Monday, May 28, 2007

Oregon Randonneurs Memorial Day Populaire

Red Clover on Cedar Canyon Rd

Rickey Smith organized a 106km populaire for Memorial Day. He promised a few roads we hadn't been on. He delivered :-)

As it was going to be a nice, dry day, I rode the Lemond. The latest adjustment was to tip the handlebars up, to eliminate the ramp down to the ergo levers. Generally flatter along the top, and much nicer.

Cecil and I planned to meet at the top of my neighborhood at 7:30am. We were both there, Cecil a little worse for wear, because some driver forced her off the road climbing through Washington Park. Scum. One can only hope that bad things come back to one threefold...

So after a little tinkering with her rear derailleur, we headed west, ending up at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse at about 8:20am, with a scheduled start of 9am. So we visited with Beth and Mike and Andrea and Rickey and Susan. We visited the gas station across the street. I was wishing I had thrown in my arm and knee warmers; it was projected to be 75 degrees, but wasn't getting there anytime soon.

Waiting to start

Ate a doughnut, checked in, got my brevet card. Shortly before 9, Rickey gave the pre-ride talk... "there is a little bit of gravel up on Carpenter Creek. Don't worry, there is a sign. It used to say dip, now it says gravel". Oh, and there was going to be a secret control. Not a secret NOW, is it?

Headed out, west on Evergreen. Cecil and I stopped to make a brief clothing adjustment - she had too much, I didn't have enough. Worked out nicely. I got to test drive the Descente leg warmers :-) As we turned onto Sewell, we noticed Del and another rider fixing a flat. They waved us on. Probably the only time in my life where I will have passed Del :-) It should be noted that he finishes the brevets in half the time I finish them in.

I had my camera along, and was planning to take pictures. Can't do that on club rides.

Lots of conversation about Cecil's impending new bicycle (the Sweetpea).

When approaching the North Rd/Gordon Rd intersection, I noticed a cute little Mini Cooper S at the stop sign that looked just like Fitz's new one. The driver looked really familiar too, so I rode over to say hello. The pickup sitting behind him wasn't in any hurry for us to move along; it was Ricky and Susan :-) Wished Fitz a good golf game and headed off.

There was some nice clover along Aerts Rd, so got a picture of Andrew in the clover. He was in his Team Bag Balm jersey, so it was very appropriate. Headed in through Banks, then west on Cedar Canyon Rd. There is hill that is covered in red clover. I was prepared to take pictures this time, and did. We then headed on toward the wetlands; Phil V. caught us - he started late, and must have been hauling to catch up. He got to catch his breath, because we stopped and took pictures at the wetlands, too.

Wetlands, Cedar Canyon Rd, Banks, Oregon

We were talking about what fun I was having with my USB turntable. Andrew wanted to know what I was doing with it... Turning all my LPs into MP3s, of course. The discussion turned to which LPs we had, and which ones I was converting. Phil: "I saw Janis Ian in concert". Later, Phil: "what are these records you keep talking about?"

West some more, then south to Hwy 6, where we had to stop at... The Secret Control! cookies, doughnuts, chips, bananas, strawberries, things to drink. Rickey signed our cards while we tanked up.

(Cecil's picture of me at the secret control)

Right on Hwy 6 (I can now say I've ridden Hwy 6 from Stafford Rd, clear out to the coast), climbing up a hill, then coasting down toward Gales Creek Rd. I saw some nice picture material, but not a safe place to stop. Then across Hwy 6 onto Gales Creek, where we turned out of the headwind that had been with us since the start. A speedy run down Gales Creek, although not fast enough for some drivers. We were all happy to turn off onto Stringtown Rd, where there were more stripey fields to take pictures of.

Then the new roads that Rickey mentioned - Carpenter Creek and Plumlee. Carpenter Creek was a nice meander past farms, meadows, and cute sheep (pictures!). We stopped at the control at the corner of Carpenter Creek and Plumlee, finding Andrew and Phil standing around, filled out our cards with the answer, then headed up Plumlee. Nice, fresh chipseal. It was a pretty climb though, and the view from the top was outstanding. As it was still chipseal, I had a very conservative descent. Plumlee gives out onto Dilley Rd, just past the barn.

