Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm sucking less bad

Led the Portland Velo 15's again today. A few weeks ago, I looked at the scale and announced that the weight gain stops here. And the weight loss starts here. My plan is to expend at least 500 more calories per day than I take in. We'll see how that goes, and adjust if necessary.

I had planned to ride Lemond, but it was sprinkling at home, so I quickly switched over to Bleriot. And, surprise of surprises - Bleriot was not the lonesome Rivendell at the ride today. John was riding a Rambouillet, with even more accessories than Bleriot normally has:

And I thought I was the only one

We were an even bigger group this week - Mike (times 3), Dan, John, Meagen and Robyn. The route was Cedar Canyon backwards, which is generally flat, except for the gentle rollers on Thatcher/Kansas City, the drop on Stafford, the rollers on Cedar Canyon, and the Serious Rollers on Banks Rd. 40 miles, with the hilly bits all stuffed into 8 miles of it.

One flat about 6 miles into the ride. I found the offending bit of glass in the tire (not mine) and all was good tire-wise, from there on out.

We stuck together until the hilly bits, then started stringing out. After the hilly bits, we stopped and fed one rider who was falling back, and then proceeded on. Note: when riding anything over 20 miles or so, that big breakfast won't carry a rider through it. Supplemental food is necessary.

No rain. The hills didn't hurt as much; I even went up them less slowly than I have been riding recently. The 1% and 2% hills were much less painful. Perhaps I am getting stronger. :-)

Excellent second breakfast at Longbottom's. Love that Farm Plate, yes I do.

Stats: 40.78 miles, 12.79 avg mph.

Roadside find: 1/2" Craftsman socket. At this rate, I'll have an entire set.

A total of 190+ miles for January, which is the best month since May. And that 12.79 average was ridden on the heavy bike.

Next Thing You Know, I'll Be Raising Sheep...

I could. It says "livestock" right in our neighborhood CCRs. There would be the coyote issue, however.

Meanwhile, friend Clarkie (wife of former cycling/tandeming buddy Jason) thought we should do some yarn dyeing. They were coming to town to visit family, so we set aside a day. I spent time the day before mixing up all the dyes (demoting several kitchen utensils to Non Food Use Only), and collecting various bits of gloves, drop cloths, etc.

Also spinning like a fiend, to have enough yarn to dye, in addition to the one skein of commercially produced undyed sock yarn. There's good stuff on the SyFy channel at 2am, really. Caprica, for one.

Mindlessly spinning away

We both went for variations of the Purple Haze and Willow, with Clarkie also adding in Spiced Pumpkin.

While things were steaming, and then hanging to dry, I got Clarkie started on spinning, both on a spindle, and the wheel.

We were both pleased with the results.

Hand dyed commercial yarn

Clarkie's hand dyed yarn

my hand dyed handspun

I think the colors over the naturally silver/gray handspun look pretty darn cool. And yes, that is 100g of 3-ply sock yarn.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Riders Make Rides More Fun!

I took a batch of 15s out for today's Portland Velo ride. Highlights included climbing up NW Kaiser and NW Brooks (dang, forgot how steep those are), climbing up the Jackson Quarry Hill (always fun), and skipping the NW Pumpkin Ridge climb :-) We went around, through North Plains.

Today we had two riders who were both out for their first Velo ride AND new to the area. R was from the Traverse City, MI area, so we had fun talking about that part of the state. M was from Arizona, and was a bit dubious about riding on wet roads. MikeY and Bert rode along with us as well. Other than I fell waaaay back on every hill, and back a bit on the flats (one might note that I was not exceeding the posted 15 mph pace), well, I survived. I mostly lead from the rear. But as I was the only one with a cue sheet (what IS it about that?), they had to wait for me.

I got to point out all the best pavement, show off the sheep and alpaca, give the history of the Helvetia area and church, run on about the Fabled Jackson Quarry Hill, etc, etc. Great fun!

A big thank-you to Malcolm, who loaned me his extra pair of sunglasses. Don't ask.

Ride specifics: 41,85 miles, 12.52 avg mph, which is at the upper end of my pace these days.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vignettes from Whistler BC

So, we are up here skiing for a few days. We've already skied 2 days. Fitz and Rebecca went off to ski this afternoon; Brian and I are saving ourselves for tomorrow (translation: we hurt).

For someone who has not been on skis for about 2 years, and spent the last 10 months being a blob, I'm not doing too badly. At least as long as the snow is not loose and heavy. I just do not have the quads to manage that yet.

Side comment - we are not bothering to lock our skis. Husband: "they are so old, no one would want them. My poles are worth more."

It is snowing, which is good, as I understand there is a really big international event set to start here in 3 weeks that requires a whacking lot of snow. There is plenty of snow on the downhill/GS run, and they've closed them off until afterwards. Darn. But it is a really big mountain, plenty of terrain.

I've been popping my sock knitting in the pocket of my ski parka, and working on it during lunch break and apres ski break (Dusty's. I'm working my way through the hard cider offerings).

