Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year in Review - Cycling

Recorded miles (didn't record commutes) ridden: 3880
Rides of 100 miles or longer (mostly longer): 15
Longest ride in a day EVER: 230 miles
Bicycles restored: 1971 Gitane TdF Professional
Oregon Randonneurs/Randonneurs USA stuff: R-12 award, 2000 km annual distance award
Most Epic Ride: Fleche Ouragan (also longest ride in a day ever)
One DNF, hypothermia won this round

Bleriot added another country to its list (UK)

Cumulative odometers:
Bleriot 6244 miles
Lemond 11018 miles

Many brevets and permanents this year, not so many big organized rides - in many cases I had to choose between keeping the R-12 streak going and the big organized rides. For that matter, I didn't participate in as many Portland Velo rides, for the very same reason - off racking up longer mileage rides instead.

A few organized rides:

Worst Day of the Year (from my house, which means climbing the West Hills two extra times)
Reach the Beach (with a subsequent Unreach the next day)
Chico Wildflower Century (road trip!)
The Livestrong Ride (riding course marshal)

Hottest ride:

The Team Bag Balm ride in June, the day before the Livestrong Ride

Coldest ride:

Scio Covered Bridges Perm - temp never got above 37 F all day

Wettest ride:

a tossup between the SIR 200km brevet in March, the Bingen Bikenfest in October and the Prairies and Wetlands perm in November.

The Year in Review - non cycling

(cycling will get its own post, not to worry)

Knitting, lots of that. Two sweaters, 6.5 pairs of socks, fingerless mitts and a scarf:

Mari Cabled Cardigan finished!

first Rivendell Sock completed

Many books read, some of perceived higher literary value than others. A sampling:
Three Cups of Tea
People of the Book
The Secret Servant
Moscow Rules
many books by Kim Harrison (The Hollows, Rachel Mariana Morgan)
The Alton Gift
Flora's Suitcase
Disobedience (finally, and it went in a direction I did not see coming)
The Girls of Riyadh
Three Bags Full
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
The Miracle at Speedy Motors
Blue Shoes and Happiness
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
1634: Cannon Law
1634: The Baltic War
The Garden of the Finzi Continis
Kate Elliot's Jaran series again, all 4 of them (and they are thick)
The Sunrise Lands (and ooh, I see The Scourge of God is out!)
and many more...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Finally Melting!

Our driveway is probably still the most dangerous part, but as it is 50 degrees outside, it should be melted off soon.

So, I'm knitting

Rivendell socks, progressing

Catching up on Battlestar Galactica episodes I've missed (apparently the entire first half of Season Two),

Lighting Hanukkah candles,

Hanukkah, Fifth night

And having a little too much excitement in the cellar. We'd had a very toxic, petroleum-like odor, which was increasing in strength. I was the only one that could smell it for quite a few days. Then... It was coming out of the heating vents, which originate in the cellar (yes, cellar - one must go down a ladder to access it).

I went down to investigate on the 23rd, once someone came over to stand outside in case I was overcome by fumes. The cellar reeked, but I couldn't pinpoint it. So Mr. Hot Water Heater came by on the 24th - not that. Then Mr. Furnace came by a few hours later - not the furnace either, but he was really not wanting to leave until we found it.

Fitz started rummaging around in some boxes, and found a box of really old garden chemicals, one in a metal can that developed a leak. And that was it. So all the affected boxes were hauled out.

In one of them, we found two boxes of floppies. The 5-inchers. Lots of vintage software.

Not to forget the operating system

Oh, and we had our first mail delivery since the 23rd. Timely.

Just in time (not)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

36 Degrees and Raining!

Maybe the end is in sight. Dawn this morning was pretty.

Dawn, Dec 24

I was up and walking around at dawn because I spent the night at my parents' home. We are having natural gas issues (think incomplete combustion/carbon monoxide). I got up to get home to wait for the furnace guy. But we decided it was the hot water heater, and the hot water heater guy will be here later this afternoon. As it is Christmas Eve, I'm amazed. I wasn't pushy or anything, even. And they are busy.