Field on Carpenter Creek Road

We headed off to the next control, the store on the way to Hagg Lake, although we weren't going all the way to Hagg Lake today. After a brief stop there, filling in our cards with the required information, we headed off the last on-course control, the store in Gaston. some kind individuals left us some water and chocolate milk outside the store (Thank YOU! The chocolate milk hit the spot!), and we bought Idaho Spuds (Phil: "now I know why they are listed as one of the best 100 candy bars. I didn't know there WERE 100 candybars"), Payday (me), Wasabi potato chips (Cecil), and Fritos (Andrew).

Down Main/Gaston Rd, left on Spring Hill, left on Fern Hill, left on Geiger, working our way over to Golf Course Rd, and then along roads skirting the southern edge of Hillsboro, until we got to 231st, then north all the way to Evergreen, and back to the start.

Parked our bikes outside, went in, signed our cards and handed them over, then Cecil brought her bike inside (you've GOT to love a pub that lets you do that); Andrew and I just locked ours up. We had a very late lunch, plus fries and other pub snacks. Long conversations strategies for the upcoming 300km (I still need a kitchen pass; Cecil wants me to ride with her). Fitz finished golfing just a little too late to join us.

Finished up, and Cecil and I headed eastward, parting at the top of the hill. 87 miles for the day for me. It was a great ride!

Notes for next time:
  • take armwarmers and legwarmers ANYWAY
  • put on some sunscreen!

My pictures:

and Cecil's pictures:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Reach the Beach

Reach the Beach Finish Line
(gosh this has been a busy last few weeks!)
Yesterday was the annual Lung Assn of Oregon's Reach the Beach bicycle ride. I've done it for the past 3 years.
Jason and I planned to make it our inaugural tandem ride of the year. He's been doing short rides here and there with other stokers, but I haven't ridden it since last September. We were NOT planning to ride to the beach and back; we've already done that this year :-)

We did plan to invite our spouses to join us on the coast, stay over, and then come back the next day.

The start was moved a few miles down the road, to eliminate the initial big climb up Scholl's Ferry Road. It was also moved from a middle school with a big parking lot, to an elementary school with minimal parking. When we pulled into the neighborhood just before 7am, there were lots of puzzled looking drivers. We figured we could ride to the start, and parked on a handy side street. The owner of the adjoining house was wondering what was going on. We filled him in, and he wished us a good ride. A car pulled in behind us - I had to tell him to back up - we were pulling a tandem out of the back, and needed about 6 more feet.

Loaded our "extras" on the bike (in my case, booties, rain mitts, and extra socks), pulled on our daypacks with clean clothes and minimal shower gear - in case we beat the spouses to the coast, we wanted to be able to take a shower! Coasted down to the school, parked the bike on a handy curb, handed our bags over to the support truck... and stood in a long line for the portapotties. Visited with Dave and Edna and Marilyn. Visited with the woman in line in front of us. Checked out the crowd. Saw the shirtless wonder - young man, sneakers, baggy shorts, tie dyed doo-rag, no shirt. WE had on armwarmers, knee or leg warmers, caps, shortfinger gloves with thin wool gloves over, and jackets. It was not warm or sunny.

So, with that long line, we didn't get started until 8am. Ouch. It was cloudy and breezy, and in the low 50's. The most enjoyable part of the early bits of the ride is the enormous hill covered in red clover on Scholls-Sherwood Road. One of these years I'll get a picture, I promise.
Stopped at the first stop at the Sherwood Elks Lodge. They always have hard-boiled eggs; this year was no different. Also bananas, a Mango Clif Shot for the road and, new this year Pepperidge Farm cookies. I had a couple of Milanos go to :-) Yum. My favorite.

The route changed after this stop - rather than the completely icky part on Hwy 99 (4 lane, busy, dirty shoulders), we went out Kruger Road (lots of up, not so bad), but then some really twisty hairpins DOWN. Being the stoker, I couldn't see what was coming up, and it felt really fast. I think I've gotten a little twitchy about fast and down since the crash. Poor Jason - and he swears he was taking the corners like a little old lady.

Then finally we were out on North Valley Road - big rollers, and very familiar. A local motorcycle club was corking intersections for us - I saw a co-worker and yelled hi. I'll go by his desk and see if he figured out who it was :-)

A brief stop at the next rest stop. My goal this year was to NOT stop at every rest stop - they are spaced maybe every 12-13 miles - too much stopping!

