Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Longish Weekend Ride with Many High Points

As I understand it, Cecil was planning to ride out to the BTA board retreat in Hillsboro at Team Estrogen.  Susan thought she'd ride into Portland, meet Cecil and they'd ride back together.  That's 34 miles for Susan, 17 miles for Cecil.  They invited me to join in on the ride part, and, as Team Estrogen isn't all that far from Longbottom's, I'd be back in plenty of time to lead a Portland Velo ride.  And then ride home.  But of course.

Bicycle of choice was Sweetpea because I'd need the lights, and it is the default bike for winter club rides (fast, yet fendered and luggaged).

Susan was riding in over Springville-Skyline-Thompson-Cornell.  That's kind of out of my way.  So, up at 4:15am, riding by 5am along the Sunset Hwy bike path, down through Washington Park, through downtown, over the Hawthorne Bridge, then right on 11th to meet at Kettleman's around 6am.  It being dark, I didn't bomb down the hills with quite my usual verve, and arrived a bit after 6.  Cecil was there, eating a bagel.  I'd had peanut butter toast and a banana at home, and, as Cecil said: "well, it got you over the hill".  Time for an everything bagel with lox cream cheese and a cup of coffee.

I had started out with a long sleeved wool knit shirt under a long sleeved wool jersey.  Ride leader vest over that, and Portland Velo Showers Pass jacket.  Took off the wool base layer and Showers Pass jacket - too hot!

Did I mention the three of us are in a weight loss death pact?  I was looking forward to the ride today because I could EAT with relative impunity.

So.  No Susan.  She appeared at 6:25am, and, at 6:30am, give or take, we were headed back west.  I'd never ridden UP Cornell-Thompson, but it was not a big deal.  4+ miles of climbing, no traffic.  It got light somewhere along there.  Then a delightful zip along Skyline, and the steep drop down Springville.

We passed the historic house on NW Kaiser, completely surrounded by suburbs.  I remember riding by it when there was Nothing There At All but Fields.  Nothing.  Kind of sad.

Susan took us on the Bethany Meadows Trail from NW Kaiser to NW West Union.  Nice!

A wander through her neighborhood with a brief stop, then they headed off for the meeting, and I headed off to Longbottom's.  30 miles, 2500 vertical feet, climbing the West Hills twice.  I had 90 minutes to kill, but I had brought some knitting along, and a full coffee card.  So I redeemed it for the largest orange-mocha they offered, and settled down to knit.

Coffee stop at Longbottom's

Eventually JRod came by and some others, and then it was time to go out and lead a 40 mile ride.  Brian C was in my group (yay!), Bill, and Ron.  Ron left us, and Mike Y joined us until Forest Grove.  Ate a well-buttered Rye-Molasses muffin in Forest Grove (brought from home, I add raisins and walnuts to the recipe).  I'd get ahead and then slow down for Bill to catch up.  We finished about 1:20, and Brian and I found a spot at the tables of Portland Velo riders and enjoyed a leisurely, um, fourth breakfast.  70 miles.

Time to head home.  A reasonably mindless 10 miles.

80 miles in all, 4400 vertical feet, My average for the Velo portion of the ride was 14.15 mph.

West Hills and Velo

High points.  Well.  Sylvan summit.  Skyline at Thompson.  Riding with Cecil and Susan.  Eating with Impunity.  Nice day.  Riding with Brian C.  What else is there?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meanwhile, back on the fiber front...

A longish while back, Rebecca and Jessica presented me with 20 oz of alpaca - 10 oz of Suri and 10 oz of Brown Huacaya.  The brown may have been dyed; they weren't clear.  In any case, 10 oz was too much for socks or a scarf, and not quite enough for anything else :-)

L - alpaca, R - colonial wool top

But wait!  I could blend it with another fiber and have MORE.  I eventually bought 8 oz of a mahogany heather colonial wool top (love it when they say that, what kind of sheep is that, exactly?) and started casting around for a drum carder.  Not to BUY one, but borrow it for awhile.

blending by weight

Turns out that Dana in my cycling club has a drum carder.  Actually it is Dana and his wife, and they've got wheels, the drum carder and a couple of honking big looms.  I took myself over for a tour (I am so jealous), got a drum carder lesson and off I went.  (That's me, I don't always know what I'm doing, but usually I can figure it out, to some extent)

first pass

peeling the batt off the drum carder

So, last summer, carded away, and ended up with 18 batts of blended fiber.  

