Saturday, December 31, 2016

The last ride of the year

As the day was coming to a close, my friend Julie and I got on our bikes and rode around the top of Queen Ann, taking the long way to Menchies for frozen yogurt.  It was a funny choice for a treat, since it was just a couple of degrees above freezing with little spritzes of snow falling. Julie has biked even less than I have this winter.  She rode once in November, and today would be her only ride in December!

The first stop was an overlook where we could see the Space Needle.  Later tonight there will be huge crowds here to watch fireworks that will welcome in the new year.


After a couple of miles we came to Menchies and had big bowls of frozen yogurt.


After a leisurely snack, we bid the lass behind the counter adieu and hopped back on the bikes.  We continued around the north side of the hill. There was still a feel of the holidays in the air.


It was a fun, if cool, ride.  Not fast enough to get warm, but fast enough to experience wind chill.

My year ends with 3006 miles.  My least amount in at least 6 years.

Most of my cycling accomplishments were off the bike this year.

I was crew chief for the 4 man Southern California RAAM Challenge team, Team Skipper.  The boys came in first place overall.  Not bad at all!

 I designed this year's Race Across Oregon route. I'm pretty proud of the fact that at 522 miles, with 41,717 ft of climbing,  it was the most difficult Race Across America qualifier. Hey, if you want to race RAAM, you want to know that you are up to the task! I also wrote the route book, one of the nicer ultra race route books if I do say so myself.

I previewed the RAO route while supporting Lisa Bliss as she biked the route over two days to get a feel for it.

I was originally picked as crew chief for Barry Dickson as he planned to return to RAO and try to improve on his 2nd place finish last year when I was doing crew chief duties for him.  He had some issues during the year that left him not ready to race and he withdrew a month or so out.  Lisa Bliss found out that I was available and picked me to fill out her crew for a solo RAO.

She had all she wanted of the hilly course, but did finish with about 90 minutes to spare.

I returned to Race Across the West this year as crew chief for Robert Baldino and Brian Martin as they raced a two man effort.  It became my first DNF as crew chief. (not counting the crash related withdrawal at last year's Race Across the West)  The heat of the SW desert was just too much for them, and I had lost control of the team.  The decision to withdraw was made before I had input.

My poor results of the year continued with Hoodoo 500, where I was crew chief for solo racer Donna Braswell.   She failed to finish as well.  We started out with three crew members, but one withdrew as the race neared, fearing a DNF.  My fellow crew member Emily and I decided to continue, just to support her, and help her gain experience.  She made it less than 200 miles into the 500 mile race, but at least Emily and I felt that the time spent was worthwhile.

In November Dave Schalk and I teamed up to support Barry Dickson as a solo racer, and Chris Davies and Karin Weller as a mixed tandem team as they raced in the 24 Hour World Time Trial. This was a new experience for me.  Instead of following the racer along the course providing nutrition, hydration, navigation, and repair, from a moving vehicle, we'd be based in a stationary pit area. Very much like a NASCAR race, we communicated with our racers via two way radio and had needed supplies staged for a quick transfer as they pedaled into the pit area. Legendary ultra racer Dex Tooke was there as well and took this video of the pit crews in action.

video


Several racers exceeded 500 miles with Christoph Strasser leading the pack with 552 miles in 24 hours, but our racers results were disappointing for them.  Karin and Chris withdrew with bike fit issues, and a couple of hours later Barry withdrew while riding with the leaders with back pain,

It was a tough year for me, after having stated in an interview last year that I had never had a racer DNF, this year most of my racers did.  Dave and I spent a few days in southern California riding in the sunshine and thinking about next year's plans.

For me, next year will include racing again.  My first bike race was with my former college roommates as the 4x team Old Goats in the 2008 Race Across Oregon. We did pretty well in our debut, coming in first and setting a course record.  We will be returning to the RAO course in 2017 trying to repeat our results.

Some of my usual signature rides fell by the wayside this year.  The 300 mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway weekend ride didn't happen due to lack of interest, as did the Crater Lake/Diamond Lake cycling weekend. I missed out on the Ride Around Mt Hood, and chose to not ride STP, I missed riding to Mt St Helens.  Obviously with only 3000 miles, I missed a lot of riding fun.

One new experience I did get, Dave and I put on panniers and rode from Seattle to Vancouver BC.  We broke the 200 mile trip into 3 days of pedaling and sight seeing.  It was fun.

With a bike race on the calendar, this coming year will see more miles for sure!

Happy New Year to all!


