Sunday, January 27, 2013

If Not Freezing... Raining

Ray posted that he was planning to ride his North Plains-Lafayette 100k this past Saturday.  He wanted company.  He got it.

Bill signed on, so I offered him a ride to the start if he was at my house by 9:15am.  He coffeeneured on the way, and was indeed at the front door at 9:15am.  I was not quite ready, so Clara waited in the living room.

Bill showed up promptly at 9:15

Bill: "I am doing this if only to really surprise Ray."

I did not do any organization the night before.  That whack on my head possibly has damaged my slightly Type A OCD tendencies on ride preparation.  I shall have to nip that in the bud.

Bikes loaded in the car, we set out.  Found Tony and Eric unloading, and Ray and RB inside the McDonalds.  Registration rituals observed, we set out.

It was raining.  The weather forecast was bands of rain all day.  I was wearing booties, but my feet were sopping wet less than 15 miles into it.  Boo.

Nothing new about this route - North Plains to the east side of Forest Grove, south on Fern Hill/Spring Hill/North Valley/Ribbon Ridge, southwest on Kuehne and Abbey roads, and there we are.

Due to my last minute preparation, my riding glasses spent the day in the garage.  Generally not an issue, because it was gray and raining (no dirt/dust), but the only person I could ride behind was Ray.  Mudflaps.  Longer mudflaps.

So I found myself out in front.  Very strange.  Headwind all the way to Lafayette, noticeable, but generally not overwhelming.  We kept seeing open spots in the clouds, but never where we were.  The rain let up as I arrived in Lafayette; everyone else showed up very shortly thereafter.

We stopped at Carniceria Abaztos.  I didn't see any hot food that called; they were out of flautas.  Bought a banana, a big filled pastry from the panaderia section, and some citrus cream filled cookies.  99% of the products were labeled in Spanish.  The woman in front of me in line was telling me all about their amazing meat department.

Panaderia at Carniceria Abaztos in Lafayette

Pause in Lafayette at Carniceria Abaztos

Stood outside and ate, and then one, by one, we took off, as it was getting chilly standing around.  Tony and Eric left first - they were on single speeds.  Then RB, Ray, and me.  I assume Bill left shortly thereafter.

We did have a tailwind.  Yay!

I had RB in sight, at least until Ray yelled at me to look at something.  I stopped, and he zipped by.  Started up again; caught him, and told him that was quite the trick to pass me.  "Now that I know it works..."  This once, Ray.  This once.

The rain stopped, so I stopped to remove my jacket.  Ray zipped by again, telling me that it would now rain.  Well, then, I'd just pull the jacket back on.

Hi-viz evidence of participation

Found Ray just before Fisher Farms.  Got into Forest Grove, and found RB at the TV Highway crossing.  Apparently the cue sheet was missing the R onto Hwy 47, but I wasn't looking at it.  So RB had a brief tour of Forest Grove, looking for Martin St.

Last 7 miles.  I had been snacking all the way down and back, but the last mile was a bit of an effort.

Tony and Eric were in the parking lot.  I parked the bike, went in and ordered some fries and a mocha.  They all came in and did the same, and I gave a brief tutorial on how to organize the receipts and fill out the perm card.  Ray showed up a few minutes later, and eventually Bill appeared as well.

Little Pink Bear as sentinel

Nice long visit with hot beverages.

Bike computer claims 63.66 miles, average page of 14.13 mph.
The total time was 5:18, and the ride time was 4:30.  We got started maybe 15 minutes past the official start.

Outgoing average 13.2, returning average 15.3.

The tops of both my knees are sore.  I had moved my seat forward maybe a quarter inch, now, with three long rides on it, I am going to move it back.

Ride track is here, at least for another week.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Just... Epic

After last weekend's failed attempt at the Jan 200k, I set about to recruit some folks to join me for another go this past Saturday.  It was going to start out cold, but get above freezing and be sunny.  Greg thought he'd ride along, and Bill said he'd join us "if I wake up in time".

We settled on Lunch at Nicks, Ken's SW Portland to McMinnville by way of North Plains 200k route.  Except Ken was working out of town this weekend.  A few exchanges of email later, he delegated me to collect reg forms and hand out cards/cue sheets.  We were on.

