Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mileage and Milestones to date

The semi-annual report :-)

Cycling miles to date: 1836, not counting commuting miles. That is just over 300 miles ahead of where I was last year.

There would probably be another 600 miles if I was keeping track of commute miles.

Bleriot has accumulated over 1100 miles since the inaugural ride back in March.
Lemond has accumulated over 9000 miles since late May 2003.

1000 km in Rando rides.

Big smile...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hot Springs 300km Brevet

It's all Cecil's fault. :-) She wanted company for the ride, and I was willing to go along with it.

Bridge on Ferry Rd in Lyons

Fitz: "Is Cecil going to ride over and meet you at the top of the hill; you two will ride to the start?" Start is at 6am in Newberg, a good 30 miles from here with hills and busy roads. Me: "No". Cecil said she considered it for, oh, 5 seconds, tops.

Friday I turned Bleriot from Commuter Bike into Rando Bike, collected all the odds and ends, obsessed over clothing (forecast: rain, high 50's), loaded everything in the van and turned in.

Up at 4, out of the house by 4:45, in the parking lot of the Newberg Travelodge at 5:15am.
This ride was a combined 300K/600K, with the 600K riders doing an extra 60K out-and-back on Saturday, then a 240k ride out to Tierra del Mar, just north of Pacific City on the coast, and back. It is rumored that many 300k riders get sucked into doing 360k...

Admired Nate's new tires, and David's Nitto front rack, and the new Vanilla Randonneur bike that is an astonishing work of art - the generator lights and wiring are integrated into a metal wire run that blends right in. Plus it is a Vanilla... Sigh. The wait for a Vanilla is at 4 years now.

6am, time to go. We headed out past the Airpark, where 4 hot air balloons were launching. What fun!

Then south on River Rd, over the Willamette River, and a turn onto Champoeg Rd, where those of us with jackets decided we were quite warm enough without them. By this point we had settled into riding with Lesli and Susan. They were to do the 600k, and immediately started plotting to haul us along. Our routes would not diverge for about 133 miles, so we could stick together until then.

We worked our way south and east to Gervais (18 miles) and stopped at the market just across the tracks. A couple of later-starting riders (their official start time is still 6am) went by. A train went by while I was standing around; fun to watch. We headed out of Gervais, which has been spruced up quite a bit, and south, picking up Howell Prairie Rd, which we'd be on for quite a few miles. Strawberry pickers were busy in the fields. There was an annoying headwind, so we traded off pulls to spread it around. I felt a drop of rain, way ahead of schedule.

We were being a multicellular organism that day - I couldn't read the cue sheet without my reading glasses, but had my bike computer, and Cecil's bike computer was sitting on the table at home...

South on Shaw then west on SR-22, at this point a 4 lane divided highway with a generous shoulder turning to 2 lanes a few miles on. We kept pedaling into the headwind and light rain for about 11 miles, then got off at Ferry Rd, and headed into Lyons to find our first control. First, a stop at the portapotty by the library (no public restrooms in town), then the Lyons Market, where we got our cards signed (54 miles). It was about 10:45am. Hot mocha from the cappucino machine, a fried potsticker, and a big candy bar. We sat outside on the porch and ate, and visited with another rider. Topped off our water. The rain was more insistent at this point, Cecil and I put our jackets on, and I swapped my bandanna for a light wool cap. Lesli and Susan didn't think it was quite that wet yet...

Headed off to Mill City, on a quiet road, chatting the whole way, about bicycles, buying houses, books we are reading... Through Mill City, and back up onto SR-22. After riding along awhile we pulled off into a county park, not realizing the rest area was right around the corner. That was fun, we rode down a packed dirt/gravel road to find the facilities, visited some more (I was the only one in the group without a Brooks saddle; Terry iconoclast that I am), and headed off, and now more up.

Cecil and Susan discussing the merits of the Brooks saddle

We gradually entered a forested area, then passed the Big Cliff Dam, entering the Willamette National Forest. The still water behind the dam had lots of little rings. I initially thought it might be fish, but it was raindrops. Climbing, climbing, climbing. The uphill shoulder was quite adequate. The rain was light. We saw the fast group of riders heading back down. They'd be about 30 miles ahead of us.

