Monday, October 28, 2013

Alsea Loop 200k, in Between Coffeeneuring

The real reason I was going to Eugene was to ride with Lesli and Michal.  Lesli picked the date, and we settled on the Alsea 200 in a not-entirely-explainable process.


Rather than drive (I really don't like to drive, especially after dark), I planned to take the train to and from.  So, at 4pm on Friday, I left work, went home, stuffed the Last Few Things into my daypack, hopped on the bike and rode up to the Sunset Transit Station, to catch the MAX downtown.

Arrived just as a train arrived, enabled one of my Tri-Met electronic tickets (HOW COOL IS THAT?), joined 6 other cyclists in the train car (there were also non-cyclists, and technically, the car maxes out at 4 bikes.  If it was crowded, I'd have been out of luck), and exited the train at Pioneer Square.  A bit of wandering around looking for the best way to head north; SW 6th St goes RIGHT THERE, but it is also the transit mall, and I did not want to mix it up with buses and the MAX Yellow Line.  Walked down to SW 4th, and went that way.

On the platform

Got to the station, got my bike baggage ticket, and immediately got in line to board the train.  The ride down was uneventful; the Eugene-bound cars were half full, so we all had window seats.  It was dark before we left Oregon City, so I entertained myself with knitting some booties for Asher (the new grandson I have only mentioned once.  I am a terrible grandma.).

Little Pink Bear on the train

Cyndi was waiting when the train arrived, we stuffed the bike in the van, drove home, visited and had a yummy dinner.  5:30am was going to happen pretty early, so we all turned in.

The alarm went off right in the middle of a dream about eating on a Rando ride.  So very weird.

Yes.  So.  Pre-ride breakfast and two cups of great coffee, then down the very steep hill in the dark to meet Lesli and coffeeneur.

After that, we started out.  Climbed back up the hill on the other side, then down (it was chilly).  We headed west toward Crow, and Lesli and I grilled Michal about his impending new custom Winter bicycle.  It has a color now.  And a list of parts.  Maybe the rear mudflap will stay straight.  One can hope.  I myself am trying to squelch the "I want a new bike TOO!" impulse.

Brief stop in Crow, then north through Veneta, where I almost skewered a wrong-way cyclist.  Michal was saying "there is a coffee shop in what used to be a church and a kamikazi cyclist and..." and then I saw her.  Ack.

This is not flat terrain.  Lots of undulations, not very long, but also 5-7%.

Eventually we ended up in Monroe, home of the generous ice cream servings.  Now, it had been chilly and drizzly up to this point, but somehow, we all bought ice cream anyway.  I also bought a turkey, cheese and pickle sandwich, big enough for now and later.

Lesli and Michal on McFarland Rd

Then west a bit and north some more, over the gravel stretch on McFarland.  Really more like dirt and hardly any washboard.  Further north to Decker Rd (a bit of a climb there), and then a left on Hwy 34 where the first sustained climb begins.  Lesli and I told Michal he didn't have to wait for us. About 4.5 miles later, we reassembled at the top, zipped up vests and jackets, and enjoyed the subsequent 8 mile descent.  We even saw patches of sunlight!

The control in Alsea is at John Boy's Mercantile, where there are deep fried poppers, Pepsi, and pickles in jars.  I scored an actual store stamp on my perm card, and we settled down at the big table inside to eat.  After seeing Joe P's Facebook posting about donuts at Top Pot, Michal had a sudden craving for donuts and bought a box of them.  We helped out as best we could, eating one right away, and taking one along for later.

Michal was overcome by a need for donuts

Lesli, headed out of Alsea


There was a mile or two of flat, and then we started up South Fork Rd.  Starts out steep (9%).  Michal: "this isn't the REAL climb.".  Me: "the REAL climb is easier."  And it mostly is, and very pretty as well, at least until Alsea Falls.  We didn't stop at the falls this day, but kept going.

Climbing up from Alsea on South Fork Rd

The climb got steeper here, and I didn't remember it going on for quite so long the last time we rode it.  Seemed like forever, winding in and out of the hillside, going up and up and up and up.  But it was only 4 miles from the falls to the summit at 1300'.  (I am sorry I looked at the elevations on Ride With GPS.  No wonder it hurt.)

Found Michal and Lesli pulling on outer layers again.  I zipped up the vest and pulled on long finger gloves.  The descent is a very steep 2.5 miles, and a bit technical at the top.  But I still had fun with it.  More undulations through Alpine and back to Monroe, where we made a quick stop for beverages and a bit of food.  Not a control this time.

Headed off to the Long Tom Grange, passing many pastures filled with cattle.  At one point Lesli rode up behind me and I heard "Hello there, handsome!"  Um.  I don't think she was talking to me.  She confirmed that she'd been chatting up the livestock the entire ride.

