16 May 2010

Ride = Reward

25 April 2010 - Salem Bicycle Club's Monster Cookie Ride is a metric century that rewards you with, you guessed it, a monster cookie at the end.  Gone are the days of the dangling carrot, give us our sugar, and monster size it.  Did it really help me dig deep to get through the last miles? Not really.  Did I pass the cookie up at the end?  Are you crazy?  I haven't had a snickerdoodle in ages! Ah, but I'm supposed to record a post about the ride not just the cookie I ate afterwards.  Fine, fine.  Let's get on with it.
NO CLIMBING!  That's what I should have started this post with - a big huge Hallelujah, there was no climbing on this ride.  A metric century, for those that don't know, is 100km, or approximately 62 miles.  Was I worried? No, not really.  In fact, although I had not ridden in two weeks, I figured that since there wasn't any climbing, it shouldn't be too difficult to go seven more miles than our Estacada ride.  Alas, it had been two weeks and one day since I had been on my bike at all.  Various bits of life cropped up and I missed our group ride on 17 April.  I was extremely happy to know that this was a flat ride. 
So, I was riding through a pool of marshmallows...no, I wasn't, but I just realized that a long flat ride makes for a rather boring post.  I could tell you that only about ten miles in, we saw the flashing lights and crowd of cyclists all watching as a rider was loaded into an ambulance, seemingly okay, but wearing a neck brace.  And two lines later, we are back to the boring post about the flat ride because we simply rode by this scene and I did not stop to get some cutting edge story out of it.  This IS kind of like riding through a pool of marshmallows: slow.  Daniel Tosh and his dreams. (Go to 3:57 of that video and you can stop wondering why I am talking about pools of marshmallows.)
So, we rode amongst about 3,000 other cyclists that wanted a cookie from the capitol building to Champoeg - the lunch stop and turnaround point.  For those that opted to have lunch provided as part of their registration, they got to go stand in line and collect a sandwich.  I had not, so I ate my delicious Power Bar and yummy gel blasts.  Mmmm.  I'm not sure why, but the group was rather content staying at this stop for a very long time.  I think we were stopped for a good 45 minutes.  They agreed we would not stop this long ever again, though.  I think it was partially visiting fun as the Eugene team was able to join up with us on this ride.
We hit the road again in smaller groups - a faster paceline and a more moderate paceline.  Of course, I joined the fast group because, well, I'm me.  The pace we were keeping is a pace I have kept on many rides: 18-20mph.  About mile 40, though, my hips starting burning like never before.  Really, I have never had hip problems.  I don't know if it was that I hadn't ridden in two weeks or what, but I was in pain.  I dropped our line down to 15-16mph.  It was a horrible moment.  Flat ride, only 40 miles in, and I was spent.  My group was very good about it, though.
We finished up our 62 and I couldn't have been happier to be done.  For being so flat and easy, it really wore me down.  I collected my reward - a monster snickerdoodle cookie - and vowed to get my rides in during the week.  Next Saturday's ride was another organized ride of 65 miles.  It was not going to be flat, so I would need to be in better shape.  (Note, this was several weeks ago and I've yet to get a ride in during the week. So much for my vows.)
While the cookie was a great reward, the best was an understanding team.  Go Team!

07 May 2010

Random shout out...

