Saturday, June 28, 2014

What Is Left In Stayton Is There When You Get Back

Mill City Coffee Run.  Again.  Jeff M and Lee O were attempting their inaugural 200ks, and this is the easiest route there is.

We are remodeling, and nothing in the house is where it should be.  Everything from most of the house is piled in two rooms.  And somewhere in that disarray, my bike computer vanished...  You know, little black plastic thingie, easy to spot, right?  This wasn't going to work out. So, after a little mulling it over, I realized I did have Strava on my phone, and my phone does plug into my Luxos U headlight.  The phone would auto-lock, and I wouldn't be able to see it, but at least it would be recording.

Tossed in the rain jacket at the last minute; probably wouldn't need it.

We all met at the Wilsonville Starbucks in plenty of time for ordering things.  I ordered a really big mocha, fully planning to pour it into my waiting empty thermal bottle.

Vineyards and wildflowers

Uneventful stretch south.  I lost everyone on the hills at the south end of Howell Prairie, but found them again in Stayton.  Not without rolling over some glass right before the store and flatting :-(  Went into the store to stock up, and came out to find Ray starting in on my flat.  I pulled out the spare tire, because there was a huge gash in my relatively new tire :-( and we quickly got it all back together.  The only size Gatorade they sold was large, so I left the remainder under the mailbox, hoping it might be waiting for me on the return.


Lost everyone before Lyons.  And I started to wonder if my tire irons had made it back into my bag.  Hoped I wouldn't flat again...  Arrived at Rosies; verified that my tire irons were indeed not with me, and had coffee and half a sticky bun and some sandwich.  Borrowed a couple of tire irons from Lee, just in case.  Back down to Stayton.

My Gatorade was waiting, so I refilled my bottle.  The tire irons were where they had been left.  So was my flatted tube. Returned Lee's tire irons.  I like Stayton.

Watched everyone pull away just out of Stayton, then it started raining.  Pulled on my jacket, and continued on.  Found everyone under trees in Aumsville - Lee had gotten a flat.  Given the speed differential of the day, I headed out, figuring they'd find me somewhere on Howell Prairie.

Red barn, southern end of Howell Prairie Rd

I did briefly stop at the gas station - it had quit raining, and I was getting warm in my rain jacket.  The phone was happily recording away, and still at about 100% charge.

Onward.  No riders behind me.  Very strange.  Got to Gervais, and as I was waiting in line with my purchases, they all pulled in.  Lee didn't get very far, like maybe a block, before he had a second flat.

Same story here, watched everyone pull away.  I think.  Maybe I miscounted.  Anyway, somewhere along Butteville Rd, Jeff M came along, and thought he'd stay with me.  I kept trying to hang on, and just kept getting slower and slower and...  you know, I think my tire has a slow leak.  Yes, it did.  We pumped it up, because it had taken 60+ miles to get squashy.  Pumped it up one more time, went a little bit and pulled over.  I didn't want it going flat on I-5.  Only thing we could do here is change the tube; fortunately, I had a second spare.

We made it over the river on I-5 and into the finish with no further excitement.

Once I got home, I checked the Strava recording - pretty cool, it got it all!  Plus, recorded two trips over the Boone Bridge on I-5 for ODOT.

Permanent Populaire # 2390: Crystal Lake - Onekama - Bear Lake

A lake-filled jaunt along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

route here
cue sheet
registration form

The route starts in Frankfort, Michigan.  You can get a receipt at the c-store at 7th and Main, or the Family Fair grocery at 10th and Main, or the Crescent Bakery (worth the stop!) at 4th and Main.  All good things are on Main :-)

So.  You'll go east a few blocks before turning onto 9th, and onto the Betsie Valley Trail for a short while.  When you get to Elberta, just over the bridge, you'll turn right onto M-22, which is also USBR 35.

