Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bonus Sunny Snooseville Populaire

Yawn.  Up at 5:50am, so as to arrive at the start of the Snooseville Populaire before the 8am start.  Preferably by 7:45am.  Stumbled around the house, ate breakfast, argued with my booties, and headed out at 7:02.

9 miles later (and a bit warm), I rolled into the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse parking lot, to find James B and Susan F checking riders in.  I was the last registered rider to show up.  There were maybe 9 riders in total.

Susan: "who will be back first?  how long will it take?"  I guessed Tom D.  Tom D thought he'd take about 5 hours.  Susan said no one finish before 5 hours, because James didn't want to have to get back to CPR before then.  Remember that.

I was awfully warm (I'd removed my cap on the way over), and swapped the jacket for a vest and the tights for some knee warmers.  And, throwing caution to the winds, also removed the booties.  Could have saved myself some weight carrying all that, but the weather forecast was chancy.  If it started dumping rain like yesterday, I would have been very sorry.  And wet and cold.

8am.  Off we went.  The cue sheet was mostly decoration, as the route is one I ride frequently.  Saw a cyclist heading east on Evergreen as we were heading west - friend John O, back from his volunteer stint at the Amgen Tour of California.

Got to North Plains by the shortest cycling route possible.  I was riding by myself, but knew I was in the middle of the group.

Canola field glowing up ahead

Vibrant field of canola right before the turn onto Dairy Creek Rd.


Fern Flat Road, with sun

North on Dairy Creek to the very end, then right on Fern Flat to the intersection with Greener Rd.  James was there with doughnuts and hot cocoa.  Had a bit of hot cocoa and a doughnut to go.  I could see Ray and another rider up ahead, and set myself to catch Ray.  Flying down Dairy Creek (it tends downhill on the way out), not quite catching them.  Onto Mountaindale, heading west.  I'd see them up ahead, mark the time and check the clock when passed the same point... Not even a minute ahead by this point.  Inching closer...

Finally caught them at the Frogger Junction crossing of Hwy 26.  The other rider was Tom D.  We crossed.  Ray: "If I'd known you were trying to catch us, I'd have ridden faster."  Into Banks, out Cedar Canyon (Lynne retrieves and eats a banana from her bag, while riding)

Ray and Tom, headed into Forest Grove

Rode with them all the way into Forest Grove. It tried to drizzle on us a bit, but stopped, and that was all there was for attempts at rain. Maggie's was closed for Memorial Day weekend (oh NO), so we stopped at the Kwicki-Mart.  The clerk was so happy to see us: "I get to come out of the freezer!".

Rivendell Man!

Bought a Starbucks Doubleshot, and ate some buttered fig bread and a piece of cheese.  We weren't there long at all, but Tom was getting chilly and left.  Ray and I finished our drinks and headed out very shortly thereafter.

Ray and red clover

I was now completely on auto-pilot - this is the standard Portland Velo return route back to Hillsboro.  Ray and I chatted the entire way back.

A Portland Velo group passed us just before the 231st street intersection.  To be precise, MY Portland Velo group - Hi Brian!  Hi Jim!

Pulled into the Roadhouse, locked my bike, and it was... 12:36.  A bit faster than the 5 hours, and my fastest 100km ever.  Went in, found James, his friend Kim, David P (who finished in a blistering 3:41).  Tom came in - he'd gotten a finishing receipt from across the street and changed into warmer clothes.  Ray took off to get home.

David, before heading on home

I knew David P was likely riding home into Portland, and I also knew our routes would coincide.  We rode together all the way to my house (I had lots of Penguin Caffeinated Mints and parted with a tin).

And, major milestone... Sweetpea rolled over 3000 miles!

Great day!  Grand total for me: 80.15 miles, 3300 vertical feet, 14.46 avg mph.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nothing but Rim

"Given the conditions of the flat, a trip to Bike Gallery to discuss brake adjustment/modification options should be considered.  And I guess I'll be getting to try out those Soma Xpress tires somewhat sooner than I planned."

The flat occurred because the drive-side rear brake rubbed on the tire.  The brake could not be adjusted to not rub on the tire.  I didn't notice it until a month ago, when I was giving Sweetpea a good clean.  It didn't seem to be a problem.  At least until yesterday, a few miles from home.

The hole in the tire

See where the brake rubs?

The brakes are Tektro R556, purchased on-line, on sale in the fall of 2008.  Perhaps there was a reason they were on sale.

