Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cycling - May and Year to Date

In May, I rode 559 non-commuting miles. Figure another 75 for that. Two 100+ mile rides. One 230 mile ride. 1710 miles year to date, not including commuting miles. 8 century+ rides for the year.

I've taken the last two weeks "off". Cut way back on the running. Skipped spinning class a few times (sorry, John, it isn't you, I promise). Drove to work a few days. I did do the Velo rides on the weekends. 50 and 40 miles. Gave my hands a chance to recover from the Fleche and Reach/Unreach. It does seem a little strange to finish a ride at lunchtime.

There might be something to this recovery thing. I felt zippy for the first time in several months. Once I warmed up I did some fast riding, all the way from Long Rd back to Longbottoms. I especially had fun on Long, Hornecker and Evergreen. I was not the ride leader today, so it was all about MY ride.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Some days, it is hard to be a good little demographic

I surely tried. Fitz told me to get the Brooks Saddle of my choice for Mother's Day. Duly accomplished yesterday. It is installed, but there is a small problem - my venerable seatbag does not work with it.

New Brooks.  Hmm, old seat bag no longer fits...

All the other seatbags we have around are of the same type, except my Carradice Barley, which will work even BETTER with the new saddle, but it does not work and play well with the briefcase pannier, so those are all out of consideration.

Ah! Time to get a VO Croissant or Rivendell Banana bag! Finally, an excuse.

Darn. Both out of stock.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Its Done!

I think it is essentially done.  Wow

Installed the fenders. This required a phone call to husband "do we have a rattail file? where is it?", as the 28mm Armadillos wanted the fenders pulled up further than the L-bracket opening would allow. Finally got them on.

Then pulled out the eBay *Jim* Blackburn rack, unbent it (why the deck was bent up, I have no idea), then pulled out another mounting bracket, went over to use my dad's vise, and installed the rack, tweaking the fenders yet again.

The handlebar tape was the easiest part of this whole thing. New Velox bar end plugs, too!

Found a water bottle cage in the garage, and it is ready to go. Need to go to the hardware store for some teeny nuts and bolts for the cable guides on the top tube for total completeness, but it is now rideable for any conditions here.


Pics from start to finish here

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Reaching and Unreaching the Beach

An annual rite of spring is the Lung Association's Reach the Beach ride. It also used to be my first big ride of the spring. Well. mumble.

Lynne, Diane, and Cecil preparing to ride back to Portland

Sometimes we decide to Unreach as well - ride back home the next day. This works if one has a place to sleep and is riding a bike which supports a pannier, OR knows someone who is staying over but driving back. This year we had Option 2, which was great.

Cecil came over the night before, and we dropped our duffels and sleeping bags at Jason's house. Then a brief stop at the craft store, where Cecil seemed a little disturbed at my knowledge of the knitting (tacky stuff, not worth it) and beading (marginally better) sections. Then home to make up a batch of steel-cut oats for the morning. Rather than a wild party night, we conked out by 9:30, as we had to be on the road pedaling to the start at 6am.

Up and at 'em. We left the house shortly after 6, intending to meet Jason at the corner of SW Murray and SW 6th, thence south on Murray, right on Sexton Mtn, left on 155th, sort of straight onto Teal, and right, cutting through the apartment complex to pop out on Scholls Ferry, thereby avoiding the entire Murray/Scholls Ferry intersection, shopping mall, and with any luck, parts of that hill climb. Arrived at the start at 6:45, and got in line for packet pickup. I'd been in Chico, so missed the early packet pickup.

Saw Dan from Portland Velo, but not anyone else. Cecil said she saw Slug.

Numbers acquired and applied, we set out. It was already quite warm. We were all riding incognito, on our hot bikes (two Lemonds and a Bianchi), in blatant hot summer cycling clothes, with no club or other affiliations displayed. We had our day ride only helmets on as well. Little Pink Bear and Formerly Floyd were the only giveaways.

Uneventful ride to the Elks Lodge, where we stopped briefly to take care of business at a facility with no line. Then off again, for the hairpin descents and then the climb up Kruger and Chapman roads. Now I know where that cemetery is - I've ridden by it several times and never noticed. Then the descent, where Jason and Cecil left me. I eventually caught up with them at Ewing Young School, which had a very long line for water. Hot day.

