Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pause at the Mountaindale Store

Originally uploaded by cecilanne
it was soooo hot.

Team Bag Balm ride from Team Estrogen, with a little Trek thrown in

Team Estrogen held their first ever parking lot sale this past weekend. There were also burgers and drinks. As TE ALSO rides with Team Bag Balm, we thought we'd meet there, browse/shop, then go for a ride.

It was going to be a hot day. A very hot day.

8am.  Not that hot yet.

Cecil appeared shortly before 8am ("I had a ferocious tailwind! May I use your bathroom?"). We then collected Jason, and continued on to TE, which is a mile closer than Longbottom's Coffee, where our club rides start.

Many of the Herd were there, as well as the largest collection of Smartwool socks ever seen by the writer. Browsing, visiting, and in some cases, shopping ensued, before our planned 9:30am departure.

We rode west, though North Plains, then the out and back on Dairy Creek Road. Cecil was distracted by a field of what I am told are alpacas, with cute poodle cuts. Long pause for pictures.

The Llamas had to come see what was going on

Cecil, Don, and Diane

The temperature just kept rising and rising and rising... A pause at the defunct Mountaindale Store, where Jason, Cecil, Don and myself decided that the burgers and cold drinks waiting back at TE were perhaps more tempting than climbing Old Pumpkin Ridge Rd.

Linda, Laura, and Diane elected to follow the original plan. A long pause at the North Plains market (water, Gatorade, chips, shade), then back to TE.

Slug and Jeff cheerfully cooked up burgers-of-choice for us all, while suggesting we drink more. Fitz drove out to shop. We ate, visited, and then shopped. Cecil had deliberately chosen to NOT have any way to carry stuff home, so as to limit her purchases, but Slug offered to drop them off :-) He had a big bag to deliver, I hear.

Jason and I were not inclined to ride home (100+ degrees by this point). We dropped Jason off, then Fitz thought he should go by Nike to get his Livestrong Volunteer Packet. I already had my stuff. We arrived to find that he didn't need to do that, and walked around the Livestrong Village. I was distracted by a Trek Madone 5.1 WSD. Carbon fiber, white/gray/pink... But it was too big. "I have a 47cm one, too. Want to do a test ride?". We established that if I brought my Frog pedals around, he'd swap them on, and off I'd go. Fitz figured if I was going to do that, I could find my own way home. No problem, there. I had a bike, after all.

What fun! I've never ridden a carbon fiber bike (compact double, low spoke count wheels, the most amazing teeny handlebars with no reach and very little drop, complete dark side for a randonneur :-) ). It was a good ride, very stable, easy to ride no-hands, which I cannot say that for the Lemond. I can't justify it. I really couldn't tell if I was riding carbon fiber. It didn't feel different. Friend Beth says that is because I'm not heavy enough to tell the difference, in terms of the alleged "dead" feel. But, yeah, it was fun!

Rode home. Kept drinking and drinking and drinking. And not feeling much better. I finally broke into a defenseless bag of tortilla chips. Half a bag later, I felt much better. I must have needed the salt.

my pics here
Cecil's pics here

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Carbon Footprint Family For A Day

All three of us got to work via bicycle. One to Beaverton, one to Tualatin, and one to Hillsboro (MAX helped out on this one).

Yay us!

That said, we've hit the tipping point in bike parking in the garage. There are many bicycles in there.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The stuff in my head...

(warning, exquisitely geeky content ahead)

Brian is living at home for the next 6 months, during his engineering co-op internship. His computers have moved in (yes, plural), he's excavated his bedroom, and some of our dinners are now Brian-friendly. Like, when was the last time YOU had tuna noodle casserole for dinner, without children in the house? I myself am waiting for the Kraft Mac and Cheese extravaganza (yum!)

So, a couple nights ago... "Dad, can you help me? It is a unix question. I've got a hidden folder that I need to get at, and I need to make a soft link to it. Do you remember the command?"

Wait for it.....

Me: "ln -s"

I have not used unix in possibly a decade. Yes, that was the right answer.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Day Has Come

(at least temporarily)

This morning I saw Brian off to his first day of work at his 6 month engineering internship at a local company.

While cycling into work, a bright blue sedan passed me going the other way; I waved to Rebecca as she headed off to HER job at a local architectural firm.

They are both employed, locally, in their preferred fields.

