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Ride diary

I've taken hundreds of bike rides, and had some fantastic moments; but my chances of remembering any of them are pretty slim. So, from the launch of this site on, I'll be jotting down a few notes about each ride right here. Some will be uneventful, but others will surely be really special -- and I'll have something to remember them by!

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Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 17 minutes
Distance: 16.7 miles

I guess it really is possible to ride year-round here, but when the air is cooler and the days are shorter I'm less motivated to find long rides. That means I'm getting a little tired of my nearby routes already. Strong winds at this time of year are a factor in route selection, too. But today I decided to head down to Mt. Tabor, where I haven't been for a while.

The day was nicer than I expected and after climbing it once, I wasn't ready to come home, so I did a little exploring. Every time I've looked at the Mt. Tabor map it has made my head spin ... the roads aren't distinct from the hiking trails and they're all like a spaghetti tangle. But today I looked at the big map in the parking lot and tried figuring some of it out. Watching other bikers coming up the mountain from all directions was further inspiration. I ended up riding up and down a couple more times on different routes, and the map started to make sense! Now let's hope it still does when I return, which might not be for a couple months!

Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 55 minutes
Distance: 14.3 miles

The sun is shining, birds are singing ... it must be ... January? My wife and I clearly made the right choice in moving out here. It's been an amazing winter so far. My body went into cold shock around Thanksgiving, as it always does when winter sets in, but then it hasn't really gotten colder than that. And I swear it's only raining like 20% of the time.

Anyway, I've been busy finishing my first iPhone app, but with temperatures into the low 50's and sunshine I had to take a break today and get out. I've been ignoring my Columbia River route eastward because of the strong winds that blow down the Gorge in the winter, but I tried it today and it wasn't as bad as I feared. I had also forgotten how much beauty there is within a few miles of my home. The river, the Cascades and Mount Hood were spectacular.

I even got to indulge an old childhood interest by watching a pair of F-15's take off from the Air Force base on the way back. Those things are LOUD. But it made me feel patriotic to see our national defense at work. (Now if we could just keep them here, on defense, rather than abroad, on offense ... but that's a topic for my political blog.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 0 minutes
Distance: 15.6 miles

One reason I keep this log is to keep track of what clothing works best in different temperatures. Today I learned that 50-55 degrees is the point where a full insulated hat becomes too warm and a simple ear band would be best.

I also learned that the little toe covers on my shoes (half-booties, if you will) do keep my feet warm, but also make my pedals creak ... I tested both outcomes by removing one toe cover. (Without stopping, thank you very much.)

Anyway, I took a partially new route today, over to Willamette Boulevard but then up the Peninsula Crossing Path rather than all the way to Kelly Point Park. It was a nice ride! But the time and distance are approximate because the battery on my computer is dying and it didn't track the whole ride.

Friday, February 5, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 0 minutes
Distance: 15 miles

This is an estimate because my computer battery is even more dead now! I was looking for something a little new but not too new, and I considered going into downtown on the Broadway bridge and then around the river and back. But that would take me -right- into downtown, which didn't seem good during Friday rush hour. So, I just did the Steel Bridge to Hawthorne Bridge loop, in the direction I had meant to do with Sally last time, and it was fine. I stopped on the Steel Bridge for a while to watch a giant freighter docked at the grain elevator ... but with trains overhead and bikes whizzing by it was kind of scary there!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 51 minutes
Distance: 14.3 miles

It's been over 50 every day and sunny about half the days, and I've had perfect luck targeting the sunny days for bike rides. Today I took a quick break from work to ride to the Columbia River path. I rode pretty fast, too ... staggering a bit when I got home! Then again, I was pretty tired to begin with. Anyway, I have a new computer battery so the numbers are correct now.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 13 minutes
Distance: 16.8 miles

Back in the midwest, my first ride of the year with shorts was always a special event. I usually tried to do this on Easter, but in any case, shedding the tights at least for a day is perfectly symbolic of spring, for a cyclist.

Here in Oregon, I didn't have to wait until April -- I went out in shorts today! It was a bit chilly at first and I almost turned back, but once I got warmed up I was fine. It was about 60 degrees and completely sunny.

I rode to Rocky Butte and started the climb from the normal direction in my lowest gear, rather than my second lowest, and was able to reach the point I usually want to give up without feeling to bad. In other words, I was able to hold that gear consistently to the top. Then, after trying for minimum braking on the way down, I decided to ride back up the other side. Oof! That was a bit much and I struggled on the steeper parts and didn't ride too ambitiously.

When I got back up I tried going up to the top of the park to enjoy the view. It didn't seem possible on my bike and it was difficult to walk up the steep, gravel path in cycling shoes, but I did it, and the scenery was marvelous. This gave me a great feeling for the ride back home.

Friday, February 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 59 minutes
Distance: 12.9 miles

Today I was able to stop work a bit early and I decided to do an exploratory ride. I wanted to find a few different paved paths (purple lines on the city cycling map) that I hadn't ridden before -- the coastline at Swan Island, a bluff park north of PSU, and a path along the south side of the Columbia Slough.

Swan Island was first, and whew, you can't tell from the cycling map that many of the roads there are like Interstate highways. That was pretty scary, and I went off track a couple times because I just had to go where the road took me. I ended up at a boat ramp with a "interpretive viewpoint," and then eventually worked my way back to the path, which was nice but not worth going very far out of the way for. It had a nice view of the loading docks across the river, but was less than a mile long.

I rode back up the bluff toward my second destination, but I was running short on time, and by the time I reached Willamette Boulevard, I pretty much had to get home. I rode up and down that once between Rosa Parks and Killingsworth, and checked out the view of where I had been, then headed back. The other destinations will have to wait for another day.

Saturday, March 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 59 minutes
Distance: 14.2 miles

Nice weather, so I finished work a bit early and headed for Rocky Butte. I just did my normal loop, coming up the curvier, southern side and ending on the straighter, northern side. I still haven't ridden in short sleeves, but the shorts feel good!

Saturday, March 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 27 minutes
Distance: 20.2 miles

Still nice out, so after Rocky Butte yesterday I headed to Mt. Tabor today. My goal was to continue getting to know the various routes in and around the park, in particular the west side route the winds around the reservoirs and then drops straight down into the neighborhoods below.

For the first few blocks, I thought it was a mistake to do two hilly rides in a row, but as I got warmed up I started feeling good, and that initial climb up to the base of the park on Yamhill went well, and I managed to keep the pace right up to the summit on my usual route. Then I went over the other side, swooped down past the reservoirs -- and enjoyed the rare experience of watching people pull each other out of the road as I sped by -- and ventured down a rickety road to the very bottom.

Then I wheeled around and headed back up, a slightly different route as I had planned, eventually connecting with Yamhill a block below the park road, and ending up where I originally entered the park. Of course at that point I headed back up to the summit one more time.

