Monday, May 25, 2009

Jimmy Vs Cat 3

Even though Portland freekin rocks it was wonderful to get out and see Oregon at its finest. Bjet and I explored the Tillamook area and drove down the coast. Coffee, cheese, beer and seafood. These people know how to live. And I know how to consume, meaning I'm steadily putting on the "L-B's". Kissing our lovely Sister-in-law Bri and Bro Pat and Nephews Eliah and Simon adieu, Bridget and I set out to conquer the Oregon coast.

Riding along the highway you look out into the ocean and sea ravishing waves pummel the volcanic rock. Turn left and after a couple miles suddenly we felt back home, or at least in Appalachia. Under the shadows of pine covered mountains was a little farm with a prairie full of cattle. The Yachats River trickling past, separating the farm and the forrest.

Another eight miles and suddenly the road turns upward. For the next six miles we climbed a forrest service road with a rough coat of asphalt and some killer grades. Some sections were just gravel — sometimes with a grade of over 10%. Getting fatigues you try to stand on the pedals and your rear wheel spins out. Day one we rode together, day two Bridget said I could have fun and test myself. But after a couple of these switchbacks beat me down I realized that I could only give it about 80% or else I would lose time by being fatigued. There are not climbs in Cincinnati that are this long and relentless.

At the end of this first climb is an incredible view, a nice present after all the effort. At the top is a clear cut of the forrest and we can look down and see the farmlands we had ridden trough. We turn a corner and hit a wall, the clear cut allows the ocean wind to shear against the side of the mountain.

Next we have a fun descent. I guess I could say fun, but sections of this road are missing also and you have to keep a steady line over some rather large chunks of gravel. But at the end is a nice paved road leading to Cape Perpetua a beautiful overlook to the ocean with some WPA-era structures.

One our third venture up, we took a left onto another forrest road and rode up to Mount Klickitat. This climb is a bit higher and we nearly got up to a half mile from sea level. It was a turn inland and the type of pines were dramatically different — tall and slender. The forrest looked familiar and I seemed to have recalled that they may have filmed some of the Star Wars Endor scenes in Portland. I swear I saw an Ewok.

Map of our ride up to Cape Perpetua.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Notes from Portland, pt3

Swedish breakfast. Sounds like something you do with flatulence and tricking your spouse under the covers. Think again. Bridget and I rode to Broder for a charming frukost. Trout on rye toast, YES PLEASE! Bridget had the cute little round pancakes with Lemon Curd and Lingonberry sauces. Had a little coffee across the street too.

Tried to go out for a ride. It began to drizzle as we ascended the West Side Hills. First was Cornell road, a lovely climb that's not too bad of a gradient. We turned onto 53rd and there are some more difficult sections. And we finished the four mile climb onto Skyline Boulevard. We were supposed to see views of Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helen but it began to rain harder. Once on top of the ridge climbing was limited to the rolling little hills. We began to get cold and wet. I've ridden in twelve degree weather but I began to suffer.

We turned around. I was shivering all the way down the descent. We turned onto 23rd and grabbed some lunch at The Ram's Head. Really great bar food. The sun came out and we were eating in the sun but I was still covered in goose flesh.

After a warm up /clean up we rode up to REI where Bridget looked around.

After that we ate an incredible dinner at Clyde Common, a wonderful meaty menu that was very savory. I ate a fried rabbit leg. Yum. Then a wonderful roasted half chicken with asparagus salad and mushrooms. It was one of those dishes where everything really balances out all the flavor. Nice touches of red wine vingar to the asparagus.

We walked up to Cacao for an incredible dessert of spicy dark drinking chocolate. Followed by another Americano from Stumptown. I ended up riding another 10 miles to burn off some of the calories...

That was pretty much the night save for a late attempt to return to the Ram's Head for a late pint. But we were more tired than expected and the streets were bizarre. Time for bed...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Notes from Portland, pt2

Sleep deprived we walked across the river to Hawthorne Street. We met our awesome homies Matt and Beth for some breakfast.

Went shopping, bought some delicious sweets at the Pastaworks, one being a cherry tart and the second a Swiss hazelnut chocolate.

Picked up two Masi road bikes at Veloce Bicycles. Went for an easy ride out the Springwater Corridor bike path for a couple hours.

Met back up with Matt and Beth and ate some incredible mexican food, I had tongue tacos and some Horchata. They were incredible, like deliciously rich pulled beef and the horchata is a sweet cinnamon rice milk.