Heap of blended batts

I finally pulled out the wheel and got back to spinning it up.  The first few batts were not much fun to spin.  It just didn't draft very smoothly.  But I got halfway through and had to stop and ply, because I don't have enough bobbins to hold 18 oz of singles, plus more bobbins to ply onto.

Four bobbins, ready to ply

Turns out it was me.  The last 3 batts have been amazing.  I turned it into one long strip, then did some serious predrafting before starting spinning.  It now almost spins itself.  This is SO COOL! (Maybe I should take a class...)

I haz yarn!

I was aiming to replicate Reynolds Turnberry Tweed, which a very kind fellow Raveler send me a sample of.  I think I'm pretty much there.

The yarn wants to be a vest, but hasn't said which one.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Brevet 2011

How best to start out the New Year?  Go for a bike ride!

Marcello organized the OrRando New Year's Brevet; essentially the same route as the Hillsboro-Dallas-Hillsboro permanent, with a tweak at the beginning and end to avoid the flooded roads.  It has been a bit wet here.

Happily, THIS time it was not going to rain.  Granted, the temperature range was expected to be 29/35 deg F, but it wouldn't be raining.

Even MORE happily, Cecil's doctor cleared to her ride her bicycle up small hills.   The hills from Perrydale to Dallas are small.  Sort of.  For some definitions of small.  (in the greater scheme of things, they are, really)

The usual over-obsession of what to wear (which is why I write these things down, so I can go back and spend less time obsessing), plus the new wrinkle of how to load my bike into my new car.  Fortunately, this car was bought with the EXPRESS purpose of stuffing bikes in it, but as I bought it the day before the ride, I had to work things out quickly.

I think this will do quite nicely

Food - baked up a batch of Rye-Molasses muffins, tossed in a few bars and a banana.  Thermos of Gatorade-Tea and water bottle of, well, water.

Extra chemical hand and foot warmers.

And off to Marcello's early Saturday morning.  It being dark, I really didn't know who was there, except for Susan and Cecil and Ray and Ken.

We were promptly off at 7:30, after a warning to keep an eye out for ice.  It had been dry but "sometimes people water their lawns..."  Didn't need the route map much, except for the Singing Woods-Smith-Morgan part - my regular club rides traverse this particular route often.  Cecil and I left a bit after the herd, heading out into the brightening day.

After much wending around, and a brief stop on Tongue Road for me to remove my jacket, we FINALLY exited Hillsboro and it felt like the ride really started.  Admired the frozen wetlands as we headed south on Fern Hill/Spring Hill.  Found Marcello just past the Laughlin intersection with hot water and fixings for hot cocoa and tea, and lots of cookies and snackies.  This was a Secret Control, so placed to ensure that no one took the shortcut over Bald Peak.  Ken Bonner was there - he'd broken his rear derailleur and was going to catch a ride back with Marcello.  Too bad, since he'd travelled the furthest to do this ride.

We figured we were at the end (I should rename this blog "The Continuing Adventures of Lanterne Rouge"), but as we turned onto Abbey Road, Ray and Ken came in from Hendricks Road.  Bonus miles.  Ray: "I ride out here often enough, you'd think I'd know better".  Heading into Dayton, we saw a bike headlight approaching (that LED gleam is unmistakeable).  Who could it be?  We thought maybe Ken decided to attempt a roadside repair and continue on, but it turned out to be someone I did not know.  Cecil did, and they chatted all the way into Dayton.

Tomas and Cecil in Dayton, 1st time

Several riders at the Dayton convenience store; I greeted the cashier.  She thought I looked a lot drier this time.  Purchased and consumed a dark chocolate Milky Way,  met the mystery rider (Tomas), who had fabulous naked-lady helmuffs, and headed out again.  Quick control, there.

Though Amity, with a nice little tailwind speeding us along.  South on 99W (no continuous conversation possible; traffic), then onto Bethel Road.  Started eating a yummy muffin.  Ziploc bags are hard to manage on the bike; I shall have to try wax paper next time.  Left on Perrydale, stopping to chat briefly with Marcello, who was now parked at the Perrydale School.  Most fun ever on Perrydale Road - the tailwind made the rollers almost fun, the sun peeked out, and it was DRY.

