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).