Saturday, January 31, 2009


The prez of my cycling club set up a series of "endurance rides". He wants to get people used to riding 3 or so hours at a time. I've got that part, I think. Except he wants it to be at a 16mph average.

The only times in my life I have averaged 16+ mph that I remember were on the tandem, STP in a day, first time, first 100 at 18.6, overall at 17.4 (who was that? could she come back, please?), and sprint triathlons.

It was not clear that I'd be able to hang on, but I thought I'd give it a go. KRhea made it pretty clear that Proper Fenders Were Required (yay!). Cecil and I rode over earlier this morning, and spent a good long time inside drinking Hot Beverages and Warming Up. I should mention that as we rode up through my neighborhood, it was very clear that the heavy fog had frozen to the road surface. A few bits of traction insecurity there. Cecil said riding over Sylvan Hill was quite interesting. We added this to the list of extremely stupid things we've done. It is not a short list...

The fog at Longbottoms' was amazing. It was freezing and dropping. The trees were all coated with it, and sparkling, and it was so pretty. Matt D'Elia said it was the steam from Ronler Acres (Intel Fab 12), and it was the "Ronler Acres Effect". It cleared up shortly after we started, although the fog was with us most of the ride.

So, ow. I was hanging on, and made it all the way to Greenville Rd, and then fell off shortly after crossing Hwy 47. Martin was waiting for me at the intersection with Kansas City Rd, to make sure I made the turn, and then he zipped on ahead. I saw him just north of Forest Grove with a flat. Offered him a tire boot, but he thought he'd just get it working and make his way home. I also saw Tom and Malcolm fixing Malcolm's flat, and that was the last I saw of them.

So, the last 20 miles of the route were solo. Good practice for rando rides. I had a map, and knew where I was going at all times (the cue sheet had bits of unclarity - R on Johnson School Rd?), so no biggie. (I would have to work very hard to get lost in Washington County.) I worked at keeping my pace up, but averaging 16mph was not going to happen.

Finished up about 1:20; the group had not yet finished. KRhea was going to "add some miles" onto the published route, and since I fell off, I didn't know which miles, so I just followed the route. Cecil came in shortly thereafter, as did the rest of the group.

Visits with Richard, Nance, Brian C and others. Nice bowl of oatmeal. Then Cecil and I headed home, and it was a mark of how hard I'd pushed myself that I did parts of the Park Way Hill at 4mph...

My bike computer was not accumulating (good thing I have a birthday coming up), so I'm figuring 63 miles. 434 miles for January, total, an improvement over the 148 in December (snow, and ice for 3 weeks. No riding.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Permanents. In a row. Up this month, on the suggestion of John Henry and Joanne, was the Prairies and Wetlands 200km. Like most of the permanents, around here, it starts in Newberg. Our RBA lives in Newberg. Coincidence? I think not, since she designed the routes.

The weather was forecast to be awful, rather like the last time we rode it (November), but colder. Fortunately, while it stayed cold, it did not rain, and was only faintly breezy.

The public parking in Newberg seems to fill up once a month, early in the morning, with vehicles with bicycles in and on. Everyone is getting organized. This month, I was especially organized - I rode over to the "official" start (place that issues a receipt), the Thriftway, BEFORE 7am, took care of business, and came outside to find everyone ready to go. On time.

And off we went. There were 12 (I think) of us, although after the start I didn't see most of them. As I was headed onto Champoeg Dr., I saw a couple of cyclists ride straight into the dairy, rather than follow the road curve to the left. I figured they'd figure it out eventually. And they did... soon I heard Vinnie behind me asking if I liked riding along by myself. Not really, but I was actually riding faster than usual, and couldn't go any faster than that. So he thought I needed a big guy to draft on, and parked himself in front of me :-) That worked. John K was also there, and the three of us continued south. We eventually caught up to Bill, and the four of us rode together the rest of the day.

The big excitement of the day was a couple of loose cows (steers?) on Riverside Drive. They moved off the road and ran along beside us for a bit before veering off.

There was real sunshine for much of the outbound 40 miles to Mt Angel. John K thinks it is all pretty flat (he lives in the Columbia Gorge, where there is no flat), but pretty. And pretty it was.

Farm on Gallon House Road

Stopped at the Gallon House Bridge for the info control question and a couple of Fig Newtons, then for a picture on the way out. At which point my camera battery decided it was too cold (my feet had decided that awhile back) and gave it up.

