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:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I really should know better...

Rickey and Cecil thought a ride out to Lacamas Lake would be good. Since Rickey was riding from home, we planned to meet at the Beaverton Red Robin, and meet Cecil at Voodoo Doughnuts. Then back to Cecil's house (not far) for plumbing and meeting the spouse and dogs.

Somehow I had a mental mileage lapse. Lacamas Lake is 23 miles or so from downtown Vancouver (heck, it is in Camas!). I knew getting to downtown Portland wasn't more than 10 or 11 miles. I forgot the part from downtown to over the Columbia River...

When all was said and done, 80.5 miles. To be fair, Cecil usually rides from her home to the west - 11 miles to where we meet, another 10 to the Portland Velo ride start point.

High points:
Learning how to cross the I-5 bridge
The path along the Columbia on the Washington side
Lacamas Lake
The wide roads with bike lanes all over Vancouver
My first Voodoo Doughnut (plain cake - I'm very boring)
Riding back up through Washington Park just isn't that hard anymore
Trees turning red, crunchy leaves on the road

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Riding this weekend

I had only planned to do the Velo ride on Saturday. Honest. And Fitz and I did, after he had a flat in the garage (roofing staple, picked up on Friday's commute), and then another flat in the parking lot. So we really hoofed it to catch up. Fortunately (for us, anyway), another rider had a flat just before the Verboort roundabout. Whew! We skipped the climbs, stopped at Maggies for snacks, then back to Longbottom for Second Breakfast. Then, being good little doobies, we took a trailer full of yard debris to Best Buy (the yard supply place, not the electronics store), and dumped it out (itch, itch, itch), stopped at Costco in the way back (we dusted ourselves off outside, first), then rearranged the right side of the garage, so Fitz could get at the walls, to finish mudding the sheetrock (do not ask how long this project has been on hiatus). Moving all that wood around (including some heirloom pieces of black walnut) prompted me to suggest he NEVER comment on the size of my fabric stash or jersey collection again. I will enjoy a painted garage, with working electrical outlets, and places to put things. We then FINALLY got showers...

Cecil had missed the Saturday ride because her knee was annoyed from running. She wanted to ride Sunday. Fitz had a round of golf lined up, so it worked out. We negotiated a 10am meet-up time (I like to sleep in at least 1 day in a weekend), and she suggested one of the Velo routes that involved Iowa Hill, Unger, Clark Hill... in other words, a significant percentage of vertical.

She showed up at the house just before 10, and suggested we try stuff north of Hwy 26 instead, like Pumpkin Ridge and Jackson Quarry. I was up for that, not having ridden there for awhile.

We finally decided to get to Skyline via NW 119th and McDaniel, and head west from there, dropping down on Old Cornelius Pass. I suggested that rather than Pumpkin Ridge, how about Rock Creek/Elliott and Beck for climbs? As well as the one all the way up to Skyline, of course. She'd never done Beck, so it was a go. The weather was amazingly wonderful. The climb up to Skyline was uneventful. Then west on Skyline for miles and miles, rolling along with excellent views to the north and south.

The view from Skyline

We stopped briefly at Skyline School before crossing Cornelius Pass to Old Cornelius Pass, then descended and turned onto Rock Creek. Got past the potholed bumpy part, enjoyed the yard full of metal sculptures, did not see the very cute donkey at the start of the climb (darn), and headed up. Lots of new houses up there, now.

Now THIS is a school bus stop!

Then past the house with the extra motor vehicles, and left onto Elliot for the final push up. We headed west again for a short bit, then turned onto Beck - time for a snack stop. Then 1.5 miles down on perfect pavement with no (zip. zero. nada.) traffic and 1.5 miles UP on the same pavement, with the same lack of traffic. This dropped us out onto Johnston, which turns into Logie Trail. We turned left and descended to Helvetia Rd, turned left, and did Jackson Quarry, with the associated hill. Then down Mason Hill, around on Jackson School and Shadybrook, and into North Plains for more Gatorade.

The North Plains Market has remodeled. We both walked in and went "WOW!" Large, clean, well lit, modern... Be sure to stop by and admire it (and buy Gatorade, of course).