As parking in the Multnomah Village area is chancy, I elected to ride over.  About 6 miles, but into a part of town I still refer to as "The Bermuda Triangle".  A bit of time on RideWithGPS, and I had a fairly uncomplicated route.

As it was going to be in the 20's at the outset, I wore the same clothes combination as last weekend, but tossed in a thermal vest for when it got sunny and I could lose the jacket.  Ah, optimism.

Hit the road at 6:45am.  Whooo, it was cold.  And dark.  No slipping headed down my hill, no slipping on the wooden bridges on the Fanno Creek Trail, and I arrived at Grand Central Bakery a teeny bit before 7:30, to find Greg and Bill.  Forms and cards exchanged, chocolate croissant consumed, and off we went.  It was 23 degrees...

Grand Central Bakery, Multnomah Village

The route took us west, just south of downtown Beaverton, by Bill's place of employ, over the Tracks of Death on SW 5th (hey, new bicycle angled crossings!  Nice!), through neighborhoods, eventually popping out on SW 185th right by the Aloha Post Office.  North to cross SW TV Hwy, then west again on Johnson until SW Cornelius Pass.  North to SW Baseline, then west and north on SW 231st.  Which becomes SW 229th, and goes past where I work, the Intel Ronler Acres facility.  Still in the low 20's.  The "Ronler Snow" was spectacular, and had actual depth to it.  (the fab puts a lot of steam into the atmosphere, mix that with sub-freezing temps and it "snows".  Covers everything, and the air sparkles.)  I knew it was not slippery to ride on when untracked, so I had a good time.  Bill, I think, was not so sure.

It was also foggy.  Sometimes really, really foggy.  A few miles later, we were in North Plains, our first control.  Bill lobbied for the coffee shop, the Corner Bistro, rather than the convenience store.  We got hot drinks, Bill and I split a cinnamon roll, and I also consumed a banana.

Bill and Greg

There was frost all over us and our bikes.  Our water bottles were somewhere between slush and completely frozen.  I was SO GLAD to have a caloric hot drink in my thermal bottle.  And it was still hot.

Frost detail, North Plains

Now we turned south, skirting the eastern boundary of Forest Grove, then heading south on Fern Hill/Spring Hill.  The sun started peeking out.  We had shadows,  and the temp went above freezing.  I switched from my super heavy Sugoi Firewall Lobsterclaw gloves to shortfinger gloves with wool gloves over those.  At which point I could eat food from my bag and take pictures.  We were hopeful.

Foggy farm complex

Bill and Greg

We turned onto Laughlin, and the fog came back :-(  The temp went below freezing again.  Well darn.  The fun on this stretch was Stag Hollow Rd.  I'd characterize it as more of a dirt road than a gravel road, and it was great.  There was one chaser dog, but Greg and I kept telling him to go home, and he eventually gave it up.

Frosty evidence of participation

We've got dirt!  Stag Hollow Rd

Then more wandering around, and we were on to 99W.  Very busy stretch, and the cue sheet said "L onto Riverside Dr.  DANGEROUS TURN!  Cascade Steel"  No joke.  We were looking for a road BY Cascade Steel, not INTO Cascade Steel.  Went a bit far, so pulled out the phone and figured out where we were.  Crossed 99W in the crosswalk and went back; Bill was waving to us from the turn.  It really is INTO Cascade Steel.  Also, McMinnville also had an industrial plant weather generator - all frosty and sparkling there, too.

Skirted the SE edge of McMinnville - farms - and went through Joe Dancer Park.  Road Closed, but we just did the limbo thing under the barriers, and got ourselves where we needed to be. Into historic downtown McMinnville (rather like Newberg, but larger), arriving at Nick's Italian Cafe.

Bill taking my picture

Bikes outside Nick's

If it was going to be somewhat expedient, we'd eat there, if not, we'd find another place.  There was a big full table that had just been seated...  The waiter recognized Bill, and asked if we wanted the same as last time.  Minestrone and bread, the most expedient option.  Yes, we did, and Bill also ordered some wine.  Fanciest meal I have EVER had while actively engaged in a bike ride, ever.  That in process, Bill and I proceeded with the documentation.  Greg was highly amused.

