Monday, August 30, 2010

Riding around Puget Sound

Southern Puget Sound that is.  On a whim, I signed up for RAPSody, a two day ride put on by a coalition of bike clubs in that area of Washington State.  I was riding it solo, but did know a couple folks in person, and several other riders through the Cascade Bike Club forums - we all have multiple cycling organization memberships.  (I belong to, at last count, three).

Standard a couple days before rummaging around for the camping gear.  Phone call made, desired sleeping bag returned :-)  I decided to take tiny tent, and leave the decision to sleep in the gym or out on the field at Shelton HS a late binding decision.  After all, it might rain.  You never know.

Drove up to Tacoma the night before, and stayed in the adequate Days Inn.  There was breakfast the next morning, but too late for me.  I'd figure something out.

Did grab a cup of coffee on the way out, and got slightly lost in Tacoma, looking for Tacoma Community College.  Orchard Rd did a strange split, and I went right instead of left.  Fortunately, Google Maps on my phone came to the rescue.

Found Leo Stone before I was even in the parking lot.  He was heading out, but turned around and came back to visit for a bit.  He hadn't seen Claire, David or Ross yet, but they were just driving over from their homes.  We figured we'd run into each other later, so he headed out.  Picked up my ride number, dumped off my bags, said hi to Gene from Tacoma (bag loading detail)...  He had to come look at Pretty New Sweetpea :-)

Lots of good snacks at the start, so I loaded up and called it breakfast.

And, a bit after 7am, I was off.  First up, the route had us crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Oh, that is a VERY pretty bridge.  It took me awhile to cross, because I had to stop and take pictures.  Many pictures.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

We then headed north with views of the sound to our right from time to time.  I say "we" and "our", and I know there were approximately 400 other riders on this ride, but mostly I didn't see more than one or two of them at a time, except at a rest stop.  Remarkably uncrowded for such a pretty ride.

The terrain was Not Flat.  I knew this going in and figured it would be good for me.  Nothing really long, but not very much flat.  About 20 miles into it, I started eating my hoarded Lemon Cream cookies.  I figured they'd get me to the rest stop at 30 miles.

Passed the Yellow Brick Rd, and eventually popped out the coast around Southworth Drive.  Followed that around to the first rest stop in Manchester, where I found Ross and Shaun D.  Nice view of Seattle across the Sound, too.

Look Dorothy!  The Emerald City!

I knew this ride was different when I was offered lots of fresh fruit, and a yogurt (my choice of plain non-fat or vanilla full-fat) granola strawberry-blueberry parfait.  And homemade cookies.

Manchester rest stop yummies

After visiting, went back to retrieve my bike and found Claire and David just arriving.  I followed Ross, and his friend David on the route out, following the coastline around.  Eventually I waved them off; couldn't hang on to their pace.

There was soon a large grey aircraft-carrier type ship across the water.  Hmm.  Must be Bremerton.  Then into Port Orchard, which is very cute.  Houses on the water, lots of sailboats in the marina.

Scenery, Day 1

After Port Orchard the route headed uphill, passing through forest and farms and more (managed) forest, until it dropped down into Victor (time to snack on a Clif Bar), and followed the water around to the Allyn rest stop (63 miles).

Where I found Leo, Ross, Claire, David and Shaun.  I admit it, I had fun watching people look at my bike.  The Allyn rest stop featured hot calzones and boiled potatoes and watermelon and pretzels and...  Had a nice long sit and visit. Decided the Brooks really wanted to be further back, and then found out that the bag, which was SUPPOSED to have a multitool in it... didn't.  I borrowed Leo's and did the adjustment.   Also realized I hadn't drunk much, and resolved to do better for the balance of the ride.

Rode with Leo for several miles out of Allyn, then pulled ahead.  It is really nice riding with an LCI - he stops at stops!

It was really weird.  I kept thinking that I was way slow and way behind, but really, it was only about 1pm (if that) when I left the Allyn rest stop.

A bit more coastline, then up again into the forest.  Made a brief pause at the water stop (ice water.  Ahhhhh.)  30 miles in total again, and I was at Shelton HS.