As last night was our family Hanukkah dinner, I had to relocate it. We took over my parents' kitchen, cooked, ate, cleaned up. They hardly knew we were there :-) except they didn't have to cook any dinner.

Rebecca cooking latkes; Fitz and Jessica supervising

Latkes with applesauce and sour cream

Ongoing Happy Hanukkah to all!

Hanukkah, night three

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day Eight, Snow Still Here...

If this keeps up, I'll start constructing Calvin and Hobbes snowmen

Hiked over to see Dad, and borrowed Mom's snowshoes, for a hike through the neighborhood. They weren't strictly necessary, most of the time, but I had fun plowing through the drifts.

Some pretty pictures for you:

I'm prepared this time

Icy branch

Ridgewood View Park

The tree and the house

Back from THAT, and I was starting to excavate the sidewalk once again, when SIL and children hiked by, so I joined them. We walked over to the Thai restaurant for lunch, watching vehicles skillfully get themselves into ditches (so, like, avoid the stretch of SW Walker Rd from Hwy 217 to Cedar Hills. Trust me on this.)

After lunch and a Blockbuster and JoAnn's stop, we hiked back. More excellent displays of driving skill (nose down in the ditch), followed by even MORE. Can you say honking big Escalade with a flat front tire teetering in the ditch? We got her out, but she just got all twisted around again. More vehicles on the road, some impatiently driving around, and getting themselves into predicaments. Just east of Hwy 217 we shoved another big one out of a ditch, then turned off the main road. Whew.

Oh, and USPS brought me back my surgically-altered Brooks saddle! Now, if the roads would just clear up...

And its baaaaaack!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tagged, again...

From friend Beth:
Fellow bike-bloggers: Feel free to respond with your own velo-lutions lists for the coming year.

What didn't you do with your bike that you'd like to in 2009?
  • I didn't get to ride that 400km. Next year, and also a 600km. In other words, a full series. In a weird twist of personal scheduling, the ACP 200km will happen AFTER all the others. Don't ask.
What did you do with your bike that you'd like to cut back on, or do differently?
  • More of the same, but faster. So I'll need to put in some intervals, and figure out how to not climb like a slug. I am already back at the gym after slacking off for a year, starting gently, so I don't hurt myself, like I did a year ago.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cabin Fever Sets In

We are having exceptionally bad weather. As an aside, I'm glad I finished the R-12 the first weekend of December - this past weekend was bad.

Snow. Cold. Yesterday and Sunday, very, very windy. The snow has since morphed into icy roads. The main roads are probably driveable, but I can't get to them - our house is on a hill, and all ways down are steep.

Can't ride. Can't run. I can WALK, and I've been doing that. Sunday, Brian and I hiked to Powells' Book at Cedar Hills Crossing.

Hiking down Center St to Powells Bookstore

I took a 3 mile hike in the neighborhood yesterday - my shorter running route.

Today, I had a utilitarian walk to Fred Meyer and back. We were out of a few essentials, and are expecting more snow/ice/freezing rain tomorrow. I wanted to buy some YakTrax (my Sorels are warm and comfortable, but not slip-proof), but Freddie's didn't have them, and I didn't feel like hiking another couple miles to Joes or Sports Authority. Maybe tomorrow.

Holiday shopping needs to happen, and it isn't.

On the bright side, I did finish my online Flash training class. Lots of knitting getting done, too.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Twelve! Or Why Polydactly Can Have Its Benefits

Celebration in the Burgerville

The R-12, Completed

Well, almost. I still must send the permanent control card and receipts in.

Cecil and I selected the Three Prairies route for our final ride. We've already done it this year, so the kilometers wouldn't count for RUSA distance awards, but Cecil got her 5000km (!) in already, and I'm not near enough to a transition point to get too excited about it.

Cecil advertised on the OrRando mailing list, and got lots of takers. The weather even cooperated.

So there we were, in the dawn and cold (28 degrees), in the Newberg Public Parking lot - me, Cecil, John Henry and Joanne, Sal, Bill, Vincent, John (the Kramer), and Kevin (the rando-curious). Well, Sal wasn't there yet...

