Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Tale of Two Bike Rides

After riding today, I noticed that my mileage for the month of November is 164 miles. Clearly an upward trend!

You wouldn't want the SKINNY ones, now, wouldyou?

After serious recruiting on C when she came to play with my spinning wheel, I planned to show up and lead another (intermittent) Portland Velo social ride. C had a distance limit of 20 miles, so I plotted out a route that would be about there. Basically a loop, Longbottoms to North Plains and back.

We had a great ride! Not much climbing to speak of (perhaps practically none would be more accurate), and grey, yet dry weather. C wants to increase her distance, and I need to increase my speed, so this works out very well. Next time, we'll go somewhere between 25 and 30 miles. Her bike fit has improved her riding comfort greatly; I'm so happy.

High point - heading south on Leisy Road, past the berry bushes, we startled a flock of birds, and watched them all rise up, wheel around, and settle on the power lines.

I shared with her my plan for a theme ride - the Fibers Ride. Start in Newberg, and ride around to the yarn/knitting/spinning shops and fiber farms that have shops in that general region. Newberg, Carlton, Dayton, Lafayette... And since fiber weighs NOTHING, we wouldn't even need a sag for our massive purchases. Sometime this spring, I think. Could be fun. Need to start generating a list of places to stop. Pacific Wool and Fiber, Woodland Woolworks, ? Suggestions for farms that sell fiber?

We had a nice after ride snack/coffee with her husband and the Velo group that finished about the same time we did. I had a great time visiting with everyone I hadn't seen for MONTHS. Special call-out to Linda, Linda, Dean, and Doug, who were wonderfully supportive over the last 7 months. I am so happy to be back!

Earlier this week, Cecil wanted to know if I wanted to ride Sunday. We could look for my missing climbing mojo in the process. Yes, of course. I never say no to a ride, especially one that starts from my front door.

Another dry day, and sunny, as well. I contemplated wearing a vest over my jersey/baselayer, but a step outside the door had me rethinking outerwear - I went for the featherweight windbreaker, which is highly water repellent, and has zip-off sleeves.

After several false starts - dead rear blinkie, then I noticed I had no rear view mirror. I had it YESTERDAY! Cecil found it behind my van; must have fallen off. It is now attached with a velcro strap, no more falling off.

Finally. Up through the neighborhood, onto the Sunset MUP to Scholls Ferry, then north, heading up to Skyline. It is basically uphill from our start until Greenleaf. Kept on plugging along uphill, but we did pause just before Greenleaf. I needed to get the heart rate down a bit. Over that part, an elevation gain of 884 feet. Whew!

Then, rollering along westward (I completely love riding on Skyline, for both the road and the views), with a stop at Skyline School, where we had snacks and Cecil made friends.

Cecil making friends

Time for snacks at Skyline School

We crossed Cornelius Pass and descended on Old Cornelius Pass (wheeeee), turning right on Phillips. Did the Valley View loop, which I just learned about (goes north on Valley View, there was a 12% bit in the somewhere, west on Mullerlile, then (been here before) south on Dick Road, under the amazing wood railroad trestle.

Then west again to Helvetia Road, where we turned south, passed Longbottom's Coffee and Tea, and then proceeded back by the traditional route. Another pause at Tualatin Hills Park and Rec for more snacks, then knocked off the last 5 miles.

Made it up the Park Way hill without stopping. My standard for that hill is to keep the speed above 6 mph. It is a double decker - not so fast on the first bit, but kept it above 6 mph on the second part, which is actually a bit steeper.

Wonderful ride with my best riding buddy!

Route Here

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Like Making Things...

So, I'm spinning. I have even MADE REAL YARN. I am so impressed with myself :-)

Finished one ounce skein

Anyway, Yarn Skein One was done up on a niddy noddy made of TinkerToys. Hey, I needed one, and we had them hanging around in a closet (Aside: we also have Lego and Duplo bricks, Brio trains, and wooden blocks. I keep them around for visiting small people. Or big people who like to play with Lego.)

Wound up on the niddy-noddy

That niddy noddy was good for one go around. I was skeining up some yarn last night, and it just really did not want to stay together. I could buy a nice wooden niddy noddy, but it would take long driving (Newberg, Carlton), or ordering online (waiting....). And it would only make one skein size.

Enter the PVC niddy noddy. All credit goes to The Anticraft, which provided the instructions and parts list.

A walk to Home Depot, where there were approximately 2 sales people for every customer (Black Friday, big day, all hands on deck), and one attached himself to me, so I read off my parts list and he helped me find everything. He was not inclined to cut it up for me (foo), so it was either going to be the hacksaw at home, or investing in a PVC cutter. Now there are other people who cut up PVC at our house a lot more often than I do, so I bought one. Plus I can cut it up now, too, should I have the overwhelming urge to reduce a 10' length of PVC to its component molecules. We did cut it into 2 pieces, which made the walk home easier.

Pedestrian aside: Between my house and Home Depot, a distance of, oh 1.5 miles, there are darn few sidewalks, narrow streets, ditches, poor sightlines... Walking holding 2 long pieces of PVC does cause motorists to notice. No one interfered with me in the crosswalks, or buzzed me on the walk home.

