Friday, October 27, 2006

The Scary Helmet Ride

Just in time for Halloween, it's the Scary Helmet Ride!

(click on the pic for full-size route map)

You are invited to join me for a Halloween ride through Ladd's addition, Belmont and Laurelhurst. We'll start and end at Lucky Lab brew pub on Hawthorne & SE 9th, and ride a little more than 5 miles through quiet neighborhoods and (in theory) scare the 'lil children (in a kind-hearted way of course).

Bring a SCARY helmet, or dress up, and bring some goodies to share with everyone. The ride leaves Lucky Lab at 6pm!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Welcome to the Late Great Update

Wow, over a month since I updated - what's up with that?

Total Days since I "found myself" again: 258
Miles per day: 11.17
Total Miles: 2,880.63 at an average speed of 11.7 mph
Total Time in the Saddle: 247 hours 0 minutes

I rode the Harvest Century. The results were mixed, maybe I should say I survived the Harvest Century.

I tried to ride the 102 mile route, but I didn't get started until about 20 minutes after the course opened, I rode slower than expected,and I got a flat about 35 miles into the ride. So I decided to take the 75 mile route instead. I started having some shifting problems right after the Canby Ferry, and had the guys from Performance who were doing mechanical support look at the bike. I had another broken spoke and a bent chainring (the outer one). The wrenches bent the chainring back as close to straight as they could, and replaced the busted spoke with one of the spares that I carry all the time now, and topped off the air in my rear tire, since I'd only pumped the tube up to about 30psi.

That tube lasted another 10 miles, then got punctured. I heard it happen. So I changed that tube, this time in the rain (it started raining about an hour before this). I had my Tyvek StP jacket, so I was partly dry. I'd gotten the tube changed (I can do this in about 15 minutes now) and was pumping up the tire when the SAG wagon arrived with a floor pump. A couple minutes later I was back on the road. I trained for another 90 minutes or so before finally stopping when I pulled in at the final rest stop.

About 1 mile from Champoeg state park, the second tube started getting mushy. I pulled over and pumped it up, and felt air coming out of the same weak spot in the tire as the previous tube - must have punctured this one on the gravel bits littering the shoulder. Since I had no spare tubes, and patching it would have taken forever, I pumped it upto about 30psi and rode until it went flat again. Pump, ride, flat,repeat. 4 times and I was back at the start. Damn straight I bought the T-Shirt.

So, that was my weekend. The kicker is that I have brand new tires I bought at Performance on Saturday, but I didn't put them on the bike because you never make changes right before the century. (that's the conventional wisdom) Next time I'll do it anyway.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tomorrow marks 2,500!

So, sometime tomorrow, probably about the time I get to the Hawthorne bridge, I will mark 2,500 miles for the year. Woohoo! I'm looking forward to it.

I should get in some decent mileage this weekend, since I'm volunteering for the Shift parking at the Salmon Nation event at the Ecotrust building on Saturday, going to the Shift-nic on Sunday, and doing the Midnight Mystery Ride on Friday. Woohoo again!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Current Status

Total Mileage, 2006: 2,450.23
211 hours and 14 minutes riding
222 days since I started riding regularly (average 11.04 miles / day)
Current Weight: 242.5 lbs.
Overall average speed: 11.6 mph

My average speed peaked August 3rd at 13.39 mph. I keep a weighted average, which lets me see my fitness progress, at least until I start to reach the limitations of my tires and gear ratio. My current average is 11.98 mph, which is mostly due to the week I didn't ride during GenCon and this last week, when I took a 5-day break after riding up to Mt. Hood.

Well, at least my recoveries are getting quicker!

This blog has been more a log of my progress than anything else, and probably immensely boring to the odd traveler that ends up here. I think I have maybe 3 regular visitors. *grins*

Well, back to the ole' grind. Heading to the Shift! to Bikes meeting tonight at ACME (not at Urban Grind this time) at 7pm. Report coming later.

Clackamas County Ped / Bike Committee Mtg

Ok, get ready for a mouthful. Last night, I went to the Clackamas County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting at the Sunnyside Service Center in unincorporated Clackamas County south of the mall. (whew)

This was an interesting experience, and I'm glad I went. Some highlights:

The PWTC (Portland Wheelman Touring Club) is looking to donate some bike racks. Nice ones, not cheesy - to be placed in public parks. They've already got a donation lined up for Crown Point, and they're looking for places in Clackamas County as well.

The Mount Hood villages endorsed the idea of bike lanes on Salmon River Rd and Welches Rd.

Steve Durrant from Alta Planning presented the current proposed alignment of the bike paths along and intesecting ODOT's Sunrise Corridor project. This was the centerpiece item of the meeting. Basically, ODOT is going to build a new freeway - the "missing link" of Hwy 224, from the existing Milwaukie Expressway to the current 224/212 road at about SE 152nd. This will include flyovers from I-205, and will entail new bike paths / bike lanes in the project area, and a realignment of the existing I-205 bike path (as well as completion of the "missing link" from the I-205 / 224 / 82nd Ave interchange south to Clackamas Hwy (212/224).

For those of us in the Oatfield / Thiessen / Webster area, Alta is studying a number of local bikeway connections to Johnson from the I-205 bike path. (Click on pic for larger image) There are 4 options. Option A is a new road to the north, striped with bike lanes. It's pretty much a given, so I've omitted it. (it's the road between K-Mart and Lowe's - it'll connect to 82nd on the east) Option B has right-of-way issues with the properties to the south. Option C has little in ROW issues, but is fairly high traffic due to the apartment complex adjacent to the road. Option D has no traffic issues, but is owned by the school district and on school property - building a path would be contingent on the cooperation and approval of the school board. Alta requested the board's input into these options, and the board expressed a preference for Option D, or Option C if D were not available.

The board also recommended the extension of the proposed bike route parallel to the new highway to the eastern project boundary, identifying it as a bicycle transportation corridor. In my opinion, I think this is a good and logical choice. With the expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary to include Happy Valley and Damascus, the number of bike commuters from that area will grow, especially with the projected completion of the Clackamas Mall light rail terminal sometime in 2009.

An open house for the public is scheduled to occur during the next meeting of the Clack Co. Ped / Bike Advisory Committee in November. (should be November 7th)

Next up were John Mermin and Amy Rose from Metro. Metro is in the process of updating the Regional Transportation Plan, and John and Amy are responsible for identifying stakeholders and areas of concern for the bike and pedestrian aspects of that plan, respectively. Noted were the changes that have occured in Clackamas County since the last RTP was produced, and the identification of problem intersections, like SE 17th and McLoughlin or Lake Rd and McLoughlin, both in Milwaukie. (there were other intersections identified, NOT just those two) One idea that came up in the discussion was the need for some sort of ombudsman for maintenance issues, especially given the mishmash of jurisdictions when calling for road maintenance. (i.e. city / county / state)

Thelma Hagenmiller updated the committee on the progress being made on the Trolley Trail. The contour survey is now complete along the whole length of the trail, and a segment of the current unpaved portion between Creighton and Arista that was previously unaccessable is now open. A public meeting regarding the trail is scheduled at the Oak Grove School on October 18th.

This was my first community meeting, and I was able to provide some limited input from my experience as an area resident and a bicycle commuter. I look forward to more such meetings in the future.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mount Hood or Bust...

Rode from Oak Grove (south of Milwaukie) to Government Camp and back last Sunday, details to come...

(Sept 6) Well, ok.... photos and details to come, when I get around to it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Breakfast on the Bridge

This morning, I managed to stop by Breakfast on the Bridges, a monthly event run by SHIFT! to Bikes. Shift is an awesome organization - a loose, informal group of people who just want to share the joy of cycling and encourage people to do it more. BotB on the Hawthorne Bridge had the beautiful and personable Kirsty Hall present, along with the ever-present coffee and pastries. I've managed to stop for 5 or 6 BotB events this year, and met some wonderful people. BotB is on the last Friday of every month, from about 7am to about 9am. If you get a chance, try it out!

Ride Details
11.15 miles
Top Speed: 34.8 mph (Oatfield downhill)
12.6 mph average speed

Cumulative 2006
2,272 miles at an average 11.6 mph
195 hours, 35 minutes in the saddle

Tonight I'm going to the Critical Mass ride - my first. It's the anniversary of Katrina, which was a wake-up call for a lot of people. Oil is on the way out, and fossil fuels help cause global warming. Tonight's CM ride will focus in part on that.

As a side note, sometime next week Tropical Depression Five should become Hurricane Ernesto (it should reach TS strength tonight). A lot of projections show it skirting the south end of Cuba and heading into the Gulf, so it'll be interesting to see where it goes. Katrina & Rita shut down nearly 20% of Gulf oil & gas production last year, and with half of Alaskan oil unavailable, a similar disruption this year could cause a massive increase in the price of gasoline. Makes me glad I ride a bike.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Progress Report

Well, originally I wanted to ride 6,500 miles this year. It was ambitious, perhaps overly so, and I expected that events would likely prevent it.

I was right, but I still should rack up a respectable 4,200 miles for the year, and I have at least one formal century left in the year (and likely an informal one this weekend).