Then off toward Lafayette, past the open barn where Rickey fixed his flat on the day I crashed, and through countryside that, well, the last time I was riding there, it was pitch black. We gave the Dayton rest stop a miss, heading off towards Amity and lunch. We had started standing back on Kruger Road, and were pleased that we remembered how. It helps get up hills faster, and makes for forward progress when we need a stretch on the flats. It also impresses the heck of of other riders. We were not going as fast as we usually do - there had been a headwind all day. Not that I noticed it much, with Jason as a windbreak, but he'd been putting up with it all day. It wasn't going to let up, either - until summer kicks in, the wind is from the west.

Arrived in Amity, left our shoes at the door, and got in line for our baked potatoes. We found Diane and visited with her before she took off, then chatted with some other riders, one of whom turned out to be the rider on the Klein who was impressed with our standing prowess.

Called home - Fitz was getting ready to go pick up his shiny new car; Jason's wife had just gotten up.

Off again, through Ballston, past the Ballston General Store (open today), through some more open country, then into Sheridan. Where we stopped again. And both crashed on the grass for a few minutes, stretching everything out. Excedrin all around, plus calling Fitz back. The car purchase was proceeding nicely. Pepperidge Farm cookies, then off to Willamina, over the stretch of really bad railroad tracks. I made Jason stop and walk over one of them. On another one, some idiot in a pickup was ignoring my DO NOT PASS NOW hand signal, so crossing THAT was tricky, he passed on the tracks so we could not angle over them.

Just before getting on Hwy 18, we decided it might be warm enough to ditch the jackets. Then the 4 or so miles on Hwy 18, with a rumble strip taking up a third of the shoulder. You might think it is ok, until you realize that you need to pass the slower cyclists...

Finally, passing through Grande Ronde, and off the highway, climbing up to the reservation. We pulled off at one point, because traffic was backed up, and a noisy Harley pilot was next to us. Once that pulled ahead, we went on. More Pepperidge Farm cookies. This ride was fueled by Milanos :-) Also a butterscotch pudding. Jason's wife was heading south from Tillamook; she'd beat us there for sure. It was getting cold again, so we pulled our jackets back on.

Then the climb to Sourgrass Summit in the Coast Range. Not a hard climb by any means, but it does go on for a few miles. Jason and I had a discussion about descending all the way up :-)

Finally summitted, and headed down. The road had been resurfaced since we rode it a month ago (yahoo), and it a NICE descent - big sweeping turns, clean surface, not too steep. So I had fun. One last rest stop (more cookies, plus a wave to Bob Heath, who was volunteering). Fitz called; he was in Pacific City, but the cell service was really thin out there, so I'm not sure I got through that we were 15 miles out still.

Then down the Little Nestucca byway, one of the prettiest stretches of road heading in from the coast. Then UP mile 92 - a steep, nasty pitch that gets you when you are just downright tired. We stood it, passing a couple of guys grinding up in their lowest gears - they had double chainrings, poor things. There is a 24 tooth granny gear on the tandem. We can climb trees, if necessary. Then we popped out in the estuary area, and could see the big rock that is in the Pacific Ocean right at the finish line. North on Hwy 101, then left on Brooten, climbing slightly for a mile or so, then into Pacific City.

We stopped at the hotel to say hi to the spouses, then headed off to the finish line. We ran into my co-worker April, who had ridden in from Amity. I had her take a picture of us. Saw shirtless wonder. I don' t know how he did it. We collected our shower bags, visited a couple of booths and then rode back to the hotel.

Hot Shower! Dinner at the Pelican Pub! Much admiring of the Shiny New Car! Falling asleep before the end of Law and Order...

Breakfast at Grateful Bread! Lots of folks in cycling jackets eating breakfast :-)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Canby Gator Grinder Triathlon, May 12

Being on vacation the week before, doing only a few (strenous) hikes and one 22 mile bike ride... fine tapering for a triathlon :-) I was SO not ready for this one. I didn't even time my swim; just went with last year's swim time (9 minutes).

So, got home Thursday, and realized I'd have to get organized for the triathlon to happen Saturday morning. The projected outdoor temperature was the dreaded low-50's. Will it be cold? Or not? Remember I'm starting off the bike ride soaking wet. Packed the usual stuff, plus knee warmers, a wind vest, and a lighter-weight long-sleeve shirt. I decided that despite the speed of putting on running shoes with velcro fasteners, I was going to do this run in my preferred running shoes.

Found the driving directions still in my bag from last year. As I wasn't carpooling this year, I got to sleep in until 6:30am, for my pre-8:30am checkin, 9:30am start time. Nice.

