Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Great Southern Debacle

I heard somewhere that success has a thousand fathers and that failure is an orphan.
I accept this child, to whom I sing this rendition of the Andrew Lloyd Webber song performed so memorably by Yvonne Eliman.

I don't know how to take things?
I don't see why it so moves me?
It's a ride, just a ride.
And I've done so many rides before
In very many ways
It's just one more
Should I put it down? 
Should I scream and shout?
Should I speak of fear?
Let my feelings out?
I never thought I'd come to this
Whats it all about??????

Thanks Audax Australia

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Unsupported Ride

We tend to split hairs, randonneuring, bike touring, racing, for those fettered by chains to wheels in prolonged motion. They do this perhaps because it will make their lives better, and who knows how tough it has been so far. I think the ride would never end, if it did not depend on some contrived cut-off point. At SIR we tend to err on the side of support, especially for the spring brevets. This encourages speed, making things closer to an ultra-marathon event, never mind some really gifted riders that are not only fast but seem to need little support, perhaps the one comes from the other, there is some logic behind this, for instance faster riders catch services still open. This support level also encourages new recruits to the sport, what good is an awesome sport with no participants, the Feast of the Immortals.
Support also creates a buffer zone, recruiting a larger participation despite varying ability, fitness and experience.
Ever since traveling with Mark and Geoff from Troutdale to Whitefish I have been drawn to the unsupported ride, I believe they emphasize the cerebral (decision making) aspect of the ride, a special arrow to have in your quiver. Where do I find these rides; Permanents and Pre- Rides. The Pre-Rides also come with extra unpredictability. Adding another dimension to the equation is the Point to Point ride. Most brevets take the form of some kind of loop, invoking the law of averages, headwinds now, tail winds later, what goes up will come down. This is obviously a simplification, but on the Pre-Ride of the Crater Lake 1000K with Geoff, without study of the profile of the ride, I completed the hundred mile climb expecting to descend 8000ft to the finish. Klamath falls was still above 4000ft ASL, nice curve. Point is (no pun intended), with a point to point situation it is theoretically possible to climb, descend, fight headwinds or drift with tailwinds for the whole ride. I like this.
Joe Platzner intuited that we are drawn to an "Audacious" ride. Well there you have it.
The S2G or Seattle to Glacier is coming up August the 16th. It travels from Everett to Whitefish. It will be largely unsupported, yes! there will be drop bags and a Cheshire cat. Your Bike will support you. so come prepared to support it in return, you will also have your Buddies and the whole states of Washington, Idaho and Montana.

In Memory of Don Boothby

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Touch Of Grey

The logging of the Pacific Northwest's ancient forests is infamous, yet I remain enchanted by the beauty and abundance of Oregon's forestland. Equally impressive is the network of forest roads, these roads are essential to the management and enjoyment of these forests, not to mention fire control. But it appears a good number of these roads were built when timber production was seen as the primary function of the forest. I guess "every silver lining's got a touch of grey".
In September of  2009 I had done the Barlow Trail 300k that started and ended in Sandy, the date of the ride had been postponed once because of the extreme heat in the Oregon desert.
No wonder I tuned into the Pre-Ride of the Tygh Valley Traveller 400K.
I could not ask for a better Travelling companion, Theo Roffe and I set off by 0500 on Saturday in a leisurely manner. Winding our way South from Portland's North Harbour avoiding city traffic by the use of bike trails. We munched on smoke salmon down In Estacada, filled our bottles and found the OR 224 E that took us all the way to Ripplebrook. After brevet  business and small talk we plunged into the featured attraction, the Mount hood National Forest by courtesy of the forest roads. NF57 to 58 and then 5810 which led us to the portage at the Anvil Creek Crossing. Most of the Portage zone was ride-able in my 28's yet nothing wrong with a little extra care. I did not hesitate to get my feet wet. Hooking up further down with the 57 we  came to the Pine Point Campground. Only found a camper with his son to sign our cards we filled up our bottles with the sour water and made a bee line for Maupin, loosing our beloved forests and its shade. Headwinds on the US 197 may have kept us cooler. We had ice cream at Maupin and decided to catch an open store in the Tygh Valley. We caught it with 1 and !/2 hours to spare and cashed in on our time in the bank cooling and refreshing. We left just before the store was closing and backtracked in the Tygh Valley on our way to find the forest roads, Barlow Pass and Mount Hood in your face. In the heat of the day, lots of climbing, our progress slowed. By Government Camp it was getting cold and I was definitely behind on my fluids. Spent close to 2 hours at the camp recovering at the Huckleberry Inn which is open 24hrs, with a sit down meal . I know the descent from the camp, but had heard rumors of the last 100K. Names like "Devils Backbone" and "Bull Run" rattled the imagination. In the end It was all good fun especially the descents. One Impressive descent took us down to Troutdale and a rather long pancake flat section finished of the ride
Looks like 16 thousand feet of climbing by my instruments, though both Bikeroutetoaster and ridewithGPS peg it at 19 thousand. Looks like the return from Maupin is a little more difficult than the trip out so I would consider that in planning.