After some ups, with a fabulous view of Lake Michigan and downs, you arrive in Onekama.  There are a couple of convenience stores, a grocery, and a tavern or two along the road.  I recommend the EZ-Mart at the Marathon Gas Station, on the right; the turn onto Third is on the left.  All the rando-friendly food and beverage offerings are at the back on the right.  Clean bathrooms to the right at the door.

Now turning away from Lake Michigan, you proceed up to Bear Lake (Gas station C-store at intersection of Hwy 31, another at 13 Mile Rd, a bit of a detour off the route).

Then proceeding north, away from main roads, and away from places to get food or water, until Benzie.  It is all very quiet up there.

Keep your hands on the brakes on the descent from Forester Rd to River Rd.  Steep drop.

You will get back onto the Betsie Valley Trail at mile 45.6, from River Rd.   The surface will change to crushed gravel, and then sand over gravel.  I have had no trouble riding on either with my 32mm tires.  DO NOT LEAVE THE TRAIL UNTIL BENZIE.  The property owners on either side take a dim view of that.  But do enjoy the views of Crystal Lake!

Benzie has many places to get something to eat and drink.  Recommended: L'Chayim, Cool Cat (ice cream), Lucky Dog (grill).  The Cherry Hut, on US-31 is a tradition, but slow service.

Now, heading out of town, you circle around Crystal Lake, and head back to Frankfort, and the delights of Main Street!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Riding for that Big Train Coffee

Ray and I set out to ride the North Plains Banks Vernonia perm pop on a sunny Friday.  I have all the days off, and he had that Friday off, so we weren't under any time constraints, other than the route time limit.

Vernonia Lake; old lumber building

Met up at the North Plains McDonalds.  Ray immediately made my bag heavier by returning a stack of validated perm cards.  We both ordered the sausage burrito and coffee.  Great birthday breakfast for Ray.

Birthday Boy Ray at the start

The 10 miles to Banks is over wonderfully quiet roads, even on a weekday.  There was a detour from Roy, because something is being done with the railroad tracks.  Not sure if they are laying a new spur or moving the track.  If they are moving the track, that would open up some new rail trail possibilities, possibly taking us away from Crazy Guy's home.  (he yells, but not recently.  Must have changed his meds.)

Banks is no longer a control, because there isn't a shorter way, but we stopped anyway, because there was no electrolyte drink at my house, other than nasty grape-flavored G2, which, besides being grape flavor, also lacks calories.  Must restock.  But with what?  More EFS?  Skratch? Gatorade powder?

Then on to the trail, for 20 miles of riding bliss.  A few miles after leaving Banks, we saw a couple of canines trotting along side by side, with no adult supervision.  Not coyotes.  As we got closer, Ray was of the thought that they were guard dogs or herding dogs.  So we slowed down.  Way down.  They looked at us Very Intently (I am a chicken about loose dogs).  Ray eventually convinced them to leave the trail, and we scooted by as stealthily as possible.  A bit further on, we came upon a couple with their dog, out for a stroll, so we stopped and asked if they had met those dogs.  Yes they had.  Romulus and Remus, belong to a neighbor, always getting out, and not the sharpest knives in the drawer.  Their dog, Callie, was, of course, gifted.  She was also quite friendly. :-)

After a long conversation, we headed off again.  We had a definitely noticeable headwind, and were gradually climbing.  But, knowing that the descent on the other side would make up time, we weren't too concerned.

Conversations about our respective unsuccessful 400k attempts.  We both gave it up for similar reasons - riding with others at a pace outside our comfort zones, so spending the whole time chasing, just really stressful, and it wasn't going to get any better.  Maybe we should ride these things together.

Such a nice day.  We had arm warmers, wind vests and knee warmers along, and never put them on.

Summitted.  Down and UP at Tophill, and then the easy cruise (well, maybe a bit of work with the headwind) into Vernonia.  First we had to find the info control at Vernonia Lake.  The trail was still open, but will close on June 9 for sewer work.  As it was, we had to portage over a couple of temporary pipes in the trail.

And the trail will be closed for the rest of June

Ray portaging over sewer works pipes

Vernonia Lake was spectacular in the sun.

