Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's in that bottle, anyway?

As some are curious...

Thermal bottle in a water bottle cage

A bit of background. I purchased this so I could keep hot coffee in it. Found out about it via Steven Scharf's Bicycle Coffee Systems page. And, on the subsequent Cycle Oregon ride (known for whacking cold mornings), it served me well.

But there I was, on a whacking cold morning at a rest stop somewhere outside of LaGrande, setting out to ride up Cabbage Hill over Deadman Pass (through Meacham, a singularly COLD place in Oregon), and I was out of coffee. It was COLD. There was hot water, tea bags, and Gatorade.

Almost to the summit of Deadman Pass

A memory stirred in my mind, camping with the Neales in the state parks of Texas in my youth. Mrs. Neale always had Russian Tea mix. I thought it was yummy. It was basically instant iced tea powder and Tang.

I looked at those tea bags and the Orange Gatorade. Hot water, tea bag, scoop of Gatorade. Not only did I have a hot drink, I had electrolytes! And when I'm cold, I don't drink as much. This encourages me to drink more. And it stays warm for hours. On brevets and permanents I'll start with a bottle, and carry extra tea bags and Gatorade powder for refills. It is now my cold weather ride standard second bottle beverage.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nice Club Ride Today

I decided to do the Portland Velo ride later last night. None of the usual suspects were available (well, one wasn't, and it was kind of late to call the other), so I got myself and Lemond up and out of the house around 8am, heading west.

LS wool jersey, waffle fleece vest, Showers Pass jacket...

Arrived at Longbottom's just as the fast boys were leaving, so took myself to the back of the group to wait for the Mellow 17's departure. Visited with Traci and John in the meantime. Traci held my bike as I divested of the Showers Pass jacket.

As it turned out, there was one 17's group and that was fine. Chatted with the Lindas and Dan as we headed south. Eventually we crossed TV Highway, and a couple of the riders were caught at the light, so Dan and I waited. That was the last we saw of everyone else, until Maggies Buns.

So Dan, Sam, Chi, and I followed the southern part of the route. Lots of trees turning, alpacas, sheep, cows, pumpkin fields, clear blue fall sky, plowed fields, stubble fields, orchards, a few vineyards, sun, crisp air (the LS wool jersey and vest were perfect), and not much traffic.

A brief stop at Forest Hills Golf Course, then up Blooming Fern Hill Rd. I always forget that it is a two part climb :-)

Sam and I summitted, but then he waited for Dan and Chi, and I descended and waited at the bottom. Good time to flip the map.

North into Forest Grove (stubble fields on either side, lots of visitors of the human variety at the wetlands), thence to Maggies, where all the 17's were ready to leave. But we had to stop for a minute, so they went on.

This ride had the novelty of riding north from Forest Grove on Thatcher, so we had a whole different perspective - we usually ride south. Right at Purdin Rd, there is a cemetery on the east side of the road that I had never noticed. Every headstone said "Purdin", so probably a family cemetery.

A right turn on Greenville (nursery stock, greenhouses, pond), rolling our way eastward. I parked myself behind Dan; he's a great windbreak. A short stop at St Francis in Roy, then we continued heading east and south, back to Longbottoms.

We found the 17's there, finishing second breakfast, so we joined them. Had a long chat on bicycle construction with John and Ed.

Dan thought he'd ride along with me for awhile on my route home; he was looking for a way into Portland from Hillsboro. I could certainly help out there. He was a bit wide-eyed after the Evergreen through the shopping center and Cornell to 158th stretch, but now understands why riding south on Shute to turn left on Huffman bothers me not at all :-)

62 miles and change, and a perfect day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Waxing Nostalgic...

I got a flyer in the mail today for the University of Houston Beauty Bowl reunion. I'm not going, but it sure brought back memories. I played football for the Quad Squad. I was a fullback.

Of course, I had to haul out my yearbook, show husband and son the pictures (studied disbelief), explain the OB Gangbangers (I myself associated with the Bush Whackers), and dig out the archival tshirts...

Back in the day...

Yes that is a UH women's varsity swim team shirt. And yes, it is mine. I still swim like a fish, just not a fast fish.

First Organized Bike Ride

I was completely a transportational cyclist in those days, but did get out for one organized ride. Note the start time. No lights. No helmets, either.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Success. But it was not the easiest perm I've done. The R-12 streak is still going (up to 10).