The terrain was still a bit lumpy, but once we got across the Territorial Hwy, it flattened out.  It was also getting quite dim, and I was hanging on to Michal and Lesli for all I was worth.  I did manage to eat some while riding along, but I was really wanting to get to Alvadore and catch my breath.  It seems to take forever to get there.

Alvadore, OR

Stopped in Alvadore for a snack (Fig Newtons) and a receipt.  Michal and Lesli also kindly backed the pace off a little bit :-)   More not particularly exciting riding in the dark, but at mile 123.6 we got onto the Fern Ridge Trail, which is an amazing path.  Wide, with lighting!  Too dark to see the herons, but we were on the outskirts of Eugene by now, and the ambient light brightened it up a bit.  I just followed along, and we eventually popped out by a school onto the surface streets, and then a few more blocks back to our start.

Lesli decided to get some groceries and go home.  I had wimped out on riding up the hill so many times previously (as in, I had so far, ridden up it ONCE), that I WAS going to ride up it this time.  Success.

After dinner, Michal thought I should take some home-roasted coffee back with me.  So I watched him roast up a batch.  Drank some this morning.  Tasty.

134 miles in all.

The route, best viewed with terrain on.
All the pictures here.

Coffeeneur #6, Morning Glory, Eugene

Michal and I thought we could squeeze in another coffeeneur on the way to taking me to the Eugene Amtrak Station.

Cyndi had an errand to run, so she would be meeting us there, and carrying my daypack, which had somehow acquired a book and a jar of home-roasted coffee...

Of course there was wonderful coffee beforehand, but that has never stopped me from drinking more coffeeneur-approved™ beverages.

Fortunately, it was considerably less dark and foggy than the day before, but somehow, no less steep.  I am not exactly sure how we got there (well, sort of sure), but there was the train station, Morning Glory, and Cyndi.

They have a fun bike rack setup, and a giant bicycle wheel sculpture outside.

Bike rack, Morning Glory coffee

Went in and ordered (this is Eugene; what sort of milk-like substance did I want in my chai?  Dairy.), then walked my bike across the street to get its luggage tag.  Very low key.

Back for the chai, some pictures, and further visiting before it was time to catch the train.

Coffeeneur #6, Cyndi and Michal

(picture by Michal Young; train station out the window to the left)

Coffeeneur #6, 3.84 miles, Morning Glory, Eugene, OR

We walked my bike over to the baggage car, and I handed it up, said good-byes and got onto my car (PDX bound, cars 6 and 7).

Another very fun weekend!

Chai, 3.84 mi, Morning Glory Cafe

Coffeeneur #5 in Eugene, Market of Choice

Another posting will tell about the subsequent 200k and all that.

Coffeeneur #5, before sunrise

By my interpretation and MG's clarification, it isn't an organized ride unless you sign a release.  No releases for riding to the start, despite the dark, fog, and wickedly steep hill.

As Michal mentioned, he'd already filled me up with Really Good Coffee before we left to ride down to the start.  It was dark, foggy, and chilly, and we were meeting Lesli to go ride Michal's Alsea Loop 200k.

I was kind of hoping to get in a coffeeneuring double this weekend, because access to a bicycle and events for next weekend are conspiring against me.

After successfully dropping off the hill (steep, steep, steep, slightly sketchy pavement), missing my drowned Luxos U the entire way, we arrived at Market of Choice.  Lesli was already there.  My odometer said 2.04 miles.  Bingo!

Coffeeneuring #5 Market of Choice

Inside for hot chocolate!  Michal took pictures, I took pictures, Lesli tried really hard to look stoic in all of them...

Coffeeneur #5, Michal

(picture by Michal Young)

Lesli.  I don't know if she's coffeeneuring or is just a ride-along

And then it was much lighter, and we set out to ride the perm.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Coffeeneur #4, South Store Cafe

I was casting about for a coffeeneur for this weekend, but was a bit time-constrained today because we were scheduled to babysit Asher (perhaps I haven't said here, but we became grandparents on May 28.)

I could have done an expedient one, but really wanted to do something with other people.  And the weather was going to be OUTSTANDING.

how could we not, it was such a perfect day?

Susan O proposed the South Store Cafe in Scholls.  She was reserving the right to do a longer ride, but I could easily get home from there in plenty of time.  After much thinking, I planned to ride over to Susan's for an 8:30am (ish) departure, so as to get in more riding, and not have to ride back to her house and drive home, as Scholls is closer to where I live.

Up at 6-ish, and out the door right around 7:30.  It was cold.  Nice view of the moonset on my way over.

