. Smartwool liner gloves under Gore-Tex Windstopper gloves. I had a spare pair of vaguely waterproof gloves in reserve, just in case the projected rain was more than transitory.

Jason tried to get Amy to put on some chemical toe warmers, but she didn't see where they'd fit in her shoes. She missed out on 6 hours of warm feet, there.

David was test-riding a bike to review it; watch his blog for details.

Right about 9am we headed out of Forest Grove. Heading south on Stringtown Rd, there were bits of suspiciously shiny pavement; I avoided those. I was at the back of a large pack, and each and every one of them missed the Dilley Road turn. Using my outdoor voice, I yelled until some of them started to turn around.

Tried to get a picture of the Montinore Vineyards grape vines with their wonderful fall coloration. My camera battery said nope, not going. I think this battery has a recycling in its future.

South on Hwy 47, where my waterbottle cage decided to come off - this is the adjustable plastic one; the screw heads are now the same size as the hole. I shoved it back on, but by then the pack was off ahead.

So, solo riding all the way into Cherry Grove, stopping to reseat the water bottle cage a couple of times; mulling over roadside fixes. A ziptie (which I did not have) would be best, followed by tying it on with cord, which I did have, and my multitool did have a knife blade. At least I think it does. I should check that. Rollers into Cherry Grove - I could see the pack ahead, and was closing very slowly, but not fast enough. Every dog in town was barking as I rode through, up to the info control at the church (I knew the answer to the question. I could have filled it in at the beginning and saved myself 12 miles of riding. Cheating :-) Wouldn't go there :-) ), to find Susan, doing the Secret Control thing. And she had a ziptie, too.

Secured the waterbottle cage, took off my jacket, and headed back out, passing the last few riders coming in.

Right on Bates Rd, into Gaston, at this point searching for publicly accessible plumbing. Found a blue room on Main; locked, but there were open ones at the park a block further along. Chatted with Jane, of the hand and foot powered recumbent.

Off again, then south on Spring Hill, working my way over the 2 or 3 biggish hills to the next control at Laughlin Rd. There was a brief hailstorm just at the intersection with Flett Rd. The control was staffed by Mike Rasmussen and his mom, and had hot soup, hot coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, cookies and chips. The bulk of the group was there; Jason and Peg were working their way though some soup.

I got my card stamped, and a cup of soup. Sal took a picture of me in my hot pink and Peg in her fluorescent orange Showers Pass jacket - "I'm documenting that randos do not always wear muted colors".

Slurped though the soup as quickly as possible, ate a banana and some chocolate, visited with Amy and Jack, and then Jason and I headed out on Laughlin Rd. Amy and Jack passed us (tandem). Laughlin Rd goes through some hills; vineyard and forests, pretty much, then opens up, still climbing gently to SR 240. Rescued Amy and Jack from an incorrect turn at the corner of Laughlin and SR 240. Into Yamhill, where I spotted a blue room by a barn (Jason was wanting a stop), then south on Hwy 47 to Carlton. Stopped to pull my jacket back on; it was starting to rain. Rolling country, farms and vineyards here.

South past some more wineries, then left through Carlton (retro little town, lots of tasting rooms there, too), out again into the countryside (open, rolling), then south on Mineral Springs Rd. Bits of forest, but mostly fields and vineyards. The drizzle stopped somewhere along here.

Waited a bit for a break in traffic, then turned left on 99W into Lafayette; finding a small group at Bob's Market. We needed a receipt or signature here. The cashier was Korean. No English. As I wasn't the first rider she'd seen that day, though, she had it figured out. It helps to buy something at the store - I got a Reese's Fastbreak candy bar, and inhaled it right there in the parking lot. I don't think I ate or drank enough on this ride - I was dragging way too much on the last 23 miles.

Through Lafayette, north on Bridge/Abbey (I contemplated stopping for fruitcake, but remembered we had lots of leftover pie at home), Kuehne roads. One mental giant in an old dirty gray Suburban sort of vehicle felt the need to yell and throw an open, full soda can at us. Good thing his aim was exceptionally poor.

Left on Ribbon Ridge Rd, left on North Valley. Jason is getting annoyed by my rear fender rattle. It needs one more bolt, or something - it rattles in the bridge. We stop by a wetlands to stretch, then proceed on north. All autopilot now. Pass Laughlin Rd, pass Chehalem, pass Main. The toe warmers are approaching the end of their useful life. Gaston is visible on the left, then we pass it. Down around the corner, over the creek, up again, pass through the Fisher Farms nursery area (I know this area in my sleep now), knowing that the Fern Hill turn is up ahead, around the corner skirting the hills in front of us.

Onto Fern Hill, pass Blooming-Fernhill Rd, climb to the red barn (last hill!), down to the wetlands, through Forest Grove... done. We put away the bikes, change our shoes, and head in to finish. Cecil is there, too, yay!

Beth finishes up our cards, and we head down to soak in the hot pool before the dinner. Fitz sends me a text message that he AND Brian are coming out for the dinner. Amy and Jack join us at our table, plus there is a lot of visiting around.

After getting home, I had second dessert :-)

Pictures here

Friday, November 23, 2007


Thought I'd get out for a short ride today (the Wine Country Populaire is tomorrow), just to work off some of the pie.

What with dawdling, reading the paper, going by Team Estrogen (and lowering company productivity completely for at least a half hour), and shopping for furniture, eating lunch (turkey, of course), and putting new cleats on the new shoes, well, it was about 3pm before Fitz, Jason and I set out on the Council Crest Loop.

I had on a heavy Descente jersey and a Shebeest WindPro vest, plus gloves, leg warmers, my new Pearl Izumi Gore-Tex cycling shoes (stay tuned to hear how they do in rain), and a cap. This was all fine up to the summit of Council Crest (my, pretty almost-sunset there...), but the descent down to Fairmount was a bit chilly. Turned on my lights on the summit.