Little Pink Bear in a 5-point harness

Off again, with Jason "Floyd" Penney and Cecil leaving me in the dust, and waiting. It wasn't like I was slow, for me, either. They were just moving. Hot, sunny day. Stop in Dayton, where Cecil and I visited the non-ride blue room (no line), snacked, checked out the novel bike rack, and then went across the street to the convenience store for Gatorade - the rest stop was out.

Bike Rack in Dayton

Off then to Amity, during which I played with my camera and took pictures while riding (camera was in the bento box for easy access). I seem to have gotten to where I can ride Lemond no-hands reasonably reliably. Lunch was sandwiches. Initially it looked to be all pork products, which I'm not inclined to eat, but then a tray of turkey appeared.

Jason and Cecil on Broadmead Rd

Upon leaving, we found that we had (sigh) a headwind. It was with us all the way up to Sourgrass Summit, past Grand Ronde, and reports said gusts of up to 35mph. Through Sheridan and Willamina, and onto Hwy 18. Oooh. Construction. Cars backed up. We were passing them on the shoulder, even with that headwind, which I'm sure made them even more cheery. Turned off at Valley Junction, climbed, and arrived at the Grand Ronde rest stop. I scored the only Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies of the ride, plus a nice bowl of salty chicken noodle soup. The baked potato looked appetizing, but they were way too big.

Out of sports drink there as well. Note to self - carry Gatorade powder next time. I had been sucking down water and Gatorade the whole day.

The climb to Sourgrass Summit was uneventful, and didn't seem particularly difficult. This is the first time in 4 years that I've done it on a single bike; perhaps that is why. Floyd and Cecil were long gone. The descent was great fun. Found them at the rest stop, and said hi to Bob Heath, who was looking for green jerseys and not finding any. Then down the Little Nestucca River Road, which had lovely pavement. Not much after that, Hwy 101, then the ride into Pacific City. We were given an entire traffic lane of our own this year; much, much better than the previous year's relegation to the left-side bike lane (or "Cones of Death").

Ate some veggie rice; helped Jason and Cecil with their beers, visited with Ron, Diane, and Tess as well. We all then adjourned to the beach house; Clarkie and Rachel showed up with the duffels and sleeping bags shortly thereafter.

Long discussion on who would get the first shower. Ron maintained that those taking the shorter showers should go first, and he wondered what it was we were DOING to take so long in the shower. I mumbled something about guys (especially this subgroup) not needing to spend time with the hair product. Oh well. Diane, Cecil and I elected to sleep in the dormitory upstairs. Cecil went grocery shopping. I got my shower (AAAAAAHHHHHHHH). Ron went out to dinner with friends, the Penneys went out to dinner somewhere, and we got some pizza.

Walking down to the pizza place to pick it up was entertaining; some folks in their front yard were, I think, inviting us to join their party. We also stepped into the market for more beer, and Diane and I got ice cream cones to eat on the walk back.

Pizza. Hot tub. I knitted a bit, Clarkie beaded, and we all deconstructed Fern Gully. Bed.

Our plan was to be on the road by 7am, so up at 6. There was coffee and oatmeal and fruit, which would hold me for awhile. Jason got up to see us off. We met Diane's friends at the Inn at Pacific City, and waited for them to finish their coffee.

Adding Tess and Mark to the Unreach group

It was somewhat cooler and foggy this morning; I added armwarmers, knee warmers and a jacket, and thin wool gloves over my shortfinger gloves. The fog went away shortly after we turned off Hwy 101 onto Little Nestucca River Road. The climb was beautiful. The sun was shining through the trees onto the river, and lighting up the dewdrops on the beargrass. A stop at one of the bridges for pictures; I ditched the jacket.

Nestucca River

Bridge on Little Nestucca Road

climbing Little Nestucca Road

By the time we reached the turn-off, I needed to remove all the extra layers. The blue rooms were still there from yesterday; we availed ourselves of the one still upright :-)

2.9 more miles and lots of pictures to the summit, then the descent into Grand Ronde. Had to pay attention to the pavement at this point. Another stop at the blue rooms from the day before, then we deviated from the Reach the Beach route and followed Grand Ronde Road all the way to 18/22.

