Sunday, February 24, 2013

Perm 1513 Is BACK! (And yeah, I rode it)

Greg reported that the Historic Columbia River Highway was again open, but the under-construction trail which would remove the mile of freeway shoulder was not yet complete.  He registered to ride it.

Scenic Highway

On a completely different track, I was fishing for folks to ride with me that weekend.  Some persons who shall remain nameless wanted to ride 1513, and we settled on Saturday.  Then they backed out.  Michal wanted to ride, but his bike was in the shop.  More to the point, his generator wheel was in the shop.  I dangled a loaner 700c generator wheel in front of him, and he thought he'd be able to ride.

He and Cyndi appeared Friday evening, and we did the wheel swap and made sure our bikes were ok.  Perhaps not as thoroughly as some of us should have.

Down the hill at 6:30, said hi to Greg, and got some more coffee.  We really weren't expecting Greg to ride with us - he can be wonderfully social, and he's a delight to ride with, but there are days when he'd rather turn on the afterburners.  But he thought he'd ride along, at least until we were out of Portland.  The route starts in scenic suburban Beaverton, goes back up by my house, then traverses Portland from SW to NE, before crossing I-205 into Washington.

Foggy ride down through Washington Park, heading through town, then finally across the I-205 bridge and onto Evergreen, the old Hwy 14.  Pause in the Burgerville in Camas (a control, and purveyor of good hot chocolate), then on the new construction east.  SR-14 is getting interesting.  Just follow the signs to Stevenson, or Kennewick or whatever.  Points east.

Camas paper mill

Meadows before the climb

Stopped at Lewis and Clark and the Three Little Bears sign, then up to Cape Horn.  No stops on my part.

Michal at Cape Horn

Little Pink Bear at Cape Horn

me at Cape Horn

We did stop at Cape Horn for pictures, and then enjoyed a lovely descent down to Prindle, at which point there was some pedaling required.  After that, no stops until Stevenson, the turnaround.  Greg left us on the climb to Cape Horn; we didn't see him again.

Snow on the Oregon side

Weather was decent.  I don't believe I have ever done this route in FEBRUARY!  The sun didn't come out, but neither did it rain, or be annoyingly windy or cold.

Pizza for lunch in Stevenson

Stopped in the pizza place on the right, and ate two pieces of pizza.  Michal: "nice to see you not forcing something down".  And so, full of pizza, we headed back, and across the Bridge of the Gods.  Still a bit too breezy to get pictures.

My favorite stretch of the ride was up next - the multiuse path west from Cascade Locks.  We could see the Moffett Creek bridge construction, but still had to hop on the freeway for that one mile.

Nice ride back along the scenic highway - lots of pretty waterfalls and all that.  Brief pause to fix my flat tire. Should have checked it more closely the night before.  I am very, very tired of getting flats with these tires.  These are more flats than I have ever had in my life.  Lovely to ride on when they aren't flat, but...

Then time to climb up to Crown Point.  I explained to Michal that the first person up had to lean over the railing and cheer the others on.  He thought he'd pick it up a bit, and took off.  I had turned on Strava back at Shepperd's Dell, so I could get a reasonably accurate time on the climb.  I could see him ahead for most of the climb, but he did, of course, beat me to the top, and cheered me on from the railing :-)  I was pretty happy with my time as well.

the cool rock before Shepperd's Dell

Note: the pavement from Latourell Falls to Crown Point has been replaced.  It is wonderful to ride on!

Last climb for awhile, up to Women's Forum, and then the wonderful descent down to Troutdale, with the Bell Road part.  Then time to slog back from NE PDX all the way SE.  The control at NE Columbia and NE 47th is now improved with the addition of a Subway and a Dutch Bros. coffee.  We went for hot coffee drinks.

But it was now dark, and navigation was difficult - street signs in Portland are notoriously hard to read in the dark, and the going was slow.  Finally over the river, up through the park (17% grade at the Rose Garden OUCH), up to Sylvan and down.  Would we make it?

It was very, very close.  Two of the three timepieces (my bike computer, which I had been using all day for time, and the SPOT track) had us done in time.  Whew.

Then slowly back up the hill for a shower and dinner.  Fitz made up a big pot of hot and sour soup, which was great.

Aftermath:  I bit the bullet and pulled out the Soma Xpress tires.  They are 650B x 38, which is somewhat larger than my fender installation could deal with.  I had new fender stays, but it was just a lot of work.  Spent the entire Sunday afternoon refitting the fenders (oh, new brake pads, too).  Stay tuned for a review of the tires...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lunch in Vernonia and a Really Big Milestone

I couldn't ride the 200k last Saturday, as I had other plans, but managed to convince Susan that she could not work on Sunday, and ride the North Plains - Banks-Vernonia Linear Trail 100k.