We got to Detroit Dam, and pulled over to wait for Susan. Lots of pictures of the lake and our bicycles. I've driven by here many times, but never stopped. After Susan caught up, resumed climbing, riding along Detroit Lake, past campgrounds.

Bleriot at Detroit Dam

Right out of the dam parking lot, I looked down at my odometer. 1000.00. Bleriot rolled over 1000 miles! Whoo hoo!

The lake was very full, a good sign after too many dry summers and no lake to speak of. Then the descent into Detroit, where we went past our next turn to stop at a market. There was a church bake sale in progress outside (yum!),

Church bake sale in Detroit

plus bananas and many other suitable bikey snacks inside. Topped off our water again, then headed up Breitenbush Rd, looking for the yellow sign past the Mile 12 marker. It was VERY pretty, with the river tumbling alongside, heavy tree cover, more campgrounds (now I know where Humbug Campground is)...

Waterfall in the woods

Cecil and Lesli pulled on ahead; Susan dropped back. Lots of solitary climbing, and one picture stop. Waved at many riders heading down. Still climbing. Passed the Breitenbush Hot Springs entrance. Still climbing. Then FINALLY saw Lesli and Susan waiting at the turnaround point. Pulled in, filled out my card. Ate snacks. Took pictures of wildflowers. Susan appeared, and we rested some more. Lesli pulled on her raincoat ("the apocalypse has arrived. I've put on my coat"), and we headed down.

Faffing at the summit turnaround point

And passed two more riders coming up! I thought we were at the very end, but I guess not. More down, then a stop at a different store in Detroit, for Lesli to find a flashlight - she'd forgotten her headlight, which would be interesting later on. Ken (one of the other riders) came in; we all admired his brand new custom Lyon bike. Time for some string cheese. My wheel had been tweeting since the trip to Utah. I had satisfied myself that nothing was rubbing, but the noise was driving me crazy. Susan is a mechanic at Blue Heron Cycles in Eugene; it was driving her crazy too, I think. She thought it might be dry seals, and produced and applied some Tri-Flow.

We all headed down, in the pelting rain. The downhill shoulder was less adequate than the uphill shoulder, but not bad, unless a motor home towing an SUV should choose to pass. Closely. At speed. Big blast from THAT one. We pulled over at Detroit Dam for a brief break, then continued on down. This was a 20 mile descent, and we wanted OFF that road. I could feel the air temperature rising as we descended. Still pouring. We pulled into The Maples rest stop, and everyone pulled out more clothing, lighting, reflective items. Ken decided he liked riding with us - we stop for all sorts of things (food, rest stop, etc). Rando riding is a pass/fail activity - you complete the ride in the time limit, or you don't. No extra points for speed.

Off again on SR-22, heading toward the turn into Mill City, through Mill City, back to the Lyons Market, the next control ("we're baaaaaaack"). My shoulders were knotted and very painful by then. Cecil poked at them a bit, and suggested I might have adhesions from the crash. She reefed on a few of the knots, which seemed to help some. Got our cards signed, bought more hot machine cappucino, got another rider to take a picture of the 4 of us, as our parting of the ways was right around the corner.

Cecil and I headed out, turning east onto SR-22. My bike felt very bouncy. Then it felt hard to control. Drat. Rear flat. We pulled of by a woodworking shop, and borrowed their porch and covered overhang to change the tire. Cecil found an annoying piece of glass and popped it out, and I stuck in the new tube, popped the tire back on (no tire levers needed there), pumped it up, did reassembly, wiped my filthy hands on my black shorts (which is why bicycle shorts are black), and off again. We didn't have to very far on SR-22 this time - we turned off on Old Mehama road. This was a quiet road, and I noticed that my front wheel tweet was gone (thanks Susan!), and my shoulders were ok (Thanks Cecil!). We were headed for Stayton, and the delights of the Stayton Safeway.

