Monday, February 16, 2009

a faster* 200k, & the 2-flats** handicap

* faster does not equal fast
** John Henry’s and JoAnne’s

This ride looked like it was gonna be a cold and dreary. It certainly looked that way at the outset. Steady rain started about ½ hour before the 7:00 AM start from Newberg, and the roads remained fairly wet through about Amity.

John Henry, JoAnne, Cecil, Lynne, Kevin, and I all did our customary check-ins at the Thriftway (or in Kevin’s case, a non-check-in), and started our journey down Hwy 99W. The rain-moistened debris between Newberg and Dayton got all our bikes nice and dirty.

Cecil had done “a fast century” the day before, so took it relatively easy today. (Any distance “fast” can wipe me out for quite a while.) The last I saw of her and Lynne were when they slowed down at the truck scale along the highway. I kept JoAnne, John, and Kevin in my sights until Hwy 233 rejoins Hwy 99W before Amity. But lo and behold, they were still at the Safeway in Dallas when I arrived at the first control.

three musketeers
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
I hung in with them for the first 9 miles out of Dallas and Rickreal, but then my thighs started burning. It’s amazing how quickly those guys can get outa sight when I drop back a little.

Then there was JoAnne and John at the side of the road, with the first of what was to be two flats. Learning that they carried four tubes on their tandem, I carried on towards Newberg into rather strong headwinds that pushed down my average speed 1 ½ mph. John Henry and JoAnne didn’t pass me till I was stopped at Cecil’s and Lynne’s favorite “blue room” (actually green) in Dayton.

In Newberg, I tried a new control, the Coffee Cat, which worked out well. There was one person in front of me who was placing a large sit-down order for four people, and the gal behind the counter pushed my espresso drink through ahead of theirs. The macchiato was good and went well with my pbj sandwich.

Between John Henry’s and JoAnne’s longer break in Newberg, and their 2nd flat, they didn’t pass me again till a few miles before Mt. Angel. Brilliant blue sky prevailed for the second half of the ride. I would have probably taken more pictures if I hadn’t left my pocket digital camera at work.
In Mt. Angel, I made my usual stops at the US Bank ATM and the city loo, imbibed the contents of a mint chocolate-flavored GU Energy Gel packet (not my first choice in flavors, but it was all Bike N Hike in Beaverton had the day before), and then headed straight back towards Newberg. Again, John Henry and JoAnne took a longer control break, and didn’t pass me until Arbor Grove Rd. In the meantime, I passed Cecil and Lynne going in the other direction (towards Mt. Angel), all bedecked in their colorful wool jerseys. Again, the headwinds were significant riding north to Champoeg, and north again into Newberg. After John Henry, JoAnne and I paused to take some pictures on Arbor Grove (like the one above), they quickly lost me, and arrived back in Newberg 10-15 minutes ahead. Their dinner at the Coffee Cottage was being served while I checked in.

With my shorter-than-usual control breaks, I was kinda hoping for a personal best. But at 10 hours and 40 minutes, I missed that mark by 20 minutes. This ended up being my my third fastest 200k, my fastest being this same permanent two months ago. Fewer headwinds that day, plus I was able to hang onto (barely) the John Henry-JoAnne-Kramer-Vincent train for the final 10-15 miles into Newberg.

After checking in at the Coffee Cottage, I boogied back to Portland for a late evening of tango dancing. After all, a huge tango festival was winding down.

My average 200k time is about 11 hours and 25 minutes. My slowest was exactly one year ago (to the month), the Clatskanie – Cape Disappointment permanent, with took the full 13 hours and 15 minutes. I’d like to do that one again, but when the days are longer.

More pictures of this "Three Prairies" ride are here on Flickr.
Also, here's Cecil's weekend (including this ride), and Lynne's account.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

a lot of tango dancers don't seem to be into football

Ever since the snow melted from the big arctic storm in December, attendance has been high at the Sunday Afternoon Argentine Tango Practica. The amazing part is that 50-or-so people have showed up each week for the one-hour drop-in basic techniques class at 1:00.

Studio B (2) ...
Originally uploaded by tangobiker

And Super Bowl Sunday was no different. Big class. Close to 100 people in all during the afternoon. Don't think anyone there mentioned Pittsburgh or Arizona all day long.

I've got lots of Sunday Practica pictures from the last couple years here on Flickr.