Let us ride ! (9-8-2013)

Ride day # 1.  I got up early, ate a light breakfast, and took off.  I took pictures when I could, but between rationing the camera battery and getting tired, I didn’t overdo it.

My first mistake of the day was forgetting to fill up my water bottles.  Oops.  Luckily the first water stop was only about 14 miles away.

Todays ride was the Strawberry mountains.  We rode up, on , and down it.  I’m glad I didn’t wear my King of the Mountain jersey because I took a beating on the mountain.  I took a lot of breaks going up and wanted to take the SAG, but refused to give in.

It may of taken me longer than a lot of people, but I did it.  I’m very glad the Raleigh stayed at home.  With it’s double crank and no granny gear, the climbs would of been brutal. 

All told, it was about 76 miles with a lot of walking in cleats to the rest stops.  One thing I discovered today is that Pepsi Wild Cherry is fantastic in the middle of a hard ride.

Dinner was a roast or steak with potatoes and was very good.

My big toe is being it’s usual self, and the roof of my mouth is torn from something.  Other than that I feel pretty good and very tired.  Tomorrow has more climbing and 70 some odd miles to Burns.

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It begins (9-7-2013)

People have slowly started coming in this morning.  Pretty much all of the bikes are very high-end carbon ones.  I’m having second thoughts about not bringing the Madone, but I think I still brought the right bike for the job .  This week will answer that question.

This morning I spent $3 for a omelet and an apple for breakfast.  Lunch will be the remainder of my MRE: Peanut butter and jelly on crackers, pizza combos, and water.

I walked around town and explored the area.  Pen, paper, sunscreen lotion and a rootbeer added to my expenses.  All of them probably should of been brought from home, but as I mentioned I didn’t prepare packing very well.

I also took care of the bike today.  I wiped the drivetrain clean and cleaned out the gunk and hair from my dogs.  After it was clean, I lubed up the chain and it was as good as new.

For dinner I met up with Carey, Kayla, Jim Miller and a reporter from the Oregonian.  Jim was one of Mark’s good friends and Lauri interviewed us.  Dinner was chicken breast and manicotti.

Sleep was tough.  I sleep on my side, so my hips tend to dig into the ground all night long.  I need to invest in a camping mat or cot.

Travel to Cycle Oregon (9-6-2013)

I was pretty lucky that I was able to find Carey, the third winner of the Cycle Oregon scholarship, to ride over with.  If push came to shove I would of driven, but in a world of tight finances that would of made things much more difficult.  I get roughly 10-13 miles per gallon on flat ground in my truck.  Her Prius averaged over 46 miles per gallon.

The ride was cramped.  I’m way too tall for her car, but it certainly beat driving myself.  The truck is a good one, but all of the hills would of been a nightmare on gas.

We arrived about 5:30 pm, making the trip over roughly about 6 hours.  I was the second person to claim a tent, choosing #2 and Carey chose #3.  The tents are nice, with plenty of room inside for me, my gear, and the bike.

I skipped buying dinner to save on money.  Instead I had a Sloppy Joe MRE that I brought and a chocolate no-bake cookie I bought from a gas station on the way.  Very few riders came into camp today, a lot less than I expected.

I did have to splurge for a Cycle Oregon Jersey.  It cost $67, but it’s neat to have souvenirs like this that you can use for riding too.  The registration packet also included a Cycle Oregon T-shirt for non-riding times. 

Preparation 9-5-2013

As excited as I was to do Cycle Oregon, it did not reflect well in my preparation.  I definitely did not get as many miles as I would of liked on the bike beforehand.  Between work, family, and military duties there just didn’t seem to be enough time to get the job done.  I should of found the time, though.

Packing was all last minute.  I got my cycling clothes ready to be packed Thursday night, but not much else.  I didn’t even pick which bike I wanted to ride until that night either.

The Madone is my super bike.  It’s light, fast, and sleek.  I had heard that there were some unpaved sections and chip-seal roads for this Cycle Oregon.  I had also heard of some bike thefts last year at Klamath Falls for Cycle Oregon.  I only ride the best roads with my Madone, so she had to stay home.

Next up was my Raleigh Team USA.  Steel frame, 27″ tires with lots of spokes on the wheel and very sturdy.  It rides very smoothly, but the tubes are a pain to fix if I get a flat and the bike is very heavy.  There is also very little choice for climbing as the bike runs a double crank with no granny gear.  The Raleigh thus had to stay behind too.