I couldn't decide what was up - I've got supposedly the Very Same Brakes on Bleriot (also a 650B bike), and there is still room for adjustment on that side.  The Silvers are the Rivendell-branded Tektro brake.  I bought the Silvers in winter 2007.

Now that I knew what was going on... ack.  Big ride next month, didn't need a tire flatting because of this. I understand there are many other reasons a tire will flat out there in eastern Washington, and indeed, a friend riding a 400k out there yesterday had a ton of flats, as did the folks she was riding with.  They had a flat-patching party in the Safeway in the middle of the night to repair all their tubes.  No, don't need more opportunities to get a flat tire, especially with the amount of wrestling it takes to get tires off the Aerohead rims.

Took the bike into Bike Gallery this morning, and had a long conference with Mechanic Tim.  (for the record, I prefer working with Mechanic Tim, Mechanic Mark, or Mechanic Michael.  I am sure the other mechanics are competent, but these guys completely understand what my bikes have to put up with)

We stared at it for a good long while.  He thought the brake arm might be a bit short.  I did, too, but a cursory once over with a precision measuring instrument didn't seem to indicate that.  He suggested I try the rear brake from Bleriot, to determine once and for all if it was the brake.

Went home, hauled out the repair stand, cable and housing cutter, third hand, allen wrenches, little bag of ferrules and crimps, some tunes and a cup of coffee.

Rivendell Silvers on Bleriot

Pulled both brakes, and compared them side by side.  The Tektro did look shorter.  Hmm.

Put the Silver on the Sweetpea, dropped the brake pad to the bottom of the notch.  Nothing but rim.  Relief!  Got everything adusted, put a new crimp on the cable, one down.

The Silver rear brake on Sweetpea

Then, put the Tektro on Bleriot.  Nothing but rim; no adjustment needed (good, because there was no more adjustment to be had).  Finished that up.

The Tektro rear brake on Bleriot

Called Mechanic Tim to let him know all was good.

Now just waiting for the new tires to arrive.

Multnomah Falls with Best Cycling Buddy Ever

Continuing on my path of keeping the mileage up as I prepare for next month's epic ride, Cecil and I planned an out and back to Multnomah Falls.  I hadn't ridden to the falls since last June, and was a bit behind in my "rides to the Falls" count for the year.  From my front door, approximately 100 miles.  (80 for Cecil)

Columbia Gorge

Up at 5:30 for a 6:30am departure (I am SO pokey in the mornings).  Stopped 5 times in the first half mile to fiddle with the bike computer. :-)  That resolved, up and over, down through Washington Park, passing three joggers who were using the whole road on SW Salmon where it is the jog over from SW Park.  They wanted to know if I followed Lance, and recommended that I stay away from the drugs.  I told them it was too late, and doping was good stuff.  They thought it was the best thing they'd heard all day.  They also thought I was joking.

We met at Kettleman's at 7:30.  Probably first breakfast for Cecil, second breakfast for me.  I will point out that we RODE our bikes there, as several cars were outside with bikes on top.  Young man behind the counter wanted to know if we were finishing a ride.  Mmm.  Awfully early for that, unless one is finishing a 400k.  Told him we were riding out to Multnomah Falls.  He didn't know where that was, or what it was.  (Lynne is rendered speechless)

Suitably fortified, headed out east to the I-205 bike path, north to Marine Drive, and east again, to Troutdale, taking the nice off-road path behind the Troutdale Airport.  And then, right around 30 miles for me, the ride finally started. :-)  Back in the day, I'd drive out here and start the ride.

Oh, not raining.  Only wool on the body was socks and armwarmers.  Wearing a lightweight vest, no base layer, no rain tights, Keen sandals, no booties, lightweight gloves, and the day ride helmet without a rain cover.

Brief pause for photos at the Job Corps dragon sculpture in Springdale.

Sweetpea, me, and the Job Corps Dragon

Riding through Springdale, saw evidence of the rapture on the shoulder - clothes and shoes with no occupant.

Changed to shortfinger gloves and removed my vest... while riding.

Summit at Women's Forum, down to Vista House (not far behind Cecil), down to Latourell Falls (again, not far behind Cecil), then east to Multnomah Falls.  Pretty little pinkish wildflowers blooming (Cranesbills?).  Not much traffic, but there was a wedding at Wahkeena Falls.  I'd say most of the traffic was cyclists.  Lots of them!

We had a long pause at the Falls.  I could not decide between the amazing ice cream sandwich and hot cocoa, so went for both.

