Friday, December 2, 2016

First 200k In 11 Months

And, oddly enough, our it seems to be annual "Ride a 200k on Civil War Day", the civil war in question is the Oregon State - University of Oregon football game.

I took the Coast Starlight from PDX to Eugene, given as how they've now got bicycle service AND a better schedule than the Cascades.

Sweetpea waiting to board

Pro: better schedule and cushier seats
Con: coach passengers sit in the very tail end of the train, baggage car is right behind the locomotive.  It is a very long train and "the stop in Eugene is 4 minutes!".  No wifi, and the water dispenser in the car was empty.  And the lighting was dim.

But with all that, I made good progress knitting on my sock, to the point of finishing it, but not weaving in the ends; I wanted better lighting!

First off the train, and scampered up to the front (as the conductor was announcing Last Call!), to find Michal holding my bike, waiting for me to show up with the claim ticket.  Whew.

Our route was Bill Alsup's Perm #1177: Eugene to Beaverton.

And so, up at 5am for the 7am start.  The drop down Michal's hill was kind of scary in the dark, like it always is, but I didn't work up to the whole bike shaking, like has happened before.  We found Chris at the coffee shop, and got ourselves some coffee as well.

Sunrise wasn't until 7:25am, so we got to enjoy heading north out of Eugene in the dawn.  All the coffee for breakfast and at the start meant that the customary pause at Armitage State Park was again observed.  We also decided that it wouldn't be raining any time soon, and ditched our rain jackets. Once over the McKenzie River and through Coburg, we were out in the rural Willamette Valley for most of the day.  Not that we could SEE anything, because there was a persistent fog, which stayed with us until we started the climb on Gap Rd (mile 22 or thereabouts).  We then dropped into Brownsville, pausing at the Chevron c-store, where I discovered PayDay bites, a convenient form factor presentation of the PayDay bar.

North through Brownsville, re-enacting the final scene in Stand By Me, then out the other side, eventually arriving at a road blockage.  Now, there's nothing OUT there, but looking ahead, we could see a small herd of cattle on the road.  It turned out to be the annual moving of the bulls from one field to another, and we watched them being herded by several guys on ATVs and an SUV bringing up the rear.

Cattle Drive on Brownsville Rd (Chris A in the foreground)

That settled, we continued on north.  Now, it was supposed to be raining most of the day, but we hadn't seen any rain to this point, and the skies looked like we wouldn't, for awhile anyway.  There were even bits of sunlight!

pic by Michal Young
Passed through Lebanon, and Crabtree, on to our first control at the Hoffman Covered Bridge.  Although, the info control answer was found at the corner of Crabtree Drive and Hungry Hill Rd, rather than at the bridge, 1.6 miles further along.

Michal at the Hoffman Covered Bridge (first control)

After the bridge, a driver stopped to warn us that there was a chaser dog up ahead "on one of the downhills".  We did not find the chaser dog, but I did find a shard of glass, so there was a pause to fix the flat.  I just swapped in a fresh tube.

A few more ups and downs, and we found Chris waiting for us in Scio.  It wasn't a control, so we kept going, encountering the Leffler Grade.  I didn't know if I'd be riding up it or walking it; maybe a third of the way up, walking all of a sudden became a very attractive option.  Once at the top, we rolled along the ridgeline, finally dropping back down and entering Stayton (67 miles), our first open control.  On this route, the preferred stop is the Safeway; for other routes, the Roth's Market.  Drank down a half teaspoon of salt before going in.

I got a rice bowl with orange chicken, and Michal and Chris cheerfully refilled my bottles (one with plain water, the other needed hot water for the Gatorade-Tea-Maltodextrin beverage).  I ate about half of the orange chicken and rice.  I really like orange chicken, and white rice seemed to be a good thing for my stomach. Michal thought he'd have a taste, and proceeded to make serious inroads on the leftovers.

And with that, my stomach was all of a sudden very much happier, and we had a tailwind to Aumsville, and all was right with the world.  It looked like it might start raining at the corner of Shaw Hwy and Hwy 214, so Chris pulled on his rain jacket.  Michal and I didn't bother; we couldn't see where it would get any worse than a bit of drizzle.  And, indeed, it cleared right up.

pic by Michal Young
We also had a helpful tailwind on all 18+ miles of Howell Prairie Rd, and the first 2+ miles of gentle uphill didn't seem burdensome at all.  There's not much to say about Howell Prairie - the berry bushes are pretty with their fall coloring, lots of wide open space, the elevators at the Pratum Co-op.  Once you cross the Little Pudding River, there are more trees.

