Friday, August 11, 2017

Back to my non biking ways

After 4 consecutive days of pedaling, I'm back to my bikey, but not biking ways.


On Tuesday I served as crew chief for Chris Davies as he attempted to set a UMCA age group record for Capital to Capital. (Sacramento, CA to Carson City, NV and back)

This attempt has been in the planning stages for 2 years, I was honored to be asked to help out.

Chris rode hard and successfully navigated the route that crossed the Sierra Nevada mountain range.....twice, via the 8574 ft Carson Pass.

He covered the Sacramento to Carson City leg, 147.1 miles in 10 hrs and 18 min.
He covered the Carson City to Sacramento return trip, 147.3 miles in 10 hours and 46 minutes

You can read Chris's account of his effort HERE

On Wednesday I was the UMCA Official as Paul Carpenter took on the challenge for his age group.
If you clicked on his name, you know that Paul is a decorated ultra cyclist. He showed his skills on this route. He rode quickly of course, but his real strength was his ability to keep the bike moving. Except for a 16 minute flagger enforced stop at a construction zone, and a 1 minute stop for sunscreen, he just kept moving.

He covered the 147.1 mile route with 12,725 ft elevation gain in 9 hours and 58 minutes.  He took a 10 minute break in Carson City for a finish line photo (Sacramento to Carson City leg) and a quick bite to eat, then was back on the bike pedaling for Sacramento.

Because of one way streets in both Sacramento and Carson City, the route varies a bit on each end.  The return route was 147.6 miles, and because Carson City sits at a higher elevation, the return leg had 8255 feet of climbing.

We had just a bit of excitement as we crossed back into California from Nevada.  A California Highway Patrolman pulled in behind us and let us know he wanted to pull over..  It was dark, so Paul had to stop too since mandatory direct follow is in effect during darkness.  The officer said he knew that we were there to protect our rider, but questioned if we were allowed to be in the travel lane. In most areas there is not enough shoulder are to drive out of the lane. Robert was driving and explained that our primary concern was safety, and that we always drove as far to the right as we could, and would pull off where we could to allow cars to pass. After a couple of minutes of discussion, the officer asked our intended route, and said we were free to go, while he checked with his superiors to see if what we were doing was legal.

He must have received the answer we knew he would get, because we did not see him again.

Paul rode strong and consistently.  While the ride up to Carson Pass from the west side is somewhat stair stepped, this east bound leg is pretty much a constant slog.  While it was a tough climb, because he was returning in darkness, the temperatures were reasonable.  It was 73 in Carson City as we started out, and would drop to 52 by the time he reached the summit.

The stair stepped descent back to Sacramento from Carson Pass was mostly uneventful.  He pedaled through the construction sites pretty much unimpeded.  There was one that was just a bit problematic.  There was fresh tar on the road (maybe just thick oil in preparation for a new layer of asphalt?) that he shouldered his bike and walked, rather than get a layer of gunk on his tires, which of course would do nothing but pick up gravel.

Once that problem was behind us, he pedaled along at 18-20 mph all the way back into Sacramento.  After yesterday's somewhat problematic return, we picked out a slightly more circuitous route to the Capital building in hopes of avoiding some stop signs and a closed road.

He arrived at the Capital at 4:47 AM,  covering the 147.6 miles in 9 hrs 30 min elapsed.


The original plan was to have three racers, each in a different age category, attempt to set records.
Robert was our third racer, but he got a call during Paul's ride that his wife had gone into emergency surgery.  He was a trooper and stayed with us through Paul's ride.  To leave would have put an end to Paul's race because of the UMCA's staffing requirements, and we were also using Robert's van.

As soon as Paul was finished, we cleaned our supplies out of the van and Robert took a brief nap, then drove home, scuttling his record attempt, but getting back to where he belonged.

I hope you will join me in sending good thoughts to Robert's wife for a speedy recovery.