We thought some lunch would be nice, so turned back east, working our way to the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse.

Nursery field on Jackson School Rd

The headwind was fierce - the Beaufort scale says around 15-20mph. Slowed us down a bit. Lunch at CPR was yummy, with 2 pitchers of ice water, lots of ice tea, a big order of tater tots, and I FINALLY got that cheeseburger I'd been jonesing for since last Saturday.

Now, moving a bit more slowly, we continued east another 10 miles to finish, for me, anyway. Cecil still had to ride over the hill into Portland and the east side.

Today's route

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Not like it is a surprise or anything

but I really am a nerd...

NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Nerd Queen.  What are you?  Click here!

and being that, have my very own Simpson's avatar

Our Summer Vacation, Plana na Luznici to Studena

The morning started out with an early (7am) breakfast, so we could hike into Tabor proper, check out the historic town square, and forage for a camera store.

The hike involved a path and steps up a hill
Tabor from the path to town

The path up to the center of Tabor

then through some narrow lanes to the town square. It appeared that there was a small product market just opening up for the day:

Town square in Tabor

Farmer's market in Tabor

We also did find a camera store, but it didn't open until 9, and we were to depart at 9:30. Not quite enough time. So we walked back. Many people were out and about, carrying shopping bags. It may be that most shopping happens first thing in the morning.

Loaded up, and headed out on the 45 minute drive to Plana na Luznici. We started out on a very busy road, but almost immediately turned left onto a much quieter one. We entered Kosice. I've got family members from Kosice, but Zuzana thought it was probably the Kosice in Slovakia, which is much bigger. As this Kosice was tiny, and far away from the Hungarian border, I'm inclined to agree with her.

Mostly rolling hills, poppy fields (grown to make poppy seed filling, yum) and forested areas. We stopped to explore Horni Radoun, a formerly fortified building, now a park, with a real moat and the restored schloss, with an amazing painted archway leading into the courtyard.

Lynne looking up at the detail of the arch ceilings

It was raining heavily; our Showers Pass jackets got a lot of attention, as did my waterproof glove covers.

Cervena Lhota

Lynne and Bob at Cervena Lhota

We then headed onward and upward for maybe another 2km, for our picnic lunch in the woods. The rain had stopped. There were sliced meats and cheeses, excellent bread, mustard, salad, chips, juice, cookies and fruit. We picked a few wild blueberries as well.

Wild blueberries

After lunch we continued up, meeting up with a little family of pigs at the summit, all around a bowl of pinecones.

Little Pig Family after our picnic lunch in the woods, day 2

The forest is fairytale forest, evergreen trees and not much undergrowth. More villages and countryside. Apple and cherry trees grow along the roadside, and anyone can pick them. We snacked on cherries all afternoon, Rich especially :-)

We saw many groups of cyclists on the road, some groups of tourists, others locals going from here to there. Bikes are either touring/mtb style (fat 700c wheels, straight handlebars), as are the Sumava Leader bikes provided for this ride, or more like a city bike, but much older, and all with a rear basket on a rack. Not so many clipless pedals, either, and I must have had the only set of drop handlebars in the entire country. Everyone has fat tires - many roads are virgin asphalt, but some, well... aren't.

Czech drivers come zipping along, apparently no worrying what might be around a corner (2 speeds, fast and stopped), but I saw many little children riding with their parents on the roads. The roads are quite narrow - some I would consider a one-lane road, but they are meant for 2 way traffic. Some cyclists wear helmets, but certainly not all.

We saw a little deer hop across the road :-)

Passed a house with a gorgeous garden and beautiful roses.

House by the road with flowers

I then came upon one of the manually operated railroad crossings. It was down, so I waited. Pearce heard it come down, so he came back to see the train. We had a nice long wait until it finally did pass, then another wait for the signal to get back to the guy with the handcrank.

Manually operated railroad crossing

Then downhill to Studena, our destination for the day. Tom and the boys did not appear. Fitz and I rode down the hill to see the town and rode back up. Still no boys and Tom. We loaded up, and took one of the vans to Telc. On the way, Marian called to say they'd shown up. Apparently they missed a turn. Tom figured out an alternate route to get them there (we all had maps).