At the northern terminus we crossed Hwy 99E, turned into the wind for a bit, and then picked up Boones Ferry Rd (we'd see a lot of this road off and on for awhile), and ended up in downtown Woodburn, our next control.  We usually stop at the Del Sol market and get tacos or tamales.  We both ordered tacos, and I am pleased to report that I managed my entire transaction in Spanish (and yes, there was an actual conversation), then foraged around the store for other things.  I found Arroz con Leche (rice pudding!) in the refrigerated case, in a single serving container, and promptly snapped it up.  It was much better than the tacos - I had ordered Asada tacos, and they were dry and bland; I kind of expect Carne Asada to be moist and flavorful.  We never found Chris; he had gone ahead.

Rice Pudding!

Michal noted that the cars passing by had their windshield wipers on.  Darn.  On with the rain jackets and rain legs.  I was already wearing my Showers Pass waterproof socks; they'd likely get another trial.  I didn't bother to pull on the helmet rain cover.

So now it was dark and raining.  My helmet headlight seemed rather uninspired, and the stretch from Hubbard (just north of Woodburn) to Aurora (just south of Wilsonville) was not clear in my mind.  Michal had been fiddling with his gps and got it working again, so we'd be ok.

Heading out of Hubbard, we picked up Boones Ferry Rd again.  The traffic was rather heavier than in previous years; maybe these were folks headed home from the aforementioned football game.  I see now that we just head north on Boones Ferry, cross Ehlen, and then turn right on Keil, cross a very busy road (the rain had gotten much heavier), follow Keil to Airport, and head north to Miley, at which point I no longer need a cue sheet.

Yes.  Well.  From Miley Rd to get to Wilsonville, there is the small matter of crossing the Willamette River.  At this point the only way across is the Boone Bridge shoulder, which is a busy stretch of I-5.

So, dark. Pouring rain. Four lanes of high speed traffic.  Lots of debris on the shoulder - wheel parts, shredded tire parts, possibly a departed opossum or two.  Good times.

After exiting I-5, turning left onto Wilsonville Rd (there is also the part where one must leave the shoulder and move left two lanes), and onto the relative quiet of Boones Ferry Rd...  Whew.  We then turned into the industrial park, and I was on my work commute home from my stints at Microsoft in Wilsonville.

After topping out on the small climb on Boones Ferry Rd (there we are again), we dropped down into Tualatin.  There is usually a bike lane until there isn't, and the descent is ever so much more fun in the summer evening sunlight.  By now I was feeling soaked through, but not too much further to go!

Through Tualatin park, over the river and into Cook Park in Tigard, north on Hall Blvd, left into Old Downtown Tigard, then out the west side, the non-intuitive left onto Greenburg Rd, cross over Hwy 217, and ride up the back side of Washington Square Mall...  North on Scholls Ferry, and finally the left turn into the neighborhood before the last bit.  We actually got across to the turn lane without having to resort to the crosswalk and sidewalk to get to Elm St.

Through the unmarked and very subtle cut-though (always helps to have a local guide at this point), down 5th Ave (where I just wanted to turn right through the office park and go home!), under Hwy 217, up Griffith, and done.  12:22 elapsed time.

Michal at the finish at Starbucks

I barricaded my bike with tables and chairs up against the Starbucks window, and went inside to find hot coffee, and Chris A and Chris W (who rode one of my local perms and was planning to meet us at the finish).  They had obviously been there awhile, certainly long enough to change into dry clothing :-)  They eventually took their respective leaves, we finished our hot drinks, and rode the last mile to my house, where Fitz and Cyndi were awaiting our arrival.

Hot showers first, but Fitz had made an enormous pot of turkey chili and fresh cornbread.  With pie for dessert.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Weaving Side Trip

I have been sucked into band weaving.  Not that I am entirely sure what I'd DO with the finished product, other than as hang loops for dishtowels, but I am sure I'll think of something.

Options were a band loom with two foot treadles (nice, but $$$), a tiny little table loom with two treadles (also nice, but $$), an inkle loom (just no), a kiddie rigid heddle loom (findable on eBay, or new, $), or a backstrap setup.

Also, to do pickup (patterns), there would want to be a different type of heddle, and a nice, but not required shuttle.

So I got myself a Harrisville Easy Weaver rigid heddle loom, via eBay.  The original owner had woven 5 picks and given it up (!)  Given that the warp was by now moth-eaten, I threw it away.  This loom will be useful for 10" rigid heddle weaving, card weaving, should I want to try that, and band weaving.  Plus, grandchilden can play with it.

Harrisville Easy Weaver Loom, slightly used

Not yet having received the Sunna heddle from Sweden, I wound a warp for a plain band out of expendable yarn, and practiced with that.  I should get the plain weaving better under control before I branch into patterns.

Working on the band

The stick shuttle that came with the loom works fine for plain weave.

