Friday, October 17, 2008

iPhone apps that make cycling adventures better

As you can tell, I love my iPhone and now that there are custom apps you can do all kinds of neat stuff. Besides having the ability to take calls and snap photos, the apps bring real power to this phone.
Here are some of my favorite ride supporting apps:

This app collects GPS information and has 4 main components. 1. A dashboard that is customizable where you can see things like: Average Speed, Altitude, Bearing
2. Ability to record tracks so that you can publish a journey.
3. A waymark recording screen to save a location.
4. A map view.

This is the official app from GroundSpeak. Makes it easy to look for caches nearby.

This is an app to calculate your nearest Geohash locations and map them.

There is more accurate weather forecast info on Weather Underground but WeatherBug makes checking the rain and wind so easy.

This is a great app that allows you to record 'stuff' like pictures, text and voice notes. When making a note from the iPhone, it adds your location to the note.

October Geocycling

It has been an while... I will try harder to maintain a posting rate. With working out of town and having this site blocked by work and being busy while I am home and finding time to ride, it is not easy carving out time to write posts.

In the last couple months there has been a few things occurring:
  • July was such a month of miles and personal bests that I started to burn out and loose motivation.
  • August was busy with swimming and other activities that got in the way.
  • I was able to upgrade my iPhone to a 3G in a cost positive way.
  • Which led to Geocaching as a new hobby, since I now have a GPS on my phone.

The result is that I am riding fewer miles and going much slower but with many new distractions to the rides. I incorporate geocaching with riding and am also doing cycloharvesting. That is my name for riding along and finding fruit trees along the roadsides. This year there is a lot of fruit and it has a better flavor and quality than years past. With the iPhone, i can take waymarks of good trees and am building a Google myMap of these.
Suprisingly, or not, my enjoyment of riding has increased with these extra activities.

One ride this week reached the sublime. I did a 45 mile ride out Bunker Creek and Lincoln Creek on Monday and then Tuesday I thought that I would, 'take it easy' and just fill in local caches.
The route ended up being 33 miles and including a leg up to Connor Rd in Thurston County to get a cache at Mary A Cogdil's gravesite.
Some other finds along the way were an antique anti-aircraft searchlight and another antique glass insulator for my collection.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bike web tools that I like

Doing a lot of bike riding and being of a geek nature, I like to turn details of riding into data.

There are several good websites that are of assistance to a rider, here of some of my favorites:

Bikely -- find and map routes

I have tried other route making tools but bikely is the one that I have stuck with. One of the main reasons is that it does not lock up when accessing from work. I like the features of mapmyride better but it seems to always lock up at work. With mapmyride it will create the turn by turn directions for you whereas you have to enter them by hand in Bikely. Another annoyance of Bikely is that I have to do a password recovery every time I need to get to my routes. It does not matter what computer or browser or password, when I go to login it says that my password is wrong. I have searched for others complaining about this problem but have not found anyone else with the problem.

MyCyclingLog -- log your rides and obsess on the numbers

I often laugh at myself that I probably ride 30% of my miles because I am trying to beat some personal record or goal. But hey, whatever gets you out and riding, right?

It also has a section to enter your bikes and track your maintainence. This is great for seeing how many miles you have on a set of pedals or whatever.

Google Maps -- Bikely uses Google maps but there are features that it does not like the terrain and street view. These are great tools to see what hills you are climbing or if lazy like me, find a less steep route. Street view, if available in the area that you are riding, can be used to show if a street has bike lanes, where there might be bike racks and such. Also, with a custom map, I can track which roads I have ridden to make it easier to find an unexplored one.

Twitter -- let people know where you disappeared to

Using Twitter I can post my route and at rest points update how far along I am. This way if I dont turn up home, my SO knows where to look for me. In case I get tired, pull a stupid and ride off the road into a ditch or something. Or answer the 'when you gonna be home?' question.

BicycleTutor -- Maintenance How-Tos in video format

This guy is great and has made a series of videos of hot to perform maintaince on your bike in an easy to follow manner.

Sheldon Brown -- Bike Info God

No list would be complete without a nod to the late Sheldon Brown. Here you can find answers to so many of your cycling questions.

Anyone else have a good web site that helps them?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Price of old data

Last night the weather was very mild for late July (65 degrees) and begged an after work ride. I also needed some miles to break 700 ridden in a month. Using a book from the library Best Bike Rides Around Portland, I picked a route that looked interesting

The route was modified to originate and end at my front door plus on route I decided to reverse the ride so that the nicest part would be saved for last.

The first half of my ride would go down the Springwater Corridor and then skirt Clackamas to the west down to High Rocks area of Gladstone. The book referred to a pedestrian bridge over the Clackamas River that looked excellent. The ride to get to the bridge was not as near as I anticipated. Mostly the shoulders were wide and the pavement good.

The problem arose when I got to the bridge and it was barricaded off for 'repairs'. So much for the nice half of the ride. I asked a woman walking past and she said the bridge had been closed for years.

That is what I get for not checking the info from a book written 17 years ago.

As I rode the Springwater Corridor trail on an aluminum frame bike I once again steamed about the terrible paving. Was this thing terrible from the beginning or did it decay to this terrible state over time? If it was bad from the start, how did it get approved? If it went to garbage over time, why was the contractor not sued to fix it? In my opinion there is some corruption or incompotence in the Portland City Hall regarding roads and paving.

Overall the ride was good and it put me 40 miles closer to my mileage goal.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Setting goals

Goals seem to be a great motivator for me. I am so goal driven that I create goals when there is no need to. Here are 3 related to cycling that I am working on.

1. Ride every rural through road in Western Lewis County. I have informally added all of Lewis County and Cowlitz and Thurston to that list since I am getting close to meeting my goal.
Below is a Google custom map that tracks this goal.

View Larger Map

2. Ride over 5,000 miles this year. has a goals section where you can set a goal and track the progress.
Here is mine so far.
2008 5K Edit Remove
5000.00 mi between Tue, Jan 1, 2008 and Wed, Dec 31, 2008
Progress: 64%
3204.73 mi at 12.80 mi/h
  • A distance of 1795.27 mi remains.
  • At current average speed, 140.3 hours of ride time required.
  • An average daily distance of 11.22 mi required.
  • You should have completed a distance of 2827.87 mi by today.
3. Monthly mileage goals.
I set a goal every month for distance.
The distance goals often get me on the bike for no other reason than to rack up some more miles towards my goal. Heaven forbid, that I should every get behind on one.

The goals also spice up riding, they add an extra feeling of accomplishment. Now, if I could convince myself to set a weight loss goal....