Ice cream sandwich and hot cocoa

One gentlemen in a "Dude" Pendleton sweater was waxing enthusiastic over our lovely Sweetpea bicycles.  Someone walked by mine later and said "oh, what a cute bicycle!".  Cute AND functional, thank you!

Multnomah Falls

And then back.  A bit more auto traffic, but nothing too annoying.  Throughout the ride, Cecil shared "how to be successful on a 600k" hints.  Must figure out the timer thing - drink every 15 minutes, eat every 45 minutes.  Plus carry avocados and bananas.  And hummus wraps.  (I am getting similar advice from Susan O)

Cecil climbing up to Vista House

I think I had my quickest ascent ever back up to Vista House/Crown Point - 19 minutes.  I could see Cecil at the railing from below, she was just removing her helmet.  Another pause (soda, chips) and generally appreciating the view.  Every time I ride by Vista House, I tell myself that I am so very fortunate to live here.

I am so lucky to live here

Applied sunscreen for the first time this year.

Real Sun!

Up the last mile, pause for pictures in full-on sunlight, then...

Cecil: "um...?"
Lynne: "Bell Rd?"
Cecil: "that is just what I was going to ask!"

Down my favorite descent (never too steep, big sweeping curves, great scenery, with, of course, the Bell Rd option (screaming straight descent on great pavement).

Stopped for snacks before getting back on the path by the Troutdale airport (well-buttered chunk of fig bread).  Another pause at Blue Lake Park for fluid exchange, west on Marine Drive.

Cecil and the Columbia River

Then south on the I-205 bike path.  Started fading around Maywood Park, so pulled out a bar and munched away.  Eventually found Cecil at one of the transit stations... "I must take you home and feed you.  I'm bonking too!"

The bar did eventually kick in, but I still stopped at Cecil's - hummus, baba ghanouj, Strawberry-Banana smoothie and a garden tour.

Then moved along, because we were meeting up again at the Portland Timbers game in 4 hours.  Heading up through Washington Park (you know, not quite as fresh as I was at 7am), looking at the mileage, I knew I'd have to find a few extra miles somewhere to make it a true century.  I could loop around my neighborhood (boring).  Then, flash of brilliance!  I could do an out and back on SW Hewett (south of Hwy 26, right where I cross Skyline/Scholls Ferry), which would be just about right.

Heading home, climbing through Washington Park

Great out and back (SW Hewett is on my Council Crest climb route), then across SW Scholls Ferry onto Raab and... pshhhhhhhhh.  There went my rear tire.  First flat on Sweetpea in 2900 miles of riding.

Much struggling to remove the tire (gosh those Aerohead rims are a LOT tighter than the Synergys; note to self, put a metal core tire iron in the bag).  There was a hole near the tire bead, so changed the tire as well.  While struggling to get it back on, a couple walking their dog stopped.  6 hands made it much easier. :-)  As I was doing the post-patch, reinstall get-everything-back-in-the-bag activity, a cyclist stopped to ask if I had everything I needed.  Yes, thank you, just about done.

Given the conditions of the flat, a trip to Bike Gallery to discuss brake adjustment/modification options should be considered.  And I guess I'll be getting to try out those Soma Xpress tires somewhat sooner than I planned.

So, home.  101.68 miles. 12.54 avg mph, 6200 vertical feet.  Elapsed time... well, let's just say that efficiency and discipline were not part of the plan for this ride.

route map

Multnomah Falls Profile

Aftermath: Portland Timbers 1 Columbus Crew 0.  Greg was a bit bemused, as Cecil and I kept ducking out to the concession stand for more food.

And best of all, Cecil's sense of fun and adventure has returned!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Once a year, whether I need it or not. :-)

The Gator Grinder sprint triathlon in Canby, again, hanging with Team Estrogen and Friends.  I'm in the "Friends" group.

Upgraded my triathlon wear to a new Sugoi top.

Collected Cecil and we carpooled on over.  I had a 9:30am start; hers was 9:45, so no need to rush.  The weather was... damp-ish.  Coolest, wettest triathlon I've ever participated in.  I had extra layers ready for the bike and run legs, and a big plastic bag to put over the top of them so they wouldn't get wet in the rain.

Much visiting and twitching beforehand.  I don't usually get this worked up before a bike ride anymore, but this was a race.  Starting with swimming.  My pre-swim-meet jitters completely took over.

pic by Cecil Reniche-Smith

Good swim lane, no demented frogs this year.  Wish I could say the same about my swim.  A few seconds faster than last year is all I can say.  Transition to bike took a bit longer - with the cold wet, I elected to pull on knee warmers.  This was a good thing.  2:45 faster than last year.