Finished woven band, 44"x1.3/4"

So, less than 24 hours later, I had a 44" band.  It might want to be a belt.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016, #6 and #7

#6: Verboort Sausage Festival
Date: November 5
Destination: Verboort Sausage Festival, Verboort, OR
Beverage: Hot Chocolate
Bike Friendliness: Leaned the bike somewhere outside the Bingo tent
Bicycle: Sweetpea
Total mileage: 2.8 miles

Coffeeneur #6: Verboort Sausage Festival

I really had planned to have a theme of "Places I Have Not Coffeeneured Before", but that fell apart today.  Too much rain.  Way too much rain.

So, upon finishing the Verboort Populaire, there I was in the Bingo tent.  I went for the Hot Chocolate and Sausage on a Stick, and, in a very first (I've been doing this ride since 2007), I played bingo.

After finishing up the hot chocolate and sausage, and not winning at bingo ($3 grand prize), we then rode back to the start, in Forest Grove, 2.8 miles.  Sadly, because Porter Rd is closed (bridge reconstruction), we did have to take Martin Rd.  The shoulder is good almost the whole way back.  Almost.  The rain, which had been consistent, but not heavy all day, decided to up its game and dump on us the whole way back.

#7: Ridgewood Park, Coffee Outside
Date: November 8
Destination: Ridgewood Park
Beverage: Coffee
Bike Friendliness: of course
Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot
Total mileage: 2.1 miles

Coffeeneuring, ready to go

We've got a freshly-remodeled park in our neighborhood, just the other side of the elementary school.  The original reservoir, with tennis courts on top, has been replaced by an enormous reservoir, a pumphouse (of which we got a tour when the park re-opened), tennis and pickleball courts on top, new trails, an excellent new play structure, a bocce pitch, water fountain, and a covered picnic area.  The water department and parks district have really stepped up their game.

Coffee Outside gear updates this year were an Optimus Terra HE cookset, which is probably overkill, but I still have this secret wish to go bikepacking some time.  And I'd been organized enough last year that I could lay my hands on the cookset/Svea 123 stove (fits inside the cookset) right away.

Ground some coffee, put water in my insulated coffee mug and milk in a little bottle, then figured out how to carry everything up to the park.  Maybe last year I said I need to sew up a twee porteur bag.  I am saying that again with a little more emphasis.

Coffeeneuring #7, Ridgewood Park

Recently Added-84

Cruised around the neighborhood, then up to the park from the new park entrance, and established myself in the picnic area.  Maybe some knitting happened while I was waiting for the coffee to brew.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Verboort Sausage Populaire 2016

As we were sitting at the table in the bingo tent, with sausage, hot cocoa, and a round of bingo cards, the woman across the table asked "wouldn't it be nicer to ride if the weather was better?".  Our reply "it would, but bad weather is traditional".

Yeah.  The weather forecast was for a dry, sunny day on Friday, another dry, sunny day on Sunday, and an astounding amount of rain on Saturday.

With that in mind, I made sure Sweetpea had the raingear and extra gloves on board.  My helmet had its first raincover and neckcover event of the season, and I'd finally get to test out the new Showers Pass Waterproof Socks (wool version).

Preparation for the Verboort Populaire

No plans to ride with anyone, but I did see many familiar names on the signup list, most of whom exercised good judgement and stayed home.  However, Anita was there, and we'd ridden the first half of the Solstice permanent together almost a year ago.

It was raining lightly when I arrived at the start, but it slacked off to perhaps a faint mist heading north on Gales Creek Rd.  It was so light that I swapped the jacket for a vest.  That lasted almost all the way to Hwy 6, where I pulled the jacket back on.  At the Hwy 6 turn, I suggested to Anita that she didn't have to wait for me, because she was pulling ahead and then having to wait in the rain.

Hwy 6 was a pleasant surprise - it had been repaved, and all the rumble strips were now buried under a layer of pristine asphalt.

About 3 miles later, the route left Hwy 6 for the delights of Timber Rd.  It has a brief initial climb, then rolls along for several miles, then gains 500+ feet in the space of two miles.  The rain increased on the climb (of course).  Victorious.  Nothing going to stop me now.

Then the drop down to Timber itself, another brief climb, some flat, and then another drop down to Hwy 26.  I was very lucky, and was able to cross right away.

After crossing Hwy 26, the route continues for another 9 miles through a valley, before joining up with Hwy 47 a mile or so outside of Vernonia.  I headed right for Black Bear Coffee Company - there were some cyclists leaving, and Anita sitting inside.  She said she hadn't been there long.  Consumed the traditional sticky roll and a mocha, refilled my bottle, and we headed back out.

Verboort Populaire Vernonia control

We had a fun ride back along the Banks Vernonia Trail.  The muck right at the summit had all been cleared away, and I completely enjoyed the descent.