Riding around Fairmount was fun - the new pavement is wonderful. However, the temperature was dropping. My core was fine. My feet were doing their slow turning-into-iceblocks activity (chemical foot warmers tomorrow, yes indeed). I pulled the mitten covers over my fingers (Descente Wombats). That sort of helped.

After Fairmount (and the fun climb at the end of it), it is pretty much downhill to home. The temperature was dropping like a stone, too, as the sun set.

Whoo. Put on the teapot as soon as I walked in the door, and piled on all my warm, fuzzy clothes!

Notes for tomorrow: heavy jersey, vest, cap, shell jacket over, leg warmers, Shebeest capris over them and the shorts, toe warmers, booties. Wool liner gloves. Thermos of hot gatorade tea. Should get that ready now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Racing the Leaves to Work

We had a nice NE wind this morning. The first mile of my commute is uphill, today with a headwind.

Then I turned the corner and found myself at 17mph, without pedaling. Nice. The leaves were blowing off trees and all around me; I found myself racing them along the roads.

Riding through Cedar Hills, I saw my very favorite trucks - the water department's leaf sweepers, removing the huge piles of leaves from the road.

It isn't clear if the wind has turned yet. Weather Underground shows it going every which way. A tailwind on the way home is always welcome.

Got to see the full effect of the Park Way hill road remodel (aside from that it has gotten a little narrower) the other night - with the new roadside trees and the new streetlights (to say that it used to be a black-hole-dark stretch of road understates it) the approach looks rather like the entrance to Rivendell.

I'm trying to decide if riding the new, wide sidewalk up the hill would be the safer choice (once the leaves are gone, of course). The road pinches in just before it goes to 2 lanes. Generally I'm fine, until I hear the distinctive Tri-Met bus engine behind me, and then it gets very crowded. There is rarely anyone using the sidewalk at the time I ride home. But would I be giving in? Or abdicating my right to use the road? Does my need for inner serenity override the principle of the thing?

Monday, November 12, 2007

And It Shall Benefit Your Children...

Fitz reports back that he had a tour of Brian's Senior Project Lab. (brief refresher: Brian is in his 4th year of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oregon State. Not that he'll graduate this year - he's got two 6 month internships and a few more quarters of classwork past 4 years)

Brian has a cube. Just like the Real World. I'll have to send him some Despair posters. I expect he's already got a wall of xkcd cartoons.

But wait! He's got his own Tektronix TDS Oscilloscope. To be precise, the very one that Fitz was the Software Project Lead, and I was the Translation/Usability Lead.

(and you can guess who he calls when he needs an oscilloscope hint. I like it when he announces to his engineering lab "I'll call my MOM. SHE'LL know how to do it!" I did, too :-) )

The Handmade Bike Show and Other Stuff

No big rides this past weekend. I didn't even commute all last week; I just felt really crummy.

Saturday we helped Rebecca and Jessica unload the moving truck. Their dogs were definitely uneasy about this moving stuff. Chance (the pug, who I am convinced is not burdened by anything more complex than the autonomous nervous system) was definitely stressed. He was whining in the backyard (I'm told he did this the entire drive from Salt Lake), until they tied him up in the garage so he could supervise.

Sunday I put a new chain on Bleriot (ABOUT TIME, says Mechanic Mark), and a new blinkie (Planet Bike Superflash), because I always feel the need for refreshed illumination about this time of year. Then I rode over to the Handmade Bicycle Show, where I saw Beth, Joel, John O, and Jonathan M.

Had a nice conversation with Bill Davidson (Mr. Davidson Bicycles, cool!), and with Natalie (Sweetpea Bicycles). Bill was amused that we rode to the show. Heck, less than 9 miles round trip, and on the west side. Of course I'd ride! Don't people in Seattle ride to this sort of stuff?

Tried not to drool on all the gorgeous bikes. I was under firm instructions to NOT come home with another bicycle, so I had to settle for a Sweetpea Bicycles cap. Maybe in a couple of years. I was taking notes.

I did pick up the UBI class brochure. I could instead spend 2 weeks in Ashland learning how to braze my very own lugged steel frame. Brazing is sort of like soldering on steriods. I do know how to solder :-)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Three Prairies 200km Permanent, Director's Cut

ok, not so beat-up tired now...

There were meant to be three of us on this ride, but the instigator managed to put herself on injured reserve before the ride. So Rickey and I traded emails trying to determine a meet-up place. Not helped that he knows his way around that part of Newberg and I don't. We eventually settled on McDonald's, and we'd proceed from there.

Made sandwiches, planned wardrobe, fed my company dinner, and went to bed. In theory, coming off daylight savings time, I'd get an extra hour of sleep. What it meant is that I frittered away another hour before going to bed.

Mm. 5am. Up, dressed, eating, out the door by 5:47am, only 2 minutes behind schedule. Found Rickey at the Newberg McDonald's, sitting down to a breakfast that only McD's can provide. He ate. I watched.

Then over to the public parking (a few blocks west of the library on 99W, now we all know), to effect our departure. We were quickly assembled, and rode over to the ATM to get our starting timestamped receipt, 6:59am

Then out of Newberg on 99W. Mmm. Newberg and Dundee should be ashamed, painting the bike lane symbol along the side of the road. Varying pavement levels across the lane, and an amazing amount of trash and such. Some traffic, not too much. After 6+ miles of that, we turned left onto SR-18, then got off to go through Dayton.

I got to see the Dayton blockhouse (relocated on the route), plus point out the Joel Palmer House to Rickey. A fabulous restaurant, if you like wild mushrooms. Best done on someone else's nickel, though.

The fog, starting to collect in Newberg, had set in by earnest now. Or, to quote Rickey: "I'm sure there is scenery, we just can't see it". Then the long stretch to Amity. A road sign: "Amity, 5 miles". A few miles later... "Amity, 5 miles".

We passed through Amity without stopping, heading south on 99W to the Bethel Rd intersection. There was a nice bit just before, with tall trees reaching over on either side of the road, with the fog swirling around. It was condensing on my helmet and mirror, with continual drips from both of them. My booties were shiny wet, but my feet stayed dry.