I got there, and quickly revised my clothing estimate - it was a LOT colder than the weather site I had been following hinted at. On with the PI AmFib Tights! On with the Descente Wombat Gloves!

Off to the Thriftway for a starting receipt, and, in my case, a pack of Fig Newtons. Going back to basics in the food department. Bananas, hard boiled eggs, and Fig Newtons. Sandwiches are just too much effort to consume. Sal appeared at the last moment.

Cecil and Kevin at the start

West on Hwy 99W (ick, yuck) to the Hwy 18 turnoff to Dayton. We all reassembled at the Historic Blockhouse, to learn that Kevin had a flat before even leaving Newberg. I figured I'd go on ahead, since I'm slower than everyone else; they'd catch up. Sal's plan for the day was to keep up with me (!), because he'd been installing billions of square feet of wood floor the day before.

So we all yoyo-ed back and forth until we got to Amity, and then spread out. Bill and I headed south on 99W until the right turn onto Bethany Rd. We engaged in one of the favorite rando road conversations: "so, what are you putting on YOUR new bike?" I learned that John is also getting a new bike.

Bright. Sunny. Whacking cold. Lots of fall foliage still out there, as well as various farm animals. This part of the route contains most of the rollers and climbs, not that any of them are major.

Bill on Perrydale Road

South on Perrydale Rd, past the antique fire engine, and into the rollers and climbs. Up into Dallas, where I couldn't find anyone. I went to the McDonalds and got my receipt and a hot chocolate, which I enjoyed with a handful of Fig Newtons. I saw some riders go by, and headed out right after Bill and Sal passed. Caught them on Ellendale Road. Everyone else had stopped at the grocery store.

Looking west on Perrydale Road

A nice ride back to Amity on 99W, except it was too noisy for conversation. And at several points, I think a gravel and dirt truck was filling up the shoulder. We found John Henry and Joanne, watching Kevin repair a flat (#3). Kevin apparently never gets flats unless he's along on a rando ride.

Then east from Amity, retracing our route back to Newberg. I drafted John Henry and Joanne for awhile. We traded jokes. They stopped to fix something, but then zipped by us. I should have jumped on right then, but didn't. Sigh.

Got passed by lots of fast-moving and very large traffic on 99W, only to have the joy of passing all of THEM when they were stopped in Dundee. HaHAAAA!

Saw a bunch of familiar bicycles at the Thriftway in Newberg, so we joined everyone there for a snack and control stop. I had done the first 70 miles in 5:37 total time. Not bad! I was on track for a fast 200, at this rate.

Cecil and Vincent at lunch (the Thriftway)

John and Sal at the midpoint control in Newberg

We all then headed out of Newberg to the south, John Henry and Joanne joined us at that point ("we had lasagna"). Again, we got strung out along French Prairie, which we ride on for MILES. Sal and I kept plugging along. I was actually riding consistently faster than I usually do on the Bleriot. I think everyone else was riding faster, too. No wind, which helped.

East on St Louis Road (a wave at friend Don's house, just before the turn), over I-5, through Gervais, across Hwy 99E, and then, the Dog Incident. Three dogs barking, but it didn't look like they were chasing. Then Sal yelling something. Oh dear. Dog right at my heel, trying really hard to latch on with sharp pointy teeth. He gave up on me and went to harrass Sal, who slowed down so as not to run him over. At some point after that, my phone rang; I figured I'd see what it was about in Mt Angel, which wasn't at all far away.

A rider headed the other way turned around and rode with me awhile; he wanted to know what ride we were on. So I told him. Turns out he's done 300 miles in a day. I told him he ought to check out randonneuring. "That's what my dad tells me". Hope he does. He was riding a cool 0ld-looking Centurion.

I figured we'd see everyone headed back out of Mt Angel; we only saw Bill. Sal and I found everyone at the Mt Angel Market, enjoying the sun and salty snacks of dubious nutritional quality. Cecil: "did you get my phone call about the dog?" Oh.

I got a closer look at John's vest. Besides being eye-hurtingly bright (safety orange AND green AND reflective), it has pockets. The pockets have pockets. One could put all one's snacks and a camera in there, and still have pockets left over. This was a good time to pull on all the night-riding gear, so we did.