Waffle stitch sock

So, yesterday we were having the post-lunch cup of coffee and/or hot chocolate before venturing out again. I was knitting on my sock. (You know, if I wasn't wasting time on the internets, I could be finishing it now :-) ) And suddenly, out of the blue, a woman came over (ski area employee, nametag said she was from Sweden)... "You are knitting! Show me what you are making!" So, yes, it is a sock. She knits socks, loves the yarn, where did I get it... The family looked a bit stunned after she went back to work.

We also planned to take pictures on the medal stand, but it is still under construction. Oh well.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Today is St. Distaff's Day, so this post seems appropriate.

The fiber collection (primordial yarn) is growing. The biggest acquisition was 16 oz of carded Corriedale sliver in a natural white/gray, which is to practice with. I have no emotional investment in this fiber; I won't feel like I'm wasting it if I don't end up with what I was aiming for, and so on... Not that it isn't pretty.

Start to finish

I am initially aiming for 3 ply sock weight yarn, which is in the vicinity of 14-16 WPI (wraps per inch).

Read The Big Book of Handspinning and some books by Judith Mackenzie McCuin. Spent some time perusing the Ask the Bellwether blog (she's good!).

Got a sliding hook flyer for the spinning wheel. Got the husband to drill out the slots in the mother of all to use all the whorls (that would be GEARS to you cyclists; the mother of all is somewhat akin to the rear derailleur).

My Thursday fibers group was highly entertained. They are mostly quilters, but have done spinning and knitting. I have been a quilter. All in all, a really nice, fun group to hang out with.

Pulled off about a half ounce of the sliver, split it into three strips, and started spinning, using my new Spinner's Control Card to help me keep a consistent diameter on the singles. Sort of. My singles ranged from 24-32 WPI.

Then I pulled out the Lazy Kate and started plying while lunch was heating up. Aside: we work for awhile, then eat lunch, then go back to whatever we were doing. Today was beef-barley mixture in pita bread, greens, apple and spiced walnut (walnuts made by SIL) salad, and apple cake.

I must say, I'm pretty pleased with how my plying is improving. Then wound the yarn onto the niddy-noddy, tied it off, and set it to simmer while we ate lunch.

After the simmer, I wrapped it in an old towel and thwacked it on the kitchen counter for awhile. Great way to get one's aggravations out. I highly recommend it. Then dried it on the shelf in my dryer (handy for those who don't want to wait for air-drying).

3 ply, 12 wpi

The end result? 12 WPI, 1125 YPP (yards per pound). Not quite there. But now I know what I need to work on. And it is pretty yarn, just a bit thicker than I was aiming for.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Roadside Finds

Cecil talked me into co-leading the 15's for Portland Velo today. At the speeds I am riding, I was definitely going to be riding sweep. Waaaay back. But sure.

Because my head still thinks I'm a badass cyclist, I rode to the start. Met Cecil at the top of the hill at 8:45, and proceeded west. We arrived aout 9:20, so had a nice chance to sit before starting out.

It was forecasted to possibly rain, but never really got around to it.

The 15's were 4 today - me, Cecil, Susan O, and Duncan.

Heading west on Zion Church Rd, I spied a wrench (spanner). Then I saw another one. Ok, I had to go back and pick them up.

Roadside Finds

At the start of the Dairy Creek Rd out-and-back, I suggested that everyone scamper off and have fun, and I'd turn around when they came back. Stopped for a snack at Oliver Hill Rd (where the Really Big Dog lives), then proceeded on. The field of yellow curly maple was positively vibrant against the hills in the background. MUST get one for the yard (I say this every year).

Waved at all the Velo ride groups heading back.

Lots of sheep and alpaca, all nice natural colors. I look at them as potential fleece sources now.

Our favorite alpacas on Dairy Creek Rd

Got to the last uphill before the turnaround, and spotted Cecil and Susan headed back. We stopped in front of the friendly and cute alpacas. Duncan reappeared shortly after we stopped, so we all admired the alpacas.

Susan, Cecil, and Duncan watching the alpacas

Then back to Mountaindale Rd, and heading east now, back to the start, with the little loop by the pallet factory near the Jackson School/Shadybrook intersection. Then the evil nasty rollers on Jackson School (yes, I was getting tired and sore). Time for a couple of Ibuprofen. Susan found me a nice Philips head screwdriver to add to the collection. All Sears Craftsman tools, I might add.

Then, over Hwy 26, onto Meek-Sewell-Evergreen and done. Time for second breakfast. I had the Farmer's Platter and inhaled it all. Cecil was more restrained, and ordered the oatmeal. I also picked up a pound of coffee, because, well, the main business there is coffee and tea.

To make the bike even heavier

Nice visit with Ellen and Tom and others. Then it was time for Cecil and I to proceed onward to our respective homes. Ouch. I was tired. Had to stop once on the Park Way Hill, and it pains me to have to say this. I hope it will be the last time this is necessary.

61.53 miles, 11.27 avg mph. There were headwinds, and no tailwinds except heading north on Dairy Creek. And I was carrying a complete Sears Craftsman tool set and a pound of coffee. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.