Lunch at Nick's

The waiter filled my thermal bottle with somewhat hot water, and I made up another bottle of liquid calories with tea.  Then we proceeded to reverse course.

Still cold and foggy.  I was plenty warm enough, though.  My feet did get cold - the chemical toe warmers ran out of steam, and I didn't really get a good chance to put in new ones, but they warmed up eventually.

Foggy farm on Stag Hollow Road

I did eat along this whole stretch - chunks of fruitcake and cookies.

There was an exceptionally rude driver of a very large pickup on Spring Hill - deliberate close, fast pass, accompanied by the one-finger salute.  No need for any of that - clear line of sight, easy pass.

Brief diversion here: What to do with drivers behaving badly?

There is always: you can't take my license, I HAVE to drive.  Ok.  Fine.  We won't take your license.  We will, however, confiscate your fancy big pickup that so much of your, um, self-image is wrapped up in.  We will issue you this little sedan with a wimpy engine, painted brown and hi-vis green, with a big, easily readable number on it.  You can drive.  But if you behave badly again, it will be easy to report you.  And everyone WILL be watching.

Just a thought.  Anyway...

So.  The fog cleared away again, and we had sunlight.  For awhile.  It got really, really foggy on SW Zion Church, and I had to lead, because I knew where Gordon Rd was, and Greg didn't.  Bill was behind us somewhere.  We did pause for a minute for Greg to turn on some more lights - I had not turned mine off all day, nor had I removed my reflective vest or reflective ankle bands.

Into North Plains, stopping at the market.  Mrs. Kim allowed as how it was very cold for a ride.  We agreed.  I bought a Payday bar and banana.  Greg pulled on his reflective gear and helmet light.  Mrs. Kim was very impressed.  "You are prepared for everything!"

Bill appeared shortly thereafter, and ate two burritos.  I had a cup of hot chocolate.

It was now dark, and pea-soup foggy.  We figured once we got onto NW Evergreen it would be fine, but we first had to navigate West Union, Jackson School, Meek, and Sewell.  The fog line on West Union and Jackson School was very helpful.  Finding the turn onto Meek was challenging.  Greg was in front and went past it.  I knew where it was and stopped and yelled.  Eventually Greg came back.  Meek and Sewell have no fog lines, no center lines, and no lighting.  Also practically no traffic.  We rode down the middle of the road the entire time.  I had both the Supernova and the Ixon headlights on, and was very glad I had them, but it was still pea-soup foggy.

Finally, Evergreen came into sight.  We were a bit worried about the Ronler snow, and could see it freezing and sparkling in our headlights, but the road was still dry.  It was also condensing and freezing on us.

By now, Bill was smelling the barn, and it was a bit of a challenge to hang on.  I don't like to go so fast when vision is a bit compromised.  I was also wanting a drink, and riding that fast in a group in the dark doesn't mix well with managing water bottles.  Managed to get some sips at the traffic lights, but they were way too cooperative.

Through Aloha and Beaverton, where I noted every missed chance to turn and just go home.  Given the freezing conditions, we elected to parallel the Fanno Creek Trail, rather than ride on potentially slippery wooden bridges.  We picked up the trail after the bridges.  Finally, SW Garden Home, SW Multnomah, and finished!

We pulled into Nectar, a frozen yogurt place, as Greg and I wanted expedient, and Bill's burning desire for pizza at the Lucky Lab had abated after those two burritos in North Plains.

Greg: "why is it that your rides are always so epic?"  Really, I do have rides that aren't epic.  Just not the ones Greg comes along on.  He's got this burning desire to do a 9 hr Beaverton-Hagg Lake-Carlton, and, if anyone can, he's it.  Last time he tried, it was rainy and unhelpfully windy.  I do wish him luck.

Happy finishers

I put on my surrogate-Ken persona again, and we did post-ride paperwork and I collected all the cards.  All ready to go in the mail to Ken on Tuesday.