We did pass a piece of farm equipment on Downs Road (nice to pass something), then up and down into Mt Angel for 2 very quick stops - one at the Damen and Herren, and another at the Mt Angel Market. I ate a banana and hard boiled egg, and bought a big candy bar for ride-grazing. And we did that outbound in 3 hours! It took us 4 hours in November.

The ride back to Newberg seemed to be a bit of a slog. Not sure why. Maybe I should have eaten something sooner. The sun had gone behind clouds so it seemed much colder. Not that it ever got WARM.

We stopped at the Coffee Cottage, a Time Sucking Vortex if there ever was one. There was a long line, and service was, well, it takes awhile for baristas to make up those coffee drinks. I took care of all the bicycle details before going in and still was not any further ahead in line. I did get to sit down and defrost my feet, and apply new toewarmers, as well as drink some coffee and eat a muffin. Vinnie said he liked our pace - he'd done a very cold permanent earlier in the week, and thought he had not quite recovered.

Then outside, to find Tim, a fellow rando and bike mechanic, who was out for a ride. He said he recognized my bike right off, and figured I'd be around.

Then west on Hwy 99W, the ickiest stretch of highway ever. It was enhanced with gravel in the lane. Fortunately, we had a tailwind and made quick work of it. A stop at the Historic Blockhouse in Dayton, and off through the country to Lafayette, Mineral Springs Rd, Gun Club Rd, and then the long stretch on Hwy 47. Again, gravel on the shoulders (such as they were), but not too bad. There was a wind assist here as well. We passed through Carlton (brief pause; I ate some more Fig Newtons), Yamhill, Cove Orchard, Gaston, and finally, the turn off to Forest Grove. Note: there is a big sign and a protected left for the turn. It isn't easy to miss anymore :-)

I pushed for a stop at Pizza Schmizza, but in keeping with my "keep the stops short" philosophy, got a slice of pizza to go and ate it outside. Once you sit down, it is all over, and I wanted to get as much daylight as possible.

I led us out of Forest Grove and then we were on the Fern Hill/Spring Hill/North Valley stretch. I didn't turn my lights on until just north of the Flett Rd intersection (for the record, I didn't take my reflective gear off, or turn off my rear lights all day), but that was so cars could see me. I could still see just fine. Uneventful crossing of the one-lane bridge (daylight and dry surface help). I could see the ridge we'd pass by for the left turn to continue on North Valley creeping slowly closer. Vinnie and Bill had zipped on ahead. I was riding anywhere from 13-17 mph, except on the climbs.

Then we made the turn. "Bail!", I'm calling out to John as we started up the first roller. The first one is pretty steep, subsequent ones are not nearly as bad. Up and down up and down (repeat a lot of times) until the right turn onto Tangen Rd. John and I were comparing headlights - he's got the E3, and I've got the IQ Fly. He doesn't have a big dark spot right in front of his wheel.

We found Bill at the turn onto Old Yamhill River Rd, which we could barely see (which was better than November, where we could not see at all - the oncoming headlights from Hwy 240 are beyond blinding). Vinnie had missed the turn and was probably proceeding on Hwy 240 (which would work). Since he had a GPS, I figured he'd be ok.

Interesting twists and turns through Newberg, then we popped out by the parking lot. I said I was going right to the Thriftway for a receipt. I heard Cecil in the parking lot, but she wasn't there when we got back. They are well-trained at Thriftway now - receipts, initials and time in the little cards.

Newberg Approach

It was really interesting riding over there and back - we crossed the 99W couplet not at a light, and cars STOPPED in all three lanes so we could cross! I'll go one more block for the light, next time, I think.

John, Vinnie, Trudy and I adjourned to Burgerville for post-ride food and had an enjoyable time before heading home.

11:03 elapsed time; much faster than the 12:42 of November.

Boring Analysis: The differences were in the first 40 miles (1 hr faster) and the return from Forest Grove (40 minutes faster). I expect if there had been less faffing around at the midpoint it would have been altogether faster; my riding time was 10:31 in November, and 9:27 in December. Although I faffed about 40 minutes less on this go-round.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pete's Mountain, Twice

Cecil was planning to ride down to Canby via the western flank of Pete's Mountain, and asked if I wanted to join her. Right. So, here was the original route:

Original ride map, route by Cecil

It was going to be yet another cold, clear, brilliantly sunny day. I was at her house at the appointed hour (drove over, sorry), with the Lemond, as the planned route is quite hilly, and Cecil was on her fast bike as well. Formerly Floyd and Little Pink Bear completed the group.