Then on to Bethel Road. Nice pavement, no traffic. Perrydale Rd, more fog, and stair-step climbing. (This was advertised as a remarkably flat route). Crossed a busy road, more climbing. Eventually we summitted a hill and found ourselves in Dallas.

Stopped at McD's for snacks and a receipt. Their cash registers were still on Daylight Savings Time. Oh well. Our RBA will work it out.

Then out on Ellendale, where I saved Rickey from a wrong turn - the main road goes left, but we had to stay right to get back onto 99W in Rickreall.

(For those of you who have read SM Stirlings Dies the Fire trilogy, it all happens right here)

12+ miles on 99W, mostly climbing. I know this defies the laws of physics, because it felt like we climbed most of the way to Dallas, but there you are. Decent shoulder, so it was ok. Even better, the pea-soup fog began to lift. By the time we returned to Amity, there were blue patches in the sky.

Back to Newberg the same way we came. We did do the first 100km in just under 5 hours.

Off to the Coffee Cottage for receipts (their cash register was off by 30 minutes, go figure), and snacks - a scone and big bottle of juice for me. Then back to the cars to pick up our lights and put on lighter outerwear.

Now heading south east out of Newberg, through the nice part (old houses), then onto Hwy 219, crossing the Willamette River on a bridge with a highly inadequate guardrail and very fast traffic. Saved Rickey from another wrong turn at the corner of Champoeg and French Prairie. South on French Prairie for many miles, stopping my friend Don's driveway to lighten up the clothes some more, as it had warmed up quite a bit.

Then left on St Louis Road, following it all the way into Gervais (more urban renewal completed, 4th Street is restored; looks nice), thence on to Mt Angel. A bit of tricky riding up a curvy hill with cars really wanting to pass. I pulled over and let them. Lots of ups and downs here, then I could see the abbey (plays a supporting role in Dies the Fire trilogy) and we were in Mt Angel. Found the market and deli (I don't think I'd eat the food), bought a candy bar and got another receipt (still on daylight savings time). Note: the Food 4 Less is no longer in business.

We figured we make a lighting decision at some point past Gervais. It was still quite bright, but the sun really drops this time of year. We had fun riding DOWN the curvy hill part, then it pretty much went back to flat, flat, flat. Still light in Gervais, so we kept going. Somewhere on Arbor Grove we thought we'd pull over and apply lighting and reflective gear. The dog on the adjoining property was pretty excited by our presence.

We then had the same discussion at the corner of 219 and Arbor Grove that we had on the 300km. Note for future - go left, then right again on Arbor Grove! No need to discuss it again. Then the counter-intuitive right on the St Paul Hwy, left on Case Rd. Rickey flew up the hills - I didn't know he did that. I had to start attacking them too, just to keep him in sight! The sun was definitely getting low by this point. Gorgeous sunset through the line of tall trees on the left just before Champoeg Park (you know, the climb with the barn on the right). All the sheep were up by the fence, making sheep sounds. Past Champoeg, right onto Champoeg Rd.

Rickey's reflective gear made him very visible in the rapidly fading light. Right onto Hwy 219 (don't hit me don't hit me don't hit me I really don't like riding that stretch not at all the guardrails pinch in and the bridge is scary....)

Then the left onto Wynooski; fortunately a big break in the traffic, whew! A quiet finish through Newberg, then back to the ATM for our finish time receipt. We can at least trust the banks to have the correct time :-)

10:53 elasped time; one minute longer than the Birkie 200km last spring.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Three Prairies 200km Permanent

Short version: done.

VERY foggy morning, cleared off by the time we got back to Newberg. Sunny afternoon. Rickey and I finished just before 6pm (started at 6:59am), in the very dim. Ok. dark.
More later, maybe.

I know we rode on Howell Prairie and French Prairie, but never figured out what the third prairie was.

Flat. Well, not completely, no.

Verboort Populaire 2008

First, it is ALL about the sausage :-)

Carrying capacity of the Carradice Barley

That said, the weather was OUTSTANDING! Last year it poured the whole time. What a contrast.

I collected Beth at the Sunset Transit Center, then Jason from his house, and we arrived with plenty of time to visit with everyone. Much admiring of Lesli's and Beth's new rides (Rivendells, naturally :-) ) I must say, Lesli's tires look really new and clean.

Cecil and Jason at the start

Beth and Michael at the start

Lesli and Diane at the start

Cecil and I had talked it up with the Team Bag Balm crowd, so there was a nice showing there, all in herdwear.

Jason and I placed our take-home sausage orders with Barbara O (thank you!), and then headed out, slightly behind everyone else.

I passed through a group on Cornelius-Schefflin; Diane and Jason had zipped on ahead. We arrived at Longbottom's in no time at all, it seemed. Got my card signed; hung around a brief bit, then took off with Diane and Jason. We kept wondering when the Velo would find us. Sort of like looking for the posse in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

As we approached the next control, we could see them approaching from behind - ziiip! swooooosh! zoooooom! and the Hammer and Nails group was gone. Us randos stood around, discussed the correct answer to the info control ("one double door? two doors"), and traded use of the pencil for a small candy bar, and socialized some more.

Nate and Lesli at the second control

First Control

Then off toward Shadybrook, North Plains, then Mountaindale, and the staffed control (food!) at the end of the Dairy Creek/Fern Flat out-and-back. Joel and I talked about his PBP experience and Schmidt SON dynohubs. I had a nice companionable ride on the out -long conversation with Lesli, then Ray. The scenery was fall-perfect; helped to take my mind off that I really was climbing the whole time, and working hard to keep going with everyone else.

Then the control, with Andrew, Susan, Fritos, getting my card signed, two muffins, and refilling my water bottle. And putting on some chemical toe warmers; feet were getting cold. Visited with Tim, in his nifty new Bike Gallery wool jersey.

Then back out, downhill most of the way. The sun was shining, and I was starting to warm up. Diane, Jason and I pulled over at the Mountaindale Store to do a clothing adjustment - I switched from a jacket to a vest, took off my wool cap, and changed to a less-warm glove configuration. Jack and Amy (on Jack's Jack Taylor tandem) stopped to chat for a bit. I finally started taking pictures here.