Found Ross and David.  David's back was bothering him and he was calling it a ride.  I got myself a root beer float and joined them.  Ross wondered if I wanted company or preferred to ride alone.  I like company, so we made plans to meet up at the first rest stop the next day.

I had decided to sleep in the gym - that meant the plumbing would be indoors, too :-)   Not many in the gym; I had my pick of spaces.  Had a lovely shower, called home, then stumbled onto Leo and Kevin and Shaun, waiting for dinner to be ready.  So I waited, too.  Then it was dinnertime - lasagna, baked potato, salad, cake, lemonade, coffee...  I started with the salad and lasagna, then went back for the baked potato, then a piece of cake.

Plots were being hatched to have our own private beer garden.  No drinking on the school grounds, and no one seemed inclined to go into Shelton proper.  We hiked over to Fred Meyer, procured beverages of choice, and I learned how to open a bottle with a key.  We then decided that the Wal*Mart parking lot across the street had some nice shady areas and relocated there.

Brown bagging it in the WalMart parking lot

Mischief managed, we hiked back to the school, and enjoyed the band until they finished up around 8pm.  Got about an inch knitted on my sock, and taught Kevin how to knit cables.  Seriously.

Early to bed.  Learning: I am too old to sleep on a gym floor with a Thermarest.  Next time - air mattress!

Slow awakening the next morning - got up about 6:15, packed, dressed (OrRando wool jersey, perfect for the temps), and over to breakfast around 7.  Found everyone (addition of Claire and David) at a table and joined them.  My plate mysteriously acquired more sausages when I was getting coffee, but I managed to pawn the excess off on my tablemates.  Eggs and cheese, sausage, French toast, fruit and coffee.  Mmm.

And it WAS a good thing I slept in the gym - the field sprinklers went off in the middle of the night, 60 psi spraying horizontally into the tents.  Ack.

Loaded the bags in the truck, and was getting ready to head out when.... "I was going to ask if you were a real randonneur, but then I saw your bike.... you people are crazy!" :-)  Mmmhmm.  I must wonder what a real randonneur looks like.

Farm viewed from up in the hills

Leo and I rode together until the first rest stop, occasionally joined by Shaun.  Climbs, pretty farms, stretches of Hwy 101, and a nice pause at the Blue Heron Bakery (Leo was saying something about the Great God of Caffeine; works for me).

Isn't that a pretty bicycle?

There I met Eric S, also from the Cascade Forums.  But I didn't want to keep Ross waiting too long, so off again to the rest stop just outside of Olympia proper.

Day 2 scenery

And there was Ross and Claire (and David, but he was off finding more food).  Another yummy yogurt parfait and some more fruit.  Silly picture taking.  More tweaking of the Brooks.

Claire and Ross

Claire and David and their shiny new tandem

Ross and I headed out through Olympia - I'd never been there.  Olympia is something I drive by on I-5.  Nice downtown.

Then north along some waterfront (Budd Inlet).  Leo rode with us off and on.  We then picked up the Chehalis-Western Trail for quite a ways - deep green fairytale forest, open areas, and not any traffic to speak of.

One of the many bits of water

I think Ross and I talked nonstop the entire time.  Eventually turned onto Yelm Hwy - not so much fun, and my blood sugar tanked.  Here I was happily cruising along at 16+ and then everything slowed down.  Ross said the rest stop was just ahead, but I sucked down half a bottle of Gatorade anyway.  That helped.

Found the usual suspects at the stop, and a lovely assortment of food.  Also saw Duane W  (Seattle randonneur).  The mechanic there was transfixed by my bicycle.  He wanted to know what lighting I was putting on it, and did Natalie build many rando bikes and...  Even after I went in search of food he just kept staring...

The wind picked up, and it got a little chilly.  Pulled the armwarmers back on.  The route here changed - we were meant to ride along Chambers Way and through Steilacoom (and I was really looking forward to this), but some national golf tournament was taking up the road and we were re-routed.  Descended to the Nisqually River (not a long enough descent :-) ) and climbed back up (not so bad), then had our promised mile or so of I-5 shoulder.

