Thursday, September 27, 2012
Coffee & oatmeal to go.
Lipstick. Get dressed.
Hair. Vitamins, allergy meds.
Go! 5:10am depart.
Cross at BOG. Venus Cafe.
Mo-fos. Mo coffee. A bagel!
Go. Enjoy the flat.
Tail wind? Bingen.
Now north. Climbing through the forest.
Mile 61 top of main climb.
Enjoy the woods.
Gifford Pinchot mo fo.
Mile 100 top, it gets easy.
Enjoy life. Breathe deep.
Remember my dream.
Eat the right dinner.
Enjoy the stars.
The result: the hardest day on a bike in my entire life - survived.
As we began the main part of the climb, Bingen and a migraine behind me, the landscape looked eerily like my own tan down blanket. The dream I mention in my strategy was from earlier in the week. The Gifford Pinchot wilderness and my bed were one in the same. I rode all over the forest and the bed and the mountain I climbed was myself.
The descent was chilly and parts of it were dirt and gravel. But before hypothermia could set in, there was one more climb to conquer: Curly Creek Road. Only five miles, then to Old Man's Pass for the final descent. A lack of clothing on my sweaty body during the twenty mile dusky descent made life suck for a nice long while.
Stopping along the highway to snatch the jacket I stashed earlier, I turned my headlight toward the ground. There, at my feet, was a rotten little doe. So rotten it didn't smell the way dead things smell anymore. This sight scared me more than anything all day.
Monday, September 24, 2012
We met up with the other riders, boarded the ferry and were off on a pretty wine country ride featuring four winery stops and twenty country miles of rolling hills. I took the gravel option route, which offered around five miles of challenging terrain to add to the fun.
From here, a few short miles down the hill, over to the ferry, back to the car and home to Portland. Thank you Linda for a fabulous time!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
"Shortly after u-turning to get back to the finish line, some gentlemen stood up and held out a banner reading "Hey Bicyclists" so I stopped. They gave me a rainbow striped popsicle and asked me to come back after the picnic (which I did, getting video-taped sitting on a couch with my bike in the shot!)."
Today, it came to my attention that OregonLive ran an article on the efforts of Todd Bachmann and Jacob Brostoff to gain support for adding a bike path to connect the existing ones near Vancouver Lake Park nd Frenchman's Bar. It's a great read - check it out!
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
All was lined up for a luxuriously fast and easy day in the saddle. A week of restful recovery, healthy habits and a lack of aches could only lead to a superior performance on Saturday, right? I visualized waiting at the top of each climb for the slow pokes. Even the invitation referred to me as "the fastest rider".
Instead I started the day with two flats, not enough flat-repair supplies and a stinky attitude before we even hit Scappoose. The pretty part of the day started there, and things started to look up. And I do mean up. Even in my easiest gear, the ride felt like a constant grind.
In the end, I received some special gifts that floated my mood sky-high. And my seemingly sluggish pace wasn't quite the slowest, although I'm reminded that bike rides and life are no contest and no place to compare. Finally, I concluded that my sweet little smoothie needs some serious lovin'.
Monday, September 17, 2012
By the numbers:
* Cindi's sixty
* Fifty centuries
* Fifty states
* Fifty (consecutive) days
* Three friends (four including Cindi)
* One van that drove 12,500 miles
* Four flats (I can't believe she rode gatorskins!)
* Three falls (one was on foot walking down stairs)
She told the group of us that she didn't know if she could accomplish this goal but that didn't stop her from trying. "Anyone can do anything" she said.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
First, my brain was stretched by learning some American Sign Language during this trip. Enough to feel like I could really communicate. More importantly, I learned that this visual language is not a direct translation of English. It's its own language with its own nuances and slang and culture. I especially enjoyed the verbal description of the sign for "dislike": if you don't like something, take it from your heart and throw it away. There's a thoughtfulness that changes your thinking when using this language.
I noticed how differently I look at the terrain neighboring the road and the little offshoots from each road. Back when I was (self-)confined to pavement, I wouldn't even think of venturing off the shoulder into pea-sized gravel or dirt. But now that I've successfully experimented with gravel (meaning I've ridden in it a bunch and only crashed once), the world of many other textures has been opened up. The lesson here is not to confine oneself.
Another thought I had, or invented really, is a new law of physics that I have named "impact theory". It had been my regular practice to slow down for passing vehicles to get the interaction over with quickly. But then I started to think about the speed differential between me and passing trucks. If I slow to ten miles per hour and get hit by a vehicle going 50 mph, the impact is at five times my speed. However, if I speed up to 20 mph, that's almost half. So, yeah, that's impact theory. Try it out.
I also had an epiphany-sized revelation that is so big I can't write about it here. But, trust me, it's good. Really good. And, now, onto the regular ride report.
Day two started with an easy and leisurely morning; a shower, coffee, oatmeal. And more Apiary Road, my new favorite place. Part of the fun of being a tourist is riding wherever the wind blows you and sight-seeing several times along the way. I visited a quaint little barn sale at the top of a big hill and even scored three mini pocket knives for our small troop.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Started Wednesday with a quick ride over to the Nutcase Helmets office, where the Portland Society had their monthly meeting. These ladies and the cool bikey stuff that comes out of them and this lively lovely little network lights me up.
The mobile sound system was incredible. A ginormous amp toted on a wide bamboo trailer by a tandem. It's as if the playlist was made just for me - lots of Bikini Kill. We hopped from park to park, occasionally visiting with the cops, until finally the crowd dwindled and the hour grew late and I rode home to bed.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
It was a very hard day going up Larch Mountain. But, a hard day on the bike is better than an easy day anywhere else. I need to learn to lower my expectations dramatically. Of others. And of myself. No matter how great my alleged fitness level is, I climb slowly. I watch the others disappear effortlessly into the ether while I stop to pant and let my heart calm down. My stupid heart.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
We were given two double-sided pages of maps and lists. This was a complicated-looking contest! A varying amount of points were offered for items photographed at specific locations and for items found "anywhere", like a garage sale selling bikes or a cat on a porch swing. More points were awarded for each team member included in the photo.
Finally, twenty nine minutes late, I saw my team ragtag in. Ayla had her hands full scoring each team as individuals showed her their pictures. The bounty of prizes arranged on the table next to Ayla included such goodies as a bottle of wine, oil & vinegar, kitty cat salt & pepper shakers, gift certificates, a cycling vest and socks. My team won and enjoyed the prizes and gold medals Ayla gave out. Everyone won something and was given a medal. But the best part was the ride itself and the feeling of teamwork. And the amazing picnic food, games and prizes that followed!
Monday, September 3, 2012
We stashed our bikes and walked on the beach, barefoot, quite a ways down. And took our time walking back into the moon and its twins in the sand. Firewood was plentiful so we enjoyed a nice big fire, passing snacks and flasks around the fire until the wee hours.