Monday, November 23, 2009

Post-Cycle Oregon Syndrome

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted on here. Or at least it seems like it has. Sometimes I'll draft a post in my head and then later can't remember whether I actually typed it out & posted it or not. It's hard to think of anything unique or interesting or humorous that relates to me riding my bike. So I'll just kind of review what's been going on.

I haven't been riding outdoors during the week, now that it's dark at 5pm. Occasionally I'll make it to spinning class or drag the rollers out for a 45 minute or 1 hour spin. It's not much, but I always feel better for having done it. Hopefully I can get some motivation back and with consistency, find that fitness I had earlier this summer.

Brian Collie calls it "post Cycle Oregon syndrome". He said that on a day after the group waited for me to slog up Jackson Quarry, which really isn't a tough hill, but for some reason the last time we rode it on a Saturday, my legs were lacking the energy to ride any faster. Last Saturday we rode up Pumpkin Ridge, and then around Jackson School Road. The group I was with hesitated and considered going straight to West Union, skipping the short but steep climb up Mason Hill. After about 10 minutes of debating, I said the hell with it and turned to go up Mason Hill. I felt great and was so glad I did it. Jackson Quarry looked slick with leaves but we weren't really descending, it's just a winding road and before we knew it, we were back at Longbottoms.

Saturday the 7th was like the rainstorm from hell. Starting out wasn't too bad, but once we got to Verboort, site of the locally famous Sausage Festival, the car traffic forced us to stop for about 15 minutes before we could turn onto Porter. By that time it was pouring and getting colder by the minute. The wind was whipping around and the rain was stinging as it hit my face. I thought I'd dressed appropriately, but the Santini clear rain jacket did nothing to keep me dry, only made me wet and cold. Shoe covers and wool socks couldn't keep the toes from going numb, and my glasses had fogged and then gotten splattered with so much rain & road grime that I couldn't see. Quickly I scanned my brain to think of who I could call to come get me. Just like when I'm on the rollers and the idea of "time to stop, screw this!" pops into my brain, I couldn't let go of the idea. I know, I thought, I'll call Dean! As we crossed Highway 47, I spotted a huge tree in front of a house and knew it was time to pull over and make a phone call, waving everyone else on & telling them I was done. Sure enough, I reached Barb and told her I was miserable. After about 20 minutes of running in place and waving my arms around to keep warm, Dean showed up with towels, laughing and calling me a drowned rat. Needless to say the coffee and bagel sandwich tasted extra good that day, and watching Bigwood shiver for about an hour reminded me I'd made the right choice.

This Saturday for some reason my legs were again devoid of energy. Starting out down Evergreen, I noticed my computer wasn't registering speed, which seemed appropriate, as I felt like I was going backwards as I watched the group pull away from me. Talking to Elena, we found we were in the same mode - she didn't want to be an "anchor". I assured her that was not the case. Tim waited for us at Mountaindale. Frogger wasn't bad at all for a change (crossing Highway 26). Once we got to Banks, it seemed a good idea to stop at the drive-through espresso stand. Refueled, we agreed to bag Cedar Canyon and go back to meet the group. I was fine with skipping Stafford, though I knew I'd feel wimpy about it. Oh well, I'll make up for it next time. At least for once it didn't rain sideways and we had a good social ride. I just don't believe in pushing myself beyond what I feel like doing sometimes.

Yesterday I actually did another cross race. Well, I don't think I'd actually call it a race. Considering there were a few "DNFs" and I only did one lap, it was pretty dismal and pathetic, but for the most part, I had fun. I showed up at Kruger's after the deluge and it was sunny and getting warmer. Too bad it didn't dry up any of the MUCK on the course. I thought my mountain bike's new super-fat tires would eat up the mud, but in fact it was the opposite. It was like thick, gummy peanut butter that had been left in the freezer and taken out to thaw. There were also leaves, sticks and grass caught in my brakes, chain, derailleur, and about 15 pounds of muck clinging to my bike and shoes. This made my attempts at pseudo-running quite comical. I even ate it a couple of times, but I didn't care. I made no attempt to go any faster than I was capable of and told myself one lap was all I planned to do. Coming around the corner, I heard Luciano say "and you're done, Ladies!" Perfect timing. Who cares if I was DFL? That course was the most sloppy, slippery, slickery, sticky, mucky, goopy, impossible-to-ride-in mud I've ever seen. And yet I attempted it. Now if I could get the mud-stains out of my knickers, I'll be happy! Washing off the bike was not too bad, washing the car seemed like the right thing to do even though it's going to just get dirty with winter almost here. The hot bath though... that was a pretty great idea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Harvest Century

I totally forgot to post about this ride, over a month ago - October 10. I decided at kind of the last minute, and showed up super early, between 6:30-7:00am, not sure whether I'd even do the full 100 miles. I agreed to ride with Martin since he was committed to ride the full century, but I could decide at mile 43 or whatever. It was still dark when I got there, and cold, about 37 degrees I think I heard. Yikes. I had my new fleece-lined bib knickers on and figured a vest & arm warmers would suffice. Definitely full-fingered gloves were in order.