Riding on I-5 near Olympia

Ross: "you should do RAMROD."  Who?  What? Me?  As he's the second person to have suggested this, totally out of the blue, maybe I should toss my name in the lottery next March.

Then in through Dupont and along the western border of Fort Lewis, into Lakewood, and working our way north through Tacoma back to the start.  There were three soul-sucking climbs (8-9%) on Mildred St, and then we were done.

Leo, Ross and me at the finish

Got my Creamsicle and some chips and we all settled down for a post-ride snack.  Everyone else had a relatively short drive home.  I got my shower and changed, and picked up a few more snacks for the drive (135 miles, give or take a few).

One stop for free rest stop coffee and cookies.  Home by about 8pm.

Day 1 90.02 miles, 1:01 faffing around, 13.74 avg mph, 5406 vertical feet
Day 2 82.11 miles, 1:21 faffing around, 13.44 avg mph, 3435 vertical feet

All the pics here
Ross's pics (which you may or may not be able to see...)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Sweetpeas Invade Canada

ooh!  August!  Must be time to ride to Canada!

Best Enabler Cyclist Friend and I signed up for this one the day signups opened in January.  Dorm room and hostel reservations procured several months later; place to sleep in Seattle (her brother's house) arranged.

Day 0

NEW BICYCLE was ready.  Well, it was ready after I tossed the garage looking for the Acorn Bag stiffener piece; the bag was getting floppy.

Procured vegan-friendly road snacks, stopped by daughter's house to retrieve my Thermarest mattress, collected Cecil and HER Sweetpea, and off we went.  The drive was long, because traffic stops in Tacoma.

Day 1

Got ourselves to the start before the ride started (this is a first, for me, anyway).  No coffee stand.  Not good.

Cecil and TRFKAF are ready to go

Did find Ross; hugs were exchanged.

Five miles into the ride we came upon a rider who had apparently hit one of the bollards on the Burke Gilman Trail.  He wasn't looking so good.  Cecil took up traffic control at one end and I took it up at the other - between a very large number of RSVP cyclists heading north, and daily bike commute traffic heading south, it could have been very ugly otherwise.  Nat (fellow rando) came by, and visited a bit.  I admired his pretty new bike.  He admired my pretty new bike.  Eventually emergency services arrived and took him off to the hospital and Cecil and I continued on.  The Burke Gilman is considerably less claustrophobic when one is not stoking a tandem.  Just saying.

Off the trail, north to Woodinville, up the Woodinville hill, where I was to find Cecil at the convenience store.  Got to the store.  No Cecil.  Hmm.  Took care of business, and found a can of iced mocha.  Also found Cecil, who was looking for me.  Consumed the iced mocha (yum!  and so handy!)

Lynne gets very, very crabby if she doesn't have her coffee in the morning

She had been waiting at the OTHER convenience store.  Enjoyed the rollers, not so much the stretch on 522, then onto Springhetti Road and out into the country.  Passed through Snohomish, but did not get onto the Centennial Trail until it was required, thus skipping the Bollards of Death.

She's got the matching picture

Arrived in Lake Stevens with plenty of time, ate, refilled water bottles, applied sunscreen, stood in line :-) and headed off again to Arlington.  Used my mad STP-in-a-day skilz, and performed most of the above while standing in line.

The descent into Arlington was even more fun - have I mentioned that I really like riding that Sweetpea down hills?

Lunch was at the Shire Cafe/Mirkwood.  Right by Mordor Tattoo.  Bill A found us there. You can't make this up.

Really CAN'T make this up

Sweetpeas in the Mirkwood garden

Bill A at Mirkwood (lunch stop)

Off again on Hwy 9 (much nicer shoulder for longer, now), then the climb on Finn Settlement/Lake Cavanaugh Rd.  I could have done without the double log truck passing, otherwise all fine.  I even passed people while climbing.

Stopped at the water stop.  The Sweetpeas got much love there, as did the Acorn Bag.