Moonset, headed over to Susan's

Arrived to find a bicycle with sparkly reflective green stars all over it by the front door.  Clearly Asta was in on this.  And so was Jeff!  We spent a fair amount of time chatting before finally heading out.

After working our way though East Hillsboro and onto River Road, we got out into the country.  I did call a photo halt at Northwest Alpacas, because there were lots of baby alpacas and they were all so darn cute.

Cría (baby alpaca)

More alpaca cuteness

Right turn at the new traffic circle at River Rd and Scholls Ferry, and over to the South Store Cafe, which I have ridden past many times, but not ever stopped.  It is right across the road from Smith's BerryBarn, which is the raspberry u-pick of choice.

South Store Cafe

Mmm!  Freshly baked cookies!

It was wonderful.  Jeff ordered two things, plus coffee, Susan went for the strata, and Asta and I ordered up some Italian Torta, which was an egg/spinach/roasted red pepper/tomato layered pie.  And coffee.  Can't forget that.  I got a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Italian Torta

Pumpkin Spice Latte and rapidly dwindling torta

Susan and Asta

Enjoyed our coffee, food, and the company.  Jeff went and ordered more food; I bought a cookie.  Asta bought some cookies.  The staff thought we were great fun, and delivered a plate of pumpkin pastries with frosting on the house. :-) Yum.

Bonus pastries! They liked us!

After a good long while, Susan, Asta, and Jeff set out to ride down to St Paul, and I headed home.

There was major road construction at Scholls Ferry and Roy Rogers.  I had a great conversation with the flagger during the very long wait.  I haven't ridden on this stretch of Scholls Ferry for a couple of years.  Still rural and very pretty.  Then into the south edge of Beaverton.  I worked my way north on SW 125th, Greenway, the Fanno Creek Trail...

I hope this is the start of the Hall Blvd mid-block crossing

In fact they want you to cross this way

Brief stop at the battery store before finally arriving home.

The route:

39.8 miles
Fabulous weather!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Beaverton-Birkenfeld, Sept 200k Perm

The September 200k.  When I fall behind in posting, the ride report gets a bit terse...

Interesting building

Roped Jeff, Kevin, Bill, and new rando Greg P into riding.

At 5:50am on day of ride, Fitz woke me up, asking: "when are you starting your ride?"  OOPS (which is why I get most everything set up the night before)  He woke up wondering why I hadn't been rustling around.  Kind of like when your baby sleeps through the night for the first time, I guess.

Down to Jim and Patty's, where I had time for a Pig Newton and Mocha.  We started only 10 minutes after the official start.

Pig Newton

Black Tiger SlammaHamma

It was cool, but not raining.  We didn't stop until Banks, and not for long.  Then no stops till Vernonia.  As we were on the trail, no places to stop :-)  Except there might have been a bit of walking up Tophill.

We all ended up in different spots for the control in Vernonia; Jeff and I stopped at the Shell Station.  It also being Worldwide Spin in Public day, I had packed my Trindle and some fleece, and got in a few minutes of spinning there.

lastly, the reddish brown fleece

From there, we headed on to Birkenfeld.  We thought we might encounter the riders from the Hammerhead 100 along here.  I was a bit worried, because their lunch stop was The Birk.  The sag driver saw us and asked if we were on the ride.  Nope.

Most of our bikes in the rack

Arrived at Birkenfeld to find all the event riders long gone.  Greg was there; the ride staff had gifted him with some excess Gatorade, which he shared.  Ordered a sandwich and foraged for info control questions, since the Birk is now a "Music Venue", and is only open from 11am to not so late on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  They no longer have a store, so be prepared for that.  The food is really good, though, and service is quite reasonably paced.

Handwritten receipt at The Birk

Got in some more spinning.

Worldwide Spin In Public Day

We then headed back.  And it started to rain.  Ok, not bad.  Not pulling on all the raingear...  Then quickly pulled over at the Mist Fire Department and pulled on all the raingear!  First excursion with the Rainlegs.

Rained all the way back to Vernonia; another pass through the Shell Station for the control.

Headed back on the trail, the rain let up and finally stopped after we summited.

And eventually we finished; Kevin and I about 15 minutes behind everyone else.  I had recommended we finish at YoPop, so that is where we found them.  The owner was giving out free samples of Thai Iced Tea!  Yum!

Finish at YoPop

Miles: 135
Pace: 13.12 mph
Total time: 12:48

Coffeeneuring #3, Research Subject

As a Human Factors Engineer, I am usually on the other side of the table :-)

Janice C, a fellow rando, is doing research on the why of Ride Reports, especially in Blogs.  (Hi Janice!  I know you are reading this!).  She contacted me, because she'd be in town and would we like to meet?