After signing my release and paying the $55, we were off. Oh, wait - blue rooms. Then we were off. Rode through some quiet Hillsboro neighborhoods and wondered why everyone was still asleep on what was sure to be a beautiful fall day. Martin and I decided people should be awake since we were, so we didn't make any effort to lower our voices as we rode down the street. Within the first mile or so, we had already lost track of the orange pumpkins painted on the road to indicate our route. We weren't the only ones, either. Not enough coffee, maybe? Finally a group of us followed Martin, as he was familiar with the way to get us on track.

The ride was perfect, for a century at least. No major climbs, not too many rest stops, but just enough to stop & refuel. Sitting in a school cafeteria scarfing down sandwiches at 10:30am? Okay, sure. Then back on the road. Made it to the cutoff for the shorter routes & decided to go for the full century. Why not? It was a beautiful day, and warmed up enough for me to change gloves & shed the vest. Even the ride on the Canby Ferry was fun, though the hill climb afterwards had me briefly out of breath. A few more rollercoaster-like hills and we were on our way back towards home. Roy Rogers Road offered a wide shoulder, fast traffic and some quickly tiring riders. I somehow had plenty of energy left to pedal ahead for a bit, and we stopped at the last rest stop for smoothies before charging on towards home. I didn't take any photos but there was one I found on the event website somewhere, I'll have to find it. All in all, a great ride, and I'd do it again!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


A few weeks ago I took the old mountain bike out for a spin. Got brand new tires on it (thanks to Marc A.) and put a different saddle on. Much better. Went up Leif Erikson, and realized I haven't ridden or walked up there in years. It's beautiful! I really should do that more. It was fun. But have I ridden it since then? No. Even schlepping the bike in my car all last week, I couldn't manage to get out early enough to get in a short ride before pitch darkness set in. Lately, that's getting closer to 6pm.

I haven't ridden a lot since Cycle Oregon last month. Wow, it was almost a month ago already? I have ridden on Saturdays and most Sundays.

I still can't believe I did it.
I never thought I'd ride Cycle Oregon, let alone finish it. I'm still thinking about how much fun it was, what I'd do differently, and whether I'll do it again.

Actually, Cycle Oregon was a blast. Once I got the routine down in the morning, it was great. I'm a bit groggy without an initial hit of caffeine right when I wake up though. So, the first day was a bit of a struggle, but it turned out fine. We were camped at a huge park in Medford, and I didn't sleep all that much, it rained a bit that night, but cleared up in the morning. Packed up, went to get breakfast & at 8am, we were told they were shutting down. What? No breakfast? No coffee? They had food left so we got to eat, (whew) but I had a tiny meltdown about no coffee until I found the Nossa Familia booth and went running over to buy a cup. Day #1: Medford to Yreka - The first day's route was TOUGH. Went through Ashland, and the first rest stop was at Lithia Park. A few more turns, and then began the climb. It went on and on and on. Then downhill and into California where we spent some time on I-5 which had a wide shoulder & it was coned off for us. Not too bad but the draft from those big rigs is a bit scary not to mention the crosswinds. And it was an overcast & windy day. By the time we saw Mt. Shasta I was unimpressed, and all I wanted to do was get to camp. On the endless rollers into Yreka, my bike was getting tossed around like a paper airplane. It was tough - riding into a gusty 30mph wind! But I made it. Got to camp where an irritated KRhea had argued with some lady about reserving space for our tents. She had a 6-person circus tent for herself & her husband. It all worked out, and they took their tent elsewhere. The wind died down and we spent a decent night at the fairgrounds in Yreka. There were even flush toilets. Yay. We took out the Barbie that Dean had stashed in his bag and carefully sat her upon the saddle of KRhea's Colnago.

Day #2 - Yreka to Happy Camp - was a gorgeous day along the Klamath River - mostly downhill, which was great after the previous day's climbing. We arrived in the town of Happy Camp where we stayed at a school. I had my first post-ride smoothie. Had to hike a ways down to the dining tent, etc. so we asked around & scoped out a breakfast spot in the Frontier Cafe for the next morning. Enough waiting in lines for us! By then we had the routine down - get up before dawn, pack tent & get dressed, have bags ready for pickup by 7am, then off to breakfast, and rollout on bikes by 8am. Perfect.