Grand Ronde Market

A brief stop at the store for more water and Gatorade, then east for a couple of miles and a right turn onto Little Yamhill River Road. This road parallels the highway all the way to Willamina, has brand new pavement and NO TRAFFIC and NO RUMBLESTRIPS. Nice!

Diane on Little Yamhill River Rd

Into Willamina, more pictures. At this point we figured that our (mine and Cecil's) agenda and Tess's agenda were not quite the same. Too many picture stops. Didn't stop us, though. Then Sheridan, where we toured the town looking for a blue room. Found it in the city park, which also had a skate park with a half-pipe, which Cecil promptly started riding on. She's good.


More cool shadows

Lunch in Amity

We never did get our tailwind, but at least we did not have a headwind. Into Amity, where we got lunches at the market and sat under a nice shady tree to eat them.

Once we arrived in Lafayette, we stopped to tank up on beverages again; nothing available for many miles after this.

We had decided to return home via North Valley/Spring Hill/Fern Hill, rather than go through Newberg and Sherwood (and climb Bell/Chapman/Kruger) again.

Conversation at the Corner of Indecision

The wetland and crimson clover were breathtaking. Many picture stops along there.

Wetland on North Valley Rd

Red Clover Hill on Spring Hill Rd

Red Clover on Fern Hill

Some of our party needed to get back to the start point, so we went throught Fern Hill Wetlands and got them all the way to the corner of Minter Bridge and Burkhalter, where they thought they could find their way back with the help of a GPS.

It was still quite warm and we were all fading.

Diane, Cecil, and I headed north on Minter Bridge, then east all the way in on Baseline. I was happy once the cross street numbering was a system I could relate to. SE 52nd? Nah. SW 231st? Yup, I know where I am now. Diane and Cecil were lobbying: "is it possible to get to your house on a route that does not include the Park Way hill?" (10% but short). Well, there is, but any way to my house involves a hill. We came up from below, but I know the bottom bits of my street are pretty darn steep as well.

Jason had thoughtfully dropped the bags off at the house, so no extra trips to retrieve them were required.

Whew. Dinner was takeout.

Saturday 107 miles.
Sunday 112 miles.

My pics here
Cecil's pics here

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Jolly Postman

Context: 96 degrees. I need to send my MiNewt back for factory service. But I'm off on an all-weekend bicycling adventure to the coast and back, so need another mailbox to ship my package away in. Plus, one of the contacts on my IQ Fly headlight has broken. Fitz is off on his annual Atomic Open golf adventure in the Tri-Cities.

We read The Jolly Postman to our children at bedtime for YEARS. We all enjoyed the book.

I packaged up the MiNewt to send back, called my dad to see if he wanted to do a little soldering (yes, I can solder, but he's got all the necessary toys), bungied the package on the rack, and rode over. He allowed as how the box would not fit in HIS mailbox, as he doesn't have the Rural #2 size. But I did raid the refrigerator for a cold Diet Coke, and we adjourned to the workshop for a soldering and heatshrink tubing session. (bicycle, cold drink, package) He thought I should put the package in my brother's mailbox, instead. My mom was at the other end of the country, visiting her sister.

Perhaps I should explain that we all live within 2 blocks of each other. It is a wonderful arrangement.

Rode over there. My sister-in-law answered the door (and they have air conditioning), immediately handed me a tall cold glass of iced tea, and agreed the package would better be sent from their mailbox. We had a nice little visit. She eventually figured out that I was on my own that evening, and invited me over for dinner. "Your dad and Philip are coming over, you should, too!" (Philip is a very interesting cousin.)

On my way out to go home and pack for the bicycle adventure, I noticed some enticing books. Which I promptly borrowed, and bungied to the bike rack. (bicycle, cold drink, packages again). And rode home.

Packed, and walked back over. Great dinner (brother, SIL, last child still at home, dad, and Philip), with wine (I think the Jolly Postman had sherry, but anyway). Air conditioning. I like to visit it from time to time.

Then looking out their back window before departing, what should I see but the neighborhood coyote! (the Big Bad Wolf) He was laying down, chewing on something. Probably best we couldn't see what, exactly. That was my longest coyote sighting to date.