I arrived a little after 8, and was greeted by Renata as I walked through the transition area. She was warming up on her bike. I stopped and chatted with Nora, Lindsey, Molly, Abra, Katie... and eventually went over to get my numbers marked and set up my transition area space. Went inside to cheer Susan's swim start. Went back outside. The sound system was playing "Roxanne"; a group of us sang along.

Susan finished her swim, so we cheered her through her transition to bike. Nora's husband and middle child were also in that heat, so we cheered them on, too. Katie, also I think. More standing around, and then Jeff came flying in from his bike leg - he was the second cyclist to finish. The woman who came in after him was very admiring of his skill on the curves and downhills. That's Jeff :-) Nora's husband and son came in; had a very leisurely transition, and trotted off to start the run.

Ate a Mango Hammer Gel about 9:10.

FINALLY it was 9:20, so I wandered in to get ready for my swim. The heat before finished, and I got over to my lane - 3 big guys; I was the last position swimmer. They'd already worked out passing guidelines. Fine by me. I don't much enjoy this part - not because I'm not a more-than-decent swimmer, but racing 4 in a lane just isn't fun. I wanted to get in and swim a BIT to warm up, but they were all blocking and talking, so I didn't get into the pool until it was time to start.

Time to go. I wasn't planning to pass anyone - my strategy here is to just swim the 500 yards and move on. Passed the swimmer in front of me by the 2nd turn, and by the 3rd-to-last turn, passed the first swimmer. Got to enjoy 3 lengths of no one one front of me.

Ran out to the transition area. Nora's tip from last year of talcum powder in the cycling gloves worked well - I wasted a lot of time pulling on my riding gloves last year. Susan and Jeff had finished by then, so were cheering me on. It had warmed up enough; no extra clothing needed. Lindsey's boyfriend unracked my bike and brought it over. Nice.

The course seemed shorter than I remembered (clearly doing it the 3rd time is the charm). I had the Mocha Mocha Clif Shot just before the big hill, and had sticky fingers and hoods for the rest of the ride :-) My right inner quad was not happy during the ride; lingering aftereffect of the crash in February. Caught up and passed Lindsey on the hilly stretch. Tried to drink some Gatorade during the ride; didn't get much. Did the hard right turn onto 13th, then up the slight incline, past the running course, around the corner, and transition to the run. That's the easy transition - rack the bike, cycling sandals, gloves, helmet off, running shoes and cap on.

Out throught the school grounds (lumpy :-) ) then around the building and onto the paved surface, down the street to the turn into the neighborhood with another school; two loops around their track, then back out. The volunteers were wonderful as always - "you look awesome!" - at this point I feel vaguely like death warmed over. My head is playing little games with me, and another part is going NOT A DEMOCRACY KEEP THOSE LEGS TURNING OVER! Back up the street, turn right, a half loop on the track, try to summon a kick... I hear Susan, et al cheering me on. Cross the finish line, actually remember to stop my HRM, and get some water. 1:23:32.

We all stand around waiting for Molly, Brian, Abra, and Lindsey to finish. Abra was bound and determined to pass the folks in front of her on the track; she caught most of them! They all had very strong finishes.

Eventually we decided to head back to the locker room and get showers and eat. Jeff and Susan brought their grill and food; most of us brought more food, so we had a nice little tailgate party while waiting for the results.

results are here:

I'm in Individual Road Female 50-54. I finished 2nd in my age group, 20th out of 92 women, and 70th out of 186 overall entries.

Pictures are here:
and one more here:
(I'm on the bottom left, row 7 pic 1).
Brian is row 3 pic 3
Susan is Row 4 pic 4
Renata is Row 6 pic 2
Nora's son is Row 1 pic 1

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Snow Canyon State Park Bike Ride

Snow Canyon Scenic Overlook

There was a brief mention of the bike ride earlier; here are more details:

Just outside of St George is Snow Canyon State Park, which has sandstone formations and lava. There is a 22 mile loop from downtown St George, mostly on bike paths.

We loaded Bleriot into the car and drove to the bike shop in St George, where Fitz rented a mountain bike. We pedaled up Main, left through a traffic circle, then out on Diagnonal to intersect Bluff (and pick up the bike path), then to the Snow Canyon Parkway. We followed the bike path that paralleled the parkway. Fortunately, not much traffic going in and out of the side streets and driveways; later in the day it could be a little more interesting. Then a right turn into the park.

Eventually we found the entry booth, where the cheerful attendant took our $3.00 park entry fee (total), gave us a map, pointed out all the places that had water (while still early, it was getting HOT), and told us to enjoy the ride.