Diane on Dairy Creek

Diane, Amy, and Jason at the corner of Mountaindale

Then west some more, crossing Hwy 26 at Frogger Junction, west some more, north to Banks, west on Cedar Canyon, past the fall foliage, wetlands full of geese, the big hill covered with geese, and the turn onto Jack Rd and then Hwy 6. Up Stafford, then onto Strohmayer, where Diane and I needed to take lots more pictures of the sun coming through the fall leaves in the plum orchard, and the haze over the hills and... Jason said he'd wait for us at Love's Barn, and took off.

Fall Haze on the hills

Strohmayer Rd

Sunlight through the plum orchard

More pictures there :-)

Love's Barn Since 1905

Then east on Kemper/Osterman, and finally arriving at Verboort. Cecil greeted us and pointed us to the official end control. We checked in, then went to wait in line for our sausage dinner. The line was really long. Last year we just walked up. Shows you what excellent weather can do. After waiting for 30 minutes (we DID stretch), with a long wait still looming, I noticed a fellow Portland Velo member almost ready to get to place his order at the drive-up window. I quickly got money from Jason and Diane, and drove through with him. Five minutes later, I had our dinners in hand :-)

We walked back around to the control, where we happily stuffed ourselves full. Then we got our sausage orders from the cooler, and coasted back to the Grand Lodge.

Diane went home; Jason and I had our post-ride soak in the hot pool. Soaked a bit, stretched in the pool, soaked some more, then we headed out. Found Beth in the parking lot, so she had a ride back to the MAX with us.

Came home, invited my parents to dinner, and cooked more sausage...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Candy Corn

I like candy corn. I usually see it in units of 2 or 3 pieces. Today, a co-worker came in with a jar with 634 pieces of candy corn - she won it with the closest guess at her son's daycare.

I'm wondering if it is possible to eat too much candy corn. Not so far.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Incline leg press - 300lbs
My run today felt like a run, not a plod.

You know those hard foam roller things, that you can use to work the lactic acid out? I've used them, to no perceptible gain. Last night, my legs were just so achy and sore, I dragged the roller out and used it. It really worked this time!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The garage is painted


I really am going to paint the garage...

As I'm planning to be riding all next weekend, have to get the points in this weekend :-)

Looking south from Skyline School

SO, yesterday was the Portland Velo ride, then I came home and primed the garage. Looks better than it has EVER (and we've lived in this house since 1980).

Fitz was golfing today, and I was going to paint. You'd think there was a paint color called "Garage", and you'd just go to Home Depot and buy it. No. The Architect-in-Residence (for another couple of weeks) thinks it should be a light green. Or a gray. Or a terra-cotta. I'm for plain white - the garage needs all the brightening it can get. So, Fitz went to Home Depot this morning. The ceiling will be white. The walls will be Navaho White.

And with best intentions, yesterday evening, I checked my email. Partner-in-cycling-adventures Cecil was up for a bike ride (gee, what a surprise). After letting her know that I could't go for a long one, we agreed to meet at my house at 10:30 and do "something".

And such a nice day for a "something", too. We crossed over Hwy 26 at the pedestrian bridge, and climbed up to Skyline via 119th/McDaniel/Laidlaw. Brief stop at the development with the street names "Appellate Way" and "Supreme Ct", for Cecil to get some pictures. Then west on Skyline to Old Cornelius Pass. I have NEVER seen so many cyclists riding on Skyline in one day. It seemed that every cyclist in the area was up there!

Glorious view from Skyline School.

Then crossing Cornelius Pass (very scary. I'd sooner cross Hwy 26 at Frogger Junction!) and down Old Cornelius Pass, then west on Phillips, stopping to admire the cute baby llamas in the llama herd.


Cecil taking a picture of the cute baby llama

Fall Foliage, Phillips Rd

South on Helvetia. Note to self - do not be anywhere NEAR Helvetia Rd the weekend before Halloween. Every person not riding a bike has gone to the Roloff's pumpkin patch (yes, the Little People, Big World folks) and is driving too fast on Helvetia, which is two lanes, no shoulder, and ditches. Pretty much ok they rest of the year.

A stop at Longbottom's (pumpkin pecan scone to share), then east on Evergreen (second scariest part of ride - going through the shopping center), south on 173rd, east on Walker, cutting over to get into the neighborhood north, after 153rd. And then home, the usual way.

Now I've got a bike store errand, then I'll paint... Really.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Portland Velo Fall Colors Ride

I wish I had taken my camera...

From the summit of Plumlee, we could look to the south, and see the pond, vineyards turned fall gold, deciduous trees in a variety of colors, plowed fields, and nursery stock in strips of gold, orange and red.

Riding through the Fernhill Wetlands, we saw a heron flying just above the waterway.

Berryfields on Hornecker all glowing red-gold.

The sky was brilliant fall blue. NICE day for a ride!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Aqua-Cyclist Ride

Portland Velo had an easy 35 mile out and back on Dairy Creek Rd today. Cecil and I (both aqua-cyclists, who ride aqua bicycles) thought we'd do it, riding to the start.

Met Cecil heading down to my house (guess she got to the meet point first). It was raining. The forecast was rain, downpours, rain, rain, rain... And high 40's-low 50's. Ooooh, perfect.

Headed west; my right foot was starting to get a bit damp. Hmm. New booties, too. Forded Lake Evergreen. The water was probably almost up to my bottom bracket. Feet went into the water, pedaling (slowly). So now both feet were wet. Arrived at Longbottom's to find an empty parking lot, and John saying: "folks are inside. The ride has been called off." Cecil wanted something hot to drink, so we went in. Goodness, those Portland Velo folks look nice in their matching breakfast outfits. A group of 10 came by, and then left for the ride (race team, I think) We did some Showers Pass jacket endorsements. After assuring everyone that, yes, we WERE in fact riding, and having some coffee and a bit of scone (and wringing out gloves and socks), we started out.

