Sunday, February 24, 2008

Saturday's Ride

"Doing a big ride this weekend, Lynne?"

Nah, just 60 miles.

Fitz and I thought we'd do the Velo ride, which was in the southern part of our range, including the Laurel Store, Laurel Road, McCormick Hill Rd, (foreboding music) Vandeschuere Rd, Scholls, Clark Hill, Tile Flat, then north back to the start.

It being SUCH a nice day, I elected to ride the Lemond, which has been parked all winter. I had to give the new wheels a test ride, at the very least. First, I had to fill up the very flat tires :-)

I rode to the start, collecting Jason on the way. The weather was perfect. I turned my jacket into a vest, and I was ready to go. I ended up leading the "mid" 17's. Everyone is a 17 :-) There are the fast 17's, the mid 17's (true 17s) and the tepid 17's. It was mostly administrative - I'm still a little fuzzy on the southern routes, until we get out of Hillsboro. Fortunately, Traci, and several others knew that stretch pretty well.

We pulled over at Rood Bridge Park, so we wouldn't embarrass the fast 17's by catching up to them. During the stop, of course, the slow 17's went by, so we intermingled all the way to the Laurel Store. Perfect sunny day. The fields are all green, the animals are out, the scenery is wonderful.

Off from the store, then onto McCormick Hill Rd and then Vandescheure, with its monster rollers and the site of my unfortunate bike crash a year ago. I think I've found the spot. There is a truly evil pothole, which was probably filled with water. The ditch I landed in looks much less impressive looking down on it, than looking up from it :-)

We turned onto 210, and passed Smith's Berrybarn (I have picked so many quarts of raspberries there), Scholls and Petrich's Store, which used to be a shack in the middle of nowhere, then right at the T, and left, heading up Clark Hill. A quick downhill, and another long stretch of open countryside, before heading north through Hillsboro back to the start. I had just caught up with the group after making sure the folks who took the wrong turn came back, when another rider pulled over - he lost a crankarm (!) After getting reassurance that he had someone coming to pick him up (you can't fix that with a ziptie), we headed onward.

I had food on my mind, and after arriving at Longbottom's, settled on the Dutch pancake. Yum. And several cups of coffee.

Then, after thanking Fitz for his offer of a ride home, proceeded to ride home, to get in that last 10 miles. Perhaps a bit less quickly, with a tummy full of pancake.

Progress on the Gitane

There has been some. The frame is probably as nice as it is going to get - I attacked all the rust spots, and touched up the really big downward-facing ones. I squirted in some Framesaver, and will finish it off with a nice coat of paste wax.

Big ugly rust spot

The hubs have been repacked. Lots of little bearings, and cone wrench activity. Lots of fun for me. I'm in the process of cleaning up the rims and spokes.

Wheels with repacked hubs.  One is shinier than the other

The freewheel has been lubed (the old fashioned way - rubbing a little grease in at a time, repeat until you like the way it sounds). It needs a cog rearrangement, which will happen when I see Beth. I've got the cogs, just not the tools to unscrew the freewheel.

The brakes, derailleurs, headset, bottom bracket, and shifters have been polished up, and are probably ready to go back on the frame.

Shiny brakes, shifters and derailleurs

The new crankset is here; just waiting on the brake levers.

Stronglight Impact compact double crankset

I should buy a new seat, and inventory our pedal collection. I'm planning on basic pedals with PowerGrips, for the time being. And wondering if I should pick up a rear rack. And those nifty fluted Velo Orange fenders.

Parts still needed:
brake and derailleur cables
Power Grips
tubes and tires (probably 700cx28mm)

It's coming together!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Oh, NICE Day!

It was so nice and sunny and warm (mid 50's) during my lunchtime run, that I had to take off my shirt. I should note that if there had not been perceptible weight loss, I wouldn't have done that :-) Time to toss some tank tops and t-shirts in the weekly running clothes stash.

Plus I'll get to ride home in daylight!

And then (to tie everything together) figure out how to work in 60 miles riding, laundry, knitting, bills, pruning roses, rebuilding the Gitane's hubs... over the next two days.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Day After...