So, yes, of course.  I rummaged around for a location for the conversation (she had a bike with her, of course) which fulfilled the coffeeneuring requirements for her.  Just by riding into Portland from the other side of the hill covered it for me.

Fall Colors, Washington Park

I was to look for a woman with a blue Bike Friday and yellow jacket.  I told her to look for a woman with a blue Rivendell and yellow jacket.

Pretty ride through Washington Park, but not having yet had any coffee, I wasn't feeling alert enough to bomb down through.  I think I need to consider Midge handlebars for the Riv as well; easier to grab the brakes with my little hands.

Found Janice, off to Spielman Bagels and Coffee (they roast their own!).  Picked because bagels and Hawthorne Bridge and Ladd's Addition.  If one is showing off Portland, these are not bad places to go.

No bike rack there!  Fortunately there was a really tall signpost.

Two blue bikes

We took over the end of a table, and ordered coffee and bagels.  For the coffeeneuring documentation, I had the house coffee.  I forget what the first pot was, but my refill was Sumatra Mandheling.  Bagel was "Everything, toasted, with lox cream cheese".

Janice C

Evidence of coffee (and knitting!)

Research done, with various enjoyable conversational excursions.

Returned Janice to her hotel, chugged back up the hill (and it felt MUCH BETTER than it did on the easier outgoing trip), and returned home to start Birthday Dinner preparations.

Fall Colors, Washington Park

23+ miles.  Real vertical feet.  Coffee.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Coffeeneuring, Rides 1 and 2

Busy weekend.

Coffeeneuring #1 Saturday, Oct 5.
My first coffee Saturday came to me from Eugene, some lovely stuff from Wandering Goat. I was running the Oregon Randonneurs October 200k, starting at Jim and Patty's Coffee in Beaverton.  That would certainly be a coffeeneuring opportunity for me, and I headed out shortly before 6am to get there.  Riders had to take a slightly more circuitous route from the finish to the start, to get in the minimum distance, but quite a few did.  I heard speculation in the driveway as to if there would be a secret control.  Yes indeed, but it was a secret, so I wasn't telling.

Jim and Patty's Coffee

Step into my office

I ordered myself a pumpkin latte and set up the registration table.  Riders showed up shortly thereafter and kept the baristas busy making drinks and selling Pig Newtons (also available in vegetarian!)

Randonneurs swarm Jim and Patty's

At 7am I sent them off, and sat down to wait out the hour until the control closed.  About 20 minutes into it, I saw a rider heading in, and wondered who would have turned back this early?  Well, it wasn't a rider.  Fitz thought he'd give this coffeeneuring thing a try.

Right after 8am we rode over to the Beaverton Farmers' Market, where we ordered Mexi-Mochas from Pony Espresso, and picked up a few items for us and for the post ride feed.

Fitz and me at Pony Espresso

Then home.  I had even MORE coffee later; Jeff brought the bottled cold brewed Stumptown coffee to the after party.  It is a wonder I could sleep that night.

Jeff didn't ride, but he brought this

Total distance 4.45 mi

Coffeeneuring #2, Sunday, Oct 6
There was an original proposal to meet at a Hillsboro coffeehouse, but Ryan from Portland thought we should come into town.  In a spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship, we agreed to meet up at Blend.  Other weekends we will meet out on the west side.

Shan, Narayan, and Lesli had stayed over after the 200k.  The guys left around 6am, and Lesli had breakfast with us, and set off on her errands.

Left at 9:20am, and rode up to the Sunset Transit Station to meet up with Bill and Susan (already on the train).  We rode north from the Rose Quarter to Blend, where Ryan was waiting.  He'd already had his first coffeeneur with Joshua B downtown.

Jeff A, Asta, Theo, Steph, and Birthday Boy Ken M joined us.

Asta's sparkly bike and my Riv parked at Blend

I had a Harvest Moon coffee/chai latte thing (tasty) and a scone, and accomplished a fair amount of knitting on my Handspun Lily of the Valley scarf.

Evidence - Harvest Moon (chai latte) and scone at Blend

progress on the lace scarf

Eventually Ken and Bill had to be other places, but we sat and chatted and drank more coffee, and eventually Theo wondered if anyone else was hungry (it was now 2:45pm).  Some more discussion, and we rode over to Old Gold, where there were non-coffee drinks and lunch.  I had the mac and cheese.  Finally, about 4pm, we all rode south, each peeling off as needed to get home.  Took the MAX back over the hill with Susan, and arrived home before 5pm.  Longest coffeeneur ever.

Total distance 10.25 mi

More pictures from Saturday and Sunday are here.  Lots of brevet afters pics.