Cecil came over shortly thereafter. I made her read the book :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Brief Proud Parent Interlude

The younger child is in his first senior year at Oregon State, majoring in ECE (electrical and computer engineering, I think). In any case the Engineering Expo was last week; we went. The senior projects were on display. Brian's team had already won the "Most Innovative" award. At the Expo, they received the first place departmental award, out of 20+ team projects.

A happy picture

Older child is in graduate school at University of Oregon in Portland, for her architecture degree. She's doing a practicum at a local firm, working on a project that will be over by the Rose Quarter - transitional housing sort of thing. What is her part, exactly? "I'm designing the bicycle storage room".

Monday, May 12, 2008

Milestone for Lemond

Lemond rolls over 10000 miles on the Gator Grinder Triathlon

Since the end of May, 2003. It would have been sooner, but I ride more than one bike.

Wonder if the Flight Deck has yet another digit? Check back in 20 years to find out :-)

Gator Grinder Triathlon

Me, hanging around before my 9:45am start time

When I finally got around to registering, I found myself #50 on the waiting list (!) But Lisa the registrar was hopeful that I'd get in. And sure enough, three weeks before the event, I did get in. So I got in a few trips to the swimming pool, too, to remember how.

Organizing for one of these is always fun. I've developed a list on my Palm, so I don't have to remember from year to year what to take.

As many of us were participating (Team Estrogen and Friends), some carpools were organized - I took Natalie, Austin and Greta. Natalie and Austin were doing the swim legs for Susan and Jeff's relay teams. Greta was supervising.

We got there in plenty of time (note to self - it is ONLY a 30 minute drive), and as it was so very early, we also got the best parking place ever.

Checked in. Got the PRIME rack position for my transition area. Got my number marked. Walked around. Visited. Sat. Walked around. (we were there before 7am; my start was not until 9:45). Organized my transition area. Obessed over whether I'd need extra clothes. It was darn chilly this year. Laid out a long-sleeve shirt and pants, just in case.

My transition area

Team Water Wings

Watched all the children want to pet Greta. She's not outgoing. Shy, but well-behaved about it.

Greta being shy

There were 10 swim heats, slowest to fastest. I was in heat 8. I put down 9 minutes, which is right about how fast I really do swim 500 yds.

Cheered Edna through her swim and transition to bike. Cheered Natalie on her swim leg, and Renata, Karina (?), Sandy, and Michelle (?) on their swim leg (all in the same lane, too!). French-braided Mandy's hair (shades of gymastics-team-parenthood). Went out to the transition area and got rid of the outer clothes, picked up the towel, cap and goggles...

Natalie in the pool

Susan finishing her bike leg

My turn. Nice, chatty folks in the lane this year. We started, and eventually sorted ourselves out into speed order. Plonked along, but was able to do flip turns this year; some years we are kind of bunched up in the lane, and it doesn't work out.

Climbing out of the pool after the swim

Last lap. Out, and on to the bike leg. It was still pretty darn chilly, so I pulled on the long-sleeve shirt. I wore the Keen bike sandals this year, they pull on very quickly. And I was off. The Lemond felt very fast and twitchy; I haven't ridden it much in the past 6 months.

And, I'm off!

The muscles above my right knee felt weirdly tight, but I kept on pedaling. Flat 4 miles, then the curvy downhill, the uphill, more flat, the Uphill around mile 5, rollers until the end. There was one rider, at the top of the rollers, who was standing by the side of the road. No flat or anything. I think she was just discouraged. I told her only 4 more miles, and kept on riding.

Zipped in, left the bike, long-sleeve shirt, and bike gear, pulled on a cap and running shoes, and off again. A gentleman from the next swim heat was also in his bike to run transition. I told him I was impressed.

Linda was heading back on her run as I was heading out; we high-fived each other in passing.

Jim M. from work passed me about a mile into the run. I was actually surprised he did not catch me on the bike leg.

I will say this again about this triathlon - the volunteers are all uniformly cheerful, positive and encouraging. Some will even high-five you during the run! Heck, the competitors are also cheerful, positive and encouraging - we all cheer each other on.

As I was heading back on my last mile of the run, I saw the woman who had stopped at the beginning of her run, and gave her a big cheer.