Off to Mt Vernon - more drinks and snacks.  It was hot.  There had been a steady headwind all day, and as we got onto the Skagit Flats, it turned into a stronger, gusty quartering headwind/crosswind.  Pick you up and drop you in the ditch type of wind.  Relentless Forward Motion was called for.  Passed the Bow Cemetery, several pretty farms, and finally arrived at the NO LONGER DEFUNCT Bow Store (now The Pizza Shack).  Bought a cold Sobe, drank most of it while waiting in line to pay.

More crosswind/headwind, but we were soon climbing up Chuckanut Drive, with lovely shade and no headwind.  Always pretty.  Brief stop at one pullout, and another to turn on the rear blinkie, continued on to the Famous Pink Lemonade Stand.  My last descent was a bit hampered by a slower rider taking up the whole road.  Found Cecil at the lemonade stand, drank two big glasses of pink lemonade, and then proceeded into Fairhaven and Bellingham.

Chuckanut Drive

Samish Bay

Some very, very warped route designer had us climbing up Ferry Ave, rather than continuing over to Elwood and 32nd to pick up Bill McDonald Parkway there.  I providentially threw the chain at the bottom and walked it.  My bike computer has 21% for parts of that hill; nothing less than 13%.

Checked into the dorms.  Not much to say, except the mattresses were pretty thin, and on plywood (students are encouraged to bring an egg-crate or memory foam mattress topper), and I seemed to be in a co-ed suite.  Fortunately, no (single) bathroom congestion.  Oh, and no elevators.  I was only on the second floor; Cecil was on the third floor.  Could have been worse - we could have been in the dorms on the very, very top of Sehome Hill.

Chatted with Nat again before heading off to Boundary Bay Brewery for dinner.

Excellent band (Cecil call them a Trad Band) - besides their own stuff, they did some Pogues.  Lots of little kids playing with hula hoops.  They had no clue how.  It was with EXTREME restraint that I did not get up and show them (superpower - I can hula hoop forever).  Dinner was yummy, but as we snacked walking to the Brewery and had fries in the beer garden, I couldn't really do it justice.

hanging in the beer garden; good band!

The church meeting was going full tilt when we started back.  Altar call.

Day 2

Breakfast in Bellingham before heading out.  Cecil acquired a new friend who wanted to know all about vegan nutrition for cycling.  I quietly ate my non-vegan breakfast.

"I'm the vegan"

North through the scenic flats (farms, Wizer Lake, more farms, Lynden, Double Ditch Rd), singing selections from the Pogues, and then into the border crossing.  The Sweetpeas made it across the border with no undue suspicion other than querying our rider numbers and checking them on a list.  Brief pause to document, and then onward.

Sweetpea Invasion of Canada is complete

It was getting hot.  Approached "The Wall", having Sweetpea geared down well in advance to ward off a chain throwing mishap, and climbed on up.  Still hot.  We stopped for popsicles.  Mmmmmmmmmmm.


Must.  Have. Popsicle.

Ft Langley - rest stop; ate a pbj and some grapes, topped up the liquids.  Exiting town, we saw what I thought was a cool play structure.  It was.  A play structure for goats.  I can't believe the number of riders that missed it.  More pictures.

I thought it was a cool play structure, but it was full of goats!

Big route change - with the completion of the Golden Ears Bridge, the ferry ride, with accompanying long wait and unpleasant stretches of 132nd and Lougheed Hwy were completely eliminated.  No more riding through Maple Ridge.

Peaceful ride on the south side of the water to the bridge, a totally cool spiral ramp up, and an amazing bridge.  The stretch on the other side was pretty nice, too.  The Pitt River Bridge has also been replaced, with a miniature version of the Golden Ears Bridge.

The Golden Ears Bridge

Coast Meridian hasn't gotten much better.  One of my cycling nightmares is to be caught and crushed between a double dump truck.  Guess what passed me, in my (not really wide enough) lane?  Ack.

A stretch of neighborhoods, one with a nice man watering any cyclists who wanted it (do me! do me!).  Getting hotter.  Coquitlam and Port Moody - downtown with highrises, but providentially, not as much traffic as previous years.  Fantasizing about Rocky Point Park by now - watermelon, ice cream, shady green grass.  The watermelon was running low, so I had just a bit, but compensated with an ice cream cone.  Cecil got a Diet Coke and we found a shady spot to sit.  Then more sunscreen, and off to the Barnet Hwy.