We settled for bagels and cream cheese, getting our cards signed, plus wringing all the water out of our gloves (lots) and putting on dry socks (a religious experience for the feet, let me tell you!). I must have gotten 2 cups of water out of the wet socks before putting them in my bag. A few more riders came in (the 600k riders would have rejoined the route after their 60km detour) and joined us. Noel from Seattle looked longingly at our dry socks, and went off to see if Safeway had socks. No socks. Cecil offered him her third spare pair - pink. As they would fit, he took her up on it. She took a picture, too. :-)

Fitz left me a message to call him when I'd finished, so I called and told him I was about 45 miles out, still. We picked up a rider heading out of town (Ron), and the three of us proceeded on to the Shaw Road turnoff, thence to the long stretch on Howell Prairie. We had a tailwind (hallelujah!), and the rain had reduced itself to a light drizzle. We stopped at an intersection for me to fish out some Tums, and a car slowed.... "You three don't LOOK lost..." No, thank you. "Oh, nice lights you've got!". Oooookay.

Chatted with Ron about Paris-Brest-Paris - he's doing it this summer, and has done it before. Got to hear about the Frenchman who was serving little cups of very black coffee to riders in the middle of the night, only wanting them to send him a postcard from their home town. And lost of other interesting stuff.

I saw a little frog hopping across the road in my headlight. Didn't hit it. The nice thing about riding around in the Willamette Valley in the middle of the night, is that there is practically no traffic. We rode down the middle of the road, dropping to single file to let the occasional car pass. We were exceptionally visible with our reflective gear and lights - visitors from outer space is the best way to describe it. A group of riders caught us before the turn onto Mt Angel-Gervais Rd; it turned out to be Bert and Ray and some others I didn't know. Then, as we approached the intersection, a man standing there was yelling "this way! Turn here!". We of, course wanted to know who he was and why we should listen to him :-) It was Mike R., one of the ride volunteers. I stopped to say hi, and then headed off again.

Through Gervais, across I-5, north through the valley, passing Champoeg. We may have had a headwind, but I was starting to fade, and my shoulders really hurt again. Cecil pounded on them some more at the River Road intersection, and then we rode the last 3.5 miles. Finally, 2nd St, Elliot, Hayes and the hotel.

Parked our bikes in the hall inside (with all the other ones :-) ), turned in our cards. It was 12:27am, so overall time not discernably faster than the 3 Capes, but 37 minutes less riding time. I lay on the floor for a few minutes, and a plate of ravioli magically appeared, along with some green tea. Turned out the man who told us we had great lighting was Mike R, out doing lighting inspections on the course :-). After eating, sitting, and visiting, I got a shower, and drove home. Not worth too much, today.
13:53:20 riding time, 192.1 miles on my odometer. 13.83mph riding avg

All the ride pictures are here:

and Cecil's are here:

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Pioneer Century

My shadow panda

The Portland Wheelmen Pioneer Century was the very first organized ride I participated in, way back in 1991. I rode the metric century with my friends Neal, Carolyn, and Chris, and still have the picture of the 4 of us sitting under a tree at the fairgrounds tacked up on the cube at work.

Over the years, it changed to the Spring Century, and one rest stop moved from Nusom's Orchards to the Salem Bible College. The route didn't change hardly at all.

It was also the first English century I rode, in 2003, except it was only 95 miles :-)

This year, the organizers made many changes. Entirely new route, two loops starting from the Clackamas County Fairgrounds with lunch in between. Real lunch, not box lunch, not rest stop food. They did promise that even though the Bird Hill climb was going away, there would still be a climb.

Jason, Don, Diane, and I were planning to ride together, for pretty much the first time in a long while. We met at the fairgrounds, and ran into fellow TBBers Dave E, Nanci, Andrew, Tom T, Amy, Scott and Linda. Nat and Cecil were riding in from SE Portland, so we didn't know when they'd show up.

At about 7:30, the four of us and Dave E started out. The first loop, 55 miles, was sending us douth and a bit east of Canby, and then back. We worked our way out of Canby on the bike path, then south, with a long run on Harms Rd, which changed names a few times, then Tolliver, eventually passing through Mollala, then south. At one point I thought I try the taking pictures while riding trick. I didn't drop the camera, but I'm not really steady at it. Then, rather than bearing right to Bird Hill, we stayed left on Sawtell. It was deceptive for awhile, but then it seemed harder to maintain speed. Don and I pulled over to remove our arm and leg warmers (I do learn - brought them AND wore them this ride. I also applied sunscreen before setting out), and then the climbing started in earnest. A real grinder of a climb, never too hard, but it never did let up.