Last half-lap around the track; Laura was waiting for me at the finish. I got some water, and we slowly walked back to the pool, where everyone had unloaded their chairs and bbq and my picnic table, and had the post-event tailgate going. I got a shower and warm clothes, and hauled my bike and bag over to the party. Mmmm. Burgers, chips, cookies, pretzels, salsa.

visiting and bbq afterward

Our group won an amazing number of raffle prizes (not me specifically, darn), with the announcer making snarky comments about that group sitting slightly off in a circle :-)

Then they moved onto the awards. Most of us got ribbons, too - awarded up to 5th place in each age group. More comments about that, since we got a LOT of them and we cheer loudly for each and every one. :-) :-) :-)

Showing off our ribbons

I myself got 4th in my age group and 29th out of 80 women. 4 minutes off my time from last year. I'll just say I'm perhaps not entirely recovered from the previous weekend's fleche.

All the pics here
Results here

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What was I thinking on the fleche anyway?

At the beginning:

This would have been it from Wilsonville till we were done:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fleche Ouragan

Last November, friend Rickey said, "I've signed you up on my Fleche team". All I knew about a Fleche was that it lasted 24 hours, and had minimum distance requirement. I didn't know I wanted to do a Fleche...

Our Fleche Route Map

Cecil was going to do one; her team was, at that point, undetermined. And as it worked out, neither person organized a team. So Cecil became team captain for "the women's team". She had Peg, Lesli, and, eventually, with some trepidation, me. Our RBA contributed her route, which we changed slightly to make the Corvallis control be Brian's apartment ("Brian, would it be okay if three of my friends and I knocked on your apartment door at about 5am on Saturday? We'd like to make a hot breakfast and maybe take a little nap..."). He's a sweet boy.

The plan was for a 9pm Friday night departure - we'd get the dark parts done while we were still vaguely alert. I myself was worried about the 1am to 5am stretch - that's when I do my heaviest sleeping.

Put the generator hub wheel and lighting back on Bleriot. Decided what to wear (low of 45 Friday night, probable sprinkles, high in the mid 50's, rain clearing off on Saturday). Packed. Planned food. Made Molasses Marbles (molasses, dried milk, peanut butter, toasted wheat germ, rolled in any of toasted sesame seed, coconut, chopped nuts) for munching at night; I wanted something that was easy to eat. I made a whole batch and divided it into 4 little baggies for everyone.

All the Stuff

Molasses Marbles

Went home after lunch on Friday, and took a nap. After dinner I drove out to the Grand Lodge to find Cecil, Lesli, and Peg already unloading. It was about 8pm, so we had awhile to loaf before riding over the few blocks to our start in Cornelius. Some inebriated folks leaned out of an upstairs window and asked how far we'd gone. Not very far yet. They promised they'd welcome us back on Saturday night at 9pm.

Pre-ride picture, at the Grand Lodge

We got a cooperative bystander to take a pre-start photo, then cruised over to the Cornelius Plaid Pantry. Eventually it was 9pm, and the cheerful clerk signed our cards and wished us a good ride.

Preparing to start in Cornelius

West, then south, quickly getting onto the familiar Fern Hill/Spring Hill/North Valley/Ribbon Ridge/Kuehne/Abbey stretch (I just reeled off about 24 miles of riding there), through Lafayette, and off to Dayton. The store clerk in the Dayton market sold us some water and initialed our cards. Interesting folks hang around the Dayton market after 11pm, yes indeed.

Leaving Dayton, it did commence to spit for awhile, but nothing major. We were chatting the whole way. We all had high-powered generator lighting, so seeing the road was not a problem. We also had a slight tailwind. Nice.

South, south, south. Into Salem, and the wonders of Doaks Ferry Rd. It goes up. But it also goes down, and it has streetlights and amazing pavement. (Bleriot downhill speed record, 37.5 mph)Then onto Independence, where the public restrooms were open, there was an ATM for proof of passage (it is after 2am now), and the bar across the street had amazingly bad karaoke going. We sang along for a bit.

Another long run in the dark, heading for Albany, where we found another ATM. Cecil was hunting around for a blue room, so Lesli and I sat down and dozed for a few moments. Lesli shared around some more chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Lots of riding around on roads with no car traffic whatsoever. We could take up the whole lane, pretty much secure that nothing would sneak up on us.