I had a choice of two rides, both involving coffee shops. One would be populated by people who like to go really fast. One would be populated by people who wanted a social pace. A brief moment of common sense kicked in, and I went for the social ride.

Blue heron in the Columbia Slough

Of course the start had to hurt - rode over the hill to Cecil's (ouch! quads!), then off to meet up with Beth.

Brief aside - I'm getting less creeped out riding into Portland. Sun and dryness help a lot. But the descent through Washington Park, and down Park/Salmon to Lincoln HS is still, well, a steep descent on substandard pavement.

Cecil and I had hot drinks and scones at AJ's waiting for Beth to show up. I introduced her to the joys of N 7th and 9th for going to N Portland, rather than N Williams. (Cecil: but there isn't a N 7th or 9th here! We can't turn! Me: yes we can - right there!)

I had gotten home last night, and completely forgot about my noisy pedal. Cecil and I decided to see how long it took Beth to notice :-) Somewhere on Marine Drive..."what is that noise?"

Then off through North Portland, heading past Portland Meadows, PIR, Heron Lakes (stopping to admire a heron in the slough), Smith and Bybee Lakes, the Marine Drive bike path west to Lombard, looping back, stopping to admire Mt Rainier, Mt Adams, Mt St Helens, and Mt Hood. All at once. It was clear and sunny.

Through St Johns, ending up at Anna Banana's coffeeshop, for coffee, bananas, bread and a really nice goat cheese spread.

Then to Willamette Blvd, south to Ainsworth (stopping to admire Mt Hood over Swan Island), and Ainsworth to Interstate, where we all went our separate ways.

Mt Hood over Swan Island

Another common sense moment - I decided to spare my quads and knees and take MAX over the hill. 35+ miles.

While on the MAX, I twiddled with the pedal. It has a definite catch in its rotation. Swapped the pedal off my MTB (ahhh, silence); now I'll have to track down a rebuild kit. This bike maintenance is starting to add up...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Three Prairies Perm, one more time

It is a new calendar year, so we can start riding perm routes again and have them count for RUSA miles. Cecil wanted to do the Three Prairies, as she injured herself last time and had to pass. That version of the ride is recounted here.

Yes, there IS scenery there!

Cecil, Sal, Andrew and I set out to do this on Saturday morning. Sal likes to start at "civilized hours", so start was set for 8am. Andrew was riding, but not officially. So, according to our RBA (regional brevet administrator), if he got a flat, we could help him fix it, but if any of us got a flat, Andrew could not help fix it. I guess he was considered ride-along ride support. I don't know if that precluded him from giving advice.

Breathtaking fog driving into Newberg, but it cleared away as I summitted the hill just before the descent. Got assembled, along with Sal, who parked right next to me, and rode over to the Coffee Cottage to find Andrew and Cecil.

It was 32 degrees according to my car thermometer, 34 degrees according to the bank.

By the time we got to the Dayton turnoff, I was working hard. That generator hub does sort of provide its own private spin class. Cecil wondered if it might be easier to pedal with the light off. I've been leaving it on, because the LED has no bulb to wear out. Ok, I tried that. My speed picked up considerably. Lesson learned (all you folks with generator hubs can stop laughing. This is what we call in my business "tacit knowledge", which everyone assumes you know, and no one ever tells you!)

Headed off west, through Dayton and the interminable stretch between Dayton and Amity, then south. No fog at all this time. There IS scenery, and it is very pretty. Rolling hills, lots of animals (Cecil was in terminal little lamb cuteness overload), barns, both standing and sagging, horses...

We stopped at the corner of Perrydale and Bethel roads, to take pictures of the antique fire engine. Way cool.

Bianchi and Bleriot and the antique fire engine

Three of the four of us like to stop and take pictures, so this was a copacetic group.