Monday, July 14, 2008

Chehalis to Gresham (CTG)

I decided to go ahead with the ride. My desire to ride it was greater than my distaste for the STP.
Group rides are not my thing and such a large group ride is even less interesting to me. I prefer just tooling along and getting lost in the surroundings and stopping when I feel like stopping. Having a constant stream of cyclists deters my enjoyment since I have to pay close attention to the road and the other cyclists. Stopping becomes more complicated, is the stop mobbed with people, are there lines for the bathroom. Starting is complicated too, you have to time your start. Even riding is harder, there were many times where someone would pass me and slow down or pull out in front of my and break my rhythm.
The weather forecast was for 90 plus temperatures. I decided to make an early start of the ride to beat the heat and if possible get ahead of the pack of riders (at least for a while). I started out at 5:07 AM, with 46 degree temperatures. I began the ride just wearing, sandals, shorts and a sleeveless and got pretty cold. Temperatures were going to climb soon so it was not a big deal. The route took my usual south plan to cross I-5 on park. On Meier Road I came upon a fresh deer carcass with a large vulture standing over it. I tried to get a pic of it with my iPhone camera but the vulture would not let me get THAT close.
Exploring Military road was part of the route. I was not expecting it to be very nice but was well pleased with the southern half. Lots of nice wooded sections and ridge views. I will have to work in more routes that include S Military Rd.
At the intersection with SR 506, my route combined with the STP route. One of the first bikes I encountered was a tandem with a radio attached to it. Fortunately, after passing them, I did not see them again and nobody else had a radio. Riding SR 411 with all those other riders was not my idea of fun at all, the previous time riding it was way nicer.
Surprisingly, then I got to Riverside park in Kelso, I was expecting to wait in line for the restroom and deal with the mobs but they were all herded into the south part of the park and I had the north side to myself.
Continuing on, the bridge crossing was tough because it was single file and I did not want to hold the people behind me up so I pushed harder than I wanted to. On the other side the tailwinds were blowing pretty good so it was easy to rest and ride. The pace really picked up and I sailed along at about 17 mph average for the next 30 miles with a stop at Prescott Beach park to eat lunch and fill water bottles. I had the park to myself.
After Scapoose, the tailwind died, the heat was in full swing and the terrain got a little bit more hilly. Combined with it being near the end, riders started to really slow down and many were on the wayside. I slowed my pace and stopped to make sure I was still sweating (not dehydrated).
Once on the edge of Portland, there is a tap by City of Portland, I filled up on water, wet down my head and set out. Most of the final approach is downhill or flat and I blazed into town.
Finishing time for 100 miles was 6:54 riding time and 8:01 clock time.
The final 11 miles to my apt I took real slow and stopped to hang out in a shady park and get dinner.
I arrived at 3:36.

Up to Oly for a BBQ

On Saturday, I rode up to Oly for a Barbeque at Alx's sisters house. This ride was unremarkable except for 2 things.
The Thurston County portion of SR 507 was just chip and sealed. It is amazing how much extra soreness gets transferred to your rear end, riding on this kind of surface.
The main the to remark upon is this was STP (Seattle to Portland) weekend and there were 10,000 riders heading south while I was heading north. I grew quite tired of hearing "Your going the wrong way". I was annoyed seeing them ride 4 abreast and block traffic which turns motorists into anti-cyclists. I was vexed to see lots of 'energy' product packets discarded on the roads and paths.
Worst of all though, was riding north on the  Tenino-Yelm bike path upstream of them.
They took over the whole thing, as if being in the STP entitled them to take everyone else's use of the facilities. I vowed to avoid the STP route on the ride weekend next year. Kinda ironic that it is bikes that would keep me off the road and not cars.
Once I turned off onto the Chehalis Western bike path, I was so relieved and the ride enjoyment shot up and my stress started to dissipate. Being around the STP riders was bad enough that I contemplated cancelling my planned ride to Gresham the next day since it was traversing the route of STP most of the way.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

King Road ride

Monday's ride explored a road that I have been wanting to ride for several months and finally got to it. King Road connects the Boistfort valley with Winlock. In order to get there you have to make it up and over the 1000' Buckhorn Hill. The climb is unpaved, which is good but also bad.
I say it is good because I do not like to see the planet paved. The bad rating is because this section of road is remote enough to make the ride free of human noise where it not for my tire on gravel.

The ride started out at 7AM and was a rather cool morning of 46 degrees with light fog. I wore some pedal pushers and socks. A long sleeve and vest over the sleeveless top rounded out the cold compensation. But upon setting out, I was thinking maybe I should have broke out some of my winter gear. Brrrr

The route plan was to head out on SR 6 to pick up SR 506 at Boistfort Rd. Near the turn, my hamstrings were getting tight and so I pulled off to take a stretch.

Many strange things can be found discarded on the sides of roads but my find here was one of the stranger ones: a pasta machine.

After turning onto SR 506, the road soon crosses over the South Fork Chehalis River. On the bridge, I spotted a beaver or nutria swimming in the water. It noticed me and submurged when I stopped to look.

The turn off to King Rd is shortly after Curtis, but I go lost in the scenery and passed it. On a whim, I decided to see what was down Beaver Creek Rd. The beginning portion passes fields and then a logged over section. A bit beyond, there are some nice homesteads and one new one. The new house was home to 3 loose and rather large dogs who gave me a bit of trouble but I managed to keep them off.

I then backtracked to King Rd and started down. I was not at all dissapointed. It immediately made it in my top 5 beautiful roads to ride. A few miles in the pavement stops. I came upon a deer in the road, when I tried to ride past it, it fled up the road in front. I got tired to scaring it, so I stopped and waited for it to walk off into the woods. Once the climb up Buckhorn Mtn began, the grade was gentle enough to make the climb not ardous. Additionally, the route was mostly heavily forested and shelterd from the sun.
The pavement returns not too far into the descent and the upper part is spectacular. As the elevation drops human blight increases. So far, I felt sluggish and made slow progress. I also started late, so I decided to take Sears Road to shorten the ride. This road begins in a deforested section and goes under power lines but ends back in the forest where it connects to Hale Rd.
I stopped and picked up a deer skull on the side of the road for the kids to see. While doing so, I saw another skull a couple feet away, this one was a gopher, I believe.

Hale descends to Tennessee Rd at Evaline, I decided to continue to SR 603 then take Jordan to Mill through Napavine and down Rush to Neuwaukum Valley Rd. I am trying to ride all of the rural though roads in western Lewis County and this route would finish off Hale and 603 and pick up Mill Road. On 603, I saved a snake from getting killed on the road. It was a very healthy youngster and it quickly fled to the bushes.
Mill Road was interesting, the outer portion is isolated feeling even close into Napavine, but then you come around a corner and are at a lumber mill (hence the name of the road). The rest of the ride was unevent and into strong headwind.
Total miles :40

July 4th ride toTacoma

We made our annual trip to Alx brothers house for the 4th. I rode it.
This time the route that I created was way better and safer. The weather was near perfect too.
Temperatures hung around 61 until getting into Tacoma and I had a light drizzle/rain for about an hour and half while riding through Tenino up past Yelm.
Some notable events on the ride:
I was passed on Reservation Rd by a large group of Harley bikers and they all gave me a salute while passing me.
On Old Pacific Highway a bird and butterfly flew right in front of me in a swirling, twisting struggle.
While I watched the butterfly managed to avoid getting eaten.
I also got to see a dragonfly grab a ladybug out of the air in Tacoma.

