Monday, November 23, 2009
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
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
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.
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 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!
Monday, August 31, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
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.
Friday, July 10, 2009
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
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
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
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.
BY LAURA MCVICKER AND JOHN BRANTON
COLUMBIAN STAFF WRITERS
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
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
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
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
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
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
Saturday, February 14, 2009
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
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.