Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Review - Cycling

Perhaps a less achievement oriented year this year, but, looking at the odometers - hey, it isn't as dismal as it seems!

Lemond 11719 miles total, 701 miles this year
Bleriot 7546 miles total, 1304 miles this year
Gitane has no bike computer, but it has been ridden. The MTB was kidnapped by Dear Daughter; haven't seen it in awhile.

In total, 2003 miles for the year. Not bad at all.

Rides longer than 100 miles - 3 (all before April)
RUSA kilometers - 1000 (cool! didn't think I'd get even that many!)

Organized rides - Monster Cookie (62mi) and Harvest Century (45mi)

I did get out on one Bridge of the Gods ride and one ride up on Skyline.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mille Bornes

1000 RUSA kilometers ridden in 2009. Going along swimmingly until late March, when a few hazard cards were tossed my way. Now, 700 km is a winning distance, but the daring player tries to get to 1000 km.

Today I crossed over 1000 km. Cecil and I set out to ride the Snooseville Permanent Populaire. Beth was going to join us, but couldn't. (Beth and I had lunch yesterday, and shared a misty moment contemplating the SON 20r dynohub. Oh SO pretty!)

I felt I was doing reasonably well in terms of my amazing comeback after the Wine Country Populaire, but recently had a 3 week sideline event. Let's just say that my ENT does not need to know that I was riding in below freezing weather, or that I was lifting my bike in and out of the van. He did ok the ride. I may have left some crucial detail out (ride distance was fully disclosed). The negotiations were entertaining.

It was cold. About 29 degrees at the start. Cecil was worried about the riding conditions, since the start (Longbottoms) was covered with frost and water was condensing and freezing out of the air, coating the trees and road. It is very pretty. It is also a local phenomenon, the Intel Ronler Acres Effect (thanks to Matt D for sharing this last winter). And indeed, as we rode along, the fog became just fog. We had all our lights on for maximum visibility. I do not understand cars that drive around in heavy fog WITH NO LIGHTS! Sure, they can probably see, but you'd think they would want other road users to see THEM!

A short out and back on Dairy Creek (the fog abated for a bit), where, at the control point, we met up with a dog as tall as our bicycles. No joke. Fortunately, a friendly, well behaved dog, that really, really wanted our sandwiches and cookies. Not sharing; we were hungry.

I was a bit worried about crossing Hwy 26 (Frogger Junction) in the fog, but it proved to be a non-event. So, westward into Banks, a brief pause, then out along Cedar Canyon Rd. The Killin Wetlands were full of ducks, and with the fog, spectacular.

Commenced discussions on the upcoming bicycle. While the main color (RAL 4008 Signal Violet) is selected, the logo color is not yet chosen. I'm thinking a nice green, a quiet green, not a vibrant one. Colors in the running: RAL 6011, RAL 6024, maybe RAL 6028. Depends how they look in real life, rather than on my monitor. Oh, and a sparkle clearcoat. Then onto shifters. I am tending toward bar-end shifters. Cecil noted that if I had brifters, it would not necessarily work and play well with my Acorn Bag. Bar-ends it is. Then we discussed ways of mounting my tire pump. There would need to be a mount that would work the way I want it to and it should have screw holes so it could be attached to the frame without zip ties. I hate zip ties. Or for that matter, anything that goes around a tube, because it messes up the look :-) Also lighting (yes, that SON 20r dynohub). Cecil: "are you going to get a new light, or reuse the one you have?" Me: "well..." Cecil:"I hear a massive rationalization coming on". Yeah well. Yes. Supernova or Edelux? Hard choice there. Teeny cute little front rack, too.

Then crossing Hwy 6 (even more of a non-event), up Stafford, and eventually into Forest Grove. Maggie's was closed, but Pizza Schmizza wasn't. I had a Mexican Coke (real cane sugar), and Cecil got a different drink. The kind man behind the counter heated up some water so I could make a refill of the Gatorade Tea. Then off to Gaston, to get there before the control closed. Ow. But we made it, with a few minutes to spare.

As I was pulling up to the Gaston Market, a passerby had a double take on the bikes (steel, totally retrogrouch, canvas luggage, etc). "You two are loaded up for bear!" Well, yeah, we like to be prepared. Although I am not sure what I would do if there was an actual bear encounter incident, I am reasonably prepared for most bicycle roadside emergencies. Ate my banana. The fog finally lifted, and the temperature moved above freezing and stayed there.

North on Spring Hill and Fern Hill; the last real "hill" by the red barn, through the wetlands, and... I was fading. Totally. My quads and hamstrings hurt, my bicycle sitting calluses were non-existent, and I was getting tired. Pedal. Coast. Pedal. Coast. Through Cornelius, then onto Susbauer. Wobble wobble wobble. Did I mention that the Speed Limit Hazard Card is still in effect? :-(

At the turn onto Hornecker I stopped and had a gel with caffeine. Cecil: "I could tell you were fading there just watching you pedal". Munched on a Sweet Salty Peanut Bar for awhile more, and started feeling slightly less dead by the time we turned into Hillsboro proper. By then we were almost done.

East on Evergreen. The finish for this permanent was Longbottoms Coffee and Tea, where we started, but we knew it would be closed at 12:30 today. So we parked in the Fred Meyer parking lot (about 1 mile further east) and planned to finish up at either the Starbucks or the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. Starbucks won, as we didn't have tons of time to hang around. I was so tired by then, I couldn't find the Starbucks in the shopping center!

