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My next crazy project
Last Post 09/25/2017 06:08 PM by 79 pmooney. 61 Replies.
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79pmooney

Posts:1756

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09/20/2017 11:40 AM
Going for a consolation ride Sunday. The Harvest Century. A ride of the Willamette Valley. I rode it once years ago. Much of it is on my regular riding roads. No super climbing. A few hard but finite length hills. Probably do the ride with no gear changes. Attraction is that I can ride the 20 miles to the start, ride the century, take the MAX light rail train back to 5 miles from home, stretch that 5 miles to 8 and finish with a fix gear mileage of twice my age.

Sunday is supposed to be a decent day, weather-wise. Partial clouds, no rain, light wind and highs in the low 70s. Sounds perfect for a long day on the bike with dark at the beginning and perhaps the end.

Maybe I'll have to make a goal of once a year, riding my age X2. Wonder how long that could last?

Ben
79pmooney

Posts:1756

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09/25/2017 06:08 PM
I got nailed by the sore throat/cold going around Thursday. (After 3 days with just one 35 miles ride in light rain to celebrate the clean air! (Non smoke.) Stayed off the bike and laid low. Decided Saturday to go to bed early with everything set out to ride and both bikes ready to go, the Mooney and the TiCycles, fixed and geared. Set the alarm for 4, went to bed knowing I would get up, shower, dress to ride, make coffee for one WB, eat a bowl of granola, go oit to the garage, grab the bike that felt right, put on those shoes and go.

Woke up with the alarm and starting going through the above. It was very clear early on that riding fix gear was out. Not strong enough. Never considered it again. I wanted to be out the door by 5 for the 21miles to the start. Made it by ~5:12. And right away, it was magical. So quiet! Totally dark except street lights and my light. Clear sky. Too many trees and city light to see but a couple of stars but I was on track to get out further while it was still very dark. Even the big streets had no cars. Took me back to riding out of Cambridge, MA at the same hour many times on my way out the the famous "Allis loop" of the Boston racing community 40 years ago.

But as I got out further, I encountered on and off low fog. No stars. But still magic. Then the slow lifting of the darkness and the very early dawn. And all this in no wind whatsoever. Later I would be seeing limp flags but for now, it was just a quiet celebration of the lack of wind I hadn't seen in months.

All the while, I was riding easy, shifting a lot, completely enjoying the best DT shifting bike I have ever ridden with the absolutely perfect 13-23 9-speed. 42 x the perfect cog. Big ring a couple of times going down and knowing I had the 28 for later. Keeping the ride really easy but shifting back up for all little downhills to keep the speed up when it was easy. This was all on my home turf; roads I know better than the backs of my hands.

Pulled into the city of the start. Now I had to pay a little attention. I knew roughly where the start was and a little better that roughly the layout of down town but I knew once I got close I'd start seeing bikes. All worked out just fine. Arrived at the backside of the event wearing my night riding vest and when I inquired where I should sign up, got asked if I was a volunteer, that she could sign me up if I was! "No,no; I'm just a rider." "Over there" and she pointed.

I was clearly running a little behind, but not much, so I took my time, had a cup of (excellent) coffee; a great perk of Portland rides, ate a little, shed a layer, sorted my stuff out and headed out. A mile out of town and into beautiful Oregon Willamette/Tualitin River valley farmland and the sun came out. Directly behind us. Rode no hands casting a long shadow and bathing in the light and perceived warmth. That didn't last long but still, it was a wonderful "the ride has begun and the day will be good!"

I should step back here. Enjoying this ride was going to require managing my symptoms all day. That shower upon awakening? Hot to clear sinuses and chest as best I could. (I take my showers before bed, not in the morning.) Alka-Seltzer Plus every 4 hours. (Works quite well just dropped into water bottles.) Cough drops also in my jersey pocket. And on the riding: going hard was not permitted, ever. My wind was to stay down. Spat and snorted all day. Filthy gloves. Many, many hand washes and sanitizers.