Vernonia Lake

Info control rituals complete, we headed for the REAL stop - Black Bear Coffee Company.  Scored a table on the patio, and ordered a 20 oz Big Train Mocha (Big Train anything just means iced blended.  Perfect on a warm day!), and a Reuben with potato salad.  The server made a 24oz one by mistake ("I am new.  It is my fourth day here").  No worries.  Whatever I didn't finish there, I would just dump in my bottle.  It could only improve the taste of the remains of the Caffe Latte Perpetuem.

Big Train Mocha

Electrolyte bottle enhanced with some Hammer Fizz tablets.

We devoured our lunches, visited with other cyclists, and then set out.  With a LOVELY tailwind, and the easier climb - not as long - and the glorious descent on the other side.

Sun and shade

Took some serious shaking to get my mocha to a melted enough state that I could drink it from my bottle.

No encounters with Romulus and Remus on the return.

Ray on Wilkesboro Rd

Mt Hood and silo

Time was pretty much the same time it takes to complete this ride.  It isn't hard, but I can't think of a single time where we didn't stop for a sit-down lunch at Black Bear :-) We aren't in a hurry.

Post-ride sodas.  Ray had forgotten his phone, but at least he hadn't lost it, so he wouldn't get in trouble for that.  And Mrs. Ray likes it when he rides with me, because she can always check our location on my SPOT page.

All the pictures here

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fourth R-12 Complete! And on a Very Nice Day!

June.  The penultimate month of my current R-12 cycle.  The entire world seemed to be conspiring to eat up my weekends (yes, I can ride any day, but I like company!)  After working through a couple of available dates, Kevin and I settled on Sunday, June 1.  Jeff decided to join us.  Excellent!  A ride with some of the Usual Suspects!


We settled on an expedient route - minimal controls, not overly challenging, and not much travel time.  Hillsboro-Dallas.

For this ride, I had a couple of homemade peanut butter on Costco raisin bread sandwiches, some packets of Perpetuem and some Heed and Skratch.  And fruit cake.  I could get V8 and bananas along the way.

Met at the Hillsboro/Century Fred Meyer, and departed only 7 minutes late.  This time, my fault.  It was chilly, making me very glad that I tossed in a windbreaker and knee warmers at the last minute, and cloudy.  The clouds were supposed to burn off by midday.

Outgoing, the wind seemed light and undecided.  I couldn't tell if it was helping or not.  Brief pause in Lafayette, because I couldn't last any longer.  We admired Jeff's Rice Cake of Perfection.  I make the same ones, but they are never as firm and precisely shaped.  I did buy and consume a banana, so I'd be a customer.


Off to the control in Dayton, where I bought V8 and a jug of water, to refill my bottles.  We told the cashier we'd see her again in a few hours.

Once through Amity, we entered the prettiest part of the ride.  Everything is freshly green and leafed out, and the fields of meadowfoam are blooming.  I learned the difference between a silo (round) and an elevator (oblong, squared edges).

Meadowfoam and an elevator

Kevin on Bethel Rd

We zipped past the antique machinery in Perrydale, but Jeff planned to get a picture on the way back.  Up and over the four big rollers, admiring the view.  I like that there are ponds up on the hillsides.  And interesting barns.

Perrydale Rd barn

Perrydale Rd

Crossed over Hwy 22, then the last three grades into Dallas and the Safeway.  My lunch consisted of a ripe peach and hummus and pretzel chips.  Plus a jug of water.  I have decided that either I do not like Heed, or those packets are really old.  Ditched what was left and restarted with Skratch.  Getting less fond of Perpetuem as well, but I'll suffer through it until I have used it up.  Fortunately, I still like fruitcake and peanut butter on raisin bread.  Anyway, we managed to fritter away time here, before heading back.

Before departure, we all applied sunscreen.  First usage of the season here in the northwest!

We had a headwind sometimes, heading back, but it didn't seem oppressive.  Of course, I could park myself behind Jeff just about any time.