Lynne in Snow Canyon State Park

Our bicycles parked at a picnic area

We followed the trail, stopping at one point to get more water, and stopping at other points to take pictures. Eventually the trail stopped, and we took more pictures by an interesting sandstone outcropping, then headed up Galoot Hill. No traffic at all. We climbed for about a mile, then came to the other park entrance on Hwy 18.

Fitz on the sandstone
Interesting pebbles in the sandstone here:
Pebbles in the sandstone?

The bike path reappeared along Hwy 18, mostly downhill to St. George. Parts of it by the Ledges interchange construction had gone to gravel and dirt. Past that were several very steep (I've heard 20%) downgrades. Fitz had fun with those.

And then we were back in St. George, navigating our way back to the bike store. We checked out their merchandise - mostly MTB and downhill stuff, plus a large selection of thornproof tubes and tires. It was a great ride, but I'd recommend doing it early in the day.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The day after touring Zion, we all got up bright and early to drive to Bryce Canyon National Park; about a 3 hour drive from St. George. Our first stop was Staples, to buy another memory card for the camera :-)

North on I-15, then east from Cedar City. We went over a pass near Brian Head Ski Area - there was snow up there still. Then down and east. Driving into the entrance of Dixie National Forest, we saw some excellent sandstone hoodoos, and had to stop and take pictures.

Dixie National Forest

Then through the forest, and then through open high desert for another stretch. There were signs for Bryce Canyon, but it didn't look like there was anything around. Then through what could have easily passed for the dry side of the Oregon Cascades, and into the park, where it still looked like the dry side of the Oregon Cascades (pines, very little underbrush).

The rangers suggested a hike into the Bryce Canyon ampitheater, if we wanted to see more sandstone hoodoos. Driving out there, it was still not very different. Parked the car, grabbed our hydration packs (the ladies) and bottled water (the gentlemen), and followed the sign...

The Ampitheater

And the ground fell away, and it didn't look very much like planet Earth anymore :-) Well, it did if you were the roadrunner and the coyote. It was amazing. After a round of picture-taking on the rim, we started hiking down to the bottom of the ampitheater. We couldn't go more than a few steps without taking pictures. I'll let the pictures tell the story:


Rebecca and Jessica


Fitz in front of a "little" hoodoo



We followed the trail down, picked up the Queen's Garden Trail, and followed it to the Two Bridges, then up to Sunrise Point, and then hiked back to Sunset Point, where we started.

Fitz and Lynne with the Ampitheater in the background

We then drove to a few more viewpoints and took more pictures. Words really fail me. The park is amazing. Over the top. Stupendous. Magnificent. "A hell of a place to lose a cow" - Mr. Bryce, who had the farm at the mouth of the canyon.

After the hikes

For the ride back, we took the route back through the Zion Tunnel into Zion National Park, where we were treated to different sandstone formations than the ones seen in Zion Canyon.

Checkerboard sandstone

Dinner was at the Bumbleberry Restaurant in Springdale. Entirely forgettable with mediocre service. We got our Bumbleberry Pie to go, and picked up some ice cream on the way back.

All the Bryce Canyon Pictures can be found here:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Zion National Park

or, adventures in sandstone...

Riverside Walk

The day after Rebecca's graduation we all relocated to St George, Utah. Fitz and I arrived just as his brother Mark drove in from Las Vegas. Rebecca and Jessica showed up by dinnertime.

The next day Fitz and Mark went golfing, planning to meet up with us later. Rebecca, Jessica, and I took ourselves to Zion National Park.

We took the shuttle bus to the end of the canyon, and hiked the Riverside Trail, with every intention of hiking up The Narrows for awhile. The Narrows involves getting your feet wet an awful lot. It was May. The river was really cold. Many people went by us, with special waterproof pants and shoes and such. Clearly we weren't prepared, so decided to pass this time. It could be a great hike in August, though.

Riverside Walk

We headed back a few stops (shuttle driver: "see those flies on that wall - those are climbers. It will take them 2 days to get to the top"), and checked out Zion Lodge, then set out on the Emerald Pools Trail. The golfers called about then, and we decided to stick to the original meeting locations/times.

We hiked to the middle pool, and then the upper pool. There was a very persistent chipmunk trying to get into everyone's packs.

Did I mention that the scenery was amazing? Big walls of red and white rock.

