Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Harder Than it Should Have Been

The weather forecast says there's a good chance of snow tomorrow and Thursday.  If I was going to get one more chance to ride my birthday route, I was going to have to do it today. The wind was calm and temperature significantly above freezing in the morning as I was preparing to pedal, but the wind was predicted to build from the east through the Columbia River Gorge with dropping temperatures as the day progressed. An east wind turns into a north wind in this area as it spills out of The Gorge, and bumps against the Coast Range, then fans north and south along the valley.  Here in the northern Willamette Valley we can expect north winds in these conditions.

Today's route would start off heading mostly south for just over 25 miles.  By the time I was in about 12 miles I noted a bit of tailwind pushing me along.  I arrived at the site of Parkersville.   I mused that "location, location, location" must be tempered with "timing, timing, timing".  Here was a settlement on the shores of Lake Labish that is now little more than a historical sign post. Just beyond this sign a short distance was a pump station keeping the lake dry most of the time.  Without the pumps, this  would be a lake in winter, and probably marsh land the rest of the year. Even with  the pumps, this area is a lake during very wet periods.   However, with a dike instead of pumps, perhaps a resort might have been in the cards for Parkersville. No matter, today it was still a welcome rest spot.


I continued southward through Howell Prairie with an increasing tailwind. The clouds were still quite heavy.


I turned west on Hazel Green Rd and lost my tailwind assist.  I got to Dairy Queen as I crossed River Rd, and took the opportunity to get a banana split!


It was soon going to be time to turn into this increasing wind.  After a bit of crosswind action in the Windsor Island area, I headed straight into the wind.

video

I just don't have the power in my legs that I've had in the past.   It was tough work making progress against this wind. I was only able to hold about 12 mph.  Not fast, but at least I was moving. Given the chances of wet weather in the Willamette Valley in February are greater than the chances of cold weather, the wind should be out of the south.  That would give us a tailwind on the last half of the ride next weekend.  That will be good!  Hopefully just not too much rain!



.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........62................0....................0........................0..........62
Jan..............304...............15...................0......................31..........350

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Racing Raindrops

Daylight arrived with 10-15 mph winds out of the south, in advance of rain predicted by 2PM.
Following breakfast I was on the bike hoping for 35-40 miles before the rain.

I rolled down Queen Ann, crossed the Fremont Bridge, and headed out the Burke-Gilman Trail. The wind was mostly helpful as I wound my way along the shore of Lake Washington.  I had a half bottle of water on the bike, planning to top it off along the way.  About 7 miles into the ride I came to a water fountain along the trail, but it was turned off for the winter.

When I got to Log Boom Park, the water fountain there was winterized as well. I was somewhat surprised since the BG is a well used path, and frost proof fountains could easily be used in places like this. Oh well, there were other options for water if I needed any.

The wind had whipped up a few waves on the usually placid lake.

video

I continued on toward the north end of the Burke-Gilman Trail.  I could continue on the Lake Sammamish Trail, but the impending rain, as well as late afternoon plans meant that this would be far enough today.  Just before the end of the trail I went through this brightly painted underpass.


Within 100 ft of the tunnel the BG ended and I turned around.  I was now fighting the wind more than being blown along by it.  The clouds kept getting thicker and darker. I kept pedaling along.

I did stop to get a picture of Mt Rainier.


As I approached the Fremont Bridge I rolled up to a stop signal and rolled to a stop next to a young woman on her bike.  I asked if she thought we'd beat the rain.  She laughed, and said that was why she was riding fast. The light turned green, and she was gone!

I crossed the Fremont Bridge and called Julie, giving her a half hour warning of my arrival.  She had mentioned that she'd like to go on a ride around Queen Ann when I got there.  It would be her second ride of the month so I was going to do my best to accommodate her.  I winched my way up the hill.  Julie met me at her bike and around the hill we went.
It was 1:45 PM, and the rain was coming in right on time.


The road was just beginning to get wet as we finished up.