Here is the cue sheet
Cumulative Distance Where Notes Direction Elevation
0mi 0mi
Head towards Centralia on Market E 77° 216.5ft
5.43mi 5.43mi
Continue on SR 507 to Tenino NNW 360° 183.7ft
16.77mi 11.33mi
R on Old 99 E 82° 269ft
16.9mi 0.13mi
R on Park Ave NE 38° 269ft
17.22mi 0.32mi
At the Park get on Bike Path ESE 90° 278.9ft
31.35mi 14.14mi
At end of bike path cross parking lot and L on Yelm Hwy NW 309° 354.3ft
37.95mi 6.59mi
R on Reservation Rd NE 34° 292ft
40.86mi 2.91mi
R on Old Pacific Hwy NE 28° 52.5ft
44.38mi 3.52mi
Get on I-5 N and go past weigh station to Exit 118 NE 41° 229.7ft
45.99mi 1.62mi
Center Drive NNW 340° 252.6ft
49.16mi 3.16mi
L on Dupont Steilacoom Hwy NNE 236.2ft
53.78mi 4.62mi
R on Rainier E 85° 72.2ft
54.2mi 0.42mi
L on Balch NNW 326° 108.3ft
54.26mi 0.06mi
R on Lafayette continue as Chambers Creek ENE 54° 62.3ft
57.03mi 2.77mi
L on 64th W 270° 252.6ft
57.41mi 0.39mi
R on GrandView N 226.4ft
60.25mi 2.84mi
R on 27th S 161° 193.6ft
60.51mi 0.26mi
L on Sunset NNW 359° 255.9ft
61.7mi 1.18mi
R on 6th ESE 108° 137.8ft
62.31mi 0.62mi
Cross Park & Ride lot and right on Trail NNE 334.6ft
62.49mi 0.18mi
R on Scott Pierson Trail ESE 95° 298.6ft
62.63mi 0.14mi
L on Skyline cross Ped bridge and continue N 328.1ft
63.14mi 0.52mi
R on 17th ESE 105° 364.2ft
64.08mi 0.93mi
L on Shirley NNW 359° 397ft
64.54mi 0.46mi
R on 30th E 82° 426.5ft
66.17mi 1.63mi
L on Cedar enter Alley on right NNW 332° 275.6ft

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chehalis to Portland

On Sunday I did the ride I have been contemplating for months. The day was forecast to be quite hot (90's) so I set out at 5:50 AM.
It was 62 degrees and the roads were empty. I felt strong and prepared. I stated my ride in shorts and a sleeveless top and was well coated in sunscreen. The plan was to cover as much ground without overdoing it.
I chose a route that would cover some roads that I have wanted to ride for quite some time. Plus I would pick up some more roads in SW Lewis County. To start, I would head south on Jackson Hwy and then pick up Coulson Rd off of SR 508. Coulson is a nice road and soon I was crossing over SR 12. The neighborhood degrades in this area and I passed a lot of unkempt homes. At Park Rd there is an overpass on I-5, it was so infrequently used that there were weeds growing in the seams of the road here. The route continued on Mienkler and Nevil roads into Winlock.
At Winlock I made a bathroom stop and filled my water bottles. The ride headed south on Winlock-Vader Rd and the sun was starting to feel a little warm. Halfway down the road, 2 dogs came after me, one from the front and one behind. My Halt spray took care of the trailing dog and a firm command solved the other one.
The road ends at a store, I borrowed some of their shade and ate an egg salad sandwich that I had got at Winlock Egg Days on Saturday. SR 506 climbs out of Vader and connects with SR 411 (Westside Hwy) here. This was one road that I was excited to ride. It did not disappoint. Lots of good scenery and nice riding. Most of the road was in shade so I comfortably cruised along thinking that I was going to have a fairly easy day.
Halfway down this road I needed to make a pit stop and there was a pull off area with some paths to the river that looked like a place to stop. I pulled off and rode to the back side of some trees. As I was stopping a branch laying on the ground, popped up and wedged through my spokes. If I had been going any speed, it would have done some damage. Whew!
Toward then end of the road, I cam upon a rooster scratching on the side of the road. He was beautiful and would have probably won a prize at the fair. He will probably end up a road pancake or in a coyote's stomach.
I reached my first planned rest at Riverside County Park at 9:30. This stop is at 47 miles which put me close to half-way. My mood was great, energy was great and the weather was still mild. I ate a banana, a hash brown and drank a bunch. Then refilled my water bottles with Gatorade mix in one. Now was also good time to reapply sunblock.
Riding into Kelso was not as bad as I had figured it would be. Yes there were not really much bike infrastructure, but on a Sunday morning, traffic was light. I decided to continue up the main road to cross I-5. Once on S Kelso Drive, the shoulder was covered in debris but the pavement was smooth and the shoulder wide. This route continues as Old WA-99 and the shoulder goes away but so does most of the traffic as well. The heat was quickly mounting now and any shade was a real relief. The sad part is just as the shade was most needed it was becoming less and less. This ride would be much better as a South to North in high temperatures.
After passing through Carrols, the road follows along the cliff that overlooks the Columbia and required a couple of stops for pictures. There was a lot of Cicada noise from the trees here, which was my first time hearing them and knowing what it was. I can see why the Mid-Westerners comment on the sound, it gets in your head. It is somewhat like the sound from a bike rear wheel when coasting but in a higher register.
After the descent into Kalama, I stopped at the little park at the south end of town and ate 2 bean and cheese burritos and filled my water bottles again. I also packed my helmet (too hot now) and tied a wet handkerchief on my head.
The roads south of Kalama seemed to confuse me and I spent a lot of time stopping to recheck my route. At one stop, I had pulled over into a gravel area. Out of laziness, I tried to ride to the pavement and my front wheel washed out and I re sprained my wrist a little.
The heat was starting to get punishing now and the big climb up Lane Rd was waiting for me.
When I finally got there, it was much more than I anticipated in difficulty. The steepness and length of the climb was pretty decent but coupled with the heat and the lack of trees to provide shade made this a grueling push of my bike up the hill in 100 ft sections.
It took me probably an hour to make it to the summit. I was very grateful for the downhill section into Woodland.
The temperature in Woodland was 91 and I was feeling it fully. I stopped at a gas station to fill water bottles and get some rest and a chocolate milk. There were worries at this point about completing the ride. I still had 30 miles to go, I was so tired that the easiest thing was to keep going since I did not have to make any decisions that way.
After dragging along and getting to La Center the clouds had started forming and the sun went behind a cloud. This was such a huge spirit lifting! The clouds felt like a sign that I was going to make it. On Timman Rd, I laid down on the shoulder and rested and ate a PowerGel packet and some candy.
The ride through north Clark County was once again the worst part of my ride. The roads have no shoulder and several vehicles passed very close and fast. My emotional state was very poor at this point and the rush of fear from the dangerous passes got me very angry. To top it off, a truck passed and the passenger of the truck sprayed me with what I hoped was just water but sent me over the edge. I stopped and raged on the shoulder and vowed never to ride in Clark County again before continuing the ride.
Once on 72nd, I had my climbing and scary road situation behind me and started to make good time again. But then a different pickup passed me and I felt water on my face and my first thought was that I got sprayed again. But then I realized that it started raining, I laughed and reveled in the wash of cool rain. This was a great pick me up.
I limped through Vancouver and over the I-205 bridge. Once on Marine Drive the lightning started and the rain grew more intense. I was so tired that I longed to be done. The last few miles felt like forever but after 11:50 I had arrived! What a feeling of accomplishment.
Total distance: 114.75 miles.
After ride thoughts:
After doing a lot of 50-75 mile rides and a couple over 100 miles, it seems that the crossover point where the rides go from complete fun to a drudge is about 65-70 miles. For a couple days after this ride, my thoughts were to keep my distances down to below 70 miles but by Wednesday, I was planning another century ride. The extra distance may not be fun but the challenge is an attraction of it's own.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

60 mile route of 2 hills and 2 valleys

Today's ride headed northwest into Thurston County and then hooked south. Combined with Sunday's ride this has been the most scenic week of riding that I have done yet.
I headed north on Airport Rd and then turned onto Military from Mellen. This allowed me to get on Cooks Hill from a different direction and the choice was a good one.

Graf and Blanchard roads follow a creek and the climb is easier than the 12% grade up Cooks Hill Rd. The traffic is much lower as well.
After topping Cooks Hill the route dropped down to Galvin. This town was really slammed by the flood.
After a couple turns, I headed north on Old 99 towards Grand Mound. The shoulder on this road is wide and smooth and was recently swept so it was real smooth. I quickly came to Old 9 turn off. The road goes past the Maple Lane Corrections campus and to my turn onto James Rd. This road is probably the aesthetic low point of the ride.
Once I turned onto Independence Rd the scenery improved again. But the moment I crossed into Lewis County the scenery and the quality of the pavement improved dramatically. The ride so far had been real easy and I was in that back-road blissful state that comes with exploring a new road that is sparsely traveled and lined with forests and neat farms.

At a creek crossing I noticed a well made beaver dam and tried to take a pic but it did not turn out.
The valley ended all too quickly and I was climbing up and over to the Lincoln Creek valley. My route only traveled on Lincoln Creek for a mile before I turned onto Ignalis Rd and up and over to Bunker Creek. This area is just a row of long narrow valleys with ridges separating them.
Bunker Creek Rd is one of my favorites, since it has all of the right things: very low traffic, nice pavement, beautiful scenery and a gentle grade. A couple times on this road I scared deer in the road.
I turned onto Ceres Hill Rd. This part I was a little nervous of. There were unpaved parts and I was going over a 1,000 foot hill. I also wondered if there were any problems at the far end due to flooding. Soon, my worries were over, the road started out on a gentle grade. I spotted a family of raccoons in someones yard with a cat watching them on the porch.
When the road turned to gravel, I was surprised at quality of it. I had no problems riding up it. The only annoyance was the occasional car that kicked up dust. The crest of the hill offered outstanding views of the valley below.

If there was an issue with this road it was the descent portion which was also gravel and a steep grade with hairpin turns. I took it slow and made sure that I was unclipped from the pedals in case I went down. Fortunately, it ended without mishap. In the valley the road crossed the South fork of the Chehalis River, the bridge somehow survived. There was a large salvage operation going on here. The flood had piled up massive amounts of wood and they were grinding it up and loaded it in trucks. The smell of the ground wood was divine. I stopped and gulped large amounts of the scent.
The road ends at SR 6 along a forested section. I stopped to look at a sign showing how high the water got in the December flood.

The ride on SR 6 was a bit aggravating. The pavement is good except on the shoulder. The shoulder is also full of debris from logging trucks which pass by on a frequent basis. Once the road reaches Adna the shoulder gets better but I had had enough by then and did not want to cross the bridge over the Chehalis which has no shoulder in the traffic level that was out. I turned onto Twin Oaks and rode that, I again flushed a few deer and came to the end at SR 603.
My choice here is to either climb the 12% grade to get on Tune Rd or attempt the gravel railbed that is a walking trail. I chose poorly and took the rail bed which is coverd in pea gravel and bigger rocks and weeds. Riding was miserable and the Teasel tore up my legs. Chalk that up to a never do again.
Overall, the ride was outstanding and my hill climbing for the day was one of my best yet.
By combining parts of this ride with parts of Sundays ride, an idyllic route could be constructed.
I will report on it once I design it. First, I need to explore Lost Valley Rd and Pe Ell-MacDonald Road.

Monday, June 23, 2008

55 mile loop to Vader

On Sunday, I took a ride that I've wanted to take for a long time. To head out to Curtis Hill and then follow SR 506 to Vader. I was a bit nervous since I would be out on pretty remote roads with no cell phone service so if something went wrong I would be on my own.

I finally did it and was it worth it! The most beautiful ride, that I have done in Lewis County.
I started at 10 AM on a Sunday so there were not many cars out. The ride begins by heading down SR 6 which has nice wide shoulders as far as Adna. The last mile or 2 were rougher but not bad. Then the turn off on Curtis Hill Road, this was my first time on this road and the hill was as tough as I heard it was. I had to stop several times on the way up. The crest of the hill was built up with McMansions.
Down the other side was a fast descent though a forested section and drops into the valley. The next 20 miles pass through nice farms and forested sections that bring a very contented state.

I had a nice tailwind and was just effortlessly gliding along in a state of near bliss when it was shattered. At 1246 Wildwood there was a large dog in the road barking and to my dread there were 3 others in the yard. I dismounted and used my bike as a shield and yelled at dog to STAY!.
At this point a second dog came at me and this was the one that really put a scare in me. He was about my size and was just on the other side of my bike all bristling and snarling. Fortunately, I had my Halt! and gave him a squirt. The spray had an instant effect and the dog whimpered and went back in the yard. I backed the other dog down and left the scene.
My bliss was gone and it took a while for the adrenaline rush to subside.
The next problem was a truck coming down the road that I could hear from a mile back. Once it got up to my I found out why. It was full of teenage boys and they were running on a bare rim.
This part of the road was secluded and the passengers in the back stared at my as they passed.
About a quarter mile up the pulled into a side road and got out of the truck and fanned out in the road. I did not like the looks of what was going on, were they trying to jump me or what? I stopped and turned around and went a little way down the road trying to decide what to do. In the meantime, they got back in the truck and took off. I waited a bit and then continued on my ride. I closely watched the gouge in the road left by their bare rim to make sure they were not waiting for me somewhere. As the miles passed, I saw pieces of their rim lying in the road. Near Ryderwood, I passed them on the side of the road. I was doing about 35 mph on a long descent at this point.
Once I came to the turn onto the Vader-Winlock Rd, I stopped at the store and had a V-8. I was feeling great again, now that the problems were behind me and I had some very pleasant riding still to come.
Overall the ride was very easy, though I still struggle with hill climbs and there were several extended ones on this ride.
I look forward to riding in this area again.
After the ride was over I contacted the Sheriff's office to report the dog incident.

Posting Dry Spell

It has been a bit since the last post. This is because work blocks my access to Blogger and I have been away from home. Riding has still been occurring.

I am now at the point where a 50 mile ride is no big deal. I still a poor at climbing hills though.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Why I ride

I got the idea for this from a post on Kent Peterson's blog discussing tire choices for Brevets. Sorry, but now I can't seem to find the article.

He talked about what is important to you in a ride determining tire choice. That got me thinking about what is important to me in a ride.

I have also thought about this topic after riding the Lewis County Historical Ride. I carried a lot of stuff and rode a touring bike which made for a heavier bike than most of the other riders. Also, most of the riders were in groups and rode in pace lines. I finished the ride last.

Did I choose the wrong bike? Should I have gone with a lighter one?

Upon reflection, I decided that I did not. I could ride a lighter bike and finish faster but that was not my goal. I could have rode in a pace line and gone faster but again, that is not what I want from a ride.

What I want from a ride is the following:

* I want to explore and see new things on a ride

* I want to be able to ride all day and be comfortable

* I want to get lost in thought

* I don't want to deal with mechanical details on a ride

* I don't need to be first, I am only competing with the clock and myself

* I want to see birds and animals and flowers

* I don't want to have to stop at a store on my ride (restrooms excepted)

With this in mind, I choose my bike well. I am comfortable and it absorbs the road vibration well.

I sit more upright and can see things easy. I can carry what I need to complete a ride.

My bike is reliable. Solo rides are fun for me. Looking at the back of someones tire is not my idea of an enjoyable ride, I would rather spend the extra energy to not have to pace line.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Road Kill Money

That is what I call all of the change that is laying in the road.
I have made a game of picking this stuff up as I come across it. My year to date total is $10.98.

I pick it up for several reasons:
  • I am helping put it back in circulation
  • It adds another layer of interest to every ride
  • Self-challenges like this are fun
  • It increases attentiveness to objects in your path. To avoid crashes and flats
  • Spending it is fun, some of the money is so battered that it makes the cashier look at it closely.
  • The most interesting though is the internal conflicts that arise. Do I want people to see me stoop for a penny? I am riding in a good rhythm, do I want to break it for a nickel? Was that gum or a quarter, is it worth turning around to see?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chehalis to Oly and back

On Sunday we were invited to a BBQ at Alx's sisters house. I immediately jumped on the idea of riding there and, hopefully, back as well. I set out at 10 AM and made it there at 1:00PM.

My route goes up SR 507 to catch the bike trail in Tenino. I can follow the trail 21 miles into Olympia. It is only 1.5 miles to their house from the trail.

Everything was ideal. The temperature was 58 and overcast and only a slight breeze.

The ride up was a new record for me of 15.33 mph average.

The return ride was almost as fast at 14.83 mph average. On my return ride, evening was setting in and on the bike path I got to see some quail and a vulture close up. My bike was quiet enough that I got close to them before they noticed me.

Total miles for the day: 77.6

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Loop out to Salkum

On Saturday, I wanted to do a route that was over 50 miles. I decided on a ride out to Salkum. The LCHR went out there and I really liked some of the roads. I decided to enjoy them again.

To start out, I headed south on Jackson Highway at 6 AM. The temperature was 46 so I wore tights and a long sleeve shirt with a vest. I stuck with half-finger gloves and no ear cover since it was forecast to warm up when the sun crested the trees. I brought along shorts.

I was feeling weak and slow and the cycle computer confirmed it, though I felt like I was going faster than the readout showed.

Only a couple miles down the road, my hamstrings started to get tight so I stopped and stretched and checked my seat height. For some reason, my seatpost has been sinking down into the tube. My check confirmed that the seat was low again so I adjusted it, this improved my hamstring problem.

By mile 6 I entered into a fog bank. My glasses got foggy and my shirt got damp but it was nice otherwise. I turned left on North Fork Road and headed to Tauscher Rd. I had not been on this section on Tauscher and wanted to see it. The road was wonderful and the fog lifted, I crosses some real nice forested area and had to take some pics.

One of the pics is of this weeks flower: the Toughleaf Iris. This variety is only found in Washington and Oregon.

After the pictures, I climbed up to Middle Fork Rd and turned left. Shortly after, the sun rose over the trees to shine upon me. I opened my handlebar bag to switch to sunglasses when I found that one of the screws had fallen out of an arm and they would not stay on my face. I stopped and attempted a fix with a tiny stick, which ended up working for about 20 miles. The sunglasses problem got me thinking. It isn't only the bike that I need to focus on for reliability on a Randoneur ride but ALL of my equipment. If this had been a super bright day and I was on a 300K riding east, things would have been bad. While I was dealing with the sunglass situation, I also noticed that the bike computer was set on 'bike 1' which is my MTB. No wonder I was going so slow! I switched the setting to 'bike 2' and continued on.

At about the 16 mile mark, I turned off of Middle Fork onto Deggler and descended into Onalaska (ONY). The town was as quite as the roads had been. Deggler Rd turns into Leonard Rd and heads up a big hill. I felt fortunate that I was turning left part way up the hill onto Burchett Rd. After turning though, I quickly came to rethink my happiness for this road. The surface was in bad shape and I soon was riding though an area where the residents were the type that are not so enjoyable to see.

The type where they fill their property with broken things and put up threatening 'No Trespassing' signs. I saw a couple that were real gems, the signs had large Confederate Flags and lots of writing . I wanted to take a pic of one, but the resident was sitting in his yard, so I thought otherwise. But I found one that was close here.

This road continues as Lacamas and then Shanklin. I stopped on the Shanklin portion to eat a gel packet and some dried apples. Then I turned left on Stowell and headed towards Salkum which is about at the halfway point on the ride. I needed to use a restroom by this time and was hoping to find one to use in Salkum. Finding a restroom seems to be one of the problems that I run into with riding in a lot of rural areas. I reached town at 8:30 and none of the places with one were open. I also ran into problems with Bikely maps here. It showed Wilcox Rd as going though but it did not. But I got a chance to stop at the cemetery since it was Memorial weekend. I backtracked to Fuller Rd and headed west. A mile or 2 down the road I came across a store with a porta-potty and took care of my need. I also changed into shorts since it was warming up.

At the end of Fuller, I turned right on Spencer Rd. This is the road from LCHR that I really wanted to ride again. It follows along the Cowlitz River and good for seeing wildlife. This time a spotted several Mouring Doves and a bird that was brilliant yellow and red with black wings. I tried to take a picture but it flew away. Further along the road, I spotted a patch of watercress in a stream, yum!

This road ends at the Cowlitz Mission and I took some time here to wander the cemetery and take pictures. Then I turned onto Jackson Highway and headed home.

Total distance: 55.82

Avg MPH: 12.11

Friday, May 23, 2008

Weekly ride recap

This week had very diverse weather. On Sunday and Monday temperatures were in the mid-80s.
Tuesday through Thursday was rainy with temperatures in the low 50's.

When the temperatures are hot, riding is harder to me. I don't handle being hot well.
Although, I whine about it raining this time of year when I start to expect dry, it makes the ride easier, since I don't have to worry about overheating.

Sunday coming back from Amtrak was uneventful.

On Monday, I came up with a route to bike class that would add distance and make for some exploration. I headed out the opposite direction (East and South) to connect up with the Springwater Trail, I could follow this 15 miles into Portland and connect with the Eastbank Esplande. The Springwater is nice for several reasons. It allows for riding with less car interaction, this means quieter and mostly safer. This trail has some problems though, the paving is poor through most of it, wavy and bumpy. Along the riverfront it can get very crowded when the weather is nice like the day I rode it. There were lots of mini-Lances straining to beat each other like there was some race going on. There are also LOTS of joggers. I joked to myself that they must be evacuating the city by foot. The combination of the racer wannabes and the joggers makes for an uneasy mix and takes away any enjoyment of the scenery.
The Esplanade is more casual but just by a bit. I noted a couple places on this stretch that will make for good hot weather escapes.
After the Esplanade I climbed up Lloyd to 15th and to class. NE Portland has a strange wind blowing. It was a swirling 25 mph wind, with a lot of dust in the air. I half expected there to be some funnel cloud forming.

Class was about servicing headsets. I cleaned and greased mine. There was enough leftover time to also replace my bottom bracket on this bike. It was very work out.
The ride home was quite an improvement to not have a creaking headset and sloppy play in the BB.
Total miles: 44

Tuesday was one of my rest days.

Wednesday I decided to ride up the gorge to Crown Point State Park. The ride is a steady climb to a vista with 800 foot cliffs down to the Columbia River. It is a great view and a very beautiful ride. It started raining at Corbett and kept it up all the way home.
Total miles: 36

Thursday was a rainy and cold ride downtown. I made my usual stop at one of the food carts for dinner then locked my bike and headed for the station. Train was on time and I got to Chehalis a few minutes early.

About My Commute

I have a somewhat unusual commute. I live in Chehalis, WA but work in Gresham, OR, a distance of over 90 miles. I do it car free this way:
I rent an apartment only 1.2 miles from where I work. I travel from my house to my apartment by Amtrak most of the way and the rest by bicycle.
The Amtrak station is 12 miles from my apartment. After work on Thursday, I load up the panniers and pedal to a bike locker I rent from the City of Portland. There I transfer a pannier to a rolling cart that i picked up at Goodwill.
On Sunday afternoon I do the reverse.

The cycling implications are that I have Portland bikes and a Chehalis bike.

When I ride into the office and back the the apartment M-Thur, I can do it in 5 minutes. This means I can show up in my work clothes not sweaty, no showering or changing at work. Though, fortunately, I do have that option. Work has bike lockers and showers.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chehalis to Tacoma

As I mentioned in the previous post, today I rode up to Tacoma. I wanted to arrive as early as I could so I set off from my house at 5:30 AM. The pre-dawn light was sufficient at that point and with the temporary warm weather, it was 56 degrees. I was able to begin the ride in a tee, vest and shorts.
The route mapped to about 67 miles so I expected to arrive by 10:30 at my brother-in-laws house.
The first hour was very pleasant and uneventful heading north on SR 507. Then my work pager went off (I am oncall this week). Frustrated, I looked at the page and called in to acknowledge the incident. It took 40 minutes trying to get a hold of someone to work the problem.
With the done, I continued on, a little bit later I came upon some blue Camas in bloom. This area is known as violet prairie. Before it became populated, the whole prairie was covered in blue Camas and was an important food source for the native poeples. Now it can be found along fence lines and in occasional patches.
With the first real warm weather, I was in for several first of the season pleasures. One was the sound of a Swainson's Thrush here is a link to it's song.
Another treat was the smell of Scotch Broom in bloom and warmed by the sun. The plant is listed as a noxious weed that was brought here by a homesick Scotsman. I grew up around it and love it.

In Tenino, I connected with the bike path that connects Lacey, Yelm and Tenino. I stopped at the park first and ate one of the PowerGel packets and topped off my water bottles. I followed this path up to Military Rd.
Right before the turn off, the path passes an equestrian center and there was a Dressage show. I have a co-worker that manages shows like these and, in fact, she was doing so this weekend. I thought the voice over the loudspeaker sounded like her. I will have to check at work and see if this was where her show was.

After turning off of Military road and turning onto Rainier Rd, I passed through an area that I spent most of my youth in and around. Part of this road passes though prairie and forest in the Fort Lewis Military Reservation. I have not traveled this road in probably 15 years, but as I was riding along, I hit a spot and immediately it triggered memories. This spot forms the scenery for many of of my dreams, it must have become some archetype of an outdoor location.

I was now about 29 miles into the ride and the temperature was perfect, I felt excellent except for one problem. I needed to pee and there were no restrooms for miles. Worse, this was an empty roadway with forest on both sides. Unfortunately, being a military reservation, trespassing is bad news so I had to ride along fighting a mental battle whether to risk it or wait for the gas station at the turn onto Yelm Highway. I chose to wait.

When I finally made it there, I bought a chocolate bar, used the restroom and ate a banana and the chocolate. I set out down the Yelm Highway enjoying wide shoulders and smooth riding.
The next couple roads, Meridian and Mullen have very little shoulder and have a fair amount of traffic, but early on a Saturday is not bad.

Now the route traveled West on SR 510 and Old Pacific Highway. There are some real nice spots along this section. At one point it crosses the Nisqually River and the smell of the sun warmed river area was wonderful, one of the best smells of summer.
Then there is a climb up to the first view of Puget Sound with the Olympic Mtns in the background.
At this spot I ate another gel packet and reapplied some sun screen. The road enters Ft Lewis again and back into forest and cool air.
I reached I-5 in good time. and crossed on the overpass. It was at this point that things started to go wrong. My plan was to cross through the golf course on the road that showed on Google maps. I went the wrong way and had to turn back. While getting back to the golf course, I found a robins egg that the chick had hatched from, the shell was mostly intact. I put it in my handlebar bag to show the kids.
Once I got back to the golf course I wandered around on some roads and paths trying to find the way through. At one point, an employee in a golf cart came along and I asked him how to get through. He told me to head on a cart path and I would come to a gravel road. If I continued on that I would end up in Dupont he said. I thanked him and headed out.
About a half mile down the gravel road it branched. I tried all of the different ways and always either ended up on a green or along a high barbed wire fence with me on the inside with 'No Trespassing' signs on the other.
This golf course is on Ft. Lewis property and is open to the public but the military base is connected to it. I went along the fence line, with the knowledge if I was seen, I would be detained. I was desperate to get out of here and back out of the golf course. I eneded up pushing my bike through the greens and out. My hope was that this part of I-5 would allow cyclist on the shoulder. If it did not, i was in for a 30 mile detour which was mind punishing.
Total time wasted on this attempt: 1:15 hours plus an additional 4 miles.

