In June 2011 I turned 50. Since I am getting older, I feel that I should slow down and enjoy my bike rides more. So I will being doing more solo riding and touring that will give me the time to just ride and enjoy.

The purpose of this blog is to share my ride 'events', insights and experiences with others.

Enjoy my blog and hopefully you will get something out of it that will benefit your own riding.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

2014 Oregon Bike Trip _ Day 1

Spent the night at the Crest Motel.  Had packed up the trailer last night so that everything was ready to go.   Every year I say that I will back less and make the trailer lighter.  I had never weighed everything before and thought that I would this year.  My bike weighed in at 34.6 pounds, the empty trailer is 20.4 pounds and the gear I am hauling is 63.6 pounds.  Total weight I am hauling this year is close to 400 pounds.  It sure would be easier if it was closer to 300.

Headed off from the motel to meet up with my wife Nancy for breakfast at the Astoria Coffee House.  We have eaten here before and the food is very good.  Said goodbye to Nancy and I was officially off.  Rode down the Astoria Riverwalk, at 11th street it is a wooden dock with the trolley tracks running down the middle.  Because of the tracks riding is slow, but the views are worth it.  Headed south and then cut west to get to the Fort Clatsop road.  This is a side route and keeps you off of 101 for about 20 miles.  The down side to this alternate route is that you do gain one extra hill to climb.

I was about thirteen miles into the ride when I felt the rear tire going flat.  Pulled off to the side and found a slice in the tire.  The tube was not sliced but rather seemed to have the wear associated with protruding through the hole.  Replaced the tire and patched the tube and I was on my way again. 

Over the hill and down into Seaside.  Stopped at the Prom bike shop to get a spare tire, then I was off down the Seaside Promenade.  Last year the annual volleyball tournament was occurring and the Prom was 'packed'.  Through Seaside and back onto Hwy 101.  Passed the Hwy 26 junction and then the climb of hill two began.  My hear rate was running higher  than normal and climbing seemed a little more difficult.

Topped the hill then down into Cannon Beach.  Traffic here is bumper to bumper and it is best to just take the lane and stay with the flow (especially with a trailer).  Still full from the breakfast, did not stop to get lunch,  I had trail mix and beef jerky to sustain me if I needed it.   Leaving Cannon Beach you have just a few miles on Hwy 101 until you reach one of the two tunnels on the Oregon Coast.  Good spot to rest, there is a light for bicyclists to activate before entering the tunnel and you can see back down the road for some distance.  Wait for break in traffic, hit the button and go!  I really don't like tunnel riding that much.

Hill climb through the tunnel and and then some, this is the biggest climb of the day.  Down hill to Oswald West State Park (no camping allowed here any more).  Stopped here to refill my water bottles and take a rest as this is the valley between the two big hills of the day.  Off again and climbing, reached the top, stopped at the view point to enjoy a brief rest and met a cyclist (Mark) just doing a day ride out of Cannon Beach.  101 at these view points really do not have any shoulder and you are still climbing a bit.  Finally down hill to Manzanita.

I was doing about 30mph, constantly checking my mirror for traffic coming up behind.  Hit something and my rear tire blew, instant flat.  I was able to maintain control and get off the highway.  Did not see any damage to the tire, replaced the tube as it would not hold enough air to even check for a hole.  Once the tire was filled, I did see a small spot where something penatrated the tire, but the tire still looked good.

Into Manzanita, stopped at the Little Apple market and deli.  Picked up chocolate milk, soda and a huge sandwich.  I was off the the camp ground.  Checked in, picked my site and got everything setup.  No one else was here,  this was a first.  While eating my dinner anther couple came in to the Hiker/biker area.   Rielly and Amy from Seattle.  Talked to them for a bit.  They had driven down to Warrenton and had started their ride from there.  They shared some of the taffey they had picked up in Cannon Beach.  I am sure I will see them tomorrow, for now it is time to get some much deserved sleep.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Preparing for Loaded Touring - Part 1: Clothing

So I am getting ready for another shot at riding the entire Oregon Coast.   I thought that this would be a good time to list what I pack and why.   As previously mentioned I tour using a Burley Nomad trailer.  The Berley Nomad is a two wheeled trailer that attaches via a bracket on the rear wheel axle.

So I have my packing list and have it divide up into seven categories.

  • Clothing
  • Cycling
  • Camping
  • Food/cooking
  • Electronics
  • Personal items

So over the next few days I thought that I would cover each category, what I carry and why.

Today's category is Clothing.  This is actually sub divided into two categories Cycling and Town/Camp.