It seemed shorter this year, and easier.  Of course, this was the first time in many years that I had ridden it on a single.  Crosswind/headwind, which were cooling.  Hot.  Very Hot.  The last pitch on the Barnet, which really isn't much - the air went still.  My bike computer chose to read out 120deg F.  Maybe a little high, but when I reached the shaded bus stop, I had to stop and recompose.  After awhile, Cecil noted that my face wasn't quite as red as it had been initially.  Woof.

Then down and up to the Frances-Union bike route through Burnaby (stupid riding behavior by Mr. Yellow Jersey at the corner of Hastings), and the Adanac bike route through outer Vancouver (another kind person spraying bicyclists), lots of up down up down up down with a few serious, but short ups, and then, passing the Cathay Villa Old Folks Home, we found ourselves in Vancouver proper.  First, through Chinatown, where traffic lights, signs, and directional instructions all seem to be mere suggestions (sure.  YOU hit someone's 95 year old grandmother and deal with it!), then Gastown (ditto) where Mr. Mahadev and his yellow taxi seemed intent in offing some cyclists, and finally, exiting Gastown, where it became much, much more sane.

Finally, left on Cardero, up to Comox, and done.  Whew!  Cecil went off to find some vegan food to bring to the party; I went on up, and immediately drank three glasses of icewater.  Went to collect my finisher patch... "name?"  "Hi Ross!" :-)  whereupon I heard about the squirrel bite to the face of an unfortunate rider.

Little Pink Bear recovers after the ride

After cooling my feet in the fountain, we hiked off to the hostel.  Wonderful shower, then a tour of English Bay, Granville Island (water bus!), and Yaletown.

Animals are your friends!  Don't eat them!

Bridge structure

Sculpture by English Bay

Dinner at the Yaletown Pub, where we witnessed an interesting  pre-wedding bride's party.  Or rather, Cecil got to see it.  They were sitting behind me.  Probably something that is best not  described in a relatively family-friendly blog.  It is possible that Cecil is still washing her brain.  Usually one has to go to a special store and pay money to watch this in a private room.

Dinner was good - I had a bowl of Singapore Noodles and a beer and consumed it all, to no ill aftereffects.  Cecil had a pizza and beer.  Walking back to the hostel, we bought food for the next day, and she bought some frites.  I passed on those.

Hot night.  I think I finally fell asleep, but didn't sleep well.

Day After

Breakfast at the hostel.  Hiked back to the Coast Plaza, retrieved our bikes, went to load them on the truck.  "Rider number?" "Hi Ross!"  He finally got to see my new bike :-)  Then loading onto the truck, where I really did not want to let go until both wheels were on the truck.  The guy loading just didn't get it.  But "hey, did you know there is another Sweetpea on this ride?" :-)  Yes.  They are friends.

That's Ross in the bright blue t-shirt in the back

Bill found us sitting on the steps waiting to load the bus.  I knitted.  Deb from Tacoma came over to chat, because I was knitting.  Eventually we relocated to another spot.  I finished the sock, and started casting on the second one.

Finished Filey sock number one

Busses weren't loading until 10:30; lots of knitting accomplished.  (Yarn Harlot: "I find that I am so much more patient now that I have something to knit")

Waiting to load the bus in Vancouver

Loaded, headed out.  It occurred to me that perhaps we couldn't take our cherries and plums across the border, so we ate them.  Long wait at the border.  Knit, knit, knit.  Eventually had to get off the bus and go through Immigration.  Cecil: "want to make faces at the one-way mirror?".  No.  I don't want to do the secondary interview thing again.  Been there, done that, an hour of my life I will never get back.

Immigration officer: "what is your profession?"  Human Factors Engineer.  "Welcome back".
Customs officer: "any fruit?" A banana.  Some cherry pits.  "that's it?  ok"

More bus to Seattle, with a slight detour through the NOAA facility.  Our bike were waiting for us, and we were the first bus.  The next bus was still back at the border.  Those poor people.