So far this year, I've ridden 2,250 miles at an average speed of 11.6 mph. In the 209 days since I started riding regularly, I've averaged 10.77 miles per day and spent a total of 194 hours in the saddle.

Before this year, I'd never ridden more than 50 miles. This year, I've ridden 50, 74, 85, 101, 107, and 204.5 miles (the last being over 2 days - Seattle to Portland). Unfortunately I missed the bridge pedal this year, since GenCon in Indianapolis was the same weekend.

This Sunday, I plan to ride to Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood and back, after being inspired by Aaron Tarfman's account here. It's going to be a LONG ride - probably 130 miles when all is said and done, since I'm starting from my house. I expect the best part will be the 40mph+ ride down Highway 26 from Government Camp to Welches. Hopefully I'll make it ok - there's 6,000' of climb from Milwaukie to Timbeline, not counting any ups and downs. Hell, there's 1,000' of climb just from Govenment Camp to Timberline. If I can do this, it's a MAJOR accomplishment.

So, that's about it. Aside from my riding, I've been looking at what I want to do with this blog. I'd like to have something here besides ride reports - some reason for people other than the 5 or so who actually care about what I write here to stop and look around. There are already so many good cycling sites and blogs out there (see the sidebar of this blog for the short list) and unless I fill a particular niche, I'll basically just be parroting bigger, better sites. So, we'll see.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ride Report - Tuesday

10.98 miles @ 13.3 mph
Top Speed 35.4 mph
49 minutes, 32 seconds on the bike

2100.38 miles at an average speed of 11.4 mph
182 hours, 0 minutes total time on the bike
179 days since I became an all-weather cyclist - average 11.73 miles per day

Haven't blogged my mileage much lately. Did 8 miles the day after StP, and then 22 miles on Tuesday and 25 on Wednesday. Rode 2.5 miles on Thursday, 22 on Friday and 4 miles on Sunday. Another 22 miles yesterday and that brings us to this morning. I feel pretty good about the fact that I've ridden almost every day since the StP ride. Last I weighed myself I was down to 239.5 pounds. I'm going to weigh myself again tomorrow morning and see where I stand.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

StP Commentary

I'm tired
But not as tired as you'd think from all the riding I did. I actually made it into work pretty quick today - though some guy on SE 17th and McLoughlin edged over the bike lane divider by a full foot while I was almost alongside him. I yelled "hey!" and he tried to say something I couldn't hear (his windows were down enough to hear me - my voice carries well). Now he's probably annoyed with cyclists, all because he didn't realize he was in my lane, or worse, thought he belonged there. SE 17th at that spot has a really sharp turn, and vehicles frequently "cut the corner" on it and edge over the line. It's the absolute worst point along my entire commute.

So - StP 2006. Awesome ride, and I got a mention in Jonathan Maus' blog, which totally rocks. The weather was awesome, and most of the ride was terrific. At mile 45, there was "The Hill", which wasn't nearly as bad as people made it out to be - just long. It's about the same grade as McLoughlin between Milwaukie and Oak Grove, which is much easier than north Oatfield, Concord, Jennings or Thiessen. Or Roethe or Naef, for that matter. Other than that, there were only a couple of hills that were any real effort - most of the climbing seemed to be saved for day two, which I think is cruel and unusual punishment for a first time StP rider.

Day one had good weather, and the ride along Lake Washington was quite nice. The parks and homes out there are pretty, and away from the freeway one can forget how much of a pain in the butt Seattle traffic is. I don't like Seattle. I love parts of Seattle, but overall the city reminds me too much of Detroit or Chicago, just with hills. I left Detroit for a reason - too big, and soulless. Well, most of Seattle has a soul, and they have the PacNW attitude, which is cool, but there's still too many people, which is why I think Portland is cooler and why I'll miss the Portland of today 20 years from now when we're Seattle's size. (by then, Seattle will be Detroit's size, and have all kinds of problems they've avoided until now) After leaving Seattle, we rode through Renton and Kent, which could have been Auburn Hills or Rochester Hills, MI, or Chesapeake, VA, or any other city with no real downtown and full of office parks and distribution centers. Good riding, well-kept roads with little traffic on a weekend. Some of the rail crossings were kind of bad, and the one right before REI Headquarters (the first pit stop) was the scene of a really bad accident. Whoever that guy was, I hope he's ok. It looks like he hit the tracks wrong and went head over wheels and landed on his face. They had a mask on him, and his face was caked with blood all over. The helmet was still on him when the ambulance arrived, so I'm sure they were worried about head / neck injuries. Future bac crossings were well marked and most had carpet laid over them on the side to help bikes transition them. (Note to railfans - these were all spurs, no mainlines or secondaries, so rail traffic wasn't an issue) The rest of the day was spent transiting the edge of Fort Lewis and navigating some of the western Washington backcountry. We were overflown by 3 Blackhawk helicopters, and then the reservists were firing artillery for an hour somewhere in the middle of the base. Way cool, and not a sound I was expecting. We almost had an incident when a group of riders ahead of us stopped suddenly without warning - Tomas, Lee and I were in a paceline and another group of 4 riders were drafting directly behind me. Fortunately we all slowed and avoided the mixup without incident. We got into Centralia sometime before 6pm, about 11 hours after we'd left the start.

Day two started off really cold, and I was very glad I had the Tyvek jacket that came as part of our registration package. I snapped the obligatory early morning picture of my shadow, then settled into a good cadence and got some of the sores out of my muscles. We hit a whole host of small towns: Napavine, Winlock, Vader. All rolling hills the whole way after the first 10 miles or so. Tomas and I had breakfast (second breakfast?) in Chehalis (before the aforementioned small towns) and the pancakes really helped us out. I'd forgotten my sunglasses in the hotel room, so the wife had them with her when she headed back to Portland to meet us. Lee had a couple of pinched nerves from day one, and wasn't able to join us, so it was just Tomas and I. My patience was tested by this one 12-year old kid that would speed up if I was passing him. He did this on an uphill with a sharp right at the top, and I had to slow down on the uphill to turn behind him instead of cutting him off. Later, I was coming up behind him again at a steady pace, and when I went left to pass, he sped up again. Ok - that's it. Time to show this little punk who's boss. I got left and started passing him, and when he sped up, I put everything I had into it - 35+ mph on a slight downhill and at least 27 mph on the subsequent uphill grade. I ran out of energy when I'd opened up the distance to 1/4 mile or so, and throttled back to a slower pace than I'd started out with. He passed us about 5-10 minutes later, with an obnoxiously cheery "hi", but I felt pretty good because an overweight 37-year old beat the pants off a skinny, healthy, unlimited energy 12-year old, even if only for a few minutes.

The character of the ride changed after crossing into Oregon. No one honked at the cyclists (other than a friendly tap "beep" to say "hi") in Washington, but as soon as we crossed into Oregon, there were angry beeps when we were riding south on Hwy 30. One guy was laying on the horn every few seconds, because riders hundreds of yard ahead of him were taking the lane in order to pass the slower riders on the bike lane. That's frustrating - taking the lane in that situation is totally legal - ORS814.430(2) specifically permits it. There wasn't even any real traffic in the left lane - he could have gotten over rather than getting pissy with a few hundred cyclists on the road. I realize that all those cyclists are inconvenient, but the ride only happens once a year, and the date isn't really hidden. All the news outlets say something about it beforehand. And we weren't the only group slowing things down on Sunday - there was a big music festival going on in St. Helens while we were riding through. The main reason it bothers me is that a large event like that attracts a lot of inexperienced riders - the very people that the cars have no tolerance for. As traffic rises and drive times lengthen, road rage becomes ever more prevalent. We (all of us) really need to do whatever we can to discourage road rage, and to encourage patience in each other.

And that's my soapbox moment - should be on my other blog, I guess.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ride Report - Seattle to Portland

204.5 miles @ 14.2 mph
Top Speed 38 mph
14 hours, 24 minutes, 5 seconds on the bike (over a 2-day period)

1,984.85 miles at an average speed of 11.4 mph
172 hours, 40 minutes total time on the bike

Notes: I did it - I rode the entire way from Seattle to Portland, from University of Washington in Seattle to Centralia College on day one, and from Centralia College to Holladay Park in Portland. It was quite the experience, and I really enjoyed it. Now, I'm tired. Everything's sore, everything hurts a bit, and I'm tired now. I also broke 3 spokes on the ride, though I never got a flat. Fortunately, I had a spare spoke with me, and I got a couple others from one of the supporting bike shops - they didn't even charge me for the spokes. Tomas gave me a hand with the first busted spoke - I did the second on my own, and the third happened a mile from the finish line, so I still need to fix it. Tomas thinks I need to have the wheel rebuilt, and I think he may be right on that one.