Day #3 - Happy Camp to Lake Selmac - Had a great breakfast at the Frontier Cafe. From Happy Camp to Glendale was a bitch of a 20-mile climb that started literally right as we left town. It was just a continuous grind, much like High Rocks. Once I reached the summit (of course KRhea, & "toofastforyou"Phil were nowhere to be found) the view was amazing! Had a rest stop at a snow-park complete with live music. The descents were awesome too. Then as I was hanging with Cary, we hit the wall at about oh, mile 65 or so. On the map it showed some &*$#^()&*$# type of thing so we thought "oh shit". It was indeed a wall and some people were walking, off their bikes, and as I approached I yelled "walkers right please" as I really wanted to ride past them, but didn't have enough room to get by as it was a really narrow road, so I had to get off and walk for a bit. Got back on after it leveled off, and made it to the top where there was a drumline pounding out a rhythm to pedal to and Dean waiting to snap my photo. It was a great day - but to have such a brutally steep climb at the end of an already long ride was a bit cruel!! Ouch. Jonathon Nicholas joked about it that night at announcements like it was funny. I hope he enjoyed the climb! (Not really, actually I hope he suffered like the rest of us did!)

Day 4 - Lake Selmac to Glendale - was a beautiful ride along the Rogue River. The last couple of miles was a nice ascent along I-5, kind of deceiving as it looked flat but certainly didn't feel like it. I was really tired when I finished that ride! It was muggy, and we all got some pizza in the beer garden before getting ready for dinner. We were camped at the high school, a strange building, but at least our tents were far away from the stage so it was relatively quiet.

Day 5 - Glendale to Grants Pass - we started out having breakfast at this pizza place in Glendale. We were fascinated that they had ziploc bags with pennies & water hung above the front door to keep the flies away. Never heard of such a thing! The ride was really nice, along the Galesville Reservoir, and we had a rest stop in a beautiful park. Then we wound along farmlands for what seemed like endless miles!

Day 6: Grants Pass - I had no energy for a ride that day, and thankfully I wasn't the only one. Plus, I had washed some laundry the night before, and no way was I going to put on wet & cold shorts that morning to go ride. Ugh. So we slept in, had breakfast, read the paper, and went for a walk in town. It was a warm day, and I was envious of the people who went kayaking or on jet boat rides on the river. We had Mexican food for dinner at the restaurant across the street and scoped out our breakfast destination for day 7.

Day 7 - Grants Pass to Medford - the day started with a beautiful sunrise, and a delicious breakfast in downtown Grants Pass. Then the inevitable - getting dropped by KRhea & Phil, as Dean, Cary & I slogged towards Medford. Eventually I left a not-feeling-so-great Cary at the Fiasco winery rest stop and opted for the longer route into Medford as the rest day had done wonders for my legs. Made what I thought was pretty good time, rolling in around 1pm. Dean & Barb were waiting!

Showered, ate, drove home. Unpacked, did laundry, rode 37 miles the next day, feeling great!

Overall: Some of the days run together. Lots of rest stops at wineries, taverns, churches, schools. I honestly had forgotten we had a rest stop at the cinnamon roll place (Heaven on Earth bakery?) as most of the time I would cruise in, fill my water bottles, grab a snack, use the blue rooms, and take off again.

As a first-timer, I thought the organization was great, waiting in line, not so bad, camping, not so bad, food, pretty okay, company, spectacular. Never laughed so hard in all my life. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

As for camp, I missed out on a lot. I never had time to find yoga, let alone take a class. I didn't do anything really all that exciting on the rest day in Grants Pass. I didn't visit the PT, take a bike class or have my bike cleaned by the Community Cycling Center. Guess I need to ride faster. There's always next year!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Crater Lake 2009

Another awesome ride. Just like in 2007, it was back-to-back weekends of long rides with tough climbs. Aug. 16 century, Aug. 23 70 miles with some ridiculous amount of climbing, and Aug. 29 Crater Lake, which is 61 miles roundtrip to & from Diamond Lake. I know it doesn't sound like much, but believe me, it's a challenging route.

On Saturday we woke up to VERY cold temps, after driving part of the way to Diamond Lake on Friday in pouring rain. The rain stopped fortunately when we arrived at the campground! Man, it was cold though. Got rolling about 9am, a bit late, and I think we were the last to leave camp. The climb is just relentless. With each turn you try to avoid looking up and when you do, thinking you are just about there, no, there is another turn and the road continues to point upward. It's just an endless grind. Then you arrive at the first viewpoint for some photo ops, quick rest, and continue to climb after that! Miles of climbs. Miles of fun screaming downhill on smooth pavement, then more climbs! Wow. Much more fun than when I rode it in 2007 because of my Tsunami! On the way down there were some brutal crosswinds, combined with a somewhat slick-newly chipsealed (but not loose gravel) road surface. We felt better hearing that everyone felt a bit uneasy on that stretch of road, but we all made it! EPIC. And the high temp of the day was probably 72. Perfect.