Cycling Clothing
  • Cycling Shorts.
    • I use cycling shorts because the cause less friction (saddle rash, etc) than standard clothing.  There is a reason that there is specific cycling clothing and it is not just for professional cyclists. For touring I like to use the mountain bike style shorts that have pockets and uses a separate under-liner that contain the chamois pad.  Using this style you can pack more liners and use the shell for multiple days, you don't need to pack both a shell and a liner for each day.
  • Cycling Jerseys
    • I use the cycling jersey for the same reason, they are made for cycling.  I wear the looser (club fit) style jersey vs the pro style.  Cycling jerseys tend to dry faster that cotton shirts.  This makes a big difference on descents after long climbs.   Cycling jerseys also give you extra pockets to store items that you want easy access to while riding.
  • Cycling socks
    • Never use cotton socks, they retain water too much.  Use cycling specific sock or ones made with nylon and Lycra that breath better.
  • Cycling shoes
    • If you are getting into cycling you should invest in a good pair of cycling shoes that are the 'clip-less' style, vs the clip-in style (toe cage).   I use a touring style shoe that is better for walking in than standard cycling shoes.  Remember you are touring and you will want to do some sightseeing without having to change your shoes every time you want to walk around.
  • Skull Cap
    • Some people use cycling hats, others use nothing.   I have a tendency to sweat a lot on the hill climbs and the Skull caps help keep the sweat out of my eyes.  I can also take my helmet off when I stop for lunch or sight seeing and not have to worry about 'helmet hair'
  • Toesies (shoe toe covers)
    • Just because some mornings are cool enough that you will want to keep your toes a little warmer.  They are also very small and light weight.
  • Rain gear
    • I pack a rain jacket, pants, helmet cover and shoe covers.  Showers Pass makes some of the best gear out there, IMO.  Most of my riding is in the Pacific Northwest and when you are doing a multi-day ride the clear and sunny weather that was predicted all week can change to heavy rain after only a couple of days.  I would rather have the gear than wish I had the gear.
Town/Camp Clothing
  • Undershorts
    • You really do want to get out of your cycling gear when you reach your destination for the day.
  • Socks
    • Comfy cotton socks feel great after spending all day in your cycling shoes.
  • Shirts
    • I pack both long and short sleeve shirts, it may be warm when you first finish, but the nights can start to feel cool once the sun goes down.
  • Pants/Shorts
    • I pack both for the same reason as the shirts.  You are finished riding for the day, make sure the clothing you have for camp/town make you comfortable, you need rest before the next day comes and comfort is key.
  • Shoes
    • Comfortable walking shoes:  You want shoes that are easy to walk in, and this gives your cycling shoes a chance to dry out.
    • Shower shoes (flip flops):  While I really don't usually wear these, they are great for when you are using showers at a campground.   The floors of those shower stalls can get awfully dirty, your feet will stay clean using these until you get changed and regular shoes put on.

Stay tuned for Part 2:  Cycling items

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Oregon Coast Bike Ride 2013 Wrap up

I know it has been almost three weeks since I abandoned the ride.  But personal issues have taken its toll on me updating this blog.  I finished riding on Wednesday and stayed in Brookings until Monday.  I was not feeling well and did not have the ambition to update this blog.   We returned to Beaverton on Monday, Nancy was admitted to hospital on Tuesday with pancreatitis.  She was there for 8 days, during this time I just was not up to updating my blog.

On Tuesday August 20th I found out the reason for having the issues I did on the ride.  I have been diagnosed with A-fib, which has not settled down since the ride.  As I mentioned in my day 4 blog, I thought my heart rate monitor was going a little 'bonky'.  Finding out I had A-Fib fits in with what I was feeling during those last two days.

I had a lot of fun on this ride and really enjoyed meeting everyone along the ride.  I felt that I was riding at a moderate pace and just enjoying the ride.  My symptoms were that of either dehydration or bonking from not eating enough, but I knew that I was eating and drinking like I should have been.

So today was my first time back on the bike since stopping the coast ride.  I rode 15 miles, was out of breath the entire time, felt like I was a the end of a century ride.  My heart rate accelerated quickly and did not decrease during the entire ride, even though I was doing a 'light ride'.

Well Thursday I will see the cardiologist and find out what treatment he has planned.  This has really put a damper on my riding and what I enjoy most in life.  Hopefully I will come through this and be able to fully enjoy cycling like I have in the past.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Oregon Coast Bike Trip - 2013 Day 5