(Rickey, we MISSED you!)

It was a nice ride. Kent A joined us for awhile as we headed up Dairy Creek Rd, but took off when I stopped to eat at the turn around. The fall colors on Dairy Creek are looking good; don't know how much longer they'll last.

Headed back out Dairy Creek, then pulled over at the (defunct) store to put on dry gloves. Cecil thought she'd wring everything out at the point, and Mike G came by as we were lightening our socks and gloves. Our shoes were sopped, but we couldn't squeeze them out. Pulled on dry gloves, and continued east.

Stopped at Longbottom's briefly, only to run into Fitz (!) who had just dropped Brian off at Hillsboro Stadium for the marching band competition (poor kids). Off again, heading home.

We elected to turn left in front of Nike to get off Walker Rd - lots of traffic, heavy rain, and bike lanes full of tree debris and wet leaves.

Cecil and I concluded that we are a very bad influence on each other, and hope it will continue for a good long time. We do much stupider stuff together than we ever would separately.

Up the Park Way hill, then I turned off to go home, and Cecil headed out for her last 10 miles.

Epilog: 55.7 miles. Hot shower, very tingly toes. Hot soup.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Replaceable parts

My Lemond Zurich is approximately 270 miles shy of 10,000 miles. In that time, it has had 2 chains, a rear hub overhaul, and tires and tubes. That's it.

I was starting to wonder a bit about the integrity of the rims. A few folks took a look; recommendations were varied. (Wheelsets are Not Cheap).

As it also needed a new seatpost bolt and a bar-end plug, I rode it over to Bike Gallery in Beaverton for those little bits, and to get an expert reading on the wheels.

We started out with the easy stuff - a bolt for my seatpost clamp and Buzz Kills to replace the bar-end plugs, along with a conversation with Marc M, fellow aqua-cyclist from Portland Velo.

Then Mark P (my go-to bike mechanic at BG) took a look at the rims. Marc M was "you got 10,000 miles on your wheels?" Mark P - "these are pretty worn", plus comments about catastrophic failures on a ride (one in a year is plenty, thank you!), etc, etc. Plus the chain was worn, and a new cassette (also original) would probably not be a bad idea.

They had some Bontrager Race specials - complete wheels with tires and tubes, for a very good price. We figured my original Bontrager Race Lites were now the Bontrager Race :-) The wheels looked identical, so if anything, it was a slightly different rim.

As I rode over, the work would have to be done there, or I'd have to bring the bike back. Mark had time, so I sat and adjusted my helmet straps, and he swapped everything out. I did have my Conti GP 4 Season tires put on the new rims - no need to use the new tires until I'd worn out the old ones.

Then I got the standard lecture on "you need new brake pads", which I promised to put on this afternoon :-), and your shift cable is fraying (ok, new one of those, too).

Off to swap the brake pads for Kool-Stop dual compound ones...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

On Persistence

stubborness. endurance. persistence. 99.9% slow-twitch muscles.

There have been two rando rides recently, where riders generally much faster than me have started, but not finished. It has been mentioned, "well, if Lynne can do it..." with the unspoken subtext "anyone can do it" or "it can't be THAT hard".

Birthday Cake at Maggie's

Today I offered to lead the Portland Velo sub-17 B ride. Distance of about 35 miles, no hills to speak of. I hadn't been feeling well this week, so this ride was just right.

We had a good crowd, maybe 12 of us. It was foggy and in the high 40's. Caught Jason bombing down Evergreen trying to catch the group in front of us (a little late departing from home, there). Standard escape route from Longbottoms - Evergreen, Sewell, Meek, then west on Scotch Church, which has no shoulder until it becomes Zion Church, north on Kerkman... Chatted some with Amber. Turns out we know at least one person in common. I drifted to the back to see how our last riders were doing. One wasn't feeling that great - she'd been sick, and the air was pretty cold. The other two were deep in conversation. We regrouped at St Francis in Roy, where one rider elected to call for a lift home. We waited until she'd contacted someone, then headed off, still going west, out Greenville to Kansas City. And, on the last grade up to Kansas City Rd... my front tire went flat. Many hands make a flat change move right along. :-)

There was some agitating to not stop at Maggie's Buns. I mentioned that I needed at least a BRIEF stop. They thought they'd let me do that.

Rollers on Kansas City/Thatcher, then through the new street into Forest Grove.

Maggie came out to greet us. Rickey called out Happy Birthday! She said she had a surprise for us, because she had a bakery and never got a birthday cake. Well, this year, she did have one, and it was much too big for her to eat herself; would we help? After a round of Happy Birthday (no candles), we all dug in, even the folks that didn't want to stop :-) Chocolate-Raspberry Cake. Yumyumyumyumyum.

Aren't the long route and fast riders who couldn't be bothered to stop going to be sorry!

Uneventful standard return to Longbottom's, where Rickey bludgeoned persuaded everyone to buy the Kid's Coffee special, and we all enjoyed a post-ride coffee.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Oregon Randonneurs Bingen Bikefest 200km

The last Or Rando brevet of 2007 is the Bingen Bikefest, organized by John K. A lovely little 200km romp through Bingen, Goldendale, Glenwood, Trout Lake, White Salmon, and back to Bingen.

a well-fed cyclist is a happy cyclist

I tried to rationalize NOT cleaning my bike, and just dumping some lube on the chain, but it was dirty, and the weather forecast (all of them; I looked at several) promised mass quantities of rain. So the bike got a bath, and a fresh coat of Finish Line Cross-Country on the chain, for the projected wet conditions. Packed food, packed 2 extra changes of gloves and socks, plus a wool undershirt, just in case.

I wore a wool jersey, shorts, PI leg warmers, Ibex wool armwarmers, Shebeest bike capris, wool socks, shoes, wool cap, Showers Pass jacket and Descente Wombat gloves - it if wasn't raining too much, they are good gloves for the projected 40s-50s temperatures.

Rickey picked me up at 5am. We made excellent time driving out to Bingen, so cooled our heels in the McDonald's parking lot until they opened at 6:30, then went in. I had already eaten, so I just had juice and a hashbrown; Rickey went for the full breakfast.