We spent the final stretch from Banks to Verboort chatting.  And yes, it was raining all the way from Vernonia to Verboort.

Michael, Lynne, and Anita.  Picture by Michael Powell-Parich
Michael was lurking by the entrance of the bingo tent, so card rituals were completed, and then we got sausage, and, in my case, some hot chocolate.  Michael and I both sprang for a round of bingo, not that we won anything :-)

Coffeeneur #6: Verboort Sausage Festival

So, finished in 6:18 elapsed, which is quicker than last year.  Always good.

Anita and I then rode back the 2.8 miles to the start, in steadily increasing rain.  While it had rained the whole ride, it hadn't been heavy.  Nowhere near that projected inch of rain.  It was trying to make up for that now.

My feet were a bit damp, not unexpected, because they do sweat, but they weren't wet.  Nor were my feet cold.  I am declaring the socks an initial success.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016: #5, Lionheart Coffee

#5 Lionheart Coffee

Date: October 30
DestinationLionheart Coffee, Beaverton, OR
Beverage: Mocha
Bike Friendliness: wave rack, but I didn't use it
Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot
Total mileage: 10.85 miles

Another new coffee shop for me.  I also needed some more knitting needles (I know, you look at my stash of needles and wonder how I could need more...), and there was a yarn shop close by, plus the library had a book for me.  The weather was grey, and drizzly.

The most expedient way south to the main part of the Fanno Creek Trail is through the Fred Meyer.  I didn't really want to go through the Freddie's parking lot on a Sunday afternoon, so I headed south on 106th (past the alpacas), crossed Canyon on to 107th, thence to SW 5th, and turned right to pick up the route through the neighborhoods to the terminus of the trail on Denney Rd.

I was hoping there would be good fall color on the trail, but as it is all native vegetation, that isn't as flamboyant as the imports.

Heron.  It was having a good day.

It had been raining, and Fanno Creek was starting to fill up.  The trail does flood, but fortunately, I wasn't riding through any of the known flood spots.  There was this one:

Fortunately, I wasn't riding that way.

I hadn't been to this yarn store, and was pleased to see they had an excellent selection of knitting needles, and exactly the ones I needed.  If I'd had more time, there would have been some browsing, and possibly some more yarn acquisition, so it was a good thing there wasn't more time.

First stop was a knitting store

From there, I rode west a block to Lionheart Coffee.  Like most coffee shops in the burbs, it is also in a strip mall, but a strip mall with direct access to the Fanno Creek Trail, and a wave rack.  Not that I used the rack; I am getting tired of going through the whole "lock up the bike" ritual, so I helmet locked it, and bungied it to a chair right outside where I could keep an eye on it.

Super nice staff; I ordered a mocha, and sat down to work on my knitting project, knitting from a way too long circular needle onto my new 12" circular needle.

transferring from a super long circular needle to a short one

One of the staff inquired about my fenders - he needs some, and really liked mine.  Honjos, making friends everywhere.

Art on the Fanno Creek Trail

After finishing the mocha, I returned north, on to the Beaverton Library.  Sadly, I did have to lock my bike there; the missionaries who lurk outside (and watch my bike) were not there this day in the rain.

Stopped at the library on the way home

After getting my book, I came out to find a guy working on a bike on the repair stand.  I asked if he needed anything.  After a bit of conversation, he asked if I had any misdemeanors.  Nope, fresh out.  By this point, I figured his grasp on reality was a bit tenuous.

From here I returned home, to the best fall foliage on the route:

Our Japanese Maple

Coffeeneuring 2016, #4: Home Coffee Shop

Ride: 4

#4: Home Coffee Shop at Susan's

Date: October 29
Destination: Susan's house
Beverage: Coffee mit Schlag and Pumpkin Pie, also mit Schlag
Bike Friendliness: garage
Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot
Total mileage: 20+ miles

Susan baked a pumpkin pie and opened up a Home Coffee Shop so she'd have help eating it.  I was the only one to show; more pie for meeeeeeeeeee!

Riding to Susan's is fairly straightforward; most of the route was my commute for a year or so.  The only challenge was that I won't ride on Evergreen through the shopping center, and had to cut north from Cornell, but not too late, or I'd miss the turnoff on the Rock Creek Trail.

While cloudy, it did not rain.  Susan, Jeff and I sat around, visited and ate a lot of pie.  She also sent me home with a piece for Fitz.

Pretty fall colors.

