Sunday, January 31, 2010

Skyline - Vernonia 200k

The biggest question about riding the 200k Skyline-Vernonia permanent last January wasn’t the route, but rather whether to continue riding monthly 200k’s at all. But I can’t say the answer was ever seriously in doubt. Monthly 200k (or longer) rides have become a cornerstone of sorts of my training-for-PBP program. So rather than take a break (which in retrospect might have been a good idea), I went ahead and scheduled the 200k in mid-January that started and ended in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland. The cool thing about St. John’s is that it’s only 10 or so miles from my place, which meant 1) I could ride to the start, and 2) I could hang out at a friend’s place in that neighborhood after the ride.

waiting for ed
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
Ed Groth and Rob Anderson offered to ride along for the first third of the permanent (out to Forest Grove), and were already at the start (at the Starbucks in St. Johns) by the time I got there. Ed flatted on Hwy 30 (St. Helens Rd) shortly after the ride commenced. Of course, Rob & I didn’t discover this until waiting for him at the Burnside entrance to Washington Park. By then, Ed had decided to return home and get ready for his later-in-the-day commitments.

respite at maggie's
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
Rob rode a bit faster than me, but waited on Skyline and Old Cornelius Pass Rd. After that, I didn’t see him again till Forest Grove (at Maggie’s Buns). But he said he didn’t arrive there much sooner than me. Sure could’ve fooled me (if he had wanted to).

The ride from Forest Grove to Vernonia (via Timber) has become quite familiar. It’s territory shared with other rando routes. The nice thing was that the weather (and roads) dried up a bit by this time (after a rather misty/drizzly morning).

Vernonia has a new local brew pub inside the Blue House Mediterranean Café. I sampled their porter, which tasted okay and felt good at the time. Eventually, though, that small amount of beer probably contributed to a rather sluggish climb over the hills beyond Vernonia before the descent into Scapposse.

streetlamp lit
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
There’s some rural farmland between Scappoose and the Columbia River, and in that farmland there’s a house, the color of which needs to be observed and written down on the brevet card. The challenge was, after dark, the orange-ish streetlight in front of the home thoroughly disguised the actual color. It felt invasive to get close enough for my Edulux headlight to help identify the house’s real color. But I managed.

Ah … Highway 30 after dark by bicycle. Even though the shoulder is mostly generous, it feels a little too much like riding on a freeway. So I was happy to finally get to the St. John’s Bridge. After collecting a receipt from an ATM in St. John’s, (to document the end time), I headed over to friend Amy’s home for some delicious chili and beer. It was like a personal little 200k chili feed, two months earlier than the much larger one put on by the Seattle Randonneurs.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 in review

7500 cycling miles ... an ambitious photography project ... the completion of 10 years of the Sunday Afternoon Tango Practica ... and a lot of coffee

It was déjà vu all over again. Last day of the year, and I’m thirty some-odd miles shy of my annual (rather arbitrary) cycling mileage goal. And just like the previous year, it was wet when I left work, and soon to be dark.

The 2009 goal was a modest 7 percent more than 2008. And if I hadn’t been within 40-50 miles of 7500 on December 31st, I would have most likely abandoned it. But as it was, I decided to ride Eastward (from work in Beaverton) to the Riverview Cemetery, and then along the Springwater Corridor as far as necessary to reach 33 miles by the time I would get home. As far as necessary turned out to be downtown Gresham. A tour of the ‘burbs, so to speak.

After getting home and soaking in the tub, I biked an additional mile or so to the New Years Eve tango party at the PPAA on SE Alder. That made it 7504 miles for the year.

Another goal I had in 2009 was photographic, a picture-a-day project, a visual journal of sorts. This project was harder than it sounds. I tried to start one in mid ’08, but abandoned after three or so months. It sucks a lot of time out of one’s schedule, which makes me very happy it’s done! It’s also something I have no intention of repeating.

Because of all the pictures and all the miles (in addition to my job), I cut back on Argentine tango quite a bit. Nonetheless, I still hosted my Sunday Afternoon Tango Practica almost every week (which is now 10 years old!), and managed to take a private lesson from both Luciana Valle and Jorge Torres.

in a nutshell
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
Oh, and one last thing. My friend Amy and I have been researching Spanish coffee in Portland, and now have enough information and photographic raw material to start a blog. Maybe we’ll finally put it up in 2010.

2010 should be busy. I’ll be putting more emphasis on working out … and less on Flickr! I’ve hired a coach to help increase my speed, which will involve going to the gym twice a week, as well as participating in various training rides and such.

Once again, here are some annual cycling stats (for 2009):

~ Total logged miles (including commutes): 7,504
~ Rides of 100 miles or longer: 17
~ Longest ride: SIR 600k (376 miles)

~ 2009 RUSA total: 3,907 km (2,427 miles)
~ Super Randonneur award (2nd consecutive)
~ R-12 award (2nd consecutive)
~ One DNF: 228-mile fleche attempt in April

Cumulative odometers:
~ Mountain Cycle Stumptown: 15,543 miles
~ Lemond Buenos Aires: 5,424 miles
~ Ideor Asso (fixie): 4,727 miles

One organized ride:
~ VineRide Century

OBRA participation (Oregon Bicycle Racing Assn.)
Road races: 1
~ Sublimity
Time trial: 1
~ Jack Frost TT (Vancouver, WA)
Track races (Alpenrose Velodrome): 17
~ Fast Twitch Fridays: 5
~ Masters/Juniors (Wednesdays): 11
~ Other: 1
Cyclocross: 9
~ Cross Crusade : 3
~ Blind Date at the Dairy (Alpenrose): 4
~ OBRA Cross Championships (Salem): 2

Happy New Year, everyone!