Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hillsboro - Dallas - Hillsboro

Sipping on Starbucks coffee at the Fred Meyer with a view of discounted underwear made for a decidedly unglamorous start to my February 200K.  All geared up for a long slog, we rode out into the rain expecting it to last all day.  The drops got smaller, slowed down and then disappeared altogether.  Every dry moment felt like some sort of bonus prize.

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.
A few rolling hills, several dozen cows and a bounty of farmy barnscapes later, we landed in Dallas.  The mountain views from this little burg were enough to put the alps to shame, at least in my imagination.  I enjoyed a junkfood lunch including such delicacies as an entire bag of potato chips and a sleeve of girl scout cookies.  I told the little entrepreneurs "I used to be a brownie...the chocolate kind".

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.
This is the woozy part of the day when mistakes happen and emotions are close to the surface.
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

Breakfast on the Bridge

Set my alarm for 6 this morning.  Up, quick bath and out to meet Inge.  Last night I texted her a mandate to join me for a ride downtown with a stop for breakfast on the way.

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.
At the west end of the bridge, we were greeted by a lovely group of Shift Breakfast on the Bridges volunteers.  These folks offer bike commuters coffee and donuts and bananas and more (homemade biscuits and jam today!) the last Friday morning of every month.  Thanks BonB crew!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chariot Wars

Freak bike fights!  Crammed in some chariot war spectating post pub crawl.
Followed by a roof top jacuzzi party and playing games half the night with friends.
Oh, Portland, how I love  you.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Team Messerschmitt and thirteen other teams met at Crank Saturday morning for an "unsanctioned street race".  After signing in, teams were instructed to choose their cake from a long line of white boxes. 

Ready, set, eat!  Each team of five had to finish their cake and two cups of chocolate milk before being released to ride to the next stop.  This first cake was red and sweetly frosted and actually kind of delicious.

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.
From downtown, we headed a good clip south.  Terwilliger hill felt good after the calorie surge.  A light mist descended on us and other teams started appearing.  The sprint was on!

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.
Down the cemetery hill, over the Sellwood Bridge and around the back of Sellwood Cycles, more cake awaited.  This time, we bought out.  We learned that teams were allowed to pay $50 to skip an eat.

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

Gold Sprints

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.
I had ridden over on my single speed, whose headset needs a two nut conversion kit.  I left that bike behind and rode home my new and newly tuned up Miyata mixte.  This thing was a dream.  Smooth sailing all the way. 

Monday, February 4, 2013


Seventeen riders showed up to my fifth annual Bill Murray tribute ride on Groundhog's Day.  Riders were equipped with a cue sheet and a baby ruth bar before embarking on our twenty five mile social spin.
I surprised myself by reaching for the new Miyata Mixte on my way out the door.  This bike is a super stud and makes me very happy.
A pleasant lunch stop was had by all.  Beer was had by some.  We left to see if the fence was passable this year, and it was.  Red feathers lay in the mud there and I picked them up for good luck.