Anyway, yay me!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ride Report - Tuesday

10.98 miles @ 13.1 mph
Top Speed ~32 mph (spurious GPS reading said 51 mph)
50 minutes, 13 seconds on the bike

1,740.07 miles at an average speed of 11.4 mph
154 hours, 43 minutes total time on the bike

Yesterday I rode surface streets home rather than the Springwater Corridor, mostly because I was already eating bugs pedalling past OMSI and didn't relish the volume of gnats likely to be in Oaks Bottom. This morning I basically reversed that path, though I stayed off 17th / Milwaukie as much as possible due to morning traffic. The ride went well, and I'm feeling pretty good. Yesterday morning was my first time on the bike in 8 days, since my 107 mile ride with Tomas and Lee. Mostly that was due to being at New Horizons for my final MCSE class, and needing to have my laptop with me.

This weekend is the Seattle to Portland ride, and I am both very confident about the ride and realizing that it's probably going to wipe me out for at least a couple of days. If not actually worried about "the Hill" at mile 45 on day 1 - I'm concerned about how my shoulders and neck are going to feel on day 2. They tend to get really tense when I ride, especially if I do a lot of uphill.

Looking forward to it, though. Now 165 days since I started riding. Looks like my milage for the year will probably end up around 3,500 - 4,000. Not the 6,500 I'd hoped for, but respectable nonetheless.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ride Report - Sunday

Ride Details:
Distance: 107.07 miles
Top Speed: 34.3 mph (estimated - GPS said top speed 126 mph, I don't think so)
Average Speed: 12.3 mph
Time on Bike: 8 hours, 43 minutes, 56 seconds
Temperature: 59 degrees F, rising to 90 and then falling back to 72 by ride end.
Weather: Dry without a cloud in the sky most of the day.

Matt Details:
Weight: 242 lbs.
Feels: Legs and back a little sore. Tired.
Total 2006 Mileage: 1,707.98 miles
Total Time in the Saddle: 152 hours, 10 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 10.88

Tomas, Lee and I rode out past Forest Grove and back. I started from my house, and rode the bike to Tomas' place where he examined and then tightened my cassette (I don't have the tools required for that yet). We then managed to get out on the road and ride downtown, crossing the Hawthorne Bridge and heading up to Broadway and out to Barbur Blvd. Barbur's a nice road, with a wide bike lane, but where it dumps you onto Capitol Highway there is a long, steep climb.

It was a long ride, but worth it. Next stop, Seattle to Portland in 2 weeks!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ride Report - Thursday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 10.50 miles
Top Speed: 29.1 mph
Average Speed: 12.8 mph
Time on Bike: 49 minutes, 10 seconds
Temperature: 56 degrees F
Weather: Dry and mostly clear

Matt Details:
Weight: 244 lbs.
Feels: Good.
Total 2006 Mileage: 1,500.62 miles (WOo-Hoo!)
Total Time in the Saddle: 134 hours, 47 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 10.28

Well, I finally broke 1,500 miles for the year! It helped that I had an 85-mile bike ride last Thursday. Man, did I get some sun that day - the weather was cloudy, but that doesn't stop all the UV. I'm still waiting on the peel - the last few days it's itched pretty bad.

I am registered for the Seattle to Portland Ride on July 15-16. 200 miles in 2 days - I don't know if I can pull that off, but I sure am going to try. So far, my longest ride ever is 103 miles (this past March), but before this year I'd never ridden more than 50 miles before. I think I can make it, and I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ride Report - Wednesday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.06 miles
Top Speed: 31.0 mph
Average Speed: 12.8 mph
Time on Bike: 51 minutes, 50 seconds
Temperature: 58 degrees F
Weather: Light Rain

Matt Details:
Feels: A little tired, and somewhat saddle-sore
Total 2006 Mileage: 1,290.51 miles
Total Time in the Saddle: 117 hours, 2 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 9.35

Yesterday I rode 11.93 miles home. It threatened to rain but never followed through. The shifting problem turned out to be messed-up shift cables, so Tomas and I drove down to River City Bicycles with the old cables (front and rear) and had them cut new housings. $14 later, we went back to the house and replaced the cables. (Note: When I say "we", I mean Tomas did most of the work and I mainly watched and learned for the next time. Of course, I had messed with the set screws the day before when trying to fix the problem, and threw the alignment of the derailleur off with respect to the cogs. Anyway, it's fixed now and I'm back on MY bike - Yay!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Ride Report - Tuesday

Ride Details:
Distance: 12.69 miles
Top Speed: 35.2 mph
Average Speed: 12.6 mph
Time on Bike: 1 hour, 15 seconds
Temperature: 60 degrees F
Weather: Dry

Matt Details:
Feels: Good
Total 2006 Mileage: 1,267.52 miles
Total Time in the Saddle: 114 hours, 58 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 9.25

My bike is having rear derailleur problems, so I'm borrowing the wife's bike until I get mine sorted out (hopefully tonight). I'm planning to ride in the Gorge on Thursday - one of the Pedalpalooza rides. I'm planning to stay in the saddle for a while - I've been woefully negligent in that regard, and haven't made the last 3 Breakfast on the Bridges. I'd like to actually be known by some of Portland's biking community, even if it's just "hey, there's that fat guy!" (Of course, I'd also like the biking to make me "not fat")

Supposed to be rain today, so I may have a wet ride home with no fenders, which also means I'll have to wipe down the wife's ride when I get home.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ride Report - Thursday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.66 miles
Top Speed: 35.4 mph
Average Speed: 13.7 mph
Time on Bike: 50 minutes, 59 seconds
Temperature: 54 degrees F
Weather: Dry

Matt Details:
Feels: Good
Total 2006 Mileage: 1,173.36 miles
Total Time in the Saddle: 106 hours, 58 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 11.28

Nothing notable today.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ride Report - Wednesday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 10.90 miles
Top Speed: 32.1 mph
Average Speed: 15.1 mph (new best)
Time on Bike: 43 minutes, 11 seconds
Temperature: 47 degrees F
Weather: Dry

Matt Details:
Feels: Feel good. no problems with the knee until the end of the ride
Total 2006 Mileage: 1,151.11 miles
Total Time in the Saddle: 105 hours, 16 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 11.18

It's now been 103 days since I started riding. During that time, I've seen my average cycling speed increase from 10.2 mph to 12.2 mph (I keep a running average based on the last 10 rides). The muscles in my legs have gotten pretty hard - now if I can just get rid of the fat around them, I'll be alright. My weight is down to 243 - I won't get excited though until I drop below 234, which was my lowest weight when I was hiking all the time in 2002. It's hard to believe that it's been 4 years since I took that class with the Mazamas. I summitted St. Helens and Broken Top that year, and haven't done anything really big since. I don't quite feel like I gave up, but I wish I was hiking more. Time has become an issue, and I'm not 30 minutes from the Gorge anymore, so I can't do the summer jaunts up Waukeena that I did in the summer of 2002 (not to mention gas then was half the price it is now).

I think cycle touring is going to eventually be my thing, once I get properly outfitted. Might need a new bike for that. :-D

Oh, and I forgot - some woman tried to run me over with her SUV this morning on SE Caruthers near the Portland Opera. I was going straight in the bike lane and stopped for the stop sign at Water Ave, and she stopped next to me at the same time. I started to go and she tried to turn across me, then stopped and gave me an odd expression like she was surprised that I had continued. Not only that, but she didn't even use a turn signal.

I swear, drivers are getting worse.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ride Report - Tuesday Afternoon

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.60 miles
Top Speed: Unknown (GPS says 38.1, but I know it wasn't that fast)
Average Speed: 14.4 mph (new best)
Time on Bike: 48 minutes, 30 seconds
Temperature: 65 degrees F rising to 67 by ride end
Weather: Dry

Matt Details:
Feels: Feel good - a good tired
Total 2006 Mileage: 1,140.21 miles
Total Time in the Saddle: 104 hours, 32 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 11.18

Took McLoughlin up on the way home, which means I took a shallower hill than Oatfield. This plus a tailwind got me home a full 2 mph faster than my previous best, and actually faster than my fastest speed in to work. This is my first time on the bike since Friday (which I didn't blog here). Hopefully I'm back to cycling daily. Right now I really need to be on the bike, for a lot of reasons.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ride Details:
Distance: 22.96 miles
Top Speed: 31.1 mph
Average Speed: 11.9 mph
Time on Bike: 1 hour, 55 minutes, 35 seconds
Temperature: 52 degrees F dropping to 48 by ride end
Weather: Dry & Wet depending on whether it got rained on. It never rained on me during the trip home, though.

Matt Details:
Feels: Kind of tired - worked my muscles good. Going to be sore tomorrow.
Total 2006 Mileage: 999.43 (1,000 miles - WooHoo!) Ok, not quite - but tomorrow morning!
Total Time in the Saddle: 92 hours, 42 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 12.49

A long ride home - I took the route less hilly, and that made all the difference. Seriously, though - I'm not taking this route again. It was fun, and actually quite scenic. The problem, though is that traffic is pretty heavy and a long section of the route has no shoulder, so it's reasonably dangerous with cars and the occasional truck whizzing by at 45 mph.

The ride went well, though, and I feel pretty good considering. I'm going to try a couple other ways back later in the week.