Long drive back, with a pause in Kent for food and in Centralia for gas.  Good thing we were not going the other way - traffic was backed up from Tacoma to before Olympia.

Dropped Cecil off; joined husband and son at HUB for dinner.  Got to bed too late.  Started my new job the next day.

rest of the pics here

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sweetpea goes for a shorter ride than expected

Best enabler cyclist friend pointed out that the Edens Gate 400km brevet was going to happen on Aug 7. "Easiest 400K you'll ever do". Since I had not YET attempted a 400km and I was getting a new bicycle any day now, for the express purpose of riding brevets, and I had successfully completed a couple of 200kms, a 300km, and any number of 100+ mile rides since March, it seemed like a fine idea to me as well.

Sweetpea was ready Friday afternoon. Rode it home, and started setting it up - pillaging water bottle racks and lighting from Bleriot (it does have a Supernova E3; my clever installation plan has hit a snag). Then organizing the food (minimal - some buttered muffins, extra Gatorade powder, bars, gels) and clothes (also minimal, as it was not going to be very cold, and unlikely that it was going to rain - wool jersey, shorts, armwarmers, knee warmers, vest, shortfinger gloves, extra shorts, socks, lightweight wool gloves and a very light rain shell).

It should be noted that the bike builder, the mechanic and any number of friends were a bit incredulous that I was going to take the bike on a very long ride the day after I picked it up.

At the Wilsonville LaQuinta before 5am. Many bicycle admirers. :-) And we were off, heading south before the sunrise. A couple of early bonus miles - Cecil and I were chatting on Lone Elder and spaced right by the turn onto Meridian.

South to the Gallon House bridge and then Silverton, then onto one of the special hells that is the Cascades Highway. Granted, the scenery is pretty. There was even a not-headwind. It is just hill after hill after hill, spaced too far apart to be treated like rollers. With traffic. Finally into Sublimity, and then Stayton, with a pause at the Safeway. Off to Scio, by way of Cole School Road - was I walking or riding up that second (17%) roller? Turned out I was walking - threw the chain. Darn. Cecil was waiting at the top with a handful of blackberries - nice berry thicket at the top.

Then down Richardson Gap (wheee! I do like the way this bike descends!), and into Scio (53.3mi), our first control. Off again, wandering around Scio to visit some more covered bridges, before heading south to Sweet Home. The route to Sweet Home (96mi) was mostly the MS ride route I did a few years back, and was familiar.

A Brief Pause

Larwood Covered Bridge

Got a sandwich, chips and a really big soda, and we sat outside the store (randonneurs closely resemble the homeless at these times, sitting on sidewalks and curbs and eating food of dubious nutritional quality) and ate.

It had been getting downright hot. Highs were supposed to be mid 70's, but my bike computer thermometer was reading out....94. I'm not quite sure I believe THAT, but it was pretty darn hot.

Then off for the serious climb of the day (it should be noted that the ride until this point wasn't particularly flat either) up to Marcola. I didn't think it was all that bad - 2-3%, then 3-4% with little bits of 5%. The summit appeared much sooner than I thought it would. I took the required picture at the Lane county line.

Marcola Summit

Then the descent. Fresh chipseal, but as I had not ridden here before, I didn't know what the road surface had been before. Fun! I hit 40mph on the descent! Cecil: "just think how fast we would have gone if there had been real pavement." Her maybe, not me :-)

And then off to find the Mohawk Post Store (127mi), the halfway point. The cashier asked how the ride was going, signed our cards, offered to fill our water bottles and wished us a good ride. We bought some food and sat outside (chairs!) and ate. One gentleman was absolutely fascinated by Cecil's tattoos.

Then heading west, into a headwind off to Coburg, rolling along the McKenzie River. At one point, Cecil pointed across the river and said "Springfield". I hadn't realized we were QUITE that far south. Crossing under I-5, we then met The Headwind. North 9 miles to Harrisburg (150 mi), where we got some convenience store food. Just as we were planning to leave, Cecil discovered she had a flat. While she was changing it (and I was dozing), I heard someone say "just the bicycle I was looking for!" and up rolled Sandy Earl - she'd been out on the route just riding along meeting up with riders. Bicycle viewing and conversation while the flat was fixed. She had 20 miles and she'd be home. We still had 100 miles to go, and it was about 8pm.