Cecil was plotting possible rides and dates before we even left Bingen. Friends like that should be treasured!

We picked Two Ferries, as it was one we had not done yet.

Start in Newberg; you can follow the route at the link above.

High points:

  • chilly start, but we were prepared. I myself was over-prepared, after last weekend!

Cecil at the start

  • Middleton Road is fresh gravel.
  • Getting to West Linn was perhaps more challenging than anticipated
  • Turner Road is a climb. Pretty, but a climb along the flanks of Pete's Mountain, nevertheless
  • Saw the following Portland Velo members going the other way from the Canby Ferry, riding the Harvest Century: Brent, Dan, Milt, John O. Saw Sal O, too (he's OrRando, not PV)

Canby Ferry headed our way, across the Willamette

Cecil on the Canby Ferry

  • Lots of pretty fields, alpacas, sheep, cows, and all well-behaved dogs.

dahlia farm in Canby

  • It got sufficiently warm leaving Canby that we did a major clothing adjustment
  • Saw a barred owl in Champoeg

Barred owl in Champoeg State Park

  • Produced my first aid kit for a little girl who fell down and went boom. Her parents were happy about that; saved their family bike ride in Champoeg
  • Picked up Don at his house; he would ride with us for about 50 miles
  • Two Ferries - Canby Ferry once, Wheatland Ferry twice!

Don riding his bike on the ferry

  • Doaks Ferry Road in Salem is whacking steep. It is a mystery to me how I managed to climb it on the fleche without stopping. I had to stop a few times today
  • Crossing Hwy 22 to get to Hwy 51 to Independence is MUCH easier in the middle of the night
  • Independence looks nice in the daylight
  • We got a tailwind turning onto River Rd. Wow. A SOUTH WIND in the valley! We needed that!
  • Don't lose sight of Cecil in Salem. She knows how to get through it
  • North of Salem - nice and peaceful
  • Webfoot Road rolls, but it is easy
  • The winery had the most amazing fake scarecrows - they emitted raptor noises, alarm noises, and fake gunshot noises
  • I can now do Dayton in my sleep
  • Hwy 18/99W in the dark is...interesting
  • The clerk at the Thriftway in Newberg: you aren't riding in the DARK are you? (yes we are, we have amazing lights, but we are DONE now. Where's the Diet Pepsi?)
All the pics are here

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Took myself to the Oregon Manifest custom bike show this afternoon. Couldn't get anyone to come with me, so I hiked up to the MAX and then walked the two blocks to the show (Bleriot needs a bit of love before riding again, which would be tomorrow; I should get on it).

Found Cecil at the Showers Pass booth. (Really nice new rainpaints coming there! I told Ed that I review women's cycling products for a certain well-read website and newsletter.) After a visit, wandered upstairs. Natalie was talking to some folks, so I admired Sheila Moon's styling wool knickers, waited a bit longer, and then Natalie and I got to talking. Then we went hunting for a pen, and I put down a deposit. 18 months :-)

Now, SO many things to decide.


  • Well, the reach and seat kick-back will be perfect :-)
  • 650B wheels
  • 130mm rear spacing (Bleriot has 135mm)
  • S&S couplers
  • Front rack with light mounts and light wire management and a place to pop my impending VO front bag with decaleur
  • braze-ons for rear rack, but it mostly won't be there
  • deep raspberry red (color of that fleece pullover I'm often wearing)
  • wireless computer
  • I'm ok with the Rivendell Silver (Tektro 556) brakes
  • Frog pedals


  • drive train: Shimano w/brifters or the setup on Bleriot? Yeah, this is a big one. I like the range I have on Bleriot!
  • which metal fenders? This bike won't look retro like Bleriot.
  • handlebars? FSA Wing Compact Pro? They have a flat top.
  • things like headset and bottom bracket.

I'm sure all my friends will be offering suggestions.

Fitz took it very well.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bingen DNF

DNF. Letters I never wanted to see next to my name. Technically, I haven't seen them YET, because the results haven't been posted, but they'll be there.

I figured to do the Bingen, because with my hellacious travel schedule this month (haven't traveled for 3 years, clearly I'm making up for that. I'm typing this in Atlanta...). I was coming off an astounding cold and jet lag from my trip to the UK, but really, feeling much, much better.

Collected Cecil at much too early o'clock, and drove out to Bingen through lots of rain.