 

The last realistic choice was the Trek 1000.  It’s the least fancy, but it’s been very reliable and the most ridden bike.  I have the Brooks Imperial saddle on it as well as a rear rack.  The rack means that I can take my saddle bag with me and carry my camera and more.  The bike isn’t light with this setup, but it has a triple drivetrain and I know how it rides.  It’s also the cheapest of the three bikes, which helps in making it less desirable to steal.  This “Old Faithful” of a bike is the winner of my choices.

Mile by mile, slowly adding up

I’ve been working on riding to work a lot more.  I haven’t done it consistently, but it’s more than I have been doing.  At a minimum it is 18 miles each way.  Nothing that impressive, but at 5am in the morning it feels like an accomplishment to get up and on the road.  I never want to do it 100% when I start, but after a few miles the bike and road sing to me, and I’m in love with the bike all over again.

This past week I add and subtracted from my harem of bikes.  I’ve given up on finding the owner of the mountain bike.  No lost ads have matched it, and I presume that whoever did wrote it up as lost.  They aren’t far off.

The front wheel is just undoable.  The bike shop wizards couldn’t even manage to make it true again.  I purchased a new wheel and some tires as well are on the way.  I’m having issues taking off the rotor for the brakes, and may end up having to buy a new one as well.  I haven’t even touched fixing up the handlebars yet. 

I was torn as to whether to call it Soprano or Honey Badger.  I’ll explain.  Soprano refers to one of my favorite shows, The Sopranos.  One of the sayings on it now and then is “It fell off of a truck” when they acquire something new.  In this case, it fits very well because the bike actually did (or off of a car).

Honey badger refers to the Youtube sensational video about a honey badger that just don’t care.  I’m going with that.  Honey badger don’t care that it crashed down on a highway.  Honey badger don’t care that it’s costing a lot to fix back up.  Honey badger don’t care where you ride it…it will go anywhere.  I like it.

I donated two of my bikes that I meant to fix up.  I just don’t have the time, so the old Schwinn Racer and Sprint are gone.  Someone else with more time and money deserve them more than me, so I dropped them off at the Corvallis bike collective.

I did, however, add in a new toy:  a WeeHoo bike trailer.  It’s for my daughter, and will let her go on more bike trips with me.  It’s a beast to haul.  The thing is heavy, but it’s secure and allows her to pedal.  There are straps to keep her from falling off, which is nice.

I hope to get a lot of miles on it.  We did 7 today for it’s first run, ending with a stop at the ice cream shop on a hot day.  She loved it, and in return so did I.

New bike…maybe, kinda, who knows?

On Sunday while driving back from a picnic that we had to wrap up my National Guard annual training, I spotted a couple of bikes on the side of the highway.  I’m a scavenger at heart, thinking I can find something useful out of anything, so I stopped quickly.

The bikes looked like they had been there for awhile.  They were attached to a car roof rack and I can only assume that they fell off.  The front wheel of one of the bikes was badly out of true  with some nasty road rash on the handle bars.  The other had a car seat, and it appears the plastic shell of it took the brunt of the blow on that side.

The temperature was pushing the high 90’s, so I didn’t want to stay too long.  I took the bike with the jacked-up front wheel and loaded it on my car’s bike rack.  I thought about getting the other, but the lever holding the bike to the rack was snapped off.  With some tinkering I could of gotten it but decided the heat and my family in the car was too much.

I feel bad for whoever lost it.  I imagine they counted the bikes as a total loss and kept driving as it was a highway after all.  I like the bike I took, but I posted several ads looking for the owner and have been passing the word on it.

If no one claims it, I’m going to take my wrench to it and salvage the bike.  I think I can make it work.  I’m not counting it as mine yet, as I’d love to give it back to the original owner first if possible.

Back in the saddle

After about a month off, I’m back on the bike.  I took some time off from pedaling for all of the month of June.  I didn’t purposely stay off the bike, I just had almost 5 weeks of military commitments to take care of;  Warriors Leaders Course in Utah, followed by some time in Yakima, Washington and Gowen Field Idaho.

True to my form, no time off either.  I went straight back to work after my orders were up.  The bright side is I’m starting better than I have in the past.  I left the truck at work today after dropping off my daughter at school.  Commuting home by bike was a nice way to finish off the day and relax for 18 or so miles.  I’ll be getting up early in the morning and going in the opposite direction for another 18 or so miles of riding.

It’s nothing grand, and I’d love to put in a lot more miles, but each stroke of the pedals is better than nothing.