Sunday was MUCH hotter. Rode around Diamond Lake after packing up the campsite, but most people took off for other destinations. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. They really missed out! It's a flat ride through campgrounds on a bike path around the lake, but offers some gorgeous views. I was surprised not many people were there. This is really the ideal time to go camping there, as the crowds seem to be gone, and the weather is still good (though cold at night). I'd much rather go for a short, easy ride before sitting in the car for 4 hours to drive home than just packing up and leaving!
I'm so glad I went and did this ride again, and very glad that so many Portland people went along too! It was an awesome weekend with lots of laughs, great rides, and some great food!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

A summer of climbs

The Tour is over, but there is still plenty of perfect summer weather left which should last the next few months. While I haven't done all that I planned to do this summer, one thing I have done plenty of is climb. It never seems like I ride enough days or miles, and the more I ride, the more I want to ride, so that's a good thing. But there is always some climb I long to do, some obstacle to overcome. What a summer of climbing it's been so far, but there are still more climbs to do. I haven't even ridden home over the zoo (on a path I call the Zoobaix) once this summer. That seems so lame while the weather is dry and warm, and it stays light so late, to drive to & from work. But there is always some reason why it seems more convenient - some appointment, errand or whatever. Still, lame. But the Thursday night SE rides have been great, taking me on some roads I never would have known existed, bike paths, and other assorted "urban assault" type shortcuts.
But the climbs. Every other Saturday, the routes take us up some new climb I haven't done before, and we ride up Clapshaw, or Rocky Point, or Old Cornelius Pass, or Skyline. Even doing familiar routes in reverse brings a whole new feel to the ride. I figure any day on the bike is a good day, time well spent. Climbs are easier than they were in the past, and descents are not so intimidating. The Portland Century was a tough one, seeming more like 200 miles than 100, but I managed to get through it with plenty of rest stops for food, and good company.
This weekend: Crater Lake. One of my favorites! I will have photos of that to post soon.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Is it time for Le Tour 2010?

Well, the 2009 Tour de France is now over, and I'm left with wrap-up articles, speculation on who will ride for which teams next year, and rumors about the 2010 route. It was really a very exciting Tour this year - it had it all, including soap-opera-like drama, crashes, unexpected stage wins, expected sprint finishes, brutal climbs, hot weather, rain, and wind.

I would have liked to see George in yellow, and come to think of it I would have liked to see Lance in yellow as well. To see him on the podium after his comeback was an amazing thing, and I am sure he was pleased with how well he rode. But to see him not on the #1 spot on the podium was a bit.. strange. This business about Contador going around trashing him and his team is unacceptable to me. I was just as supportive of Contador leading Astana as everyone else was after his unplanned attacks, and it's common knowledge that he is the world's best climber. But to win, and then turn around and whine about how there were "two Tours - one on the road and one in the hotels"? Come on. He's got many years of wins ahead of him, why not accept the pretty trophy and go enjoy the adulation of his fans in Spain? I could go on, but I'll be nice.

Speaking of nice, I think Lance was the gracious and sportsmanlike gentleman, refusing to comment on many of Frankie Andreu's questions to try and pry some of the controversy and drama that everyone was dying to hear. Lance even today has good things to say about Alberto Contador. I saw a video where Phil Liggett points out the obvious, that Contador is not a team player. Lance just posted on Twitter: "Seeing these comments from AC. If I were him I'd drop this drivel and start thanking his team. w/o them, he doesn't win." I have to agree. He should be thanking his team, not acting like a petulant and indignant teenager. He got his win. The team supported him. What more could he want? Lance didn't attack him on the mountains. Lance didn't drop his teammates.

Just think - if Levi & Horner had been there supporting Lance, things might have been different. Which brings me to next year's Tour. Wow, a whole year for the rumors to fly, the analysis to begin, the speculation on who will ride for which team. This to me is WAY better than the NFL draft. New teams, new kits, new sponsors. Such fun! And what if Lance decides to form the very first ever ProTour cycling team made up entirely of Americans? I don't know that he will, being as he has mentioned Andreas Kloden as one of the riders on his list, and I've also heard rumors of Cadel Evans riding for Radio Shack. But I still think it would be a pretty historic Tour to have a whole U.S. team - it just goes to show how far American cycling has become, because there are actually enough Tour-caliber pro cyclists to make up such a team.

So. Let's talk about me. I went for a ride on Saturday, a typical, perfect, cloudless hot day in Bend. Since seeing Chris Horner's "taxi" ride of another rider & bike up to the CCC stage finish at Mt. Bachelor last July, it has been my goal to ride up there and find out just how hard it is. I started out from SE Bend and made my way to the sign on Century Drive announcing that it was 20 miles to Mt. Bachelor. Twenty miles? I thought. That's not a problem. No big deal. I have driven this road. I know what it looks like. So I plugged along. I got passed by a few people who said hello and there was the usual cycling small talk about what a nice day it was. Cyclists on their way down buzzed past with slight waves or head nods. I envied them as I began to climb. The words ran through my head that Heidi wrote about Bruce: "when the road turned up, he grinned. When the rain came down, he laughed". I thought about how much Bruce loved to climb, and pedaled harder. I thought of how hot it was and wished I hadn't frozen my water bottles, as they were still too slushy to drink from, and I was thirsty.