Coffee. Dessert. What a day.

Notes from Portland, pt1

"YOU'RE UGLY!" the homeless woman spat at me as I told her I did not have change.
"I get it from my Mother (sorry mom)" was the quickest, self-deprecating comeback I could muster.
If you don't believe me, as Leah Frank-Finney. She was there. I don't know how.

Hopped on the Light Rail. Bike hooks in the train car, a couple of bikes with downtube shifters. One is a Bianchi with some Super Record components. Wow. Tattoo sleeves...

Delicious lunch at H50 in hotel lobby. Hotel and bistro are clean, posh and affordable... Salmon roll, vietnamese sammy and a couple of local brews. Nice ambient music, kind of like Six Parts Seven but better.

Saw tall bikes... Check.

Set out to discover mystical city of books.

Dude from Everclear playing in public park. Yes he is still living with your ghost...

Ate a "Vertigo" crêpe. Spontaneously purchased a crêpe from a street vendor attempting to relive a moment in Paris, much like Jimmy Stewart attempts to recreate a relationship with same/different woman in a Hitchcock classic. Funnier in my head.

Pearl District seems pretty awesome. Found Powells. Two well stocked racks of bike books. C in my P... Got plenty of books for our new nieces and nephews. Saw some cute children's authors like Joëlle Jolivet and another that led me to this pretty blog.

Ate dinner at this awesome cinema and bistro names Livingroom Theaters. Italian Sodas. Listened to a song by Clock Hands Strangler on SOMA FM. Spicy Tuna roll and a salad. Yum. Cool indie movies playing and the interior design almost makes me faint.

Went across the street to the Ace Hotel where a yummy eatery and ordered an americano.

This city is my mecca. Beer, bikes, architecture, culture... I am feeling so inspired.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Portland or Bust!

I cannot wait to voyage to the land of Milk and Bicycles!

Home Base, Hotel 50, 50 Southwest Morrison Street Portland, OR 97204
How to get to the rental car place...or wait, they pick me up!

NY Times Travel Page
NY Times "Frugal Portland" article
POWELL'S CITY OF BOOKS!, maybe get me a copy of Bobke?
Travel and Visitor's Website
Gentlemen's Guide
Using Lightrail to get around

Bike Shops and Rentals
Veloce Cycles, 3202 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214, (503) 234-8400
Bike Gallery, 1001 SW 10th Ave, Portland, (503) 222-3821
Renovo Hardhood Bicycles, 2005 S.E. 8th Ave., Portland, (503) 231-4888‎
Waterfront Bikes, two blocks south of the Burnside Bridge at the corner of SW Naito Parkway and SW Ash Street.

Regional delicacies include: salmon, Tillamook Cheddar, Bandon Full Cream Extra Sharp Cheddar and dried procini may be found atthe Portland Farmer's Market.
– Perhaps get the salmon smoked at Karla's Smokehouse
– Go to thePeople's Food Coop?
– Some other mark

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Smiling through the mud

Bridget, Jacob, Jeni and Scott from Seven Hills and I went down to Dirt, Sweat and Gears this year. It was nice to get out and camp and hang with some friends. The preride was pretty fun, minus Bridget's flat tire. I was riding a borrowed Gary Fisher full-suspenion mountain bike. It made a lot things more ridable and the geometry made descending a lot easier, I wasn't leaning over the front wheel as much.

I guess overnight it rained a little. And then a thunderstorm struck just before our Le Mans start. I bridged up to Bridget as the pack raced through the infield. I felt my back tire sliding out a lot in the slippery corners but I tried to hold her wheel. But alas my luck ran out and I went down losing many spaces.

I enjoyed riding through the woods in the rain and for some reason the thunder strikes didn't bother me. But the spaces I lost cost me and I ended up behind a lot of riders that could not ride up the slippery climbs. Once I got past these riders I had a lot of fun and I think I was even able to ride for a continuos five minutes. I really had a blast on the first lap.

But hours later the course's condition deteriorated immensely. The trail's mud became thicker and full of grass and rocks. I tried to go out for a second lap but I found once I hit these sections the bike I was riding became extremely heavy and the wheels jammed and would not turn. I gave up. I wish I were tough enough to soldier on but I feared I would get into a bad place emotionally and be stranded on the trail for hours destroying a bike that I didn't even own.

Mud, Wet, & Beer, the bike pushing contest

It is Tuesday and I'm still feeling the lingering effects of the 12 hour endurance race known otherwise as Dirt, Sweat, and Gears. The week prior to the race the weather reports were not looking good. Still, I have done some races in some pretty horrific conditions but this race was a total slap in the face by mother nature.

