Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coffeeneuring #5, Starbucks

Short and sweet.  It was pouring all day, and the coffee place that I thought I'd try appeared to have gone out of business.  The closest open coffee shop is the Starbucks on SW 117th and SW Canyon in Beaverton, the (not so coincidentally) start point for most of my permanents.

Coffeeneur #5, Starbucks

Out and back, 3 miles.  Relaxed for awhile with my pumpkin spice latte, and have decided that the ones I make at home taste better.

A first on the ride home - rode up my street IN THE MIDDLE RING!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Coffeeneuring #4, Pony Espresso

Pony Espresso is our favorite coffee cart (really a truck) at the Beaverton Farmers Market.  We can bet on a long line, and when we finally get to the front, a long conversation with Bruce.  He makes a great Mexi-Mocha.

Since it is getting to the end of the season, there wouldn't be much to haul back from the Farmers Market, so I rode my bike over this morning.  Jeff A planned to meet me there.

Raining lightly, and high 40's.  Got there at 9, didn't see Jeff.  Locked the bike (complicated to wheel it around).  Got in the inexplicably short line for my Mexi-Mocha, chatted with Bruce, then wandered around a bit.

Pony Espresso truck

evidence of coffeeneuring

Visited with Polly, our farmer from our CSA.  She was telling me that her friend Lynne (Susan O's CSA) was rubbing it in that this was their last week for the season.  Our CSA goes year round...  Polly sells really pretty wreaths at the Farmers Market.  If I could figure out somewhere in the house to hang one, I'd get it.  Still working on that.

Off to our Apple Guy (Mr. Haury).  Sampled the apples at the tart end of the spectrum, and bought Newton Pippens and Northern Spies.  Stopped by Fressen, our favorite bakery booth, and bought a loaf of Franconia Rye (oh, SO good) and a Nutella Croissant (every bit as amazing as it sounds). ZOMG!  Fressen has classes and workshops!  Oooh!

bread at Fressen

Wandered back by my bike, and there was Jeff!  He looked at my bike (the Rivendell Bleriot) and wondered if that was my rando bike (as in, it was a full-on rando configuration, but not the one he's seen me riding).  Well, it WAS.  Now it is the nicest utility/commuting bike ever :-)

Jeff and Lynne

We cruised the rest of the market; I was still looking for parsnips and rosemary.  I've got a lamb shoulder roast just calling for them.  Eventually found some of each, plus did lots of sampling along the way.  Then I talked him into trying a sausage from Fetzer's.  We've been buying their sausage for over 30 years, back since they had the store at the corner of SW Cedar Hills and SW Walker Rd.

Took lots of pictures of gorgeous produce.

beets and many-colored carrots

Then it was time to go - me to Freddie's to get some green olives (for the aforementioned lamb shoulder roast) and him to get back for Disney on Ice.

the haul

More pics here

4.78 miles

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Susan's Rando Weekend Birthday Extravaganza

Normal people have birthday parties, or, at the most, go out and ride their age in miles and drink some beer afterward.

Susan isn't normal.  She thought it would be great fun to ride Bill's Donuts to Total Domination 200k permanent (Portland to Eugene) on Saturday, then ride Michal's Five Rivers 210k Permanent (loop out of Eugene) on Sunday.  And return to Portland Monday on the 5:30am Amtrak Cascades.

Fortunately, she has like-minded friends.  Theo, Asta and I would join her on the ride down to Eugene, and Michal and Lesli would join in on the fun riding the Five Rivers perm the next day.

Weather was iffy - wet, but not cold enough to want to wear the full, mostly water-resistant tights.  My venerable Shebeest capris just aren't real warm when they are wet.  Team Estrogen to the rescue, 1 pair each of Ibex and Icebreaker wool capris.  They'll come in handy for the 18 mile round trip commute for my upcoming new job (she says, massively justifying the purchase).