Then off to Corvallis. It was around here that I caught myself dozing off while pedaling. This is bad. Fastest way I know of to end up in a ditch or something. So Lesli and Peg promptly subjected me to the third degree about the kids, so I'd keep talking and not fall asleep. It worked wonderfully. Then we were in Corvallis, and I had to get them to Brian's apartment.

5:30am. We carried our bikes up the stairs to leave them on the walkway, and I tapped on Brian's window. A hand waved, and then, shortly thereafter, the door opened. We invaded.

Brian, showing me the iPod touch he lusts after

Taking over the kitchen

He pointed us at the bathroom and groceries. Cecil cooked up her oatmeal, and Lesli made breakfast burritos (scrambled eggs, cheese and salsa in a flour tortilla). I was in charge of tortilla-warming (microwave, EZ). After eating, Lesli set up the coffee, and we all crashed until 6:30. I got the futon chair, and was instantly out. Almost 30 minutes of sleep.

Preparing to depart

Then coffee, and we were off again. It was now daylight (yay!). Lots of wandering around in Willamette Valley farmland south, and then east of Corvallis, heading for Shedd.

Lesli, Peg and Cecil

Early morning sky and trees, SE of Corvallis

The Shedd Market is a happening place, yes indeed. Lots of folks in there enjoying breakfast.

Shedd Market

Then off again, to Waterloo. We crossed I-5, and headed into that interesting landscape with all the abrupt humpy little hills. Wandered around those, then into Waterloo. Now, Waterloo has a market. I called, it opens 9-ish. We were there 10-ish. Closed. Ack. We found the across the street neighbor, who after deciding we were not selling anything, cheerfully signed our control cards.

Cecil eating

Waterloo Store

Patiently waiting bikes in Waterloo

At this point, Cecil started stressing about time. As in, we'd run out before we got to 360km. Peg figured it would be fine. I figured we'd get back on schedule, because SURELY we'd cover more than 10 miles an hour. At this point, we ran into the Headwind, which was with us the entire rest of the ride.

Up to Jefferson, which involved a long run on US 20, directly into the headwind and some climbing. Cecil was starting to flag, so I asked her all about her latest case. The Jefferson Market had jo-jos and string cheese, and cheerful, friendly people. We sat down in front and ate.

Off to Aumsville, passing some of the roads we visited in January on the Covered Bridges Perm. Talked to Fitz to let him know we'd be finishing right around 9, but it was slow going. Then onto the special 17 miles that is Howell Prairie Rd. It is pretty. But we were headed right into that headwind. Lesli and Peg stopped for a moment at Silverton Rd; Cecil and I kept going; we knew they'd catch us. I looked NW and noted that it looked very, very wet. We grabbed out jackets and pulled them on, and were shortly in a toadstrangler of a shower. It didn't last too long, and my shorts and kneewarmers dried out very quickly. Lesli and Peg did catch us right before Gervais, where Cecil and I put on dry socks (aaaaaah) and I put on a dry cap.

Then off to Wilsonville, the last bit where we get onto I-5 to cross the Willamette River. Dang that's loud. We did find the secret spot where one hops off the freeway well before the offramp, cautiously stepping over the downed fence (enhanced w/two strands of barbed wire). We endeavored to spend practically no time at the control (ha). At this point, my local road knowledge came into play, as we headed north, back over I-5, and into Sherwood and a control. The guys behind the counter were rendered speechless when it became obvious that a 24 hour ride means one rides all night...

Still pressing on, and querying Peg about the rules. At 22 hours we were 2-3 miles short of the "22 hour control", on Roy Rogers Rd. We stopped, recorded distance and time, pulled on our reflective gear, and signed each others cards. Peg told us that cards filled out and signed in pencil weren't valid. Cecil and I had heart failure right there. "I was JOKING!" said Peg.

Peg at the 22 hour point

Somewhere on Roy Rogers, I rolled over my personal distance record, which had been 206 miles in a day. I figured after Seattle to Portland three years ago that was a record that would never be superseded...

Then off to the Starbucks at Scholls Ferry and Murray, got our cards signed again, then back up the hill on Scholls Ferry, heading west.