I woke  up about 7:30 after a long nights sleep.  The day looked cloudless and should be sunny most of the day.  I fixed my coffee and oatmeal, then packed up camp.  Katie said that she would be staying in a hotel the next two nights, so I told her goodbye as I would likely not see her again.  I started out on the days ride, but my phone went off before I got out of the campground.  My mother had called, I returned the call.  Katie passed me while I was on the phone.
Katie and I leap frogged each other until the last hill before Reedsport.  The section of 101 between Honeyman and Reedsport is nice.  The shoulder is good sized most of the way, and traffic on a weekday morning was not heavy.  I had left Honeyman feeling good, like I had my energy back, I was not feeling drained like yesterday.  There were a number of short hills before the first real climb of the morning.  I was doing good for the first hour and then the energy went again.  I felt like I could not catch my breath while climbing and that is when my legs lots their power.   I thought that I would just work through it as the day's ride was only 54 miles and only two climbs.
I was on the first climb going into Reedsport, when dizziness started to accompany the shortness of breath and lack of energy.  I was nearing the top of the climb and could see the crest of the hill,  I tried to push through the dizziness,  this was a mistake.   I  lost my balance and nearly fell into the highway.   Caught myself at the last second, but ended up bruising both legs and my left ankle keeping myself upright.  After a rest I finish the short bit of the climb.  It was then downhill to a short flat ride into Reedsport.
It was only 11:30 but I decided to take a break and have an early lunch.  After eating I was feeling pretty good again, and soon I was back out on the road.  There is a short steep hill in Reedsport and then a gradual rise as you leave.  I started to get dizzy on both of these 'non-climbs'.  I have never had this issue before while cycling.  Being tired and having a shortness of breath I felt I could deal with, but the dizziness was a more serious matter.  At this point I decided to end the ride.  It would do me no good to get dizzy and fall, especially if the shoulder was narrow and traffic was passing.
So here ends my 2013 Oregon Coast Bike Trip.  Even with the issues I had on this ride, I still enjoyed it and all the people that I met on the way.  I still intend to keep doing bicycle tours and enjoying the scenery at a slower pace than driving.  I plan to ride the Oregon Coast again in a few years, it really is the most beautiful coastline in the US.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Oregon Coast Bike Trip - 2013 Day Four

So here it is day four, well actually the morning of day five.  Day four was a hard day for me.  I got up at 7:30 but did not seem to have any energy.  I was the first one up in camp, but the last to leave.  Today's  goal is Honeyman  State Park just south of Florence, approximately 63 miles with only one climb 13 miles before Florence.

After getting breakfast and packing up I was finally on the road at about 9:45.  I had put on my heart rate monitor, which should a resting heart rate of 148,  that is usually my endurance pace heart rate. A few small hills going into Newport and then across the bay bridge.  This bridge is better/easier to cross than the one in North Bend.  Heading south across the bridge it is not much of a climb so it is quicker to get over it and back out of traffic.  From Newport to Waldport I was stopping frequently,  really out of breath and my heart rate in the 160-179 range.  I think my heart rate strap needs a new battery.  In Waldport I tried to find one but no luck.  I did rest and drink 12 oz of chocolate milk and 12 oz of regular milk.

I finally make it to Yachats at 2:00, almost 4 1/2 hours to go 30 miles.  I will have to check my GPS when the ride is done to see what my actual traveling pace was.  I stop at the Historical Drift Inn, had a Enchilada Mole with rice and beans.  I was able to get a battery for my HR strap but could not get the Garmin to see it with new battery, putting the old one back in the monitor would see it and pulse rate of 72 when I was not wearing it.

I seemed to have a little more energy after lunch than I did in the morning.  Energy even picked up a little a while latter, but I was still short of breath going up hills.  Saw Freddy and Leslie about this point, we leap frogged each other up the Heacita head climb.  Finally done with the climb it was a nice down hill to a few rollers, 6 miles worth, before I got to Fred Meyers.  Picked some more HR strap batteries,  container or mixed melon and a small container of grapes and posted day three's blog.  It was then on to the laundromat,  took about an hour to get the laundry done.  I was able to charge my tablet, nook and cell phone, I also ate the melon while waiting.  After laundry had to retrace my route for a 1/2 mile to pick up a Subway sandwich for dinner.   I had seven more miles to go to the campground it, was already 7:20pm and my energy seem to have let me again.  I got checked in and into the hiker/biker site just after 8:00.  Got the tent setup and sat down to eat my dinner.  After dinner I headed to the showers, then it was back to camp.  Got my sleeping pad and bag setup and was to sleep shortly after 9:30.

Shortened blog today, as I want to get a little earlier start today.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Oregon Coast Bike Trip - 2013 Day Three

Today started with what would be the largest climb of the trip.  The climb seemed harder this year than past years, I attributed it to being heavier this year and carrying more gear.  I would find out later that the cause was something else.

At this point would like to mention a nice women I met at Cape Lookout, Great,  she is from the Netherlands and is cycling from northern Washington to San Francisco.  We discussed my blog and cycling in general,  we talked about what I have learned and things I have not touched on in my blog.  I will have to discuss these some time later.