Ride Report - Monday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 15.38 miles
Top Speed: 28.3 mph
Average Speed: 11.6 mph
Time on Bike: 1 hour, 19 minutes, 24 seconds
Temperature: 44 degrees F
Weather: Wet, then dry after riding the bus

Matt Details:
Weight: Unknown (didn't weigh this morning)
Feels: Felt good after the ride, took it easy
Total 2006 Mileage: 976.47
Total Time in the Saddle: 90 hours, 47 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 12.21

Rode downtown from the house and caught the #56 bus from downtown out to Washington Square Mall. Rode the bike from there across the freeway and hit McDonald's for breakfast. (bad Matt) Rode back downhill to New Horizons and parked the bike. Weather was pretty good. I don't feel too bad eating at McDonald's this morning because I got in 15+ miles, so I burned about 600 calories this morning. That'll put me at about 3,400 calories for the day if I don't ride home.

I'm considering riding 22 miles home via Tualatin-West Linn-Oregon City-Gladstone. That'd be fun, but it will take 2-1/2 hours to ride. It's 22 miles total distance with at least 1 extended hill climb. Another option is 14 miles almost due east and across the Sellwood Bridge, but that takes me across the southern part of the Western Hills, a ridge that runs west of downtown Portland. It's only a 400' climb this far south rather than a 700-800' climb, but that's a little more than I'd planned on doing. Total elevation gain riding home from work is about 500' in 11 miles, or around 50' per mile. (Actually, it's negligible for the first 9 miles, and 400' in the last 2 miles) If I take the 14 mile route to the house, I do all my normal climb from work, plus an extra 400', for a total of 900' over 14 miles. Ick. I'd rather do the 22 mile run, and have only 2 gradual climbs at West Linn and the bottom end of Oatfield.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Ride Report - Friday, April 14th

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.07 miles
Top Speed: 28.1 mph
Average Speed: 12.1 mph
Time on Bike: 54 minutes, 56 seconds
Temperature: 51 degrees F
Weather: Wet, rained for first 2 miles

Matt Details:
Weight: 245 pounds (still)
Feels: Felt good after the ride, knees still ache a little
Total 2006 Mileage: 950.22
Total Time in the Saddle: 88 hours, 22 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 12.34

My back tire has had a slow leak for the last few weeks, and this morning I discovered why when going down the Oatfield hill. I'd put 60 psi into the back tire before leaving, and while turning the sharp corner of the Oatfield drop, the back end started to shimmy. I immediately slowed and stopped at the end of the bridge over Kellogg Creek, and saw (and felt) the flat. I pulled the tire and tube off, and found a piece of glass embedded in the tire, pushed all the way through to the inside of the tire. It's probably been there this whole time, widening the puncture it made in the tube. This morning finally killed it. So I spent 35 minutes changing a tube in the mud, which isn't as bad as it sounds. It had stopped raining just a minute of two before, so I was able to de-layer down to a T-shirt and keep cool while working. That's one drawback to being fat - you actually have to strip to a T-shirt in 50 degree temperatures to keep cool.

So, that's my first real flat of the year. 30 minutes later, I was riding over the Hawthorne bridge and Bike Gallery had set up a little maintenance stop on the west (downtown) end of the bridge with free coffee and muffins. So of course I stopped, and they were kind enough to top off the air in my tires. So other than getting in a lot later than I'd like, it was a good ride in!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Breakfast on the Bridges, the Movie! Look about 2.5 minutes in for a surprise cameo.

Thursday Morning - Aargh! Forgot my keys!

Ride Details:
Distance: 15.22 miles
Top Speed: 33.2 mph
Average Speed: 11.8 mph
Time on Bike: 1 hr, 17 min, 31 sec
Temperature: 47-48 degrees F
Weather: Dry and cloudy

Matt Details:
Weight: 245 pounds (still)
Feels: Felt good after the ride, knees starting to ache a little
Total 2006 Mileage: 927.94
Total Time in the Saddle: 86 hours, 16 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 12.21

I forgot my keys this morning but didn't know it until I was standing in front of the bike locker downtown. Luckily, Tomas came to the rescue and provided my bike with a place to stay for the day. Otherwise, I was going to put on another 22 miles this morning.

Must. Remember. Keys.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tuesday Rides (To Work / To Home)

Ride Details:
Distance: 10.97 / 11.08 miles
Top Speed: 31.0 / 31.3 mph
Average Speed: 12.5 / 10.9 mph
Time on Bike: 52 min, 44 sec / 1 hr, 59 sec
Temperature: 45 / 62 degrees F
Weather: Wet / Dry

Springwater Trail:
36 cyclists, 18 joggers, 1 rollerblader, 2 guys with fishing poles
(This is on the way home. 60+ temperatures start to bring everyone out)

Matt Details:
Weight: 245 pounds (need to ride more)
Feels: Felt good after the ride
Total 2006 Mileage: 890.53 miles
Total Time in the Saddle: 83 hours, 18 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 11.87

My last entry was the 23rd. I didn't do a training ride the following weekend due to Gamestorm. I rode 2 days the next week (Thursday the 30th and Friday the 31st) and showed up for Breakfast on the Bridges (Thanks, SHIFT! To Bikes). The weekend after that I spent with the ladies watching Lost all weekend. Last week, I was at New Horizons all week after work. My wife picked me up each night, and I had to take the bus out there, so I opted not to ride to make it easier on her on the trips back. Once I get a car rack for the bike, this won't be an issue. So, I haven't ridden for 11 days. On the plus side, everything has healed up. On the minus side, I'm already losing a bit of muscle tone. So, yesterday I got back on the bike. I put in the normal 22 miles yesterday, and I feel pretty good. I made average time in and excellent time back. On the way back, I even took Oatfield one gear higher than normal, which makes me feel pretty good - there's still improvement going on, despite the long break.

Next week I again have classes at New Horizons. I'm looking forward to it, and I plan to ride again. It means getting home comparatively late, but that's the price you pay for opting to bike. I need to crank the mileage back up above 16 miles per day. Eventually, I should average out to 20 miles per day or more. (20 mpd is my normal commute every day plus a 30-mile ride on Sunday)

Ok, time to hit the bike and hoof it to work - later, y'all.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ride Report - Thursday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.04 miles
Top Speed: 35.7 mph
Average Speed: 14.3 mph (new personal record)
Time on Bike: 46 min, 12 sec (new personal best)
Temperature: 48-49 degrees F
Weather: Dry

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles 10, Joggers 4 (sounds like sports scores)

Matt Details:
Weight: 246 pounds (need to ride more)
Feels: Felt good after the ride
Total 2006 Mileage: 812.42 miles
Total Time in the Saddle: 76 hours, 21 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 14.77

Monday I felt sore. Tuesday I felt more sore. Wednesday I felt fine but just didn't want to ride in, so I didn't - I took the bus. Today, though - I had to ride in to work.

Monday, March 20, 2006

One Long Ride

Ok, so the ride went well.

Tomas and I rode 101 miles yesterday, from Champoeg State Park in Aurora to Independence, Oregon, a small city southwest of Salem, the state's capitol.

We started riding at 7:30am yesterday and got to Salem, the state capitol 4 hours later. After stopping at a bike shop so Tomas could get his crankset adjusted, we stopped for lunch at "Best Little Roadhouse". The food was good, and reasonably priced. The only disadvantage to parking a bike at a place like that is having to remove the camera, GPS, headlights, battery pack and rear bag from the bike when locking it up. (and, of course, putting them all back on afterward) We then continued on south to Independence, and got there at about 2pm. (an hour after leaving Salem) By 3:20pm we were back in Salem and stopped by the state capitol building to snap a couple of pictures. Then we headed back up to Aurora partially by a different route than we took down - a little shorter and flatter. We got back to our starting point at about 7pm, 20 minutes or so after sunset and just before it started really getting dark. Total time on the bike pedalling was about 8 hours and 40 minutes, for an average speed of 11.7mph. During the course of the ride we had 2,400' of elevation gain, bouncing up and down between 100' and 500' above sea level.

Highlights on the trip out were crossing the Willamette on the Wheatland Ferry, riding through a good chunk of Oregon's wine country, and seeing a couple of giant nurseries. Highlights on the way back were the state capitol, some railroad stuff that only I have an interest in, and the interesting creeks that thread through Salem next to houses and apartments. A highlight on both legs was the town of Saint Paul, population 322. Saint Paul is home to an annual rodeo known statewide. It has a bank, a tiny post office, a Catholic Church (Saint Paul Catholic Church, of course), a hardware store and a John Deere dealership. That's about it.

As near as I can figure, I burned about 6,800 calories yesterday. I had with me a big box of Mike & Ike's jellybeans (pure sugar, no fat - fat slows digestion), most of a loaf of italian bread and a couple of Powerbars in my bag - about 2,500 calories of food. That plus lunch is about 3,500-4,000 calories for the day, which means I burned somewhere around 3,000 calories more than I ate. Every 3,500 calories equals a pound of body fat, so I should have lost almost a pound yesterday.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Last minute Change in Plans

Ok, so no Highway 30 this time out. Instead, we go here:

The Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, the first such bikeway in the State of Oregon.

All the way down to Independence, Oregon and back. Should be fun, and not as much loud traffic.

Health Report - March 2006

My weight this morning was 245.5 pounds.

