Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pedalpalooza Seventeen

At long last, the day of my very own Pedalpalooza dream ride - The Swim Across Portland.  The plan was to meet at the Water Cafe, ride to the pool, swim, ride to the next pool, swim, ride to the next pool, swim, and ride to Velocult for the afterparty.
Instead, the ride temporarily morphed into the "fix a flat across Portland" ride.  It was "dress Western" day at City Bikes and when his tire exploded, one dude stuck his cowboy clad head out and shouted "do I hear gunshots?!".

We skipped the first pool and went to the second, paid our entry fees and purchased popcorn before entering the somewhat empty pool area. Marco Polo, laps, tricks, tread water competition before getting back on bikes.
It takes a bit of courage to ride around Portland in a swimsuit with only 4 riders, maybe even more than riding naked with 10,000 riders.  We arrived at the second pool after tooling through the Portland Parkways route and getting sprayed with a super soaker.
After a lot of sunshine and chlorine, playing with floaties and diving for rings, we enjoyed a poolside picnic.  Then, off to the store for beer and the park for butterfly watching.  A quick stop at a party before the after party, then, at last, Velocult, where all good rides end and great parties begin.

Pedalpalooser Sixteen

Saturday's Petal Pedal century ride promised precipitation.  Our plan to ride from Canby to make it 140 miles fizzled with the rain and the early hour so we drove right to the Oregon Garden instead.

I was tired.  My legs were tired.  My riding friends were faster than me.  It was a tough day on the bike, but a tough day on the bike is better than an easy day anywhere else.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pedalpalooza Fourteen

Joined the Pedalpalooza Bikey Trivia ride.  We met at the Bike Bar and rolled out to the first park for trivia questions.
Then rode on over, slow-pedal-Pedalpalooza-pace to Peninsula Park.  Played our final trivia round here.
My team, team Soft As A Kitten, did not win.
But my bike looked beautiful against the rose garden backdrop, and that's all that matters.

Pedalpalooza Thirteeeeeen

Raced Tabor again.  Team Slow has the best cheering section ever.

Warmed up like crazy, jumping jacks behind the starting field. The whistle blew and the ladies left me on the uphill start. Coming around the hill each lap, I started to develop a steady rhythm and a little addiction to racing.

I don't care that I came in third-to-last, I'm just happy I can do this.  Note the armband with Team Staccato Gelato colors on it, to honor Mat and his team.

After beers at Migration.  Great conversation.  Spied a guy on a wheelchair, who caught me checking his tires so he hopped off the chair, removed the wheel and handed it to me.  He said he used to race with a hand-cycler.  Maybe Mat can do that too!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pedalpalooza Twelve

Tuesday, took the day off work, took a little break from Pedalpalooza, took a two hundred k rando ride.  My r-six, if you will. 

This was a true out and back that started out with the beautiful Banks-Vernonia bike path, then 202 and 103 out past Birkenfeld to Elsie.  It was especially fun to enjoy each control point twice.

Ate and ate and ate, as usual.  Best snack of the day, necco wafers and strawberry milk. This is my magical fuel of choice.

Wrapped up the ride while the sun set and drove back to town for beer and goodnights.  A very good day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Pedalpalooza Day'leven

Mercifully, Sunday's Pedalpalooza Portland Permieter Populaire didn't start til ten so I could sleep in.  All of these miles and late night hijinx start taking their toll but a sweetly cloudy day on flat paths all around the east side on my single speed felt rejuvenating.
Ed and Shawn put on this Randonneur ride and provided a pretty route and a classy cue sheet - combo brevet card.  More than a dozen randos left at 10 after coffee and Voodoo donuts at Velocult.  I rode with Jeff all day, a true Super Randonneur and a fellow tire-geek.  We laughed a lot at our mistakes, oversights and a beautiful deadend.

I flew into Alley Cat mode on the last couple of miles and told Jeff "sprint finish?!" before racing off ahead.  When I arrived back at Velocult, I rode right into and through the shop looking for Ed so I could hand in my brevet card.  Turns out he was in the beer garden out back with participants from the Disaster Relief Trials and Zombie Ride.  These folks raced around in cargo bikes carrying a list of disaster supplies and being chased by the zombie riders.
 Another successful day on and off the bike. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pedalpalooza Ten

Twenty showed up at my house on this humid sunny day to eat and caffeinate and use my floor pump.  One guy had a tire torn so bad I tossed him a t-serv.  He earned it though because he swept my entryway and cooked some of the breakfast and even washed the dishes.

