Thursday, March 22, 2012

Oregon Randonneurs Brewpub Populaire

How negative could I possibly go in the spousal points bank?  Open house this Sunday, and I thought I'd go on a bike ride Saturday.  Plus ride to and from.  In my defense, I had been cleaning and preparing the week prior.

Danger panda

Put the remains of last weekend's permanent cookies in my bag, along with a dark chocolate bar with speculoos filling (Trader Joes.  Looked promising).  And a banana.  Plus some water and Gatorade-Tea.  I knew there would be ample food opportunities on the route.

Up way too early; I wanted to be on the road at 6:45, to get there in plenty of time for the 8am start.  Heading west through the slowly lightening sky, I did get there.  Lots of folks to visit with.  I found Smitty, who had posted on the Google Rivendell group that this would be his first-ever rando event.  He was pretty excited.  Also met Hazel with the other Sweetpea bicycle.

Spring is slowly coming to Dairy Creek Rd

Tom turned us loose right at 8am, and we all headed out west and north, through North Plains, and up Dairy Creek Rd, to the turnaround and control at the end.  Lots of "high water" signs, but they'd been moved aside;  the road was clear.  Smitty and I chatted for several miles.

Low-lying clouds, Dairy Creek Rd

Bikes lined up at the Snooseville control

Arrived at the control, got my card signed, ate a couple of Susan O's EXCELLENT cookies, and fixed myself a rando mocha while chatting with Asta.  Stayed as long as it took to finish the rando mocha and headed out.  11 minutes total.

Snooseville control

Back down Dairy Creek, right on Mountaindale, and... how had I missed that pretty pond to the north at the curve?  Maybe it usually isn't there?  Had to stop and take a picture.

Looking north on Mountaindale Rd, just west of Dairy Creek Rd

Over the rollers, quick crossing of Hwy 26 at Frogger Junction, and started wondering if we'd have a secret control. The route can be abbreviated here, but you'd pay for it :-)  Heading along Mountaindale Rd, lots of bikes stopped at the St Francis Cemetery because... Secret Control!

That line of vegetation in the middle is the road

Secret Control ably staffed by Andrew

Andrew signed cards and offered snacks.  I took the opportunity to remove the jacket and heavy gloves, and move on.

Through Banks, out Cedar Canyon.  There was an interesting bit at the Killin Wetlands - water over the road.  Easily navigated.

Killin Wetlands overflowing the road

In the interest of not digging myself into a deeper hole, I planned to have expedient stops for the rest of the ride.  Rode along with Ed on Thatcher on into Forest Grove.  I stopped at Mama Jiah's (the Kwicki-Mart); he went on to Maggies.  Sigh.

Mossy plum orchard

Ed on Kansas City Rd

Bicycles outside Mama Jiah's market in Forest Grove

Last push to the end.  Headed into Verboort on Porter, only to be buzzed by some idiot who had the entire empty road in front of him. Turned from Long onto Susbauer and... wow that's a lot of water over the road!  The road was closed, not that it was stopping anyone.  I paused to watch a truck navigate, just to get an idea of how deep it was.  I could see cyclists on the far side.  And started wading.  A truck drove by, rather quickly, so I got even wetter.  It must have been about a foot deep in the middle.  Very wet shoes.  My bottom bracket went under.  Stupid.  Maria allowed as how it was really rude, the truck driver swamping me and Little Pink Bear.  It was.  Or at least thoughtless.

Really deep here on Susbauer Rd

Then finished it off.  4:56 total elapsed time.  Philippe was there to sign my card at the end, but I didn't stay to socialize.  Next time.

81.5 miles for the day.  Plus some cooking and setting up.

Sweetpea visited Mechanic Michael - rear hub overhaul (not a bad idea anyway).  He figured the bottom bracket would be fine.  Nothing to be done for the front hub, and a careful reading of Peter White's page indicates it will probably be just fine.  I was instructed to open the frame and let it dry out, in case it was wet.  Brought the bike home today and took the frame apart (3 cable splitters, 2 S&S couplers, removed the seatpost, easy).  No water dripped out, and it is hanging to dry inside (isn't that what you use YOUR living room for?) until tomorrow night.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Slightly More Adventurous Than Expected

(not to worry, the Stupidity Bank is untouched)

My new perm was approved this past Wednesday, which meant that the planned ride this weekend got to follow through on Plan A.  Indeed, the OrRando spring 200 brevet is this month, but it is also scheduled for the 31st.  No do-overs for the R-12 if something unforeseen was to occur.