Over to Daubenspeck Park a few blocks away. Andrew and Cecil were already there. We started assembling and picked up our cue sheets and brevet cards. More visiting around with David R, Sal O, and others. Then it was a few minutes before 8; John gave the pre-ride talk, and off we went. Or tried to. My battery had slipped down, and I was trying to move it back up, and my helmet mirror got caught in my brake cable... Cecil just about fell over laughing. Oh well.

So, off, heading east on SR-14. We had an AMAZING tailwind, so I got to enjoy the sunrise over over the river, without wind noise in my ears, and with speeds of 17-20mph with little or no effort. Even the climbs were not difficult. I was leapfrogging Paul, Nat (on his first 200k) and Tim, the mechanic at Bike Gallery, the first 34 miles. Bleriot rolled over 2000 miles somewhere along there, so I stopped and took a few pictures. A little further along, I realized I was way too hot in all those clothes, so I pulled off the arm and leg warmers, and wool cap, and swapped my gloves for short finger gloves. MUCH better!

Sunrise in the Columbia River Gorge

Bleriot at 2000 miles

After much up and down, we climbed up above Wishram (cool to look down on it) and stayed up, shortly thereafter to turn north on US-97. There was a convenience store with a bathroom, but the line was much too long. Sal, Cecil and Andrew were leaving as I came in. I refilled my hydration pack, and headed up 97.

Remember that wonderful tailwind? It turned into a crosswind of outstanding ferocity. Keeping the bike upright and headed in the proper direction was a real challenge. It was a steep climb as well. So. Speeds of sub 5mph. I could SEE cyclists above me, but I never got any closer. If this was going to keep up for the next 60-70 miles, it was going to be a LOOOOONG day. US-97 is a major truck route as well. There was a very decent shoulder, but I'd still pull over and stop to let some trucks pass - I did not feel I could control my bicycle sufficiently under those conditions.

Colorful gully on the dry side

Finally summitted and headed north to Goldendale. The wind was still majorly crosswise, but the road was at least sort of flat and straight. I only had to brace when semis went by, to avoid getting buffetted off the road.

Left into Goldendale, and the first control (45.4 miles) as Cecil and Andrew were leaving. I bought a big Reese's FastBreak bar, got my card signed, and ate my sandwich. Rickey thought he'd wait and ride with me, so I didn't dawdle. It had cooled off a bit, so I put my hat and heavier gloves back on. Rickey told me that Cecil said I looked pretty bad. After interrogating Cecil today, she SAID my face was all red. Well, it was. Windburn. My cheeks always get red. I was FINE thank you!

East again, into the headwind. We rode through Goldendale proper, passing a Victorian-looking house that was a museum, with a nifty little steam engine out front. Rickey and I plodded along, eventually catching up with Sal. As Sal said: "nice day for a ride, if you want to go 8mph". After 11 miles of open-range headwind, we turned onto the Glenwood Highway, which started climbing (negative rollers, or stair-steps, if you prefer), and turned into forest. The headwind was still there, but not as fierce. The three of us caught up with Peg, who was pulled over doing a clothing adjustment, and the 4 of us continued on, sort of together. We split up because of the climbing, but were never more than a minute or two of distance apart.

Then there was the most amazing river canyon on the right, which turned out to be the Klickitat River. And glory, glory we got to DESCEND! Whee! I did pull over once to take pictures. The descent had nice turns and was not too steep, so I enjoyed it the entire way down.

klickitat river canyon

Of course, what goes down must come back up, so more stair-step climbs. Rickey, Peg and Sal had all gone by while I was taking pictures, but I found them all again on the climb. On the level spots, I'd ride no-hands and munch on my candy bar.

Did I mention that rain was not seen at any point during the day?

Coming into Glendale we passed a beautiful lake on the left, and wetlands on the right. I stopped just outside of Glendale to get a picture of Mt Adams.

Mt Adams

Rickey came into view just then, so we rode into Glendale, to find the next control, the Shade Tree Inn (81.2 miles, 3:15pm). I was very organized; got my card signed, refilled my water (and not a moment too soon, I was down to a swallow), got more hot water in my thermos for the second batch of Gatorade Tea, and ate half a sandwich and a banana. Off to find the Trout Lake Farm. Only 20 miles away, but there was another climb in there. Rode through more forest, past lakes and wildlife refuge.

Caught up to Sal just before what appeared to be the climb. And a climb it was - another of those stair-step climbs. We'd summit, and think this is it, then go around another corner and... Yeah. Then a fun little downhill, and off to find Trout Lake Farm and the third herb on the sign. Duly accomplished, we then set off for the Trout Lake Store, the last control. Another gradual uphill with the headwind in our faces. It was an out-and-back, and Andrew and Cecil were on the way back as we started. They had really big smiles. Didn't know why.

4.3 miles along, we found the store, and got our cards signed (5:22pm?, 101.2 miles). Then, figuring not to make another stop, we pulled on any extra clothing (leg and arm warmers for me) and all our reflective gear and lighting. Peg pulled up somewhere in there, and another rider came in and left quickly - he had no lights and had to get back before sunset. Sal didn't have any either; he and Rickey swapped stuff around so they were all legal. Says Rickey: "I have two words - heated seats". Now there was incentive...

Then we found out why Andrew and Cecil were smiling. Slight downhill, amazing tailwind. We zipped back out of there with speeds between and 18 and 24mph. 10 miles down the road in BZ Corner, we made a pit stop. Some folks in a car wanted to know what the ride was about, so we told them. They thought it was pretty cool. Off again, in the dimming light. I asked Rickey if we could stop at the McDonald's on the way out. He thought that was an EXCELLENT idea. More incentive.

Less than 10 miles to go. I should have studied the elevation profile a little more closely. Right around Husum, we went UP again. Little soul-sucking climbs in the fading light, with lots of auto traffic with blinding headlights. Seemed like it went on forever.

