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!