#4: Home Coffee Shop at Susan's

#4: Home Coffee Shop at Susan's

#4: Home Coffee Shop at Susan's

#4: Home Coffee Shop at Susan's

Coffeeneuring 2016, Rides 1-3

First question, do I have a theme?  I'll just say I have one in mind, and am choosing my destinations accordingly.  But it is sort of like an R-12 or P-12, where you don't out yourself, until it is well underway :-)

So, rides 1-3:

Ride: 1

Coffeeneur #1

Date: October 7
Destination: Solace Coffee, Beaverton, OR
Beverage: Peppermint Mocha
Bike Friendliness: wave rack
Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot
Total mileage: 3.2 miles
I had never been there, so I thought I'd check it out.  It is in a strip mall with many expedient food eateries, and right across the parking lot from the Beaverton Police Department.  I still locked my bike. :-)  There are many chairs and tables, books, magazines and toys trains.

Ride: 2

Coffeeneur #2: hanging at the weaving studio

#3: Grand Central Bakery

Date: October 18
Destination: Grand Central Bakery, Multnomah Village, Portland, OR
Beverage/Food: Coffee and a chocolate croissant
Bike Friendliness: wave rack
Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot
Total mileage: 13+ miles

I have a Beginning Floor Loom Weaving class in Multnomah Village every Thursday morning.  I arrived with coffee, and threaded the heddles and the reed (this is part of "dressing" the loom before doing any actual weaving).  After class I dropped down the hill and paused at Grand Central Bakery for coffee and a croissant.  While I have been there via bicycle several times (our Solstice Perm started there), I have never coffeeneured there.  While I had only a croissant this time, their sandwiches are quite good.

The route from my house is rather fun - after dropping down my hill and crossing a couple of major streets, I ride quieter streets and the eastern section of the Fanno Creek Trail all the way to Garden Home, then ride up Multnomah Blvd, finishing with a one block steep pitch up to Capitol Hwy to the Arts Center.  Grand Central is just below the Arts Center on Multnomah.

Ride: 3

The ride start, and Coffeeneur #3

Date: October 24
DestinationFix Coffeehouse, Green Lake, Seattle
Beverage/Food: Coffee and a breakfast sandwich
Bike Friendliness: staple rack
Bicycle: Sweetpea
Total mileage: 2.1 miles

This one snuck up on me.  I was in Seattle to participate in the Dart Populaire, and stayed at a friend's house near our route start.  I had planned to arrive early enough to get breakfast and coffee before the ride, which I did.  That breakfast sandwich kept me going for quite some time.  I didn't realize I had coffeeneured until that evening!

Monday, October 24, 2016

An Unlikely Dart Populaire Team

Hares and Tortoise.  I was wanting to ride the Seattle Randonneurs Dart Populaire, which was going to be held the day after the annual meeting.  As I am in Portland and don't know the Seattle area well, I was hoping to get on a team formed up there.  Theo (the organizer) and I chatted, and he said he'd check around.

A week later I received an email asking if I wanted to join him and James.  He promised minimal distance and as few vertical feet as he could route to make it work.  I was in.

Then there were the Logistics - the route started in Green Lake and finished in Kirkland - 20 miles and a big lake in the middle.  The annual meeting was in Issaquah.  A kind randonneur who lives near Theo (and Green Lake) offered up a bed for the night, and Theo and I planned to drive over to Kirkland, leave my car parked by Mark's house (two blocks from the finish location), and ride over to Green Lake.

It was originally going to rain, and I packed for that.  After the car was loaded, Susan O shared an updated forecast with practically no rain.  I figured I'd check before leaving the car, and remove any superfluous rain gear before riding off east.  Theo also suggested I bring a u-lock.  I have one.  It must weigh at least two pounds.  But I brought it along.

After a delightful annual meeting (so nice to see everyone!), it got even better - Shan offered to drive Theo and me back into Seattle!

bikes on Shan's car

Theo and I arrived at Noel's house and let ourselves in, saying hi to the very large, very friendly dog.  We then hiked over a few blocks to get some dinner.  Thai, world's noisiest restaurant.  Food was good but there wasn't quite as much as I could have eaten.  I heard Theo had pizza with James later :-)  Theo pointed out the way I'd ride the next morning - I was under the impression that I'd just head down the hill, but I really needed to ride up a couple blocks and then down, so I'd end up in Green Lake and not Ballard.

Visited with Noel a bit and then conked out.  Up the next morning, organized, and out the door, but not before Noel told me to take a banana.  Fun ride up and over, and on the trail around Green Lake, where I quickly arrived at Fix Coffeehouse.

Our team had grown by one more - Audunn joined us.  Nice!

James at the start

The ride start, and Coffeeneur #3

We set out shortly after 8am.  While I had the cue sheet and the route loaded on my phone, I was just going to follow Theo.  Surface streets for a bit, then through Ravenna Park, which was firm pea gravel.  Theo: "homage to Ken M".  We then got onto the Burke-Gilman trail, familiar to me from several years of riding RSVP.  Susan O's team passed us, riding south.