We arrived in Telc and checked in, then I went in search of a camera store. Telc is a world heritage site, surely there would be someplace selling memory cards. Success!

Telc town square

Our hotel in Telc

Telc town square

The center of Telc is a big plaza with shops, pubs and hotels, with a castle and church at the far end. Dinner was in a pub, where we could get the local brew - Zacharias, a tasty Pilsner. I had an excellent sald, potato soup in a bread bowl (ate most of the bowl, too), then chicken. Veggies were extra, and I got a serving that was really enough for an entire family, and clearly frozen mixed veggies...

Zuzana and Marian were wondering about REI (REI contracts with their employer to do the bike tours). Fitz, Kris, Rich and I assured them that it was an excellent gear and an excellent place to shop.

Zuzana was also fascinated by my cycling jerseys - nice cycling gear for women is an underserved market there. I recommended my favorite shop, and told her they'd ship :-)

All the pictures from this day are here:

Monday, September 3, 2007

Our Summer Vacation, Chateau Konopiste to Sedlec-Prcice

We all started collecting in the lobby around noon. Fitz had wondered if it would be hard to find everyone - I dunno. People in hotel lobby in cycling clothes....nah. As I also had a bicycle, we were certainly easy to locate.

Go for a bike ride?  Bleriot and Little Pink Bear are ready!

Soon, all 8 of us were there - Rich and Kris from Seattle, Pearce (father), Chapin and Breslin (16 yr old twin boys) from California, Tom from Houston, and us. Our guides, Zuzana, Marian and Bohumil showed up shortly thereafter. Bleriot rode inside the bicycle and equipment van; Fitz and I also rode there with Marian. We drove out from Prague to Chateau Konopiste, a smallish castle. It has gardens, picnic areas, and all that, now. We spent some time in the lower parking lot getting bicycles assigned and seats and pedals swapped (I watched and ate my lunch).

Getting the bikes ready near Chateau Konopiste

We then rode up the hill to the Chateau proper, for a look around. There is a moat with a bear, gardens, a courtyard, etc. etc.

Chateau Konopiste

courtyard in Chateau Konopiste

Lynne at Chateau Konopiste

Then we really started the ride. After getting past the adrenalin rush that I was RIDING MY BICYCLE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC :-), I settled down :-). Rolling countryside, with wheatfields and clumps of trees. We pass through a village, then more countryside, then another village. Not like the USA, where farmhouses are scattered about - everyone appears to live in villages, and farms are much smaller.

Town with church

My rear brake kept catching on something. We finally decided it was an interaction with the Carradice bag, so I swapped it for the big handlebar bags the tour company provided.

Flowers in windows are a common theme here, as is the large church (Catholic, I'm guessing) in the town square, and many, many roadside shrines. Not the simple car accident ones we see here; these date from the 1800's or earlier, and are stone or wood, and are still in use today (fresh flowers and candles are the giveaway).

The buildings are constructed of (in order of age) stone, brick, and a perforated brick, all stuccoed over and painted a pastel color, yellow, pink, cream. The roofs are red tile. The houses often open right by the road, but it isn't a door into the house, it is a gate into an archway - houses are built around a courtyard.

Our pace is pretty casual, and we stop and take many pictures.

Which way do we go now?

We finish the day by a church, and the van carries us to Tabor, to an inn right on the river. We have a great balcony view of the river, and the town.

The river, looking toward Tabor

The weir in Tabor

After showers, we all meet for a welcome dinner, and Zuzana tells us about the area and geography. We had the Czech national liqueur (very spicy), dinner, Pilsner Urquell, and then go to bed. I realized that I'm just about out of memory card for my camera, and can't find the other card I know I packed. We'll hike into Tabor to see if we can find a card tomorrow morning before we leave.

More pictures from this day are here:

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Our summer vacation, part 2, touring Prague

We had a day to tour Prague before the bike tour started.

