Saturday, February 20, 2010

ZOMG! NICE Day for a ride!

I just love the sucker weather we get here in February. Enjoyable until the rains return, and don't depart until, say, July 5.

Mt St Helens from Skyline Drive

Off to lead the Portland Velo 15's again today. As the weather was going to be amazingly excellent, I took the dirty Race Blade fenders off Lemond, wiped the dirt off the rims (the bike actually got a gentle hosing-down when it arrived home last Saturday), put some White Lightning on the chain, and was ready to go.

Clothing consisted of Shebeest knickers, wool socks, PI shoes (still not quite ready to wear the Keens), lightweight wool tank, PV ride leader jersey and vest, and wool armwarmers. And a thin cap under the helmet, short finger gloves with Yehuda Moon ragg wool gloves over those. Perfect. I ended up ditching the wool gloves about halfway up the climb.

Nice ride over, picking up another rider also headed in for the club ride. "I see you are a ride leader, I bet you know exactly how to get to the start :-) "

I started out with 2 riders. Robyn and Meagan had other plans, but Meagan stopped by (she was doing a run) to say hello. We left before the 17's - dispensation from JRod. We are the slowest group, and if we wait for everyone else to leave, that's 20 minutes we could have been riding. My only goal for these rides is to make it back to Longbottom's before 2pm, so I can enjoy a nice leisurely second breakfast and post-ride socializing.

Corner of Helvetia and Jackson Quarry

That said, today's ride had 2 major climbs. We headed north up Helvetia, up the Jackson Quarry Hill, then turned right onto Mason Hill/Solberger/Moreland, to continue the climb all the way to Skyline Drive. About 1000 feet of climbing. I had never done the entire climb - we would turn left on Dorland and drop down to Shadybrook.

One of the riders decided to head off with the 17s before we started up the Jackson Quarry Hill. At the top of the Jackson Quarry Hill, I noticed a group turning left (down) instead of right. Another group bailed at Dorland. But Sandra and I continued our merry way on up. And up. And up. Like, where's the top? For that matter, where's Dorland? Clearly I had forgotten bits of this route, as I haven't been up there for over 2 years!

After we passed Dorland and continued on, Sandra started wondering how far we'd gone. The summit was about 13+ miles from the start. Oh... somehow she had the thought that the entire ride was 15 miles... But she was fine, so no worries.

Ride bonus - near the top, a deer crossed the road in front of us!

We must be getting close

The top! (Moreland and Skyline)

Finally, the summit, with an OUTSTANDING view north to Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens and Mt Adams. Then rollercoastering down to Cornelius Pass Rd... Sandra: "do we pass a store? I need more water." Me: "maybe. Don't recall if the store at Cornelius Pass and Skyline is still extant".

But it was, and we stopped. Then continuing east on Skyline, climbing... It goes up again for mmm, another 500-700 feet before our turn south onto NW Springville. Every bicyclist in Portland was out on Skyline, as it is a favorite ride when the weather is good.

I'd never descended on Springville before, either. Oh MY, that was fun! And not so long or consistently really steep that my hands hurt. Plus more outstanding scenery. (Meagan really needed to be on this ride so she could see more pretty stuff :-) )

Then into the Urban Growth Boundary for a few miles on Kaiser/Bethany, then west on West Union, with its amazing appearing/disappearing shoulders. I remember when that historic house on Kaiser was there all by its lonesome. Nothing around it but fields. Not anymore.

South on Helvetia/Shute, and into Longbottoms to enjoy a great second breakfast with Sandra, Brian, and LJ - everyone else had gone by then. Peaceful ride home (10.4miles) afterward.

My bike computer buttons are not actuating well because the brake hoods are getting worn - the little Flight Deck nubbies are long gone. Mileage for the day - I'll say 56 miles. No idea how fast I went, but I will say that I managed all the climbing with absolutely no problem. Better every day!

Lemond and Little Pink Bear take a break

(it helps that I have lost 10 lbs over the past month :-) )

Friday, February 19, 2010

And on the Sweetpea Front

Had the design review meeting with Natalie today. Well, we had a design review sandwiched somewhere in between the fibers (knitting and spinning and dyeing) and other crafts discussion. With really good coffee in a North Portland coffeehouse on a wonderfully warm and sunny day.

Sweetpea early design

Here's the preliminary design sketch; those are my notes on it. Natalie's version has other notes.

And for the obsessive among you, not to worry, we've got the right brakes all set. They are in a basket in my living room as I type this.

The Kaisei tubing is way cool - it is the descendant of the Ishiwata tubing for keirin bikes, and butted such that short frame tubes can be made from it. The fork will be custom. There is only 1 fork crown that will work, but Natalie says that's ok, because it is a totally awesome crown.

I was thinking I'd have to go with black stem/etc/etc, but I am told that there does exist a nice shiny silver stem that is the right size. So we can go with nice shiny silver components, which is really my preference.

Sparkliness of paint job was discussed, as well as the possibility of painting the fenders and rack. I dunno. Maybe leave the fenders silver with a pinstripe.

Decisions made:
triple crankset (probably the Sugin0)
bar end shifters, nine cogs in the rear
custom front rack
colors (RAL Signal Violet with shades of grayish green for the logo)
Cane Creek SCR 5C brake levers, silver/gum hoods
shiny silver components whenever possible :-) I hear Velo Orange has them :-)
Terry Butterfly seat (I have at least one not attached to a bicycle at the moment)
Michelin Megamium tires (in waiting)
Velocity 650B Aerohead rims (in waiting)
Son 20R generator hub
Speedplay Frog pedals (in waiting)
Sigma Rox 9.0 computer (have the computer, need another set of pickups)
I think we settled on the Salsa Poco handlebars
a shiny brass bell. I have the bell, just need the spacer.