Even managed to do a no-hands stretch on Sweetpea (still working on that)

Bucolia outside Dallas

Cecil wondered if I had noticed that I was beating her up every hill.  Yeah, sort of.  But as she hasn't been riding for months and all, I figured I had unfair advantage and wasn't going to mention it.  But, as this is probably the only time in my entire life that I'll be in this position :-)  I was trying not to stand on the hills in solidarity, since she wasn't supposed to be standing either.

A picture you will never see again

We only saw three riders returning (two guys and Susan, who was on a mission to do a sub-10 hr ride), and wondered where they were.  I figured they were sitting down for a three course meal with tablecloths, china and silverware in Dallas.

They were all at the Dallas Safeway, getting ready to head back.  We went in and bought hot drinks (mmm. Mocha!), and I applied fresh chemical footwarmers.  Ate another muffin.  Got more water.  Came out to find Ken, Ray, Joe M, Jeff A and Tomas arriving.

The sexy randonneur lifestyle

Ken and Ray left with us, but quickly fell behind.  There was a bit of a headwind; nothing showstopping.  Returning on Perrydale did not seem as endless as it did a couple of weeks ago - dry, pretty scenery, great views over the distance from the tops of the rollers...

Found Marcello again and had a nice Cup of Noodles.  We chatted about the lead group and how they did have time to take a nice long break in Dallas.  Marcello: "I have heard that faster riders can do that.  Not that I'd know".  Me either :-)

Marcello extracting more food from his car

The Perrydale Fire Truck

Ray passed by, he didn't want to waste the sunshine.  We found him on Bethel Road.  Back through Amity, the endless stretch to Dayton (in reality 8.6 miles) and the Dayton convenience store.  Another dark chocolate bar (Snickers, a better choice) and my banana.  Still daylight, but we pulled our reflective gear back on, so we wouldn't have to later.

Off through Lafayette, then onto Abbey and then Kuehne.  RUDE drivers on Kuehne - several passed us with oncoming traffic and the oncoming traffic had to swerve to avoid them.  Stupid stupid stupid.

Swooped down onto Ribbon Ridge, at which point it was statutory sunset, so we turned on the rest of our lights.  I was still not wearing my jacket.  I was hoping we'd get to Flett before it was full dark, but we did better than that.  The sunset was spectacular, and the wetlands were amazing in the fading light.

Sunset, North Valley Rd

Sunset, North Valley Rd

At Flett, most of the traffic turns onto it, and Spring Hill gets even less busy.  We could see the lights of Gaston ahead to the left, eventually falling behind us.  Turned right onto Geiger before Forest Grove and had a small snack (we were both feeling a touch of the bonk. It was now 28 degrees.  Did I put on my jacket?  No.)

Worked our way east - again, back in very familiar territory (the entire route is familiar territory, what am I saying?), but rarely ridden in the dark.  One busy crossing that was uneventful, then north on Minter Bridge to the cut-through for Minter Bridge.  We found Morgan.  But there was no Smith.  Looped through the neighborhood, ending up on Minter Bridge again.  SLOWLY headed down Morgan again.  No Smith.  Pulled out the phone and checked google maps.  There it was.  Except it was labeled Singing Woods at this end.  Very Strange.  Ray and Ken came up - they were similarly confounded.   Cecil and I knew exactly where to go at this point, and we all rode together.  Heading into the Dark Hole that is the undeveloped end of Davis... Ray: "Is this right?".

A few more turns and we were back at Marcello's.  We went inside and... I started shaking and couldn't stop.  Two bowls of Mac and Cheese, two big mugs of hot tea, and a big serving of warm peach cobbler, nice visiting all around, and I was finally warm again.  Whew.

12 hours elapsed time, 9:52 riding time.

all the pics here
Cecil's pics here

What I wore:
long sleeve Joneswares wool baselayer
long sleeve OrRando wool jersey
Shebeest thermal vest
Sugoi Firewall gloves (the lobster claw ones)
Smartwool shorts
PI AmFib tights
wool socks
PI shoes
Sugoi Firewall booties
Sugoi Wallaroo cap
Showers Pass Elite jacket (for awhile, anyway)
Bell Metro helmet with the fitted helmet cover
chemical toe warmers
I had chemical hand warmers, but they made my hands too hot, so I took them out.  My hands were fine all day.
Except for the last 12 miles, this was perfect.