Good food, good wine.  No, no, strike that.  Great food, great wine.  Nope, still not there.  Maybe it's just beyond a simple four word opener.  So, I'll do what I do best - I'll be wordy about it.  I call this a "random" shout out, by the way, because I'm about to touch on current stuff, whilst still very aware that I have yet to post about the last two rides.  You see, because it is random you can't get mad at me for this chaos.  Yes, it's a rule.  It's my blog, so I make the rules.  Don't try to argue. 
Back to the topic - a [random] shout out about food and wine.  We'll start with the wine (don't we always?).  I may make my brother blush, I may make him argue, and I may not care because I speak the truth.  I don't think anyone would ever describe me as the most trusting of people.  I don't delegate much because most of the time, I just feel I'm better off doing it myself.  When it comes to knowing wine, I trust my brother implicitly, as do many others.  He understands wine - not in a pompous "I'm now going to go on for the next 20 minutes about just one aspect of this wine you could never hope to understand" kind of way - but really understands it.  When you understand something through and through versus memorizing some facts about it, you can talk to someone about it from any aspect and they start to understand too - they get wrapped up in the story you are telling them.  Yes, the story.  Wines have stories.  He knows them.  People like to hear them.  This is why when I thought of doing some sort of wine fundraiser, I went to him.  Delegation - you betcha!  He has put in quite a bit of work to develop a theme, consider various wines carefully, and discuss things with my next shout out to make sure the evening will be truly enjoyed by those that attend.  So, for his work, unbelievable knowledge, and agreeing to accept delegation and talk about wines at my event, this wine shout out goes to my brother, Zach.
The second half of this shout out is the food.  Incredible wine is only made better by incredible food and vice versa.  I mean, really, eat, drink, be merry - right?  Hmm...maybe it CAN be summed up in four words.  Oh well, already on a roll with my wordiness.  The best pasta around can be found at Justa Pasta.  Whether eating there or taking some homemade pasta home to make (our household favorite is the caramelized onion ravioli and we aren't even vegetarians anymore! yum!), Justa Pasta is awesome. (Wow, that really sounded like a canned plug! It's the truth, though.) So, of course, they were the perfect choice for a place to host a wine dinner and trust with the food.  Yes, just as I trust Zach with wine, I trust Justa Pasta with food.  Since I really did kind of drop the whole thing in Zach's lap and then kind of in Justa Pasta's, too, I really haven't done a bit of work!  Zach has worked with Roland, JP's owner, to put together a menu and I haven't done a thing!  It's really, truly awesome.  So, food shout out goes to Justa Pasta.  Thanks for all your work and for helping to make this super easy on me, while providing fantastic food for me to dine on!
Eat, Drink, Be Merry.  Easily done if Zach picks your wine and Justa Pasta makes your food.

Oh, if you are wondering about the wine dinner, I must remind you that there is an order to this here blog.  Be patient - I haven't even posted about my last two rides, so I can't very well start telling you about something coming up!  Go drink a glass of wine and relax a bit - jeesh.