We worked our way to the Springwater Corridor, then south, then over the Sellwood Bridge (Cecil: "roadway or sidewalk?" Lynne: "roadway" Cecil: "of course"), then across Hwy 43 and up through the Riverview Cemetery. I was happy to have established on my ride DOWN through the cemetery the previous weekend, that it really wasn't all that steep - lots of switchbacks.

Sellwood Bridge from the Riverview Cemetery

Then down Terwilliger into Lake Oswego - that was fun; practically no cars at all, then winching ourselves up out of downtown Lake Oz, westward around the lake itself (I only know this because the map tells me; we did not actually see the lake), out Bryant and Childs (or the other way around), and then Stafford and Johnson. And then, like practically every other ride I've done in the past two weeks, what group should come zooming by, but a bunch of Portland Velo racers! Again, waves and hellos. I wonder if they think we are all over the place as well?

Then onto Willamette Falls Drive, and familiarity with the next bit of the route; this is from the permanent we did in October. Today it was colder, but much drier and sunnier. Up Turner, then rolling along on Mountain Rd.

View from the west flank of Pete's Mountain

#872 in the series

(it would not be a proper ride if we didn't take pictures of the other taking a picture)

Heading to the Canby Ferry, we saw beautiful horses racing around a field. Then we saw the dogs and stopped to watch. The dogs were herding the horses around; for what purpose I do not know. They did have adult supervision, and it was fun to watch.

Herding horses

Then we arrived at the ferry. (See "Canby Ferry" on the map above) It was closed for MLK Day. Who knew? Or even thought? Of course, the gate at the TOP of the 17% grade road was not closed, nor was the Closed sign up. We stood there a bit and pondered options. Boone's Bridge over I-5 was discarded - it would add many more miles and complicated rerouting. We eventually decided to head back, and go over Pete's Mountain the other (harder, longer, steeper) way, then cross back over the river in West Linn, to Oregon City, at which point, we'd be back on the planned route.

It is a good thing Pete's Mountain has fabulous views to the east:

Mt Hood from Pete's Mountain

Because there is lots of climbing. There is a vicious switchback just past the start, then, lots of up. And when you think you've summitted - surprise! This geographical wonder must have at least 10 false summits. About 7 false summits into it, Cecil pulled over. Her rear derailleur had checked out. After poking at it, with no success, she continued on. With the chain on the small sprocket in back, and her choice of three chainrings up front. That HAD to hurt. A lot.

We finally turned onto Turner Rd to drop down to Willamette Falls Rd, which would take us right to the old Oregon City Bridge. I'd finally get a real picture of Willamette Falls, too. The roadway is really narrow (makes the Sellwood Bridge look like a 4-lane highway), so I walked out on the sidewalk and got my picture.

Willamette Falls, from the bridge

Cecil waiting at the Oregon City Bridge while I take pictures

We had hoped to find the bike store open in Oregon City, first to effect a repair on Cecil's shifter, and second, to find a nut to put over the exposed bolt on my seatpost that kept grabbing my shorts every time I stopped. It was pretty funny. I had to remember to brake, move forward and THEN put my foot down. The whole ride.

Unfortunately, the store was closed, so we went over to the park next to the courthouse and had some snacks. After all that climbing, I needed fuel. The wind was whipping through, so we didn't stay long.

Then north, fortunately not with much of a headwind. We had enjoyed a nice tailwind all the way south. Cecil said there was a nicer way over the Clackamas River than the 99E bridge, and after a bit of searching, we found it - nice multipurpose paths on both sides of the river with a bridge. Then onto River Rd on the amazingly wide bike path (except on the steep hilly bit, right when you'd want it!), into Kellogg Creek Park, and eventually, finding a "Welcome to Portland" sign.

We decided to stop at the Hopworks Urban Brewery for a post-ride snack. Mmmm. Hummus, pita, and lots of hot coffee. Not that I was cold. Much.

But we were both cold for the last few blocks to Cecil's house, yes indeed. Cold wind, sun dropping. And then done. A nice ride. I think I've got a sunburn, too. In January. Who'd have thought?