I was wearing sleeveless wool baselayer, ls PV wool jersey, shorts, PI Thermafleece leg warmers, Shebeest knickers over THOSE, wool socks, Showers Pass jacket, wool cap, gloves, Bell helmet WITH rain cover, and, in a last minute swap, my PI Goretex shoes with booties over. I didn't think the Keens would cut it. Or my feet in the Keens wouldn't cut it. I also had toe and handwarmers in reserve, along with a change of gloves and a change of socks.

Fell to the back climbing out of Bingen (this is not unexpected), and leapfrogged with Nat along the evil rumble strip. Indeed, so evil that it caused my Planet Bike Superflash rear blinkie to take a dive to the roadside. Nat and I collected all the parts, but it seemed to be non functional. *&^@!. But I had a blinkie on my helmet and another on the back of my jacket, so I was not without resources.

Eventually caught up with Paul, and we chatted all the way to Glenwood. There was a slight climb out of BZ Corners, then a ride through a savanna-type area. I saw three grey deer. It was not raining, and warm enough that I ditched the jacket and overgloves.

Brief stop at Glenwood - I choked down half a sandwich and got my water topped up. I also realized that I had $2 US and 10 GBP in my pocket. That 10 GBP wasn't going to get me far HERE, although it is worth almost $20 US. Fortunately, David was there, and he had water in his truck and Marcello had bought a jug. John signed our cards, and Nat, Paul, and I set out toward Trout Lake. Pulled the jacket and gloves back on.

I remembered the climb out with not so much fondness from last year, but it was not so bad at all, really. Paul pulled ahead; Nat and I leapfrogged each other. The descent into the valley was fun and totally scenic.

The rain had been intermittent, but nothing much to worry about. Followed Nat; he turned right onto Mt Adams Rd. It took us 1.5 miles to realize we had screwed up, and we zipped back to find the Trout Lake Store. We made it with 3 minutes to spare :-)

John signed our cards, I topped up my water and Gatorade, took some Advil, ate a banana, and we headed out again.

This time...up. Much up. Up with varying degrees of up. The vine maples were technicolor red, and the ferns were yellow. Against the evergreen forest, very pretty. The rain got a bit more insistent, but as we were going up, it wasn't so noticeable. Up. 4mph is a speed, but at this rate, we'd be here all day. Then we had longer and longer stretches up less up, and finally, a viewpoint, but nothing to see but clouds. Nat and I chatted most of the way up, before we had to devote effort to breathing :-)

Shortly after that, I pulled over to change out my gloves. My hands definitely appreciated the change. I also zipped up all the openings in the jacket and we started down. And it started to rain. Hard. The temperature dropped, as well.

I started to shake, and was shaking so hard, the bike was shuddering. I kept hoping for some less steep down, or, possibly, even some up! After awhile of this we found David and the promised hot chocolate. Marcello and Paul were just leaving. David took one look at me, took my bike away, and told me to go sit in the car. He dumped a bunch of blankets on me and turned on the heated seat. Hot chocolate appeared shortly thereafter, and I managed to drink it without spilling any, although I was still shaking and shivering. David rummaged in my bag for the dry socks and footwarmers, and I changed those out. Then we took the car for a drive to warm it up. He had the heat up at 90...

More hot chocolate. I did sort of stop shaking, but as soon as I got out of the car, I started shaking again. After a discussion of miles left, terrain remaining, time left, etc, I gave Nat my thermos bottle of hot chocolate and extra toe warmers, and abandoned. I was hoping he'd still be able to finish in time; we spent a good 45 minutes there.

(My right arm is still up there at the corner of FR90 and FR88)

As we were at the end, David packed up, not letting me help. I was allowed out of the car to take stuff off the bike before it went on the rack.

Long drive down (did we ride up all that?), then we rejoined the route at Trout Lake, passing Bill, Lesli, Tom, and some other riders I didn't recognize.

Arrived in Bingen just as Cecil was exiting the pizza place, so we put the bikes away, and got changed. Dry clothes were wonderful...

I wasn't terrifically hungry, but had a couple of pieces of pizza and visited.

I just heard from Nat that he did finish in time.

I am dispirited. I've done rides in equally sucky weather conditions and terrain, with less adequate clothing, and come out just fine. Sigh.

Have to squeeze in a perm mid-month sometime, I guess.