Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Several miles on, heading west, we could see a large and ominous dark cloud. Sure enough, sprinkles started up again. Then, while climbing up a little rise, I noticed a small glowing spot on the tarmac. The sun! At first just a bright spot behind the gray, the clouds slowly dissolved around it to expose blue sky.
A few short turns led to those enjoyable country lanes I love so much. The droplets ceased for good and the sun seemed committed to hanging around. Spring Hill Road became North Valley Road, as it usually does. A lone rider could be seen on the road ahead, just after the Flett turn off. His jersey read "Rhinognolo" and he seemed impressed I could pronounce it.
Dayton was a small disappointment. Although it was an open control, there was only one place to stop. But, as they say, looks can be deceiving and the Dayton store, with its sign: grocery. cigarette. turned out to be the perfect pit stop. The clerk was inquisitive and friendly in the way only control clerks can be. They even had pink reflective sunglasses with red flames on the bows for seven bucks, and my snack of choice: necco wafers and strawberry milk.
Now for the back portion of the out and back. North to Dayton. Past the same pretty silos and landscapes to the sweetly curious clerk at the store. I thought she'd come around the counter and hug us, she seemed so happy. She even asked if we'd be back again the same day. This time I bought sparkly pink earrings, as I still had a whole sleeve of thin mints waiting in my basket.
North, north, north. Past the turn off to Gaston, which is hard to skip because I yearn to go to the One Horse. A rainbow. A full moon rising. A pump house in a field that would make an excellent info control for some future ride.
Missing the turn onto Ribbon Ridge Road and riding on the dusky highway with its long lines of cars cost an extra four miles. Strangely, no one honked or even yelled. One driver slowed down, lowered their window and said softly "nice bike lights". It seems a trend of treating cyclists courteously has begun.
Now for the evening home stretch. At around 6:00pm, I marveled at the difference in light from last month - when we had been standing at the top of Timber in the pitch black fixing a flat and freezing. Although balmy and not as dark, this portion of the day seems to be a sort of military training. You push yourself and your body and your machine to the limit. You learn not just how to survive but to carve out some pleasure from the experience.
Friday, February 22, 2013
We both live "far out" but we enjoyed a chuckle together at how very close we are to the Hawthorne bridge - a mere thirty minute bike ride, at a social pace.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
Next there was a mad scramble to get over the Burnside bridge and to Western Bikeworks in the Pearl. My coworkers cheered me on while downing the next cake. Not even one crumb could be left on the ground.
Next stop was at someone's house in Southwest. Fourteen more cakes waited for us, this set with sprinkles. I used to love sprinkles! I had already puked a couple of times and felt ok about downing a bunch for the team since it'd be on its way back out shortly.
The plan was to get to the Springwater, but the displaced Sellwood Bridge confused us, or maybe it was all that sugar. We found ourselves on Milwaukee instead. Turned out to be a nice straight shot, up through Lloyd, with only a quick stop at a light to put sparkly valve caps on my teammates' bikes.
Now Williams and a bottleneck of racers. I turned off to take a shortcut and lost half my team. Alley Cat racing has taught me you rarely stop for lights - just turn instead. Arriving at the finish line on Mississippi, I was stunned to find more cakes. We sat, slowly masticating these horrible desserts for the final race to the finish.
And we tied. For third. It was agreed that two from each team would down a beer to break the tie. I had the Texan on my team and he was pretty thirsty. So was I. We killed that beer like it was a glass instead of a liter. And won this.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
click here to see Bike Portland's pictures
click here to see Velocult's time lapse video
Team Slow volunteered to help Velocult put on six weeks of indoor bike races. The back wheel floats over two rollers and the front fork is attached to a metal framework. The whole business is displayed on a stage and tied into a laptop and displayed on a large screen.
I arrived about a half hour before the event started. Barely anyone was there. Tomas instructed me, Kelley and Nathan on holding the trainer framework steady, tracking bracket victories and getting sign-ups for the races. Then, with just five minutes to spare, the entire crowd rolled in at once. The place was packed in just a few minutes.
Some riders needed help getting in and out of the toe clips and straps, some needed help with the kind of squirrely seatpost quick release. All needed cheering on. As the night wore on and the eliminations grew thin, the crowd moved in closer and yelled louder.