The road turned up. I kept my head down to avoid thinking that the climb would never end. Was I out of gears? No, not yet, still got a few left. Good. Lungs felt okay despite the altitude. Overall, not bad. 20 mile climb? Psh. No problem. But it was getting quite warm. I scoured the road ahead for some shade but there was none to be found. I shook & squeezed my water bottles to get some cool liquid, ate some Clif bloks. Better. Rounded a corner, and there it was. My very own, personal, Le Petit Mont Ventoux.

So, long story short - I made it, and it was hot. Planned to ride up to the parking lot but the plan was to stow the bike in the car & head to Sparks Lake to kayak, which we did. I wanted to ride down afterwards but it was late, and hotter, and really, it's not 100% downhill all the way. Next time.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Le Tour

Tour Widget!

Friday, July 10, 2009

July = TDF

My favorite time of year is here! Some people love summer for BBQs, camping, and family vacations. Me? I spend a great amount of time in front of the TV - watching Live telecast in the mornings and then I watch the extended coverage in the evenings. Needless to say, I don't get much sleep. But for the excitement, the beautiful scenery, and the greatest sporting event of all time, it's well worth it. Wow - average of 7% gradient on the climb in today's stage with some portions up to 15%. Yikes.

I have been looking forward to this for weeks. Reading the predictions, the endless analysis, the drama and speculation over who will lead Team Astana, poring over start lists to form my Tour fantasy team. Studying the stage routes. Following all the news. And last Saturday, which I decided to call the Tour-th of July, it finally arrived. A beautiful time trial in the principality of Monaco, then 3 days later an amazing team time trial after some flat stages brilliantly won by the unbeatable, unstoppable sprinter Mark Cavendish.

Today, they are in the Pyrenees for the first mountain stage, the longest of the Tour. It will supposedly establish who will lead Astana and be the true test of Lance's fitness after his years of absence from the Tour. I'm ready.

I'd continue, but there is only about 10k left in the stage so I must glue my eyes to the TV.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Two families suffer a great loss.

I don't know Bruce Giunta's family, but have heard many wonderful things about them over the past few weeks. From emails I've read and from hearing from those who visited Bruce in the hospital, it sounds like they are a strong, close-knit and loving family. Bruce passed away on Friday from the injuries he suffered in his June 2 bicycle accident. The more I hear about what an amazing man he was, the more I sense the enormity of this loss, not only to his own family, but to the Portland Velo family, and the cycling community as a whole. I am so sad for their loss.

We had our new Ride Leader kits delivered on Saturday and wore them in a fitting tribute to Bruce, pedaling harder on the difficult climbs as we were asked to do. Resplendent in our visible green, orange and white, with the same design as the regular black, blue and white club kit design, we ascended the west hills with grim determination. During the ride i paused to look around at the beauty of the view, soak in the warm sunshine, feel the wind on my face, and can only begin to understand the effect this one man has had on the local community. I recall only a few conversations with Bruce, but will never forget the last one. I commented on his bike, and could see the pride in his eyes when he replied. That day was exactly like Saturday - a bright, clear, cloudless warm day. I think it was Matt D'Elia who said that Bruce will always have a tailwind, and will climb like an angel. A memorial is set for July 11 at the Mountain Park Rec Center in Lake Oswego. This should be a wonderful celebration of Bruce's life.

I am so glad I forced myself to do all the difficult climbing and ride the entire route on Saturday. Recently it has seemed too easy and tempting to cut the route short or skip the hills, when I know I need to do them. I need every mile. However, after getting up very early yesterday (and arriving at Stoller Vineyard an hour earlier than I needed to) then riding a 30-mile route, I was really feeling it. My legs ached on the climbs, especially when I stood up out of the saddle. Lunch was good and it was fun to ride behind Carlo & Monique on their tandem or take turns pulling with Maggie. After a long drive home, I could barely keep my eyes open and ended up napping away most of the afternoon. Here's to hard rides and long naps to recover from them.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Yesterday's ride

We assembled at Longbottom's for a quiet gathering, Mary O'Donnell and family in attendance for a silent ride to remember Tim O'Donnell. Mary spoke briefly about her efforts working on the Vehicular Homicide bill, letting everyone know that the next legislative session is 2 years away, but she'd be happy to inform people who their legislators are, if they aren't sure. This bill is very important, because as Mary reminded us, the woman driving the car that killed Tim on his bike was fined $1,100 even though she shouldn't have been behind the wheel at all. So unfair, so wrong.

After a mostly silent rollout, the ride was smooth and fast, at least for me. My legs felt heavy, the muscles tight, my heart rate stayed high. Some of us chose not to do the Dairy Creek portion of the ride, which was fine with me, though I could have used the miles. Everyone took care to ride ultra-safe, pointing out debris on the road, potholes, and being especially vocal about communicating when turning, slowing and stopping. This is how we should always ride.