That's actually not that bad. Two days ago it was 244, but there's always some variation. Also, I didn't ride yesterday or today. When I ride, I burn more calories than I take in, and I burn more calories than my body can provide from fat stores - about 50% from fat, 50% from glycogen. (that's an estimate - I may actually burn a bit more glycogen than I think) Each gram of glycogen is 4 calories, same as carbohydrates. (Glycogen is chained glucose - pure sugar) Each gram of glycogen also binds 3 grams of water, which is retained in the body. The body stores about 2,000 calories of glycogen, which is 500g of glycogen and 1,500g of water. That's 2kg total, or about 4.4 pounds. Depending on how much I've burned, and how much food and water is in my digestive system, my weight varies up and down on a daily basis. So what matters is the long-term trend.

As far as weight control goes, I'm not doing horrible at the moment. Last year at this time, I was recovering from back surgery. Through inactivity and poor diet, I went up to 260 pounds. In the 10 months of the year after the surgery, I lost 10 pounds, or about a pound a month. That put me at 250 pounds at the end of January. In the last 7 weeks, I've lost 5-6 pounds, or about a pound a week. If I maintain that rate, I should be down to my ideal weight of 170 pounds somewhere around June of next year. I'm hoping to accelerate the weight loss to 2 pounds per week and be at my ideal weight somewhere around Christmas or New Year's Day.

I went to my doctor's office today, so the lab could draw my blood. The last couple times I checked, both my cholesterol and my triglycerides were high. With the recent change in our living situation, I'm eating a lot better than I ever have. Coupled with the consistent exercise, I'm hoping my numbers have come way down. I've been lucky so far - liver and kidneys work fine, blood sugar is fine, I still have all my internal organs. Before a couple of years ago, I'd never even broken a bone. I've had a couple of cycling accidents over the last year, but nothing serious. Except for my weight, I'm in good health, especially for a guy entering his late 30's. It's been almost 10 years since I stopped being immortal - the warranty has run out on all my parts, and I'm trying to take a lot better care of myself.

So, last week I rode 3 of 5 days to work and back. This week, only 2 of 5 days. On Sunday, Tomas and I are going to try to ride 105 miles out to the decommissioned Trojan nuclear plant and back - should be a helluva ride. I'm planning to leave at 6am, and get back by 7pm. That's a lot of time in the saddle, and I hope I make the entire distance. (I don't have to - I can cut 20 miles off the end if necessary by taking the bus home) If I can do this distance, then I have nothing to worry about with the upcoming "Reach the Beach" in May (103 miles).

So we'll see - 100 mile ride, blood test results for cholesterol and triglycerides - we'll see how healthy I am.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ride Report - Tuesday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.10 miles
Top Speed: Unknown (GPS read 53mph)
Average Speed: 12.9 mph
Time on Bike: 51 min, 26 sec
Temperature: 40 degrees F
Weather: Wet, but no rain

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 9, Joggers 3

Matt Details:
Weight: 244 lbs
Feels: A little more tired, and some soreness in the legs and around the knees
Total 2006 Mileage: 689.5
Total Time in the Saddle: 65 hours, 48 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 10.6

Rode to Tomas' last night, adjusted and lubed the bike. I have some kind of weird issue with the back brakes - one side is sticking, and I don't know why. It's most irritating. Brakes and shifters are now adjusted, and the ride to Tomas' plus the ride home via I-205 trail was 18 miles. I should have brought my new brake pads with me, but I left them in the bike locker by mistake. The front brakes on the bike are nearly gone, and the rear pads, which I replaced a few weeks ago are already half worn through. Of course, I'm riding more consistently this year, and the brake pads wear quicker in wet conditions. I'll be happy when summer gets here, and the ride stays dry.

Then again, at that point it starts getting hot.

On a side note, I had to calculate my average speed, and failed to get the top speed, because the GPS had some inaccurate readings this morning. Even though I rode the same 11.1 - 11.2 mile route I've been riding the last week or two (I've added about 1/4 mile to my ride at Kellogg Creek to get up the hill to Lake road a bit easier), my GPS this morning said I rode 12.9 miles at an average speed of 15 mph, with a top speed of 53 mph. While I'd love to say that's all true, it's not - my top speed was no more than 30, and the spurious mileage is what produced the high average speed, since the GPS always gets the time in motion correct. (within a few seconds)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ride Report - Monday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.10 miles
Top Speed: 27.9 mph
Average Speed: 12.0 mph
Time on Bike: 55 min, 38 sec
Temperature: 40 degrees F
Weather: Last half of ride had very light rain

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 7
Joggers: 3
Cats: 2

Matt Details:
Weight: 244 lbs
Feels: The good kind of tired
Total 2006 Mileage: 660.33 miles
Total Time in the Saddle: 63 hours, 5 minutes
Average Miles per Day: 10.6

Well, I took last Thursday and Friday off riding, and took the bus into work. I also skipped my weekend training ride, to spend the weekend with the ladies. It was nice, and my legs needed the rest. I tried to ride yesterday, but couldn't shift. I made the mistake of putting the bike away wet last Wednesday when I came home, and the deraileurs and brakes are a little tight - they need to be cleaned, lubed and adjusted. I cleaned the bike off last night as best I could, and rode in this morning. My brakes really need to be adjusted. So I'm going over to Tomas' this evening so he can work on my bike and show me how to do it myself.

The plan for this week is to ride to and from work all week, then do 105 miles on Sunday, riding out to the decommissioned Trojan Nuclear Power Plant and back. I went from 54 miles to 74 miles without any issues, so it's time to see what a full century does to my body. I'll feel very justified getting a big chocolate ice cream on the way home.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Tale of Two Bridges

What a difference 65 years makes.

This is the Interstate Bridge, where I-5 crosses the Columbia River between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. The East span is the original bridge, constructed in 1917. That makes it 89 years old. It was designed in the era of the Model T Ford, a 1200-lb car with a 22hp engine. The matching span to the west of it was actually built more than 40 years later, in 1958. This bridge is fairly narrow for cars and trucks, but carries 3 lanes of traffic in either direction. Unless they have to raise the lift span for water traffic, in which case everything comes to a screeching halt.

It's not so friendly for bicycles.

We get to contend with this - a very narrow sidewalk added as an afterthought. If the width wasn't bad enough, it can get pretty windy while over the river, with the wind threatening to blow you into the rail or into the bridge supports (this almost happened to Tomas a month ago). Also, there's a bit of a hill, where barges and shorter ships can pass under the bridge without having to wait for the lift span. When going down the other side, one can pick up a fair amount of speed. Imagine negotiating this sidewalk at speed, and seeing it narrow with metal signals, gates and electrical control boxes at the lift span (avoiding these is why I have no pictures of them)

Ok, fast forward 65 years after the first bridge was completed, to 1982. Here's the bicyclist's new friend - the Glenn Jackson Bridge. Ugly as sin, but it has this really cool bike lane down the middle of the bridge! Here, look:

Here's the ramp on the Vancouver side, running up from the bike path next to SR-14 to the bridge level. Is that not cool?

The Vancouver side is at about 200' elevation, the Portland side is about 40' elevation, and the entire bridge is over 2 miles long. On a good day (without a headwind) you can cruise down in at 30 miles an hour or more while cars whiz by on either side at 55-75 mph.

Again, very cool.

Here's what it looks like from up on the bridge. Cars everywhere, but the bikes (and the occasional pedestrian) protected by solid concrete and steel. I love riding it, unless I have a serious headwind like I did last Sunday when I took these pics. I never got above 15 mph. Still, it's a really cool bridge.

At the end, the bike lane dips down into a trench between the bridge halves again, and ends in a solid wall.


Well, Ok - they give you a chance to take a hard 90 left rather than tumble over the fence and down onto Airport Way.

And did I mention the view? There wasn't one last Sunday, which is probably why I almost forgot, but you can see the airport, all up and down the Columbia, and a beautiful unobstructed view of Mt. Hood.

Which of course is why I like this bridge.

Ride Report - Wednesday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 10.91 miles
Top Speed: 30.2 mph
Average Speed: 12.4 mph
Time on Bike: 00:52:37
Temperature: 42-43 degrees F
Weather: Raining (light)

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 5
Joggers: 3
Cats: 5

Matt Details:
Weight: Unknown - didn't step on scale this morning.
Feels: Legs are a bit tired, but ok.
Total 2006 Mileage: 638.47
Total Time in the Saddle: 61 hrs, 2 min.
Average Miles per Day: 15.96
Calories Consumed Tuesday: 2,850
Calories Burned Tuesday: 3,400 (approximate)

The ride went well, though I was warm at the end. I was cold in the house this morning and didn't want to be cold riding, so I wore an extra layer - shirt, sweatshirt, raingear on top; shorts, thermals and rain gear below. With the balaclava and gloves I stayed mostly toasty, especially on my two climbs. I normally climb 170' and drop 510' on the way in. On the way home, of course, these numbers are reversed. I got up to 30 mph on Oatfield, which is good for the rain - I don't go faster because I take the hairpin corner pretty slow (a wipeout there would be bad).