The park was magnificent today, with flowering trees and hundreds of people enjoying the spring weather. For the first time, I wish I lived in southeast Portland! But that's all right. I rolled back home. The ride had great symmetry -- 30 minutes to the park, 30 minutes to go over the mountain and back again, and 30 minutes (actually 27) to get back home. Next time I'll try climbing up the side I descended. Meanwhile, I have to call this the best ride I've had since moving here.

Monday, March 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 14 minutes
Distance: 20.4 miles

I haven't been up the Columbia River path much yet this year, and when I have, I haven't gone as far as the I-205 bridge, so I decided to go ahead and climb that today. The typical stiff headwind going toward the Gorge, I realized, turned into a rather unnerving crosswind riding over the bridge. In fact, I may have found a cure for my fear of heights on these bridges -- a wind so strong that I have to fight to keep my bike upright!

The wind was actually a part tailwind so the climb wasn't that strenuous, and the part headwind combined with my concentration on steering coming back down meant my ascent and descent took roughly the same time. Ha! Oh well, I got back on the path and pretty much flew back home.

Saturday, March 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 25 minutes
Distance: 25.6 miles

Sally just got a new job in Milwaukee on the far south side of town -- she starts Monday -- and with our warmest day yet today, I offered to try out the bike commuting route with her. It's quite a nice ride -- over to Vancouver, down through the Rose Quarter to the river, then bike path all the way down to Sellwood and about 1.5 miles further on 17th -- ending with a .5 mile climb that was sufficiently steep to draw several hard-core riders over for training.

I would have worn my Rabobank jersey to celebrate both Oscar Freire's win in the Milan-San Remo today, and the first day of short-sleeve weather, but I knew we'd be taking it slow, and I didn't want to clash with Sally's more subdued riding gear. Although we rode slow, we were still out for a while (we stopped to check out the new workplace before heading back) and I started getting that "I'll eat anything" feeling toward the end. But I didn't have to settle for anything -- we stopped at Back to Eden bakery on Alberta and picked up a couple of vegan shakes to take home with us and enjoy with dinner. A great end to a great day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 58 minutes
Distance: 12.4 miles

I had a very busy week, but I'm starting to sense the coming of summer, and got an extra boost of enthusiasm last week with a shopping trip to get a new helmet, shorts and pump, so my goal was to squeeze in a short ride today. I had another goal as well, which was to scope out a few parks as possible locations for the first Portland jug band festival that I'm helping to organize. These fit perfectly into my downtown/Willamette River loop, so I did that, with some extra stops along the way. I brought a camera but didn't use it ... Google satellite views provide a better sense of a layout, but it was good to get up close to check out details like electrical outlets and see what kinds of activities were happening in each park.

Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 57 minutes
Distance: 48.9 miles

I had time for a longer ride today, so I decided to try that Sauvie Island loop again. Except for the St. John's bridge and some rolling hills on the Mount St. Helens highway, it's pretty flat. But a ride of this length at this time of year was still enough to exhaust me. Yes, I rode a bit too fast in the first half. But I need to think more about eating and drinking on rides longer than 90 minutes. In fact, even though it was cool today, I felt pretty dehydrated afterwards, so it may be time to start using energy drinks again ... something I haven't done since my racing days.

Also, it's a pretty nice route, but I forgot how rough the road is out there! Pretty uncomfortable, especially when tired. And it might be one area that has more traffic on the weekends than during rush hour.

As for the St. Johns Bridge, I decided to ride on the road this time rather than the sidewalk and that was much less scary. I encountered a few other serious looking cyclists doing the same thing so, I guess that's what I'll do from now on. Too bad I can't do that on the I-5 bridge...

Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 41 minutes
Distance: 26.2 miles

Today I did the Killingsworth/I-205/Springwater/East Bank loop around the east side of Portland. It was a nice ride and went faster than I expected. I remembered it as a 2-hour ride. I guess the detour on the I-205 path is gone, so that helps.

The ride was uneventful but I got a good laugh on the Springwater path at the Johnson Creek park. I stopped at a bathroom facility and walked past a woman in her 50's-60's standing next to two hybrid bikes on kickstands. I guessed she was waiting for a friend in one bathroom, so I leaned my bike against the wall and went into the other. When I came out a minute later, she was staring wide-eyed at my bike, then looked up and stared wide-eyed at me. I could have just ridden off, but it seemed like she wanted to say something, so I smiled and said hello. Then she pointed to her bike and then mine and said, "You don't have one of those ... you know ..." "Kickstands?" I said. "Yes!" she said. Then it dawned on her, and she said, "Oh, you have one of those -fast- kind of bikes."

I laughed and said, "That's right, no unnecessary weight," then wished her a good ride. How cute.

Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 2 minutes
Distance: 14.6 miles

Oh boy. I spent the last two weekends on spring cleaning and house projects, and then a visit from my parents, so this is the first ride I've had in a while. (I did get a couple early morning hikes in there.) Today I didn't have much time but I wanted to get back in the saddle, so I rode to Rocky Butte to try my climbing legs. I rode it okay, but felt a bit humbled by a runner who started the climb a minute or so ahead of me and stayed ahead for an embarrassingly long time. As I passed him, I wondered how far up he'd go and assumed I'd never seen him again ... but after I coasted around the small park at the top one time, there he appeared! I was so impressed, I rolled around again and when I passed him, I said, "You climbed this almost as fast as me! Nice work!" He smiled and shrugged. When I rolled back around the second time, he was gone and I wondered where he went ... until I started the descent, and passed him again, already about a third of the way down. The dude was fast!

Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 9:00 am

Duration: 1 hours, 37 minutes
Distance: 21.1 miles

Okay, I'd been wanting to get over and climb the hills on the west side of Portland for a while now, and at some point I decided that I'd wait until after my one-year anniversary of moving here. Then I didn't have time the last two weekends, but by the time this weekend came around I couldn't wait any longer. I actually had an opportunity to play some music at the Alberta Art Hop in the afternoon, and it's supposed to be rainy tomorrow, so I got up early to ride even though I'd miss the warmest part of the day that way. This also meant I was under some time pressure to limit my exploration and not get lost.

After studying the Portland bike map and also my new topographical map of Forest Park, I decided to take Vancouver and the Broadway Bridge to downtown, then work over to the Burnside and climb that up and over the Tualatin ridge. From there I'd connect to the well-known Skyline Boulevard, and catch Cornell back into town.

Finding Burnside was easy enough, and it wasn't as steep as the climbs I've been doing on the east side, but it sure was longer ... over three miles, about 15 minutes, or about three times longer than Rocky Butte or Mount Tabor. The worst part is that I could never tell how much further I had to go. I had decided from my maps that the tunnel would be at the top, but there were a few more rises after that. I also figured when I went past the Pittock Mansion, my suffering was nearly over, but no! As it was, I had to stand on the pedals for a few sections just to take a break ... there was no way I could hold my gear in a seated position for 15 minutes.