Sanded all the printing off the PVC. I started with coarse sandpaper and a sanding block, then finished it with very fine sandpaper. Wiped everything off, went inside, measured, and cut. I also wrote the resultant skein length on each body section, so I'd not have to look it up. By swapping out the body section, I can make a skein of a different diameter. One bit of clarification on the instructions - they call for 7/8" O-rings. By that they mean 7/8" OD (outer diameter) O-rings.

The completed niddy-noddy

Pics detailing the construction.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hey, I'm Baaaack!

Heart Rate: 174!
Originally uploaded by cecilanne

This past Saturday, I enjoyed the Oregon Randonneurs annual Wine Country Populaire. 70 miles of Washington and Yamhill wine country riding.

Rode with Cecil, Diane, and Susan O. They were very patient, as they'd often be riding faster, and then wait for me to pedal on by.

I cannot climb worth a darn yet, as soon as the grade gets more than 0%, I notice it. Greater than 3% and I'm working pretty hard.

The first 2.5 hours were light, refreshing drizzle. Really, I liked it. It felt good on my face. Then, heading back from the Cherry Grove out and back, it stopped raining. The sun even came out from time to time.

The headwind was perhaps another story. 45 miles of free-range headwinds, south on Spring Hill/Laughlin, through Yamhill, Carlton, and the last stretch to Lafayette.

Had a nice vending machine mocha in Lafayette; we all loitered outside the store and enjoyed hot drinks (except Cecil. She had a cold drink.)

Then, we turned north. I do love me a good tailwind, and that's what we had. I also decided that my headlight did not really need to be on (the sensor thought it was too gloomy out), and that also picked up my pace a bit. But I was surely getting tired.

Ten miles before the finish, Susan decided that we wouldn't upset the weather karma and commented on what a fabulous day it was. I agree, really! It was great riding weather.

Cecil headed right on in at the finish, Susan, Diane, and I put our bikes away, took off our cycling shoes, and then headed in to officially finish. Visited with Susan F (our excellent RBA), then went off to take a hot shower before the dinner.

Delightful dinner with the Susans, Diane, Brian L (the Olympia one), Duane, and his tandem partner.

Now, off to work on that hill-climbing stuff.

I didn't get any pictures (stupid camera battery), but Cecil did.

Finished in 6:30, well ahead of the time limit, with a riding pace of just below 12mph.

First, I Had to Remove The Tags

Offered up to lead a social pace group for Portland Velo on November 14. No way am I fast enough yet to lead a 15's group. Located my Ride Leader Kit, which I had picked up, and put in the closet months ago. Cut off the tags. They fit. Stretchy stuff, lycra :-)

Fitz, discovering that I was 1) leading, and 2) modifying the route, decided to ride along. At the start, we picked up Linda, and the three of us set out. I had already decided to skip the Pumpkin Ridge climb, and maybe toss in a little out and back to Dixie Mountain Road.

Had a delightful ride getting to know Linda; she started riding late last spring, and has worked up as far as the 45 mile Harvest Century route. We took it easy. When we were to turn north on Gordon Rd, we instead elected to do an out and back to St Francis in Roy, for a brief stop.

Then back to Gordon Rd, through North Plains... and Fitz's knees started hurting, so he elected to head straight back. We did the Shadybrook/Jackson School stretch. Linda's legs were hurting, so we skipped the Mason Hill stretch, and continued back along Jackson School, Meek, Sewell, and Evergreen. Linda's leg cramped up right at Brookwood, so we worked the cramp out and walked back the last 1/2 mile.

Lovely second breakfast at Longbottom's. Shane and David were interested that I could get to the Sunset Transit Center without ever riding on Walker Rd, so I figured I had 10 more miles in me, if they didn't mind a very slow guide.

On the down and up on Evergreen, all of a sudden I was flying up the rise - Shane decided I needed a push. The first time someone did that to me, it scared the spit out of me. This was better; Shane is really good at it. However, I do need to work on my climbing, and declined further assistance after enjoying the first one.

We all parted ways at the top of my hill. Way fun. 39 miles for the day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Clearly I'm Feeling Better

This posting covers all my fun hobbies in one :-)

One of the issues during treatment was that I had a horrible phobia about riding my bicycle alone. Anywhere. I mean, suppose I fell over? I sure felt like losing my balance or conking out from time to time.

The treatment came to a quiet end on Nov 6. Took the last medication. I've been feeling bits and bits more like myself every day.

Today I hopped on my bike, and rode to
1) the bank,
2) the appliance store, where I bought a washing machine (it exceeded my rack capacity. They'll deliver)
3) the NEW yarn store, where I bought yarn for Fitz's promised Filey socks (a nice brown tweed) and yarn for KarenDipity's Marvelous Mitts and then, finally,
4) Freddie's, our grocery store, where I bought heavy things like milk, eggs, cheese, onions...

And back up the hill to home. Didn't feel panicky even once.

Whereupon I cooked up a great batch of Veggie Borscht, making the stock from various veggie ends and peelings (bonus points for this), and using up (from our CSA), the cabbage, beets, carrots, tomatoes, and some celeriac. Mmmm, tasty!

And now I'm cooking up a batch of Fig-Lemon preserve :-)