Michal was in, as was Kevin.  My bike was clean and shiny, with new pedals and a new saddle early this week.  I even had "new" shoes to test out; as my Pearl Izumis are getting soft.  A slightly used pair of Sidi Dominators, which all the cool kids wear.  And new shoe covers, after finally trashing the many shredded ones.

Michal and I had breakfast, and eventually coasted down the hill to the start.   We left it a little late, and arrived at the start one minute after our planned 6:30am start.  Got my thermal jug filled with a mocha.  Kevin had not yet arrived; we eventually started just before 7am.  Kevin was riding his fixie, and wearing shorts (!)  It wasn't COLD, but it wasn't what I would consider warm, either.

Conversations on someone's next rando bicycle. Something about front rack, proper front bag, different rear dropouts...

Uneventful escape from the Urban Growth Boundary (there is no traffic to speak of that early on a Saturday), eventually to end up at Banks, our first control.  Not a long stop.  I sucked down a bottle of grapefruit juice, and we were off to the most anticipated (by me, anyway) part of the ride, the Banks-Vernonia Trail.  The promised rain started up around here; a persistent drizzle.  Very light traffic on the trail.

Michal on the trestle by the Buxton trailhead

Right about the Stub Stewart park entrance, we found a small snowbank, and promptly posed for pictures.

Still some snow

Then, a little further along (almost to Tophill) the trail was littered with small branches and debris from our recent snow event.  My front mudflap proved to be an excellent debris scoop; I had to stop every so often to pull branches out of my fenders.

And then - tree across the trail!  We had to stop and duck to get past it.

Downed trees on the Banks Vernonia Trail

Then a little further along - many trees across the trail!  Portaging required.  The entertainment here was watching Michal using his new phone to document it.  He did eventually succeed, but I think the phone still has the upper hand.  (Can't tease too much, that's going to be my next phone as well.)

That's a mess

Michal portaging over the debris on the trail

Then down and up at Tophill - I can't ride up it without stopping, the switchbacks are very tight turns.  Shortly afterward, we summitted (over 1000'), and began the long coast down into Vernonia.  We elected to stop at Black Bear Coffee, but "not for too long".  Orange-poppyseed scone and a mocha for me, a scone with chocolate drizzles and a latte for Michal; Kevin watched.

Back out into it; still a heavy drizzle.  Munched on a couple of cookies, kept drinking.  I felt pretty good most of the way to Birkenfeld; the last few miles of lumpy rollers did have me wanting some more food.  The Birkenfeld Store has undergone quite a few changes since I first rode out there in 2007.  The grocery part is now much smaller.  The liquor offerings, while probably not much reduced, are de-emphasized.  It is mostly cafe, which suited us just fine.  Kevin ordered nachos.  Michal and I elected to split a pastrami sandwich.  When it arrived, it was clear that this was the correct choice; it was pretty big.  Last year I had ended up eating the other half of Kevin's friend Nick's sandwich :-)

Mmm.  There's my nachos!

Lunch in Birkenfeld

Hey, where's MY sandwich?

Hot tea, sandwich...  Spiking my hair so it would dry out a bit.  I should have tossed in a spare cap.  Still raining on the way out, but not (yet) the expected headwind.  Again, I felt pretty good most of the way back to Vernonia. Keeping up.  Taking pulls even.  Chatted with Michal and Kevin about their upcoming fleche.  We all slowed down a bit before Vernonia.  Elected to stop at the gas station to really keep the stop short (we were an hour up; it was ok, really).  I am sure I bought something to eat there, but don't remember what it was.

Expedient Vernonia stop on the return

Then south again on the trail.  I was still feeling draggy, and telling myself I'd eat my Clif Builders Bar (chocolate mint, lots of calories, and yummy) when we got to Tophill, but finally forced myself to get it out and eat it NOW. Which was the right decision.  Munched on it all the way there.  Down, up, over the trees, under the tree and the descent back to Banks.  It had quit raining; there were bits of sun.  Totally unexpected.  Conversations on books we were reading or had read.  I always come away from these rides with a list of books to read.

Potato chips in Banks, and time to finish it off.  It was not yet sunset, but we all pulled on the reflective gear and turned on some lights.  It was warm enough that I swapped the jacket for a vest and shortfinger gloves.  By now we had a quartering headwind.  This is a pretty mindless 22 miles for me.  Banks to North Plains (more lights on).  North Plains to north Hillsboro.  Seemed like a good time to eat a GU, so I did - Peppermint Stick.  Must get more of those.

north Hillsboro to Tanasbourne.  At this point, I was on a mission, not stopping.  It seemed that every driver in the Beaverton area was out on the road.  Kevin and Michal just followed along.  Tanasbourne to SW 158th.  Don't cut over to go through the Nature Park (my standard route home).  Left on Jenkins.  Right on Hocken, turn past New Seasons, left on Center, right on SW 117th...  Turning onto Center, Michal: "are we there yet?"