Heading off to the credit union at lunch, to turn off the allowances.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Covered Bridges 200km, or I Washed the Wrong Bike

On my ongoing quest for the RUSA R-12 Award, I set out to ride the Oregon Randonneurs Covered Bridges 200km. I was contemplating the 400km, but it would have gone into Father's Day, and I figured I should be home for that.

Hannah Covered Bridge

I spent an hour or so Thursday cleaning Bleriot, prior to transforming it into Rando Bike. (This is why people have a separate Rando Bike; they don't have to do all this every time) Scrubbed the sidewalls of the tires, washed off all the grime, detailed the drivetrain. A clean bike goes faster, you know!

The weather forecast was OUTSTANDING. So much so, that on Friday, I decided to ride the Lemond instead, assuming I would not have to carry so much stuff. Got home Friday, and gave the Lemond a bath. It is faster to clean, no racks and fenders.

Carried much less stuff. No spare tire. No S&S coupler wrench. No fiberfix spoke. No extra clothing.

Did pack the usual 200/300km food stash - 2 sandwiches, 2 bananas, 2 bars, an emergency gel, and extra Gatorade powder. Plus first aid kit, CPR barrier device, multitool, spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, tire pump, zip tie. And a ziploc with pencil for my control card. Sunscreen; couldn't forget THAT!

Moved heavy furniture around. Stood up. Ow. Oops. Dang. Tweaked the lower back. Immediately creaked off for anti-inflammatories and an ice pack. Before loading the bike, rode it up the street (and attendant hill) and back, just to see if I *could* ride. That seemed ok, even though I couldn't bend over or lift things. This could be interesting.

Checking in is a Very Serious and Momentuous Undertaking

Up at 3:50am (ow). Ate, drove over to collect Jason, and headed off to Newberg. Checked in by a gentleman in appropriately serious clothing, and visited around. Got a lot of sh*t from Ray, about riding a bike with a carbon fork, low spoke-count wheels and no fenders. Noted that Ray was not riding his Saluki for this ride :-) Back was still unhappy.

6am, and we were off. Riding did not cause back distress. Headed south on Case Rd, only to see every single rider in front of me turn right on McKay, which was incorrect. :-) I continued off on my own further south on Case Rd, eventually arriving at the proper turn (St Paul Hwy). I knew that the riders turning on McKay would either figure it out, or run into Arbor Grove there.

I think it is going to be a nice day

Left onto Arbor Grove. Eventually I saw Jason approaching. He really needed to stop, and we eventually found a concealing wheatfield. Well, sort of. As the rest of the riders who made the wrong turn (adding bonus miles) showed up, the moon rose out of the wheatfield. I thoughtfully did NOT take a picture. Every passing rider asked if I was ok. Some wondered if it was a Secret Control. No, no, everything is fine, move along now...

Riding on, over I-5, through Gervais, heading south... We've got a nice little tailwind. Go to the first info control at the Gallon House covered bridge, just north of Silverton (entering the land of towns whose names start with S). Paul and a few other riders were there. Filled out our cards, and rode on in to Silverton. We saw Ken vanish into the time-sucking vortex that is the coffee shop, but kept on moving. The last time I did a permanent that was essentially this route, we made it to the Scio control on the very last minute. I did not want that situation to repeat.

Gallon House bridge

Climbed out of Silverton and followed the big rollers on the Cascade Hwy, past the road to Riches (sadly, not on our route), and into Sublimity and Stayton.

Sadly, not on our route

Waldo Hills to the east

Stopped in Sublimity to do a clothing adjustment and eat a bit, then on to Scio. Between Stayton and Scio is Cole School Road. This road has two outstanding rollers, one at 15% and the second, longer one at 18%. I didn't walk on either of them this time, and stood at the top waiting for Jason. He didn't walk either but stopped at the top of the first one to pull off a jacket. As he was catching his breath, Paul and Greg crested, and we all chatted a bit. Then we headed off to Ridge Road, the fun descent on Richardson Gap, and the Shimanek Covered bridge, info control #2. Then off to find the Hannah Covered bridge (this would be a new one for me), our last info control. Jason stopped to fiddle with his derailleur here.

Then, to Scio. I looked at the time. We could make it in the 12 miles covered per hour pace. Always a goal, although I've met it for the duration of a long ride only once. We rolled into Scio with 20 minutes to spare, even. Mind you, the control itself wouldn't close for another 2:15. Not bad! As we rode into town, Jason was wondering where we should get our control cards signed. I led him to the Scio Market, where all the cool randos hang out. Seriously, the entire outside of the wall had bikes leaning up against it. We all visited, shared the gallon jug of water and the communal Fritos bag. I met Narayan from Seattle. Everyone left before Jason and I, as they had arrived sooner. Except for Natalie, Austin and Heidi, they were all riding the 400km, and needed to get a move on.