Off to Dallas, where Sal and Andrew ducked into the Safeway, and Cecil and I headed for McDonalds. I wanted fries. We saw folks in there in suits and dresses (on a SATURDAY? In DALLAS, OR?). More folks, similarly dressed walking in, too. So I asked. Jehovah's Witnesses. We got off easy, with one invitation to take the magazine. We pointed to our bikes and allowed as how we wouldn't want to carry it the rest of the day. They wished us an enjoyable ride, and went off for their McD's fix.

Didn't see the guys, so we left. I called Andrew from Rickreall; they were still in Dallas. Oh well, they'd catch up eventually.

The 13 miles on 99W back to Amity did not seem as much climbing as they did in November. Still no Sal and Andrew. A brief picture stop, then off again. I swear, the road between Amity and Dayton lengthens itself.

Cronk in Amity

Weird clouds on the way to Dayton

Eventually back to Newberg, where I stopped by the car to pick up the afternoon's provisions, and met Cecil back at the Coffee Cottage. Scones and coffee. Eventually Sal and Andrew did show up - Andrew had a navigation confusion heading for 99W around Rickreall. It is a little tricky, and the road signage is scant.

Then off for the Mt Angel loop. We got out of Newberg and headed south on 219, chatting the whole way, zipping right along. Just after the turn onto St Louis Rd, Andrew thought he'd head back, since his knee was bothering him, and he wasn't officially on the ride anyway.

I had pulled off one outer layer in Newberg, and shed my jacket somewhere on 219. It was downright mild out!

View of Mt Hood almost to Mt Angel

Through Gervais, then the 6 miles to Mt Angel. Bought some water. Took pictures of the birds on the roof.

Birds on the roof in Mt Angel

Heading back, the sun was starting to get low. We pulled over on Manning road to put on our reflective gear, and, in my case, pull my jacket back on. My light had been switching on in the shaded areas, and shortly turned it self on for good (love that Auto switch).

The sunset was amazing. We had to stop and take pictures.


Riding a bit slower now, since my light was on, worked our way north, then west past Champoeg. Cecil pulled over: "I know we only have 7 miles to go, but I need to eat something NOW!". So, blood sugar break. I finished the last of my second pbj sandwich. Then onto 219 again, across the Willamette, UP the hill, looking for the left turn onto Wynooski. Into Newberg, making a beeline for the Coffee Cottage, where we did all the post-ride paperwork and signatures.

Sal at the end

The perm isn't finished until the paperwork is done

11:20 total time. We did the first 60 miles on the 12 miles/hr plan, but sort of lost it around Mt Angel.

Home for a lovely steak dinner...

Mechanical notes: my left pedal snapped and clicked the entire ride. Got to look at that. It isn't the crank bolts, it isn't the bottom bracket, it isn't any of the chainring bolts. It is the pedal.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Worst Day Ride

The Worst Day of the Year ride is held on the weekend closest to what is historically the worst weather of the winter. For the past 3 of th 4 years I've been doing it, they've failed miserably on getting bad weather. In other words, it didn't rain, and was relatively mild.

Fitz and I rode to the start (9.4 miles, climbing the West Hills), passing Ian, who was preriding the course to check the signage. Got to the start, where I found Diane and immediately left to do the Challenge Loop (40 miles). Fitz was planning on doing the Urban Loop (18 miles) and leaving it open how he got home.

We wandered around SE for a bit, then crossed the Hawthorne Bridge, and worked our way up Naito Pkwy, then west to the NW REI. Dragonfly Chai, then off again. Up through NW, crossing Burnside and switchbacking up NW Stearns Way into Washington Park. Diane and I did a lot of catching up; we haven't had many opportunities to ride together for a long time.

Up to the Rose Garden, then the very, very steep pitch and switchback, then a lessening of the grade for awhile. A couple of slightly steeper pitches interspersed with gradual climbs, then descending past the Forestry Center and Children's Museum. A woman in a green Hyundai Elantra honked at every single one of us, and yelled at Diane to get in the bike lane. Which was full of gravel, so we were sensibly staying out of it. She then proceeded to blow through the stop sign at the crosswalk at the Children's Museum. I'm sure it was all our fault. Mind you, this is a downhill, and we are all proceeding at the posted speed limit :-)

Up again to the the Sylvan summit, then the 9-10 miles out to the Hillsboro REI. Familiar territory to me; I ride stretches of it every weekday.