Then finally, we entered White Salmon (still climbing), then the downhill - steep, twisty through the town, lots of blinding headlights, then into Bingen. I lost Rickey and Sal, as I did not want to descend that quickly with my vision compromised (I can see perfectly well with no oncoming traffic. I see a generator hub and a B&M Lumotec IQ Fly Senseo headlight this winter, I do. 40 Lux.)

Finally go to the bottom. Rickey and Sal were there. I'm glad they were, because my stupid brain wanted me to turn left, because I thought White Salmon was on SR-14. But we'd already entered Bingen... We went the few blocks to the right, turned right again, and finished. (126.36 miles. 7:22pm).

All in all, John K. said it was 6000 vertical feet of climbing. Seemed we spent most of the day doing that :-) With a headwind :-)

Got our cards signed and turned in, loaded up the bikes, met Sal's wife, and headed off the few blocks to McDs.

While enjoying our respective dinners, I was watching a couple of motorcyclists assemble themselves for their ride home. Lots of leather, beads, patches, and some weird turtle neck things and ear cover things. The bald guy looked just like Darth Vader before he put his helmet on. And I thought cyclists had to do lots of clothing assembly :-)

The back into the truck, with the heater on high and the heated seats on high. Aaaaaahhhhh.

A few more pictures are here:
and Cecil's pictures are here:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Weekend Rides, Portland Velo and Livestrong

Saturday was the Portland Velo ride. Everyone who was going to ride with me somehow did not show up, but Rickey did, so I mostly rode with Rickey, Linda, and Sam. We had a great stop at Maggie's, where Linda and I split a sticky bun, plus I got the gooey centers of a few others :-)

It was foggy, and trees and nursery stock are starting to turn.

Fall colors on LaFollette Rd

The afternoon was descending into the 10th circle of hell that is the Cell Phone Store, but then on to a way fun party for our Portland to Coast Walking Team. But home early because the next morning was:


I had volunteered to be a riding course marshal; we were to meet at Nike at 6:45am. Nike being all of 3 miles from the house, I was riding there, detouring by Jason's to leave my single bike and get on the tandem. Cecil and I were meeting at the usual place at 5:45am. It was...raining. Not a nice little drizzle. Not an annoyingly persistent mist. No. Buckets. I had planned for this, and had on all my best raingear, plus a pair of allegedly waterproof socks. Seemed like a good day to test them.

I got to the top first, and listened to the rain pound the building under construction across the street. It was very dark. After a few minutes, I saw some blinding headlights emerge from the side street, and Cecil and I set out for Jason's. Maybe 15 minutes later we were there. Jason was not entirely ready, so Cecil and I amused ourselves nibbling on grapes and chatting.

Tandem out, tires pumped up, and we tried to take off. Hmm. BG did not set the seatpost back where it needed to be. Dropped the seat. Better. Off to Nike. There was an amazing lineup of cars on Walker Rd, and we weren't sure they'd notice us, so we did a 270 degree turn onto Meadow and entered Nike with the light. Got to Tiger Woods, found Linda, dumped the bikes and went inside to find John for our pre-event briefing. Met Fitz there. He was rethinking his entire clothing configuration, so I went to meet Cecil and he rode directly there.

I learned that Doug R does own raingear:

Doug Rennie in raingear

We found a helpful volunteer to get a picture of all the Portland Velo riding course marshals:

The Course Marshals, pic 2

(goodness, we are a shiny bunch)

and then headed out to our posts. Cecil, Jason and I were to ride the 70 mile course. If we hadn't been committed to that, I would have gone for the 40 mile course, what with the heavy, persistent rain. Saw lots of riders who did not look well prepared for the conditions. We stood out in the rain for another 40 minutes or so, listening to speeches and such, before they let us go. I had to explain what a course marshal did... "we are here to make sure you are all ok!" to several riders. One rider wanted to know if we'd fix her flat. Or if there would be roving mechanics. She might have had to wait awhile under those conditions. (soapbox: one should know how to change a flat AND carry the necessary equipment for doing so, before starting out on a 70 mile ride!)

Off we went. It was very slow and crowded for the first mile, kind of like STP, only much less experienced riders. There were sheriffs and local police at every major intersection, holding up traffic for us. Wow.

We stopped at the first rest stop, because Portland Velo was staffing it. Got a hug from Carlo and Mary and Genny. I knew there would be hidden coffee and hidden Maggie's baked goods, and went to find them. Monique made me up a NICE cup of coffee. I was chilly, and the waterproof socks, even with booties over them, weren't. The hands were wet, but not gone, feet were cold and wet. The rest of me was fine.

Fitz, John, Martin and Alan showed up after awhile; they were riding the 40 mile course. Then off again. The sheriffs had STOPPED traffic on Hwy 219; we could just ride across at the Burkhalter/Simpson crossing. Amazing. We thanked them profusely. We passed on the next two rest stops, and proceeded off to Hagg Lake. The traffic was stopped for us on Hwy 47 as well. Profoundly amazing. Stopped to help a woman who downshifted, lost her chain, and tipped over. She mostly needed dusting off. We leapfrogged her for quite awhile, and she kept dropping her chain. I suggested she visit the mechanic at the next rest stop and get it adjusted.

We did stop at the Hagg Lake rest stop. It was staffed by a cheery group of pirates, singing chanteys, sloshing mugs of grog, telling very bad pirate jokes, and posing for pictures. This rest stop ALSO featured Pacific Foods Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup. Excellent stuff, both warming, and tasty. Cecil and I went to visit the facilities. There was a heated hand blowdryer; Cecil tried to crawl under it:

Hey, its WARM

Then off again. Cecil's rear derailleur cable broke, so she was down to 3 speeds from 27. The next rest stop was 5 miles ahead, where she had a new one installed, and I had more soup. Back through the Fern Hill wetland, north through Cornelius, and a stop at Tim's memorial bike.