Onto Peoria Road for 19 miles, into The Headwind. I was moving along a little faster than 12mph, and feeling pretty good about that. We were on course to finish in 25 hours (we had 27 hours). At some point Cecil suggested I switch on my headlight; she couldn't see me behind her. It didn't slow me down - that SON Deluxe generator hub is indeed a wonder! My SON28 slows me down by 1-2mph. Then, an hour into it..... BANG! Cecil's rear tire gave it up again.

She replaced the tire this time (yes, we carry spare tires). In the dark. We ended up in the driveway of the nicest folks in the world; they came out to make sure we were ok, asked if we needed anything, etc. Eventually done. I had, in the meantime, pulled on the armwarmers and vest, and taken some No-Doz. Off again.

And, FINALLY off Peoria Rd (174mi). Cecil pulled over for a celebratory snack, I stopped my bike... and just about fell over. Cecil had to hold the bike so I could dismount, and I sat down by the road and didn't get back up. I felt TERRIBLE. Pulled out the mylar blanket because I had the shakes, and tried to eat something, but it just wasn't working. We were mulling over options, when a kind gentleman pulled over. After a brief discussion, he went to get his pickup, and plans were made to take me to the 24 hour restaurant in Albany, where Fitz would retrieve me (140 mile round trip; I called him at 11pm or so).

Cecil got his name, license plate, make of pickup truck and told him she'd be stopping by to make sure I was there ok :-) So Jeff dropped me off. Thank you Jeff!

Parked the bike right outside where I could watch it, and ordered some toast and coffee. I think I ate maybe one piece of toast and barely drank the coffee. Wrapped the mylar blanket around my legs because I was still shaking. Cecil came by maybe 30 minutes later, visited briefly, and then headed out to try to finish within the time limit. Watching her red blinkies, was like watching a spaceship going for escape velocity.

A tapping on the window woke me up. Fitz had arrived. Paid the bill ($2.75) loaded up the bike. Told the waitress that the next time I was there, I'd just be getting a snack and riding on.

Stopped briefly in Wilsonville so Fitz could get his car. Came home, showered, crawled into the compression tights and was out. This morning I discovered that I was 6lbs down from Saturday morning. Eating was difficult; I finally got my appetite back for dinner.

And Cecil did finish, at 24:20. That was really moving.

Next year. There is always next year.

And how was the bike? Better than me! The shifting definitely needs some adjustment - I had at least 6 incidents of chain throwing or hanging up, and shifting into the low gears was a bit difficult. Other than that, just fine. My hands don't hurt. My shoulders/neck are unhappy, but they were unhappy before the ride, so I need to give them a chance to get unknotted and then re-evaluate. It descends very, very nicely, and I was moving along at, for me, a pretty decent pace. The next outing will be RSVP next weekend, where I will be riding it without all the rando luggage. I'll still carry a spare tire :-)

New Bicycle in the house (well, garage)

and Sweetpea is home! Natalie called Friday morning, so I public transited myself over there a bit after 5pm, installed the computer, and rode home over the hill - 12+ miles. It climbs very nicely; I had great fun riding up SW Fairview.

Still need to figure out how to mount the Supernova E3 light - those clever Germans don't use the standard-here E6 hex nut.

You probably want to see pictures....

getting ready to climb over the hill


Build details:
details (as well as I can remember them)
custom Sweetpea frame, S&S couplers, new Sweetpea logo
SON delux hub (and I can't tell it is even there when I am powering the
light. WAY COOL.)
there will be a Supernova E3 light, as soon as I puzzle out how to mount it.
Thought I had it, but no.
Aerohead rims
Michelin Megamium tires
White Industries H3 hub
Sugino triple crank
Shimano Tiagra front der, Deore rear der
11-27 9sp cassette (or is it 11-28? don't remember)
Nitto seatpost
Velo Orange headset and stem, with green Chris King spacers (Natalie's idea,
and it looks way cool!)
Salsa Poco handlebars
DiaCompe bar end shifters
Cinelli corky tape
Tektro R556 brakes
Cane Creek SCR 5C brake levers, silver, gum hoods
green VO cable housing
custom teeny front rack
Terry Butterfly saddle
Speedplay Frog pedals
hammered Honjo fenders
a bottom bracket that will be replaced with another one to get a better
Q-factor (Natalie's plan)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Some Firsts

and some first-in-a-long times.