Once I made it to Skyline, though, my spirits were immediately lifted. Rather than the busy highway I imagined, this was a curvy, country road ... and the postcard view of Mount St. Helens from the cemetery at the top was incredible. I climbed a bit more (shorter, rolling climbs now) and had no trouble finding Thompson and then Cornell roads. Even the Skyline Cafe was much more "rural" than I imagined. And I passed numerous other roads that seemed like great places to explore.

Of course, the long descents back into town were fun, and I never regretted my relatively early ride. Although I wore long sleeves and tights, I was neither too warm nor too cold, and I got a bit of pleasure out of riding back into town as several groups of other riders were just heading out. The only kind of bad moment was going through one of the tunnels on Cornell with a car on my tail. I was afraid he wouldn't see me, so I balanced my fear of riding very fast in the dark with my fear of getting rear ended and refrained from touching the brakes. As it was, the car drove sensibly and there was no problem at all. I even made it home 20 minutes faster than expected.

Bottom line, I've broken into a whole new set of riding opportunities, that are at the same time less trafficked and closer to home than I expected. Hooray!

Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 0 minutes
Distance: NA miles

I haven't been to a big, pro race since the World Championships in Hamilton in 2003, about the time I started this website. But now that I live on the West Coast, I wanted to work in a visit to the Tour of California at least once. I had originally thought of driving to the San Francisco area for the opening stages last weekend, but my work schedule, the cost of driving vs. flying and the chance to see my favorite rider Fabian Cancellara in his specialty, the time trial, eventually convinced me to fly to the Los Angeles area for the last two stages. Today was the time trial in downtown LA.

I left Portland at 7 am, arrived in LA around 10, picked up my rental car and headed into the city with the help of my Garmin GPS. I had a map of the race course, but didn't have a good sense of the area once I got there (and had a really hard time telling north from south once I got off the freeway), so I just parked in the first lot off the exit and started walking. I wasn't too far off, but going around the Staples Center and Convention Center and the roped-off VIP areas meant my feet were pretty sore by the time I found the team area. However, I got there in plenty of time to check out all the team buses, spot a few famous riders and managers, then stake out a spot in front of the well-disguised Saxo Band team bus with my VeloNews "cobble crusher" edition (with Cancellara on the cover), CSC jersey and Sharpie.

While watching a mohawked mechanic assemble Cance's time trial bike (complete with Olympic rings on the saddle and a gold medal replica on the top tube), Bobby Julich and Bjarne Riis arrived. I got Bobby's autograph on my race program, and Bjarne's on my jersey, just under the Riis Cycling logo. He was as dour as ever, but when I said, "This is my favorite jersey," he cracked the tiniest smile.

Finally Cancellara arrived, looking at the crowd surrounding the bus and saying, "I am happy to be here!" (It turned out nobody picked him up from the hotel and he had to walk.) He immediately went into the bus to change into his rainbow jersey skinsuit with a Swiss national champion's jersey on top. Unfortunately, his late arrival meant no autographs today. He emerged with Jens Voigt and the two went to scope out the TT course, and didn't come back.

The next part of my day was spent observing the race from various parts of the course. I watched the first few riders, including Cancellara, leave the start house (he was sitting fourth from last on the g.c., one place behind Boonen until Boonen withdrew the day before), then walked the long way around the VIP areas and up the north part of the course toward the one small (2-3 blocks long) hill, stopping every few minutes to watch a few riders go by. There was no food or beverage vending on the course, amazingly, and most of the downtown businesses were closed, so I just blew through lunch without a thought. Walking back toward the start/finish area, I also developed several blisters on both feet. Oh well, I was having fun!

For the last part of the race, I found a jumbotron and stayed there to watch the overall contenders -- Leipheimer, Zabriskie, Chris Horner and Michael Rogers -- but there was no change to the overall standings. Finally I headed back to the team buses, but Cancellara was already gone and I got to watch his mechanic place his disassembled, bubble-wrapped bike back in its shipping box for the trip back to Europe. Eventually Jens Voigt came out to chat with some fans and pose for photos. What an extremely likeable guy! I had my photo sort of halfway taken with him, but I wasn't assertive enough to really get his attention and I'm not sure he even noticed I was there. Oh well. I can see why he's so popular. As he walked away he stopped to compliment one of the fans on the old steel Colnago he was riding.

My friend Starr came to meet me toward the end of the race, and brought a snack that held me over until my long-awaited return visit to Real Food Daily that evening.

Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 11:00 am

Duration: 0 hours, 0 minutes
Distance: NA miles

After spending a lot of time at the Saxo Bank team bus yesterday but not achieving my big goal of a Cancellara autograph, I made sure to get up early and get to the race start in Thousand Oaks in plenty of time today. I actually got there before the Saxo bus, followed it to its parking lot when it arrived, and was the first to take a position by the door when it parked! A couple other fans immediately joined me and I had some nice conversations with a young rider with a CSC jersey and an older rider with a Swiss champion's jersey. I joked that if I couldn't get to Cancellara, he could autograph my magazine for me!

Eventually the crowd grew and a mechanic set up a rope barrier before he started bringing out the bikes for the day's ride. Not missing a beat, I was the first to the barrier, right in front of the bus door. I could see Andy Schleck through the window, and, somewhat embarrassingly, I could see Cancellara in his bib shorts just inside the door each time it opened. (Some other fans weren't as embarrassed and tried to time their photos for the brief openings of the door as team staff went in and out.) I didn't bother taking photos, I just focused on my magazine, my sharpie and my position. Finally the door opened and there he was in all his scruffy Swiss glory. The cry went up for "Fabian!" and he came directly to me for the first autograph. He wasn't chatty or approachable but signed about a half-dozen before grabbing his bike and rolling away. Score! Now for the encore ... I flipped the magazine to an Andy Schleck full-page ad a few pages in and held my position. Sure enough, a few minutes later, out came the Luxembourg national champion. And again, I was first in line for the autograph. Andy was much more easygoing, smiling and looking around the crowd. He said something like, "That was fast!" when we all shouted his name. Then someone asked him to sign a sock monkey and he made a cute smirk, but did it. Finally a couple of irresistible kids who snuck under the barrier got the last autographs, and he was gone too. Then poor Jakob Fuglsang came out to complete silence and bewilderment about who he was. Ah well ... motivation to train harder, I guess.

Everyone moved over to the race start area, where I got to see glimpses of all the stars milling around through the crowd for 10 minutes or so. Then the national anthem, a brief countdown, and they were gone. I had a plan to jump right in the car and head for the hilliest part of the course, and I wasn't alone -- it took quite a while to get out of the parking lot and on the road.

Today's race was five laps around a 15-mile or so circuit that included a lot of climbing along the famous Mulholland Drive. I followed my race course map to an intersection just after the biggest climb, parked at a crazy angle against the side of the road, and started walking down the hill, ignoring yesterday's blisters and, again, the lack of food and beverage (actually, Starr packed me off with a bran muffin and some carrots and those were plenty to keep me going all day).