About 27 more miles to go, so, off we went. The rollers out of Mt Angel, then back to the flats of Howell and French Prairies. The dog did not come out this time. Regroup at the 99E crossing, then off again. The clouds we had not seen all day were coming in from the west, making for a spectacular sunset. We all stopped on St Louis Road to take pictures.


Riders at sunset
North on Manning Road, which turns into Arbor Grove. Full darkness settled in here. Sal has a Dinotte taillight, which, even in solid, is so eyepiercingly bright, coupled with my weird eye issues, that I could only see that light, and nothing else, which was making me very stressed. So Sal rode behind me, or later, next to me, which, at least, worked better for me. I hope it didn't cause Sal too much trouble.

We negotiated the left-right turns from Arbor Grove onto 219/214 onto Arbor Grove with no issue, only to have Cecil come riding back (her front flashing light is similarly blinding), worried that the second turn was not .4 miles from the first, and maybe we were on the wrong part of Arbor Grove, and we'd have bonus miles and .... I didn't think there WAS another way to get on Arbor Grove (a visit to Google maps confirms this). We always return to Newberg this way, so I wasn't worried. By this point, it was almost impossible to view the cue sheet without stopping, but I was riding by memory. Right on St Paul Hwy, left on Case... I'd think it would be Cecil up ahead, but no, just someone's holiday lights twinkling away.

Past Champoeg, onto Hwy 219, over the Willamette River (those guardrails are NOT HIGH ENOUGH; Lynne's head goes to its happy place), up, oooh, new pavement!, left on Wynooski, lots of holiday lights to enjoy riding through Newberg.

Sal and I headed for the Thriftway to finish, then back to the cars, then off to Burgerville for our R-12 celebration. My fastest 200k ever, too.

Everyone except Vincent and John (long drives home) was at the Burgerville. We all had large quantities of, again, of nutritionally dubious food. Mmm, cheeseburger. Hot chocolate. Sweet potato fries. Many pictures taken. Kevin's 5 flats commiserated with. Epic rides revisited.

R-12 Finishers!  Bill and Cecil

John Henry: "gee, we are acting just like kids after the football game". I do not see where this is a bad thing.

My pics here
Cecil's pics here
Bill's pics here

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pen Repair

You should probably not try this at home.

Broken Parker 51 Vacumatic

I have my father's Parker 51 Vacumatic fountain pen. He thinks he received it as a Bar Mitzvah gift, and he used it for many years, until ballpoint pens were common. I, on the other hand, had learned cursive writing with a fountain pen (required by the Huntsville Alabama public schools), and really liked writing with them, even though I'm a lefty.

Many years later, I found it in a box. It didn't work, and, rummaging around on the net, I found people who repair Parker 51 Vacumatics. It came back all nice and shiny, not cracked, not leaking... I filled it with ink, and (I had not written with it before) loved it. It writes a very fine, smooth stroke.

So it entered into my fountain pen rotation, and I used it a lot. Then, one day I pulled out and... it was in two pieces! Ack!

The quote for repair was more than I wanted to spend. So it sat. And sat. And sat. I kept thinking I could really just glue it back together, but a little voice in my head was saying "DON'T DO THAT! YOU'LL RUIN IT!".

Today I decided I'd either fix it or pitch it (I hear Parker 51 Vacumatic collectors everywhere screaming "throw it at ME!"). A short Superglue session, and all appears well.

Repaired Parker 51 Vacumatic

Many hours later, all still good. Something went right today!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fleche Bling!

Way back in May, I participated in a Fleche.

Fleche Bling

The trophy showed up in the summer some time, but this week, I got my control card back, along with the official certificate from the Audax Club Parisien!

Fleche Card

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On Bike Fit

(note: clarify with coffee server that one is getting decaf in the evening. It is past midnight, and my brain will NOT turn off)

When I first gave Andrew's saddle a try, it was attached to Andrew's Bike Friday. Now, he's not a tall guy. He's barely taller than me. This should work, right? Reaching the pedals, not an issue.

But the handlebars - I think they were in the next county!

Which is why I borrowed the saddle :-)