Turned right onto Tile Flat. I have not ridden that particular stretch of the road. It is very pretty, farms, animals, peacocks... Riding, riding, riding, headwind, headwind, headwind. By this point, my right tricep had given it up. I could only ride with my right hand on the tops, which my hand was not liking - my wrists and palms were very sore.

We rolled over 360km distance. Then, a few km later, it was 9pm, right in front of Forest Hills Lutheran Church (aka the rest stop for many, many local event bike rides). Stopped again, recorded distance, and signed each other's cards. In pen.

Finished the last bit of the route, got to the Grand Lodge (our inebriated well-wishers of the night before were nowhere to be seen), checked in, (Fitz found me), got cleaned up and had dinner. Except the booth was incredibly uncomfortable. I could not sit comfortably at all. My legs were very twitchy. Cecil kept falling asleep, too. Fitz finally told us to go away, and he'd take care of the check :-)

Ceremonial breakfast the next morning. We sat with Dave Read's team. They had a headwind-filled experience, as well.

Riders at breakfast

Post-ride, post-sleep, post-breakfast team

Pictures afterward. We were standing around outside, and one rando, name fortunately not known, asks: "Is this your whole team? How did the four of you manage without any guys along?". I sincerely hope he was joking :-)

Ride mileage 24hrs, 226 miles, whole ride, 230 miles.

Finish trip distance

All the other pics here
Cecil's pics here
Lesli's pics here

Chico Wildflower Century

My friend Gino had invited us to come down to Chico, visit with them, and do the ride. I've wanted to do that ride for quite some time, if only to get the ride jersey; the prettiest cycling jersey ever. And, amazingly enough, Fitz thought he'd like to do a road trip!

Much packing and bicycle cleaning and accessory arrangement. I was taking Bleriot, because, well, I was. And the totally cool new Portland Velo wool jersey. And, of course, Little Pink Bear.

Duffels in the car, and bicycles on the back. Of the Mini. One 7.5 hour drive south later, we were in Chico. We went by the fairgrounds first, to pick up our ride packets. It was HOT. It was not supposed to be that hot, just low 80's. So I bought ride t-shirt as well, because it wasn't supposed to be so HOT.

Fitz and Claire (Count the Bleriots in this picture)

Over to Gino's. He and Claire had not picked up their ride stuff yet, so we unloaded, changed, and all had a nice pootle on the bikes around Chico, eventually ending up at the fairgrounds. Chico is very flat, and full of people on bicycles. Bidwell Park is in the middle, with a dammed-up river going through it (the water is delayed, not kept) for a swimming hole, which looked very, very tempting.

Gino can multitask...

Claire on our pootle through Chino

There was a guy riding a big homemade bike with car tires around the lot. Claire and I got to give it a spin. It must have weighed 150 lbs and had a really high top tube. Someone had to hold it while I got on, but it was very easy to pedal. Steering was different. "Lean!" I AM leaning! "Lean more!". I got to where I could do very big circles.

Riding the Big Toy

Headed back through Bidwell Park, including some of the unpaved trails. Wheee!

We stopped by the Sierra Nevada brewery, but it was very crowded, so went on home, as friends of theirs were coming over for pizza. A fun evening - everyone was filling us in on what we could expect on the ride. One friend had spent the day painting turn markers on the road. Gino had unloaded trucks, and he and Claire spent yet another day with gray paint and a roller, erasing some of the more objectionable writings on the roads.

Up the next morning, strawberry pancakes, and then riding to pick up the route a few miles from the house.

Heading out with Gino in the morning

Our first climb was up Humboldt. The pavement was distressed, but that isn't so bad going up. The top was the meetup point for Gino's friends. Gino was going to do parts of the ride and finish before it got too hot. Fitz was thinking the metric century; I was planning to do the century. Gino and friends vanished down the hill (much smoother pavement), then Fitz, then me. I found Fitz at the bottom, and we headed off toward the Honey Run climb.

Early on the road

Honey Run covered bridge

The road is narrow, and it winds around, with trees shading it. We stopped briefly at a park with a covered bridge, then continued on. The climb became steeper, and the road, even narrower. It was fun, and the views off to the left were great.

