Thursday, March 20, 2008

600km - One Detail Among Many

View Larger Map

I'm organizing the Fall 600km for the Oregon Randonneurs. There are a couple of options - the most 'interesting' of which will put riders through Yakima, WA. So, that and a few other reasons makes it a good excuse for Dave and I to take an easy ride around Yakima (he's not running; but, his team is running in Yakima and he can take a look/cheer) . The above is the plan, except at no time will we be on the interstate. We'll take the bike path (I'll take notes and note distance on the odometer). Should be a good Saturday ride.

And it is! It's an hour+ drive to Yakima, and then we have to drive across town to West Valley HS - the track meet is in progress. We unload the bikes and head out, down a hill towards Summitview Avenue. This is a nice road. Good shoulder and friendly traffic. It's a gradual climb up Summitview and then a quick downhill towards Cowiche. We lose our wide shoulder for a few miles just before Cowiche, but, it's brief. Then we head up again outside Cowiche. And we get a very very fast downhill from Cowiche towards Naches. It's a good, fairly steep downhill with a straight shot part that lets us take our hands off the brake levers for part of it. Good fun. Then into Naches and a traditional Shell mini-mart stop. Fritos and water.

Our next segment is along the Old Naches Hwy. We have to hunt for it - the big clue - it's 2nd Street. We discover this after some minor bonus hillwork. And, the big clue was actually another cyclist heading towards Selah on 2nd street. This is a nice stretch of road. Not much car traffic and so great for bike traffic. A rough surface for the most part. Lots of orchards - each with its own unique design of smoke-heaters. We decide to get creative about our route to Selah - but, manage to get there eventually. We climb a nice ridge and then get a great ripping ride down Crusher Canyon into Selah. We find the bike path, get to Yakima and find and wind our way back to West Valley HS.

The bikes are put up and we go to watch part of the track meet. It's a great, sunny day. The track is scenicly situated so that one can see the surrounding hills. Dave's teammates are running well and having a good meet. Dave's job for the day was to ride easily. His mission accomplished. Mine too - the Old Naches Hwy and associated climb and plunge into Selah is a great stretch for cyclists.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Contrasting Options for ORR 600km

I'm organizing the fall 600km ride for the Oregon Randonneurs. My initial thinking was that a challenging ride was in order. Cold, high and far - something to lift the spirits with a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the season. Then, I faced the wall that was the SIR 1000km in September of 2007. It was nasty up there. And wet. And very cold. 400km and change was plenty of that for me. And so I was inspired to sketch out a lowland option. Below are indicators of each option. Whichever it is - the details will vary. But, these are enough to give one an idea for each option.

Here's the high option:

View Larger Map


One could stay low:

March 2008 200km

South View from HWY410 heading up to Greenriver

I write these to help remember the rides. The picture above is a good case in point. It's what you see to the South of Hwy410 between Greenwater and Enumclaw - a deeply mossy forest. The first two times I went by this I didn't notice. It was back in 2001/2 on the Ramrod - towards the end of the ride and I was hunkered into a paceline, holding on as best I could while working right at my physical limits. We blew by this stretch. Now I try better to remember.

It also helps that a lot of folks document. Here and here are some good pictures, and there will be multiple ride reports - here's the first I've seen. Wait, another.

First organized ride for me this season - a big ouch and solid evidence that 'training' has been inadequate - but, another great ride. Overall impressions:
  • Set out too fast and finished slow - can't help it, fast is fun too but can only hold on with the quicker riders for awhile, and then I'm left recovering. Ran into more than just a food issue - some muscle soreness as well.
  • That was a cold cold rain. Really cold.
  • Having designated card-signers was a brilliant solution to having 100 or so riders locust in on a small convenience store or bakery. The obvious joke: Bob was going to be there to sign my card at every control - and that wouldn't look suspicious at all...
  • The chili event was great - got to meet a few more people, chat with some I already knew, and have some great recovery food.
We arrived too early at the start - and eventually started. The route was the same as last year, so I more less followed folks and/or remembered the way. It's a nice ride through town on a Saturday morning, and then up the hill that's between Kent and Puget Sound. Eventually you get some nice views of the Sound and then head back the other way. The highlight is the Green River Valley. Traffic's light and I fall in with a group - and play some more. There's a hill on the other side, and I know I'll go slowly up that. We get there eventually and I do. And then the bakery - another card signing outside - and then I look for water. I find it nearby.

I ride alone the next segment - mostly because I've neglected food. People whoosh by. So, I eat a little more for a hour and by the time I'm to the intersection of Mud Mountain Rd and Hwy410 I'm more or less back to normal, and keep riding up. The picture above is one of a few that I took at an impromptu stopping point. Across the road was clearcut. No photos. Finished the ride to Greenwater. I'm up for coffee and Fritos. Here's the store:
Bikes and Dan at Greenwater Store

Peg rides up and I decide to wait - to finish this particular ride with. So, we do with a small group including Theresa. The sun was out for this last part. It took awhile to finish - a little over three hours. I was glad to be done.

So, I'm at Greg's house and get cleaned up, have a seat and eat veggie chili over rice. More people cycle through the food area, and I get to chat with them. Some discussion of photography and questions about whether a camera had died (I'm guessing yes), some of WSU and a ride from Richland to Pullman, discussions about the cold and clothing, and an actual statistics question. A little over an hour later, Nat arrives. We make a signing ceremony out of it. It was a challenging ride.
Nat completes first SIR ride Nat recovers

Equipment notes:
  • The camelback would have been useful - there are some good distances between convenience stores, and carrying more water means less stops.
  • The handlebar bag worked fine enough - better water resistance. Less size though.
  • I was cold and now about ready to break down and try a wool jersey.