No update on Bruce Giunta's condition today. I spent some time assembling a few photos into a collage for the website. Here's a preview:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Prayers for Bruce

It could happen to anyone. A large rock, a stick, a pothole. Yesterday it happened to a Portland Velo club member, Bruce Giunta. Here is the information from Vancouver's newspaper, the Columbian:
Bicyclist, 69, critically injured in spill
Tuesday, June 2 | 10:32 p.m.


A 69-year-old man was critically injured in a bicycle crash Tuesday morning when he was riding with a group of cyclists along Northwest Lower River Road.

It was the first of three bicycle accidents Tuesday that were handled by the Vancouver Fire Department, said Firefighter-spokesman Jim Flaherty.

Bruce Giunta of Tualatin, Ore., was rushed to Southwest Washington Medical Center with critical injuries from the 9:54 a.m. crash near Northwest Gateway Avenue in the Fruit Valley neighborhood, Flaherty said. Giunta was in intensive care Tuesday night.

A second cyclist, James Mazzocco, 61, of Aloha, Ore., suffered scrapes and bruises, and also was transported to a hospital as a precaution.

Giunta, well-known in Portland bicycling circles, was riding with a group of between 18 and 20 cyclists from the Portland Velo Cycling Club, a nonprofit cycling group. His bike hit road debris, likely a stick, and he was thrown, Flaherty said.

He was wearing a helmet and protective gear.

Riding team members performed CPR on the man. A passing Vancouver Public Works vehicle stopped and two workers rendered assistance.

Duane Lane exited the truck and held Giunta’s neck stable, and Rick Freeman positioned the truck to block the road, protecting the cyclists, Flaherty said.

Bruce and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. I am also very grateful for the fellow Portland Velo riders who were with him yesterday and who continue to show their support by helping out any way they can. I am hoping for some more positive news after Bruce had some very complicated neurosurgery today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Summer Cycling Plans

After being sick, lazy, or otherwise occupied, I've missed out so far on two rides I did last year - Monster Cookie and Ride around Clark County. That reminded me of all the great rides I did last year, including our club century (I did 70 miles), Vine Ride (century), Tour des Chutes (70) and Peach Century (62). I may have missed a few but it was a good summer.

This year I'm doing Reach the Beach. Probably 55 miles but possibly 80. Should be interesting. After that the plan is possibly Tour des Chutes in July as well as the Mt. Adams ride in Trout Lake, Crater Lake in August and Cycle Oregon in September. I will have to fill in some other weekends with other rides that I'm not sure about yet at this point. But I know right now I need to get my fitness back and my mileage up there.

Monday, April 27, 2009

New bike!

So, the bike was delivered ON MY BIRTHDAY. No bow or wrapping paper - but still, what a gift! Of course I had to rush home that evening to take her out for the maiden voyage. Talk about smooth - she shifts like a dream! She's light, and quick, and fits like a glove. Perfect!
I took the day off and rode on Friday morning with the PV crew. What fun! Had a photo op prior to the ride, too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Feast Your Eyes.

New Frame. Beautifully painted!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Patience - have you seen it? I seem to have lost mine.

Cycling can be frustrating. But even worse, the inability to ride. Saturday I wasn't able to make the club ride due to some banking issues I had to take care of. My bank is open from 10-2 on Saturdays, so I wasn't sure I'd make it there if I went on the ride and had time for lunch (a very important part of the Saturday ride ritual). The fact that some jackass decided to counterfeit my debit card and charge up all kinds of crap all over San Francisco necessitated my fun trip to the bank. The charges have been disputed and are being investigated, and the debit card has been cancelled & a new one issued, but that doesn't make the feeling of being violated go away.

But I digress. Missing the Saturday ride sucks. Fortunately I made it to the coffee shop in time for lunch, which was great since a) a friend was kind enough to buy me lunch, and b) I got to commiserate with other cyclists. On Sunday I decided to go out for a ride, a process that takes probably 20 minutes - getting dressed, finding helmet, gloves, vest, food, filling water bottles, pumping up the tires. Not even 10 minutes into the ride I hear something rubbing on my back tire. I look down, can't see anything, and decide to look at it once I stop at the stoplight. Before I even get there, I hear a "POP". Flat. Great. I stop, roll over to the grass up the curb and proceed to investigate. Remove the wheel. Obtain tools from seat pouch - tire levers, pump, CO2 cartridges, extra tube. Sit down on curb to commence removal of tube. I don't see anything on the tire (which was brand new, by the way) that could have caused the flat - wait, is the tire overlapping the rim? WTF? Not again. I attempt multiple times to get the tire lever around the bead of the tire. Cannot quite get it right no matter how many times I try. I take deep breaths and curse all the people who have helped me do this, because in the process they are actually preventing me from learning how to do it myself. I *HAVE* done it myself. So why can't I do it this time?? Finally in frustration I pick up the tools, stash them, and pick up frame, tire and proceed to walk home. Total and complete humiliation. In the process a group rides by and asks me if I have everything I need. Although nice of them and comforting, I am too embarrassed and wave them on, saying I'm done for the day and going home. Then a group of young girls ask me if I'm OK and need help. I shoot a smartass reply across the street at them and then quickly realize what an ass I am being and apologize, saying I'm having a bad day. But seriously. Is it that bad? I start to cry. Really, is that necessary? At that moment, yes, it was. My internal dialogue goes something like this: "People can do this, why can't I? I suck. I guess I'm not meant to be a cyclist. I need to ride - I have been so lazy lately. How am I ever going to ride Cycle Oregon? I hate all those people who get to ride during the week.. Me? No - I have to WORK. INDOORS. IN AN OFFICE. It blows." Yeah, real positive. Very helpful. I get home, hang up the bike, go inside and hop on my stupid lame Lifecycle recumbant stationary bike and grind out a boring hour workout. Not the same. Just as well, the weather looked pretty ominous outside.