I called Fitz, and it turned out HE was in the Lucky Lab.  He did send a text message, but to someone else :-).  He came over and joined us.  Eventually, after deciding that we couldn't fit both bikes and three people in the Element (only works if one rear seat is completely removed), Bill rode home and we drove around looking for a takeout place that was still open.  Gyros 2 Go made us a couple of dinner special plates, which was entirely satisfactory.

Carried the SPOT, and punched the message button at each control.  You can view the track here, for a few days, anyway.  SpotAdventures isn't working so well for me.

And this is why you don't leave food in your bike bag in between rides

Hot shower.  Long hot shower.  Early bed.  Waking up of natural causes the next morning.

All the pictures here

133 miles in all, including riding to the start.  12:30 elapsed time for the permanent, 12.77 avg speed.
Average temperature 29.8 deg F.
5200 vertical feet, including the ride to the start, which is uphill.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Not Getting Better in Some Respects

So, 11 days after being hit by a car, I thought I should get my January 200k ride in.  Michal and I planned to ride his Five Rivers Permanent.  This would be my 4th time on this route.  I have it pretty much memorized, except for the parts out of Eugene, and the parts back into Eugene.

It was going to be very cold.  Low 25, high, 41.  This called for extreme measures - the Pearl Izumi AmFib tights and really warm gloves.  Spare hats.  My SPOT GPS Messenger :-)

Drove down to Eugene late Saturday afternoon, enjoyed a good dinner, and finished knitting one armhole band on my handspun yarn vest.  Almost done!  Michal's daughter's friend thought we were crazy, but he was going floating on the McKenzie River the next day.  Right.

Good way to start out the day

Up early, and a very, very careful descent down the hill.  No ice.  Whew.

My rear tire looked squashy (?)  Put some air in it, and after some hot chocolate, off we went.

Machine Shop

Uneventful ride out to Walterville (no floaters seen on the river).  Went to drink some water, and my bottle made cracking sounds, because it was now full of slush.  Well, there was a hot drink in the thermal bottle.  Plus a banana and some fruitcake.

Still life in Walterville

Michal, headed to Walterville

Somehow, never did get warm enough to take off the jacket and wear just the vest over the jersey and baselayer. :-) Time to climb up Marcola.  I sucked down a gel before the climb, and up I went.  Then down the other side, and over to the Crawfordsville Store.  We got hot things to drink, and Michal had a corndog.  I really couldn't go there, but did make up another bottle of hot calories.  The cashier was showing pictures of a couple of her new baby lambs.  Adorable.

Then off to Crawfordsville Rd, just about the prettiest part of this ride.  It undulates along past farms, and eventually has a couple of serious undulations at the end.  Then left and left again to climb Fern Ridge.  It seems that every time I encounter Fern Ride, I walk more of it.  Must figure out what that is about.  It has serious bits of 11-13%, and is pretty.  Lots of snow-like substances on the ground this day, but the road was fine.  Colder up there, too.  It had still not gotten above 30 degrees.  Another somewhat careful descent, and  into Sweet Home.  Brief stop there, then on to Lebanon.

I was not working up any great speed.  I told Michal his job was to keep my from abandoning in Lebanon. We got to the control right at the closing time.  My rear tire was again squashy.  We got hot food, which I wasn't too excited about eating, and Michal and I (mostly Michal) got the tire changed.  He was really trying to get me to keep going and I was really not wanting to go anywhere.  I gave him my SPOT and sent him on his way - Cyndi would come rescue me.

DNF in Lebanon

Eventually I did feel like eating, and finished the noodles.  And got a coffee, and Cyndi appeared.  We loaded up the bike and headed out.  Michal had hoped we'd pass him and wave, but that would have taken awhile on the back roads...

But wait!  We knew exactly where he was!  Drove down I-5 a good ways, then headed in to intercept.  I will say that the Supernova and Ixon IQ are amazingly bright headlights.  Wow.  Hellos exchanged and an update on the closing time (he wasn't carrying a cue sheet), and off we went.

I got a very hot shower.  Water bottle was still slushy.  Dinner was eaten, Michal finished and got his dinner, and then I drove home, getting there about midnight.