Fortunately, the freeway did allow bikes and I only needed to make it to the next exit. There was a weigh station between the 2 exits and I thought it might be safer to pass through the weigh station. It turns out, this created another problem. The ramp back on the freeway passed under the onramp for the exit I wanted. I ended up bushing my bike up a bush covered slope and onto the right one. I was now more tired both physically and emotionally than I should be here and 2 hours behind schedule. This also put me 2 hours into the hotter part of the day. The temperature had now risen to 84. The distance was 52 miles.
Once one Center Drive though Dupont I picked up bike lanes and made good time to the Dupont Steilacoom Hwy. This road enters Ft Lewis once again and passed though training facilities, shooting ranges and vehicle storage. It is very hot and dusty. Then I entered a cool forest section before Steilacoom. The route follows along Puget Sound for 4 miles with outstanding scenery.

After following the water, there is an extended climb up to the Tacoma plateau. I was feeling ragged from the heat and emotional drain of being lost in the golf course.

Shortly after getting into Tacoma, I issed my turn onto Cirque Dr and got fairly off course. I looked at Google maps and picked a route to avoid backtracking. This was not a great choice as it turns out. I chose to go on Grandview to S 6th and follow 6th until Pearl. These roads were very ugly, busy and had not accommodation for bikes. This section of my ride was dreadful.
Once back on my route, I zoomed to finish the ride. Total Distance 72.44.
This ride left me in good shape. I was not saddle sore, my legs were tired but not sore.
I was well hydrated and did not get a sunburn. The main problem area for this ride was my shoulders and neck. I need to find a way to improve this area.

Observations from ride:
  • Needing a restroom is a reoccurring theme at about mile 30. Need to take better care of this.
  • Bullfrog sunblock is great for swimming but bad for cycling. It is tacky and bugs and road grime stick to your skin
  • Google maps can lead you into places that don't really go though like it looks. Be more careful of these traps.
  • PowerGel is not near as tasty as Gu Gel but getting it cheap will keep me using it.
  • I need to improve my arm, shoulder and neck comfort for long rides. Either strengthen this part of my body or get a bike fit.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gel score!

My SO was shopping at our favorite grocery liquidator, a fine purveyor of dented cans, unwanted items and some expired stuff. While she was there they got some cases of Power Gel.
Each case was $2.50. They retail for $21.99! That is .10 per packet.

Day After ride report

The Day after the LCHR I expected to be real sore and exhausted.
It turns out that I was not. I was a little sore around the knee area in my quads and my hip flexors were tight.
An hour yoga session did the trick to loosen me up.
My back was the main victim, being stiff and sore.

Biking Weekly Recap

Bike: Trek 970
I rode to work, which is 1.2 miles from my apt.
After work, the temperature was right around 58 degrees which I consider ideal.
I was heading to my bike maintainence class. To get there I take a multi-use path along the Columbia River. The route is about 15 miles. The air was dead calm which was exciting. It usually is quite windy and the prevailing wind there is a headwind. As it turns out, the lack of wind was worse. There were millions of gnats swarming over the bike path and made the ride a slog through the bugs.

On one section I chose to ride along the should of Marine Drive, the city has just repaved it and it was a chance to escape the gnats. As I approached Marine Drive, I heard a low whirring sound that was unusual for a vehicle to make and thought that it must be an electric vehicle. What I found out was that it was an 18 wheeler running a diesel engine and the new pavement was so smooth that the truck made very little noise.
The pavement had another surprise for me as well. Just as I reached the end of the newly paved section, a car passed by me. I panicked momentarily and braced for impact. Then I realized what had happened. As the car went from the extra smooth pavement to the older paved section the sound changed from virtually no tire noise to quite a bit. This change in sound right next to me, is what startled me. The abruptness was like a car suddenly locking up its wheels and skidding, which is what my brain registered. The rest of the ride was quite uneventful.

In bike class we learned about bottom brackets and how to service/replace depending upon the type you have. I had also brought in a new chain and rear cassette to put on my bike. I was working on my Portland Heavy Hauler which is a Trek 970 I have owned since I bought it new in '91. The bottom bracket was original and when I took it out, I noticed the seal was gone on one side and there was a lot of crud packed into the bearing area. Also, the bearings were dry and dusty on the non-drive side. I opted to replace this old BB with a cartridge kind.
Due to the extra stuff I was doing, I started to run short on time and kinda rushed the chain replacement part.

When I set out after class, there was a weird sound, feeling to pedaling. I stopped on the sidewalk under a street lamp to check it out. It was 10 P.M. but I had a 10 mile ride and the noise would drive me nuts if I did not deal with it. I leaned the bike against a power pole over a grassy section and saw that the chain was routed wrong in the rear derailer. It went around a metal tab between the jockey wheels that it should not have. I broke the chain at the quick link and routed it properly. But when I tried to reconnect the quick link, I noticed it was not on the chain on one side. GREAT! It was down in the dark grass somewhere. Time to start feeling around for it. After about 3 minutes, I located it and reconnected the chain.

Trek 970
On the ride to work the rain began, and kept up all day. I had my last Thai language lesson downtown after work. A 27 mile round trip. I was not feeling too excited about getting soaked and sitting through the lesson wet, then getting back on the bike and riding home. The desire to skip out on the lesson nagged all afternoon. I planned to set out and ride towards class then, it things were looking down, I could bail.
As it turned out. The rain let up after 5 minutes and never started again. The ride was ideal after that, temperature was about 56 degrees and having just rained, smells were enhanced. I rode under many horse chestnut trees in full bloom and the air was like perfume. When I crossed the Willamette on the Steel Bridge path, there happened to be cycling time trials on the Naito Parkway. The whole street was roped off and there were lots of police and spectators. I asked a cop how I was supposed to get across and he said to just cross when it would not interfere with the cyclists.

I only rode to and from work, it is a cycling rest day. I have 180 miles ridden in the last 5 days and need to rest my muscles and joints.
I did some upper body weights and an hour of yoga.

Bike: Trek 970
Today after work I head back home to Chehalis. More on my weekly commute cycle in a later post. The ride downtown is 12 miles, temperature is 86 degrees today. The first 'hot one' of the year. Smells that I have not experienced for at least 8 months tickled my nose: hot pavement and heated bark dust. I took it real slow, to keep from arriving at the train station all sweaty.

I work from home and so a complete cycling rest day. Did route planning for my ride tomorrow. My SO is watching her nephew in Tacoma and I am going to ride up there.
The route is 67.7 miles and lots of nice route.


Morning started out at 7:15 AM, 48 degrees and overcast, threatening rain. I had the bike all loaded up (carrying more than was needed but was part of the 'test'). I rode down to the starting point at Stan Hedwall park. I got my number and set out. Was about 7:40 when I began the ride.

I crossed over the freeway and turned on Interstate/Bishop Rd. About 10 minutes into the ride I remembered to set the stopwatch on my phone to record elapsed time. I also began to think about the 8 Gu gels in my handlebar bag. I decided that I would wait until 8:20 to consume the first one. I had eaten an egg on an English muffin, a banana and a yogurt for breakfast.

I also knew that I had some climbing to do soon.

