Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three Capes 300k, Stupendous Weather Edition

The next weekend after the fleche offered the Three Capes 300k.  Ok, well, really the Two Capes, because Cape Meares Rd is still falling into the ocean.

Michal thought he'd ride with me.  He and Cyndi arrived the evening before, and we were up at 4 to eat and get out of the door by 5, to start at 6.

The weather was going to be outstanding.  Stupendous.  Breathtaking.  Michal: "are you wearing a long sleeve jersey or a short sleeve jersey?"  Me: "yes".  (Layers)

So we both headed out wearing two jerseys, and, at least in my case, armwarmers.  And our Gore Visibility vests.  Michal realized he had left his gloves behind.  I had a couple pair in my bag, and the wool overgloves were really more his size than mine, so that was solved.

I have described this route for you so many times that I will just share pictures for a bit.

Climbing up to the Coast Range summit on Hwy 6

Wilson River (headed down)

Rando bikes at the Tillamook Safeway

Arrived in Tillamook; Michal gave us 20 minutes.  I got some food, ate some food, and removed a lot of extraneous clothing.  We headed out to the Bayocean/Cape Meares out and back.  There were some cows.  I reckoned they were primordial Tillamook Cheese cows.  Michal was sure they were the primordial Tillamook Ice Cream cows.

"Those are the ice cream cows"

Jeff S, on Bayocean Rd

Along Bayocean Rd, looking inland

There was a headwind, which turned into a delightful tailwind on the way back out, and south around the cape.  Bit of a climb, then down to Netarts Bay.

Looking southward; Cape Lookout

As always, I forget how steep the Cape Lookout climb can get.  Every year since 2007.  Slogged on up, remembering that just when I wanted to fall over and die, Anderson Viewpoint would be right around the corner.

Pacific Ocean, from Anderson Viewpoint

Michal was waiting there, and, as I stood there gasping, Ray, Steve, and Jeff pulled up.  We all stood and gasped a bit.  Jeff: "that was.... special".  Then the final push to the top - not as steep, but still challenging. (Pro Tip: the trailhead parking lot is the summit.)

Ray decides it is warm enough

Michal and... Jeff S?

The road quality on the descent has definitely declined.  So, care was exercised.  Good descent wasted.  Eventually we arrived in Pacific City.  Michal and I had decided to stop at Grateful Bread, but when we arrived, it was quite crowded.  Sad.  I was looking forward to soup and a sandwich.  We went back to the convenience store.  I had a big cup of coffee and an ice cream bar.

We then headed out via Old Woods Rd to pick up Hwy 101 N through Cloverdale to Hebo, and thence onto another breathtakingly gorgeous 15 miles to the Coast Range summit.  Lowest summit ever, and a very gentle climb.

Hwy 22, back up over the Coast Range

Hwy 22, back up over the Coast Range

Hwy 22, back up over the Coast Range

The 9 mile descent seemed longer than it should have, and when we arrived at the Grand Ronde Store, I was bonking.  So I sat and ate things and sat, and eventually the shaking subsided.  We headed out, and I really was starting to feel much better.  Noted that the Casino convenience store has a hot deli offering; notes for next time.

Through Willamina (ooh, new gas station/c-store; pause for banana and V-8), Sheridan, past the penitentiary, turn left and oh my, where did that tailwind come from?  It wasn't supposed to be there, but I wasn't going to argue.

Tailwind on Ballston Rd

Looking back

Sunset, Broadmead Rd

Brief stop for the info control, through Amity, and on to Dayton.  We did pull over before Dayton to add more layers.  Into Dayton and... another bonk.  So, more sitting, eating and sitting.  Michal pulled my remaining layers out of my bag and I put them on (long sleeve jersey and windbreaker), and got me some hot chocolate, which helped a LOT.  Off again.

I was now wearing 4 layers - two jerseys, a windbreaker and my reflective vest.  Lots of unzipping and zipping as the temperature fluctuated.

North.  Through Lafayette.  Over the Abbey Rd hill.   Down Ribbon Ridge. Onto North Valley.  Less than 20 miles to go.  Onto Fern Hill, 5 miles, tops.  Past the last little rise, down past the red barn.

Done, at 12:42am.  Rather slower than I had wanted it to be, but a bit quicker than the 300k of a month ago.

The weather was so nice that Keith and Cyndi were waiting for us out on the hotel porch.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Flèche Flop

I honestly wasn't thinking much on riding a Flèche this year, but Jason K, the Montana RBA said he wanted to be on my team.  Ok then.

Team composition was a bit fluid there for awhile, but we ended up with me (ORR), Keith and Fatima (SIR), Steve (ORR), and Jason (Montana).  Wonder if we had the most rando clubs represented on one team?  Should there be an "award" for that? :-)

The past couple years, our route has been out to Astoria on the coast, then up through Naselle, South Bend, Raymond, Montesano, Elma, and McCleary to finish in Olympia.  On paper, not so difficult a route.  In reality, if it is going to be raining anywhere, it will be there, all the rain in the world is in Raymond, the terrain is constantly undulating, and the four climbs out of Raymond will totally remove your will to live. (yeah, it will take a few years more for me to forget this).

So I thought I'd borrow Susan O's Ladies Tea and Crumpet Society route, and adjust it as necessary.  Her version started in Albany, but, given that the team members were coming from the Seattle area, Montana, and Vancouver, WA, getting us all there would be problematic.  So I planned a loop from a coffee shop near my house, coming back BY my house for one of the controls, and adding a control at the Skyline Tavern, to verify that we went into North Portland that way.  And then we were on the original route, with only two more intermediate controls.  And EXACTLY 360.0km.  I always aim for the Lowball award, and have won it the past two years.

I was also on the SIR Flèche committee, reviewing many other routes.  And it was still Passover, which meant a little more advance planning on what to eat.  I don't avoid kitniyot, so it was not an unsolvable problem, but it did eliminate pop tarts and other pastries as a calorie source.

Then a last minute review of our cue sheet revealed that many turns had not been cued by the mapping app I used.  Ack!  Much line by line review and update of the cue sheet.

Oh yeah, it was going to rain, starting Friday night.  Heavily.

Keith and Fatima took the train down on Thursday from Olympia and caught the MAX out to the closest transit station, where I met them, and we coasted back down to my house.  Jason's kids were delivering him on Friday morning; we'd meet Steve at the start; he was taking the MAX from the Expo Center just over the bridge in Oregon.

(With any luck, the pre-event stress would evaporate the next morning)

We planned to start at 10am, which was a sensible hour.  Since we have to ride for 24 hours, there is no advantage to start early.  Leisurely wakeup, tasty breakfast and coffee, and a coast down to Jim and Patty's Coffee.

Bikes at the Jim and Patty's start control

Steve was there, so introductions all around.  Then someone came up to me... "Lynne?  Is that you?" It was Tess from our last Errandonnee!  We immediately handed her all our cameras.

We look so fresh and cheery at the start

And, at 10am, off we went.  Our first control was at St Francis Church, in Roy.  We could have invaded the school office, but that might be construed as creepy.  Fitz offered to drive out and meet us there.  My schedule had us there at 11:45, so I suggested he be there by 11:30, park at the church end, and don't bring any puppies..  It was sunny and clear; the winds were light, and we got there just as he was driving up, a bit before 11:30.  I told everyone "15 minutes!", and we were signed and away.  Fitz went off to taste some wine.

Control worker, St Francis Church in Roy

Donate here

I pick nice roads

Now into the headwind portion of the ride, but it really wasn't bad at all.  South to Forest Grove, then along the bike path on the north side of Hwy 47.  It got us most of the way to our Old Hwy 47 turnoff, but there are a lot of roots at the beginning.  Another control at the Lake Store; 15 minutes. I had some rice pudding along, and consumed it there, along with a V-8.

Steve and Keith, Lake Store control

More of a headwind until we turned east on North Valley; up and down the rollers, and through Newberg onto Hwy 219.  Traffic on 219 during the week is awful.  Crossing the Willamette River... Ick.  Then we turned east again to get to Champoeg Park, our next control, which verified we were on the south side of the Willamette River (no way back over until Wilsonville).  We were up on time, and would only have a crosswind for a bit, and then a tailwind for the balance of the ride.

Jason, North Valley Rd

North Valley Rd

Champoeg Park control

I was optimistic.

Champoeg Park control

One troll driving a dump truck on Arndt Rd.  Then NORTH (cheers all around), over the Willamette River again, on the Boone Bridge (I-5 shoulder).  Getting over to turn left on the offramp was a bit challenging, but then we were in the relative quiet of the Wilsonville Industrial Park.  Paused at the gas station at the other end; I called to say we were 13 miles out.

The stretch on Boones Ferry through Tualatin was possibly the best I'd ever ridden it.  Not to say there weren't traffic lights and traffic, but the bit where one really wants a bike lane and it goes away was pretty good this day.

We pulled in 45 minutes ahead of the original schedule.  I was starting to think that we'd need to scrub some time in Centralia. (Hubris)

Yummy dinner all around.  We picked up our food supplies for the second part of the ride. I changed, because my jersey developed a hole in one pocket.  Pulling it off, I discovered it also had developed a big hole in the arm!  Fabric on both arms is threadbare, so I guess it will go onto a second life as a cycling cap.

The jersey disintegrated

Maybe we spent a little too long there - I had budgeted 45 minutes, but we used up another 15 or so.

Time for the one real climb of the route. I ride up there, I swear.  Yes, a climb but not killer.  Hah.  I never realized NW 119th was so very freaking steep.  (Of course, I ride it from home; only a couple of miles with fresh legs!) I was never so happy to see the stop sign for Skyline as I was that night.  We rollered west to the tavern.  Passing the cemetery, I told Jason this was the highest point on the ride.  So there went all our time cushion.

Keith sped our stop though there by plopping $5 on the bar and asking the bartender if she wanted to make the quickest, easiest tip ever.

Skyline Tavern control

Cards signed, off we went.  Time to descend NW Germantown.  This is a technical descent - steep, with sharp turns.  I cautioned everyone.  It was dusk, but not full dark.  Oh, was that rain I felt?

What with all that, I had fun.  We regrouped at the bottom, crossed the St John's Bridge (pretty!), and worked our way through St Johns and the industrial areas to get to the I-5 Bridge crossing approach.  From the south, crossing the bridge is a bit of a maze, with a lot of stupid crosswalk action.  If only we could just directly cross over Tomahawk Island Dr to the bike path...

Crossing accomplished, we were now in Vancouver, WA, and in Steve's territory.  We got to the Vancouver control at the Muchas Gracias drive through, and had our cards signed by a patron and bike racer in the line for something to drink.  Stood outside in the rain, polished off our drinks, ate a bit and pressed on.  There was an unplanned stop at a Minit Mart, so some could stock up on food items.

Muchas Gracias control in Vancouver, WA

We had made up a bit of time, but were still behind.  Then we entered into the neverending up and down section, which none of us knew was coming.  Except maybe Steve.  Sharp little climbs, short descents, and up again.  It didn't let up.  The rain was quite well established by now.  I just couldn't get any speed up those climbs.  Slow progress.  Somewhere in LaCenter I thought to look at my tires.  The front was definitely squashy.  I pumped it up and we set off again.

There was a bit of bonus riding in Woodland, but, given all the time I had spent with the cue sheet, we didn't get too far before I allowed that this was not the correct way to go.  Another c-store pause, and off again.

We then had our 4+ miles on the I-5 shoulder leg of the route.  It was either that or climb Green Mountain.  We did have a big, wide shoulder.  So, of course, the rain increased.  I noticed that all the semis were moving over a lane before passing us.  That was so thoughtful of them!  This was the flattest part of the route from Vancouver!

Sadly, we had to exit, and return to the undulating terrain.  Through Kalama.  Another 10 miles to Kelso, our next control and 24 hr restaurant stop.  I was pretty sure Kelso was mythical and imaginary by this point.  Finally, pulled into the Shari's, contemplated my now-flat front tire, and realized I wasn't coherent enough to deal with it at that exact moment.  Went inside and sat.  And shook.  Yes indeed, had a great bonk going on.  Everyone else got something to eat.

Looking at the time (2:30am), I had realized that if everyone stayed with me, there wouldn't be enough time.  So I proposed they go on without me.  I'd catch the morning train from Kelso to Olympia.  It would be ok, really.  Jason fixed my flat.  With more forceful urging on my part "would you all get GOING please!!!", they finally left.

I finally ordered something to eat, and managed about half of it.  After some discussion and negotiation with the night manager, I brought my bike inside.  He didn't think it was secure anywhere else, but perhaps some rules were bent.  I remain very appreciative of that.

There was a dry base layer in my bag, so I pulled that on, wrapped myself in my mylar blanket, and passed the next 5 hours dozing off and on, drinking some coffee, and picking at my food.  The day manager came in, and it was still ok that I was there.  Nice folks.

Friend Cyndi, who was driving northward to meet her husband's team in Olympia texted me at 5am(!), offering a pickup, but I already had the train ticket.

At 8am, I packed up, and relocated to the train station.  It was warm in there, and they had many magazines to leaf through.  The train was supposed to be there at 9:10.  At 9:10, they announced a delay.  And another delay.  And another.  And finally:"we don't know when exactly it will get here". There had been an accident on the tracks; a freight train had killed someone :-(

On the off chance that I might get lucky, I called Cyndi.  She was in Longview, a couple miles away, having breakfast with the team, and would be right over as soon as they left.

I was so lucky.  And Cyndi was happy, because she wanted company for the rest of the drive!  We stopped for lunch in Centralia, and arrived at 1:30 or so.  I didn't see my team, or anyone else in the lobby, so checked in, and got a shower and nap.

Through Facebook, I did know that my team finished with 7 minutes to spare, with Keith keeping everyone moving along.

I went down just before 4, to find folks in the lobby, waiting for more teams to finish.  Teams finished, cards signed, and, at 5pm, I decided it was sundown somewhere, and rummaged around in Josh's cooler for a non-hopped beer.  Alaskan White.  Tasty.  Visited with Sherri L (I know your husband and son!), Cyndi and Steve (when he wasn't dozing).

Steve catching up on his sleep afterward

Michal's team appeared before 6pm, having ridden ALL THE WAY FROM EUGENE.  They were happily toasted.  Signed cards.

Then some of us started thinking about dinner.  My team and Joe L's team joined forces and invaded a pizza restaurant.  The usual jokes about everyone ordering one column of the menu were made, but seriously, everyone except for Steve and me ordered and consumed an ENTIRE PIZZA.  We split one, and that was plenty.  I also enjoyed a hard cider. Our pizza was really late arriving.  It finally arrived, and we got it comped, because it was forgotten.

Back to the hotel, teasing Jason about crossing a street without waiting for the pedestrian cross signal, because he is from Montana, and they don't have traffic lights there.

At which point, we all just went up to our rooms and crashed.

Wandered down the next morning for the hotel's continental breakfast, which mutated into many tables shoved together with many riders visiting.

Then the banquet, which, as always is lots of fun.  There were more than a few teams which abandoned in the cold and wet :-(  There were also many more teams which persevered through challenging conditions (snow, mountain passes, cold, wet, headwinds, cancelled ferries, OMG reroute!) and finished.

Best quote: ""do you want to do a ride long enough that you will briefly wish you'd never been born? YES!" from the Cutters.

Andy dozing at the party

Lowball (shortest legal distance) was again achieved.

I came away with a short sleeved SIR wool jersey, after a couple years of jersey supplier fail.

And, silly me, I have already drafted up a route which is also 360km exactly, and 2300 fewer vertical feet, avoiding much of the undulating stretch.  I am sure it needs more work, but it is a good start.

Failure analysis: I didn't eat enough.  What with the terrain, I didn't feel confident in removing a hand from the handlebars to even drink.  And the tire should have been changed the first time it went squashy.

Jason's writeup
All my pictures

Another Ride with Ray to Vernonia

Where we continue to boost the ride statistics of the North Plains Banks Vernonia perm pop.

Ray and I met in the same parking lot this time, so elected to start at the coffee shop there (three start choices within a block; this one is preferred).

We rode out.  We rode back.  It was fun.  Romulus and Remus were spotted.  Ray had chatted with their owner, and I now know that one stays put, and the other herds away threats.

Passover snacks to accompany the mocha in Vernonia

Petals on the trail.  And Ray.

Berry Fields leafing out

More coffee at the finish.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Yankton, Found Again

I haven't been on a bike to speak of since the Grab Bag 300k.  We were away, and plans to ride a perm there didn't come to fruition.  So, no riding for 2 weeks.  That's not good.

Also, yet another new pair of cycling shoes to try.

Ray was planning to ride Where's Yankton?  Not the gentlest perm pop to ease back into riding, but anyway, there I was at the Scappoose Library, along with Ray, RB, and Steve.

I remembered the first climb - up the Scappoose-Vernonia Hwy; about 11 miles of climbing.  I could usually see Steve, but RB and then Ray went ahead.  Found them at the top.  Then down to Hwy 47 and the first control at Big Eddy Campground.

We then headed west a bit more, then north on Apiary Rd.  I did start to rain a bit there, but looked like it would clear off.  It did, so no pauses to add rain gear.  Started to warm up, so I wrestled my wind vest off while riding.  Apiary climbs up to Camp Wilkerson, about 6 miles, then drops for awhile.  I brought Steve up to speed on the fleche, as he had joined my team earlier in the week. ("It is a balance between riding and stopping, except you can't stop at one place any longer than 2 hours. So you can't ride too fast, or you have too much time to use up!")

I knew there was more climbing in there, but didn't remember where.  It starts up again about a mile before the turn onto Meissner, and keeps on going.

Found everyone at the turn onto Canaan Rd, where we discussed the upcoming gravel (Ray: "maybe it has been paved"  Me: "don't be cruel"), and the chaser dogs at the other end.  I suggested they hang around there and wait for me, just in case.  We started on up, turned the corner, and found the gravel.  It was actually in the nicest state I'd ever seen it in - very well packed.  Which means, of course, that they'll dump more gravel on it pretty soon.  Ray and I were talking about something, and then the grade kicked up and I fell back.  Ray and Steve were waiting at the other end (they paved out to the chaser dog barn), and we continued on.

Bit more of a climb, then a screaming descent down Pittsburg Rd (FABULOUS view of Mt St Helens), a bit of a bump, and the Yankton Store came into view.  The cashier was a delight ("my dad rides STP and all, but I'd NEVER be able to do that!" Me: "you are younger than all of us put together!"); wanted to know if it was a race, as we were collecting receipts (timestamp 15 years ago), stamps (the store DOES have a stamp; ask), initials and the time.  Took a brief pause there for a candy bar and Red Bull.

One last climb (I don't forget this one!), but by mile 56 on Stone Rd, all the climbing is done.  Lots of meandering in horse country, and then I got to corner which didn't match up with the cue sheet*.  Checked google maps, and eventually figured out which way was north on the map (I was facing north), and all was good.

Got to the end just as Ray and Steve were pulling out to head back to the library.  Bought a banana and joined them.  Not the slowest I have ridden that route.

Sadly, the little restaurant from our last ride was closed.

The shoes might do.

*After some conversation with Ray, it turned out that the cue sheet I fished out from the pile in my garage was somewhat outdated...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Errandonnee 12, Fini!

Careful perusal of my categories revealed that I had one "you carried WHAT?" left.

#12: Carrying a spinning wheel, 2.74 mi, "You carried WHAT?"

Fellow Participant Tess and I had been running errands all around Beaverton, on the same days, and going to many of the same places, but not at the same time.  We hadn't met before, and decided to put an end to "ships passing in the night."  Tess also knits, so we decided to meet up at Jim and Patty's Coffee and knit.  And/or spin.

What?  I could have taken my drop spindle.  That was easy.  Small, lightweight.  Easy to carry.  No.  I brought a spinning wheel.

Hoped it would fit in my pannier, but it was a bit too big.  I have two wheels, one which LOOKS like a spinning wheel:

It Followed Me Home, Can I Keep It?

And a travel wheel, which is smaller and considerably more portable.  Still a bit bulky for a bike, but with enough bungees, it attached securely to the porteur rack on my Rivendell Bleriot:

#12: unloading the spinning wheel at Jim and Patty's Coffee

Arrived, ordered a mocha with orange syup ("oh, you want a Borgia!"  "Is that what it is called?"), and a Florida Orange Roll.  Reassembled the wheel.  (Learning: Borgia Mocha)

#12: Borgia mocha and Florida Orange roll. And the spinning wheel

Shortly thereafter, Tess rode up.  I have to say, this was the Best Errandonnee Ever.  She's a non-practicing engineer.  She knits.  She teaches knitting.  We know people in common in a couple of circles.  This was GREAT!

#12: And Tess, so we wouldn't be ships passing in the night

After a few hours of this, we both needed to move on to the balance of our day.  Packed it up again, and rode home.

#12: headed back home, crossing Hwy 217

Errandonnee 10 and 11

#10: Transporting a Pie, .62 mi, "You carried WHAT?"
After our St Pat's blowout, we found we had an excess of pies.  Also an excess of salad and cooking greens (another story) and Irish wholemeal bread.  The greens and half of the bread went into the pannier.  Easy.  The pie went on the porteur rack, and I rode over to my parents' home and delivered the goods.  "Home delivery!"

#10: Pie transport to the parents

Why, yes, it would have been faster to walk over.  But that wasn't the point :-)

A good store baked pie and relatively smooth roads make this easy.

#11: Multimoding to the Portland Timbers Game, 3.06mi, "Personal Business"
While it is possible to ride to the game and park there, I found out last time that secure bike parking is restricted to those who elected to have "bike parking" as part of their season ticket package.  We elected for transit tickets.  This time, I rode up to our transit station, and left the bike in the Bike Link secure lockup.  I also carried a pair of non-cycling shoes to change into, because one stands the entire game.  Locked the cycling sandals and helmet up with the bike.

#11: multimoding to the Portland Timbers game

Or, for a more complete overview:
Background, me in the stadium
Bike in the bike cage
Beverage up with an interesting Budweiser logo at the bottom, and
because I am a fidgeter, I poked at the bottom and
it detached!
It was a magnet!
Ack!
Still cider in the cup.
I quickly tipped it diagonal, so didn't lose much.
What were they thinking?

Timbers Game

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Errandonnee 2015, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9

March 10, 2015
Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot
#4, Beaverton Library, Art & Entertainment
Ohh, email from the library!  Moar books for MEEEEEEE!  Zipped on over, WITH proper bike lock this time, and snagged my books.  Discovery on the way to my next stop - one of my favorite pieces of public art, a big upside down canoe with a saddle (yes.) is no longer there!  It was at the corner of SW Lombard and SW Broadway.  And now it isn't.

#4, Beaverton Library run

#5 Jim and Patty's Coffee, Personal Care
Stopped off on the way home to sit down, drink a Peppermint Patty Mocha, eat a Well of Nutella, and start reading one of the books (Rose on Fire) for awhile.  It was very de-stressing.

#5, Jim and Patty's Coffee

The strip mall has a terrible bike rack - one of those elementary school wheel-breakers.  I locked the bike to itself, and wedged it between a table and the store window.  Chatted with an employee on my way out - I am not the first one to complain about the rack.  Maybe a more suitable one will appear in my lifetime.

#5, Jim and Patty's Coffee

Total miles: 4.33

March 12, 2015
Bicycle: Rivendell Bleriot
#6 Coffee Pickup from co-op run by former co-worker, Social Call
(This one could go either way on designation).
Rode over to my original former place of work to collect my coffee order from Benton.  When my job went away, he just moved me to the "outside co-op member" list.  As I pulled up, friend Maria, former walking buddy AND former Portland to Coast Walking Relay team member, came by.  We did a fair amount of catching up; I hadn't seen her since just after Thanksgiving.  She had to then head off to yoga, but Benton came out with my coffee, and there was more catching up.

#6 Coffee pickup at Former Place of Employ

#7 New Seasons Grocery, Store
It was on the way, and we needed Irish cheese and whole wheat flour.  The Irish cheese was surprisingly had to find.

#7 grocery stop at New Seasons

#8 The Bank, Personal Business
The short contract I picked up last month paid me.  I deposited the check.  The road construction on the road which makes it EASY to get into the bank is still not complete.  They've even cut off access to the sidewalk, making getting into the bank coming from the west rather challenging.

#8 Bank run

#8 at the ATM

#9 Library, Returning books, Non Store Errand
(it isn't art and entertainment, because I wasn't taking any new books away)
The automated drive-up return window (reads the books RFID chip and checks it in automatically) works better from a bike than it does from a car.

#9 returning the library books

Total miles: 6.7

So I am all there on miles; now just have to run three more errands...