I missed the first lap, but when I arrived at the hill it was a scene out of the Tour de France, with costumed runners, cycling enthusiasts making the climb, picnicers and chalk artists. The terrain was more mountainous than I expected, and peering down the edge of the climb, I could see the race approaching from several miles off. Just like at the 2003 World's, I saw the helicopters approach, then the police motorbikes, then a wave of cheering, then groups of riders followed by the race caravan. Whee!

The third lap, I got a good shot of Cancellara -- that was easy because he was off the back with one other rider. He retired after that. Otherwise, it was difficult to take photos, so I just relaxed and enjoyed the scene. It was a beautiful day, the fans were all in good moods, and I was glad I made the trip.

The only downside is I had no idea what was happening in the rest of the race. It seemed fairly straightforward from up there -- George Hincapie got into a breakaway group of five or so riders, but I figured he wouldn't win it. I didn't realize there were some big attacks among the contenders between the last climb and the finish line! But at the end of the day the overall standings remained, with Australian Michael Rogers claiming the victory (and Ryder Hesjedal the final stage).

I had planned to go back into town after the penultimate lap to watch the finish, but I had kind of a tight squeeze to get back to the airport, and I'd achieved my autograph goals already, and it was such a nice vibe on the climb that I just stayed there through the last lap. Then I moseyed back over the top of the climb to my car to begin my journey home.

Sunday, May 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Distance: 35.0 miles

Not much riding this month, although plenty of cycling with the Tour of California (see above) and the Giro d'Italia (Basso returns). I finally had a day to ride today. I wanted to do a substantial ride, but didn't have a lot of energy, so I decided to take the flat route along the riverside to Troutdale and find the start of the Historic Columbia River Highway. It only took an hour to get there, but it would probably take another hour on that road to get to the best climbs, and it will be a while before I can manage a four hour ride with climbing. Oh well, I did find a nice parking spot right at the start of the highway in case I want to drive and start from there.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 0 minutes
Distance: NA miles

I had a busy workweek (shortened by Memorial Day) and a band practice tonight, but I had also marked the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic on my calendar for more spectatorship. I skipped last night's prologue at the Portland Speedway (busy, and Sally had the car) but she agreed to come along with me tonight to the Mt. Tabor Criterium (and the band agreed to reschedule). The timing worked out great and I was glad we went! Although the riders were domestic pros and none were famous, the vibe was the same as the California race last month. And the course was astounding ... a climbing, zig-zagging criterium route through the mountainside park meant that each time you'd look up, or down, or over, you'd be likely to see a string of riders sweeping through the trees. The tactics weren't any more interesting than a typical criterium -- don't crash, and get in a good position for the final spring -- but the finale was fun nonetheless, we walked around and watched from every possible vantage point, and Sally had a good time, too. Hooray!

Saturday, June 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 47 minutes
Distance: 21.6 miles

At the Mt. Tabor criterium last week, the announcer invited all of the fans to come try the course on their own some time, and today I did just that. I rode moderately to Mt. Tabor, about a half-hour from home, paced myself up Yamhill road to the park entrance, and took a quick breather while rolling through the parking lot near the start/finish area. Then I set out to ride five laps at what felt like a pace I could sustain without getting dizzy or throwing up.

As it turned out, the first lap was the hardest, and I got into a good rhythm after that. Of course, my rhythm of about 5 minutes per lap was considerably slower than the pros, who rode at about 3 minutes per lap. And my 5 laps was considerably less than the pros' 30 laps. In fact, I kept thinking of the differences in the comparison while I rode. I had nobody to draft off of, but they had slick roads to deal with. I had skateboards, baby strollers and cars to dodge, but they had each other to dodge.

In any case, it was a great route and when the park is less busy, could be a regular training ride. The steepness of climbs and frequency of turns wasn't as great as I thought, so it required concentration but not enough to preclude a good workout. In fact, the climb toward the finish line was more of a drag than I thought, but the climb after it was over quickly and the whole thing felt like a good interval workout. When I finished my fifth lap I even felt good enough to continue climbing to the top of the park before taking a rest lap and then riding back home.

, , at :

Duration: 0 hours, 0 minutes
Distance: NA miles

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 53 minutes
Distance: 14.0 miles

I missed a couple nice-weather weekends with travel recently, and I've been watching the weather forecasts in vain the days that I've been home. After a few false alarms, the temperature finally rose to 70 today. Sunshine in the morning changed to mostly cloudy by the time I finished my work, but after weighing the pros and cons of a ride versus sitting on the back porch with a book, I finally suited up and headed out for a short one. I did the Ainsworth/Denver/Columbia Slough/Marine Drive loop and just kind of vegged out, although I ended up riding the last section pretty quickly. Having lots of trucks to dodge on Marine Drive is always a good motivation!

Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 14 minutes
Distance: 17.0 miles

Warm weather finally evolved to sunny weather today, and one of my projects got postponed suddenly, so I headed out for another ride today, this time a bit more ambitious with a ride to Rocky Butte. As I approached the neighborhood, another rider came up behind me so I asked him if that's where he was headed. He said yes, and then explained sheepishly that he hadn't ridden much this year, but called in sick to work so he could ride today! As we started the climb I tried chatting with him some more, but he said, "See you at the top," so I took the hint and left him alone. In fact, when I got back to the bottom on the other side, I decided to ride up again from that direction, and I only saw him briefly, zooming down!

Anyway, I rarely climb the other side and for a while I thought it was harder, then I realized it's just harder in different spots. The side I normally do has the hardest section right before the top, while the "back side" is harder right in the middle, but then it eases up until the top. Anyway, I should do it "backwards" more often just to get familiar with that.

Sunday, June 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 21 minutes
Distance: 33.3 miles

Ah ... Portland. During a nice hike recently I thought to myself that I should never move to a place that doesn't have such nice hiking trails. Today I was thinking the same thing about bike routes. I went to explore Skyline Boulevard some more, this time taking Cornell Road up the ridge instead of Burnside. Actually, I used Cornell to 53rd to Thompson, I think, to Skyline. Anyway, this route was much more undulating and varied than the straight slog up Burnside ... less traffic, too. I had cadence to spare on the easier parts, but I just stood up and dogged it on the steeper parts on 53rd. Oh well!

Once I got onto Skyline it was marvelous. Rolling hills, curvy roads, like a Wisconsin country lane but perched atop a 1000 foot ridge. There was a fair amount of traffic, but almost as many bikes, so the drivers knew what to do. I rode north to Newberry, which was as far as my map went, and after a while I figured the return trip was difficult because it seems like I was going more downhill than uphill. In fact, the return trip felt the same way, so I guess I was just having a good ride! And of course the long downhill on Cornell was a trip ... just trying to keep my bike straight at 40 mph while a couple cars tailed behind.