Thanks Theo Lynn and Susan

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cadence and Cascades II

Riding and snapping with My I-Phone, I cannot do justice to what I see.
A shaft of light on a desert plateau.
But all roads now lead to Maillot, I hitch my Pony to the post on the right.
But the owners up and sold, "oil in the Dakotas" they said.
Eager to climb early in the day and descend to face the winds of the Methow Valley.
nastier in the day more quiescent in the wee hours.
For the siren call no longer so dim.
More sleep than usual at Mazama, the dress is light
4 leftover cans of ensure-plus mailed by a Dear Friend
My insulated water bottles are frozen solid. I ration my actions one photo, one put on Showers Pass, one can of ensure down and down the hill whispering OHM.
 I get a flat at Panther Creek, a slow leak at balmy 45 degrees F, two pump ups warm me and buys pavement to Ross Lake, I take shelter and fix the flat.
Near Marblemount I meet the the first pass climbers in their touring gear. They wonder why I crossed the pass so early, I could explain logistics and time in the bank, but I would rather spend the time at Tootsies.
 I get  soup at Marblemount Gas Store, but I know a place more satisfying. Clarkes Cabins, Tootsie is in the House, she says "make sure you get enough to eat".
I need nothing else till Granite Falls, one cherry pie, one apple pie and a coke for the road.
                              Monroe and tired, I wanna go home.
                    Serious Gratitude to Geoff Swarts and Mjolnir

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cadence and Cascades

We left early, by the time we got to Enumclaw the Mountain was out.
You are headed for Mount Rainier, after a control at Cumberland you are in Ramrod territory.
Always beware the railroad tracks at Elbe.
Skate creek road  is always a good place to break the knees in, its got shade, and a great view of the Mountain
Descend into Packwood and refresh for White Pass, I have not climbed a mountain pass in a long long while. The roads are decent the Motorists were good, but note that this is a camping area.
White pass in the Sun, you are not very well protected.
Recover on the descent to Clear Lake
And on to the Overnite at Naches 
Day 2 begins with a climb up the 410 towards Chinook Pass, an out and back that turns around at the Lodgepole Campground, could be cold..
 Back down the 410 and and roll through farmlands to old Naches. There is a Grill here open at 0800, if you want bacon and eggs. I got some sugar by having 2 tablespoons of the pancake syrup.
Destination Fruitvale the wind will help, just be sure you do not have any reason to turn and go back the other way.
Watch on the Bike trail, may be a little confusing, I use GPS.  Ride hwy 24 East towards the Columbia River,.Just before the junction with the 241 is a little "watering hole" on the left , I have stopped here twice.
Cross at the Vernita Bridge and after a short nasty climb in the heat of the day, I am cooled by clouds and winds as I think the Mattawa hills are much prettier at night with no clouds and the stars.
Steady wind in the face to Quincy, should be the day! But I push on now with a tailwind to Ephrata, where I have a drop bag, thanks Nikki.
Love to leave early, but I am getting enough sleep, the early light, Soap Lake, the moon and Oh! the wind. 
There is water in the campgrounds by the lake, fill up whenever you can.
Like Lots wife I dare to look back.
Wind is whipping Dry Falls, but my fear is that I was born beneath this angry ball of hydrogen.
Clouds come to my rescue again as I ascend a plateau. Is it day 3, or is it chip-seal and Oh! the wind. We are going to Mansfield, Where is that? never heard of it. This is my 4th C1200 including 2 permanents.
Well it has a Grill and a Mercantile store if you need more than the regular control fare. It will take you to a most enjoyable downhill


Saturday, June 9, 2012

"June Pop"

What a difference a day makes!
So beautiful at the Des-Moines Marina, I get a shot without leaving the Route. A little further down I pick the first Info Control.
2 climbs down and just leaving the bike path I run into the Sounder. This is a fast train. Here the tracks cross pretty perpendicular to the road so not much concern. The next rail tracks as I am leaving Auburn requires more care. 
Green Valley Meats, I get some fuel, This is on the Menu on ride day.
The Mountain is still not "Out" at BlackDiamond but the Bakery never runs out. 
Here, where the Green River is made, on the Bridge of the Gorge, I pick another Info Control.
Must be "Traning Day", I run into the slow train as I double back towards Aurburn. These tracks have an angle requiring more caution and you pass them twice.
Last Climb! when you see the Twin (water) Towers the ride is about done.
Thanks Guinevere, its been a long winter.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


There are wet Randos fettered by chains to a wheel in perpetual motion.
So by 0500 I was at Desmoines to start Desmoines - Blackdiamond.
Why ? Because that is what I have modified for the June Populaire
First Control at Green Valley Meats is bolted shut but the Porta-Potty is open
On Sundays they open at 1000, not a problem.
There are no magnificent views today at the Blackdiamond Bakery which is just a wee bit off course.
A cup of Coffee warms me up and two cookies to go.
Green Valley Road is Daisyland, Daisies my favorite flower.
I stop to pick a few for the Podium Girls before stopping at Valero for the Auburn Control..
They are not impressed.
"Back to work" they say
"You've had your fun"

Thanks to Alan Bell
Tomorrow I will ride "June Pop"