Susan cleverly mailed a package of clothing to Lesli.  I wasn't quite that organized, and filled a pannier with a change of riding gear, some pjs, some real clothes and sundries.  Sweetpea had the rack installed, and I dug out my venerable racktop bag for the gear which normally lives in the Carradice Barley.  Also had a trip to my favorite hardware store for a c-clamp to attach a second rear blinky mount to the rack.

Donuts to Total Domination 200k perm

Up at 6am the next morning, fall into the cycling gear laid out in the other bathroom (doesn't disturb the sleeping spouse), breakfast,...  Oh darn, it is raining.  On with the booties and jacket, with my new reflective windvest over that.  Short ride over to Sesame Donuts, where we engaged in a pre-perm coffeeneur.  Asta and Theo claimed they had everything they needed for the weekend on their bikes, but it didn't look like they had any more stuff than usual, which isn't much at all :-)

The rain had ceased by our start time, and I started urging folks to get started.  Strangely enough, Susan wasn't ready to go at the dot of 8...

South through Beaverton and Tigard, over a bridge into Tualatin, a stop at the Chevron in Wilsonville for a few provisions for Asta and Theo.  I had several slices of fruitcake, and some bars, a banana, and a few gels in my bag, so didn't need anything at the moment.

Then finally, out into the country!  Headed south on very familiar roads all the way to Salem.  Brief stop there for coffee (45 cents!  And not bad!), then off to Independence, our first control.  Except we didn't quite get there before I had a flat on River Rd.  That Grand Bois was pretty tight on the rim; Theo helped me get it off.  I just put on an entirely new tube and tire (Hutchinson); Theo found and extracted the sharp shard of whatever that caused the flat.  Asta took a nap.  I think she had two hours of sleep the night before.

Did I mention the nearly constant headwinds?

Willamette River near Independence

Pizza and soda in Independence

Back on the road, we got to Independence, and I FINALLY got to stop at Indepizza.  It is always closed when I come through on the Eden's Gate 400k.  Slice of pepperoni and a soda, refill water bottles, and off we go.

Now off to the Corvallis Rd/Prather Rd/Buena Vista stretch.  Nasty rollers there.  The Eden's Gate 400k goes the other way :-)  Over the bridge and into Lebanon.  Now we were seeing many cars headed to the Oregon State football game.

84 miles into the ride, we had to cross Hwy 34, the main route from I-5 into Corvallis.  Traffic for the football game was heavy; we had to wait a bit for an opening.  And, just as we were crossing, who should drive by but my very own son, on the way to the game!  Smiles were exchanged as we each continued on.

Shadow on Peoria Rd

Now on to Peoria Rd, 19+ miles of winds, generally not in our favor.  But all things come to an end, and we eventually rolled into Harrisburg.  Only 17 or so miles to go.  I was pretty beat.  Susan shared an egg salad sandwich; she didn't want to eat the whole thing, and I wasn't sure I wanted to eat it at all.  Suddenly I did want to eat it, and crunched a few antacids as well.  My stomach was crabby, my shoulders hurt (note to self: Sweetpea doesn't like a single pannier; I wrestled with the bike the whole ride), and I wanted to be done.

Sunset, south of Harrisburg

The sun was setting and the temperature dropping, so we turned on lights, and I added my jacket under the vest.  It was never quite warm enough all day for me to ditch the vest.  We ended up following River Rd down the west side of the Willamette River, then crossing the river on a bike bridge.  Dark by then, so we all followed Susan, who had the route in her GPS.

Finish at the Ninkasi Brewery

And finished.  I had played the wimp card, so Michal collected Asta and me and drove us UP to his house, where he and Cyndi had a wonderful dinner waiting.  Chicken Mole and a chocolate pie with ice cream.

11:24 total elapsed time
13.7 avg mph.  Not bad, especially with the headwind
129.5 miles total for the day

Five Rivers 210k perm

Cappucino Art at Chez Young-Wenks

Up at 6am for this one.  Breakfast (pie, yogurt, granola, fruit, cappucino), and out into the dimness, light rain, and down the very steep hill.  I reefed on the brakes all the way down; Asta and Michal flew by.  Got to the coffee shop to find ourselves the first ones there.  Something about a flat tire over at the other house.  Ok by us, more time to sit and enjoy the coffee.  We eventually all rolled out at 8:30.  Drizzling.