Leading up to the event I couldn't get my tubeless set-up to seal. I certainly learned my lesson about trying to run some lightweight (non-tubeless) tires as they started leaking from the sidewalls the night before the race. They eventually sealed up but the rear 1.9 tire got sliced over a rock garden on the pre-ride. I remounted my older, heavier, more durable tires. After getting them all set-up I realized that one of the tires had a knob ready to rip off at any moment. Thankfully, my duo teammate Jacob had a demo/back-up, 29er with us at the race. We swapped the front wheel and I was ready to roll. The next morning I woke up to find the front tire flat again! Grrr! I aired it up and it finally did seal. Phew. Flat tires are the last thing I want to worry about before a race.

I agreed to do the Le Mans style start the next day. My husband was also doing the first lap for his team so we were together in our suffering. Ironically as soon as the gun went off it started to rain pretty hard. As muddy as it was the course was still 97% rideable. I had a pretty good first lap and got us off to a good start. That is kinda the point where the sun came up, the rain went away and the trail became a peanut buttery kind of mud. My teammate Jacob came through about 3+ hours later. He was walking his bike over the line. I thought he had cramped really bad. As he got closer he was like "are you sure you want to go out for another lap? It is completely unrideable out there". I kinda shrugged it off and went out for another. Bad idea. It was the most painful hike-a-bike I have ever done. My bike had fatty 2.2 tires, (not good), my cables are routed under the top tube (not good), I have no upper body muscles = triple not good! I am stubborn as all get out and managed to drag my 80-100 lb. bike 8 miles or so before my upper body could no longer push. At many points I was walking backwards uphill dragging my bike across the hills with my hands on the top tube. I have bruises on my hips where I tried to push the bike by the saddle. I removed pieces of ceramic pipe, rocks, & thorns all embedded behind the front fork and rear wheel. Times that by 2,000. Walking 6 inches and clearing the mud out again sure did get old. Each time I stopped I also got swarmed by mosquitoes. I finally found a good bailout point at about 8 miles because I was completely cooked at that point. My bike had become so heavy I simply lacked the upper body strength to push any further. With the work hike-a-bike sections in the last 4 miles of the race I know I made the right decision.

So, the race was a bit of a bummer with us only getting 2 laps in. 6 hours of driving, $200 in registration fees, one chain, one bottom bracket ruined, one broken ego. Will I be back for more next year? Probably. It was a super sweet event, good trails (when they are dry), great prizes, etc. Will I ever forget this suffer fest? No.

A great race report and photos are up on this super great new website.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Palmères, s’il vous plaît?

Here is a rough overview of the my race schedule :

Ohio Spring Race Series, Deer Creek Road Race: crashed, didn't finish last
CORA,: Tower Park: Flatted out of Beginner race
Flying Pig: wore my kit and smiled like a madman
Dirt, Sweat and Gears, 2 person co-ed 12 hour MTB: 1 lap in 2:04, lap 2 DNF due to mud
Ault Park Crit Series
Hyde Park Blast Crit
OMBC, 3 races
CORA, 4 more races
OVCX, about 15 races
CapCity CX: about 4 additional races

Hopefully I can get some results and be in some race-like situations this year!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Almost Match Fit

Today I ran two relay legs of the Flying Pig, it came out to about 12.83 miles. It took me about an hour and forty minutes.

1st Leg, 6.84mi, 1:17:11, 11:17 per mile
My 2nd Leg, 5.16mi, 41:50, 8:06 per mile
My 3rd Leg, 7.67mi, 1:01:54, 8:04 per mile
4th Leg, 6.55mi, 1:12:46, 11:06 per mile

My personal total: 12.83mi, 1:43:44, 8:05 per mile avg pace
My Est. Half Marthon Time: 1:46
My Est. Marathon Time: 3:33

It is weird how I perceived my run. I felt great, I know I flew up some hills. But I felt like I blew up in the second leg. Maybe it was the last 2 miles... I started cramping a little and I could feel all my little muscle fibers tearing apart. I wonder how fast I was running before that. It is nice to see I have a consistent race pace of about an eight-minute mile.

Running that distance finally accomplished something I have been dreaming about for three years. Ever since the 2006 World Cup I have always wanted to be able to run 90 minutes. I would often daydream about Franck Ribery while jogging around my neighborhood — the "Moped" is my power animal!