Peanut butter and jam, and something to drink at the REI, plus a nice visit with Bruce Buffington (he had no water bottles for me this time), and a quick sit down to apply the chemical toe warmers. Everything else was quite comfortable, but for my right foot.

Then west a bit more, under Hwy 26, and heading east through the neighborhoods north of the hwy. Eventually we popped out on West Union just before Bethany, and headed east to NW Thompson, winding our way up (nice, continuous grade) to Skyline. The keyword is "wind" - the road hugs the hill contours, and the summit always seems right around the next corner.

A brief pause at the top, then the descent down Thompson (wheeeeee) and Cornell. I wasn't worried about the tunnels this year - Bleriot's front light is always on. We did get one unsafe pass right in front of the Audobon Society - I could have reached over and touched the car.

Then down through NW Portland, past the REI, and... no signs! We pulled over to check the map. The one with the miniscule print. It revealed that we were to go over the Broadway Bridge and head north on Williams. I could do that. The route signs returned just before the turn onto Williams.

Heading north on Williams - there is a bike lane, but it is narrow, and many cars are parked to the right side. A dooring waiting to happen. 7th/9th is a much nicer way to go.

Right on Skidmore, working our way up to Going, then east until the turn on NE17th, to get to the Community Cycling Center. All out of cookies! Fortunately, Diane and I had emergency backup provisions.

Then back through NE Portland, stopping at every other block. I could see why people blow the stop signs - there's way too many of them! Not that I did. Diane was patient.

Bike Gallery on Sandy, with ample pbj and fruit. More wandering, now through SE Portland, where I spent time acquainting myself with Rolex, from Team Crab (real name: Mike). We met previously at the Cycle Oregon kickoff in the bike storage room.

It didn't rain at any point, which was very nice. Finished at the Lucky Lab, got our chowder and foccacia. On the way out, who should Diane and I run into, but..........Slug. He was riding by and thought he'd see if there was anyone he knew. Just about every time I ride on the east side, I intersect with him.

Then Cecil walked by, on her way home from NAHBS. She got to see Robin Williams, up close and personal. Plus the bicycles, of course.

Now heading off home, for my 4th and final climb of the West Hills. Over the Hawthorne Bridge, up whatever street that is, left on (?) right on Jefferson, under the Vista Bridge, onto the bike path into Washington Park, up again, and then down to home. I will say that the 4th summitting was somewhat less perky than the first 3.

Got home about 3:30. 61.4 miles. Fitz had been home for about an hour. After becoming one with the recliners, we went out for dinner, rather than bestir ourselves and cook...


Or very cool bicycle overload.

Wood wheels... really!

Rode from my house to the Convention Center (9+ miles, big hill in the middle), located the attended bike parking, locked up, and went in. The Convention Center was simultaneously hosting the golf show, Chinese New Year, and NAHBS, so we passed guys in golf shirts (my husband was in there somewhere), little girls in Chinese costume, and cyclists.

Walked in, and was promptly overwhelmed. Jason and I walked the whole show, plus visiting with folks we knew (Bill P, David R, Nance and Richard, the Portland Velo gang at the Livestrong booth, Chico Gino...).

Then we got something to eat, and walked the show again.

What was memorable:
The Calfee bull bike
Any number of classy racks and lighting setups

Pereira Cycles


Nice Headbadge

Beautiful lugs

Hammered lugs

Spectrum Powderworks
Renovo Bicycles

Renovo Bicycles - wood frame

The quad crankset at DaVinci
Getting to meet and talk to Jan Heine at the Rene Herse booth

Rene Herse

Meeting the folks at Bilenky, the nice people that did the S&S conversion on my Bleriot
Visiting at Sweetpea (I need to win the lottery in the worst way. I could support at least three Portland framebuilders then...)
Meeting Sheila Moon

Fabricators' children have the best bikes (Vanilla, Roark, Bilenky)

Roark custom titanium

We then decamped to the Lucky Lab, to pick up our packets for the Worst Day Ride.