We took off down the hill and eastbound.  I decided to take Pretty out, the pink Torpado.  Zoom zoom!  Took the hill option.   On Marine Drive, I got a sudden loud flat that blew on my calf a dozen times before I stopped, scammed a C02 and caught back up.  Lots of people got flats that day.
After all the flat fixes we headed downtown to the Petal Pedal packet pick up party.  Then, a spontaneous, unscheduled and very exclusive Pedalpalooza ride - the first annual Weed and Safety Ride.  No, it's not what you're thinking.  We yelled extra loud for safety - CARBACK!!  BOLLARD!!!  TURNING LEFT!!! - on the way to weed the leader's yard.
After weeding, I spent five more dollars at Goodwill on a little black dress for that evening's cocktail party.  Showered at the weed house after a huge salad and rode off to the soiree, where I met a grown lady who doesn't know how to ride a bike but would like me to teach her in exchange for fresh eggs. 

Ride partner, friend and confidante offered to buy me a cab ride home.  It's late and I'm dressed wrong and been drinking for a while and it's far and it might rain.  Couldn't say yes, although I wanted to.  Instead I said, let's just ride and decide.  South, south, south, then one last stop for alcohol.  End day ten.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pedalpalooza Nine

Friday night, the world was my oyster.  Sure, I had already missed the start of the Get Lost ride (roll dice to determine route!) and the Ginger Ride, which I witnessed from my patio perch on Williams.  I considered giving chase but still had a half full beer.

The Synesthesia ride sounded fascinating - a tour of fascinating sounds.  The Foster Road Pub & Scenery Cruise cracked me up and was close to home.  Dirty Diablo ride was a definite no as I don't frequent strip clubs.  And Oldies and Tall Ts was also out because I look lousy in oversized t-shirts.
So, at the last minute, I headed toward the Drop Out Prom ride.  A quick stop at Good Will yielded a $4.79 celeste-green satin tea-length prom gown.  It was too big on me, so a perfect fit over my bike clothes and to ride in.

A sea of prom-goers greeted us at the park.  Hung out with the "parkies" for a while.  Ran into those same fixie kids I had stolen alley cat manifests from at the Alpenrose fundraiser party.  We rolled out and rode through the east side.  I was riding with the fixie kids when I realized I had lost the prom-goers.

I thought my night was over and started to head home when, there, in front of me, were scads of red blinking lights and the mobile prom party.  Apparently it's not that  easy to lose 200 people on bikes. We ended up at the bike path park on the river with a magically suspended disco ball, live music, tall grasses and good times. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pedalpalooza Ate

Skipped it and went to book club.

Last year I decided I wanted to belong to a book club.  So I started one.

I selected everyone on my e-mail contact list that I thought knew how to read and invited them.

We ended up a group of seven.  All ladies, all cyclists.  None of them had met before and now they're all fast friends.  We meet the second Thursday of every month, taking turns hostessing.

We dirnk wine and dish.  Sometimes we discuss the book.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pedalpalooza Seven

I followed a guy with a calf tattoo around the Tabor loop early Wednesday morning.  This recon mission was meant to prepare for my first race and build my confidence. So, I looked closely at the road surface, took each corner a couple of times, and checked my gearing on each hill.

Later on at work, I received some great advice on how to take the corners.  And even more valuable big picture advice : "when it hurts, go harder".  Thanks, Bob.

Queuing up at the start line, I felt my heart in my throat.  There were at least twenty ladies in my heat.  They all looked fast and had great equipment.  And no one else had a basket.
The ref blew the whistle.  Off and up the hill we went.  Or, I should say, they went, because I was immediately dropped.  The bright side was not worrying about handling the tight corners in a crowd.

Each time I completed a lap, my teammates cheered for me and hollered my name.  It feels really great to belong to a team and wear their kit and get high fives at the end of the race. After racing, we went for beer.  After beer, we went for a Rocky Butte butterfly climb.  I heart Team Slow.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pedalpalooza Six

 I saw a riot of kids having a riot on see-saws, bunches of 'em balancing, laughing and screaming.  We did the exact same thing the night before, as grown-ups, during a Tuesday evening Pedalpalooza ride.  This little loop around Northeast Portland with park and playground stops is Ryan's tribute to his favorite bikey comic strip, Yehuda Moon. 

A lady on foot yelled "who are you?!", and we answered "PEDALPALOOZA!"  She proclaimed that she'd ridden her bike to work that day.  But when we told her to look on the Pedalpalooza calendar for fun stuff, she said "I can't, I have responsibilities.", underlining what a privilege it is to do these rides.

What a privilege it is to be young and free and alive and on a bike.  That privilege, that joy, may possibly be gone for a friend of mine who crashed Monday night at the short track race.  There is still hope.  Miracles happen.  In the meanwhile, all other problems are tiny miniscule atoms of nothingness.