Fitz taking a picture

Climbing Honey Run

Questions from fellow riders:
1) are you really from Portland?
2) is that a wool jersey? Aren't you hot?
3) (incredulous tone) you aren't wearing a WOOL jersey, are you?
4) nice fenders!
5) what's with the bear?
(my favorite)
"She's got fenders AND a stuffed animal and she passed us"

Honey Run is truly the road to Paradise. The first rest stop was at a school. Saw two other Rivendells, but mostly the standard collection of fast, nice, often non-steel road bikes. No fenders, as this is California, and it does not rain there much.

Then a fun descent to the point where the routes diverged. Fitz and I waved good-bye to each other, and he headed off to lunch, and I headed off to Table Mountain.

Road shot

First, a fun swooping downhill, then riding through a town and over some watercourses, all circling around this flat-topped geological feature. Then the rest stop at a park on a lake (MY that looked inviting). Pastries and bananas. Not the type of fuel I was needed for the projected stiff climb ahead of me. Fortunately, I had a Salty Sweet Peanut bar in my bag.

Off again. The road wandered up and down. I was starting to wonder when the climb would start... Then it got steep. For variation, it would get steeper for a bit, then just return to steep. Some slow guy would hang out in the lane, making it really hard to pass him. Then I'd pass him on the right (after calling out). He'd get me on the downhill bits, then park himself out in the lane again. He was annoying. Perhaps he was just not having a good ride.

I finally had to pull over in a tiny patch of shade, just to let my heart rate drop from 185. A support car drove by, telling us was only a mile more.

Pause on Table Mountain

Sure enough it was, and the grade eased off a bit, too. Big, flat open area up there. One kind soul waved his hand out and said "that's where the wildflowers would be; they are done for the year".

Me at the Top of Table Mountain

A nice couple in EPA matching jerseys took my picture. Then a nice descent, followed by a much steeper, twistier, not-quite-so-nice descent, a short bit on Hwy 70, then into lunch. I got the very last pate sandwich (it looked like it required less effort to eat), a couple of cookies, and some strawberries. Topped off the water bottle and sports drink, and headed out.

From this point on, the route was flat. Pancake-flat. So I was riding along, and realized I was doing 17-19mph. Now, that's a normal cruising speed for some folks, but certainly not me on the Bleriot! Maybe it was my spiffy new Michelin Axial Raid tires? I finally concluded that we had a tailwind, and proceeded to enjoy every minute of it.

It was still a hot day. I kept drinking water and sports drink. The wool jersey did not make me hot - the breeze blowing though it was really nice.

Arrived at the last rest stop in Durham. I filled my waterbottle with ice, got more sports drink, and ate orange slices as fast as the volunteer was slicing them. Fitz called - he had finished and eaten.

Orchards and Cemetery

Off again, passing lots of orchards and olive groves. Flat, flat, flat :-) Then we turned north and east to curve back into Chico, and got a bit of headwind. More orchards and groves, and cyclists all heading in. I was particularly intriguied by by the red lines painted on the road, and the signs saying "don't drive through here if the red lines are covered by water".

Starting with the descent from Table Mountain, I saw a group of middle-school aged riders, all with matching jerseys (Mr Retzer's Sevvies), and some adults. I asked one of the adults what was up - this was a group of about 15 middle schoolers, some parents, and Mr. Retzer. They rode the century. Pretty amazing!

Then into Chico, and heading south for the fairgrounds. I dropped my bike outside the hall, and went it to eat. The line was very, very long.

Put a fork in me, I'm done

Route markers

Got in line, called Fitz... He was almost just behind me, figuring I'd finish about then. Eventually got some food, and visited with other folks at the table. Then we went back to Gino and Claire's where some people were overly fascinated by the salt marks on my jersey.

It was a hot day

It was then that I learned that the temp was 94...

Off to desalinization, then another try for dinner at the Sierra Nevada brewery. Fitz: "you can eat another dinner?" Me: "yes". We all stuffed ourselves in the Mini. I think Claire wants one. She and Gino were negotiating which vehicle they'd get replace :-)

Sierra Nevada Brewery bar

Another excellent beer (Summerfest), then dinner. Back home, then we all vegged in front of The Last Samurai.

It was a wonderful visit with Gino and Claire, and a great trip all around!

All the pics are here