Didn't feel like I was running on wooden legs on the transition to the run.  Cecil was coming in on her bike as I was about a half mile or so into the run. To the school, around the track twice, pass Cecil again, back to the start.  Big TE and Friends crowd at the finish :-)  Hugs, congratulations, pictures, waiting for Cecil.  And there she was.

3:00 faster on the run.

Pic by Jeff Mendenhall
pic by Jeff Mendenhall

We walked back to the start area to put away our bikes and get our shower stuff.  Once we were clean and warm, headed out to the post-race TE tailgate party area.

Many fabulous door prizes were won.  I got a gift cert, which I promptly turned into a Transition Mat (think small yoga mat.  works as a transition mat, something to sit on, all sorts of uses).  Results were slowly announced.  I had a cheeseburger and sides and cookies while waiting for my age group...  Our group picked up MANY of the ribbons.

Waiting...  5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd...  They weren't calling times, and I heard the 2nd place called, and, well, she always beats me.  Or so I told Cecil, right before they called my name for 1st in my age group.  Squeak!  First out of seven in my age group, and I took first place by 5 minutes.

As Cecil says - Rando Girls Gone Wild


A good day!

And great fun on Monday, sharing at our group standup. To quote a co-worker: "you CRUSHED!".

Nestucca Rivers Permanent

Continuing on for my second R-12 (4 more to go) and keeping in shape for next month's DRR 600km brevet (oops.  did I just say that?), needed a ride for May.  A 200km would be fine.  Heck, the Three Prairies 200km would be fine.  That is the easiest 200km you'll ever do.  Even when the weather is bad.

Put out a call for riding companions.  Susan joined up, and suggested Marcello's Nestucca Rivers 210km permanent.  Basically, Reach the Beach until the turn to go to Pacific City - go right, through Hebo, Beaver, and Blaine, over, and back down to Carlton and thence returning to Newberg.  How hard could it be?

Susan was on a mission.  She's got a ride in August she's planning on, so she's working on not wasting time.  I am a champion time-waster.  I was allotted three short stops - Willamina, Beaver, and Carlton.  Ok, then.  I've done STP in a day twice.  It isn't like I don't know HOW to be efficient :-)

Weather was going to s*ck.  90% chance of rain, and we were riding through the Coast Range twice.  The only good thing was that it wasn't meant to get too cold - mid 40's maybe.

Clothing selected and packed (2 extra pairs of gloves, dry socks, dry baselayer, nylon vest).  Food prepared.  Chain wiped off and fresh lube applied.  Tires pumped up.  Little Pink Bear (freshly washed) reinstalled.

Met in the Newberg public parking lot (traditional rando departure point).  Susan was heading over to the Thriftway; I would be right behind her.  Heard a big thump-bang sound, but couldn't see what it was.  When I got to Thriftway, Susan was contemplating not riding.  That sound was her going down on the very wet tracks.  I decided to not say anything, and go get my banana and starting receipt.  She elected to ride.  Which was good, because the way the sky was dumping rain on us, I wouldn't have needed much of an excuse to DNS.

The ride west was pretty uneventful.  Headwind, of course, lots of rain, a brief pause to get the answer to the info control in Ballston.  On the road between Dayton and Amity Susan said: "I've got to design a route that does not use this road".  Laudable goal.  It does rank up there for the most boring stretch ever.  Well, not Peoria Road or Buena Vista boring.  But pretty close to Timber Rd from Hwy 26 to Vernonia boring.

Finally into Willamina.  Note: the Center Market in Willamina will not let you use their bathroom, even if you are buying something, unlike the friendly folks in Dayton.  We went to the grocery.  Ate one of my sandwiches (I'd eaten a bar and some other stuff enroute), refilled one bottle with a Starbucks Doubleshot and topped off the water.

Through Willamina, under the highway, and onto Little Yamhill Rd.  Such a nice road.  Quiet.  Wonderful pavement.  The only question - how were we going to get across Hwy 18/22?  Going east, it is easy.  West, not so much.

We went over the overpass, and took the now dead-end road that loops behind the gas station and restaurant at Fort Hill that are no longer accessible, then portaged our bikes over the jersey barriers to the shoulder of the highway.  As the barriers are pretty tall, if there is just one of you, probably better to get onto the highway from the overpass.

West until Grand Ronde road, where the climbing started (and the wind finally became more of a crosswind).  Still raining.