I was definitely feeling yesterday's ride.  The out to Walterville was uneventful, but the rain got heavier heading back.  Not that I was cold, but not having fun.  Michal kept me company, and we passed the Mohawk Store, and followed Marcola Road up to the summit.  I had to walk for a bit.  Found Lesli and Theo there; Theo was repairing a flat.  Two more cyclists showed up - Susan and Asta!  We thought they were way ahead, but they'd stopped for coffee at the store.

We all flew down the hill and over to the Crawfordsville Store, where water bottles were topped up, and I switched to food in a bottle.  Lesli bought another losing lottery ticket. :-)  From here we headed over to the Fern Ridge climb.  A bit more walking here as well; Michal said he'd wait at the top and went on.  Found him and Lesli at the top.  Lesli went on while I filled out my card at the info control.  Michal and I descended and found no one at the Sweet Home market.  We didn't need to stop, so continued on.  It had stopped raining, and I felt really good all the way to Lebanon.  We picked up Lesli a few miles before town, and rode in together.

No bikes outside the store, but Susan was inside, with her bike in the seating area.  We all got some potato soup, and moved our bikes inside as well, wondering where Theo and Asta had ended up.  Turned out they had another flat and some bonus miles and would be along shortly.  Another long pause while we enjoyed our soup, and refilled bottles.  Only 46 miles more to go, and one more hill.

Potato soup, Lebanon

We headed south out of Lebanon, riding along the edges of the hills.  I took the only pictures of the day along here, as the sun was setting.

Michal at sunset

Riders at sunset

There was a herd of horses along the road somewhere that Michal had characterized as "better than average" horses.  They were on the hill right before Brownsville right on the Gap Rd climb, so I got a good look at them as I went slowly by (followed by more walking).  Found Michal at the summit and told him that I thought they were palominos.

After the Gap Rd climb, done with all the climbing.  Just riding along flat roads with no traffic in the dark :-)  I could see I-5 in the distance; we'd ride over it.  Then south on Coburg Road for 10 miles.  My shoulders were not happy.  Through Coburg, and the last few on-road miles.  Brief pause at Armitage Park to update Cyndi.  Riding through some neighborhoods, on the bike path, back on to the road, and counting up 10 blocks until we were finished.  Cyndi was waiting (yay!), and we loaded up.  We finished at 9:41pm (ow)

Showers.  Hot yummy pasta.  Seconds.  More pie.  Bed.
131 miles for the day
12.5 avg mph
13:11 total elapsed time


The four Portland riders were on the 5:30am train headed north.  Bed was sometime after midnight, which is what happens when one finishes the ride at 9:41pm.  Up at 4.  Michal and Cyndi got up as well (these are very, very nice people) and fed us breakfast and gave us cookies to go.  Michal delivered Asta and I to the train station; hope he got a nap before continuing on with the day.

Asta napping in the train station

I dozed the entire way back to Portland.  Retrieved my bike at the end, reinstalled the bags, changed my shoes (they were a tad soggy), skitched over the few blocks to the MAX station - the roads were all full of tracks, or one-way the wrong way, and caught MAX over the hill to my stop.  1.5 miles downhill and done...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coffeeneuring #3, Sesame Donuts

Prior to riding Bill Alsup's Donuts to Total Domination Perm, we gathered at Sesame Donuts.  Not quite 3 miles from my house, and early enough in the morning that riding on SW Beaverton-Hillsdale was quite pleasant.  Except it was raining.  Oh well.

Evidence of coffeeneuring

2.92 miles.  Met Susan, Theo, Asta, and Bill, and enjoyed a latte.  All of us but for Bill were riding down to Eugene; he was riding a permanent populaire instead.