Zion National Park

Then down to the lower pool, through some narrow canyons and behind a waterfall. As we were heading down from the lower pool, we ran into Mark and Fitz hiking up. We told them that ice cream and french fries were calling, and we'd meet them back at the lodge. They reappeared maybe 30 minutes later (the lower pool is a very short hike). We watched a couple of wild turkeys following each other around the lawn, then set out to view the Weeping Wall.

This is a short, but steepish hike, ending in an overhang where water seeps out of the walls and ceiling, after filtering through the rock for about 12000 years (there is no error in the number of zeros).

Weeping Wall

Then we hiked back down, and Jessica started lobbying to hike the Hidden Canyon Trail - 850 feet up in a mile, "exposure", etc. Not for those with height issues. Mark and Fitz thought they'd go check out the Riverside Trail :-)

Rebecca, Jessica and I started up - it was paved for the first half mile, but lots of steep switchbacks. Then the pavement ended, and we started into parts with chain and cable bolted into the rock - something to hold on to, since there was nothing but about 1000 feet of air on the other side of the trail. Nice views of the canyon, but I wasn't letting go to get the camera out.

Hidden Canyon Trail

Then we came to the end of the trail (45 minutes climbing) and headed into Hidden Canyon - there was purported to be a freestanding rock arch. Lots of scrambling over big rocks and smaller rocks in a slot canyon, then walking through a sandy canyon bed. (Think Adventure, except not in a cave). We did find the arch; pictures taken all around.

Hidden Canyon Trail

Then we headed back and down. More cable grabbing, then finally the paved trail. Lots of pictures, and the round trip took 1:45. We had arranged to meet for dinner at the Bit and Spur in Springdale, so we all met up there shortly thereafter.

The balance of the Zion pictures are here:

Monday, May 14, 2007

Rebecca Graduates!

Rebecca in front of the Architecture building

On May 4, Rebecca graduated from the University of Utah, with a BS in Architectural Studies.

We flew to Salt Lake the evening before, where Rebecca and Jessica fed us dinner, preceded by cheese, crackers, and wine. My parents were also there - they drove down that day, and beat us by a few hours. It was a very nice evening.

The next morning we headed to the ballroom at the Student Center, where the College of Architecture and Planning was having their convocation. Rebecca elected to skip the general university ceremony. Lots of happy families there, many with small children. Rebecca says many of her classmates are married with at least one child. The ceremony was informal, and moved right along. Everyone was taking pictures.

Rebecca and Jessica

Rebecca with us

Rebecca with her grandparents

Afterward, we took more pictures, and adjourned to the College for a cookie-and-punch reception. It was in the gallery, so we admired many student projects, then Rebecca took us up to the studio. We admired her last project there, and discussed removal of all her stuff. She and Jessica thought they could get it by themselves.

Rebecca in the studio

Rebecca' project

We were all hungry, so we went to the restaurant where Rebecca works (The Other Place, Greek-American) and had a late lunch. Later we all had dinner at Cafe Molise, Rebecca's favorite Italian restaurant.

Rebecca starts at the University of Oregon Graduate School of Architecture (in Portland!) this fall; she and Jessica will be moving here at the end of the summer.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Traveling with Bleriot

We were off to Utah to celebrate our daughter's university graduation and then visit some National Parks around St. George. There was to be some bicycling, so I planned to pack up the Bleriot. If nothing else, it would be a good shakedown of the dissassembly, packing, and reassembly.

There I was, Wednesday evening, trying to figure out which bike bits to bring along. Fenders were not needed for this trip, and I'm not ever planning to pack the Honjo fenders - they'd get bent. A rack was probably not needed either.

Dissassembly the first time was interesting. Removing the fenders and rack was a bit of an initial puzzle. I set aside all the parts not needed for the trip, then started breaking down the bicycle in earnest.

I cut a big piece of plastic sheeting to do the dissassembly on, and planned to pack it so I'd have a similar surface to do the subsequent reassembly. Keeps the carpet clean, plus little fasteners have a harder time burrowing into the carpet and vanishing.

Disconnect the bike computer (yeah, I know a wireless computer would be MUCH easier to deal with, but I haven't found one with cadence that is reliable and decently priced). Stupid little Phillips head screws.

Remove the water bottle cages.

Disconnect the pedals, remove the front brake entirely. Remove the seat/seatpost. Undo the cable splitters (those are SO cool), pull out the handlebars and stem. Use some of the excess frame protector material to secure all the loose cables to the handlebars.

