Saturday, December 29, 2012

Revisiting Cedric Diggory

Jason Karp (Montana Randonneurs RBA) was in town, and planning to ride a couple of Kevin's permanent populaires.  Kevin was riding, he recruited Michael P-P, and invited me.  It wasn't going to rain.  I was in.

At Kevin's before 10am, just as the others were also appearing.  Including David P!  Bonus!

The temperature never got above 42 degrees, and started out and finished at 37 degrees.  I wore a lightweight long sleeve wool baselayer, a long sleeve wool jersey, my reflective vest, PI warm gloves, wool knickers, long wool socks, a thin wool beanie and shoes (with chemical toe warmers).  That was it.  I had my jacket along just in case, but didn't need it, and at the halfway point, changed to shortfinger gloves with my ragg wool gloves over them.

Little Pink Bear has a new responsibility

Had the Spot Tracker with me; the inaugural rando testing.  I'll put the link to my track here when SpotAdventures starts behaving.  For the next few days the track will be visible here.  Here is the link to my Spot Adventures.

So.  North through town, then east around Lombard and Marine Dr, past the Expo Center, wandering around to get over the I-5 bridge (getting better at it, but still a tad confusing at points), the out and back, over the bridge again, east on Marine Drive and the bikepath (oh, so pretty!), then south on the I-205 bike path, where Kevin hides all the vertical feet on this ride (note to self, eat a BIG snack somewhere on Marine Drive), then east back to the start.  Wasn't that easy?

Kevin and Jason at the turnaround (34.4 mi)

David P and Michael P-P zipped away from us in Vancouver, and were headed back as we approached the turnaround.  We did not see them again.  Kevin, Jason and I had a great ride.  Jason was amazed that 5 folks turned out for a perm - "At home, if I get 7 to show up for a brevet, I'm thrilled!"  He also enjoyed the scenery and bike paths.  Even the I-205 bike path.  I like Maywood Park, and the bits south of Division St.  That's about it.

It did commence to drizzle about 8 miles out, but not so much that I wanted my jacket.

Food - 3 slices of fruitcake, 2 bananas, 1 gel, food in the bottle (hot, with a tea bag tossed in for flavor) and water.

68.8 miles, average of 13.6.  5:52 total elapsed time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 200k

December's 200k ended up being my Beaverton-Hagg Lake-Carlton route.  I recruited Ray to join me, and, after publicizing in various Facebook groups and mailing lists, Holden and Greg also joined in.

A first in a long time - I was the youngest rider in the group :-)

Awaiting the other riders

Got myself down to the Starbucks about 15 minutes before the start.  I could see Greg assembling by his van; he, Holden, and eventually Ray came on in.  Ray was still faffing with something, but we were easily on the road at our appointed (dim) 7:30am start time.

Holden, Greg, and Ray at the start

About 9 miles into it, we stopped at the Powerlines Soccer Field, to visit their portapotties and remove layers.

Good Morning Helvetia!

Big northern loop to Forest Grove, an 18 mile straight shot from my house, but a 45 mile arc by our route.  Lots of info controls. Ray: "you should re-do this one as what color is the white church?"  Misty, high 30's; but not raining.  Holden hadn't ridden out here much before, so he got to meet all my favorite roads.

Ray at Maggies Buns

Stopped at Maggie's in Forest Grove - I had my standard sticky bun and some juice; the others had coffee and maybe something else.

Off to find Hagg Lake.  We generally rode within sight of each other.  The guys were all wearing orange vests, which are highly visible.  The guys pulled ahead on the opening ramp, but we all met up at the info control, and proceeded along, generally in sight of each other.

The part of Lynne was played by Ray.  Lynne appreciated that.

Headed to Yamhill

Hoped to find Holden at the first market in Carlton, but he was at the one on Main Street.  Longish pause there.  I had some pretzels, and topped off water and food in a bottle, and shared the water with Ray.  After both of us made a sticky mess with the drink powder, the bottles and hands got a rinse as well.  For excitement, I swapped my very damp wool cap for a dry one with earflaps.

Holden pulled ahead out of Carlton; we didn't see him for the rest of the ride.  Greg, Ray and I rode along together.  I  had fun taking pictures of my shadow on Kuehne Rd, and then we were treated to a great rainbow.

Playing with the shadows on Kuehne Rd

Rainbow up by Ribbon Ridge Rd

Of course, that meant the only rain of the day would find us, heading north on North Valley.  I stopped once to consider my rain jacket, and on the second stop I definitely wanted it.  Greg and Ray came along; Ray went on and Greg held my bike while I pulled it on.  We caught up with Ray north of Flett Rd and proceeded along together.  Darkness fell by before we turned onto SW Fern Hill, so I turned on my auxiliary flamethrower (Ixon IQ), just because.  The rain had by then turned to a light rain, but it never did stop.

We paused a bit at the corner of SW Fern Hill and SW Geiger Rd for me to stretch and to listen to all the geese and ducks in the wetlands.

At the control on the bridge on Golf Course Rd, I remembered I had a chocolate bar, and shared it out.  Ray handed around chocolate-covered espresso beans.

The bridge construction is complete on SW Johnson School, and the road appears to have been repaved as well.  Wonderful!

Finally into Hillsboro proper, wandering our way along to the last on-course control.  I bought another chocolate bar (they have Milka bars in the Jackson's convenience store), sucked down a gel, and we proceeded on our last 6 miles.

Greg at the finish

The Starbucks was long closed, but the YoPop a bit west was still open.  You can get hot and cold stuff there; good place to finish.