One small incident is that my cleat or pedal or crank or whatever started squeaking again on the climb going up there. I figured I'd fuss with it when I got home, but it got distracting and, with all the other riders around, embarrassing! I didn't have tools to tighten a pedal or crank, but I did have a screwdriver for the cleat, so I stopped to work on that. Fortunately -- even though I've tightened this several times recently -- it give a clear movement and the squeak went away. Hooray! So a pretty perfect ride after all.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Distance: 33 miles

I didn't actually write down my ride stats for this one, so the above entry is a guess based on last week's ride. This week I went up Cornell Road into the west hills again, but this time I stayed on Cornell all the way to Skyline, then turned south and headed to Council Crest via Scholl's Ferry and Patton Roads. Whee! Riding along Skyline was fun as always, but I didn't think Council Crest would be a big deal because I was already at the same altitude. I didn't realize Scholl's Ferry would take me down several hundred feet and then I'd have to climb back up again. But it was good. The day was cool and I wished I had arm warmers for a while, but it was fine once I got going.

At the top of Council Crest I figured I might as well stop and enjoy the view for a few minutes, and a guy sidled over and asked if I knew what happened in the Tour de France, which started yesterday. Of course I know what happened, and I have opinions about it, too! Ha ... so I got to talk about the Tour a bit. Finally his wife called, "Henry, we've got to get going..." And I did, too, for a July 4 picnic dinner.

I headed back on Humphrey Road and that, as I had expected, stayed at the same altitude, hugging the curve of a ravine. There was plenty more climbing on Skyline up to the high point at Cornell Mountain, but then the long drop down into town. Very nice ... a good day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Distance: 36.5 miles

Today for the first time I packed my bike into the car and drove to the Columbia Gorge for a ride. I parked right at the start of the historic highway -- the spot I had ridden to a few weeks ago -- and was surprised to find the parking lot full and the Sandy River dotted with hundreds of swimmers! I had kind of a late start to the day, but I got set up as quick as I could and hit the road.

I had been nervous about riding on this narrow highway but in fact, the most populated parts (between the small towns in the area) had a nice shoulder and only the strictly tourist areas (between the waterfalls and hiking trails, where nobody was in a hurry) were narrow. I had virtually no problems with cars. The ride was flat for the first few miles along the river -- a perfect warmup -- then turned up into the hills and had some approximately 1 mile, not very steep climbs. Then a long climb up to the Portland Women's Forum and the high point about a quarter mile later. The road dropped down to Crown Point quickly after that, then kept dropping and dropping for several miles, where it become rolling through the waterfall areas to Multnomah Falls.

It was really cool to see these areas that I've been to by car from a new perspective. Although I already have photos of all the spots, I ended up taking some iPhone photos just because it seemed different somehow this time!

Heading back, I couldn't figure out where the -big- climb up to Crown Point began. I kept thinking "here it is" and checking my odomoter, but then it would roll back down and start again. I still don't know how long that climb was, but I guess somewhere between 3-5 miles. It wasn't as steep as the Portland climbs, either ... I didn't have to stand. In fact, I read afterwards that the maximum grade was 5%, which sounds about right based on my calculations of 6% for some of the climbs I've been doing in town.

The climb was still long, though, but I got a bit of a lift when I approached Crown Point and a family standing on the terrace decided to start cheering for me! I wasn't sure it was for me, so I just laughed, but then some of them laughed too, so I guess it was. I kept right on going up the hill, but a few minutes later a car passed and they leaned out the window to cheer some more, so this time I waved. I kept thinking what it must be like to have a million people cheering for you on the roads of the Tour de France and what that would do for your motivation!

Dropping back down to the river, I was looking for a lemonade stand I'd seen earlier -- some sugar would have been nice -- but they had packed up. So I just returned to the car. I'd been thinking about whether I could do this as one continuous ride from home, but in the last two miles I was dragging pretty heavily, so maybe not. Maybe if I get some more miles in my legs. This was pretty fun, though!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 8 minutes
Distance: 16.0 miles

I've been inspired by last week's ride in the Gorge, so I couldn't wait to get out again. Today I took a quick ride to Rocky Butte before band practice. I usually climb it from South to North and if I go the other way it seems harder ... I couldn't figure out if that was just because I was always more tired from doing it second. So today I started from North to South, then came back again. I don't think it's harder, it just has the hard part in a different spot -- right in the middle -- as I had observed last time. Also, these longer climbing rides must be helping because neither ascent really got me this time. In fact, coming up the South side, even after doing the North climb, I felt strongest at the point that usually kills me. All right! I didn't try a third one, though ... it's nice to ride home still feeling strong!

Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 0 minutes
Distance: NA miles

I felt kind of low energy today, so I decided to just take a flat loop around town, but get some exploring in, too. I'd been meaning to go check out a big park I'd noticed on the map -- Harbor View City Park, on the Willamette River near the University of Portland. I found it all right, but it was closed off on one end and looked empty from the bluff above. I rode around to the other end where I found another locked gate, and an old, graffiti covered sign for a Superfund cleanup site. Ouch! So much for that.

I continued on to Kelly Point park, another somewhat mysterious place, but made more interesting after a Port of Portland representative told me that was a good place to watch container ships unloading. Sure enough, a check of Google's satellite map showed that it's immediately adjacent to an automobile roll-on/roll-off dock -- the satellite image shows a shipment of cars being driven off the ship! I got to the park but wasn't sure how far it was to the beach, and debated looking for it. Finally, using the same satellite picture on my iPhone, I headed in, and a new path a short distance in to the park took me right to the beach with, as promised, an array of freight ships up and down the river.

I've never regularly carried a phone on bike rides, or anywhere for that matter, but my new iPhone is turning out to be a game-changer for me. Not only can I make an emergency call if I need to, but I can look up maps for navigation, satellite imagery for curiosity, and even take photos for posterity. I got some great shots of the Columbia Gorge earlier this month, and snapped a few more at the park today, before ambling back home on Marine Drive.

Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Distance: 36.7 miles

This was a really great ride. I headed into the west hills again, this time taking Cornell Road to Skyline but then cutting over to Greenleaf and riding that right to the top of Cornell Mountain. Whew! Cornell wasn't really hard until the last of the approximately four miles, but that last section was tough. My goal was to climb it all sitting down, which I did At least now I know that when you can see the Stop Ahead sign around the bend, the top is just beyond that.

I didn't know what to expect from Greenleaf, but it was fun. Steeper -- I had to stand here, so my goal became to climb that part all standing -- and constantly curvy, and longer than I expected. Whew! My lungs were really heaving, but it was fun. I saw no cars and one other biker, coming back down. This would have been more fun without having climbed Cornell Road first. But again, now that I know what to expect, I can be a bit more aggressive in the future.

Once I reached that summit I came back down Skyline, heading north, and wished I had some newspapers to stuff up my jersey! My next goal was to take Skyline past Newberry, where I'd turned around earlier, and continue to Macnamee, which I thought would take me directly down to Highway 30 and the St. Johns bridge for home. As it turned out, Macnamee went right up, then continued like Skyline for a long time, with rolling hills and even tighter curves. It was beautiful -- I don't think I saw any cars, and even stopped to take a picture of a llama farm for my wife. But when it eventually did drop down to the highway, it dropped -fast-. I've never been scared of heights when riding a bike on a surface road. I had to consciously keep my weight back and brake with my back wheel to avoid falling off.