Nice Eggnog Latte (which I SO earned on this ride), sitting out in the sun for awhile.

I will sleep well tonight, yes indeed. Maybe sooner than later.

No pictures, because my freshly charged camera battery gave it up in the cold, but Cecil had more luck. Check out the pics of that really big dog!

Ride stats: 64.46 miles, 11.66 avg mph.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Anticipation Kicks into a Higher Gear

Remember this post? 14 months ago? Today we took a big step forward - I had my pre-design bicycle fit! Michael had my fit info from awhile back (1.5 years?), so he and Natalie set up the fit bike and observed. And adjusted. And discussed various components. And intended usage scenario (rando bike!) And tubing.

Color will be Signal Violet, which is shown here.

The magic stem was found that makes the geometry to fit me possible. I've got rather longer legs than I do upper body and reach; finding a commercially-produced bicycle that fits me and is suitable for the intended end-use is darn hard.

I'm SO excited! Watch this space as there is reportable progress.

Spinning, Part 2

No wonder that pencil roving took so very, very long to spin and ply. The best son ever (TM) gave me a McMorran Balance for Hanukkah, and tonight I used it to figure out how much yarn I had made up.

47.25 inches balanced. Times 100 gives me 4725 YARDS in a pound. The total weight of the yarn is 110g, or .242 pounds. Basic 6th grade math (or 4th; don't remember. It was New Math back in the day, and I thought it was pretty cool) renders a shocking total of 1143.45 yards.

Wow. That's a LOT of very, very fine yarn. For comparison, 100g of sock yarn is in the vicinity of 400-450 yards.

So I knitted up a bit of it on US sz 2 (2.75mm) needles:


I probably have enough for that Swallowtail shawl, yes indeed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

On the Spinning front

First, a question dear readers - would you rather I had a separate blog for the crafty stuff? Or do you not mind the occasional forays into fiber arts and cooking?

Perhaps I am learning to spin

Six cops of singles, ready to ply

That 4 oz of Fiber Optics Sweet Georgia Brown pencil roving that I purchased at Sock Summit has finally been rendered into yarn. Very fine 2-ply yarn. It was spun on the drop spindle, and maybe a quarter of the singles plied on the drop spindle, before I realized that I'd be plying it until next summer, and finished the plying on the wheel.

Plying by drop spindle

I tried Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' method of using plying sticks and a center pull to ply, but it didn't work. I then rewound the cops onto toilet paper rolls (those are SO useful), by using a rubber band on my ball winder core and putting the tp roll on over it. Then I used the plying sticks (translation - old big 60's knitting needles), a shoe box, and the tp spools of singles and created a plying box to feed the singles in to ply.

I must have done something right, because the colors on the two strips of spun-up pencil roving aligned more often than not, and I only had 2 feet of leftover singles on one spool. I am pretty sure this will never happen again.

Skeining in process

Then I needed to skein it all up - the construction of a sturdy niddy noddy is described here.

Then simmering to set the twist, snapping and popping it, and hanging it up to dry. I got kind of impatient, so I set the shelf in my dryer and ran it on air fluff for awhile. Ahh, technology.

So, I have this cool-looking yarn, but don't know how much. I mean, it weighs 110g, but I don't know long it is. Request for a McMorran Balance has been put in for the upcoming holiday.

all spun up, 110g

So, what is it going to be? Assuming I have enough, and I probably do, I plan to knit up the Swallowtail Lace Shawl, making the next size up, as many members of Ravelry have provided instructions on how to do so (19 repeats of one chart, rather than 14).

Got some books from the library on spinning. Right now, the yarn is telling me what it wants to be, in terms of thickness. I'd rather it be the other way around, so I'm studying up on it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nice Day, and Faster Riding, Too!

Route map (starts at Longbottoms Coffee and Tea, in Hillsboro)

I offered up to lead another social ride for Portland Velo, but no takers today. So I attached myself to the 15's knowing full well that I'd probably have to bail at some point.

Temperature was 32 deg F and sunny at the start. I was wearing (top to bottom) wool cap, wool ls baselayer, wool ls jersey, Craft jacket, Smartwool shorts, PI Amfib tights, wool socks, PI Gore-Tex shoes. Also Descente Wombat gloves, and chemical toe and hand warmers.

Dana (ace ride leader), Michael, and myself rode south through the outskirts of Hillsboro, then west and up to Forest Grove. I could keep up just fine as long as it was pancake-flat. Otherwise I would slow down. We stopped at the golf course, and I swapped out my jacket for a wind vest. Much better.

Once we got to the intersection of SW Fern Hill and Hwy 47, I said my goodbyes, and headed back on the traditional route to Longbottoms.

Gorgeous day - intense winter blue sky, gold-colored stubble on the fields, colorful foliage on the berry bushes, and flocks of birds migrating. I'd be riding along, and hear a lot of rustling/fluttering, and a big mob of birds would rise up and wheel around. Yeah. That's why I do this!

Delightful second breakfast at Longbottoms, as always.

Club prez says if I let him know I'll be leading a social, he'll let some other folks know. Nice. However, I won't be back ride leading for at least 3 weeks.

Oh, right - 34.4 miles at 13.3mph average. I haven't ridden that fast since April!