I turned off onto Rush Rd and followed it to Middle fork. Ate the first gel packet (Espresso flavor), it tasted quite good.

Then came the big hill. I got tired on the climb but kept going. At the top was the turn onto Taushcer Rd which is a fast descent to SR 508. I turned right onto 508 and was pleased with the amount of shoulder the road had. I had never tried riding this section and wondered what kind of shoulder it would have.

Then was the turn onto SR 12 and up another extended climb. I reached the top grateful it was not bad and that I had the climbing done for quite some time. On the flats at the top I was passed by a couple with matching bikes and the man commented on how tired he was and hoped that were were not going to be climbing for a while. I figured they were doing the 46 mile route. I continued up 12 to the first food stop.

I used the restroom, added some hydrocortizone cream to saddle area. Then I topped off my water bottles, grabbed 2 boiled potatoes and a banana for my handlebar bag and set out.

Total stop time less than 5 minutes. I was feeling good now and ate the banana as I descended to Oyler Rd. Upon turning left, I munched a potato and drank some water and Gatorade. I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of electrolytes, water and food to complete this ride.

On this section of road I startled 2 bunnies and had a deer cross the road in front of me.

After a couple turns It was a long flat stretch into some slight headwind and my hamstrings were getting tight so I found a good stop and did some stretches. This helped a bunch.

I got passed again by that couple and since we were on a 100 mile only part of the route I knew that they were in for the whole thing. This suprised me based upon his previous comments.

After getting out of the wind, I made a turn south and headed downhill to be greeted by a climb. I took this real easy as I was getting a little tired and was only 27 miles into the ride. Then I got a rest on a long fast downhill and the road headed back west. On this part things started to seem easy again and I poured the speed on, doing about 16.5 mph. Upon passing a roadside memorial, I decided to stop and take a picture. This is when I noticed a rider approaching from behind. I was determined to hold him off for as long as possible.

The route began a series of slight descents and fast descents and after about 5 miles he passed me. I kept with him for another 5 miles.

The route sheet commented on more climbing so I cooled it off since I was feeling a bit spent. Additionally, my bladder was full and making riding not so fun. I was also getting a bit tired and so I gulped another gel packet. At this point I was riding along the Cowlitz river and this section was very beautiful.

After a lot of up and down, I even pushed my bike a little on one, I made it out to open plains again.

I met up with a strong wind that was blowing North. Since I was heading west this was a cross wind for me. I knew that in a dozen miles or less we would be heading North and if the wind held, this would be nice to have pushing me along.

As I was thinking about this and hoping for a restroom soon, I had about 4 more miles to go, I saw an antique glass insulator sitting in the ditch. I decided to take it home. The thing was heavy, about 4 lbs. I chuckled as I put it in my pack. Now the bike weighed more than ever.

Upon finally arriving at the 47 mile food stop at the Cowlitz mission, I was surprised at the grandeur of the church, but first thing was to find a restroom. I asked where and after a bit of difficulty, used it and changed my padded shorts, added some more hydrocortizone and took off my sleeved shirt.

Then I got a couple more taters, half a banana and topped off my water bottles again.

I felt a bit stronger as I set out and was heading West towards Vader.

Once I got to Vader my bottom was feeling the seat quite a bit and my wrists/arms were a bit. My back felt stiff as well. It was nice to now have a tailwind and flat smooth roads with the addition of nice scenery. I picked up the pace again, at a GU packet and worked to put more miles behind me. The next food stop was at mile 73 and I still had 20 miles to make it there.

I kept changing seat position and hand position trying to get comfortable.

Just before Winlock I was passed by a group of about 6 riders and followed them into Winlock. They stopped at a mini-mart so I decided to use them to time a break for me.

I stopped too and stretched and set out just after them.

My legs were feeling tired and my seat was feeling a bit chafed. When I was almost to the 3rd food stop, I saw the riding couple again, but this time they were heading off in the wrong direction. They must have had enough and were bailing.

When I made it to the 3rd food stop at Evaline School, I was grateful to have some watermelon and a cookie. Then I changed shorts one more time and added a bit more hydrocortizone cream, I left the fool leg tights off. I also was getting a spot on my toe that was going to develop a blister if I did not attend to it. The temperate was at 60 degrees now so I took off my Stormsox and my under socks and changed to a dry wool pair. This made a nice change in comfort.

I knew that I had less than 30 miles to go and had a long downhill and flat section just ahead.

I called Alx to tell her I was feeling/doing good and set out.

The ride on Pleasant Valley was fast and I was feeling good. By the time I got to Adna, I was weary but only had 5 mile to the next food stop and 18 to finish. This section was hilly so I ate a GU packet and stopped half way up the big hills to rest. I rolled into the 4 stop at Claquato Church and found I was the last rider and they were closing up shop. I took some pics, had a banana and a potato and put on some Chamois Butt'r. This really made a difference in my saddle area. My arms were sore especially right behind my elbows and my legs were sore and tired. I knew the rest of the route and it was mostly easy going. The question was if the wind would be there when I got to Airport Way, then I would have to ride some headwind and I did not want to lower my average speed which was at 13.3 now.

When I got to Airport Way the air was calm and I was thinking how the weather was doing my bidding when it started to rain and the wind kicked up in my face. So much for getting cocky.

I tried to pour it on for the last 5 miles and did pretty good. I was thinking how mentally I felt great and if my elbows and legs were not sore I could have gone for a double metric century no problem.

I rode to the finish with a smile. The ride organizers told me I was done so I picked up my bike, turned it around and started to ride home. The supporters thought that was very funny. The ride to the house turned into a downpour and I arrived home soaked and happy.

  • I felt that I was well prepared for this ride.
  • I carried too much weight
  • My equipment worked well
  • I enjoy casual rides much better than organized rides.
  • I look forward to my next century and beyond

Friday, May 9, 2008

The day before my 1st Century

I am excited and eager to begin. The ride I am doing is the Lewis County Historical Ride.
I have read many blogs and sites about how to do a long ride and what to bring. I also have a co-worker who has ridden several.
My preparation has been about 7 months.
I have been cycling all winter and doing longer and longer rides. During the week I usually do 2 27 mile days and on the weekend I am now riding 40 mile+ rides.
Two weeks ago, I rode a 100k (63 miles) to Yelm and back and completed the ride in 4:45 clock time and rode it in 4:21. My goal for the ride tomorrow is 8 hours or less of riding and 10 hours or less of clock time.
I feel strong and my bike is ready.
I called the ride organizer and I can go down at 7:00 AM and after completing registration, I can start the ride. One really cool thing is the ride begins at Stan Hedwall Park which is less than 2 miles from my house. I can ride to the ride.

Why another bike blog? Background

OMG! Another blog about cycling!
Well yeah, there are already tons out there but every one has it's own angle.
I chose to start this one because tomorrow is my first 100 mile+ ride (hopefully of many).
As I learn and grow with how to do longer rides, the obvious choice is to journal about them.
Since other people before and after me have and will travel this journey, blogging it will allow for sharing.
So here goes...