I woke up at 5am, tried to sleep until 6, then gave it up, and reassembled my bike. Breakfast started at 7, so we were down there, appetites at the ready. As this is the Land of Excellent Bread and Wonderful Breakfasts, I indulged. Fitz went right for the apple strudel and what looked like miniature hallah. It wasn't really, but it looked like it. Seeded rolls, cheese, fruit, eggs, meat, vegetable salads... coffee, juice. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Thus fortified, we went to the lobby to set out to tour. The plan was to take the tram to Prague Castle, and work our way back from there. In the lobby, we ran into the folks from the REI Vienna to Prague bike tour, which had finished the day before. It turned into a nice long visit. They told us all about their ride (all good things) and the tour guides. We then headed out to catch the tram. Figured out we were going the wrong way, so got off to catch the one headed back. Crossed the Vltava River and headed up the hill to the castle. And, surprise, as we got off our tram, who else gets off but the Vienna to Prague group with their tourguide, the delightful and opinionated Tatiana. We were invited to join in, and did.

Off we went, though the castle grounds (it is really a small city; covers a lot of area), past the Riding School and the Royal Gardens, across a bridge with a fabulous view of St Vitus' Cathedral through the trees, past the guards who do not smile, into a courtyard.

St Vitus' Cathedral at Prague Castle

The Czech president's offices are there, plus statues, another church... We went out another archway to the front gate, where there were more guards, a large group of Czech Girl Guides, and a huge crowd waiting for the guard to change.

We then walked around through some gardens, with a great view looking out over Prague. My camera battery gave it up here, so I absconded with Fitz's camera for the rest of the day.

Wall at Prague Castle

view from Prague Castle

Up some stairs, through an archway, and there we were in the courtyard with St Vitus' Cathedral.

St Vitus' Church

Gargoyles, flying buttresses, mosaics over the entry, carvings... It was built in the 1300's, with additions later on. We walked all the way around the building to the entrance, waiting in line with a light drizzle, w/Tatiana pointing out other churches and Empress Maria Theresa's School for Impoverished Noblewomen (sucks to not be the first born), a monument to Jan Hus, a reformer predating Martin Luther.

Finally, it was our turn to go inside. Wow. Stained glass windows, one by Alfons Mucha, side chapels, tombs of kings and queens, amazing ceiling, King Wenceslas' Tomb in another side chapel (yes, there was a real King Wenceslas). Statues, carved doors, a pipe organ.

Alfons Mucha stained glass window in St Vitus' Church

St Vitus' Church

St. Wenceslas chapel in St. Vitus' Church

Then back outside, where it started to rain. Tatiana: "This gentleman is offering umbrellas for 200 crowns". Fitz bought one. I had a rainjacket and hat, so was quite okay without.

Watched the major change of the guards (music, drums, marching, horses), then walked down a set of stairs outside the castle wall into the old town.

Stairs down from Prague Castle

Then across the Charles Bridge, with commentary on each and every statue.

On the Charles Bridge

A nice wander throug the Mala Strana, to the town square, where we had an extended goodby to everyone.

We had lunch at the open air rooftop restaurant at the Prince Hotel, right on the square.

view from the rooftop restaurant

Where many of our fellow diners were reading the bestseller: "Prague", available in many languages!

After lunch we walked over to the Jewish Quarter, where we saw the Alt-Neu Shul (built in the 1200's oldest extant synagogue in Europe and MUCH smaller than I thought it would be).


We went through other synagogues as well, including one that was empty, but had the names of all the Czech Holocaust victims on the walls, arranged by town. We then walked through the Jewish Cemetery.

Prague Jewish Cemetery

Back to the town square with a shopping trip through the Mucha museum store. Walked through a farmers' market on the way back, where we saw lovely vegetables for sale. Probably just for decoration; we weren't served many veggies on this trip.

Broccoli and Cauliflower for sale

Then back to the hotel, for dinner. The service took itself a little too seriously. We just had a main dish and dessert, which, I think disappointed them.

Then, as we were getting ready for bed, Fitz's suitcase arrived!

Bike ride starts tomorrow.

All the Prague pictures are here: