I love watching the Tour but it’s not because I like to hear commentator Phil Liggett absolutely butcher the riders names. None of the riders get the treatment from Phil as Alejandro Valverde does. You see, Phil is English, meaning he has no clue to how to pronounce anything other than in English. Phil has this penchant for slurring Valverde’s first name. Instead of, Ali-han-droe, he finds an imaginary “th” somewhere so it becomes Ali-thane-droe. Note to Phil, the letter ‘J’ in Spanish sounds like an ‘h’. When he tries to get it right, he still screws it up. By the end of the daily broadcast, Valverde’s first name morph’s into Alessandro. Don’t get me started with Bob Roll, he’s a nut.
Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category
I took a slightly longer lunch than usual so I could get out on the road. The weather was great, 70 degrees and sunny. I’m going to combine my last 2 rides in this post. On Sunday, Van and his friend Jeff went for a short ride. Since this was Jeff’s first day on his brand spanking new bike we decide to just ride the Springwater trail. We went about 18 miles averaging 14.8 mph. Jeff hasn’t rode a bicycle in years so he was a wee bit sore the next day. Todays ride was the Linneman loop I’ve done many times before.
14.5 Average speed
36.3 max speed
todays weight 198.4
still can’t win when it comes to their beloved Tour De France. It appears they can’t even do a drug test properly.
The newspaper reported Tuesday that the French laboratory which found the positive results against Landis had two technicians, involved in the original urinalysis and the confirming test, validating their own findings.
Such access to both samples violates anti-doping regulations and supports Landis’s contention that numerous errors in the chain of care regarding the tests and samples should invalidate the doping positive.
Like they say, read the whole thing.
I finally got out on the bike today due to some fantastic weather up here in the beautiful Northwest. I’m going to post after every ride I do some stats to track my progress over the year. Here’s todays.
Total miles – 20.81
Time – 1:31:07
Average speed -Â 13.7 mph
Max speed – 34 mph
Weight – 198.8
Tomorrow kicks off the beginning of cycling season in my neck of the woods. The Worst Day of the Year Ride is a community fun ride around the Portland area. This will be the second year I’ve ridden this event and it should be fun. My riding buds, Chris and Van, will be there along with a slew of other riders dressed as weird as Portlandlander can be. I’m going to bring my camera so you all can see how weird they are. I’ll update with pics and a post tomorrow.
Today I participated in a local ride called the Vineride starting in Newberg Oregon. My first bike rally I ever attempted was this ride last year. God time flies these days. Last years the ride was on the 20th which just happens to be my birthday, this years was on the 19th and that happens to be my wedding anniversary. You know I’ll never be forgeting the day I said my vows to my wifey. If I do, I’m probably stuck in an old age home with an accute case of oldtimers disease or I’m the guy you hear about on the news. Something to do with a knife in his back or an accidental fall down the stairs. You know what I mean. Well, let me get back to the ride. One thing I’ve learned about riding is how a new route can cause so much mental anxiety. You ask yourself, what are the hiils like? Are they steep? What’s the condition of the rode? Is there a ton of traffic to deal with? Weather? Since this was my first repeat rally, none of those issues ever popped in my head. I remembered just about every hill, nook and cranny of the road. I rarely had to use the markers, I just sailed along. And I can say with complete confidence, I friggin SAILED along. I was as strong as I have been this year. Hills were nothing and the flats were quite speedy. Usually, all three of my regular readers know, I shoot for an overall average of 15 mph. Looks like I can start raising the bar on my expectations. My average speed was 16.3 mph for just a tad under 38 miles. That shattered my best speed by almost 1 mph for any ride I’ve done, short or long. Plus, 99.9% of my ride was solo, no drafting on the back of a giant train being sucked along. I tried to find any documentation on my 2005 Vineride but I guess I didn’t post anything, I think my average speed was around 14 mph. Most rides, there are beaucoup riders flying past me, this ride I was passed only once. I can’t count how many I zoomed by. I’m beginning to sense my fitness level is ready for a full 100 miler and I have the perfect opportunity coming on September 24th, the
Peach of a Century. A month of extra training should be enough, don’t ya think?
My wife and her friend Trudi had decided quite some time ago to ride in the Providence Bridge Pedal. Trudi is a newbie on the bike, what I mean is she hasn’t really rode a bike except a stationary one in about 8 years. So they signed up to ride the six bridge portion which is about 14 -15 miles. I thought this was a good time for the wife to ride her own rally and I would cheer her on at the finish line. Somehow late yesterday she coaxed me into riding with them. Normally the rallies I do have anywhere from 500 to 2000 riders, they estimated the total participants at 15,000. Which from my understanding is the second largest of it’s type in North America and third in the world. Geographically Portland is bisected by the Williamette river with 10 major bridges connecting the East with the West. To say this is a major event is an understatement, the logistics is downright amazing. They blocked off all the bridges for varoius times during the day to accomodate the riders including Interstate 5. If they did this sort of thing in LA it would be a nightmare of biblical proportions but it went off without a hitch. Kudo’s to the event organizers. The most difficult part of the ride was keeping tabs on my wife and Trudi, I didn’t want to lose them and I think(I hope) they didn’t want to lose me either. I tried to ride at a nice easy pace which wasn’t hard to do with all the other riders of varoius skill levels around. You couldn’t go too fast without running into somebody. I’d ride ahead, pull off to the side, wait for them to catch up and jump back into the fray again. Our initial goal was to ride the six bridge route but at some point we missed the turn off and ended up crossing 8 bridges instead. This almost doubled our mileage and I wasn’t sure if Trudi was up to the task. Well I was wrong, she held her own quite well eventhough she was riding a mountain bike with slight underinflated tires. I didn’t plan well for this ride only bringing one water bottle. Heck, I thought we were only going 14 miles, one should be enough. However, we all survived and a good time was had by all. At the finish we parked our bikes and headed into the Bite of Oregon at Tom McCall Waterfront Park for some grub and of course several frosty mugs of Hefeweizen. Mmmm Beer.
I think my first real memory of the Tour de France other than the Greg Lemond years was the spectacular crash of Djamolidine Abdoujaparov on the final stage of the 1991 Tour. One thing you have to understand is this is a sprint finish at 35 – 40 mph with a slew of other riders jockeying for positionÂ to achieve a prestigious win. Here’s a pic of the fateful moment.
Looks like a large number of the contenders for the Tour de France title have been booted for doping including pre-race favorites Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich. I should say “alleged” doping. Evidently, in the world of cycling you are guilty before you can prove your innocence. Guilt by assocaition is enough of a burden of proof to get you kicked out. What I think they should do is test them right now and find out if they are currently doped up. If they are enhanced then suspend them like they did David Millar else let them ride. And if you have to, test them after every stage, so be it. I was going to write a post about who I thought was going to win but my top two riders are out so I have to rethink it. I’m done thinking so here are my top three.
1. Allesandro Valverde
2. Floyd Landis
3. Cadel Evans
My bad it’s Alejandro Valverde. Show’s how much I know.
I mention back on this post that my wife and I had signed up for the Barlow Trail Century. Well the ride was this past Sunday which coincidentally happend to be the hottest day of the year so far. The wife hasn’t much experience on the bike so we decided to do the 40 mile route together. Still this is 6 miles more than The Monster Cookie ride she did in May so she was a little apprehensive about the ride eventhough she didn’t express it verbally. I could tell the night before. A little snippy to say the least. LOL. We fueled up on oatmeal, vitamins and fluids and headed off. The ride start was only about 5 miles away so we left at 7:45am for a 8am start. Did I tell you it was hot? We arrived at Paesano’s Cedarville Park and unload our gear. Since I had pre-registerd and I picked up our ride packs early, we hopped on our bikes and trudge off. Up the Springwater Corridor for 5 miles and then on to the back roads in and around Gresham. The roads were rolling and the wife was not having a terrible good time. I kept urging her along and giving her kudos for every hill we went up. About mile 8 we came accross a fairly steep hill and she exclaimed “I don’t think I can do this!”. I explained to her it was just the little gremlin talking to her and not to listen to him. I asked her if she wanted to turn around and go back but she clipped herself back in her pelddles and motored up the hill. I thought to myself “this is good, she didn’t succomb to the mysterious shoulder traveler”. Here’s the kicker, I had done a topo of the ride the night before with the intent of showing her but after I saw it I decided it be best that I don’t. I knew there were worse hills to come but I wasn’t going to tell her. She would have talked herself out of it for sure. After a few more hills, she seemed to get her second wind and the road also flattened out for several miles. Then the fun began. First a short but steep climb and then a super long, almost 3 mile decent down to the bottom of a river valley. I think it was the Sandy River we crossed on our way to Roslyn Lake for the only rest stop of the day. At this point I told my wife I’d meet her at the bottom, I love bombing hills. Hit 36 miles per hour on this one. On my way down I noticed some riders coming up the hill and I knew right then that we’d have to come back up this too. I didn’t let her know. She’d have called her friend to come and pick her up if she knew. Once at the bottom of the river valley it was about 2 more miles of rollers before the rest stop. The wife loved the downhill, it gave her time to get her wind back and cooled her off.Â She had already finished her Camelback allotment so the stop came at a perfect time. We ate some food, replenished the Camelback and got out of the sun for awhile. Did I mention it was hot? It was funny how she was grilling some of the support people, trying to get an idea of what the rest of the route was like. I already knew and still kept my mouth shut. We set off again. Why does there always seem to be a hill right after you’ve leave a rest stop? Well the road to us back around to the bottom of the hill we previously sped down. Then I told her, “We need to go back up that hill we went down awhile back”. To my surprise, it didn’t seem to phase her very much. I told her to put it in her granny gear and go up at her speed. We weren’t in a race. I’m beginning to like climbing ever since I got the new Campy gruppo. Something about the gear configuration makes it alot easier to climb while in the saddle as well as keeping a decent pace of about 8mph. Based on what I’ve read on how the classify climbs at the TdF, this fell between a Cat2 and Cat3. The climb was about 3 miles in length and a 3-4% grade. I wanted to get up the hill as fast as I can but I knew I better keep close to her. I didn’t want to get to the top only to have to ride back down and do it again.Â I was amazed at her. She did the climb only stopping 3 times to recover. There was only one more big hill to do and she handled it fine. Except at one point where she cursed the race organizers for not having more rest stops on the route. Did I tell you it was HOT!? The rest of the ride was a breeze and we got back to the start after 3hr 19mins in the saddle. Before the ride I promised my wife I would ride with her the whole way, I kept my promise. BTW, by the time we got back it was 102 degrees.
I know, I know, I’ve already hit most of you up for cash for the Reach the Beach ride but I have another I need your help with. By clicking the picture of me victoriously crossing the finsih line at the top right of the page will take you to my donation page for the Summit to Surf ride. This ride benefits not me but the American Diabetes Association. Hit it hard folks!
I almost forgot about our ride in Forrest Park. Well the usual suspects were in attendance, Van, Chris and myself. I tried to get my other friend Josh to come along but he had some lame excuse about family coming into town or something like that. I really think it had to do with Japanese Pr0n TV or some fatty food substance. Go check out his blog Random Rants and you’ll see what I mean. The main reason why I asked him to come along was to make sure he gets some miles under his belt before he rides the Live Strong ride in July. I don’t want him to embarrass himself in front of 2500 other riders. I’m trying to look out for ya bro. Well, on to the ride. The trail, if thats what you’d call it, is basically a fire road on Tualatin Mountain in NW Portland. It snakes upward for eight miles to Skyline Drive. Not a steep ride, something like 650 feet of climb, but a good work out anyway. Since we haven’t had any sun yet the trail was soft in some spots but generally in good condition. The ride can be boring but not for the pretty girls in shorts walking or jogging up the road. We talked and joked as we climbed through the forrested trail mostly making fun of Josh(just kiidding). It took us about 1 hour 20 minutes to go up and 30 minutes to get down and the best part of the ride is coming back down. Put it in the big chain ring and go man go dodging pedestrians and dogs as you go. I almost rode off the trail because of this. Once again a good time was had especially at the end when we hit the local McMenamins Pub for burgers, beers and soccer. Next on the agenda, Barlow Trail Century on Sunday. BTW, the Barlow links to one of the worst designed webpages on the planet.
Another ride tomorrow, woo hoo! Back on the trusty Kona Cindercone MTB for a nice ride in Forrest Park. The usual subjects will be present. I’ll post a recap sometime this weekend.
My friends Van, Chris and I went on a moutain bike ride around Timothy Lake. I can’t believe this place is only 1 1/2 hours from my front door. This has to be one of the coolest places to ride a mountain bike. The single track trail circles the lake mostly along the lakeshore. It’s only 16+ miles all the way around but some of the trail is super technical including about 800 feet of elevation gain. You must dodge softball sized rocks and tree roots seem to pop out of everywhere. The trail is well maintained and is quite picturesque. We were lucky because the weather turned out to be perfect with only a couple of sections of muddy trail to negotiate. Here’s Van and Chris taking a short break.
Chris had some problems early on with his bike and basically was not a happy camper. Nothing worse the having your bike ghost shift while climbing a gravel trail. However, he soldiered on complaining only every couple of miles, LOL. Here’s a pic of Chris expressing his feelings towards the bike shop, Bike n’ Hike, that was supposed to tune his bike PROPERLY.
As you can see Chris has difficulty expressing his sensative side. Here’s a pic of me by the lakeside.
All in all, it couldn’t have been a better day. Personally, my fitness level is the best it has every been since I started riding bikes 2 years ago. I’m sure when I was in my early twenties, I might have been somewhat firmer but my endurance level is ridiculous. I was climbing like a mad man not realizing that I did the whole ride in my largest chain ring. Not once did I feel fatigued nor did the evil gremlin make an appearance on my shoulder imparting his negative wisdom. I had him conquered, locked safely away. Here are some other pics I took. Enjoy!
Above is a nice pic of the lake.
Here’s a pic of my bud, Van the Man.
Here’s a self portrait. Note to all, don’t try to taking pictures while riding a mountain bike. It’s not a good thing. Holding a camera in your right hand while trying not to drive off the single track while breaking only with the front break.
Once again I signed up for a ride that is a benefit ride. Meaning I need to solicit funds from you all. The ride is called the Tour de Cure benefiting the American Diabetes Association. As always, a good cause.Â Please click here to go to my donation page or click the top photo on the sidebar. They both will take you to the same page. Any amount is greatly appreciated.
I finally got to take the Merckx out for a ride today. And what a beautiful ride it was, the weather and my state of mind were near perfect. The weather, 75 degrees and partly cloudy and my mind…that’s for another post entirely. My wife had an engagement at 5:00pm so I slipped the surly bonds of my home office and sneaked out the door at 3 in order to make it back in time. This was the first ride with the new Campy gruppo and I was anxious to see if my investment was worth it. Damn right it was. Instead of clinking along with the old drivetrain making so much noise as to warn others of my arrival several minutes before I get there, the bike now purrs. It’s friggin beautiful. I was afraid the 50/34 combined with a 25/12 wouldn’t allow me to crank out the speed on the flats and hills. My fears were unfounded. Before with the old gruppo 54/33 I would have to change into the 33 on the hills but not now. I was flying up the hills on the 50.
Another advantage to the new gears is the index shifters on the handlebars instead of gravity shifters on the downtube. Everything is right there at your fingertips. No looking down to locate the shifter while your riding on the white line of a road with no shoulder…In Traffic. I can’t say enough about the new wheels either. Wow, smooth as silk, baby. I decide ride the Linneman Station route so I knew I could get back in time. See here, here, and here for other accounts of the same ride. It almost seems the bike got measurably lighter with the new set up but I don’t think the weight difference is that great. I think it rides much more efficiently, definitely smoother. As always the goal is to average 15mph for the ride, well I beat it. I rode 21.86 miles in 1 hour 22 minutes for an average of 15.1mph. That’s almost a full 1/2 mph better than I’ve ever done on that route.
I’m so jazzed right now I could almost get back on it and do it again but I have babysitting duties to perform.
I finally got “Eddie” back late friday but other than a jaunt around the neighborhood, I haven’t taken it out for its paces. I’m reluctant to get all the new components gunked up due to the horrible rainy weather we still are experiencing up here above the 45th parallel. Forcasts for the rest of the week look good though and I’m going to take advantage of it. Oh, BTW I misspoke about what the specs where in my prevouis post. The crankset is a 50/34 not a 50/29 and I’m using a 12/25 cluster. Here are some pics of the groupset and new Mavic wheels. Aren’t they pretty.
This ride is going to be super fun. Check out the map and elevation gain on the ride profile. The first 22 miles are all up hill but the ride to Hood River is a pure speed blast.
Unfortunately, we forgot to use the digital camera for this but it’s better than nothing. I’ve cropped these to eliminate the unnecessary background noise. But here’s one of me crossing the finish line triumphantly.
This one is from about halfway through the ride. I still had to climb those mountains you see in the background.
This is a view from the road.
The wife and I have signed up for the Barlow Trail CenturyÂ sponsored by RiverCity Bicyles on June 25th. Since the most miles my wife has ridden at one time is 35 miles we are going to do the 40 miler together. That’s right, TOGETHER!
I’ve also signed up for the Summit to Surf ride over the Cascade range past Mount Hood and down to Hood River on the Columbia. This is another sponsorship ride so if you want to sponsor me, send me an email to email@example.com with “Summit to Surf” in the subject box and I’ll give you the particulars. This ride has about 4,475 feet of climb throughout the 54 miles so I’ll need your support big time.
I finally pulled the trigger on getting a new drive train for the Merckx. The current version is vintage 1992 Campy put together by my brother. Well to say it’s worn out is an understatement and since I’m running a 53/38 with the shifters on the downtube, it’s about time to upgrade. I decide on the Campy Centaur Gruppo. I kept the Chorus cantilever brakes I already have and got some new wheels. A cool thing about the new gruppo is the compact crankset allowing for a wide range of gear ratios with only 2 main front sprockets. I think the guy said it gave me the range of a 50/29. That should help on the hills. The only bad thing is I won’t get it back until next friday, so I’m jonesing for a ride. Which brings me to what I was going to originall talk about. You see I haven’t ridden the Kona Mountain bike since last summer so I decide to take it down from the rack and give it a spin. Well what do you know, no air in the back tire. I pump it up and go off to do some errands for the wife. Lo and behold when I got back the damn thing was flat again. Somewhere in my garage there are two replacement tubes, at least they were there before my wife did a spring cleaning of said garage. I searched everywhere but couldn’t find them. No problem, I’ve got a patch kit. I’ll just patch the sucker up and be done with it. I filled the tube with air and a bucket with water. I methodically dunked and checked the entire tube but I couldn’t find the leak. Damn thing was mocking me big time. Now you can guess where I’m going at lunch?Â Two extra tubes for the mountain bike and “Eddie”.
I was going through my email trying to delete some of the old stuff when I came across a couple of pics my brother shot while watching the Tour of California. These were shot across from Point Lobos where my friend Matt is a Park Ranger. Thanks Bro!
Here’s George Hincapie. **Update** My bro emailed me and reminded me to point out Levi is the second rider behind Georgie.
And here’s Floyd Landis(in gold jersey on the right side of the pic)
Well the day finally came to ride the fund raiser for the American Lung Association, Reach The Beach 2006. I decide to ride the 55 mile route from Amity to the finish line at Cape Kiwanda/Pacific City. Once again I had trouble sleeping before the ride, not that the ride was overly difficult, I just get too damn excited. So I awoke at 4:30, showered and gathered all my gear together. When I say all my gear, I mean EVERYTHING. A few rides back I forgot my rain jacket and of course it rained and I was miserable. If it snowed, I was prepared. I rallied the family together, wife, daughter and the 2 dogs and loaded them all into the SUV and headed off south to the starting line. The reason everybody was coming on this trip was because we were planning on staying a couple of days at the beach after the ride. That’s another post entirely.
The weather report indicated rain showers in the morning and a high around 60. One thing I’ve learned about the weather prognosticators in this area is they don’t know their ass from a teacup when it comes to forcasting. Before we left I checked the radar map at weather.com and saw that most of the precipitation had already moved east. We left at 7:30am and made good time. Parked at the drop off zone, unloaded the bike and dressed. The weather was perfect, some high clouds but no rain and no wind. I got my bib, kissed the wife and kid, petted the dogs and I was off. This ride didn’t use Dan Henry markers painted on the road but yellow arrows attached to trees and stop signs or anything they could find. Luck for me I hooked up with 3 other riders right at the beginning who kept the same tempo as I did. I have to say that was the best riding if done in a rally yet. Each of us would take a turn at the front for awhile and then peel off and take a spot at the back. We were hauling ass, passing people like they were standing still. All of this without killing ourselves. We worked like that for the whole first leg the the town of Sheridan. We averaged over 17 mph for the first 15 miles. For me this was a good sign because as always my goal is to average at least 15 mph for the race and there were the coastal range to climb before the day was done. I was ahead of the game. I ate some grub and talked to my wife who was waiting with the entourage at the rest stop. At this point I lost all three of my riding buddies, they had either left in a hurry, ran off to the john or something else. Slightly bummed, I set off solo. I knew this next section had a few more hills but I had good legs and attitude. I passed many riders(this was a first) and had not been passed since about the first mile. I used other riders in front of me like a carrot on a stick. I’d see them up in front of me and dug down to try to catch them. This was cool, I kept passing these riders who had left several minutes in front of me. About 5 miles from the next stop I caught and passed one of the original three riders. I was expecting and hoping he’d latch on to my wheel so we could team up the rest of the way but my pace was too much for him(I don’t get to say that very much). I cruised to the stop still keeping my overall average at 16.1.
The next section of the route was going to be the most difficult based on the profile. It was uphill over the coastal range for about 15 miles. It wasn’t super steep but it was up, with false flats and some minor downhills. Compared to some of the other rides like the Daffodil Classic, my legs were in much better shape, couple this with the fact that I hadn’t changed out of my 53 for the whole ride, I felt real good. Most road bike now adays are geared like mountain bikes with 27 speeds. Well, I have 18 and it shows on the hills. This is where I was starting to get passed. At one point I looked back to see if there was anybody gaining on me and i couldn’t see a soul. Next thing I know a group of 4 riders ripped past me like I was standing still. Any kind of Mojo I had went by the wayside. I plodded along trying to keep my speed up knowing that at some point the road would point down. This is where I met a guy named Darren. All of a sudden this voice comes from behind me and says “I think I’ll just sit behind you for awhile”. At first this kind of pissed me off. I’m struggling up the hill and this guy wants to ride MY wheel? He rode behind me and finally passed me and started to leave me but turned and said “no problem, I’ll lower the pace”. That was cool. I give him a lot of respect for that. He slowed and I picked up the pace so I could get on his wheel. He pulled me up a good portion of the hills. Very cool. We rode together for 7 or 8 miles talikng about different rides we’ve done and things like that. We even pulled over to help a girl who had problems pumping up her newly fied flat. Darren got out his 9 dollar pump and finished it off for her. His karma points went over the maximum for that gesture alone.
Finally we started on downhill portion to the coast and I knew the rest was mostly flat except for one hill. This hill was so steep ther were cyclist littered all up and down it in various forms of pushing theirs bikes. This is where Darren and I parted ways, I knew I couldn’t keep his pace up ths hill so I bode him farewell and put the Eddie in the granny gear and ground out the mile or so. Once at the top I felt a great sense of relief, the hardest part was behind me so I thought. After you crest the range and get closer to the beach, the wind changes significantly. It becomes a steady on-shore headwind that would slow you down so much on the downhills you’d have to peddle like you were on the flats. The last ten miles were like that. Then the evil signs began to appear. “10 miles to go, you can do it” or something like that. “9 miles to go, heart, mind and soul” Arrrrrgh, they were pissing me off. They made each mile seem like they were taking FOREVER. At this point my legs were tiring and didn’t need this pseudo self help BS at every mile. Finally I crossed highway 101 and I knew I was almost done. I knew my legs were. I’d gone out real fast for the first 2 and 1/2 legs and now my legs were feeling it. At this point I really couldn’t care what my average speed was, I just wanted to get to the finish line. The road just seemd to keep going and going, I couldn’t see the end. Just like that, I emerged from behind some beach houses to see a whole group of people clapping and cheering on my efforts. This made the last few miles melt away in my mind and I was full of piss and vinegar again. I crossed the finish line with my arms extended high in the sky like I’d won a stage on one of the grand tours. I spotted my family grinning and clapping my arrival, all was good again.
Ride stats: 55 miles in 3 hour 45 minutes, averaging 14.6 mph. Pics to follow.
Another weekend and another great ride, the Monster Cookie Metric Century, put on by the Salem Bicycle Club. Salem is 45 miles from our humble abode and to be able to get there for an early start I wanted to leave the house no later than 7:30am. Of course I was awake at 4:30 giving me plenty of time to get ready. Unfortunately, we had to wait for the babysitters. They(2 teenagers from the neighborhood) didn’t get to the house until after my scheduled departure time but my wife made up the time on the road. The weather was cool and partly cloudy but was expected to warm up to 65 degrees, so I decide on shorts instead of long-johns for the ride. This was my sixth rally I’ve participated in but it was my wife’s first. She was clearly nervous about the ride because should had never been on the bike for more than 15 miles at one time. It appeared to me the topo map intimidated her. I reassured her that the ride was mostly flat and she would do just fine. We got to the start line around 8:30am, signed in and got our ride packet. While waiting in the queue for the bathroom I struck a conversation with the gent in front of me. I asked him if he’d done this ride before and he indicated he had. This gave me an opportunity to once agin placate the demons tormenting my wife. I tried to get info from him about the ride profile and to my relief he exclaimed “it’s basically flat, the only difficulty came from a headwind on the return trip of the loop. My wife was definitely a happier camper. We’ll we started off from the front steps of the Capitol building and preceded through the city streets out of town and into the country. I kept the pace down to allow for her to become more familiar with riding amongst others. She was doing quite well for a nubie. At first she thought she’d be able to finish the entire 62 miles but after about 12 miles she indicated she was getting winded. At that point we decide that she could take the return route after the first rest stop and she agreed. With an average speed while riding with my wife at 12 mph, I was getting a little anxious to get going. At this rate I’d be in the saddle all day, something I didn’t want to do. So she gave me the go ahead to ride at my own pace and we’d meet up at the rest stop.
This rally is quite popular here in Oregon attracting about 1500 riders of all abilities including a subset of cyclist I call the “Groupies”. Groupies are identified by their attitude and attire. Their attitude is smug and elitist. I don’t know if it is because they all where the same team jerseys representing the cycling club they belong to or what but something about them pisses me off. My goal as always is to average at least 15 mph for the duration but at the beginning I felt there would be no way I’d be able to accomplish this. Remember the guy I was talking to? Remember the headwind was supposed to get you on the return trip? Well he was wrong, the head wind was in my face. I knew the only way I could make the goal was to latch on the back of a group and let them drag me around. Riding into a headwind by yourself is not a good thing. I was getting frustrated because I would latch on to 3 or four riders and get on their tails and try to keep their tempo only to be dropped after a few miles. Then I’d catch up to another group and do the same thing only to find their pace was too slow. This seemed to happen over and over. Finally, I found somebody riding the same tempo as me, Russell and Rebecca. They were very nice and talkative which is something the “Groupies” fail at miserably. As we were riding, off in the distance you could hear the dragsters at the Woodburn dragstrip. I piped up and said “Cool dragsters”. This set Russell off. Best I could tell was he was a big motorhead. He talked on and on about his trip to see the Long Beach Grand Prix and his day trip to see the open wheel guys at Portland International Raceway for testing. Evidently while we were talking we had inadvertently dropped Rebecca so Russell pulled over to wait and I wave bye-bye and kept on going. As I got closer to Champoeg(pronounced shampoo-ee) where the halfway point was the headwind abated so I could ride at my own pace without the aid of others. I took a 10 minute rest, ate some food at the park and headed back. Once I got back on the road, the headwind had changed direction. Once again it was in my face.
My legs felt good but for some reason I didn’t feel comfortable in the saddle. I couldn’t find a happy medium. I think some of this had to do with me tinkering with my seat recently to relieve a problem I had with the little general wanting to take a nap during my rides. Any ideas out there? On the return trip I came across a 2 riders going just the speed for me. Next thing I know we’re going 19 mph with no problems at all. We keep this pace up for several miles before I tired a bit and pulled down the tempo and was dropped. For the rest of the ride I was basically solo. Overall, I was quite surprised at my final average time, exactly 15 mph over 62.2 miles in 3:58 minutes. I remember and email exchange I had with Dr. KBJ last summer stating that riding on mostly flat roads can be just as hard as riding some hill and rollers. I wholeheartedly agree. When riding hills you at least get the chance to recooperate on the down hils but on flats there is no such luxury. BTW, the wife, in her first rally managed 34.8 miles averging 12.7 mph. Awesome stuff girl! The only downside was while waiting for me in the car, the wife killed the battery, this amounted to an extra few bucks for the babysitters. Oh well. All and all a good day. Another aside, this was my first metric century, a full two months before I thought I’d try one. Next on the agenda is the Reach the Beach on May 20th, but I suspect I’ll sneak another rally in before then.
I was surfing around the internet before heading off to the neighbors house for poker and I found this cool pic from the Tour of Romandie. This is one of the many reason why I love to ride, especially up here in the Northwest where you can get a glimpse of these same types of views while on the road.
After my internet friend , KBJ wrote some nice words about my Daffodil Classic post. I’ve found another ride to do before the RTB ride, Monster Cookie Metric Century. I wasn’t going to do this ride this year but after last weekend, I just can’t help it. An upshot to this is my wife is going to do the ride as well. She doesn’t know how far she’ll make it but she’s gung-ho to give it a try. The route is mostly flat from what I know but 62 miles is a long way anyhoo. This will be the fourth rally this year for me. Let me tell you something about cycling, it’s like crack, addictive as hell.
Update** I found this ride at Bikeride.com which is a great site to find out what cycling events are happening in your neck of the woods. Here are a few links to site with different ride in the Northwest area.
Ok, finally made it back down home. Woo Hoo! Took today off, double Woo Hoo! Let’s start with how I feel today and to be honest I thought it would be worse but I feel great. The legs are slightly heavy but other than that I’m ready to go. Yesterday, the weather in and around the Puget Sound was absolutely gorgeous, perfect for riding with the temperature at the beginning at around 50 degrees. I’m going to break down the ride into three sections. Section I, from the startline to the first rest stop, about 20 miles. Section II, from the first rest area to the second rest stop, about 13 miles. Section III, from the second rest stop to the finish line, about 15 miles.
The town of Orting is located east of Tacoma in a valley situated between the Cascades and a small set of hills. We arrived about 8:30am and promptly found the regsitration area, thank god for pre-reg. There were a lot of people queued up at the registration desk trying to get their race packages and I hate standing in line for just about anything. The ride was divided into a 28 mile family ride, two 50 mile rides, one 70 and century. I was going to ride one of the 50 milers but had not chosen which one until I got a good glimpse at the topo map of the rides. The Kapowsin loop looked somewhat harder due to the multiple up and down rollers and to be honest with you this ride was supposed to be a training ride. So I chose the Buckley loop with it’s relatively flatter profile. The first 3 miles or so was flat which was good because it gave me some time to warm up the legs and clear the lungs. I felt OK but since I wasn’t sure what the course was actually like, I had some apprehensions. The next several miles consisted of rollers I handled with not to much difficulty. I kept seeing in the topo map in my head and I was trying to figure out when the first climb would start. I knew it had begin sometime soon. Before I could get the thought out of my head, it appeared. It didn’t look like much at the beginning, slowly turning right then left, then it started to get steeper and steeper. After about 1/2 mile I was thinking to my self, “when is this going to end”. It kept going on and on. I’d go around a corner with the expectation of SOME flatness but no just more up and up. Finally after about 2 miles it finally abated and I was rewarded with a nice downhill to recoup. I rode for the next half hour basically by myself enjoying the scenery, sipping on my Propel(that’s for perverted Josh). Following the Dan Henry markers to make sure I don’t get lost making a 50 miler into either a short ride or end up on the top of Mount Rainier. At this point I met my riding buddies for the day, Mike, Orrin and Doug at an intersection where the markers weren’t exactly clear. It was a 6 way intersection in the middle of nowhere. Apparently the race organizers missed this one. I saw Manny, Moe and Jack(MMaJ) as I’ll refer to them, on the other side so I decide to follow them. I finally caught up to them and decide to sit on on their tail to and get a feel for riding with more than one cyclist. Being a nice guy I decided to take a few turns at the front so they wouldn’t get pissed off, I know I would. We rode like this for the next 5 to 6 miles up to the first rest stop. I enjoyed this immensely because out of all the organized rides I’ve done, it seems I ALWAYS end up riding by myself. It’s amazing how nice it is to retreat to the end of the line after pulling for awhile and hugging the back wheel of the cyclist in front of you just being pulled along with minimal effort at all. We could keep a nice tempo, 18-19 mph, without killing ourselves. Especially if you add a headwind to the mix. MMaJ, as best as I could tell, varied in age from late 40′s to late 50′s but they were all in pretty decent shape. I found out later that they used to ride together a lot. We finally pulled into the first rest stop in the town of Buckley to grab some grub. At this point I went and introduced myself to MMaJ. The first thing they said, almost in unison, we can’t keep the pace your doing for the whole ride. Each providing various reason why, sore kees, bad back etc. I took this in stride because I don’t think I could have kept it up either. I ensured them that I understood and agreed to keep it mellow.
I chowed down during the rest, it’s amazing how hungry you can get while riding. Banana, oatmeal cookie, peanut butter bagel and a couple of orange slices and I was on my way. Coincidentally, this was the same moment MMaJ decide to leave along with two other lady riders. The ladies took the lead and we followed in a nice line letting them break the air for us. A nice thing when you’re going in to a steady headwind. One thing I learned on this ride is some bike etiquette. For instance, when you are leading the pace line and you see something in the rode like glass or a pothole good riders will point these out for the rest of the line. Well, one of the ladies failed to notify the rest of us as we all bounced through a big pothole. Thankfully no one flatted or broke a spoke but that didn’t make Moe happy. He fumed a bit but got over it. Somewhere about 2 miles from the first rest stop on the gang lost his powerbar out his pack so they all slowed to wait but I kept going on. At this point the ladies had advanced about 100 yd in front of me so I decide to catch up to them. My main reason was I didn’t want to ride into the headwind by myself. Once I did catch up, I just sat on their back wheel and enjoyed the draft. I did this almost the whole way to the next rest stop. I didn’t offer to take a turn, I guess in a sort of payback for not pointing out the pothole earlier. After a while their pace had slowed to the point that I need to pass because I wanted to get going. I ended up catching up with another rider and then another using each to rest while I sat on their back wheel. Finally I arrive at the last rest stop in Bonney Lake with some fatigue in the quads.
Ate the some food regimen. It seemed to be working, as best as I could tell. Called my wife to tell her when I’d be getting to the finish line. MMaJ arrived about 3 minutes behind me but didn’t stay as long as I did and took off. I left about 5 minutes after MMaJ. Once I started back out my legs were real heavy and stiff. The rest had tightened me up good. It took me about 2 miles before the stiffness went away. Lo and behold I found myself behind the ladies again but I dropped them on a short hill soon after. After that I rode solo for several miles around Bonney Lake. Based on the topo I knew the middle part of the ride was going to be fairly simple, I also knew at some point there was a exhilarating decent to be had. I have to say going down a nice wide, smooth road at 38 mph is awesome. Once I was down to the valley floor I knew there was only one more climb to get over. Bombing the long decent enabled me to re-catch MMaJ about 2 miles before the last climb. As I passed them one of them shouted out, “There’s that guy from Portland again”. They were impressed I came all the way up from Oregon to ride. I started talking to them about where they were from etc when the one called Doug asks me “Have you ridden this before” and answered “No, why?. He goes on to tell me about the hill we’re going to climb. Steep, very steep. I knew there was a climb coming but I wasn’t expecting what I was about to find. It was only about 3/4 to a mile long but it was nasty steep and at one point I could see it continuing up to the left and I started to get demoralized. Was I going to have to get off and walk it? Thankfully, I saw we were going off to the right at a fork in the road. I could tell this by the gaggle of cyclist perched at the top of the climb, resting. Once to the top, Orrin, who had some sort of device on his bike enabling him to determine the percent gradient, mentioned at the steepest part of the climb it was 13%. Folks, that’s Alp d’Huez stuff. To say I was gassed is an extreme understatement but I knew the rest of the ride was flat so I was home free.
Overall I had a great time, met some interesting people and got closer to the shape I want to be in. Here’s a photo of me at the finish line.
Stats: 47.75 miles in 3 hours 23 minutes and 11 seconds, average speed 14 mph. Max speed 38.4 mph. Once again a selfish traffic inducing moment from the Kaostheory courtesy of Outside the Beltway traffic Jam.
I know you are waiting breathlessly for a blow by blow account of my ride at the Daffodil Classic. However, I’m beat and my mind thinks only of Beer and it’s making it very difficult to write anything. I will have an update once I get back to Portland. Cheers.
Just signed up to ride the Daffodil Classic in Orting, Washington on April 23rd. It should be fun and a good training ride for the Reach the Beach ride in May. This was one of the rides I wrote about in one of my earlier posts that I wanted to do this year. I almost forgot about it until I checked my archives and found the post.