So, I urge you, dear readers: shirk responsibility.  Embrace privilege. Go for a bike ride. Go get some joy while you still can.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pedalpalooza Five

Flipped over my flip-flop hub and spun on an 18-tooth cog and a lockring.
Background music, to the tune of the Smiths' Girlfriend In A Coma:
Fixed cog and a lockring, I know.  I know!  It's really serious.
Did the deed at the Bike Farm and took it out for a ride.
I had forgotten the fun feel of fixed gears.  I've missed it!
Standing up as you come to stop signs and stop lights was strange too.
Starting up at a light, the chain slipped.

Met up with my new team as they celebrated their short track race.
We rode over to Ryan's for hanging out and I skidded to a stop.
The chain slipped again.
I flipped the wheel back to free in his living room.
Fixed is fun but not for all the time and I will not be racing it.  Yet.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pedalpalooza Four

Decided to rewrite the day four post, inspired by a friend's e-mail describing his ride up Larch Mountain the same day.  So, here goes.

Headed out from Tiny's at 8:30.  I wanted to do one lap of Tabor on the way out in preparation for Wednesday's race but we didn't.  We rode east until Hurlburt and then traced the Portland Century route, which is pretty hilly.  To Shipley and Marmot and the magic fountain stop, where we didn't stop.  Over the bridge, up the hill.  Barlow Trail by the river which felt hard the last couple of times but easy Sunday.  Lunch at Zig Zag.  Probably too much lunch because I had a stomach ache for the next few miles.  Nick said it'd be 10 or 15 or 20 or 25 miles up, he didn't know.  It turned out to be about 10 miles up to the top of Lolo Pass.  A jerk got out of his car near a viewpoint to mock our panting and laugh at us.
Hood kept getting bigger and bigger and then there was snow in the ditch.  Lots of great nature.  Big cone-shaped flowers that looked like Queen Anne's Lace.  Rhodies galore.  Birds of course.  A deer.  We turned onto a paved fireroad for the descent, which was long and steep and beautiful.  Then we shortcutted to the highway to hightail it back to town in time for beer well before sunset.
The part that was supposed to be easy felt hard.  Something gnawed at my stomach and inside my chammy, making the miles hurt a little more than usual.  A stop at Shorty's gas station yielded circus peanuts, cherry sours, cow tails and things started looking up.
 Then to town, into a place with a sign "patio beer fun".  Popcorn, fresh and crisp, beer and cinnamon whiskey.  Home on the path, dodging errant bikes.  100 miles and a million feet of elevation gain.

Pedalpalooza Three

The sky was navy, royal, sky blue and finally white on the way home.
Slept through the day, watching sunlight roll across the bedroom's yellow walls.
An afternoon stroll on cruisers through the neighborhood, looking for holes.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pedalpalooza Day Too

Rode up to Saint John's to the Midnight Mystery Ride meet up,
which may as well be a foreign land it's so far away.
Unpaved dirt in the dark and trees with fifty other riders, some on tall bikes.
Oh, the tall bikes.  I envy their prowess!
To the beach.  To the campfire. 
Jambalaya.  Wine.  New friends, and old.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pedalpalooza Day Won

Ok, readers.  Things are about to get a little crazy over here at Bicycle Kitty.  Yesterday was the first day of Pedalpalooza.  If you don't know what that means, you'll learn over the next few weeks as I go completely cuckoo for cocoa puff bike-freak-out crazy with billions of rides and friends and events and you name it.
Last night was the kickoff party.  The pre-kickoff party was a few weeks ago and although a ton of fun, pretty darn tame compared to last night.  I'm not sure how to elaborate on how very fun it was.  I saw my new teammates.  (I"m on a race team now, separate blog entry later!).  I hunted butterflies.  I accepted three huge bunches of flowers but couldn't carry them. 
Best of all, after the party, I got to participate in an unscheduled, impromptu, all out hill climb up my favorite butte.  And down.  Not knowing or caring where we were going.  Tearing through neighborhoods like there's no tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Question

A customer at the shop asked me last week: "what do you think about when you're riding your bike?"

Now I'm asking you. 

You can respond by commenting here or by e-mailing me directly at

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wine Ride

There's a lot of hills in California (Family Scott lyric).
And there's a lot of wineries in western Oregon.
Beautiful postcard-like views, air thick with flower smells, and tongues thick with wine tastes. 
One very steep hill - the kind that makes you feel a little like you'll fall back.
Some gravel miles.
People whose enthusiasm trump their fear.