Sunday, September 30, 2007

Abandonded 1000km

I left the 1000km ride after failing to make time cut at The Dalles - the first control after the overnight at Carson. The time was close, and I was aware that making it to Kelso on time was the benchmark to hit; however, the brief, actually easy (~60km, fairly flat and with the wind), ride from Carson to The Dalles went slowly enough for me that I was dead certain of heading down from Govt Camp well after dark, in the rain etc. I'd enough of exploring my boundaries for the weekend already. I think I found some, and called it enough.

Some highlights from the ride include:
  • We were riding against traffic heading south out of Issaquah on Friday morning, and got to observe some Seattle metro-area traffic - I was glad to not be in one of the cars stuck in traffic heading North
  • Skate Creek Rd - I like it. Didn't like the rain so much. We all ended up very cold in Packwood after that, and lost a lot of time and body heat as a result. A rational man would have called it enough then - 4 of us continued on anyway.
  • Enjoyed the climb up the shoulder of Mt St Helens from Randle. The temperature never read below freezing; but, we got close, and spent some time above a recent frost line. The headlamp showed the frost on the trees.
  • Late nights (and pre-dawn mornings), being cold and on about hour 20-21 of a bike ride induces sleep. Sleep is dangerous when riding a bike. Falling asleep on the bike, Kramer crashed into a ditch - which is bad; but, the good part is that since he was asleep he was very relaxed when he landed, and perhaps that minimized the damage. We both had sleep issues after a point. I never hit the ground (neither did John after that one time); but I came close a few miles out of Carson. My near fall started with a sharp swerve to the right, which woke me up enough to recover before getting to the side of the road. I had taken to riding towards the middle of the road to enhance the chance of recovering from a sleep-fall. Stopping wasn't an option, as it was cold, wet and hypothermia is an equal danger to a bike crash. I'm still pondering how to plan around situations like this in the future; caffeine comes to mind, as does not attempting high-pass parts of rides after 2:00am in poor weather. On warmer rides, I handle this easily with a 15 minute nap. Hmmm.
  • The following joke tested very badly between Randle and Carson: "A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says: 'Why the long face?'".
  • This alleged joke didn't test much better: "A Hamburger walks into a bar, sits down and orders a drink. The bartender sez 'Sorry, we don't serve food here'".
  • Maybe it wasn't the jokes, maybe it was the delivery.
  • The aid received at the controls was very helpful and I very much appreciate it. Thanks.
  • The chemical footwarmers work. Offered and accepted at Northwood, and no cold-toe-numbness issues afterwards. I plan to start using those.
The season's almost over. One more Brevet attempt to go this next weekend, and then it's on to disorganized rides and organized off-season training.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tackweed Extravaganza!

Todays ride was all around town, including a stop at the Pasco Farmers Market. Met up with the family and had coffee and fried catfish! It was a 10+ tackweed day. The Armadillo tire's won today. The evil weed stuck into the tires, but, didn't get to the tubes.

Postscript: a short ride today, and Julie's tires took 3 tacks. Removed with no issue - continental gatorskins on her bike.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ride Report - Echo <-> Pendleton

I ended up riding most of the route (Richland ->Pendleton and back) described in the previous post. I bicycled to Hermiston to meet the three others, and we headed off together from Victory Square Park. The navigation was simple - get on 395 in Hermiston, head South, and more or less follow your nose from there. We found our way to the canyon connecting Echo - Rieth - Pendleton. And, wow. An outstanding place for a bike ride. Hardly any traffic. Great views. The canyon cliffs on the South Side and the Umatilla river and Agriculture on the North. We could chat easily and ride w/o much concern for traffic. The majority of the traffic, by vehicle type, was motorcycle (touring, like us - but farther and louder), then a close tie between car and bicycle. We found our way into Pendleton, looking for a late lunch. Found it at the The Hut, right across from the location of the Pendleton Roundup. Friendly place. The secret ingredient used at the Hut: Bacon! After a great lunch (if you're ever there, check out the padded walls and the journey to the restroom) we wandered back through the canyon to Hermiston. Another great day on the bike.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Saturday's Proposed Outing

View Larger Map

That's the map. The route from Hermiston to Pendleton is one my Dad and I scouted out by car a year or so ago. Looked interesting for biking. I'm joining a group of folks, meeting them at Hermiston, and biking out to Pendleton and back. I'll tack on the ride to Hermiston and back as well, to get a touch over 200km. Sort of an informal Brevet. Should be good.

I've prepped the bike to winter mode - fenders, rock-like tires (Armadillo's - near thorn proof), test-riding a Brooks Pro saddle (so far so good). Another sign of fall/winter is gradual weight gain. It's all coming together.