Two Peas in a Pod

So, halfway. Off to Jefferson. I had planned on jo-jos with ranch dip at the store there. We arrived, and I got the jo-jos, dip, and a big bottle of Gatorade; we had a little picnic on the bench, and peeled off the last extra layers and applied sunscreen.

Rando lunch treats

A brief tour of Jefferson, then off on Marion/Jefferson-Marion Rd. Not all that interesting, and kind of long. Perhaps it was the "after the big lunch" crash. Then Darley Rd (ditto) and into Aumsville. As it was not a control this time, we rode through without stopping (still had hopes of the 12 miles/hour pace), and then north. So, remember that gentle tailwind? By now it was a serious headwind. Shades of the fleche!

A few miles past Aumsville we turned onto Howell Praire Rd. In the future, I see acres of wind farms sited there. The first part is a climb - not steep, but annoying with the headwind. Then a nice downhill stretch before one settles into many, many miles of wide-open headwind encounters. Farms, baby animals, lots of open nothing. We did pull over before Sunnyside Rd, and had a second lunch break under a gazebo next to a barn. It was absolutely silent. No cars, just the breeze and some birds.

Snack stop on Howell Prairie Rd

I wish we could bottle the smell of wheatfields. Mmmmmmm.

Barn on Howell Prairie Rd

Continuing on north, we eventually got to the terminus and headed into Gervais. Again, not a control, but a good place to get more water. On to the home stretch, only 17 miles to go. North on Butteville and Case roads, a short stop at Champoeg Park, west on Champoeg (west is good. The wind is almost helpful), then north on 219 into Newberg for the finish. Since leaving Scio, we had not seen any other riders, which was odd. We wondered if we were at the end, but knew we weren't. So where was everyone? By this point, my hopes of the 10 hour 200k were gone.

Jason riding through the hops on Case Rd

Cecil and Rickey were waiting to greet us at the finish. Rickey has sort of fallen off the radar, what with his hand injury, but he said he was getting bored, so came out to volunteer at the finish for awhile. It was great to see him. We changed into non-cycling clothes, got drinks and chips, and sat outside with them under the breezeway and visited for awhile. 4 more 200km riders came in, but there were still 7, all recumbent riders, out on the course, by the time we finally left.

Cecil and Rickey, the welcoming committee

For the record, the Lemond was a fine bike for yesterday's ride. I did not expect any mechanicals, even with the wheels (practically new, I might add) and carbon fork. I take care of my bikes, and the Lemond is no stranger to long rides on bumpy roads.

And the back? It didn't hurt any more than it did when I started, but I was really glad to be finished. I hurt from the ride a bit more than usual today, possibly from compensating. Most importantly, the R-12 streak is still going!

More pics here

Tuesday, June 10, 2008



Some of you may have noticed that I'm working toward the Randonneurs USA R-12 award. Briefly stated, it means I need to complete a RUSA-sanctioned brevet or permanent for 12 consecutive months. The shortest distance is 200km. Every month. Miss a month, start over.

Messing around with motivational posters

"Those must be easy now, huh?". No. They are never easy. Even if one is a professional cyclist, rides of 100+ miles are never easy. What keeps me going is that I know if I keep on going, I will finish, and finish within the time limit. Headwinds and suboptimal weather notwithstanding.

Best to you, on your next cycling challenge!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Gitane Does Something Useful

No big rides this weekend. Sunday afternoon I realized no rides at all this weekend, and elected to ride to Freddie's (grocery) rather than drive. It is quite close, and the amount of shopping was well within the capacity of my grocery pannier.

And then I thought... I should ride the Gitane! See how it does riding a bit further than two blocks. See how I do riding a bit further than two blocks with downtube shifters. See if the gearing will allow climbing the hills back to the house, too.

I did this in normal everyday clothing, too. Well, except for the helmet and gloves.

Aside from the fenders still not quite properly adjusted, we both did well. I didn't drop the chain anywhere, and managed to get the friction shifters to land on cogs with no problem. So, yeah, I could start using it for a commute bike, perhaps.

Except the headset and steering feel a little weird. I'll have to look into that.