When I reached the highway, I found another surprise -- a long line of cyclists up and down the highway, wearing race numbers. I rode up next to one and asked what the event was. Of course, the annual Seattle to Portland ride! I asked how he felt and he said, "My butt hurts. I'm ready to be done." I wished him luck and rode ahead, thinking about doing the ride myself one day. Eventually I slotted in next to another guy to ask him what the route was like. He didn't even turn his head or even reply the first couple times I spoke to him. Finally he answered briefly in a way that let me know he was way too tired for small talk at this point. Only when I said, "Congratulations, you're almost done!" did he crack a bit of a smile.

Ha ... I was beat and I only rode for 2.5 hours, so I did respect those folks. If they had any of the kind of hills I tackled today -- even more so.

Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 36 minutes
Distance: 21.8 miles

Looking for a medium-intensity ride, I went to Mount Tabor this afternoon and tried that criterium course again. Actually this time I first climbed to the top, then did the course three times, then finished at the top again. It's a nice route! And there was less congestion in the park this time, so I had a blast.

Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 13 minutes
Distance: 20.3 miles

I haven't been to the Columbia River path for a while, so I rode to and over the I-205 bridge afterwork today. Nothing special, just a chance to get out and spin my legs. It actually seemed like it got dark early, because there were some heavy clouds blocking the sun. But it actually is getting dark earlier, already. Yikes!

Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 43 minutes
Distance: 44.6 miles

All right, I went back to the historic highway in the Columbia Gorge today, and this time I rode past Multnomah Falls until the road merged back in with I-84. What a great route! I rode pretty confidently on the climbs up to the Portland Women's Forum -- the highest point of the ride -- then paid attention to when the descent ended so I'd know when the return climb started. The answer: just past Latourell Falls, almost four miles.

The section after Multnomah Falls was similar to the section before, rolling, but with a few longer climbs. I snacked on some graham crackers at the turnaround point, then rode increasingly cautiously until the big climb started. I was pretty intimidated by the climb plus the length of the ride. But it turned out just fine. Not as steep as the west hills, remember ... and getting more familiar with it helped me know how much progress I was making.

I didn't have a cheering section at Crown Point like last time, but I did have an audience of onlookers, and couldn't help clicking up a gear as I came around the bend. But the last section was one of the steepest, so I had to click down again!

Of course the descent back to the Sandy River was fun, and at that point I had no reason to save my energy. Whee!

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 27 minutes
Distance: 19.9 miles

This is turning out to be a great summer for riding and getting in shape. Today I had a gig to prepare for, so I just rode to Rocky Butte. But I did up the ante a bit by climbing it three times: south to north, then north to south, then south to north again. And I felt equally strong each time!

On all three climbs I crossed paths with a teenager on a mountain bike, riding what appeared to be his largest gear with a cadence of about 10 rpms. He was determined, but didn't quite have the concept. Finally when I passed him the third time, I said, "Try a smaller gear. You want to -spin- the pedals!" He just kind of grunted, so who knows what he'll do with that info.

Ironically, he passed me once when I dropped my chain, just after passing him for the first time. I kept thinking of Andy Schleck dropping his chain in the Tour this year, and laughing to myself about the prospect of trying to take 39 seconds back in the final time trial.

Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 23 minutes
Distance: 36.4 miles

Macnamee road at the north end of Skyline is the single funnest road I've discovered lately, so I went back to repeat that route from a couple weeks ago. This time I didn't take the extra climb up Greenleaf to Cornell Mountain, I just took Cornell and turned north at Skyline. I thought I was doing well to beat my time from last time, until I realized that difference. On the other hand, I had to make an annoying detour around the Broadway Bridge, so who knows if I rode faster or slower or about the same today?

Sunday, August 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 58 minutes
Distance: 26.5 miles

Sally and I were talking about the big hill leading up to her workplace, and I wanted a medium ride today, so I decided to ride down there and try that hill again. I'd done it once before on a ride with Sally but didn't remember it that well. It turned out to be not so bad ... not as steep as the local volcanoes, and only about a third of a mile long, or about 2.5 minutes of climbing in my smallest gear. Knowing how short it is, and with a flat section in the middle, I could surely go up faster.

But the big news of this ride was the heat. I was showing 112 on my bike computer (that's probably about 10 degrees to high) and it really took its toll. Actually, my energy was low to begin with, also from the heat working in the back yard before the ride. I only had one water bottle and I didn't want to drink it because the water was so hot! Blah ... glad that's over.

Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 28 minutes
Distance: 36.0 miles

Yesterday's heat wave wore me out quite a bit, so naturally, I wanted to try again today to get the better of the weather! I made a few changes -- started earlier, brought two bottles including ice cubes, and prepared myself for what was to come -- and fared much better.

But what got me this time was the decision to ride my Cornell/Skyline/Macnamee route backwards, climbing up Macnamee instead of dropping down it. Ouch! The initial climb was probably the steepest I've found around here, but at less than a mile it wasn't a big problem. The problem came with the subsequent four miles of stairstep ascents, short and steep and energy sapping. And the heat, even with the cold water bottles, sure didn't help. By the time I finally reached the high point here, I was pretty beat, and I had a bit of fun on Skyline but not nearly as much as usual.

I did enjoy the descent down Cornell, riding at 42 mph. Next time I promise not to brake at the bottom of that first section ... with familiarity comes confidence.

Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 2 minutes
Distance: 16.5 miles

I'm leaving for a camping trip tomorrow morning and frankly, I'm going to miss my good weekend bike rides, so I got out for a quick one before dinner this evening. It should have been an uneventful trip over Rocky Butte and back, but I decided to install a new pair of cleats on my cycling shoes before I left (the old ones were getting increasingly creaky) and I forgot that I needed to remove the rubber grip plug for a good fit in my pedals. Basically, the grip prevented the normal side-to-side give built into the cleats, and that made my left knee hurt, either from real strain or psychological fear. Anyway, once I hit the climb I forgot about that and rode well and strong, but I'll need to get this fixed before my next ride.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 37 minutes
Distance: 25.6 miles

I'm going to be camping again this weekend, so I wanted to get in a slightly more strenuous ride before leaving. I haven't done the two-bridges loop over to Vancouver, WA yet this year, so I tried that today. The I-5 bridge was scary but not terribly so; I didn't even notice the height on the relatively sheltered I-205 bridge.

Anyway, I need to remember not to try this ride again until I get a bike mount for my iPhone, because I think I've gotten lost every time. The transition from Evergreen Blvd. to Old Evergreen Highway, which is severely complicated by an angled intersection with Highway 14, gets me every time. Today I'd studied the map and thought I was on the right route, and ended up taking a completely different ride through the east half of the city. Oh well, I made it home in a reasonable time.

Partly because of these distractions, partly because of the wind and partly because of overall fatigue, I didn't put in a really hard effort, but when I got home I saw that my average speed was higher than expected, and I'd shaved off 8 minutes or so from the last time I did this ride. So I guess it wasn't too bad!

Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 58 minutes
Distance: 14.3 miles

Sally's out of town for the holiday weekend and I don't have any big projects to work on, so this is the first of three increasingly challenging rides that I have planned. It was really just a warmup since I've been out of town the last two weekends. I rode to Rocky Butte and climbed it backwards, testing out a slightly tweaked cleat position. I was feeling pretty good at the top and was busting it over the mini climb on the way down when I thought, "Gee, this road is bumpier than I remembered." Oops, flat rear tire. It only took a few minutes to change and I was back on my way, but that reminds me ... I should start carrying two tubes. I'd better see if I have enough on hand before the next, longer ride.

Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours, 43 minutes
Distance: 41.3 miles

The first time I tried climbing up to Skyline on MacNamee Road, I pretty much got my butt kicked, so naturally I wanted to try that again. The plan for today was to ride there on Highway 30, climb up to Skyline and then turn right and continue north until Logie Trail. I hadn't ridden north of MacNamee before, so I didn't know what to expect.

MacNamee wasn't too bad ... very steep for the first mile, but then it's basically short, burstable hills after that ... if you have any energy left for bursting after that first section! I'm not to that point yet, but I rode pretty well, and am more familiar with the road now. The llama farm is pretty much at the top, and right at the end ... nice landmark! Unfortunately that new section of Skyline was longer and harder than I anticipated. Some of the hills were comparable to the last section of the Cornell Road climb ... long, straight and steep. Ouch. I was pretty beat by the time I reached the end of that. But apparently only the most serious cyclists get up that way, because every tough-looking rider I saw greeted me, compared to the sections closer to town where the riders pretty much ignore each other.

Anyway, one other thing I've got to remember is to not think of Highway 30 as a "flat" prelude or postlude. It's not steep but has some substantial hills. All in all, a tiring ride ... I hope I have enough left for the big one tomorrow. I'll eat as much as possible tonight and see what happens!

Monday, September 6, 2010 at 11:00 am

Duration: 3 hours, 9 minutes
Distance: 46.6 miles

All right, I love being home on a holiday, because it's about the only time I can afford to devote a whole day to biking. Not that I rode the whole day, but I'm rarely able to set my sleeping, eating and everything else around a riding goal. But today I did.

When I first started riding in the Columbia Gorge earlier this summer, I noticed the road going up Larch Mountain, a 14 mile climb, and wondered if that could be a goal for this year. Maybe next year, I thought prudently. Then at some point -- during my last two weeks away from the bike, I guess, I realized that Labor Day would be a good time to try it. So I did!

Based on the ride profile in one of my local cycling guidebooks, which basically looks like an equilateral triangle, I expected kind of a torture ride, endlessly pushing a too-big gear, and even planned to stop and rest a couple times if needed. But it was nothing like that at all. The first couple miles were actually rolling, and the rest of the ride, while nearly all uphill, varied in slope so that it wasn't just one long slog. In fact, the ride was quite enjoyable, with heavy forest, low traffic, sunshine and cool temperatures. The worst part was when I encountered other riders (I passed exactly as many as passed me, by the way) because that always made me want to pick up my pace, rather than sticking with my plan of riding as conservatively as possible.

By the last two miles, though, my legs were definitely getting sore -- that's another thing, I expected more of a cardiovascular challenge but actually got a muscular challenge -- and the last half-mile, which I wasn't even expecting (the true distance was 14.5 rather than 14 miles) threw me off my focus to the extent that I had to stand on the pedals and struggle into the parking lot at the end of the road. But it was nice, one guy in a car gave me a thumbs up as I arrived, and another said "You're almost there!" as I coasted to a stop.

I must say, I've never had such sore legs immediately after the ride. I had to sit for a long time, stretching occasionally, before I felt like I could walk. And I wasn't really hungry for all the snacks I brought -- I guess eating a pot of pasta the night before and a giant bowl of grape nuts, a Clif bar and a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast was plenty -- although I did eat an energy gel on the last section of the climb. But eventually I was feeling pretty good, and after watching several cyclists clamber up the trail to the lookout area at the top of the mountain, I headed up, too. It was a marvelous view on a glorious sunny day, and another rider even took my picture for me.

On the way back down, the road curved smoothly enough that I never needed to use the brakes. In fact, I'd been riding at a steady speed for quite a while before I realized I was going about 36 mph ... I real "event" on a normal ride! I even did a bit of chasing when I came upon two riders, one of whom I passed right away but the other of whom kept racing ahead for several miles before he finally turned to wait for his partner. And the entire ride back to Troutdale was all downhill, and fun. The whole thing took less time than I expected, and other than a long break at the top, I didn't stop for anything. Definitely one to do again ... not right away, though!

Troutdale: 0:00
Larch Mountain Road: 47:00
Larch Mountain summit: 2:10
Columbia River Highway: 2:43
Troutdale: 3:09

Monday, September 13, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 49 minutes
Distance: 13.9 miles

Sally and I were visiting her grandma over the weekend, but I took a ride after work today, just a short loop on Denver and Marine Drive. Fall was in the air today -- sunny, but crisp. More surprisingly, I had quite a bit of pain in my knee. That was a concern on my last big ride but turned out to not be a problem, so I don't know what was happening today. My sister offered to help diagnose it if I could tell her exactly where the problem was. As far as I could tell, the pain was in a vertical strip the length of, and centered directly behind, my left the knee cap. Not a severe pain, just a twinge, but increasing as I increased the pedaling pressure. Hmm...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 49 minutes
Distance: 14.2 miles

This is the time of year that I ride every warm day because I'm afraid it might be the last of the season. Today was warmer than yesterday, but by the time I finished work the blue sky had turned to haze and the evening chill had started to set in. Fortunately, my knee felt fine today, and with great enthusiasm I rode a fast, time trial pace down the Marine Drive path and up the I-205 bridge.

The only distraction on this ride was a huge swarm of bugs on the first few miles of the path. It was so bad I couldn't open my mouth for a moment; I had bugs down my collar and in my ears, and smashed against my chest and thighs. I was tempted to turn back several times, but eventually they faded. Of course, I had to go through the same swarm on the way back. I saw a few other cyclists and wanted to say something, but I didn't dare open my mouth! Weird.