Remove the chain. I've got an IRD chain with a snap link. It helps to use a rag to hold the chain and do the bending. It helps even more to have another person with a flathead screwdriver or knife blade to pop the link open once the chain is bent :-) Note to self: cleaning the chain and drivetrain beforehand is probably a really good idea.

Put the pedals and chain in separate ziploc bags.

Wash hands a lot.

Bleriot in pieces

As I used each tool, I set it in a pile of "tools to take with me". I find that the allen wrenches on the multitool are not always useful - the body of the multitool gets in the way, or it collapses.
Remove and deflate the tires. Remove the wheel skewers, put them in their own ziploc bag.
Take the frame apart. Put the labeled frame protector material on the frame (thank you, Bilenky!). Secure the rear derailleur against the chainstay.

Go upstairs and print out the packing instructions :-)

Put half of the TSA net on the bottom of the case. Put in front triangle, rear wheel. Spend a fair amount of time puzzling out how to nestle the handlebars in there. They go in with one side outside a wheel and one side THROUGH the wheel, plus there is the attached Technomic stem and bar end shifters and ergo brake levers to work around. It took a LOT of wiggling. I kept looking for places where it was hung up, and either tweaked the shifters or scooted the frame or wheel around. The stem ended up going through the wheel as well.

Put in the rear triangle, the front wheel, and the compression members. I think if I had pulled the crank, it would have fit better. As it was, I got a plastic packing thing for the front wheel, to spread the force around. Put the now-folded up plastic sheet and packing instructions on top, then install the top half of the TSA net.

Bleriot packed up and ready to go

Put in water bottles and a couple of clean rags. I also put in all the tools and loose pieces, but the case weighed in at over 50 lbs, so I pulled them out. Sit on case to close it.

The pedals, chain, tools, tube of grease, bike bags (handlebar and Carradice Barley) and required accessories (patch kit, frame pump, spare tube, spare tire, tire levers, food bits) all went in my duffel.

Whew. Only took 3 hours total.

Got to the airport (love that wheelie case with telescoping handle!). The agent asks: "Is that a bicycle?". Yup, but in a standard suitcase. She thought that was pretty cool, and wanted to know how much it cost to have that done. I told her she didn't want to know :-) That said, I did not have to pay $50 each way to take it with me. I figure 10 plane trips, and I've made the money back :-)

Watched the TSA guys like a hawk. They didn't open it. The x-ray looked like a dissassembled bicycle to me. They did open my husband's golf bag. Closing it back up is always tricky, and he hates it when they do open it. This guy got it right, though.

Subsequent reassembly only took about an hour, and no adjustments of any kind were needed. I love those Silver brakes - they just go right on and are easily set up by hand (too many years of finicky old Dia-Compe sidepulls). The Carradice bag did need a stiffener so it wouldn't rub on the tire - I took the piece of coroplast out of my handlebar bag and used that; I'll cut a right-sized one as soon as I liberate another coroplast sign. As we have an election coming up next week, that should be easy :-)

And yes, I did get out for a ride - we stuffed the bike into the car, went to the bike shop in St George, and Fitz rented a bike. We rode from there out of town onto the Snow Canyon Parkway, up through Snow Canyon State Park (lots of sandstone formations), then back down the bike path along Hwy 18 to St George, and back to the bike shop.

Bleriot visits Snow Canyon State Park, St George, Utah

Once you get to the corner of Snow Canyon Parkway and Hwy 18, it is all bike path, except for the last mile or so up Galoot Hill in the park. Not a problem - practically no traffic there. The Hwy 18 path near the interchange construction has gone to gravel, dirt, sand, whatever. The bike did better at it than I did. I was not going to fly down the descents on that kind of surface. Once the pavement returned, we were faced with a lot of 20% downgrades. Fitz had a lot of fun on those. I'm more conservative.

Packing the bike for the return trip took about an hour. Again, the TSA folks declined to open the case, although it did not fit through the x-ray machine. Reassembly last night took longer, because I reinstalled the fenders and rack. And cleaned the chain. And rode it today - again, no adjustments required.