The view headed back on Perrydale is even better, because on the last roller, the entire valley spreads out in front.

Perrydale Rd looking north

Aside: We discussed a possible route variation on Perrydale, which cuts off Hwy 99 long before Bethel Rd.  I did some research upon getting home - it would be 1.1 miles less each way, and there appear to be 2 miles of singularly nasty, deep, loose gravel.  Nah.

Jeff: "didn't your bear used to be pink?"  I could replace it, but as Jeff said, and I agree, it just wouldn't be the same.

Jeff pauses to take pictures of those two tractors

Rusty roof, Bethel Rd and Perrydale Rd

Silos and elevators, Bethel Rd

Kevin was by now being overcome with sneezes.  I suggested getting some Claritin in Dayton.  And we pulled into the Dayton market, greeted the cashier, and... there was Susan O!  and Asta!  They were out doing the inaugural ride of her new perm.  She had invited me along, but Kevin and I consulted and thought we'd leave climbing Bald Peak for another day :-)  It was mile 88 for them as well, and delightfully serendipitous to meet up.  Susan took her helmet off at the control (Unheard of), and SAT DOWN on the sidewalk to eat.  She also showed off her new handlebar bag (!)  The upshot of all this is that Susan had some Claritin she gave to Kevin.

Caught some flak for the Red Bull I added to my water bottle.  I like it, and it doesn't mess with my stomach at all.  (and NO, I didn't drink any on the 400k attempt.)

Susan's helmet is off at a control


They set out to climb Bald Peak, and we set out for approximately the same distance, but not any real climbing but for a few rollers.  Kevin was now in his Claritin happy place.

Jeff pointed to a field which looked like a swarm of insects or an alien life form was rising up and floating by.  Except it was neither - that was pollen.  I had never seen that before; pretty cool, unless you were Kevin.

Heading through Gaston, a driver pulled out as if to pass; there was oncoming traffic RIGHT THERE, and he passed me anyway.  There really wasn't room; fortunately, no ditch to my right.  This ride had an astounding number of exceptionally bad drivers, who would pass when they didn't have a clear line of sight up ahead (hills, curves), or would pass with oncoming traffic and cut back in unsafely.  Usually there are only one or two stupid ones.

Wheatfield - it smelled so good!

Kevin was stung by a bee, but after a quick check, we kept going.  He didn't want Jeff's sting stuff, because the sting was right by his eye.

Paused at the golf course.  Sadly, right after the snack bar closed.  There was a water fountain outside, and I filled my empty bottle.  Then I took a sip.  Worst. Tasting. Water. Ever.  Checked the contents of my other bottle; that would get me to the end.

Last few miles.  We were planning on a celebration at the Hawaiian BBQ at the corner, but, sadly, they closed just before we got there (story of our lives, this ride).  We elected to go over to the Carl's Jr and have big burgers instead.  And yummy milkshakes.

Celebratory Milkshakes

Fourth R-12 in the books!

Many more pictures here

Monday, June 2, 2014

Well, I Got to the Border

And took some nice pictures along the way.

The plan was to ride the SIR Run for the Border 400k.  Short version - had food, ate/drank every 15 minutes, and by the time we arrived at Dan Turner's house (control, mile 145), there I was, bonking or something.  Took 45 minutes to eat a wrap and chips.  Stomach didn't improve.  Head went to all the wrong places.  Abandoned in Sedro Woolley at mile 175.

And it started out so well :-(

Stepping back from the long ones until I can figure this out.  I have been successful on rides when I was using EFS/Carbo Pro.  Maybe Perpetuem isn't for me.  I didn't drink any V8 on this ride.  Maybe I should have.  For those thinking that I poisoned myself with a Red Bull - none of that on this ride either.

But I did take pictures.


on the flats

canola or mustard field

Edison (Peg ahead)

Samish Bay (ride by shooting on Chuckanut Drive)

headed toward the border

Canadian Border

Dairy farm, north of Lynden

Smiling barn

Narayan at the control at Dan Turner's