The climb up to Sourgrass Summit was gentle and uneventful.  I could see Susan up ahead from time to time when the road was less curvy.  The rain lightened up a bit, but after summiting (no Susan), it returned.  Or course, after summiting  I descended into fairy-tale forest - trees finally leafing out for spring and very bright green moss on the trees.  Down to Dolph Junction, the split where left would go to Pacific City (not today) and right would go to Hebo.  New road for me here.  I had been to Hebo once, a very long time ago.  All I remember was rain.  Nothing had changed in that aspect :-)

Rain, rain, rain, rain.  Eventually I found Susan, and we pressed on.  I really wasn't cold, and really not wet.  My gloves were sopping, but my hands were warm.  Feet were still not wet.  A first.  Intersected Hwy 101 at Hebo, and headed north to Beaver.  Not much traffic.  Second stop of the day (and first timed control) at 74 miles.  Another Doubleshot for the bottle, more water, and a nice well-buttered Rye Molasses muffin.  We had over two hours in the bank.

Drill Sergeant Susie in Beaver

Susan: "13 minutes.  Gotta go!"  Yes, Drill Sergeant Susie.  Then, as I was flipping my cue sheet... "Oh, you've got it printed in old-lady font!".  With all due respect and affection... "F*&# you!" (channeling Jason here.)  Okay then.

Picture by Susan Otcenas

Still raining.  Off to climb the Coast Range a second time.  After the turn onto Upper Nestucca Rd at Blaine, we'd be on that road for about 40 miles, until we got to Carlton.  It was very pretty.  The rain eventually let up, and we even had bits of sunshine.  We followed the river all the way up - a reasonably gentle climb for most of it.  Up.  Up.  Up. I didn't know where the summit was.  Up.

Nestucca Rd

Then the pavement ended.  I knew it was going to do that.  Pretty hard pack, but it had been raining for 5 or 6 months straight, so it was perhaps a bit slick.  Not bad going up, but when it started down (not to be confused with the summit, or finishing climbing), it was a bit challenging.  So, pavement ends somewhere between 93 and 94 miles, and goes on for 2.5 miles.  I saw Susan from time to time, but not much.

Nestucca Rd

Up.  Up.  Passed several campgrounds.  Up.  Passed Dovre Campground, which I have actually heard of.  Up.  Found Susan.  "This climb is NEVER going to end".  That was my thought as well.  I passed the time reliving Aerin's climb in The Hero and the Crown.  All I needed was my sword, and I'd be set.

Several false summits later, including a nasty pitch by the reservoir (Lynne stops to recompose), I found Susan again.  She was peeling off all her wet clothing and changing into dry.  I was actually fine.  I had even ditched the sopping gloves and was wearing my mesh shortfingers with some wool gloves over them.  The rain had let up.  Summit is around 105 miles.

Then down.  The road was nice, but quite wet and curvy.  Then it got much less nice and no less steep.  Being well acquainted with hitting a pothole at speed, I kept my speed way down.  Then the road improved again, and got a little less steep.  Then rolling.  Blah.  I was hoping at some point that I would end up in Carlton, as there were NO signs on the road that I was approaching anything!  Finally out of the forest, into rolling farms and vineyards.

Then, glory, hallelujah, I could see the white building at the intersection in Carlton.  Wobbled over to the gas station on the corner; it was closed.  Started coasting through Carlton, and saw Susan's bike leaning up outside a store.  I was shaking - not from cold.  And it wasn't like I was not eating constantly.  Bought some grapefruit juice and sucked it down.  Only 11 miles to Newberg.

The cue sheet didn't say, exactly, but Main turns into Hendricks, which turns into Kuehne, at which point I knew exactly where I was.  The juice started having an effect (the tailwind didn't hurt, either) along this stretch.  Got a bit misplaced in Newberg, but I've done enough rides through there that I quickly got myself back to the Thriftway.  Susan had been there a couple of minutes already.

132 miles, 11:20 elapsed time, 13.20 avg mph, 5800+ vertical feet.  1:15 off the bike.

Susan documents the aftermath

Picture by Susan Otcenas

Nestucca Rivers Perm Profile
(the distance and time uphill are wrong)

Susan: "I didn't want an EASY 200".  I'd recommend this one for summer - nice and cool when it is too hot in the valley!

Props to Susan for doing a very challenging ride after crashing on the tracks!  She had a headache the whole ride, and was working on some very nasty bruises.

Another banana and a receipt, whereupon we returned to the cars and adjourned to Burgerville.  Dry clothes, cheeseburger, fries and a Timber Joey milkshake.