03 May 2010


I'm not entirely sure at what point the "P" was dropped from the name of this town, but I assure you, it was originally named Pestacada. A Portland cyclist could hope that when one drives such a distance from the windy Gorge, one is rewarded with a beautiful ride, protected from such nasty elements that the Gorge is known for. Not true.
10 April 2010, I set out at 7am, the horrid hour that it is on a Saturday, headed for this small town where we would begin our ride. This was the first ride that I did not look up the elevation, so I wouldn't psyche myself out dreading hills. I am not sure why, but I thought that this was supposed to be a pretty flat out and back ride. Fantasy, maybe? As I am sure you have guessed, I was wrong. One mile into the ride, we began our 2.5mi trek up a hill - that's right, muscles cold and all. Now, the average grade was 7-percent, which to those hill lovers and avid cyclists might be shrugged off. For me, however, it tore open a whole new creative side of me whereby I was able to make up expletives that might even make Denis Leary blush. I have waited over three weeks to make this entry so that I could calm myself enough to be sure none of those slipped into this post. After all, I am still the angelic daughter my parents believe me to be. 0:-) (I think that is a smiley with a halo on it...I'll consult a teen.)
So, the summit finally arrives and then it's my favorite part: the descent! This was awesome. Yes, we were on a highway, but it was four lanes and not many cars, so if you needed to pass, there was plenty of room. Halfway down it struck me - this is an out and back ride. Pestacada!!! Oh well, enjoy the few miles of speed. Shortly thereafter, we were met with the wind that assures me that this place was called Pestacada at one time. The wind is more of a pest than rain. Truly. There were moments when we were going downhill, yet we had to pedal - hard - to continue moving against the wind. What??? That's not how it's supposed to work. Yet more strings of expletives.
Linda, Mari, and I were riding together. We were pace lining as best you can with only three people, as we fought against the wind and worked out way to the turn around point. I arrived feeling rather famished, dry, and really happy to think about how that wind would be hitting us as we headed back. Our SAG was there at the Ripplebrook Ranger Station...hmmm, three weeks ago, don't hold me to the name of that. He had PB&Js, PowerBar Gel Blasts (my fave!), and other yummy stuff. We had a quick bite, filled our water and decided to get moving as others started arriving. Not that we didn't want to be social, we just didn't want to get cold.
As we set off, I noticed that I'd only logged 25 miles. This was supposed to be a 55-mile ride. Being the math genius that I am, I was quickly able to compute that this was only going to be 50-miles. Upsetting. I was set on my 55! So, as we rode, wind at our backs, I was thinking. There was a road that went around that nasty climb we had done at the beginning of the ride. It went down to the Faraday Dam and then on to North Fork Dam and their respective reservoirs. About halfway back, I asked Mari and Linda what they thought about doing a 2.5mi out and back on that road to get us to our 55-miles. After looking at me like I was nuts and a bit too anal about the ride distance, I got a maybe from Mari, but Linda was going to be out of time. Mari had carpooled with another rider and so long as we could make good enough time to not keep the other rider waiting, she would be up for it. Yes! Motive to keep the speed up the rest of the way back.
Now, I need to interject just here to point something out. I COULD have suggested we take that road around that climb...you know, so we had plenty of time to get our extra five miles in, but I did not. Nope, I knew we had the climb coming and just like I always do when I know about a climb, I started psyching myself out about it. As we rode, I began wondering if I really had the amount of fuel left within me to do it. Am I going to have to walk? Dear god, no, I won't walk. I just won't. It's not Laurelwood for crying out loud. No, walking isn't an option. Take a break halfway up? Maybe. Only as a last resort...wham! The wind suddenly changed direction and hit me from the side, nearly blowing me over. More expletives. Yeah, it's one of those unexpected things mother nature likes to do when you find yourself a little too deep in thought on a ride. A little jolt back to reality. As it happens, this little jolt came as we were going down a bit of a hill and somewhere between 35 and 40mph. "Wham" is really not a great word to describe wind hitting you from the side, but as it had about the same effect that I feel a bat or a robin flying at me would, I will let it stand.
The hill was before me. Oh how I remember just hours ago when I enjoyed flying down it. As much as I psyche myself out approaching hills, I also play little psychological games to get myself up the things. It's only a mile, Heather. I stare at the computer, ticking off each tenth of that mile. Do I know that this hill is more than a mile long: abso-friggen-lutely. Will I convince myself otherwise? Let's just say, I can be very convincing to myself. So, that mile runs out and I switch to the little white reflector poles lining the highway. There are only ten to the top...tick them away. Dam. No, literally, I should have gone around the way of the dams. Back to mileage. Okay, so there can't be more than half a mile left at this point. Do I have a half mile of air left to breathe? Do I have any gears left? Dams. Only a tenth left of that little half mile game and still...oh wait, I see the summit. Puuuuuuussshhhhh. Yes, it is like labor. Breathe. Push. Breathe. Swear. See? Just like labor...only without the pain down there because on a ride we're well equipped with Chamois Butt'r (yep, another product plug) to keep us from such added issues. Hmm..So, yeah, sorry guys, it's not really like labor. And with that little side thought, I found myself at the top. Psychological games and odd conversations with myself win out again!
Down the hill we go, treating our legs to a well-earned respite and cool ourselves down. Near the bottom, Mari and I turn left and ride out on Faraday Road our 2.5 miles. This was actually quite lovely and I'm glad we did it. As we rode, we encountered one of our team riding in the opposite direction - they had opted to take this road back instead of doing the climb. If only I could package my head games for them to use to get up those hills.
I was tired and really quite moseying along these extra miles, but I was content - I got my 55. Longest ride to date. I hated the hills, I hated the wind, but it was over and I loved it. Expletives withdrawn.