12:16 elapsed.  not my fastest :-)
All the pics here
This ride did keep the R-12 streak going, and also put me over randonneuring 5000km for the year, a new record, and one of my 2012 cycling goals.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

One Big Hill and Silver Falls, Bonus Gear Review

Really, a 100k would have been fine for last weekend, but David was up for riding One Big Hill and Silver Falls, and, as the spouse was out of town, I could ride all weekend, if I wanted.

North Falls

We arranged to start from Marsee Baking at 7am, as the daylight is rapidly dwindling, and we didn't want to waste any of it.  The weather was to be very low 40's, but no rain.

The first order of business was to ride south to Oregon City, and up and over the Boring Lava Flow (David is up on all the geological features, so I learn a lot on rides with him).  Ooof.  Then the fun descent on Central Point Rd, left on New Era, and into Canby for our first control at the grocery.  It was cloudy the entire way over, but I got warm enough that I lost the jacket and heavy gloves.

After Canby, we continued south.  David wanted to check out Needy Rd as a route change, since the absolute ban on bicycles at Silver Falls Lodge put the route 660 feet short of 200k.  Headed south on Needy - the pavement is much better than David described.  Mostly flat, with some rollers, none of which are particularly oppressive.  More to the point, pretty farm scenery and no traffic whatsoever.

Two barns flank the road
Picture by David Parsons

Eventually we were back onto Meridian Rd and into Silverton.

My rear blinkies were looking anemic.  I'd turn the Turbo on, it would flash a few times, then turn off.  David spotted a Radio Shack in downtown Silverton, so we paused briefly for me to buy some batteries and install them in one blinkie.  Oh, ever so much better.

From here, we then started up the One Big Hill.  We had ridden Victor Point/Drift Creek for the spring 200, and there had been rain and a headwind the entire length.  I did not have entirely positive memories.  No headwind, no rain.  Plus, someone to talk to.  Hey, this wasn't so bad!  The road climbs 1000 feet, then rolls for awhile, going up and down 200 feet several times.  Spotted some oncoming riders.  The lead woman looked familiar, but I wasn't sure.  Then, several riders later, one called out HI LYNNE!.  Me: HI JOHN HENRY!

Turned onto Hwy 214 for the 700 foot climb to the park entrance.  Again, not bad at all.  Not as quick as David, but I got there.  The sun decided to finally appear.  Found him at the park entrance enjoying the view.  We then swooped down the 2 miles to the Lodge parking lot.  Refilled bottles, ate something, answered the info question, changed the batteries in the other blinkie, swapped the cue sheet around...

Signage Fail

Now, you'd think all the climbing for the one big hill was done.  Not so.  One climbs past Winter Falls and North Falls (picture stop), and rolls along for several more miles.

Me at North Falls

Eventually, at mile 69, one reinstalls the jacket and warm gloves, and starts down in earnest.  Lots of fun, ending up in Silverton again.

Under the Gallon House Bridge

We then rode through the Gallon House Bridge and into Mt. Angel.  The Mt. Angel convenience store is all updated and clean and shiny.  Not clear if they'll let anyone use their bathroom.

Two rando bikes in Mount Angel
Picture by David Parsons

Mountain and Moon


From here we rode back to Canby, except the return route doesn't really go through Canby.  I did call a stop at the swim center to borrow their bathroom.  The brighter Lynne might have realized her calorie bottle needed refilling.

It was dark by this point.  And there was that pesky Boring lava flow to get back over to get to Oregon City.  The actual climb is on Leland, then it rolls along for awhile before the drop down into Oregon City proper.  We stopped halfway down, and I was feeling the wobbles of a pre-bonk, so inhaled a gel and a couple of cookies to take the edge off, which it did.  Finished the descent, at which point it was the familiar 7 or so miles back to the start.

Quick finishing up of the card, whereupon David scampered home (2 blocks), and I loaded up and drove home.

Bike computer claimed 8431 vertical feet.  Ouch.  While probably a bit over, it is useful to compare to other rides using the same computer.

129.82 mi, depressing 11.9 mph avg.

The pink one

Bonus gear review:  I had dropped my 6 year old thermal water bottle on its head, and the top shattered.  As it was a promotional sort of thing, I could not buy a replacement top.  Bought the Thermos bottle that was on Bicycle Coffee System's site, but it was 1) unscrew to drink, and 2) too tall for my itty-bitty frame.  Bought the Contigo coffee mug (also reviewed on the site), and, while it does work, only 16 oz, and doesn't seem to keep liquids hot long enough.  Good for my 10 mile commute to work, but not for an all day cold wet ride.  The spouse ran across the Pistol Creek thermal water bottle.  24 oz, and it had a sippy top (water bottle top).  He had gotten an Amazon local coupon for it, which is how he discovered it and went to buy himself one.  Except the store only had pink ones, so he bought it for me.  He also bought the sippy top (extra).  Filled it up, went to drink, and the spout leaked.  Annoyingly so.  And that might have been the end of it, but I was shopping and saw the Klean Kanteen replacement sippy top, and it looked about right.  Bought it, took it home.  PERFECT FIT.  And a much, much higher quality top.  And so, filled it up with a hot drink and took it along on the ride.  It fits in the down tube water bottle cage (King cage) with no issues, and does not rattle.  Beverage stayed acceptably warm for the first 4-5 hours, at which point it was all gone.  I am also looking forward to using it on hot day rides - ice!  cold water!

Bonus Bonus Gear Review:  Regular readers may have noticed that I have finally joined the Safety Hi-Vis Green wardrobe club.  I am wearing the Gore Visibility Vest (ladies version) pretty much all the time now, because it is the dim and rainy season.  It is reflective enough to carry the EN 1150 certification, and, as such, meets the RUSA torso reflectivity requirements.  It is VERY comfortable.  I really like it.  It fits over my Showers Pass jacket as well.