It was the start of Susan's Birthday Weekend Rando Extravaganza; she had a maple bar with a birthday candle.  Asta had an ice cream cone.

photo by Bill Alsup

Monday, October 15, 2012


(With thanks to Marcello for the title)

Western view at Pumpkin Ridge Gardens

Pumpkin Ridge Gardens, our CSA (community-supported agriculture), has subscriber days at the farm.  In October, we are invited to come out and pick our pumpkin, presumably to carve.  I've driven out there off and on, and come home with entirely too many pumpkins - some to cook, some to carve, and so on.  Fitz went out there once and came back with, again, too many pumpkins, including a massive Hubbard squash that James talked him into taking home.  We turned that one into a pie (or three), but breaking into it involved a circular saw.  In the kitchen. (Hubbard squash makes better-tasting pumpkin pies than pumpkin)

We don't carve pumpkins for Halloween anymore - no one ever comes to our house.  We get candy "just in case", and eat it all ourselves.

I do like getting seed pumpkins and pie pumpkins.  And I needed more green tomatoes and hot peppers to finish off some leftover brine from the Pickled Green Tomatoes project.

Trying to limit our pumpkin intake, I considered riding out there.  About 40 miles round trip; the farm is right off Pumpkin Ridge Rd, maybe 1.5 miles or so up the hill.  One pannier and one bike bucket installation later, I was headed west and north.  Not raining, 60s and muggy.

Original plan was to follow my "get to Portland Velo/Intel Ronler Acres" route, but cut under Hwy 26 before Cornelius Pass Rd, and maybe drop in on Susan.  Not.  Path very definitely closed.  Back to the complete original route - Evergreen/Sewell/Meek/Jackson School/West Union...  Road closed.  WHAT?  After riding  over a mile of grooved pavement on Evergreen, I was just a tad grouchy.  Investigating showed that the road, while closed to automobile traffic, was quite passable by bicycle.  Right on Shadybrook, and then up Pumpkin Ridge Rd.

Rainbow chard

Parked the bike, went though the "you rode your bike HERE?", picked out two SMALL pie pumpkins, then got permission from Polly to pick some green tomatoes and hot peppers.  Did that, then enjoyed some hot cider.  I did this entire ride on a Dutch Baby for breakfast and cider.  Visited with Polly some more, then picked some basil, and stowed everything in the bucket and pannier.  It all fit quite nicely.  While I was out foraging, a couple on a tandem showed up, so I wasn't the only crazy person there :-)

Fetching the pumpkins

Snagged 4 grape leaves on the way out (makes the pickles crisp), then headed on home.  Fitz had said "well, it is all downhill from there!".  Well, yeah, coming down Pumpkin Ridge.  Rollers and a few short steep bits all the way home.

All done

Almost felt like the tandem with all that extra weight, except the wheelbase was a bit short, and it was just me.  At the top of the very last climb (SW Park Way), stopped and chatted for a bit with my former co-worker/neighbor who was on his way home on his walk.  He's retired (I am jealous) and having a great time.

Coming through our elementary school, I saw a couple cutting the grass, and a very little guy on a bicycle.  He couldn't have been older than 5.  So I slowed down, because little people on two wheels are just a tiny bit unpredictable.  As I passed him, I think he said "race you!" and he took off.  I actually couldn't give him a race, because the pumpkins and the speed bumps wouldn't have worked well together.  So he was zipping off ahead, and when I got to the turn onto the road, he zipped off ahead of me.  I think he was riding over 12 mph on that teeny little bike.  I thought I would just let him win it, and halfway down the block, he turned back to the school.  He was a cutie :-)

A whisper under 40 miles, and my legs got a workout pushing that extra weight up the rollers and rises.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Coffeeneuring #1 and #2

These first two outings have been fl├Ęche-style events - we all converge on a coffee destination by a specified time :-)

Outing #1 was at Insomnia Coffee in Hillsboro.  Bill and I planned to meet up and ride over together.  Now I knew that it was the one off Cornell.  I had read that.  But my head was saying it was the one on Baseline...  Good thing Bill was along.