Saturday, September 25, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 23 minutes
Distance: 19.6 miles

The series of trips planned for this fall is in full swing now, but I don't want to let go of my good fitness completely, so I rode to Rocky Butte today determined to climb it three times. It felt good! I could even push it a bit toward the top of each climb. A middle-aged man was standing in the tunnel playing flute, which was somewhat odd ... he also had a boombox and a bunch of CDs, but I don't know what he was doing with those. Anyway, whee, nice ride.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 52 minutes
Distance: 14.1 miles

I did the Denver/Speedway/Marine Drive loop today. Pretty uneventful. There was some construction on Marine Drive coming home -- one lane was closed and a flagger was managing traffic into and out of that section. As I approached, trailing a car, he kept his eye on me, then just before I passed, he lazily flipped his sign from SLOW to STOP. Huh? I hit the brakes but couldn't believe he'd do that to me. Then he said, "Oh, not you! Go ahead." I guess he just turned it a bit early ... rather than waiting until I actually passed. Ha. Nice to know I wasn't being discriminated against as a cyclist!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 18 minutes
Distance: 21.9 miles

It's October, but still quite warm! I've done the short loop on Marine Drive (west) lately, but I've wanted to take a longer ride, so I did the longer loop to Kelly Point Park via Willamette Boulevard. I tried riding on the new bike path along Columbia Boulevard, but it was pretty bumpy, not to mention the couple spots where it was interrupted by unfinished construction ... not sure I'll do that again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 49 minutes
Distance: 11.8 miles

I had lots of enthusiasm (but not much time) for riding today, so I tried the quick loop downtown between the Steel Bridge and Hawthorne Bridge. I was feeling pretty good, and looking forward to the climbs up Williams Ave. on the way home. All the bicycle commuters further motivated me, and I cruised through the first few sections, jamming for the green lights and asserting my right-of-way when pedestrians tried stepping out in front of me.

I had to be a bit more assertive when a bus raced in front of me, then cut me off, while trying to beat a red light about halfway up the long Williams hill. I pulled into the car lane to pass, then gave the driver a look while easing back into my lane. Unfortunately, due to this distraction, my speed, and my climbing position with my hands on the tops of the bars, I didn't have enough reaction time when a car trying to cross the road from right to left pulled right out in front of me. I had enough time to swear twice and slow to about half my speed before striking his rear door.

At that speed, I didn't go over the bars, but I did fall sideways. The driver, with his window down, looked shocked, and pulled over on the other side of the road. My first reaction was to check my shorts for rips, then check my front wheel, which, amazingly, was still true. Then I limped to the side of the road.

Then it got confusing. The bus driver who had almost hit me a moment before now decided to become my protector, by parking his bus in the middle of the road while calling in an accident report. Unfortunately, this blocked my view of the car I'd hit, which eventually drove away. And the embarrassment of a whole busload of impatient commuters watching me didn't help my slightly dazed consciousness as I thought about what to do.

Really, it didn't seem like there was much to do. I didn't tear my skin or my clothes, my bike was fine, and my only apparent injury was a very sore right butt cheek. I started to remount and ride home, but then realized I wasn't quite ready and sat down on the curb to catch my breath ... while the darn bus and all its riders continued idling there.

Eventually, the driver showed up ... he had moved his car out of the way, then walked back ... and apologized profusely while I told him not to worry. Then I thanked the bus driver and slowly rode off. About a block away, I heard police sirens and looked back to see two police cars arriving on the scene! Sigh. I just kept riding, but at the next intersection one of the police cars pulled up next to me. "Did you just have an accident?" the officer asked. We pulled over and I explained that I talked to the driver and everything was okay ... the bus driver had reported it as a hit and run. He said, "Be careful," and shrugged as I told him I just needed to get home and take it easy.

In fact, the ride home was a bit of a struggle and by the time I got home I felt quite beat up. I still only felt a large bruise in my butt, but it was very uncomfortable and unnerving. I don't know how the pros get banged up like they do and go on to race for the following hours and days ... it definitely helps me appreciate how much a seemingly mild crash can demoralize a rider.

My biggest concern was that the pain and stiffness would increase the next day, but I talked to an advice nurse on the phone and she emphasized ice for pain relief, and minimal movement. To my relief, the pain was less rather than more the next day, and it gradually receded each day after that. I'm not sure when I'll be ready to ride again, though. I mean, I'd do it the next day if it were my job, but as it is, I imagine I'll have to ease back into it just a bit.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 43 minutes
Distance: 12.3 miles

After my crash last week, I finally felt like getting back in the saddle today. I was still a bit sore, but felt fine overall. I didn't push anything and just rode to the first turnoff on the Columbia River path.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 20 minutes
Distance: 19.4 miles

The season is definitely waning, and now I'm in the mindset of making final visits to some of my favorite routes. Today I rode to Mount Tabor, and took a slightly unplanned series of loops through the park's windy, hilly roads. Actually, I was surprised to find that the park is closed to cars on Wednesday, so that was fun! I was able to cruise through the parking areas connecting on segment of roads to the other without slowing down. Whee! Coming home I wanted to keep that speed, but my recent collision is definitely making me ride more defensively.

At a stoplight a rider who I'd seen in the park pulled up and I said hello. He commented on the warm weather and I countered that it was too bad it was getting dark so early! But in truth it was evening plans, rather than early dusk, that kept me from riding longer today.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 6 minutes
Distance: 15.6 miles

After a few days of rain, it got sunny and warm again this week, and with a high of 70 today I had to get out there. Unfortunately I waited a little too late again -- some clouds had come in while the sun was sinking low. The combination of chilly air, an optimistically light summer outfit, gusty winds and the distractions of yesterday's election going through my head all left me feeling a bit unstable. I rode to Rocky Butte and climbed it twice -- north to south, then south to north -- before heading home for dinner and band practice.

Friday, December 24, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Duration: 1 hours, 37 minutes
Distance: 20.9 miles

My sister was in town for a few days, and that means at least one bike ride together. Actually, we kept busy with other things yesterday and decided to wait until her boyfriend arrived today and then all ride together. I gave them the option of borrowing our extra bikes, or trying out the tandem, and they opted for the tandem. I remember how challenging it was to get started with that, but different personality types were at play and as soon as those two jumped on, it was "whoooo!" So I knew we'd have a fun ride.

Good thing they were so agreeable, too, because the weather left something to be desired. It was cold and misty, with the Gorge wind tearing out of the East. But I wanted to choose a traffic-free route, so we headed up the Marine Drive path, right into the wind.

I knew Randy was an experienced racer, but his fitness in December was impressive ... even pushing that big bike I could barely keep up with him. Eventually we slowed down and started looking around more, and when we turned around to head back we were all going fast with the tailwind. Then we cleaned up and ate chili and soy nog.

I love biking on a holiday, so this was nice. Merry Christmas!

Monday, Demeber 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Duration: 0 hours, 57 minutes
Distance: 16.0 miles

We're leaving town tomorrow for our annual holiday visit to Tucson, but the weather has been relatively warm here lately so I wanted to get one more ride in this year. I rode the Columbia Slough loop and just enjoyed being outside.

Unfortunately the enjoyment was somewhat spoiled when I got home. I always say I don't mind riding in bad weather, but I hate cleaning up afterwards, and indeed, my clothes were a mess. I was just covered in road grit; it even worked its way through two pairs of tights and onto my shorts. I took off most of my clothes just inside the door, then got into the shower with the rest, but I still ended up spilling grit all over the bathroom. Sigh ... I don't regret the ride, but next time maybe I'll just undress out on the porch!

© 2002 Arlo Leach, all rights reserved.