57+ miles. 150+ miles for this three day weekend.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Beth's Inspiration Ride

Friend Beth organized a ride to celebrate Cecil's and my completion of the R-12. As she wanted a west side ride, I created a route containing some of my favorite stretches of road out here - Helvetia Road and Jackson Quarry Road (including its lovely little hill).

Three happy retrogrouches

We had arranged to meet at Longbottoms at 9, so at 8am I was at the top of the hill waiting for Cecil. I got there first, for once. The east wind was breathtaking. For those of you who remember my Bingen report from 2007 - yeah. It was like that. If one was riding crosswind...

We then proceeded west, hoping we'd get blown all the way to Hillsboro. Surprisingly enough, as soon as we dropped down the Park Way hill, the wind lessened. Road notes: Cornell Road appears done. There are no striped bike lanes, but the right lane is very wide.

Got to Longbottoms to find Beth enjoying a Hot Drink. We admired her Rapha cap :-)

This is what I get for dissing Rapha

After waiting for possible others to show, we took off. Once we crossed Hwy 26 (and Shute Rd became Helvetia Rd), we were in completely rural Washington County. Farms, llamas, sheep, goats, cows, nurseries, rolling hills, forested areas. Low traffic roads, pretty much, too. We wound our way along Helvetia Rd, then through the amazing bit of old growth forest that heralds the base of the Jackson Quarry Hill climb. Lots of frost there. The climb was, well, the climb. Not steep, but a nice .4 miles, if one is inclined to do hill repeats for training. Not today :-) Great scenery off to the south most of the way up.

Frost at the bottom of the Jackson Quarry Hill

Then down Mason Hill, which, I guess, Beth did not enjoy as much as we did. Cecil, of course, enjoyed it as quickly as possible. Then onto Jackson School road, where we were passed by a group from Portland Velo. "I recognize that stuffed bear!". Waves and greetings exchanged; Matt and I had a short visit. They were headed up and back at the corner of Shadybrook; we were headed to North Plains. Dan thought he'd ride along with us for awhile, as our route and theirs coincided all the way to Roy; the fast boys would catch us before then. So we all visited; Beth admired Dan's Schwinn Le Tour fixie.

Beth and Cecil just before the Jackson Quarry Hill

Crossed Hwy 26 at Frogger Junction (you will not find this designation on a map), and headed into Roy. We stopped briefly at a local available facility, got water, rearranged clothes, took care of business. I've never been there when church was letting out; no one seemed to think it was strange that a group of cyclists would stop. (All cyclists in Washington County stop there. If I was them, I'd put out a donation can. I'd donate. They are really nice to have it open to everyone)

It is just wrong that I am wearing short sleeves in January

The weather was bright and sunny. We all peeled down quite a few layers. Cecil was even in a short sleeve jersey with no arm warmers for awhile. Then back on Roy Rd to C-S onto Wren, right on Leisy, left on Hornecker, back inside the urban growth boundary, autopiloting ourselves back to Longbottoms.

Looking back at the berry bushes on Wren Rd

A nice long visit over Second Breakfast (the Velo crowd was there as well), before heading out; Beth to the MAX station, Cecil and I pedaling home.

I have got to say that the lane striping on eastbound Cornell is completely, excellently well thought out. We have to turn right onto 158th, then immediately left onto Waterhouse. Now there are two right turn lanes off Cornell; proper placement would say we needed to be in the leftmost right turn lane. But there is also a LOT of traffic there... They put the bike lane between the two through lanes and the two right turn lanes! Yes!

Again, no wind really, until we got to Cedar Hills, where the howling east wind reappeared. I am definitely getting windburn from all this :-)

all the pics here
Beth's writeup here
I'm sure Cecil will have a writeup and pics soon...

A Set of Birthday Rides

Last weekend was friend Diane's birthday ride. Diane hit a significant number. The original plan was to ride up to Marine Drive and back along the I-205 bike path and Springwater Corridor. I had arranged to meet with Andrew at the corner of Patton and Talbot/Humphrey, but was a bit behind schedule. He'd gone on. So I descended SW Montgomery (love new brake pads), and then, not knowing how to get to lower SW Montgomery, turned onto SW Vista. But not wanting to go over the Vista Bridge and work my way down to the main group meetup (Vera Katz statue on the Esplanade), I noticed a little street just before the bridge - SW Market. That might work. Yes, love my new brake pads. It was very, very steep. So I arrived, and was told the route had been changed - we were going south, to Oregon City, across the river, then north and back. Okay. I hadn't ever ridden that way, so it would all be new. The route, as I recall it is here, including the parts from my house to the start.

