13 April 2010

Chain Reaction...

03 April was a cold, rainy, very "Portland" day.  I was up at the crack of dawn and, of course, not happily so.  I dreaded the day before I even looked outside to see our dreary riding conditions.  Hellacious climbing was on the docket for the day.  I hate climbing.  Not necessarily because it's hard, which is an understatement for me, but because it is my weakness.  I can fool people into thinking I am a fairly strong rider until we hit the slightest hill and my true, newbie colors shine through.  And yes, before you comment and say something so wonderfully insightful like "well, Heather, that's why you need to do more climbing - the more you do it, the easier it will get," you should know that I am already aware of such things.  I will do it more, but in the meantime, I will continue to HATE it.  So, where were we?  Oh yes, I'm awake and it's early!  And I know today's ride has a lot of climbing!  And, I look outside and it's raining!  And it's cold! 
So, we began at NW 25th and NW Raleigh, heading south towards Washington Park - home of the Rose and Japanese Gardens - but don't think about those right now because those are serene and lovely and we are in a gray and miserable story right now.  We made our way up through the park and then up Fairview to Skyline.  After crossing Burnside or Barnes - whichever it is at that point - and continuing up Skyline, still climbing, we had a visitor on the road.  It's this white, horrid stuff and there it was...all over the road. The four letter S-word.  Yep.  Snow.  And you guessed it - I hate snow.  Are you miserable with me yet?
I did have a brief moment of happiness in my climb as I passed Brynwood and thought, my climb wasn't so bad.  If that doesn't make sense to you, go drive, ride, run, walk, crawl up Brynwood from Miller to Skyline - then you'll understand...or I could just tell you that it's a 24% grade climb, but it is only 1/3mi long.  I could also smile because I knew that I'd done the initial climb of today's 50-mile ride.  Small hills here and there and then a couple miles up Springville lay ahead.  All of that in the first 20 miles of our ride.  After that, it was a fairly flat ride.  Just get through that first 20.  So, I trudged along Skyline to Thompson, took a left and had a lovely descent that worked wonders at taking my well-heated body and turning it into an icicle by the time I reached the bottom.  We stayed on Thompson as it turned into West Union and followed it out to 185th.  We made a restroom stop at a Subway here, which since I did not purchase anything from them and they specifically state that their restroom is not for public use, I feel it necessary to give them a plug.  So, thank you, Subway, for allowing us the use of your facilities.  Five dollar footlongs, people, five-dollar-footlongs. 
We headed north up some rolling hills on 185th to Germantown.  We didn't stay on Germantown long before hanging a right onto Kaiser for a few more rollers back to Springville.  Kaiser.  To some, this says, "healthcare" or "HMO," but to me it says, "you were right when you thought that you shouldn't have bothered getting up today."  We started climbing a hill, I shifted gears, my chain came off, but I managed to unclip and avoid falling over despite coming to a immediate stop. yay.  I told the others to continue on, I was just going to put my chain back on and be on my way.  But no.  As I put it on, I saw this mangled excuse for a link.
While I gave it a shot anyway, I knew this was the end of my ride for the day.  Sure enough, there was a kerchunk sound each time that link came round and then the chain would just drop to the next cog all upon direction of that link.  17.6 miles.  That was the intersection of Kaiser and Springville, where I awaited the SAG vehicle to come and pick me up.  A spare chain is just not something I keep on me.  17.6 miles.  Let me back up and reiterate that most of the ride's climbing was in the first 20 miles of the ride.  Springville Road was the last of it for the most part.  After that, we were just going to descend Newberry to Hwy 30, head north to Sauvie Island, do a loop there and head back down Hwy 30 to our start location.  I was so close to having the part of the ride I dreaded most done and out of the way. Irritating.  Very irritating. 
So, back at my car, I packed my bike into the back, took this picture, ran home and changed into dry clothes, and headed to Lakeside Bikes.  They were busy, but Gordon took the time to check my bike out anyway.  They put another chain on, adjusted my derailleurs, kept the chain to show the Campy rep, and off I went - no charge.  So, here comes my second plug of this post: Lakeside Bikes.  I have always received friendly and prompt service there.  They are awesome.  I highly recommend them should you need to purchase a bike, get information on bikes, or for maintenance.  Oh, and I used their restroom, too, but they do not offer five-dollar-footlongs. 
So that's it.  I headed off to watch my daughter play volleyball for the rest of the day.  I was done trying to defeat all the elements that were screaming at me from the moment I got up that morning.  Some days are just a chain reaction of bad moments - pun intended.


  1. OMG!! Truly, you should consider writing...you know how sports magazine have a anecdotal columnist??? Yes, that would be you!! Great read! Thank you for sharing your time on the road....

  2. haha...no, I'll leave the writing to that daughter of mine. My mind forbids me to be concise. I almost feel obligated to put pictures in to break up my long-windedness.