Framing is everything

We started at the somewhat civilized hour of 9am, rode the uneventful 8 or so miles to Banks, bought snacks in the grocery, and headed north on the trail.  It was foggy, but was supposed to clear off and warm up.  It did neither.

But we had great fun riding through the misty forest.  As Susan had just ridden a 200k the day before, we were mostly at social pace, but I did, perhaps, just a tiny bit, enjoy dropping her on the few hills on the route.

Susan, glove in mouth

Susan had tried an energy bar creation of her own devising, so she gave me a piece.  Tasty.  I gave her some fruitcake.

Susan taking a picture of me

We looped around Vernonia Lake - Susan didn't know it was there (I didn't either, until Ray showed me), and answered the info control question.  Then back to Black Bear Cafe for lunch, before returning.  They've got a new bike rack.

Lunch at Black Bear

A couple of cyclists came in after us, and one looked really familiar... it was the father of one of my Girl Scouts, who was also involved with the Cub Scout pack, so we got to catch up on everyone's doings in the past, mmm, 18 years.   Plus, of course, talk about cycling.  I apparently inspired him those many years ago.  Cool.

Lunch arrived, and I snarfed my way through the Reuben sandwich and fries and coffee.

Time to head back.  The mist was still with us.  I stopped to get a picture in a stretch of very tall trees.  Susan and I stood there for awhile, listening to a pack of coyotes singing off in the woods.

Doesn't Susan look tiny?

Fog and moss

We stopped in Banks for hot chai.  As it was a control, there was some dithering in the booth, but we got hand-written receipts.

Susan in Banks on the return

Finished up at 6:05 elapsed time.  Not the fastest, but the point of this particular populaire is not speed.

Good day!

Oh, and that milestone...
Sweetpea joined Bleriot (being repaired, it will return) and Lemond in the 10,000+ mile club. Big smile!

All the pics here

Friday, February 1, 2013

First Commute in over Three Weeks

Not that I haven't been riding.  But somehow, riding to work was just not very appealing.  There was more than enough apprehension about the whole thing to want to do it again.

First commute on the Gitane

First, I needed a bike.  Husband suggested I repurpose Sweetpea.  Daughter and I both gave him the Glare of Disbelief.  Bad enough my Rivendell got whacked on a commute.  Not to mention that bike parking at work is outside, and I don't get there early enough to score one of the few covered spaces.

I had retrieved the Gitane from Daughter, and thought I had it ready to go.  Mike R. loaned me a 700c SON generator wheel; I swapped over lighting, pedals and adjusted my panniers to fit on the Gitane's venerable Blackburn rear rack.  Rode it around the block for a quick test.

Six days later, I hopped on, ready to ride into work.  Except I was pedaling, and nothing was happening.  The vintage Maillard Helicomatic freewheel was not engaging.  After a bit of searching around the Usual Suspects, looking for a replacement freewheel that did not cost a small fortune, I decided that I wasn't as invested in the vintage-ness of the Maillard Helicomatic components as I had been when I originally restored the bike. Velo Orange offered a nice 126mm freewheel-compatible hub rear wheel, and a 14-28 Shimano Hyperglide 6 speed freewheel, the same range as the Helicomatic, was found somewhere else.  I couldn't get any fancier, because then I'd need a new derailleur and so on and so on.

It all arrived, did the installation... and the temperature plummeted.  Freezing fog.  Especially where I work.  Waited that out.  Finally, this past Tuesday night, got everything ready.  Up at 6, on the road by 7:30.

And it was a completely uneventful commute, which was good, because Gitane and I had to get used to each other!  Kept reaching for the bar end shifters.  Not.  The bike doesn't have the gravitas of the Riv (translate - weighs somewhat less :-) ).  It can feel downright zippy.

Commute home had a few apprehensive moments in the dark along NW Evergreen before the shopping center.  High speed limit, and the bike was twitchy.  But I survived it.

Fast forward two days (today).  Convinced Fitz to commute also (he turns off about 1.5 miles before I do).  The bike felt much better.  Rode over to Hawthorn Farms for an after lunch meeting (just under 2 miles) with a lunch date with the son, who works there.  Discovered on the ride over (cutting through Orenco Station), that I can ride no-hands.  I can shift with impunity.  Today was a 24+ mile day.