.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........40................0....................0........................0..........40
Jan..............242...............15...................0......................31..........288

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A change of plan

It is likely the last dry day for at least a week. I geared up and prepared to go for a good long ride.  As I was walking out the door, I reminded Julie that this was likely her last chance to get a January ride in, unless she was going to ride in the rain. She had biked once in November, once in December, it would be a shame to break the string now.  ;-)

She agreed, and hopped on her mountain bike with flat pedals, a fleece coat, and no helmet.  This obviously was not going to be a serious bike ride.

We started off on a lap around Queen Ann, but soon stopped at the local hardware store. I stayed out with the bikes, she made a quick walk in and out.   We pedaled on a few blocks and came to an overlook.



We rode onward.  In a matter of blocks we came to a garage sale.  Julie looked for bargains while I looked back toward the Olympic Mountains, and the hill we had just biked up.


We pedaled on, taking a little loop through Parsons Gardens, as we made our way along.
We continued around the south end of Queen Ann.  We made a very quick stop at Kerry Park, where there is a good view of the Space Needle and Elliot Bay, but neither were as photogenic today as they usually are, so we rode on.

It was a gentle climb back northward as we wrapped up today's short ride. Julie kept her "one ride per month" streak alive.




.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........4................0....................0........................0..........4
Jan..............202...............15...................0......................31..........248

Friday, January 27, 2017

A record setting day!

Well, okay, not a biking record, but a weather record, and technically it didn't set a record, but tied the record.  Today reached 54 degrees in Seattle.  That was the warmest day since just before Thanksgiving.

I took off about noon.

I started off by riding to Golden Gardens.  The view across Puget Sound to the Olympic Mountains seemed like a reasonable goal.


With the nice weather, I decided to ride one of my favorite routes, Magnolia.  I rode to the Hiram Chittendon Locks and crossed over.



From where I took the above photo, I began a steep climb up the Magnolia peninsula. A good portion of the climb was at 15%.  It did level off as it passed over a deep ravine with a couple of railroad tracks at the bottom.


One of the best things about Magnolia is the smooth asphalt and wide roads. It is in deep contrast to most of the rest of Seattle.



The views from here aren't bad either.



I finished the ride along the edge of the peninsula then rolled down to Elliot Bay. It was a nice day to ride through Olympic Sculpture Park.


The construction along Seattle's waterfront has continued and today the two lanes each way with sidewalks has morphed into a 1 narrowed shared lane each way. I took the center of the lane and rode hard enough to keep up with the flow of traffic, There was a construction zone speed limit of 25 mph, and the cars mostly stayed pretty close to that given the the lane zigged and zagged back and forth between work zones.

I continued out across the Duwamish River.


I rode as far a Jack Block Park. I had stopped for lunch early in today's ride and  the sun was getting lower in the sky.  I thought if I rode all the way out to the Alki Lighthouse, it would be pressing dark by the time I'd be finished. I rode out to the observation deck and took these two photos.



I turned back around and retraced my route back toward Seattle's waterfront. The light had changed and improved the looks back southeast.


Clouds had begun to build as the day progressed.  It made for some interesting views of the Olympic Mountains.


I rode back around Queen Ann and made my way up via the Kralik Way.  Don't worry about not being able to find that on maps, it is a route that I learned from Cascade Bicycle Club's Scott Kralik.  It makes the climb up Queen Ann easier while adding a bit of distance.

I got back up the hill, and still had a bit of time before the sun would set.  I decided to ride out to Kerry Park for a classic view of downtown Seattle. I wasn't the only one with that plan, the overlook was quite crowded tonight.

video

It was a nice ride, and a great day to ride it!



.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .......40................0....................0........................0.........40
Jan..............198...............15...................0......................31..........244

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A short ride

I had an afternoon online meeting to attend and dilly dallyed the morning away, watching dark clouds and rain showers.  I finally got on the bike with less than 45 minutes to ride.  I went for a fast ride around the top of Queen Ann.


I rode hard, hoping to get some semblance of training in.  The only reason I was somewhat successful was that I am so far out of shape that it doesn't take much of a hill, or much of a sprint, to make me breath hard!





Tomorrow I'll get out for more miles, I promise!

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........4................0....................0........................0..........4
Jan..............158...............15...................0......................31..........204

Monday, January 23, 2017

Gotta Love Karma!

I took advantage of a sunny day to preride my upcoming birthday route. I was hoping to get out early, but morning frost delayed me a bit. I finally started spinning pedals from Butteville at 10:30 AM. Within three miles as I was pedaling along Arndt Rd I had a black SUV pass by in the opposite direction. I noted that even though there were no markings or emergency lights, it just looked like a cop's rig. In about a minute I had a small red car buzz me within arm's reach as it passed at an estimated 70-80 mph. I was sure wishing that cop had been just a bit slower on the road so he could have seen that. Well, in about another 45 seconds that black SUV came by at full throttle with lights flashing! He had turned around and was now chasing this guy down! In about a mile I came across the guy pulled over with the cop behind him. As I approached the cop pulled around the guy moved ahead on the road to the next driveway, then turned around and came back toward me (and the "outlaw". I had already passed the bad guy and flagged the cop down as he was approaching me. I told him that if he needed some more charges to add to this guy's list, he could add a close pass of a cyclist. In Oregon if the motor vehicle is traveling faster than 35 mph, they must pass a cyclist with enough room that if the cyclist were to fall over, they wouldn't hit them. (READ the law here) He thanked me for the information, and added that he thought the driver was in the process of cleaning out his pants, having never expected that the SUV he flew by was a cop.  Love it when someone gets caught risking people's lives.

I continued on my way, and turned around the Aurora Airport, making my way back over to Boone's Ferry Rd.  I followed Boone's Ferry through Woodburn passing the Settlemier House.


At the end of Boone's Ferry road I jogged north a bit to access Howell Prairie Rd.  I was riding through agricultural land. It is the dead of winter, and very little is growing, and nothing is growing actively.  The hop fields are barren field of wooden poles and support wires.  Grass seed fields are green, but just hanging on, waiting for Spring.  Cane berries are trellised up awaiting Spring growth.
The prairie was pretty though.


I followed Howell Prairie southward until I reached Hazelgreen Rd. I turned westward.  I had skirted around seasonal Lake Labish.  As I pedaled along Hazelgreen Rd I came close to the southeast edge of the lake.  Today, the most notable sight was the somewhat rare black peat soils that are great for growing onions.


I continued along Hazelgreen Rd to Highway 99E, where the name changed to Chemawa Rd.  I continued across Interstate 5, where the name changed again to Lockhaven Rd,  then reaching my half way point,  rolled into Keizer Station to refill water and have a quick bite to eat.

I continued west until Lockhaven ended at Windsor Island Rd.  I turned north, into an increasingly bothersome headwind.  I zigged and zagged my way northeast, slowing down with each passing mile as I fought the wind.  It wasn't bad by normal standards, probably 10-15 mph, but was more than my undertrained legs were comfortable with.

I made slow, but sure progress back to Butteville.  It took me just over 5 hours clock time (including photo stops, food stop, and actual pedaling) to finish the 62.48 miles.  Hopefully I'll be slightly better by the official ride in two weeks.



.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........62................0....................0........................0..........62
Jan..............154...............15...................0......................31..........200

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A multitude of birthdays

My friend Carol often holds a gathering of folks who have birthdays around now.   Today she invited a bunch of us to celebrate.  We had fun!

5 of the ~20 who attended


 I biked there and back.


Dry with a tailwind on the way there, a few raindrops and a headwind on the way back.  45-50 degrees.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........27................0....................0........................0..........27
Jan...............92...............15...................0......................31..........138

Monday, January 16, 2017

A change in the weather

It reached 37 degrees F today at home.  Balmy by recent standards.  By those standards it was surely tropical in Seattle today where it reached 53 after a morning low of 36.

I'm still in Seattle, and took a short ride from Gasworks Park to Golden Gardens.

The closest I came to the snow covered streets at home was the snow on the distant Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound.



The sky was blue this morning, but clouds had filtered in by the time I got on the bike today.  It is supposed to rain here tomorrow. It is supposed to rain at home tomorrow also, but I'm betting that it will at least start out as freezing rain.  Now the experts are agreeing as well.