Need to pick out some fenders
Need to decide on rear gearing range
I'll take Natalie's advice on headset, bottom bracket and derailleurs. As long as they are durable and work well, I'm not picky. I've not killed any yet, other than a rear derailleur dying of extreme age.

The bike will take a rear rack, but I won't have one installed, unless I really need it. That's what the Carradice Barley is for.

Lighting. Still can't decide between the Schmidt Edelux and the Supernova. I currently have an IQ Fly, and I'm not real fond of the beam pattern, so the Supernova really is calling more at this point.

Stay tuned!

What's up...

Hmm. Leading Portland Velo rides on Saturdays - last weekend included exceptionally scenic Holly Hill, which I conquered with no problems whatsoever. We'll see how I do climbing up Moreland to Skyline tomorrow :-)

As part of my Lynne Improvement Plan, in addition to riding (currently 1 long ride and 2 spinning classes a week), I'm also trying to remember how to run (this week 12 x (R 2:30 W 2:30)), which is finally feeling like there might be an endorphin or two lurking, and lifting weights.

Now, back in the day (say 3-4 years ago) I was pretty consistent on the weight lifting front, and, sometimes, would draw stares of amazement as I kept loading the weight on the incline leg sled. Little women repeatedly shoving 400 lbs does, for some reason, draw attention. It did make for me being a darn strong stoker :-)

But I'm not there now - I am up to all of 160 lbs, but I'm moving up at least 20 lbs every week. I'm up to 40 situps, lots of core work (heavy ball, side and back stuff), free weights, and rows and lat pulls. Plus other stuff, but you'd be bored reading it. I might post my workout sometime, but not right now.

And, according this scale this morning, 9 lbs has left the building. More to go, for sure, but I'm pleased.

Ran some errands on the bike today. A completely wonderful day; wore my shortfinger gloves and sandals for the first time this season.

Oooh!  Warm day in February!

I was all set to hop on Bleriot and hit up the library and the bank, but, darn it, a flat. Where did that come from? So, Gitane was pressed into service. Autopiloted to the library, forgetting a lock. Oops. There was a guy unlocking his bike at the rack and talking on his phone, so I asked him if he would watch my bike for the 5 minutes it would take for me to zip and and get my book. Nice man!

Then, of course, I noticed a troop of Girl Scouts selling cookies. For the first time in over 20 years, there has been no Girl Scout in my house or down the street selling me cookies. I had a small daypack, and managed to fit in 3 boxes of cookies with my book :-)

Unauthorized shopping outside the library

Mmm. Thin Mints. Mmmmm. Only 40 calories per cookie, too :-)

Again, autopiloting to the library, I missed the turn to the bank. Luckily, there is another branch of the bank right across from the library.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Riding Two Days in a Row - 95 miles

The theory here is to get the mileage up, such that I might be able to ride a 200k next month and not die. I know, good luck with that.

Saturday was leading the Portland Velo 15s again. We have got ourselves a nice little group, for sure. The route was basically a Dairy Creek out and back, getting to Dairy Creek Rd one way, and coming back another way. It was possibly going to rain, so Bleriot made the trip. I rode to and from the ride, as well. Brief moment of Life Flashing Before My Eyes as a big truck absolutely needed to pass a large group of cyclists headed my way as I was blissfully pedaling up Dairy Creek, for the moment, solo. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh! I was checking out the ditching opportunities - not so good. But clearly, I survived, or you wouldn't be reading this. Had a Sweet Salty Peanut Bar at the turnaround while everyone explored the wonders of the bridge on Fern Flat over the creek. It was not raining there, for once :-)

Then back out (thanks to Mike B for pulling) and over through North Plains onto Shadybrook. Where I started fading again. Clearly I needed more than a basic bowl of oatmeal and that granola bar. The folks I ride with are so nice - they don't mind waiting. Sucked down a gel at the schoolhouse by the pallet factory, which perked me up enough to ride the last nine miles back to Longbottoms. Our goal for the ride was to finish before 2pm, and we did. Farm Plate ordered, I settled down to visit with Linda R, Meagan, Robyn, and Mike. Einar stopped by as well. Then off to ride the last 10+ miles home. No stopping on the Park Way hill today!

It is worth noting that, while my overall riding average for the 65 miles was 12.39, my riding average for the Portland Velo portion was 44.21 miles at 13.24. On Bleriot.

Sunday, Cecil, Beth and I met up for a N/NE PDX wander, which would put us at Smith and Bybee lakes, Kelley Point, and Little Red Bike Cafe. And, except for the miles-long train that was keeping us from entering the water treatment plant which leads to Smith and Bybee Lakes, it would have been perfect. As it was, we re-evaluated, and wandered around some more (one of these years I will be less directionally challenged in that part of town), to end up at the cafe. Lucky us, we scored an inside table! Once we headed back to Willamette Blvd, I then figured out where I was. I do enjoy riding around the east side, lots of it is like riding through neighborhoods with really nice houses (nice: covered front porch, real windows, gee that looks like Grandma's house!). Then there is Alameda, which are completely aspirational houses, except I wouldn't want anything that large anymore. Back to Cecil's where I made off with some iris rhizomes and a handful of fresh rosemary.

Just over 30 miles at the blistering pace of 10.78, some of which can be attributed to in-city riding. Lots of stopping.