I think we missed a turn somewhere :-( and had about 3 bonus miles added to fix that.  Then we were on the Bothell-Everett Highway for a good long while - strip malls and lots of traffic.  Better than some heavily-traveled suburban roads I ride here, but we were all happy to get to the end of that!  Lowell Larimer Road was a delight.  Peaceful and quiet.

Our first info control was at the corner of Lowell Larimer and Lenora roads, involving a house with a totem pole in the yard.

Heading toward Snohomish; photo by Theo Roffe

We then turned east towards Snohomish and the delights of the Snohomish Bakery.  Food service was slow, so we all bought pastries and coffee.  Theo got a cheese bread thing the size of his head.

Theo at the Snohomish Bakery.

From there we headed north to Lake Stevens, by way of the Centennial Trail.  I am pleased to report that the Bollards of Death have been replaced with more standard bollards.  We saw both John Pearch and Ward Beebe out riding.  Arrived at the coffee stand in Lake Stevens.  Given that I was the slowest rider, I got my card signed and headed back; they'd catch up soon enough.

We headed back through Snohomish, and onto the part of the route that I recognized as RSVP in reverse.  So, up that hill on Springhetti, up Broadway (does this hill have a top?), arriving at the 6 hour control in Cathcart, perhaps a little past 6 hours :-)  Doesn't matter, you just can't LEAVE the 6 hour control before 6 hours.  There was another team sitting outside, snacking.

Bought a banana and some more water, and we headed out.  More miserably steep pitches (I never met a hill I couldn't walk up), and we finally arrived at the corner of Woodinville-Duval Road.  I was totally looking forward to the descent, but first offloaded my u-lock on Theo ("ooh!  More weight for the descent!  Yay!").  Oh that was fun!

We arrived in Wilmot Park, where there was discussion about the route, and how it wouldn't get us across the river and...  So, we went a slightly different way with a breathtaking wall which seemingly had no end.  I had to walk the whole thing, just couldn't ride up it.  I am still not sure which way we went.

Our 120km point was just as we got on the Kirkland Connector Trail, which we made by 7:50 elapsed.  So we rode on for another 10 minutes, then took pictures and signed each other's cards at the 8 hour point.

120km. Audunn, Theo, Lynne, and James

From there we had a leisurely cruise to the finish in Kirkland, at the Chainline Brewery.  I sat and drank a soda for awhile, and eventually scraped up the energy to get some tasty fries from the food truck.

Riders at the finish; Chainline Brewing in Kirkland

This was my first calendared RUSA ride since last November, and the most challenging ride I have done this year.  What with bonus miles and all, bike computer reports 79.6 miles, and 3154 vertical feet.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Longer Ride

It may be noticed that I am having some challenges in getting my conditioning and distance back.  Super frustrating, I must say.

So anyway, on Sunday, I asked Susan O if she wanted to ride one of the local 100k perm pop routes.  She instead offered up riding from their house out to Jeff's property in Willamina - 72+ miles, not very climby.  I'd finally get to see the property (I've been hearing about it for years), and Jeff would drive us all back in his Sprinter Van (now THERE'S a project), with a dinner stop.

Yes.  Sure. (No, not a RUSA-sanctioned route, but they don't all have to be!)  Fortunately, the bike was all back together; I filled some bottles, grabbed a sandwich out of the fridge and a few other food items, a change of clothes, and drove over to Susan's.

She was doing something with her bike, and then, a bit after 11am, we started out.  The route was roughly Hillsboro-Cornelius-Lafayette-Dayton-Sheridan-Willamina, and I am entirely clear on the obvious and common way to get there.

NotSoFast.  Susan had plotted a route that didn't quite do that.  The route through Hillsboro was mostly off the main streets, and very quiet.  We did have a stretch on TV Highway to Cornelius (at some point it just cannot be escaped).

I came up with a rear flat, of course, on TV Highway, when one cannot hear oneself even THINK.  I was carrying a spare tire, as I always do, so replaced the tire and tube.  Susan noted the extreme amount of wear on the discarded rear tire.  Oops.  Got my money's worth on that one.

Then another non-standard route through Cornelius, dropping us eventually on LaFollett, which then became the standard Geiger-Fern Hill (new chipseal)-Spring Hill-North Valley-Ribbon Ridge-Kuehne (where did all that traffic come from???)-Abbey(ditto) through Lafayette, thence to Dayton.

We discussed stopping in Dayton.  There is the Blockhouse Cafe, with same-day-service, but I knew that Susan wanted to finish before dark so she could show me around the property, and I also knew that she'd be getting there a lot quicker without me.  So I suggested the Center Market (prime randonneur stop), and we got more things to drink and eat.  I had a V-8 and a banana, and added a Kind Bar for later consumption.

Then we stopped and tweaked my seat adjustment.