.........Road Bike.....Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........4...............0..................0.......................0...........4
Jan...............0................0...................0.......................0............0
Feb..........124...............0...................0.......................0...........124
March......277................0..................0........................0..........277
April......559................0..................0........................0..........559
May.........414...............0..................0.......................0...........414
June........337...............0..................0.......................0...........337
July........310...............0..................0.......................0...........310
August.......40.............0....................0......................0............40
Sept..........100..............0...................83......................0...........100
Oct.............29...............0....................0......................0............29
Nov............600..............0......................0......................0...........600
Dec............102..............37......................0......................0.........139
YTD...... 2869............37...................83.......................0..........3006

Friday, December 30, 2016

Back on the real bike!

It was raining this morning in Seattle (what would you expect?) but dried up by late morning.  I hoped on my rain bike, the only one I have with me this time.  I rode out the Burke-Gilman.  There we fleeting views of Lake Washington as I rode along.




I was dressed warmly, as the temperature would remain in the 30's my entire ride.
There was a slight wind blowing, but not enough to cause any trouble.  There were a few people out walking dogs, and even fewer out riding bikes.  I rode to Gateway Park then turned around.  As I rode through Kenmore I stopped at McDonalds and had a fish sandwich with fries and a drink.  Just what I needed to keep moving!

With today's ride I managed to achieve a paltry 3000 miles for the year.  Less than 30% of what I've done many years.  Oh well, in one more day I can wipe the slate clean and start in on a new year.



.........Road Bike.....Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........35...............0..................0.......................0..........35
Jan...............0................0...................0.......................0............0
Feb..........124...............0...................0.......................0...........124
March......277................0..................0........................0..........277
April......559................0..................0........................0..........559
May.........414...............0..................0.......................0...........414
June........337...............0..................0.......................0...........337
July........310...............0..................0.......................0...........310
August.......40.............0....................0......................0............40
Sept..........100..............0...................83......................0...........100
Oct.............29...............0....................0......................0............29
Nov............600..............0......................0......................0...........600
Dec............98..............37......................0......................0.........135
YTD...... 2865............37...................83.......................0..........3002

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Still Spinning

Another rainy day here, another day spinning wheels on my rollers.

30 minutes, 13 miles. Never moved a foot.

.........Road Bike.....Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........0...............13..................0.......................0..........13
Jan...............0................0...................0.......................0............0
Feb..........124...............0...................0.......................0...........124
March......277................0..................0........................0..........277
April......559................0..................0........................0..........559
May.........414...............0..................0.......................0...........414
June........337...............0..................0.......................0...........337
July........310...............0..................0.......................0...........310
August.......40.............0....................0......................0............40
Sept..........100..............0...................83......................0...........100
Oct.............29...............0....................0......................0............29
Nov............600..............0......................0......................0...........600
Dec..............63............37......................0......................0.........100
YTD...... 2830............37...................83.......................0..........2967

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Spinning my wheels

After a good start during the month of November (#ridingeverydayinNovember) I turned into a bike slacker during December.  With holidays, travel, and snow, I just found other things to do.

Today, the weather wasn't all that bad, but I decided that I really needed a harder workout than riding around the neighborhood, or riding some urban streets.  I set the rollers up in the garage and figured it wouldn't be too much trouble to get on them again.

Alas, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  It was almost like having to learn all over again.  I rode off the side several times, and stopped to adjust roller spacing once, after riding off the front of the rollers a couple of times.

I finally got things dialed in, only to find that it is hard work riding rollers!



I managed to get two 30 minute sessions in, as was my plan.


.........Road Bike.....Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........0...............24..................0.......................0..........24
Jan...............0................0...................0.......................0............0
Feb..........124...............0...................0.......................0...........124
March......277................0..................0........................0..........277
April......559................0..................0........................0..........559
May.........414...............0..................0.......................0...........414
June........337...............0..................0.......................0...........337
July........310...............0..................0.......................0...........310
August.......40.............0....................0......................0............40
Sept..........100..............0...................83......................0...........100
Oct.............29...............0....................0......................0............29
Nov............600..............0......................0......................0...........600
Dec............63..............24......................0......................0..........87
YTD...... 2830............24...................83.......................0..........2954

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A lunch ride with PWTC

I have to learn to check the ride calendar sooner.  I am a new member of the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club. I haven't yet got into the habit of checking the online ride calendar.  The forecast today called for decent weather, and I needed to ride.  I was mulling over where I should ride, and finally decided I should check PWTC's online ride calendar. Sure enough, there were two rides offered today.  Though the first one was longer, faster, and closer to me (better for me) I was already too late to make it to the start on time. That left the second ride, which was a slightly slower and shorter ride, and involved a drive across Portland to get to the start.  I quickly assembled bike gear and took off.  There was a bit of mist falling, but blue sky was predicted by afternoon.  I arrived in plenty of time.  The ride leader was waiting there, and shortly more folks arrived. The mist had ceased, and the roads were rapidly drying off.


 One more cyclist arrived after I took this photo. There would be 7 of us total today.

The ride leader informed us that the planned lunch stop had unexpectedly closed 3 days ago.  We were at his mercy for routing to an alternate location, in the opposite direction. He said he expected the ride to be about 25 miles, but was not sure. His route brought us out next to Pier Park. I believe this was the first time I've ever been to that park. It is always nice to see new areas/roads. After 16 miles of pedaling, we arrived at Panera Bread.  There was a line waiting to order that stretched out the door.  I figured they didn't have anything on the menu worth waiting in that long of a line for, so I staked out a chair at the table and waited. One other cyclist joined me.


After the others finished lunch we hopped back on the bikes and pedaled out. I wish I would have brought my camera, it is much handier to take photos with as I ride,  but I did the best I could with the phone.
The sky had cleared up nicely.










I was thinking that with 16 miles to lunch, that we'd probably end up with about 30-35 miles.  That seemed just about perfect for a nice day.   Alas, we took a more direct route back, and ended up with 24.4 miles.
I was considering going for some bonus miles, especially considering that snow and freezing weather are predicted in the next couple of days,  but the phone started ringing and life got busy.

It was a nice ride, I just wish it had been longer.



.........Road Bike.....Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........24................0..................0.......................0..........24
Jan...............0................0...................0.......................0............0
Feb..........124...............0...................0.......................0...........124
March......277................0..................0........................0..........277
April......559................0..................0........................0..........559
May.........414...............0..................0.......................0...........414
June........337...............0..................0.......................0...........337
July........310...............0..................0.......................0...........310
August.......40.............0....................0......................0............40
Sept..........100..............0...................83......................0...........100
Oct.............29...............0....................0......................0............29
Nov............600..............0......................0......................0...........600
Dec............63...............0......................0......................0..........63
YTD...... 2830.............0...................83.......................0..........2913

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Walking to school up hill both ways

We've probably all heard the stories of our parents walking to school, rain, snow, uphill both ways.

Today I really did ride against the wind both ways!

I got a late start and missed the chance to ride with the Portland Wheelmen. I texted a few friends to see if they were available to ride. It seemed I was striking out on all options today, except for going for a ride by myself. The weather was nice, a lot of blue sky around. It couldn't be that bad!

I started out on Portland's 40 Mile Loop. I've been on it a lot recently, but I was near my usual starting point, and knew that if I didn't hurry up and get on the bike that darkness would catch me!

As I started out, I heard the familiar sound of a steam whistle, and the puff, puff, puff of a steam engine.  Before I could get in a good position, I caught sight of the famous Southern Pacific 4449 moving through the trees.


I had seen this engine with it's red, white, and blue paint scheme during the nation's bicentennial celebration. It drew crowds then, and continues to do so today.  It is a pretty awesome piece of machinery.

Have spend a bit of time watching the steam engine I finally started northward, into a 10 mph-ish wind. I pedaled along the Willamette River to North Portland then across to the Columbia River on the Peninsula Trail. By the time I got there, the wind was subsiding.

I rode eastward along the Columbia River and noted that rather than subsiding, the wind was changing direction. By the time I got to the Glenn Jackson Bridge it was blowing from the opposite direction.  I'd be riding into a headwind again!  A north wind usually means dry weather in these parts, and a south wind means rain.  That was the case today. Mt Hood was visible as I started my ride.  Here, along the Columbia, Mt Hood should have been quite a sight.  The south wind brought heavy low clouds in with it and obscuring the mountain.  You can even see some rain showers in the distance.


I pushed through the wind until I reached the Springwater Trail where I turned west.  When I had about 6-7 miles to go, it started raining.  Luckily I had my rain bike, and a raincoat along.  One thing about the clouds and rain, the air temperature was at least 5 degrees warmer than when I started out.


Despite the wet end, it was a nice ride.

.........Road Bike.....Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........39................0..................0.......................0..........39
Jan...............0................0...................0.......................0............0
Feb..........124...............0...................0.......................0...........124
March......277................0..................0........................0..........277
April......559................0..................0........................0..........559
May.........414...............0..................0.......................0...........414
June........337...............0..................0.......................0...........337
July........310...............0..................0.......................0...........310
August.......40.............0....................0......................0............40
Sept..........100..............0...................83......................0...........100
Oct.............29...............0....................0......................0............29
Nov............600..............0......................0......................0...........600
Dec............39...............0......................0......................0..........39
YTD...... 2806.............0...................83.......................0..........2889