Finished up, Kevin gave me his card, and we headed up to my house; Kevin continuing back to Portland.  I have to wonder if he rode all the way in on that fixie.  There is an 11% grade on Pointer.

Entered the results, fed Michal, sent him on his way. Joined the spouse at a dinner party (mmm.  good food.), but had real difficulty sitting in the chair.  I finally had to stand up and walk around, and, by 11pm, make my escape.  Still pretty beat up, which I do not understand.  I suspect that I do not appear to have Sidi feet, which might be part of it.

135+ miles, all told, with a 14mph average.  Nothing to sneeze at there.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Utilitaire 12

MG, of Chasing Mailboxes fame, and also a randonneur, created the Utilitaire 12, a winter cycling challenge.  Like any good randonneuring event, there were many rules, paperwork and documentation requirements.  Not unlike working on proficiency badges or challenges (if you remember those, you may be a Girl Scout from my era).  After a bit of thought, I realized this one was totally doable.  One rule was that a qualifying activity could not occur DURING a brevet or permanent.

Happy finishers at Starbucks

It could occur BEFORE or AFTER, like riding to the start and getting some coffee.  And with that, I was off.

Outside the front door, so you can see that I actually work somewhere

My life is amazingly well organized at this time.  Where I live and where I currently work are about 3 miles apart.  I bike commute most days.  And between work and home are places to eat, community meetings, a variety of stores, bike shops, and where I get my haircut!  Piece of cake.  It actually was, one night, but I didn't count that stop, as I already had my two qualifiers for the week.

Utilitaire #9, Grocery store

Tonight, at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance MSTIP focus group (coincidentally at a pub along one route home), I completed it.

Advocacy goes better with tasty Lambic

The whole Utilitaire photo set

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dairy Creek, no farm animal pictures

Susan was recruiting for a jaunt up Dairy Creek Rd and back, with a stop by Longbottoms for lunch.  If I rode to and from, with at least one optional hill climb, it would be over 60 miles.  Plus the aforementioned hill climb.

I was instructed to show up promptly at 9, for the inevitable faffing and a 9:30am departure.  Jeff and Lee were also riding.  As I left the house a bit late to work in a hill climb, I took the most direct route, and arrived promptly at 9.  Lee pulled up, we rang the doorbell.  We knocked.  Finally, the door opened :-) Then the garage door opened, and Jeff and Susan completed their pre-ride preparations.  Lee and I wondered at the absence of freshly-baked biscuits, butter and jam.  And coffee.

Munched on a ProBar (360 calories) on the way up.  Waved at Prancer the Pony.  One of these days I'll get on a first name basis with the alpacas further along.

Took a picture, but had to stop to get my glove back on, so worked hard, but didn't catch up - they made it to the turnaround a bit before I did.

Nice late winter day, jacket not required - fleece jersey, thermal vest and new gloves and I was good.  The trees are starting to leaf out, but heading north and slightly up on Dairy Creek showed that it was still winter - snow from the Meacham Rd intersection onward.  Fortunately, not on the road.

Riders on Dairy Creek

Evidence of participation and snow

Way fun heading back - slight downgrade, and I was rocketing (avg speed 20mph) back to the intersection with Mountaindale Rd.

I was chatting with Susan - she said it looked like I needed a new saddle.  I also said I needed new shoes, the Pearl Izumis were getting soft.  Susan: "what size do you wear?".  Now, we wear the same size shoe.  We also ride pretty much the same size bicycles, and have been known to swap shoes and bikes on a ride.  To make a short story long, she had some Sidi Dominators she was no longer wearing (went for the shiny Sidi Dragons, yes she did) which needed a new home...

Practiced riding no-hands.  It is getting much easier.  I'll attribute that to my improved core strength.

From there we headed over to Longbottoms for second breakfast.  Lee broke off to go home, but got to his car and thought the better of it and joined us.

Farm plates, French toast, coffee.  Visiting.

Then back over to Jeff and Susan's where the Sidis were produced and tried on (yup), and then secured to the rack with binders twine.  Half hitches, for the knot geeks.

Careful packing...

Time to get in the hill climb, so I headed through the park trails, ending up on Kaiser Rd, and turning right on NW Springville. 4.25 miles, 935 vertical feet, 33 minutes.  I'll have to work on improving that.  Right now I just grind up it.  Then 2.5 miles further (more up and down) and then the paycheck descent down Thompson/McDaniel/119th.

Home just before 3pm.  Would have been a few minutes sooner, but I stopped to chat with my neighbor.