It's supposed to rain all day, so it'll be a wet commute home.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Highlights from Ride - Milwaukie

Milwaukie, Oregon is the home of Dark Horse Comics, the third largest comic book company in the United States. This is their headquarters in Milwaukie.

Dark Horse was founded in the 1980's and takes it name from the fact that comics in those days were dominated by the two giants, Marvel and DC. It's funny - Marvel and DC have been bought and sold and the only original comics companies left are the independents, of which Dark Horse and Image are the largest.

This is Things From Another World - one of a chain of comics stores in the Portland area. There aren't as many of them as there once were - I think 3 are left in Portland, but they were the start of Dark Horse Comics - Mike Richardson, a PSU grad founded the chain, and when he got dissatisfied with the quality of comics out there, he started Dark Horse. DH was a pretty small company until they started going after and getting the big media licenses - Aliens, Predator, etc. Then came the critically acclaimed comics that put DH on the map, like Concrete, Hellboy and Sin City. Now DH is the big company, and TFAW is a subsidiary. Anyway, this is the Milwaukie store, which has lots of cool stuff and reminds me a lot of Dave's Comics in Royal Oak, Michigan (which closed in December 2000).

This is downtown Milwaukie. Pretty peaceful, isn't it? Another slice of small town Americana. Not much here, especially considering Milwaukie has 20,000 residents. Most of the city extends out to the northeast, and in fact the main police station is out that way and no longer downtown where City Hall is.

My wife and I used to live in this area, a few blocks away behind Milwaukie High School (Go Mustangs!).

That's about it - I ride through this town every day. Other than the geekiness factor of living near the 3rd largest comics company, there's not too much exciting about it. Milwaukie has a few issues: opposing the Mal-Wart that they want to build in Eastmoreland (which may hurt downtown), building a new multi-use development near the library, rebuilding Hwy 99E which runs about a block west of all these pictures, debating whether to have their own fire department and thinking about annexing more of unincorporated Clackamas County (which doesn't want to be annexed). Oh, and fighting the proposed new Tri-Met transit center along Kellogg Lake (they may have succeded - the latest plans I've seen from Tri-Met show the center on the north end of Milwaukie in the Industrial area)

Ride Report - Tuesday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.17 miles
Top Speed: unknown
Average Speed: 12.3 mph
Time on Bike: 00:54:23
Temperature: 44 degrees F

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 0* (see text)
Joggers: 0
Cats: 3

Matt Details:
Weight: Did not measure this morning
Feels: Legs are still a bit tired. Muscles felt a little sore from Sunday's ride.

It was very light on the Springwater trail today - I saw one guy walking 2 small dogs (I don't count walkers) and 3 of the 4-5 cats that frequent the food bowls under the Ross Island Bridge. I sort of saw a bike. What I mean by that is I usually only count people that pass me on the trail or that I pass. About 1/4 mile from the north end of the trail I spotted a bike in my mirror starting to overtake me. By the end of the trail, he had not overtaken me, so he technically doesn't count.

Still feeling a bit sore from Sunday's ride - it was almost 75 miles after all. I haven't decided yet whether to do 60 miles this weekend or 90. Take it easy, or make sure I can do a century. I'm still looking at riding the Pre-Season Century from Bend to Prineville and back. I'm a little wary because I don't know how long the course support will be in place, and I'm still pretty slow. It's flat, and with the wind on the way out but against the wind on the way back. Add in the "anything goes" weather and you get an interesting ride.

Monday, March 06, 2006

One Long Ride

74.5 Miles on a Sunday. Click on the pic for an enlarged view of the route. I started from home in Oak Grove and headed on my normal route towards work, through Milwaukie, Sellwood, and up the Springwater Trail. on the Esplanade, I continued up to the Steel Bridge and instead of crossing to the west side of the river, I went up the ramp and over the UP tracks to Rose Quarter. Then up Interstate Avenue into North Portland and the Kenton neighborhood, through Delta Park and across the Columbia to Jantzen Beach. I crossed the I-5 bridge to Vancouver, then parallelled SR-14 down to the Glenn Jackson bridge (I-205) and across to Portland. I continued down the I-205 bikepath with a short detour to 7-11 at SE Stark and 92nd to meet Tomas. Tomas got a flat while waiting for me, and had forgotten spare tubes, so I continued on. (He was about a mile from his new apartment, and was only going to ride with me a few miles - if I'd gone with him to Performance Bicycle and waited while he took care of the flat, it would have taken us at least 45 minutes)

When the I-205 path met the Springwater Trail, I turned east and headed out to Boring. I got to Boring at 6:15pm and 55 miles on the GPS. The sun had set, so I turned on the trusty Trail Rat and headed back through Gresham. It took me about an hour to ride the 12 miles back to the I-205 trail (2 miles of the trail from Gresham to Boring are unpaved), and I headed south to Hwy 224. A quick jaunt over the 82nd Ave bridge and a turn onto SE Johnson and I was basically home. I timed it pretty good - the Trail Rat's battery died just as I was ascending the final hill on the way home.

Because I had to detour through Vancouver to find batteries for the camera, my 70 mile training ride had nearly 5 miles tacked onto it, but it went well and I didn't have to wuss out and call for a pickup to get home. I *did* walk my bike up the final hill, partially because I didn't take Thiessen and the road I did take turned out to be even steeper. The ride went well - no flats, new places I hadn't been before, a total time of almost 7 hours in the saddle, and I even saw a pair of deer in Gresham. In fact, here's the total of animals I saw:

Deer: 2
Horses: 3
Cats: 5
Dogs: 7
DLOs: 4 (Dog-Like Objects) (really, can you consider a Pomeranian to be a *dog*?)
Rabbits: 11

Most of the rabbits came out after dark - they weren't expecting a nearly-silent "not-car" to come speeding by with a bright light. I also saw numerous birds and heard a couple thousand frogs on the way back. (In fact, in one spot I think half the couple thousand frogs were all in the same 1/4 mile stretch - a cacophany of frogs)

Next weekend, I may try for 90, or do any easy 60. In two weeks I want to try to ride the Pre-Season Century in Bend (Bend to Prineville and back). I don't know how well that'll work since I'm still pretty slow.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Ride Report - Friday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.63 miles *see text*
Top Speed: 32.2 mph (down the Oatfield Hill - WHEE! Got video)
Average Speed: 32.2 mph
Time on Bike: 01:03:26 *see text*
Temperature: 34-37 degrees F (warming up rapidly)

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 10
Joggers: 1
Cats: 1

Matt Details:
Weight: 246 lbs.
Feels: Tired. My muscles are getting sore.

I made it down to Oatfield, and almost halfway to Concord before I realized that I'd forgotten my keys. So I had to ride back, uphill, which added to my mileage and messed up my time.

Otherwise, despite being a bit cold it was a beautiful day to ride. I'm using the pictures to make a "Ride to Work" post.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ride Report - Thursday Evening, March 3rd

Ride Details:
Distance: about 12 miles
Top Speed: unknown
Average Speed: about 8.5 mph
Time on Bike: at least 1.5 hours
Temperature: 50 degrees dropping down to 46 degrees F

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 10
Joggers: 2
Rollerskaters: 1
Cats: 1

This was the last commute home with Tomas - he moves out tomorrow and I am going to New Horizons tonight before going home. Rough ride. We stopped at River City Bicycles so Tomas could pick up a new cassette (his old one had too many teeth). This was for his road bike, he was riding the mountain bike. On 17th on the way home, Tomas dropped a couple gears really quick to get more pedalling power, and broke the chain, banging his knee on the pedal and nearly wiping out in the process. After making sure he was ok, I gave him my transit pass and kept riding home (he was only 1/4 mile from the transit center). When I got to my home street, the bus he was supposed to be on passed me without stopping. Cellphone time. I called him up, and the bus had left without him all of a sudden. (This happens sometimes with Tri-Met - the driver leaves the bus off, goes and does something, comes back, gets in the bus, starts it up and takes off. They're supposed to wait 2-3 minutes after starting the bus)

So, I ended up riding the last bit to the house, getting Tomas' car and taking it down to meet him at G.I. Joe's and taking him back to the house. So, with all this, what should have been a 90 minute trip home ended up being 150 minutes. Ugh.

Ride Report - Thursday Morning March 2nd

Ride Details:
Distance: 10.84 miles
Top Speed: 32.1 mph (screaming down Oatfield on the hill)
Average Speed: 13.0 mph (a new best)
Time on Bike: 00:50:09 (a new best)
Temperature: 45 degrees F

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 5
Joggers: 2
Cats: 2

We had a 14 mph tailwind this morning, which is why Tomas and I made such good time. Tomas is moving this weekend, so next week is the start of my loner rides into work - bummer. OTOH, I don't have to feel guilty about holding Tomas up if I'm running late.

My legs are sore today - don't know if it's due to working so hard, glycogen depletion or lack of sleep. So I'm trying to address all three, and I've toned down my effort on the climbs.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ride Report - Wednesday Evening

Ride Details:
Distance: 10.95 miles
Top Speed: 28.2 mph
Average Speed: 9.6 mph
Time on Bike: 00:59:28
Temperature: 55 degrees F

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 19
Joggers: 5
Cats: 0

A dry ride home, but boy, am I tired. I'm going to bed early tonight and hopefully getting some good rest.