Tomorrow morning I will be near Gresham just after 5AM.  Normally I'd be riding around Mt Hood with about 25 friends, but this year a lack of bike fitness, and their need for additional support drivers, means I will be taking my freshly honed support skills around Mt Hood.  I've got signage, flashing ambers, iced water, pump, kibble, and some tools all packed up and ready to leave home at 4AM.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

4 days in a row!

Nothing like a little free time and great weather to get a guy on a bike!

It would be 100 degrees by early afternoon.


I took advantage of cooler morning temperatures to go for a little pedal around.

Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't.


I just puttered around the neighborhood.  I seemed that my kind weren't always welcome however.


They might say that this is the Coyote Way, but they should know that this Desert Coyote rides a bike!

I finished up with a lunch stop, and was back home as the temperature reached 94.

Evening update:

As the afternoon temperature reached 104(.8!) I went back out for a few miles.  I had biked 17 earlier in the day, and despite the heat, I wasn't ready to call it quits yet!

This time I chased down Dave and his grandson again.


 The little guy was fascinated with the pedals.



They enjoyed the water feature as the temperature peaked at 105.  Two degrees short of our record, the layer of smoke that Canada sent down this way probably cost us a degree or two.  We'll get another shot at it tomorrow.

I got another 5 miles.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.......MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .......22.................0.................0...............0..........22
Jan.........304................15................0...............31..........350
Feb..........0..................0..................0...............0..............0
March.......18.................0.................0...............0............18
April.......113................0.................0...............0...........113
May.........155................0.................0...............0...........155
June..........10.................0.................0................0.............10
July..........79..................0.................0................0.............79
Aug..........29...................0.................0................0............29
Total.......730...............15.................0...............31...........786

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

3 days in a row!

Wow, three days in a row on a bike! No worries, by the end of the week I'll be back following bike racers.

Today I went for a short ride, again centered around a lunch stop. By the time I finished that up it was time to ride along with my brother-in-law as he went for a grandson ride. It was 98 degrees at 2PM as we pedaled to the water park at Memorial Park. The grandson got to play in the water jets. I got to sit in the shade.


They did the grandfather/grandson bonding thing for about 30 minutes, then it was time to pedal back. I joked with the little guy that I wanted him to take a turn pedaling while I rode in the trailer.  He didn't feel one bit guilty about sitting on his diapered behind as Dave and I pedaled.

                          

.........Road Bike........Rollers.......MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........7.................0.................0...............0...........7
Jan.........304................15................0...............31..........350
Feb..........0..................0..................0...............0..............0
March.......18.................0.................0...............0............18
April.......113................0.................0...............0...........113
May.........155................0.................0...............0...........155
June..........10.................0.................0................0.............10
July..........79..................0.................0................0.............79
Aug...........7...................0.................0................0.............7
Total.......708...............15.................0...............31...........764

Monday, July 31, 2017

Puttering around

The ride yesterday felt so good that I decided to go for another today.  About noon I pedaled out, ostensibly for a lunch run, but with plans and supplies to stay out longer.

I stopped within a half mile of starting when I saw a line of wild blackberries that was just black with ripe berries.  I was too busy stuffing my face to take pictures!

I continued on for a lunch stop, then pedaled over to Memorial Park.  I just puttered around, reading about an old barn and making my skinny tired fixie pretend it was a mountain bike.



It is a lost opportunity that Wilsonville is on the banks of the Willamette River, and even has a sizable park on the waterfront, but really has no public access.  Rather than accessible trails, or perhaps even a dock and boat landing, the river edge can only be accessed by bushwhacking through thick undergrowth.  Once I got to the river and enjoyed the cool air and rested awhile.  It was 94 degrees, but was at least 5-10 degrees cooler on the shady bank.


By the time I got finished puttering around, it was dinner time, and I had logged 24 miles.


.........Road Bike........Rollers.......MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........24.................0.................0...............0...........24
Jan.........304................15................0...............31..........350
Feb..........0..................0..................0...............0..............0
March.......18.................0.................0...............0............18
April.......113................0.................0...............0...........113
May.........155................0.................0...............0...........155
June..........10.................0.................0................0.............10
July..........79..................0.................0................0.............79
Total.......701...............15.................0...............31...........757

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Why I left Meetup groups.

I used to be an active ride leader for a Meetup group.  I was even voted member of the year!  I left because I tired of folks not showing up, showing up late (and complaining on why we had already left) and not showing up prepared for the ride that was advertised.

Today tested me.

I manage a Facebook group for cyclists with 271 members stretching from British Columbia to San Diego (and currently Bolivia!) and from New Zealand to Florida. With a wide footprint like that I don't ever expect that we will all be in the same location.

It is the 5th anniversary of the group and I thought it would be fun to go for a ride and have a picnic to celebrate.   I was hoping that maybe 10-20 local riders would take advantage of the nice weather in Oregon and join in.  The plan was to ride 40 miles on the Springwater Corridor trail and finish up with a picnic in the park.  I was supplying BBQ hamburgers with the fixings, and asked attendees to bring their own drinks and a side dish or chips.

I had 5 folks say they were coming, and 5 "maybes".  I never count maybes because maybes never show up.

I was very surprised when roll out time arrived with nobody there except me.

I wasn't going to let a bunch of flakes ruin my day.

I checked email one more time, then pedaled out on the planned route.

It was going to be a nice day for a ride!

Mt Hood is waaaay back there, it looked closer in real life.
I stopped from time to time to forage. With the warm summer weather we've had, the berries are really in full swing. It was 93 degrees today!


I'd pedal for a bit, then stop for berries, pedal a bit, stop for more berries.  I tried to keep the bike moving because I had told folks that we'd be eating by mid afternoon.  I wanted to be back at the park in case anyone showed up for the picnic.


I made it to Boring, the end of the trail.  I haven't been on the bike much this year (been crewing bike races!) and I was looking forward to the slightly downhill ride back to Portland.  About halfway back I stopped at a country store to get a Snickers bar. I figured my tiredness might be related to an empty fuel tank.  It helped, I pedaled along pretty well for the remainder of the trip.

I arrived back at the park just after 2 PM.  I wandered around looking for people I might recognize.  No luck, no email, no phone messages.

I pulled out the BBQ and lit it up.

I figured there were plenty, so I had two!

I added 3 miles to today's total after I got home and needed to run a few errands.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.......MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........43.................0.................0...............0...........43
Jan.........304................15................0...............31..........350
Feb..........0..................0..................0...............0..............0
March.......18.................0.................0...............0............18
April.......113................0.................0...............0...........113
May.........155................0.................0...............0...........155
June..........10.................0.................0................0.............10
July..........55..................0.................0................0.............55
Total.......687...............15.................0...............31...........733

Friday, July 28, 2017

Not quite Biblical proportions

I doubled my bike mileage for the month!

Big deal. :-(

There has been no rain in Portland for 43 days and 43 nights.
It is a long dry spell, but not even in the top ten for Portland.  The record is 71 days, set in 1967.
It has been at or near 90 degrees for days, and by Wednesday it is predicted to be 102-107.

I'm hoping to put together a 4 man team and return to Race Across Oregon next July.

In the meantime I ran a few errands by bike today.  I got 7 miles in.
I was on the fixed gear, a bike that is notoriously tough on knees.  I could still feel a bit of  discomfort from my knee issue from 6 weeks ago.  Not from pedaling nearly so much as trying to slow down.  On a fixed gear that is done by putting back pressure on the pedals.  I might have to ride one of my geared bikes for a bit until the knee gets back to 100%. (as an OLD man on a bike, that may be asking a lot!)