Here's hoping that this weekend is better. But some good news - my new frame is at the painter. I am hoping like HELL that I am worthy of this new bike. I need to prove that I am - to no one else but myself.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My love affair with the wind: I'm over it.

Years ago, I used to windsurf. When you rely on wind to propel you across a body of water, and those perfect days when consistent, steady wind gives you just the right amount of wind for the size sail you like to use, it's a thing to be enjoyed. Windsurfers are wind snobs. If you have just a few sails, the small ones are for screaming wind, the large ones are for the low-wind days, and hopefully you have a middle-sized one for decent wind days. I had one that fit that description. I can't remember the size or the color, but when conditions were right, I'd hop up on the board (or waterstart), position myself just right so the wind filled the sail, hook my harness straps to the boom, and take off. The wind was my friend.

I haven't windsurfed since about 1994, and sometimes I miss it. I used to stop in Stevenson or Hood River and just watch them scoot across the Columbia with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I just didn't have the money to support such an obsession. And believe me, it's an obsession, and an expensive one.

Not that cycling isn't. Just when you think you have your bike, your equipment and your clothing all dialed in, something new catches your eye and it's all you can think about. That lightweight carbon frame. That sassy 'cross bike. Those light, stiff-soled shoes that match your kit. That helmet that makes you look like you are going fast even when you're standing still. Those special lenses in the glasses that keep crud out of your eyes and make you look cool at the same time.

So, as a cyclist, I learn that wind is something to be endured, something to tolerate. We learn to draft, to ride in a paceline, or an echelon, and hope for a headwind early in the ride so we can enjoy a tailwind on the way back. Sometimes this doesn't happen the way we like. I've come to appreciate group riding so much that I rarely ride solo anymore, at least not lately.

So yesterday I'm battling down Evergreen, having passed people in my hurry to get back to Longbottom's and enjoy my bagel sandwich. I'm cruising along at a snappy 14mph, feeling like I'm standing still. I look down and see 13mph, and then as I approached Shute Road, a screaming 10mph. Good thing there was only one stoplight to go.

Sorry, wind - I'm over you. Can we just be friends? I want to stay on your good side.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Needing Motivation, Contemplating Change

It's not been the best of weeks for a few reasons. I have been overwhelmed at work and even skipped my Wed. cicruit class, going home at 9 that night to grab a quick bite to eat and head straight for bed. This combined with the appetite loss/nausea/headaches didn't help. I didn't work out Monday or Tuesday, and lastnight I went to spinning class. It didn't seem like a very tough workout to me. So, I'm feeling like I really need to make some changes, and one idea is to quit the gym altogether. I only re-activated my membership to go to spinning during the winter anyway, and I haven't been going that much. It's all about accountability. Go to spinning (rush to get there by 6:45pm to change, get home at 8:30 starving), or go home and ride the rollers for an hour? One is more social, one is not. I don't know. I could also change to morning cardio workouts, which would leave the evenings free for resistance workouts. I need to commit to something else, because this isn't working. I wish I could afford a full-on coach like Upper Echelon Fitness, but I will at least look into their strength training classes. Suggestions welcome. I also could PUT DOWN THE HOT TAMALES (the candy, not the Mexican food version)!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's here!

Racing season! Not only did the Tour of California Prologue start today in Sacramento, but Portland Velo's first race is tomorrow. Good luck, everyone!

I just read an interview VeloNews did with Lance Armstrong about the Tour of California. This quote sums up his view of the race: "The guys I know are racing like it’s May."