Year-to-Date Stats

As of 9am, March 1st, 2006:

Total Mileage: 461.76 miles
Average Speed: 10.5 mph
Total Time, Average Ride: 01:14:12
Total Time on Bike: 44:31:24
Estimated Total Vertical Climb, all rides: 18,000' (+/- 1,000')

Total number of rides: 38 (listed as 37 in my spreadsheet - I forgot to separate out the ride to REI yesterday)
Shortest Ride: 2.38 miles
Longest Ride: 52.16 miles
Normal Commute: 10.9 miles one-way
High Temperature: 54 degrees F
Low Temperature: 26 degrees F (about 18-19 with wind chill)

All in all, not bad. If I keep up my current schedule, I'll have more than 6,000 miles for the year when I'm done.

Ride Report - Wednesday Morning

Ride Details:
Distance: 10.89 miles
Top Speed: 27.4 mph
Average Speed: 11 mph
Time on Bike: 00:59:28
Temperature: 41 degrees F

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 5
Joggers: 2
Cats: 2

No Tomas - he has the day off work. I need to get used to it anyway - once he moves out to his new apartment, I won't have a riding buddy in the mornings. I stole the batteries out of the stereo remote (which we almost never use) for my GPS, since the AA's in there were dead and we don't have any in the house. Which means I'll know if my wife is reading my blog because she'll say something to me about that. :-D

My muscles are tired, from overwork, from not enough sleep, etc. I'm pretty sure I'll be turning in early tonight. I'm back off caffeine since the weekend, except for the very occasional piece of chocolate (mostly protein bars, when I eat them).

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Ride Home, Part 2

Ok, so here's the promised part 2. When we left off, I was crossing the Hawthorne Bridge. This picture here shows me after crossing the bridge and heading towards OMSI - the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. OMSI is built into an old PGE powerplant.

That bridge is the Marquam Bridge, where I-5 crosses from the east side of the Willamette River to the west side. The bridge is double-decked - the lower deck is I-5 South, the upper deck is I-5 North. The line of people walking across the path are a bunch of rowers. On most days with nice weather like this (even if this day was a bit cold), you can usually see at least one rowing team out on the river.

OMSI is also home to the USS Blueback (SS-581), the last diesel submarine in the US Navy before it was decommissioned in 1991. The submarine was given to the museum in 1994 and is a permanent exhibit.

The Blueback was the submarine used in the film "The Hunt for Red October" for certain scenes with the USS Dallas, including the "emergency blow" scene where the submarine comes up out of the water.

I turned the camera a bit to get the pic of the submarine. You have to watch out in this area because during the nicer parts of the year there can be a lot of kids in this area.

After OMSI is the home of the Portland Opera. This building used to be the television station KPTV (Channel 12) until about a year ago. I didn't even know the TV station was moving - just all of a sudden it was gone, and the Portland Opera had moved in.

Right after the Opera the sidewalk makes a sharp left turn near the Portland Spirit dock and dumps you into a cul-de-sac in an industrial area near the railroad tracks. This is the first of several "gaps" in the Springwater Corridor, which starts at the Eastbank Esplanade (basically at the Hawthorne Bridge) and ends in Boring.

No, I'm not making that up - Boring, Oregon. It's a small town 4-5 miles out past Gresham. The path continues as a bike line on the road from the Opera's offices towards the railroad tracks of the Oregon Pacific Railroad. Just before the tracks, I turn right towards the Ross Island Sand & Gravel cement plant.

You won't see it here, but there is a sign proclaiming the start of the Springwater Trail. (You can actually see one of the posts holding up the sign in the next photo. The sign always reminds me of the sign for Jurassic Park.

I've never liked riding by the cement plant (off to the right of this photo). It's smelly, it's noisy, and there's frequently grit in the air and stuff spraying over the path. The path runs between the plant and the railroad tracks. Fortunately the plant only extends 100 yards or so. way off in the distance here is the Ross Island Bridge, where Powell crosses the Willamette.

One nice thing about the Springwater Trail through this area is that the road surface is brand new and smooth. Since our winters are so much milder than my former home state of Michigan, it also has no potholes.

Here's what most of the Springwater Trail looks like - long, straight, and NO CARS. No crossings to have to worry about. Great views of the river, too. This is the segment where Tomas sometimes breaks off in a sprint. After this point, the trail turns through a gentle "S" curve past the operations of Ross Island Sand & Gravel.

Once past Ross Island S&G, the wetlands start. If you come through later than this, after the sun sets, the noise of all the frogs can get almost deafening.

Ok - here I am, in my dorky riding outfit. I don't have a spare $500 to drop on cycling clothes right now, so I have an eclectic mix of equipment.

I'm wearing my balaclava, because it's cold out. Also my bike helmet and my climbing headlamp. You can't see the rest of it, but I'm also wearing thermal underwear, a T-shirt, a sweatshirt and a fleece vest, plus sweat shorts and sweat pants. Remember, it's something like 30 degrees out, and in the 20s with wind chill.

Yeah, even 250 pounds doesn't insulate well.

Sunset over the Willamette as old Sol starts to sink below the ridge of the western hills. Along the river in the background are a bunch of houses on the water. There are a number of waterbourne housing communities on both the Willamette and the Columbia. I don't know exactly why people buy these with the risk of a repeat of the 1996 floods and the drought from a few years ago lowering the river level to the point where the houses almost settled on the river bottom. (which, BTW is bad - it can crack the centerbeam of the house, or the keel or whatever they call it on those)

We're well past the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge trail at this point, and approaching Oaks Amusement Park, now 100 years old and the last remaining of 7 original amusement parks around the city.

At this point the trail starts to slope gently upward, and my speed which until now has averaged about 13-14 mph drops down to 10 or less over about a 1/4 mile. We're now almost 3 miles from the start of the Springwater Trail at the cement plant. Oaks park is where Portland's steam locomotives were kept before restoration.

Ahead is the Sellwood Bridge, the southernmost of Portland's bridges across the Willamette River. The Sellwood is a really old bridge in poor condition. Recently truck traffic was restricted and the busses had to be re-routed. The bridge has too many cracks, and ODOT is debating whether to reconstruct it or build a new one. The Sellwood Bridge was built in 1925, and links Portland's Sellwood neighborhood with southwest Portland (the John's Landing area) and Lake Oswego (a prosperous Portland suburb). After passing under the bridge, the trail path abruptly ends and dumps us into the Sellwood neighborhood.

And through the neighborhood demonstration project on SE 8th and onto this stretch of street.

This street trackage is where I had my recent accident, a week or so before this photo was taken when it was dark and raining. Where the tracks curve left is the road I take out to 17th. When I had to cross the tracks again I was at too shallow an angle and fell. Fortunately it was cold and raining at the time, so I had three layers of clothes, including my rain gear, and leather gloves. I was slightly bruised, but no cuts, scrapes or abrasions.

Here is where the old trolley car barn was located. It's now being turned into condominiums. I keep riding down this lightly trafficked street until I get to SE 17th Avenue. Turning left on 17th I cross the railroad tracks and head past the warehouses of north Milwaukie.

I wanted to show a couple pictures of downtown Milwaukie, but it was getting too late in the day and my pictures were getting blurrier. On 17th we lose all the altitude we gained in Sellwood. The Springwater trail averages about 40' above sea level. In Sellwood, we climb up to about 120'. On 17th we then drop back down to 40' again and end up at this intersection:

SE 17th and McLoughlin.

At this point, 17th is 2 lanes and makes a sharp turn from south to east. We're now facing east and I'm waiting my turn to cross. The right lane is right turn only - I am in the left lane, which goes either left or straight. Once the oncoming traffic gets its red light I'll have my green. From here it's a short ride through Milwaukie to Lake Road, which runs uphill again, gaining 60' or so before the intersection with Oatfield.

On Oatfield, the road drops sharply down to Kellogg Creek (about 35' above sea level) and then goes sharply (a 10% grade) up 150' to where it meets with Park Ave. I don't like crossing Park because there's always a lot of traffic there and I'm always moving at a very low speed and usually out of breath. One day I'll be in better shape and it hopefully won't bother me as much.

After Park the road levels out and continues on a couple of miles past Courtney, Oak Grove, Concord and Theissen. After that, is....

Home. Kind of blurry, but there you are.

Ride Report - Tuesday Evening

Ride Details:
Distance: 11.07 miles
Top Speed: 21.4 mph
Average Speed: 9.4 mph
Time on Bike: 01:10:40
Temperature: 46

Springwater Trail:
Bicycles: 13
Joggers: 4
Cats: None

Well, I was wrong about the rain - it wasn't done. Right after I walked out of my building, it started dripping. By the time I met Tomas at Waterfront Park, it was starting to actually rain. We mounted the new front fenders on the bikes and headed home.

You can tell that the weather here in Portland is getting better - there are more people out and about in the evening. The Springwater Trail section along the river had 13 cyclists and 4 joggers, compared to 10 and 2 the day before and 0 last week when we had that cold snap.