It looks like I'll be back on rollers for the next day or so.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........12................0....................0........................0..........12
Jan...............65...............15...................0......................31..........111

Sunday, January 15, 2017

History repeating itself?

I'm back up in Seattle. They don't have any snow around, and haven't had recently. It is even a about 15 degrees warmer at night, and 15-20 degrees warmer during the daytime. Today I rode down from Queen Ann to Green Lake and back. Green Lake, like most of the lakes in the area, indeed, Puget Sound itself, was scoured from the landscape by the Vashon Glaciel Ice Sheet over 50,000 years ago. Today it looked as if it might be returning to those ancient times.



The lake was completely frozon over for the 4th time in 101 years.  The ice thickness was about 6" where I took this photo, but thinned to perhaps 2" on the far shore, where it was subject to the afternoon sun.  Police and fire where there to remind folks that the park was asking people to not walk on the ice for safety reasons.

It was nice to be out riding the real bike again.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........13................0....................0........................0..........13
Jan...............53...............15...................0......................31...........99

Friday, January 13, 2017

Baby it's cold outside!

The cold air remains turning our area into something closer to Arctic Tundra than Oregon's Willamette Valley. Even where de-icer was used, the road shoulders are littered with gravel, broken tire chains, and chunks of ice. Oh well, the gym is dry and warm..........and there is a hot tub for post ride comfort! On the lifecycle!

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........0................0....................0........................20..........20
Jan...............40...............15...................0......................31...........86

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Snow, Ice, Rollers!

It has been a week of below freezing temperatures resulting in an accumulation of snow with underlying ice everywhere.  I stayed safe by riding rollers.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........0...............15....................0........................0..........15
Jan...............40...............15...................0......................11...........66


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Dry and Cold

It was about 5 degrees below freezing today as I dusted off the fixed gear bike and headed out. I was bundled up like an arctic explorer of course. The sun was shining brightly and I decided that it wasn't cold enough to need my balaclava. Probably a mistake, because as I pedaled the wind chill was fierce. My cheeks felt the sting of the cold air rushing past them. I balanced the need to pedal to keep warm, with the need to keep frostbite at bay.

I pedaled northward along Boones Ferry Rd to Tualatin then through Cook Park in Tigard.
The travel lanes were dry and ice free. The shoulder/bike lanes had some ice in places. I rode the white fog line for safety, keeping my eyes open for ice.

I puttered around enough that I managed to get 28 miles before calling it a day.


.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today ........28................0....................0........................0..........28
Jan...............40................0...................0......................11...........51

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pretending to ride a bike

Today was dry and cold.  At 2PM it was 30 degrees (the high for the day) with a humidity of 27%.  The east wind was howling through the Columbia Gorge (39 mph at Troutdale, over 100 mph on Mt Hood)  FWIW, it is predicted to drop to 17 degrees tonight here in Wilsonville. It is well on the way since it is 22.7 degrees at 10:15 PM

Riding in sub freezing temperatures is not part of my training for RAO, so I rode the lifecycle at the gym for the first time in several years.

30 minutes of pretend bike riding, 11 miles of pretend distance.

.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........0................0....................0.......................11..........11
Jan...............12................0...................0......................11...........23

Monday, January 2, 2017

A cool ride to Golden Gardens

It was a cold morning, and predicted to not get much warmer.  I had afternoon plans, so I hopped on the bike mid morning, hoping for the warmest portion of the day available to me.

It was dry, but below freezing as I took off from Gasworks Park in Seattle.  I knew what the weather would be as I prepared to ride today, so had clothes on to be comfortable.

I pedaled out toward Golden Gardens, and realized that I had taken off without my phone this morning.  Bummer, when I got to Golden Gardens the sun was shining on fresh snow on the Olympic Mountains.  It would have made a nice photo, even with the phone's camera.

Oh well, next time I guess.

I rode back to Gasworks and called it a day.

 A 12 mile round trip.  Not many miles, but 12 more than I rode all last January.



.........Road Bike........Rollers.............MTB..........Lifecycle......Total
Today .........12................0....................0.......................0..........12
Jan...............12................0...................0.......................0...........12