Many years ago, Susan said that she was going to find a route between Dayton and Amity that didn't follow the infinity road ("Amity - 5 miles".  Further along: "Amity - 5 miles").  Well the new route gave Amity a miss altogether, but it was on blissfully smooth pavement (until DeJong Rd to Ballston Rd at the end), with no traffic whatsoever.  Nice scenery, too.  I think parts of it have been featured on the middle loop of the Grab Bag brevets.

My fender developed an annoying rattle.  It turned out both fenders had annoying rattles - the front had a bolt which needed tightening, the rear had rattled out the teeny little bolts on the L-bracket.  No way to fix that; I'd just live with it until I could get to a hardware store and buy more teeny little nuts and bolts.

So, after Dayton we just had scenery for miles and miles and miles.  Eventually we popped out in the former town of Ballston (General Store sign still there; building replaced with some metal garage-y thing), and Sheridan (last town before Willamina) wasn't TOO far away.

By now we were riding into a rather strong headwind.  The terrain wasn't particularly challenging, but the wind was not helping my forward motion.  I suppose I'd say that both the warp and impulse engines had malfunctions, and I just stopped and stood for a moment.  I could see the turn up ahead where we'd transition to a crosswind, but it took some effort to get there.

Susan was waiting, and told me that I'd ridden 100 km in 5:47 total elapsed time.  Given the past year, that wasn't bad at all.

Finally the turn, and a pretty special crosswind.  As I was descending into Sheridan, it took some effort to move forward in a straight line.

From Sheridan to Willamina, it was pretty much dead flat, wonderfully freshly paved, and rather more sheltered from the wind.

And finally there we were (although not quite finished).  We stopped in the "new" market in Willamina (there are now 4!), and perused the beer selection for a bottle for each of us.  Best I could find for me was a Widmer Hefeweizen, which isn't bad at all, there are just other beer styles I prefer more.

Stocking up in town

Now the last 3+ miles out to the property, gently rolling road (and more gloriously smooth pavement) past a lumber mill, and several farms.

I saw a sign up ahead that was probably a good indication of our turn, and indeed, Susan turned in.  At this point the driveway/road was gravel, but not bad at all.  We did walk the last pitch up; Jeff came out to greet us.

Destination.  Sweetpea and Thompson on the porch.

Susan and I, photo by Jeff (in the reflection!)

Dropped the bikes, opened the beers, and got a full tour.

Chair in the woods

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My Details on the New Michigan Perm Pop

When I packed for the trip, I optimistically included cue sheets for both 1603 and 2390, as well as perm cards and a registration form.  All my riding this calendar year has been the North Plains Banks Vernonia Perm Pop, and not a whole lot of that.

So there we were, and I was looking at the perm pop and "nah, not this time.  Don't want to face those climbs..."

Revisiting the 200k (really 218k), I thought I might find a good 100k in there, to Glen Arbor and back.  And, pulling the route west between Empire and Glen Arbor, I was able to do just that, plus get to ride the brand new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.

Mapping out a route with RWGPS on an iPad is a little tricky.  And I couldn't download the cue sheet and edit it - I had to write it out and type it into Google Sheets.

Crista promptly approved the route.  Then the weather went slightly disagreeable for a few days.

When the weather improved, my husband basically ejected me out of the cottage and onto my bike.  He doesn't usually do that.

So I rode into town to the Crescent Bakery, and started the ride at 1pm.  Rode back out of town (brief pause to start RWGPS), then up and over Sutter Road (OMG the new pavement!), and points north.  It was all good until I passed the canoe outfitters at the Platte River (11.7 miles), and then entered into the "nothing to see here" for the next 11 miles to Empire.  Well, lots of trees.  Some cornfields. Climbing. Need to work on my mental state for that stretch.

After winching myself back out of Empire, turned onto M-109 and started looking for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail.  M-109 may be USBR-35, but it was also prime trailer and boat season.  Also, every camp and summer program in the area does a day trip to the dune climb, and M-109 is how one gets there.  The trail parallels the road, and I hopped on at Pierce Stocking Drive.  It was nice and shady, if a little bit more rolling that the road.

Rode by the Dune Climb, and was getting pretty excited about going through Glen Haven - it is a restored village with a General Store (no food/water), a Maritime Museum (the old Coast Guard station), a restored cannery, and other things.  Also nice clean bathrooms and water.

Moving along, the trail goes through a campsite and then the original routing had continuing straight on Pine Haven.  Nope.  Sand road.  The reroute goes right on Pine Haven, and returns to M-109 a long block or so sooner.

Glen Arbor doesn't really start until the intersection with M-22, so it seems like a longer ride into town than it is.

But anyway, I found myself some expedient ice cream, and sat outside the shop chatting with the proprietor.  Glen Arbor has many opportunities for food.