Eventually got to the rest stop (the route maps did not have mileage on them. Never quite knew how far each leg was...). More sunscreen, cookies, melon, half a Payday bar.

I figured we'd hit the summit at the rest stop. But no. More climbing, and then we hit Maple Grove Rd, but further east than on the route of earlier years. Very pretty, no traffic, outstanding pavement. Lots of rollers, and then downhill. Everyone got away from me at that point, plus I stopped to take a picture.

Clearcut filled in with scotch broom on Maple Hill Rd

They were waiting for me at the bottom on Nowlens Bridge Rd. Told Jason he probably had much more fun on the descent riding his single.

Then long runs north and east and north again, being passed by Cecil and Nat, who caught us. We eventually ended up on Barlow Rd, through the community of Barlow (I didn't know there was one), popping out on Knightsbridge and having to climb that hill/cross the bridge just before Canby. Not that it is hard or long (although I certainly thought so in 1991!), but it is a little whack to one's morale just before the finish.

Into the fairgrounds, for our choice of chicken or portobello fajitas, one or two, plus toppings, plus beverages, watermelon, fig newtons... Team Bag Balm had a nice sit-down lunch. We even had Laura, who showed up after we had started.

Then it was time to go again. Certain persons were demonstrating a lack of motivation, which took a little poking to get them moving again. This is a drawback to coming back to the start and doing another loop. I wonder how many would-be century riders called it a day after lunch :-) But, when one chooses to ride with people who do brevets for fun... "I'm here to do 100 miles, let's get going!". More sunscreen, map swapping and folding, water bottle and sports drink top-ups, pictures, and off we went.

(Not in any way meant to imply that Nat was not motivated...)

We were headed west out of Canby following a long line of cars with bicycles on them. It was better once we reached the freeway turn-off, and they went away. We were also seeing riders finishing the 45 mile loop coming back in. Then west, passing by Champoeg State Park, then further west, heading northward; an area I hadn't ridden. We ended up following a bend in the Willamette River and passing by Heirloom Rose Gardens. I think we've purchased roses from them in the past, but alway via mail order. Wow. They have amazing rose gardens on both sides of the road and it smells wonderful.

Then south along the river, cutting eastward to get back to River Road, ending up in St Paul, at the rest stop at the high school. We arrived as Scott and Linda were leaving. Nat, Cecil, Don, and Diane were still there. Said hi to Kelly the mechanic (he fixed my flat on CO, my exploding pink tire made me memorable), and discovered a New Bike Ride Rest Stop Taste Treat. This comes from Don, who got it from Nanette. Should the rest stop have cold boiled potatoes AND cream cheese, put the cream cheese on the potatoes. Seasoned salt is a bonus. Tastes just like sour cream. Yumyumyumyumyum. Also had watermelon and some fig newtons. Nat and Cecil left, and then Diane, who had a grandchild to babysit.

Don, Jason and I headed back to Canby on Davidson, French Prairie, Case, Yergen, Donald (interesting little town, Donald)... Don had an interesting noise with his bike; never did figure out what it was.

This was a hot day - the afternoon was in the high 80's.

Eventually we crossed back over I-5, and rode along some more. Finally got to Boone's Ferry and I knew where I was - Brian had done Drum Corps all-days at North Marion HS, which we passed on the way. Then back onto Arndt Rd, going up that climb on Knightsbridge AGAIN, and back to the fairgrounds. The tent was still up, so we had some cold soda and snacks, and Scott, Linda, Nat, Cecil, Don, Jason and I sat and chatted, until we all had to go home. Linda wondered why I would do those 300km brevets. I figured someone who does Race Across Oregon REALLY didn't need to ask that question :-) To each their own degree of bicycle insanity :-)

101 miles, 7:04 riding time, approx 8:30 overall