As I rode, almost all solo, the morning unfolded. The fog stayed, on and off; very localized, obviously in patterns the locals would know very well. It was not thick and never enough to bother glasses, just a very gentle, cool-ish blanket around us. And just enough that when we returned to clearer views, we absorbed the views that had been hidden. But for the next few hours, it was never far off and we never saw distinct shadows.

The rider had 6 stops spaced quite uniformly but increasing in distance between. I stopped at all. Made a point of drinking a lot, hence needing the "break" at each, plus I ate cookies and trail food at each. This kept me solidly as one of the late riders, but I was keeping on a good schedule to finish on time. No awards and less options for food? They weren't my goals. For me, it was all about the ride.

The second quarter of the ride was along roads I do on 60+ miles and 2000'+ days although yesterday we simply rode around the entire range of hills. Still early enough for very little traffic. No more fog, just a beautiful early fall Oregon morning, riding gently rolling roads, still in no wind. (And I was still enjoying that rarity.)

Then we peeled off to the towns and farmlands south of Portland and soon east of the Willamette River over a bridge I had never seen before, an area I had never been. Wonderful easy descent through rolling farmland, again, Oregon at it's best, then residential, a mile or two on decent 4 lane streets then a couple of miles on a 4 lane state highway. Now the wind was back, not hard but we were riding straight into it. The riding I hate. 4 guys passed me then got bogged down with other riders. I latched on, staying a full bike back but enjoying the 18/19 mph pace (we triggered a speed sign) and the nice shelter. They were really good about hand signals for debris (there was a fair share) and the last rider always passed the signals on to me. Those miles now went fast. Then a left turn toward Champoeg Park (pronounce "shampoo-ee" and another rest stop. Then south again into more wind, then east then north, all in very rural country. (North on Butteville Rd to the town of Butteville.) Then we followed the river downstream a few miles to the town of Canby and down a small road toward the river. Another rest stop where we could see below us the river and the ferry running back and forth. We walked down the hill, boarded the ferry and shuttled across. (My interest here was in the ferry itself. It ran on cable; a big one that ran bank to bank and over guide wheels on the ferry and three overhead electrical cables that a harness on pulleys rode to provide power. Impressive. Well thought out, well run and quite quick without ever going fast. Docking and un-docking were very easy. Turn-around time 7 minutes? I used to ride the big Seattle ferry and got to run stability calculations and be aboard one of the trial runs of the next generation big ferry. Also be on board on my commute when the ferry did a full crash stop for a misplaced fishing boat at night. You want to feel power?!! A 410' ship stopping in maybe two lengths. So my interest was earned.)

Now the climb! Say 200' at 15% starting right at the ferry ramp. Just getting clipped in was a challenge! Two guys, one my age, shot up the hill like I used to years ago and were gone in seconds. I paced myself up, riding alongside anther rider who bested me by a little. The rest were well behind. (I may be sick and in full pace-myself mode but I am still a mountain goat.)

Now the countryside was sprouting more residential areas, less farm and more towns. Headed back to civilization. North for 6 miles along a wide street I have been crossing at its north end for 18 years but have barely ridden. Every time I ride it, I get reminded why. Finally at the crossing and left onto my most used route. One mile later the ride turned right into one of my favorite roads but I went straight, rode my old fix gear loop adding another 5 miles to my total, then rejoined the ride 5 miles from the finish. Rolled across to the sounds of a few cheers and cowbells, taking an hand-up of chocolate milk (a tradition I believe Cycle Oregon started). Things were winding down. Post ride dinner was still being served, the bluegrass band on its last 3 songs and I was done! 125 miles. Took the MAX light rail home 13 stops, got off and rode the final 5 miles. 133.6 I rode more than twice my age. Goal accomplished.

Slept 12 hours! Today's been a quiet day.

Ben
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