The return is a reverse of the route, and fairly uneventful.  I did stop in Empire for many things to drink, because it was humid.  I'd been drinking all afternoon, and needed more.  An older guy was returning empties, and the clerk asked for his birthday.  Something-something-1980.  I was looking at him thinking "wow, hard life."  The clerk was more forthright - "my son was born in 81, and you weren't born in 1980".  He finally coughed up a plausible birth year, finished his transaction and left.  The clerk and I looked at each other and cracked up.

Fitz was heading home from a golf outing, and passed me on the road just after the climb out of Empire.

More slogging along, although Empire to the Platte River is easier than the other way.  A pause on the Sutter Rd climb. A pause at the cottage to establish a meetup spot in town, and, finally the last couple of rollers (one pause) and done.

Stormcloud Brewing is my finish location of choice; they even have a cool rubber stamp, although if they are busy it might not be a good idea to send the bartender looking for it.

And hey, RWGPS in offline mode worked great!  Didn't hardly drain the battery at all!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Permanent Populaire #3164: Frankfort - Sleeping Bear - Glen Arbor 102km

Sleeping Bear Dune Climb

Cue sheet
Registration Form

Note: while I charge no fee for this perm, you MUST purchase a park pass to ride through the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.  The fee was $7.00 in 2016.

This route takes you from Frankfort, through the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, into Glen Arbor, and back again.

Starting at 4th and Main in Frankfort, your options for a control are Crescent Bakery, L'Chayim Delicatessen and maybe the coffee shop across the street whose name I do not remember.

Frittering (or more specifically Lemon Bismarcking) away the time before the start

You head east on Main Street, away from Lake Michigan, turn left onto 7th Street, which rapidly becomes M-22, heading north.

Three rollers out of town, and then you ride along Crystal Lake until the left turn onto Sutter Rd.  I am ever so pleased to report that Sutter Rd has been repaved!  It hasn't gotten any flatter, though.

The deer statues seen by the side of the road and in yards are not statues.  You might also spot a flock of wild turkeys.

At the end of Sutter Rd you turn left onto M-22 again, and there's minimal navigation for miles and miles and miles.  You'll pass the Platte Lake store (Riverside Canoe Trips, mi 11.7) if you need anything; there's nothing for the next 10 miles.  Well, lots of trees, as this is Up North.  Eventually the terrain starts rolling.

Heading north on M-22/USBR-35

When you see the Radome up ahead, Empire isn't far away.  You'll drop 200 feet into town.

The Empire Radome

Right at the intersection of M-22 and M-72 (traffic light), there is an EZ-Mart, which may be more interesting on your return.

But, more importantly, you can turn right onto M-72, go a block, and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore office on the left will sell you that park pass.

Continuing north on M-22, you'll climb up a bit, and then turn left onto M-109.

You'll see the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail on your left, and you may prefer to cut over to it when you get a chance.  I hopped on at Pierce Stocking Drive.  There are driveways, and eventually, the Duneswood Resort.  It is a lot nicer riding on the trail - shaded and no RVs or pickups hauling boats!

If you did not get your park pass in Empire, you must buy one in the parking lot just past Hunter Rd, mi 27.3.

On your left is the famous Dune Climb, where people (mostly children) scramble up and down for hours.  There is also hiking at the top.  This is not to be confused with the EPIC dune climb at the end of the Pierce Stocking Drive, where the dune plunges precipitously down to Lake Michigan, and there are signs warning that you must pay for your own rescue if you can't climb back up.  Good times.

So, continuing along the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail - there are a few steep bits, but they are all short - you'll eventually come to the first info control.  The sign is on the right, and it is the second sand turnaround.

Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail

By now the trees have receded into dune scrub foliage, and a mile or so later, you will arrive in the restored historic town of Glen Haven.  There's another info control here, or you can buy something in the General Store.  Note: they DO NOT sell anything to drink, but there is a water fountain outside, as well as very nice restrooms.

Glen Haven General Store

Continue on the path between the store and the restrooms, heading to and straight through the D. H. Day Campground.  The trail pops out the other side, ending at Pine Haven Drive.  Turn right, and then left on M-109, for a short couple of miles into Glen Arbor.

Ice Cream in Glen Arbor

Glen Arbor is the turnaround control.  You'll find a market on the corner of M-22 and M-109, and continuing straight (M-109 merges into M-22 North), you'll find ice cream places and a coffee shop.  There is also Art's, with their famous pool table on hydraulics, but service might be slow.

And then you turn around and retrace the route back to Frankfort.  By then, Crescent Bakery is probably closed, but Stormcloud Brewing will be open, as will The Cool Spot (ice cream!) as well as many other places to get something to eat and/or drink.

Fini, Stormcloud Brewery