My coffee, cookie, and helmet

documenting Susan and Bill documenting

I had a mocha (with great latte art) and a lemon cookie.  We sat outside for two solid hours (Bill, me, Susan, and Jeff), talked, and took way too many pictures.  Bill had to get into Portland for tango, so I made my own way home.  Round trip 16.28 miles.  Bicycle: Sweetpea

Outing #2 was much closer, at Edge Coffee, on Millikan Way in Beaverton.  I woke up at 9:15 and realized I was supposed to be meeting at 10am...  Fitz was cooking blueberry pancakes, so I waited to eat them, put a pannier on the Bleriot, and zipped off.  Fitz said he'd follow shortly.

Arrived at Edge Coffee to see Jeff and Susan's bikes, a really nice (and tall) Atlantis, and a few others around the corner.  Went in to find Jeff, Susan, Bill and Michael W ("is your Bleriot snogging with my Atlantis?").  Jeff A showed up shortly thereafter, and Fitz a bit after that.  Michael W typically rides a recumbent, so I was a bit surprised to see him on the Atlantis.

And this is how you get little Rivendells

Evidence of coffeeneuring

Fitz and Jeff M - the ride-alongs

I enjoyed a latte (no art) and an almond croissant.

My almond croissant and coffee

More sitting around, documenting, listening to Michael describe the planned Spring 600, drinking, eating, and whatever that took at least two hours to accomplish.

We all went our separate ways around noon-ish; I paused at the New Seasons grocery to get more hot peppers and garlic for my Pickled Green Tomato project.

Round trip: 4.04 miles.  Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot

Friday, October 5, 2012


It is no secret that I am not a strong climber.  The traditional hill training loop around here is Mt Tabor, and it is fun.  But it isn't all that close to me.

In my neighborhood, there is a devilish hill, SW Garden View, average grade 12.3%.  I have ridden up it exactly once, when I was test-riding the Lemond in 2003.  I have run up it many times, but not in the past 4 or 5 years.

And so, I set out to ride it today.  I sucked, but one must start somewhere.  It seemed the easiest way to track it is to use Strava; no buttons for me to push when riding, or time to watch.

You can see it here:

1. Make it up without stopping.
2. Do that more than once.
3. Get faster.
4. Ride it at least once a week.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Long Ride for a Donut...

Talked Susan into riding Kevin's Nicholas Flamel 100k permanent with me on Sunday.  She wanted to "sleep in" AND ride to/from the start.  I was fine with that, as it was my intention as well.  She lives a bit further out, so would have 15 more total miles than me.

Mt Hood near Sandy

A bit chilly in the am, so arm and knee warmers, light vest, long finger gloves and toe covers.

Met shortly after 9am at the start of the Sunset Highway bike path, up and over Sylvan Hill, down through Washington Park into Portland, across the Hawthorne Bridge, and then a lot of wandering around figuring out where exactly we should start (existing start location is closed, and road construction precludes a few other logical points.  Permission given by Kevin.)

We shifted north a couple miles on the course, and started at SE 12th and SE Hawthorne, planning to make the food carts our finish control.  Yeah!  Food carts!

Uneventful ride north through Portland, eventually ending up on NE 33rd, where we were to find our first control.  Hmm.  Thought we had gone far enough, but we were counting from the turn onto 33rd, rather than the bridge ramp over NE Columbia on 33rd.  We did find it, but not until we took pictures of ourselves at the Food Bank and sent Kevin a snarky note :-)

Columbia River

This pic has everything

Lost the arm warmers, gloves and vest along here somewhere.  We turned onto the Marine Drive bikepath, and worked our way east to Troutdale.  The river was very calm.  Susan ran into a friend and we stopped to chat for awhile.  He had the most amazing and beautiful Renovo bike.

Susan ran into a friend on the Marine Dr bikepath

Quick stop in Troutdale; I removed the knee warmers as well.  We went straight up Graham Dr/257th through Troutdale and Gresham.  That was the longest and steepest pitch of the ride; 200 feet up in a fairly short stretch.