I found some things I had written a couple of years ago on my favorite things about pro cycling. It needs a little updating, so I had to change some things, but here it is - my favorite things about pro cycling:

1. Favorite race for scenery - Giro do Lombardia ("race of the falling leaves")
2. Favorite early season one-day race - that would be a tie between the Tour of Flanders (insane climbs, horrific cold weather, crazy Belgian fans and cobblestones) and Paris Roubaix (again, cobblestones, and the finale in the Velodrome).
3. Favorite Spring classic - Milan San Remo
4. Favorite US cyclist - Levi Leipheimer. The guy just never quits and is a great all-around cyclist. Back in the Discovery days it was George Hincapie, and I also really was impressed by Christian Vande Velde's 2008 season.
5. Favorite team kit - this is a tough one. I'd have to say Astana, because I don't think any other teams in the pro peleton have the aqua blue & yellow combination. I do like Garmin's argyle, but not so sure about the blue & orange combo.
6. Favorite team director - Jonathan Vaughters - the guy just seems so cool.
7. Favorite bike - Garmin/Slipstream's Felt - but I also love CSC (oops, Saxo Bank)'s Cervelo
8. Favorite sprinter - Mark Cavendish. He is wicked fast!
9. Favorite commentator - Bob Roll. He's kind of grown on me.
10. Favorite pro cycling magazine - Cyclesport
11. Favorite cycling website - VeloNews
12. Best aerial views - Tour de France. The best way to see all the cool cycling sculptures the fans make out of hay is from the helicopter footage.

Least favorite things about pro cycling (notice there aren't as many):
1. Worst team kit - Columbia/High Road. WHY on earth did they change it? I didn't like the yellow & red, but then Columbia's blue was pretty cool. Rock Racing's black & green kit is pretty hideous too (but kinda cool in a scary sort of way). Note - it's red, black & white this year. Still bizarre.
2. Least favorite commentator - Craig Hummer. Today I actually heard him say "spite-lot" when he meant to say "spotlight". Seriously. Where is Al Trautwig when you need him? He just has a better voice. What does Craig Hummer know about cycling?
3. Commercials on Versus. These are some of the worst on television, I swear. Yay for Tivo.
4. Least favorite race - Tour of Quatar. Boring. Tour de Faso runs a close second.
5. British commentators' mangled pronunciation of US cities. Cracks me up. I would do worse to the European cities. Bob Roll has gotten pretty good with his pronunciation of French & Italian.
6. Dopers. Vinokourov, Ullrich, Basso, Ricco, Schumacher, etc. Such a shame.
7. Podium girls. What's the point of this? Some ancient cycling tradition?
8. Most hideous fans - that would have to be the summit of Alpe d'Huez, but it's a toss-up. They've gotten smarter about putting the barriers out close to the finish so there won't be as many cyclist/fan incidents.

That's all I can think of for now - but might edit more later...
Here's to a great 2009 season!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Much better riding this weekend! Saturday was cold and foggy - one of those days when it's really tempting to pull the down comforter over my head and grab a couple more hours of sleep. But no, I had to force myself to get up, chug some coffee, and get moving. I find that driving to the ride is a good option on these days. I wasn't sure about hopping on with KRhea's 3-hour endurance-fest, but I actually did alright. Brian Collie kept encouraging me to stay in the middle of the pack, and we kept the pace up for most of the ride. Even Blooming Fern wasn't so bad though I haven't done much climbing in a while, and that bagel sandwich sure did taste good. This photo was taken towards the end of the ride (thus the smile - I'm on the right).

Yesterday - different story. Not sure if it was a wise decision but I carpooled with Matt over to Palio's to meet up with Kristin & crew for her SE ride. Advertised as "flat & conversational, easy pace" I thought sure, I can hang on with these guys. But the sea of blue & black were way ahead once we started up River Road. I talked to Lindsay for a bit, then once we got to Oregon City I fell behind as we started up 43, but Kender was nice enough to lend me his wheel. Those climbs are deceptive, he said to me later. Terwilliger wasn't much fun either, especially after I biffed trying to unclip & avoid hitting Kristin's wheel as we stopped to step over a curb. DOH! Hungry, a little sore and very tired, I went home to clean my bike, take a hot shower, eat and got in bed by a little after 9pm. Time to build up some more miles in the saddle.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

winter riding

Finally I've been able to get out on a few rides - the 17th and the 24th. Saturdays is about the only time I have to ride outdoors lately, but I try and get some spinning indoors during the week. Apparently it's not enough. I was so discouraged on Saturday when I got dropped on Dairy Creek. It was sooo cold, and even snowed on me a bit. I allowed myself to pout a little bit, and was angry at myself for not trying to keep up. I couldn't catch the group when they went zooming by, and that was the last I saw of anyone on my way back. I didn't even stop at Longbottom's as I had ridden there instead of driving for a change, so I continued home for a hot shower. I missed that bagel sandwich.

I've really got to step up the fitness level a notch if I'm ever going to be able to ride with the 19's. What do I blame this slowness on? Lack of fitness? Well, I've been cross-country skiing a lot, but that isn't the same as a 3-hour ride. So I'll just venture out on a limb and say that I haven't been riding enough. It's all about base miles, right? I need to just ride more, simple as that. Back to the basics. No more excuses.