Led the PV 14-16s this past weekend with Dan L. I took the 16mph end of the spectrum. Finished with a 14.1 avg mph, which says pretty much 16 on the flat with no wind assistance. Getting faster!

Sunday, I set out to do some vertical feet. First in a long time - I rode by myself. After a few near-death experiences back in 2003, I pretty much stopped riding by myself, unless it was a commute, or a ride to meet someone. As the family member who would worry most about me was out of town, I emailed the route to my parents (they live two blocks away), and emailed the occasional locational update. Now, if they'd been on Facebook :-) it would have been much easier.

The route:

For those of you not familiar with the area, everything to the NE involves hills. Major climbs - up to Skyline, rolling along Skyline to the NW, dropping down to Rock Creek and climbing Rock Creek/Elliot, then Beck (down, then UP).

Note: Rock Creek at the bottom is now mostly enormous potholes with little bits of pavement randomly scattered about. Keep that in mind. After you cross the county line, the pavement is beautiful. Go figure.

Note 2: paused at the bottom of the Rock Creek climb to eat a banana. A couple of guys were sitting on a pickup in the yard, chatting (there are houses back there, widely scattered), and they asked if I needed any help. No, just having a snack before the climb. They told me to have a good ride and be careful. :-)

Didn't pause on any of the climbs. Thought about it briefly, but figured I should push through it.

After summiting Beck, I decided that I had done enough climbing, and besides, it was Street of Dreams back on Skyline by Cornell, and I didn't want to ride through the crazy traffic. Pulled the armwarmers and windvest back on and...

Dropped down Logie Trail, then east on Helvetia, easily climbing the stretch up to the church that I had to sag last September. Started considering my options to cross over Hwy 26. Traditionally I'd cross at Helvetia/Shute Rd. But Shute is now Brookwood and the speed limit is 55mph. And I'd want to make a left. Nah. Continued east on West Union until the industrial park, wandered through there, popping out on Cornelius Pass right by Liberty HS, crossed the highway, turned left onto Evergreen, and then I was on autopilot for the remaining 9 miles.

Firsts: Lemond rolled over 13000 miles. Shortly after that event, I noticed a ping-y sound from the rear. Hoped I hadn't broken a spoke. Not likely, I am not big enough to break spokes. But one was quite loose. The same one that I had noticed and tightened a few weeks back.

Pulled over, found the spoke wrench (part of my multitool), thanked the two passing cyclists for their offer of help (one on a Homer Hilsen, but it wasn't Mike J, aka LeafSlayer; neither had a spoke wrench anyway), and tightened it up. What I didn't notice until I got home was that I had been a little enthusiastic there, and the wheel had been rubbing the brake.

Never used a spoke wrench on a ride. Ever. Have used a chain tool, but not on my bike. For that matter, I've never had a wheel-related mechanical. The spoke is loose again. Need to find that goop that keeps them where they've been adjusted. Or take the wheels in and have my fav mechanics at my LBS look them over. Only 3000 miles on them, too.

Another first - heading east on Cornell, riding up to 174th, cars were pulling out of an apartment complex to my right. First two were fine. The third was going to follow.... "HEY!". And the driver stopped and said: "sorry". Not the usual response! Nice!

Vertical feet (mostly in the first 23 miles) 2242
Distance 43+ miles

postscript: the climbs at the west end of Skyline were ones that were shown to me by Rickey S. and Michael G. I later proposed them for a Portland Velo West Hills Wanderer route (used to beat ourselves up on the hills on Wednesday evenings; I led the mellow pace group). Incredulous email from Marc M... "do you know HOW MANY vertical feet that is?". Sort of :-)