Once the road became Orient Dr, we were out in the country - nurseries, farms, gradual uphill...  It was pretty.

Stripey fields near Orient

Then Bluff Rd, so called because just before it enters Sandy, it goes right along a bluff overlooking the Sandy River, Mt Hood, and all the pretty stuff in between.  Breathtaking view.

Susan, the bikes and Mt Hood

Photo by Susan Otcenas
And so, into Sandy, then east a bit to get to Joe's Donuts, our turnaround control.  I bought a cream-filled donut with chocolate frosting; Susan went for the Maple-Bacon.  She suggested we go over to Mountain Moka and get coffee there, and sit on their deck.  Good plan.  Nice afternoon.  I discovered my face looked a little crispy, so added some sunscreen to keep it from getting worse.

Me and my cream-filled donut

And then back out - retraced our route for a bit on Bluff Rd, but then turned onto Kelso Rd and Orient Drive.  At this point, my drivetrain was making funny noises, and briefly locking up.  This was strange.  And then, suddenly, I had no drivetrain - my chain broke. (!)  The master link gave it up.  It might have been a master link re-used from a previous chain.  Don't go there.

We found a shady driveway.  Susan had a master link; I wasn't sure if the one I was carrying was meant for Bleriot (fatter chain).  While I addressed the chain, Susan had a chat with the guy living there.  I overhead discussion of donuts.  This would not have been so bad if Susan hadn't been photographing and posting to Facebook, tagging the one person who I had just told that I have never in 5 years had a problem with using a master link...  Susan came back over and helped me keep the chain from slithering around; I installed the master link, and directed Susan where to find the wipes, because my hands were more than a little bit greasy.  Note to self: gloves in the repairs bits bag.

photo by Susan Otcenas
Off again.  The master link was not quite right; it skipped with every revolution.  But we were mostly descending, so I could live with it.  And for the 23 miles back to the food carts, I did live with it, but it was making me more than a tiny bit crazy.  And it wouldn't work for the climb back over Sylvan Hill to get home.

Where we got onto the Springwater Corridor Trail in Boring was pretty quiet, but then we started seeing lots of cyclists, wearing salmon hats and so on.  We had entered onto Sunday Parkways.  That slowed us down a bit, and we were happy to eventually leave the route.  Passed the last on-course control. We elected to follow the Springwater Corridor Trail all the way in, since we were finishing at the food carts.

Headed north, we spied a oncoming bicycle with a very bright front light.  It was still daylight.  Surprise!  David P was returning from a grocery outing.  We waved in passing.  And then, looking in my rear view mirror, the bright light was now headed back. :-)  He rode alongside for a couple of miles, and then turned back homeward.

We were hoping Clever Cycles (a block from the food carts) was still opened; otherwise I'd take the MAX over the hill.  And they were still open for another 20 minutes.  The house chain was SRAM (right answer), so I paid right then to get the receipt within the finish time, and watched the mechanic swap on the new chain.  Bliss.  No skips.

Found Susan at the food carts.  She was eating something from Potato Champion; I checked out the Whiffie Pies, and got a peach filled one and some soda.  And we loafed in the sun for a bit; neither of us was looking forward to the climb to get home.

Did I mention that I had gotten out for my first run in months the day before?  Owwwww.  Over the river, up from downtown to the park entrance off Jefferson (Madison Trail; switchbacks much?), up the trail, up to the Rose Garden, pause to refill water bottles and delay tackling the inevitable 17% pitch.  We both made it without toppling over, at which point it was a mostly gradual climb through the park, descend at the zoo, then  a gradual climb up to the Sylvan summit.

Definitely fall

All downhill from here.

All downhill from here

90.5 miles for me; 13.7 avg mph.  15 avg mph for the permanent populaire route.  Just a lot of long stops. 4500 vertical feet overall; 2000 of those climbing Sylvan twice.

All the pics here