Thoughts for next time:
  • Unify the various screws. Some require a Phillips head, and the ones that could use the same size hex wrench don't. Have them all be hex wrench bolts.
  • I could probably have a whole chunk of the seatpost removed, saving some packing weight
  • Self extracting crank bolts have been shipped from Harris Cyclery.
  • Really try to prune down the tools list, or see where smaller/lighter ones would suffice.
  • Get some fenders for packing/travel (the Planet Bike Speedez look promising)
  • Pack the rack or not? I do seriously need to worry about items on the bike being pilfered in Central Europe.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Salem Bicycle Club Monster Cookie Ride

This ride really started on Wednesday morning. Peacefully wheeling the recyclables out to the curb, picked up the bin, turned and put it down... My lower back went "twiiiiinnnnnnggggg". Ouch. Walked back to the house, changed into street clothes, and drove into work the rest of the week. I didn't run either. I couldn't sit, stand, or sleep comfortably.

Friday evening I took a loop around the block. Not so bad. Saturday afternoon I tried again, and decided the ride was a go, even though I felt the worst first thing in the morning.

Saturday night, Jason calls - he's sick, probably not riding. Sunday am, text message confirming that he's not riding.

I sure didn't want to drive by myself to Salem and drive myself back. Racked my brains for a bit, then realized Susan O had said something about riding. It was 6am, surely she'd be up :-) And she was, and due to computer issues at work, Jeff was not going to ride, and SHE'D be driving herself to and from as well. Other than Fitz, Jeff and Jason not getting to ride, it was a win-win situation.

Lemond was all ready to go (nice, sunny day, fully supported ride. I wanted to go fast.)

We arrived in Salem at 7:30, just in time to visit with Cecil before she took off on her Double Cookie. I picked up Fitz's registration packet (he'd preregistered, but he's got knee issues at the moment), so I was going to be him. Susan registered with no wait. We walked back to get our bikes. Upon return we saw that the line to register was breathtakingly long. At the end of the day, over 1400 riders participated! Wow!

(Yes, the weather WAS nice). Visited with Don, Diane, Nanci, Nanette, Dave, Richard, Nance, Laura, and Patty. As Susan and I were leaving, Dave thought he'd ride with us. I should mention that this is the New and Improved Dave. He was right there all day.

Lots of cookies and other things at the first rest stop. I got some macaroons and the scarce Mexican Wedding Cakes. Yum.

I couldn't go anywhere on the ride and not see someone I knew. I rode for awhile with Kirke J (we talked about brevets), and then Susan C, both of us wondering why the other wasn't riding her new bike :-)

There were the cutest lambs and baby goats just before Champoeg.

I arrived at Champoeg ahead of Susan and Dave, so visited with Ty, Aaron from work, Einar, Gordon, Lisa, Andrew who rode from home to Champoeg, Amy... Jeff and Renata, too. Got my lunch and sat at what was rapidly becoming the Team Bag Balm picnic table. A long discussion ensued about Ibex wool knickers, and then wool shorts. Andrew isn't sure about wool shorts, as he says he started riding when wool was all you could get, etc, etc. I'm sure wool and the chamois have improved since then, although wool does still take a couple of days to dry after washing, and NO, I wouldn't wear wool shorts more than one day in a row, either, unlike a jersey, which lasts a few days.

Dave, Susan, and I then took off, after a trip to the facility, where the men had a HUGE line, and the women didn't. That was very novel.

Lots of farmworkers were tending the hops fields. The hops vines are about a foot tall now.

There was a very gentle tailwind for awhile. Don rode up, and we rolled along together, then he went ahead. I stopped at the end of Don's driveway to visit and pull off the armwarmers, wind vest and knee warmers. The balance of TBB also stopped there over the next few minutes (including Rich and Gayle!) The group that started from Don's house was finished; the rest of us had about 20 miles to go.

Saw the elusive Michael G at the last rest stop. I haven't seen him since the Tour de Bakeries this past fall. The sliced oranges were very attractive here.

The tailwind evaporated, but it was still very nice riding until we got to Keizer. Not that Keizer is bad, but it is riding through neighborhoods. Then onto a main road, off the main road, and through a few more neighborhoods into The State Government Area.

I didn't see Susan at the truck, so headed back to the start point for my finish line cookies. I had an excellent snickerdoodle that was at least 4" in diameter. Visited with Jerry, Dave VG and Edna. Also (recumbent riders) Diane, Jeff, and Mandy. Mandy produced some Advil for my now slightly unhappy lower back. Saw Jerry from work.

Walked back to the truck to find Susan heading the other way for water. Loaded up, changed, Susan came back, and homeward we went.

Sorry no pictures; the camera is out for repair.

5.5 hours total, 60.42 miles, 3:55:00 riding, (1.5 dawdling) with an average of 15.42; my best this year.