Then Long, Susbauer (for longer than usual) and Cornelius-Schefflin. C-S is still very busy, but now has a SHOULDER. Definitely an improvement. Then north on Gordon into North Plains, and the last rest stop. More soup. I changed to my spare dry gloves, and asked another rider about the efficacy of her booties. Visited with John, who was doing repeats on West Union between North Plains and Bethany Blvd. As we were toward the end, he said we could just go on in, rather than do a repeat.

West Union is fun, at least until Helvetia Rd (police stopping traffic for us again). Then it gets very busy, is narrow, and has no shoulders. It was creepy. My phone started squirming repeatedly around Laidlaw, so we finally pulled over to see what was going on. Fitz left a message - he'd finished, ridden home, gotten the van and drove back. No one needed to ride home if we didn't want to.

Turned right onto Bethany - again, a busy, narrow road, crossed over Hwy 26, left onto Cornell, right onto 158th, then south to Jay, left, and into Nike. Done! Fitz was even cheering for us at the finish - he figured we'd finish right about then. Parked the bikes, got our food tickets, got our FOOD, and found a quiet table to sit and eat. Fitz had dry shoes for me. Aaaaaahhhhhh.

Here are the happy ride marshals, now that the ride is finished:

The Ride Marshals, with Lance

Enjoyed my burger and chips and dark beer, then drank some Free Radical Scavenger. I guess all my radicals are captive now. Co-worker Ian and wife Lynn-without-an-e came by and visited for awhile. Carlo stopped by. John and family came and sat with us.

Then dropped off Jason, dropped off Cecil, and home for a very hot shower...

Cecil's pictures (ever so many more than mine) can be seen here:
complete with a pointer to her writeup.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Ever since the crash and burn last February, I've been less than diligent about pushing weights around. I can tell, too.

Today I returned to leg work. I passed on the squats, but did 3 x 10 pressing 270 lbs on the incline leg press (I'll know I'm back when I can do that with 400 lbs), plus hamstring and quad stuff. I'll do the squats or step-ups next week, perhaps.

I think I'll feel especially good tomorrow. Then Thursday we'll start in with upper body and core. Just in time for the weekend riding...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Our Summer Vacation, Telc Circle

This day was to be a loop ride, so no need to pack up. Good thing; our laundry had not yet dried.

Breakfast at the hotel, then we started riding at 9. Marian rode with us today, because only one van needed to be driven. Bohumil usually rides with us, as he does not yet have a drivers license.

Getting started, the second day in Telc

The first bit was on cobblestones, then we were quickly out of town and into the countryside. Rolling hills, villages, wheat, poppy, and corn fields. There is an extensive network of bike routes centered on Telc; we say many groups arriving, departing, and headed into pubs. We had at least one cherry tree stop, and eventually headed into Trest.

Cherry-picking by the roadside

There was a woodcarving exhibition going on, so we stopped to take a look. There was the very big (carving w/chainsaws, hammers and chisels) to the small, nativity sets and chess sets mostly. They were handing out free cups of Turkish coffee and rolls to everyone. The woman in charge was delighted to meet us.

Lynne riding

Woodcarvers' Festival in Trest

The town square had a tall pole as a sundial, with bronze disks embedded in the cobblestones marking the hours.

Sundial in Trest

We rode on maybe another km to see another castle, then rejoined the route, to get to a railroad crossing and... no road. A big construction site (not here last week, said Marian). Marian consulted with a local, then we handed our bikes down the incline and walked through, and started pedaling again. At the next intersection, I though we should go one way; everyone else did not agree. The distance and road signage agreed with me (and I kept my computer in miles, and did all the math in my head, each time). Marian came up and confirmed the route. Rando skills triumph. (and with respect, guys, I *know* my bicycle computer is calibrated to my wheel size!)

Czech bike route markers

Rode through another town, stopping to take a picture of a little dog sitting on a windowsill.

How much for that doggy in the window?

Then up through a forest to our lunch destination, Hrad Rostejn. We rode through fairytale forest to a clearing, where Bohumil and Zuzana waved us through the castle archway, into a courtyard. Lots of bike racks in alcoves (all with many bikes), a tower, a gift shop, restaurant, and picnic tables. The chapel was getting re-roofed. Castle upkeep must be expensive.

Roadside shrine

Hrad Rostejn courtyard and tower

Bleriot in the castle

Lunch was yummy, including herring and kolatches (kolaky), with poppy seed filling. We had a nice lunch with Rich and Kris.

Our picnic lunch in the Hrad Rostejn courtyard

Our picnic dessert in the Hrad Rostejn courtyard

We bought tickets to climb the tower, and enjoyed the view from up there.

Lunch in the Hrad Rostejn courtyard

Hrad Rostejn tower view

View from Hrad Rostejn tower

I should have perhaps NOT said "I don't need my jacket" after lunch. We descended down a non-auto path (challenging surface) but it was pouring. Hasty application of jacket and glove covers (Marian really liked those), and off again. Many little villages and cloudbursts.

I saw the best application of haybales and a tractor and trailer as well - two round haybales stacked, a ladder leading to the top, and a couple picking cherries. This required planning - machinery is needed to hoist those haybales.

We arrived at a crossroads to find everyone standing under a tree in the downpour. As we had good jackets (yay Showers Pass!), we pressed on. Got to the last big intersection outside of Telc, with a nice-looking church off on the right, but we were headed left. The twins pulled up, so I asked how their rain ponchos were working. "Poorly". Into Telc, around the circle, over the cobblestones (granite doesn't get slippery much. good thing), and finished for the day.

Church outside Telc

Got into dry clothes, put away the laundry, and had some pastry and coffee and strolled the square. Most of the shops were closed, as it was a 2 day holiday in honor of Cyril and Methodius, the fathers who brought the Cyrillic alphabet, the Slavonic language and the bible written in Slavonic to the area.

Touring bicycles in Telc

Fitz looking out the Telc clock tower window

Went out for pizza for dinner, joining Rich and Kris. Bohumil had come by earlier to tell us about a student recital at the Telc Music School, so we decided to go. It was quite good. The students are, oh, high school age, and from the countries in the area, as well as France, Poland and Japan.

All the pictures from this day can be found here: