Tuesday, March 30, 2010

slogging onward

I looked outside and saw that it wasn't raining. I didn't expect it to stay that way so I chose the steel Marin bike with fenders as I pushed off today. I rode a 32 mile loop that included a climb of Pete's Mountain. I did in fact get rained on today. I've got 1 more day to get in 60 miles if I am to reach 1000 miles for the month. The weather looks to be wet tomorrow too. Ah, the price to pay for vanity. :-(



............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.....ROLLERS....TOTAL
Today.......32................0.............0..........32
Jan........618...............0..............0.........618
Feb........692...............0..............0.........692
March......940...............0..............5.........940
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....2264...............0..............5.........2269

Monday, March 29, 2010

Learning Curve

I've owned rollers for 5 months or so but with the good winter weather for the most part I haven't had the need to give them a try. Today was just pouring, the forecast says more of the same for the coming week.

I decided to give them a try. It is, after all, still my real bike. Should be better training than the Lifecycle at the gym right?

Whoa baby! Took me 2.5 "miles" to be able to feel comfortable enough to pedal without having something VERY close to grab hold of. Once I learned a few tricks, ....look ahead NOT down, have a "center line" out in front so you know where to ride, and keep the pedals spinning, I was off to the races. I was riding in jeans, a sweatshirt, and tennis shoes on my clipless pedals. Not the best riding gear. After a total of 5 "miles" I decided that I can probably ride them, but will give it a longer shot in the next day or so.

For now I'm just happy that I didn't fall over!

............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.....ROLLERS....TOTAL
Today......101................0.......................101
Jan........618...............0........................618
Feb........692...............0........................692
March......908...............0..............5.........913
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....2232...............0..............5.........2237

Sunday, March 28, 2010

RAO scouting trip day two

The Flying Aquarians perused the second half of the Race Across Oregon course today with route book, spiral notebook, and pen in hand.

We also had a camera along!






We were both expecting the second half of the course to have less climbing. It just didn't seem like there were as many hills. That may very well be true, but the ones there must have been bigger. The GPS recorded day 2 at 20784 ft, and we were 8 miles short of making it over the hill from Dufur to Cooper Spur. (too much snow) I'm guessing we'd need to add another 1000 ft of climbing. Day 1 measured in at 26,567 feet but we did 3000-4000 feet of bonus climbing as we detoured around FR 48 up Hwy 35 then back tracked on FR 48.



We had packed bikes and riding gear with us in hopes of riding some of the course. However, we got a bit lazy. Besides, we didn't get home until after dark as it was, taking the time to ride would have put us back very late.

It was a good trip, well worth our time. Lauren came away with a new appreciation of exactly what she's gotten herself into. On the drive back she said knowing what she's up against just made her more excited about doing this. Yup, she's crazy! (that's why I thought she'd be just perfect for this adventure!)

It was mostly dry on the east side of the Cascades. It's pouring rain on the west side and predicted to be that way all week. I'm sitting just under 100 miles short of getting 1000 miles in this month. If I'm to reach the 1000 mile mark I'll have to ride in some rather ugly conditions. How important is it to me to get to that number? We'll see.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

RAO Recon

The Flying Aquarians are previewing the RAO course!



Lauren and I are out on the Race Across Oregon course getting a good look at what is in store for us in July. No biking today but hope to get her out and ride part of the course tomorrow.

It's been a good trip, a very good experience for our team.


We covered about half the course today, will get an early start and finish the reconnaissance tomorrow. The weather was nice today, hazy sun, up to 64 degrees.



On today's look we were astounded to find virtually no level ground. The route was either climbing or descending. The GPS recorded 26,567 but that included a detour we had to take to get around the snow on Forest Road 48 and then back tracking UP towards Hwy 35. I'm guessing we probably added about 3000-4000 ft of climbing that we won't be biking.



As we were leaving Condon we noted that Lauren is famous here even before astounding the locals with her biking prowess. Seems they've named a street in her honor in anticipation of her stellar accomplishment.



We had lunch in Heppner.




We went off course to Pendelton for an evening night cap.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wilsonville Century revisited

Paul from the social bike group led a ride of the Wilsonville Century today. I was the only attendee. I figured it would fit well with my schedule this week. I am scouting the RAO route this weekend with my partner and I may not get much time to ride so adding to the week's miles before the weekend is probably a good call.

We started from Wilsonville and made our way across the Canby Ferry.




The weather forecast predicted a 50% chance of rain but the day started dry.

That soon changed though as we went eastward from Canby. The day was windy and when the rain started falling, rather heavily, it soon got to be not much fun. When we got to Hwy 213 we stopped at a convenience store and warmed ourselves with hot chocolate. From there we pedaled to Molalla. By the time we got to Molalla the rain had stopped and luckily for us would remain dry for most of the rest of the day. We did still have a very brisk South wind to ride into though.

We climbed Bird Hill, the biggest climb of the day then got to Scotts Mills where we stopped at a small grocery store and had ....corndogs and Snickers bars!




We continued on to Silverton and then turned westward towards Keizer. At least it was a crosswind now. We stopped at a Dairy Queen in Keizer and I had some french fries to go along with my Ensure. I guess that's what you call a balanced diet!

We turned northward towards St Paul and finally got to enjoy a tail wind. We just pedaled along at 20 mph+ and smiled. When we got to St Paul we rewarded ourselves with yet more junk food!





As we left St Paul it began raining again. Not as hard as earlier, and not nearly as long. Before too long the sun was out again.



We finished up back at Wilsonville both happy with the ride today. The "nice" out weighed the "ugly" and the company was superb.



............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.........TOTAL
Today......101................0................101
Jan........618...............0................618
Feb........692...............0................692
March......908...............0................908
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....2232...............0...............2232

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Training, or an Ice Cream Ride?????

Clare from the social bike group joined me today on a ride from OMSI with a planned destination of Multnomah Falls and back via a 77 mile route. The forecast said a 70% chance of rain so this was likely to be wet ride. I brought the Marin, which has fenders, and a few pounds on my Scattante. Clare is in training for an Iron Man competition in Idaho in June and brought her Felt TT bike.

We stared off along the Springwater Trail to get us eastward. Once out in the Orient area we took the `08 RAO course in reverse which meant we rode 302nd Ave to Kerslake Rd then Stark St with the intention of crossing the Sandy River via the Stark Street Bridge. When we arrived at the bridge we found it was closed for maintenance. We were forced to bike down to Troutdale to get to the other side of the river. While pedaling through Troutdale we decided to take advantage of the proximity of Dairy Queen and have a banana split. :-)



Despite the forecast, we hadn't had much rain. A light shower from time to time but no real need for raingear. The wind was blowing pretty hard though.

As we pedaled up the Historic Columbia River Highway we saw signs saying it was closed before Corbett, evidently due to a rock slide. The detour forced us up over Woodard and Mershon. It gave us a bonus hill to climb. ;-)

Fighting the wind and the climbing was tiring Clare a bit. When we got to Corbett she voiced concerns about being able to ride the full planned distance. I had noticed her falling behind as we'd climb or turned into the wind. I did twist her arm a bit (though it didn't take much) and we made the climb to Women's Forum Park on Chanticleer Point.


Though I've been there countless times the view is always worth another picture.



We turned around and returned to Portland via the Historic Hwy with a slight detour on Bell Rd then another detour on Woodard. When we got back to Troutdale we rode Halsey Street back into the inner east side where we moved over to Broadway and finished the ride to the Willamette River. When we were about 45 minutes out yet the skies opened up and it began raining. Clare had commuted via bike to OMSI for the start of the ride today so this is where we said our goodbyes with her crossing the Broadway Bridge and me making my way south back to OMSI. As we each went our own way it really began to rain hard. The wind was kicking up also Hate to admit it but it was pretty miserable riding the last 15-20 minutes. I was riding into the wind and rain. Hopefully Clare had a bit nice time of it with the direction she was heading.

The question of the day was "Is this an ice cream ride or a training ride?". Well, since the forecast was for rain and we rode anyway, I guess this has to be recorded as a training ride. But then again, we did stop for ice cream. I guess it gets a check in that column too! ;-)

66 miles, 4300 ft of climbing.


............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.........TOTAL
Today.......66................0.................66
Jan........618...............0................618
Feb........692...............0................692
March......807...............0................807
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....2131...............0...............2131

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A metric century

Carol from my social bike group and I went for a ride today. The weather was great. Beautiful blue sky and a very light breeze. The plan was to roughly repeat Sunday's ride which went from Hillsboro to Sauvie Island for a couple of laps then return.

Today we had nicer weather! No hail in the face while descending, not even a cloud in the sky! We left northern Hillsboro and made our way to 185th Ave which we took to Germantown Rd then jogged over to Old Cornelius Pass Rd which we took to Skyline Rd. We moved over a bit on Skyline and took Newberry Rd down to Sauvie Island. Carol was pretty happy to have accomplished the climb AND the descent.

Little did she know at the time, but the return route would be significantly harder!

We crossed over the new Sauvie Island Bridge and stopped at the little store at it's foot for a snack.




After a bit both the bike and I were anxious to get going again!


On Sunday our group rode two laps, today we rode one lap with an addition of an out and back along the Columbia River. It was a beautiful day for a ride.






Carol had requested a route today of "about 60 miles with a few hills". I delivered.
We rode two big hills today, and one slightly smaller one. That's more than "a couple" less than "several", must be "a few"! ;-)
Here's Carol suffering up the last of Logie Trail.


Next time she'll probably choose her words more carefully!

We ended up today with 62 miles and 4994 ft of climbing.


............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.........TOTAL
Today.......62................0.................62
Jan........618...............0................618
Feb........692...............0................692
March......741...............0................741
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....2065...............0...............2065

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What a difference a day makes

4 of us met this morning for a ride. The plan was to ride from Hillsboro over the West Hills to join some other folks on a couple of laps around Sauvie Island then ride back over the hill and return to Hillsboro.


After a glorious day yesterday, we were met with intermittent rain and even hail today!

The ride was a good workout. Lauren and I both rode long yesterday and today's ride with hills was a good follow-up.
Cornelius Pass Rd, the "main drag" over the West Hills in this area, was closed today for some road work. Logie Trail, our planned route was a designated detour route. We weighed our options but decided to continue up Logie Trail. The traffic was many times the normal volume but we had no issues. We all commented on how "understanding" the drivers were. We even had a few thumbs up and a friendly "great job" as they'd go past us. We climbed 4357 ft today. Not shabby in a ~50 mile ride.

The hail in our face as we descended Logie Trail at 40 MPH added to the excitement of the day!

We finished up the day with food, drink, and visit at Imbrie Hall.


Wet weather aside, it was a good ride.



............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.........TOTAL
Today.......51................0.................51
Jan........618...............0................618
Feb........692...............0................692
March......679...............0................679
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....2003...............0...............2003

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mt Hood has nothing on the Flying Aquarians!

My Race Across Oregon teammate Lauren and I went for a bike ride today. The day was just gorgeous and by the time the day was over we logged 109 miles, 11,441 ft of climbing, burned 7531 calories, averaged 14.7 mph, and had a grand time!

Here's our route:


We began our ride from OMSI and followed the Eastbank Esplanade to the Sellwood Bridge. We took the lane and crossed the bridge. Lauren is getting a little more comfortable doing this. Once across the Willamette we rode to Lake Oswego where we jumped on a multi-use path that follows the west shore of the Willamette River for a way then got on the low traffic Old River Road until forced to get on Hwy 43. We continued to Oregon City where we again took the lane on a fast down slope as we merged into the appropriate lanes and crossed the Oregon City Bridge.

We made our way via side streets and back alleys to the road that runs up the Clackamas River. (Clackamas River Dr/Springwater Rd/Bakers Ferry Rd)




We had both remarked that for a route that promised a lot of climbing we sure hadn't seen much.......... yet.

We continued our way up the Clackamas River and through Barton. We talked about how in my previous life I had done a lot of whitewater and in my early rafting years had used Barton Park as access to the river. Today it was but a footnote as we rode on.
We climbed up out of the Clackamas River canyon and made our way to Sandy. In no time at all it seemed like we were there. We topped off our water bottles, had a snack from our "on bike" supplies and continued on to the infamous Bull Run river canyon. We expected most of our climbing to come in the next 40 miles.

First we had to cross the Sandy River which we did at Revenue Bridge.


We had expected most of our climbing to come in this section and our expectations were met. We'd climb up some pretty decent grades......

,,,,only to summit, then experience a hair raising twisty descent. The roller coaster ride eventually tamed a bit and we suddenly found ourselves peering into the Columbia Gorge between Women's Forum Park and Larch Mtn Road. I've biked the gorge many times, always east and west. Today marked a first for me in that we arrived here from the south.

We turned eastward (into a stiff east wind) and descended towards Multnomah Falls. As we rode around the Vista House we were both buffeted by some nasty swirling winds and found it very difficult to hold our lane......or even stay on the bikes! As we dropped back into better tree cover things became more manageable and we reached Multnomah Falls. We both refilled water bottles and had more of our on board food, as well as supported the lodge's snack bar for some salty snacks (now pressed into the "health food" role).

From there we turned back around and climbed our way back towards Chanticleer Point and Women's Forum State Park.




Though we had been riding some significant climbs Lauren couldn't help but be enjoying the day. Smiles came easily.


We took the "regular route" to Corbett then took every alternate to the right that was available. Rather than taking the descent that the Historic Highway follows we managed to eek out a few more climbing opportunities. The last alternate road we took was Woodard which dropped us back on the Sandy River a few miles below the Stark Street Bridge. We turned back upstream and gave Lauren her first look at an RAO route. We followed the `08 route up the Sandy River, across the Stark Street Bridge then a hard left on Kerslake Rd and climbed up to 302nd Ave. The climbing continued, a bit surprisingly to my partner!


We rode 302nd until we reached the Orient area then angled SW to cross Hwy 26 then made our way to Gresham where we jumped on the Springwater Corridor Trail to make our way back towards Portland.



The Springwater Corridor is not my favorite route to ride. It's surface is rough for a road bike and on a sunny days such as today it was full of the ipodded masses.
We just wanted to make fast tracks and get back to town. My partner had evening plans and I generally just subscribe to the mantra "momentum is my friend"!


We did eventually get back to Portland under an increasingly cloudy sky and into a bit of a wind that had shifted. It appears as if the weather forecasters may be right, tomorrow may be a wet day...... but today it was an absolutely glorious day to be on a bike. Sunny and 70 degrees!

Mt Hood was beautiful today, all white with snow, beautiful clear blue sky as a backdrop. It is Oregon's highest mountain at 11,242 ft, today we bettered it with climbing totaling 11,441 ft.

Maybe we should have named our Race Across Oregon team the "Climbing Aquarians" instead of the "Flying Aquarians". ;-)


............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.........TOTAL
Today......109................0................109
Jan........618...............0................618
Feb........692...............0................692
March......628...............0................628
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....1952...............0...............1952

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tour de Blue Sky

Today 3 of us met up to ride a 44 mile loop with 3290 ft of elevation gain. There were two others who expressed interest in joining in the fun but at "pedals spinning" time we hadn't seen them yet.

John, Phil, and I started from Wilsonville and rode to the Canby Ferry.

The sky was blue but the cool air and brisk wind kept us in warmer clothing as we started. After about 10 miles the air was warming and so were we. From then on the wind breakers were off and stowed.

We held a quick pace, maybe a bit too quick. Phil turned back about 10 miles into the ride today.

John and I kept pedaling along through the Clackamas County rural countryside. John was on the `08 Race Across Oregon course record setting team with me. He's a strong rider and we made good progress today.






When we got to Maple Lane we saw signs saying the road was closed. We continued on cautiously. When we got to the low point we found that a truck driver had a bad day. News story HERE.

According to the site supervisor the loaded truck had failed to negotiate the turn at the bottom of the hill. Seems that he must have missed a shift then overheated brakes. No matter the cause, the truck ended up over the bridge in the creek. By the time we got there two large cranes had wiggled it up out of the creek and were preparing to hoist it back up to the road. We were told that the driver survived but was pretty banged up.

At first we were told that we'd likely have to backtrack and detour around. As we watched the "rescue" unfold the supervisor came over to us and said he thought he could get us through if we were willing to wait a bit. We did so and took the opportunity to take a few photos and talk with bystanders.









The supervisor soon led us through the site and we were on our way again. No more issues on this ride.....except for climbing Maple Lane and Pete's Mountain!

John is a good rider and we made our way through Oregon City and over the Oregon City Bridge without any problem. It's important when riding the OC Bridge that cyclists take the lane and practice good lane control on the exits and entries to the bridge. Those without good skills are often hesitant to do this and passage becomes an issue.

Today we zipped right across the bridge then made our way to Willamette and on out to and over Pete's Mountain. From there it was a quick dash back to Wilsonville and the end of our ride. A lunch and brew at Kraven's Sports Bar made for a good end to today's ride.

Here's an interactive map of today's route:



............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.........TOTAL
Today.......44................0.................44
Jan........618...............0................618
Feb........692...............0................692
March......519...............0................519
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....1843...............0...............1843

And this....... Portland is a hotbed of cycling and creative type folks who put up some pretty entertaining YouTube clips. Those who've seen the Performance clip would have to agree. The following clip, also made by local Portland folks has been on the net for several weeks already. I decided I should include it here for those who haven't seen it yet.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seeing ......green

No, not riding past a group with environmental leanings, a bike ride on St Patrick's Day with a social gathering afterward.


10 of us from my social bike group took advantage of daylight saving time and started out this evening at 6PM for a few repeats of the two mile bike path that runs along Hwy 26 to Sylvan from the west side. Each circuit would yield 4 miles and 404 vertical feet of gain. The weather was sunny and temperature was 60 as we prepared to pedal.

The sun stayed up for us but the temperature began dropping quickly. In less than an hour it had dropped 10 degrees. None of us were quite dressed for that so after two hill repeats we bagged it and retired to Big Reds at the top of the hill for a little rehashing of the evening's ride.

It was Paul's first attempt at organizing a ride for our group and we all agreed that he had done well. Here we are raising our glasses in a toast to his leadership skills. ;-)


Each two mile climb gave us 404 ft of elevation gain. We'd roll back down the hill and repeat. I toodled around at the start as folks were getting ready and managed to get nearly a bonus mile in before we began.

I ended with 9 miles and 808 ft of climbing.

............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.........TOTAL
Today........9................0..................9
Jan........618...............0................618
Feb........692...............0................692
March......475...............0................475
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....1799...............0...............1799

Monday, March 15, 2010

A recovery ride

I rode hard yesterday, and reasonably hard the day before. Today was a perfect day to take it easy. Carol, a member of my social bike group, called with an invitation to ride "something around 30-40 miles with rolling hills beginning near Hillsboro". There were to be about 4 of us. I got the duty of mapping a route. As we got ready to pedal she started getting calls and it became clear that it would only be Carol and I.


Here's where we rode:

We started from near the intersection of Cornelius Pass Road and Hwy 26 near Hillsboro. We rode north on Cornelius Pass Rd to Rock Creek Blvd then cut through some residential neighborhoods to reach West Union Rd which we rode to it's eastern terminus then began the climb up Thompson Rd.






We eventually reached Skyline and turned left. The views today were great. The snow capped Cascade volcanoes were just beautiful.

(Mt St Helens with the Columbia River in the foreground)

From about 1200 ft elevation we dropped to around 600 ft at Cornelius Pass. I was a bit faster than Carol today and pulled off in a large gravel area at the intersection of Cornelius Pass Rd and Skyline to allow her to catch up. As I was waiting there, about 10ft off the pavement, a black Jeep soft top with a small utility trailer pulled up to me, stopped, and let me have a piece of his mind. Luckily his brain was obviously not very large, so the piece he gave me wasn't too much of a burden. He used his entire vocabulary of 4 letter words in the process of informing me just exactly where I should be riding. I learned my lesson, all I said to him was "have a nice day" with a smile on my face. He responded with "didn't you f#$%ing hear me?" I just smiled. He drove on. The trailer obscured my view of his license plate. I did note that he drove away on the same road we intended to ride. Sure enough, 20-30 minutes later as we rode Skyline near Elliot Rd here comes the same Jeep back towards us. He lays on the horn and crosses the centerline coming towards me in a show of "metal superiority". This time I got his plate number. I called 911 and left a report with the police.

That was the only problem encountered today. The weather was nice, the traffic accommodating, and the company nice. The day was quite peaceful.


We had climbed again after crossing Cornelius Pass and reached nearly 1400 ft elevation when we turned down Moreland Rd, then turned on Dorland Rd, then Shadybrook Rd on our way to North Plains.

In North Plains we turned on West Union Rd and made our way to Jackson School Rd. We turned on Meek Rd, the Sewell Rd, then the fun run on buttery smooth Evergreen back to Imbrie Drive and the end of our ride for the day.

The GPS says we rode 41.07 miles with 3457 ft of climbing.

The slightly slower pace made this a very enjoyable and relaxing ride.


............BIKE............LIFECYCLE.........TOTAL
Today.......41................0.................41
Jan........618...............0................618
Feb........692...............0................692
March......466...............0................466
_________________________________________
TOTAL.....1790...............0...............1790