High points:
riding south to Oregon City
crossing the old Oregon City Bridge
seeing Willamette Falls (and HOW long have I lived here?)
running into a group of Portland Velo riders on Hwy 43 between West Linn and Lake Oswego (we waved)
seeing the Oregon Iron Company blast furnace remains in Roehr Park
riding up through Tryon Creek Park
riding down through the River View Cemetery (never done that either)
crossing the Sellwood Bridge when it wasn't closed for a bicycle event
hot split pea soup, sausage rolls, and birthday cake at Diane's (thanks Sam!)
and a few back and forths on the Springwater Corridor Trail, always fun.

And then riding back home, via both lower (ow) and upper SW Montgomery. After Richard and Nance peeled off, Andrew told me I could die now :-)

Good fun with Diane, Richard, Nance and Andrew. The penetrating mist even let up after while.

Then, yesterday was Andrew's birthday ride. I will only say that Andrew and I are almost exactly the same age, as in he's only 2 months older.

His plan was a ride from his place near Zupan's on Beaverton Hillsdale, out to the Laurel Store, then back.

Andrew, the birthday boy, in uniform

Dave, Steve, Patty and Cecil at the start

Faffing around at the Laurel Store

So, out onto SW Scholls Ferry, all the way to SW Tile Flat (this meant the hill just west of SW Murray was included), then wandering around roads that are well known to any Portland Velo member, then back, crossing TV Highway and following SW Johnson all the way back to SW 170th, a short off-road bit in the Tualatin Hills Nature Park, then onto the paved trail, onto SW Millikan, then south on Hocken, at which point I was caught at a light, and was quite happy to have a cue sheet. I did get lost in Andrew's apartment complex... Andrew also provided post-ride soup and snacks. The ride home afterward was only 2 miles this time :-)

This ride had a nice mixture of Team Bag Balm, Oregon Randonneurs, co-workers, and the Recumbent Crowd.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You are a cardigan sweater

You Are a Cardigan

You are traditional, old-fashioned, and even a little conservative.

More than anything else, you are a creature of habit. You haven't changed much over the years.

You shy away from flashy ideas, people, fashion, and foods.

You have simple tastes. You go for established quality and longevity every time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

First Ride 2009

Portland Velo has a First Ride. Of the three I've done (total of four, counting the one immediately prior to the advent of Portland Velo), it has poured for two. Today was deluge day. It started out in the mid-40's, so at least it wasn't COLD.

Cecil and I rode over from her house. KRhea's (Prez) comment: "If anyone was going to be here, it would be you two!" Reputation? Yes, we have a rep for riding in just about anything.

Hanging around waiting to start

Dan and Cecil

We waited for Doug Rennie to show, but he never did. There were some club members inside Madison's eating breakfast. They stayed there.

Off into the deluge, north on the Esplanade, over the Steel Bridge, then north on Front Ave, which is notable for the number of train tracks to cross. Jim "Hercules" M got a flat; KRhea fixed it in record time. Then off again, meeting the bulk of the group heading back.

West on Kittredge, south on St Helens (headwind), then, just as I thought we'd be climbing Wardway, we instead turned just before, did a little cut-though path, and found ourselves on Upshur. Kept heading south, eventually to cross Burnside and climb Stearns Way. Dan did himself really proud on his fixie.

I was starting to worry, as I had noticed when coming down the other side of Kittredge, that my brakes were pretty much non-existent. And here we were heading up into Washington Park, which meant we had to go down. Sure enough, practically no braking at all on the downside. So much so that I finally managed to pull over and stop for a bit. Jim M was having similar issues (he at least had a front brake, but wasn't looking forward to JUST a front brake descending Park). We coasted down to Park, then walked all the way down to Lincoln HS, where it leveled out. Then down to the river, over the Hawthorne Bridge, and back to Madison's.

No Cecil - the group had splintered enough that she was between them and us, and thought we had passed her. So she went off for more miles.

Steve had a nice brunch waiting for us at Madison's, with lots of hot coffee. I sat at the unemployed end of the table and we all commiserated.

Dan (who rode) and Einar (who had better sense) at Madison's

Valet parking at Madison's

Then a quick pedal back to Cecil's, and home, to a hot shower, and some quality time with Bleriot, replacing the brake pads.

Brakes much?