Post-ride analysis - I did not eat enough.  It is really, really hard to get calories in, even if there is a bottle full of tasty caloric liquid right there.  Must continue working on that.

Next weekend promises considerably warmer weather.  Stay tuned.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Well THIS Year Started Off With A Bang

Not the good kind.

There I was, at about 8:45am on Thursday Jan 3, commuting in to work.  I had just come up the rise on NW  Evergreen from NW Cornell, heading west.  Three more miles to work.  I was in the bike lane.

Then I heard the screeching of brakes, and saw a red car turn left DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME!  My immediate thought was "this is not going to turn out well"... BANG!

I whacked the pavement hard on my left side, two lanes over.  Fortunately there wasn't any westbound traffic, or I'd have been squashed.

The driver did stop and came over.  After expressing relief that I was not dead, the next words: "I didn't see you.  The sun was in my eyes."  I couldn't get up because my left foot was still clipped in, and my left knee was really hurting.  He picked up the bike, I got up, and hobbled over to the side and sat on a stone wall.

He went to put his car in a parking space and came back.  I had called Fitz, hoping he'd be at work, which was only a couple minutes away.  He came back and we exchanged phone numbers and insurance info, and Fitz showed up.

It is possible to put a bike in the back of a Mini.  I thought I'd go into work, which I did, and even caught the last half of my morning meeting.  As everyone was wondering why I was not at the doctor (hey, it was just a hard hit.  I was pretty sure nothing was broken), I finally called Fitz, and off we went.

My doctor was out, so I went to our practice's Urgent Care.  Many x-rays and an EKG later...  Nothing broken.  But the doctor didn't like the EKG.  Off to the ER for further tests.

At which point I entered the Seventh Circle of Hell.  Suffice to say that I arrived about 2pm, and didn't leave until 7:30pm.  I sent Fitz off.  My parents showed up. We sent my dad away (he does not do hospitals well), and we knitted.  It is slightly more difficult to knit with a pulse oximeter on one's finger, but it is possible.

The upshot was that I was fine.  I had snapped a pic of my EKG and sent it off to my brother (cardio-thoracic anesthesiologist).  He emailed back that it was just fine - what he'd expect an athlete's EKG to look like.  If I had known he wasn't working that day, I'd have had him come by and spring me. :-)

So, chest wall contusions and a banged up knee.  But at least I'd get better.

Poor Bleriot - the front fork is done.  The top and down tubes are stressed/deformed near the head tube.  The front wheel rim is compromised.  Don't know if I should trust the handlebars.  LBS declared it totaled.

Front end


I've pulled all the parts off, but for the headset and bottom bracket.  I've priced out what needs replacing, and will ship that off to insurance.  Sigh.

New helmet will be here tomorrow.

In the meantime, once I feel like riding again (probably Wednesday), I have gotten the Gitane back from dear daughter, and converted it to a commute bike.  A rando friend loaned me a 700c generator wheel (there is no way ever I will go back to a battery headlight), and after a couple evenings tweaking it for lighting, a computer, proper pedals...  It is ready.

Gitane, ready to step in as substitute bike

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Cycling

Miles in total, 5804.3.  About a mile less than last year.

Bleriot      1136.75
Sweetpea 4353.64
Lemond     313.91

Sweetpea should break 10000 cumulative miles by February 2013 at the latest.  Bleriot keeps chugging along - great commute/utility bike, and it even went on a 200km checkride for my Michigan permanent.  Clearly Lemond is not getting the love, but it did go on a couple of 200k rides.  Ones that didn't require lighting or luggage or fenders.

Randonneurs USA (RUSA) km ridden: 5295km

771km more than last year, plus finally breaking 5000km

24 rides of more than 100 miles, 18 of which were Randonneurs USA brevets or permanents.

 8  Populaires (< 200k)
14 200k
 2 300k
 1 400k
 1 600k

Another Super Randonneur award, another R-12, and the 5000km distance award.  Not a bad year.

Thank you to all my riding buddies - Michal, Susan, Kevin, David, Lesli, Ray, Theo, and Asta!  Here's to more rides in 2013!