.........Road Bike........Rollers.......MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........7.................0.................0...............0............7
Jan.........304................15................0...............31..........350
Feb..........0..................0..................0...............0..............0
March.......18.................0.................0...............0............18
April.......113................0.................0...............0...........113
May.........155................0.................0...............0...........155
June..........10.................0.................0................0.............10
July..........12..................0.................0................0.............12
Total.......644...............15.................0...............31...........690

Friday, July 14, 2017

Another kind of long dry spell

Portland has had 37 days without rain.  Yes, unusual, but I'm talking about my lack of biking.
I got a whopping 10 miles in June, in part due to a banged up knee that kept me off the bike for the first 10 days or so, followed by crewing Race Across America for Red Pearl Racing's DNF. This month things finally turned around as I was crew chief for Mick Walsh's first place finish at Race Across Oregon.

I was up north helping Julie get settled into her new house, but did get on the fixed gear bike for a sunset spin around the island.  I didn't have my camera, and my phone had used up its battery.  Too bad, Mt Rainier was gorgeous as it was still in the glow of the sun as the lowlands were in shadow.

Next time.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.......MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........5.................0.................0...............0............5
Jan.........304................15................0...............31..........350
Feb..........0..................0..................0...............0..............0
March.......18.................0.................0...............0............18
April.......113................0.................0...............0...........113
May.........155................0.................0...............0...........155
June..........10.................0.................0................0.............10
July..........5..................0.................0................0..............5
Total.......637...............15.................0...............31...........683

A long dry spell

The weather in Oregon is just gorgeous.  We have had 24 consecutive days without rain, a big turn around from our WET Spring, but I'm not talking about our meteorological dry spell, I'm talking about bike racing!

After having 27 consecutive finishes for the racers I've helped, everything fell apart.  I had a racer DNF at last year's Hoodoo 500, and have not had a racer finish since then! Solo's, two person teams, no matter the configuration we just can't seem to get across that finish line.

Hopefully this all changes this weekend.  I'm crewing for Mick Walsh at Race Across Oregon. Mick is a strong rider and should do well.  Complications may come from the heat.  While the forecast has changed a bit, it will still be well over 90 degrees F.  That is pretty warm for climbing out of those big canyons!  If we can keep Mick hydrated, fed, and cool, he should finish at, or near the top of the field.

You can follow our progress beginning at 5 AM Saturday at   http://raceacrossoregon.com/live-tracking.html

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

More photos per mile than should be allowed

Followers here will likely remember that I banged a knee up pretty good a little over a month ago. It was just beginning to feel decent when I re-injured it on the way home from Race Across America.  Luckily, it didn't take so long to recover this time.  I hopped on the bike (carefully) and went for a little ride around Tapps Island. It wasn't a hard ride, but hard enough giving that I was on my fixed gear bike, the only one I have with me and fixies are notoriously hard on knees.

My friend Julie and I rode out to Outer Island.  Outer Island is undeveloped except for a gravel pathway and ball field.





After circumnavigating Outer Island we crossed back over to Tapps Island.


Once there we set out to ride every road on Tapps Island



I can report that there are just over 9 miles of roads there.  Post ride the knee still feels pretty good.  I think I'm well on the road to recovery, and surprisingly, I DID get some bike miles in June, only because the RAAM adventure was cut short.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.......MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .......10.................0.................0...............0............10
Jan.........304................15................0...............31..........350
Feb..........0..................0..................0...............0..............0
March.......18.................0.................0...............0............18
April.......113................0.................0...............0...........113
May.........155................0.................0...............0...........155
June..........10.................0.................0................0.............10
Total.......632...............15.................0...............31...........678

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Racing Across America

Today is the team start for Race Across America.  I am crewing for Red Pearl Racing (Sandy Earl and Bill Spaeth)  The are racing for a children's charity, you can get more information at their website. Our racers will start somewhere shortly after noon Pacific Daylight Time. Sorry, I'm typing this a week early and don't yet know our exact starting time.

You can track our progress via the magic of satellite technology by going HERE.  Red Pearl Racing is T 203.

A detailed map of the RAAM route is HERE





Race Across America - from Up High from Anthony Gordon @ on Vimeo.