All my NAHBS pics here

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sometimes, I Knit

I've been working on a sweater for about 3 1/2 years. I finally finished it in early January.


It was complicated. To celebrate, I ordered a pattern and yarn for another sweater - all one color this time, but cables and such. I'll learn how to do cables now.

Socks are fun, and a good project to take on airplanes, because they are light and small. I made three pair from self-patterning yarn, and graduated to some Really Complicated Ones with leftover yarn from the sweater.

Self-patterning fair isle socks

Philosophers Wool Tradition socks

I'd start right into the next pair of socks (yes, I ordered more yarn), but the yarn is in skeins, as is the yarn for the next sweater. It needs to be rolled into balls. Fortunately, they make tools for that sort of thing; mine will arrive tomorrow. My mom plans to be right over with HER skeins of yarn, too, as my dad is getting tired of holding it while she winds it :-)

Plus I found a really cool bicycle sock pattern (by Lucy Neatby, if you are interested), which I ordered. Plus Natalie's S'Mittens, which I'll make from leftover yarn from a sweater I knit about 10 years ago. I think I've got quite a pipeline of projects for now.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

That Was Novel...

Today is my friend Beth's birthday. She had a birthday breakfast, and I thought I'd ride on over and celebrate with her. Now, I live in the SW burbs (ok, 1 block east and north of Beaverton), and she lives NE. Totally do-able, other than I'm not the biggest fan of riding through downtown Portland. Planned a route.

Got up at 7. Weatherbug said snow at 500ft, but the temperatures were above freezing. Headed out about 8. It was raining, but I'm okay in that. Climbing up through my neighborhood, I started to see bits of snow in the grass. Headed onto the Sunset Hwy bike path... more snow patches. The rain started mixing with snow, and then, by the time I was even with West Sylvan Middle School, it was snowing. Some slush on the bike path; not much. I watched the other bicycle tire tracks so see if there were traction issues.

Still heading up. Slush getting thicker. No traction issues. I'm admiring the way slush is building up on the outsides of my wheels. I hear a slight rubbing sound. Snowing heavily at Sylvan summit, slush looks almost snow-like on the bike path headed down. I kept it VERY slow. Still snowing heavily at the zoo. Turn left into Washington Park, starting to wonder if I should perhaps consider hopping the light rail. Riding down through Washington Park...hmmm.

At this point I realize that my rear wheel is slipping with every pedal stroke. I slow down even more, then stop to chat with the zoo security guard. I notice that my fenders are packed with snow, and knock it loose. My rear derailleur is iced up as well. Can't get moving forward again - no traction.

I walked to the light rail station and took the train to the Convention Center (cleverly skipping both downtown and crossing the river). I was looking for N. Williams, but I see I went too far east.

In any case, a handy bike route sign on NE 7th said "North Portland This Way", so I followed it through a really cool neighborhood until it dead-ended at Webster and cut over to 9th and continued north until I got to NE Ainsworth, which was back on my route, and a really nice road to follow. Note to all - 7th/9th is MUCH nicer than Williams!

Found Beth's house. Aaaaahhhh. Hot drinks, hot food. Good company. I need to bring my knitting next time. Met Beth and Liz's friends and family. Watched cartoons (Daffy Duck and Porky Pig). Visited with Joel and Heinz and Ian. Long bike-geek conversations.

I chose to watch the shadow hunt from the front window :-)

Beth had a Simplex front derailleur for me, in case Gitane needed a different one.

It kept on snowing.

I finally figured I should go. Beth told me to head east and I'd run into the Interstate light rail. Given that it was snowing there, and Sylvan would probably still be covered, I did just that. Got to the Killingsworth station, where another bike rider admired my bike and we had a conversation.

Switched trains at the Rose Garden. Snow still on the ground heading into the tunnel. Nothing on the west side, just very wet and cold.

So, not nearly as many miles as I intended to put in, but some new riding experiences, for sure!