16 March 2010

Terwilleger loops and all-team potluck

Long, long ago when I kept up my blog, you'd know of all the rides and events we were doing and the struggles and triumphs that came with them.  Then, real life took the reigns and I became its slave for a few weeks.  However, I am going to try to catch up by bombarding whatever readers I may have with several posts that cover the past weeks.

06-Mar-2010 Group Ride
This was our first ride of meeting an hour earlier than usual.  Thankfully, we only met downtown so I didn't have to plan for much travel time.  I am not a morning person.  Don't get me wrong, I think mornings are beautiful.  There is a certain calm about those early hours when people are still sleeping and the air outside is crisp...or even better, the fog hasn't yet burned off.  As much as I like all that, I REALLY love my bed and would be quite content to be one of those that is still sleeping.  In any case, I was up at 6:00 that lovely Saturday morning.  Made sure I had time to have a good breakfast and drink plenty of coffee, so that I didn't bite any of my teammates' heads off.  Another wonderful thing about the morning - I pulled right up in front of our meeting spot at PSU on Broadway and parked.  No circling the blocks looking for a spot.  Granted, it was Saturday.
When everyone finally got there (apparently, I am not the only one on the team that isn't a morning person), we got started on our first loop.  We headed up Broadway, then up and around to the base of Terwilleger.  The first time I had ever ridden Terwilleger, I hated the climb.  I've since done it several times and appreciate the climb as a good workout.  Each time, I can actually tell how much better I have gotten with my shifting.  Now that my cadence sensor is working, I was able to improve upon that even more - shifting at more strategic times as I focused more upon my cadence than on my speed.  Yay...improvement. 
Familiarity with a route goes a LONG way.  Terwilleger climbs, but it does so in a rolling fashion, so you climb, but then you descend just a bit to give you both a reprieve and a bit of speed for the next climb.  Coming up on the Capitol Hwy intersection, though, you are descending and shifting to higher gears.  If you get stuck at that light, you should remember to shift to a lower gear, as you start climbing right out of the intersection and the oncoming traffic waiting to turn left always looks a bit impatient (hard to imagine, I know) as you struggle to climb and change gears then.  This particular factor caused a few members of the group to have to walk their bikes across the intersection and remount.  Not fun - and it also makes me a bit of an ass for not warning anyone.  Second route familiarity note (and one that I did point out), is after you turn onto Barbur to complete the loop.  Again, Capitol Hwy comes into play (problem child?) as it also intersects with Barbur.  Poor signage and paint can lead you to miss the bike lane turn off that routes you around the overpass lane of Capitol Hwy that joins Barbur on the right.  You miss that turn off, you find yourself between two merging lanes, and the merging cars don't care to stop for you. 
We looped back around to the base of Terwilleger after following Barbur into the south end of downtown and did the loop again. 
Super short ride, but some good hill work. 
We had to end early to go grab our potluck contributions and head into PSU to meet up with the TNT marathon and triathlon teams for the 10am All-Team Meeting.

At the meeting they recapped where our chapter was at with fundraising - I believe at that point, we had raised $240,000!  Woohoo - that's all thanks to all of you that are donating.  Honored teammates that are fighting battles with blood cancers were at the event and we got to hear from some great people and what they have endured and overcome.  It was a great reminder as to why we are doing this.  They are people you know, friends of yours, friends of your kids, relatives.  One mother that spoke had shaved her mom's head and pulled out all her son's hair within a four month period, as her mom went through treatment for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and her son fought Leukemia.  All I have to do is ride a bike...and that's something that I actually enjoy doing. 

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