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.