Anyway, of course it stopped raining about 20 minutes after we got back to the house. That's Portland for you.

Ride Report - Tuesday, February 28th

Ride Details:
Distance: 12.38 miles (including a lunchtime trip to REI
Top Speed: 21.9 mph (flying down Oatfield at the hill)
Average Speed: 11.4 mph
Time on Bike: 01:05:05
Temperature: 46 degrees F

On the Springwater Trail:
Bicyclists: 3
Joggers: 2
Cats: 0

Notes: Lots of rain. A steady rain, in Michigan it would be considered heavy drizzle or light rain. About 2/10 of an inch in the 1 hour I was riding. Again it was kind of messy - the fenders I bought yesterday at REI didn't fit either my bike or Tomas' bike, so back they went. I had to wear my hiking backpack with me to work, because it's the only thing large enough to hold the fenders and keep them from getting all muddy on the trip downtown (REI doesn't like to take back muddy merchandise - go figure). My Vaude backpack has an integral raincover, which today was invaluable. Riding home will be easier - it looks like the rain is done for the day, at least until sunset.

I know I still need to finish my "ride home" series of pictures - hopefully I'll do that today or tomorrow.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Ride Details:
Mileage: 11.02
Top Speed: 27.9 mph (flying down Oatfield at the hill)
Time on Bike: 00:57:15
Temperature: 40 degrees F

On the Springwater Trail:
Bicyclists: 5
Joggers: 0
Cats: 4

Pretty normal commute in, except Tomas got a flat and had to spend 15 minutes changing it. I hung by rather than continuing on, and was a few minutes late for work.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ride Report - Thursday Feb 23rd

Ride Details:
Mileage: 11.20
Top Speed: 31.8mph (flying down Oatfield at the hill)
Time on Bike: 00:56:03
Temperature: 45 degrees F

On the Springwater Trail:
Bicyclists: 5
Joggers: 2
Cats: 3

For future reference: on my commuter rides, I count the number of joggers and cyclists I pass (or who pass me) on the Springwater Trail - specifically the 3 mile long section that runs next to the Oregon Pacific Railroad tracks.
Near the north end, somone has placed about a half dozen food dishes next to the railroad tracks, almost directly underneath the Ross Island Bridge (Powell). At first, there was a black cat that came and ate the food. Now, there are five, and four of them look to be kids of the first one. All five are black as coal. The other week I saw all five of them, and I was worried that the recent cold snap might have taken them. Today I saw three, so I'll have to see if they're still around. It's sad that someone is feeding these wild cats (Portlanders are BIG on cats), because there are already too many strays and when they're caught they are inevitably put down.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Ride Details:
Mileage: 10.97
Top Speed: 31.5 mph (flying down Oatfield at the hill)
Average Speed: 12.6 mph
Time on Bike: 00:52:17
Temperature: 43 degrees F

On the Springwater Trail:
Bicyclists: 2
Joggers: 4
Cats: 0

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Typical Ride Home

I've been riding for more than 2 weeks now, and thought I'd post a few pics of a typical ride home for me.
Here's an overview map of the first few pictures.

#1: Leaving Bike Locker
#2: Heading East on Burnside
#3: Heading East on Ash
#4: Entering Tom McCall Waterfront Park

BTW, Google Earth is a wonderful tool for doing stuff like this.

This is the view right after I leave my bike locker in downtown Portland. My building is back behind me, and I'm headed west. I'm about to turn right onto Broadway and travel one block before turning onto Burnside and heading towards the river.

Mary's Club is straight ahead in this picture, it's one of 3 or 4 strip clubs in downtown Portland (there's one right across the street from my building in what used to be a Cuban restaurant) Portland has the highest per-capita number of bookstores, coffee shops, and X-rated establishments in the US, which pretty much describes Portlanders: eat, drink (we also have over 200 microbrews), read and have sex.

I've just turned off Broadway and onto Burnside. The building ahead and to the right is the Unico US Bancorp Tower, where I work. It doesn't look like much from this position, but it's actually 42 stories tall. I work on 15, which is actually the 14th floor because the building has no floor 13.

Burnside is one of the busiest streets in Portland, and the intersection I'm about to go through is one of the 3 most dangerous in the city for pedestrians. (It's not so bad for bicycles)

I usually ride about 3-4 blocks down this road and then go right a couple blocks before

continuing east to Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Ok, in this third picture, I'm on SW Ash, heading east towards the Willamette River, which is only a few blocks away. We're about 20' above sea level here at best. The City of Portland rests at sea level at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. The Willamette remains at sea level up past downtown and the Columbia sits at sea level for more than 90 miles from Astoria all the way up past Troutdale into the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge. The rest of the city not adjacent to the rivers ranges from 20' above sea level in the downtown areas to 1,100' in the western hills near downtown and the volcanic hills to the east like Mount Scott.

Picture #4 - I'm entering Waterfront Park now, and directly ahead of me is the Willamette River (pronounced Will-LAMB-it). On the other side is Portland's Eastside warehouse district, which is sort of undergoing a revitalization right now. If there weren't clouds in the distance on the right, you'd be able to see the peak of Mount Hood, Oregon's highest mountain at 11,240'.

Ok, so once I get into the park, I turn right (south) and start heading down to the Hawthorne Bridge so I can get across the river. Portland is called the city of bridges, and for good reason: just by car alone, you can cross the Willamette on the St. John's Bridge, the Fremont Bridge, the Broadway Bridge, The Steel Bridge, the Burnside Bridge, the Morrison Bridge, the Hawthorne Bridge, the Marquam Bridge, the Ross Island Bridge or the Sellwood Bridge.

Here I am riding through the park, with the Morrison bridge coming up ahead. I ride under the Morrison Bridge and cross at the Hawthorne near the south end of the park.

This is a rare view of the park - green grass and no obstructions. It only lasts until May 1st. On or around May 2nd, a zillion trucks come in and set up tents, rides and other items for Portland's annual Cinco de Mayo fest. After that, the grass is trampled into mud. Every 2 weeks after that, someone sets up for another big event, from early May all the way to Labor Day. By that time, any remaining grass is brown or dead, and the city re-seeds everything. By late October we've gotten rain again and the grass seed usually grows back out.

Here I am at the Hawthorne bridge. I'm now about 20' above the park after having successfully navigating a circular on-ramp up to the bike lane. A few years ago, they rebuilt the sidewalks on the sides of the Hawthorne Bridge and made them much more pedestrian and bike-friendly.

Once I get some pictures of my improvised camera mount, I'll put them up on the blog. Basically, a screw and a couple of nuts, washers and a wingnut are holding the camera on my handlebars, allowing me to take all these pictures while riding.

Part Two coming up later!


Friday, February 10, 2006

Cycling Again!

Ok, so I used to be a fair-weather cyclist. That is, I started riding again, but only in nice weather and only in the daylight. I started back up again last year in late spring and rode through the summer until September. After that, I kind of tweaked my back again and only rode in a couple more times in September and October before calling it a year. I thought that would be it until after April or so of this year, when it was light enough for me to ride to and from work.

I thought wrong.

I've been wanting to ride the bike, and get back to losing weight. I had gotten up to 260 last year before I started riding. I'd dropped down to around 238-240 by the time I stopped, and promptly worked my way back up to 250 as of a couple of weeks ago. Something needed to be done, so something I did - I started riding again 2 weeks ago. Tomas dragged me out in the early morning to ride into work and stop for Breakfast on the Bridges, which is a monthly thing put on by the local bike commuting advocacy group "SHIFT to Bikes!". We then went to the "I Share the Road" rally put on by the City of Portland. Somone even caught Tomas and I in this picture. (I'm the guy in the back in the center of the photo wearing the gray rain jacket. Tomas is to my right, wearing a proper reflective yellow rain jacket. Another picture with us is here, where you see our backs (I have a blue crate mounted to the back of my bike).

So, I took a couple rides to and fro in the rain, starting exactly 2 weeks ago. I rode 3 days last week, and 4 days this week. Last week was cold and rain, this week was cold and dry, though the last day or so added high winds to the mix, and the temperature is warming up. It may be nearly 60 degrees when I ride home tonight. I'm borrowing the rain gear I'm using, and Tomas gave me a light for my bike (a REAL light, to see rather than be seen).

So, in 14 days I've ridden 168 miles at an average speed of 10.4 mph. That's a total of 16 hours and 20 minutes in the saddle, at an average of one hour and one minute per trip.

Not bad, for a guy who's over 34% bodyfat.

The real question is: can I meet my riding goals for the year? I plan to do a couple of Centurys (a century, for you non-cyclists, is a 100-mile ride) this year, and those plus the training rides plus my commute should allow me to rack up about 6,500 miles on the bike this year.

Ooh-Rah! (as the USMC says)
Us former Navy guys would say "Sierra Hotel".

New Blog

Ok - new blog. I've destroyed the old ones, either because I wasn't updating them or because they had identifying information that I didn't want other people to have. So, here's the new blog - dedicated to my travels on foot and on bike. Maybe I'll throw in the occasional other item from time to time.