The ride down from Cape Lookout was great just like all downhill rides should be.  I had left the campground before Great did but she arrived at the summit the same time I did.  I think I enjoy going faster downhill than she does as I did not see her again until she arrived at Beverly Beach after I got there.  I arrived in Pacific City and stopped at the Pelican Brew Pub, one of my favorite spots on the coast.  The annual Reach the Beach ride ends in at the Pelican Brew Pub.  They did not have WiFi so I headed off to the Stimulus Coffee shop across the street.  Had a cinnamon latte and a large piece of coffee cake, I used their WiFi to post my blog.

After Pacific City it was fairly flat with just a few short climbs until Neskowin.   At Neskowin it was off 101 and on to Slab Creek road and old highway 101.  This is a very nice alternative to using 101.  The climb is not as steep but the route is longer in distance but I don't think that it take any longer time wise.  It is also a lot more scenic and I had no cars pass me on this small side route that was 10 mile long.

It was then into Lincoln City.  I usually go on East Devils Lake road and avoid most of downtown Lincoln City.  This year I decided to go through the city.  it is not as bad as I thought it might be.  The hills are not as numerous as on East Devils Lake but you do have to deal with more traffic and lose the better scenery.  I stopped at Roadhouse 101 for lunch,  think they are change to Rusty Truck Brewing at least that is what all there beers were, believe it on not I not not have any.  I have their pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and fries.  The sandwich had onions on that were not cooked but also not raw, it was very good one of the better ones I have had.  The coleslaw had a lot to be desired, the fries were good.

So I was leaving the Roadhouse and noticed that the bike seemed to be dragging.  I checked the trailer because that is what it felt like was the problem.  I then check the rear tire to see if the brake was rubbing on the disc, it WAS!  I had been riding the last 3 days with the rear brake slightly contacting the disc, no wonder this year has felt more difficult.  So if you ever remove a tire to do a repair, make sure to check it several miles later to make sure that everything is correct of you may end up spending more energy than you need to expend.

So from Lincoln City it was on to Depoe Bay and finally to the Otter Crest climb.  If you ever do this coast trip make sure that you do not miss this turn off.  It is much easier than 101, it has  nice bike lane and very nice views.   I stopped at the top to take in the view, it was worth it.   Then it was downhill to Otter Rock, I was not feeling hungry so I did not stop like I had planned.  I was then traveling on to Beverly Beach for the night.  I stopped at the Beverly Beach grocery, which did not have a lot to select from for dinner.  I picked up a can of chili as looking like the best choice.

Then into the campground to check in,  the ranger said that they were full, I said 'hiker/biker', oh we have plenty of room there.  I was not the first into the campground but was the second.  Shortly after I arrived others that were at Cape Lookout or Nehalem Bay showed up.  Setup the tent, headed to the showers for a nice warm shower and them back to camp.  On the way back I saw Stan and his son Jake just checked in,  I talked them on the way up to the camp site.

Cooked dinner and sat around talking with everyone.  It seems like this year everyone is traveling to the same campgrounds.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have time to introduce a few of my new incidental travel companions  to you in future blogs.

It is getting late so that is all for today

Monday, August 12, 2013

Oregon Coast Bike Trip- 2013 Day Two

Woke at 6:30 after a good nights sleep.  Headed to the restrooms for my morning routine.  On the path to the showers there was a Church group that had set up an awning.  They were offering free coffee, hot chocolate, cookies and banana nut bread.  So I had a nice little snack before breakfast.  The guys running this were very nice,  they said they had about 100+ members there that weekend.

Back at camp I started my coffee and then the oatmeal with pecans, cinnamon and honey.  New this year for me is my JetBoil camping stove.  It works very well, heats up 20oz in just minutes, slow cooking the oatmeal took about five.  This stove is well work its weight.  Finished my coffee and oatmeal then had the banana that I bought last night.  Packed up everything, the tent fly was soaked so it did not get put away, just packed on top of the dry bags.

Soon it was off down the road.  The ride was going to be nice today, no real hills to climb, except for the one up to Cape Mears.  The day was overcast but no rain was to be expected.  Rode into Tillamook with out stopping.  Had a little mist around Bay City but other than that it was just cloudy.  My first stop in Tillamook was the Tillamook Cheese factory.  Stopped here for lunch, ordered a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a side of coleslaw and a lemonade,  no ice cream :(.   The sandwich and coleslaw were both good.  I was then off to Fred Meyers, I needed some new headphones and inserts for my cycling shoes.  Ran into Bob and his son Jack at FM,  we had been leap frogging each other all day.  Jake said he would watch my stuff while I was in the store.  Picked up what I needed and a gallon of bottled water.  It was then off to the three capes loop.

I arrived at the turn to head toward Cape Mears but a sign warned that the road was closed, so it was towards Netarts that I went.  One very small hill this way and then into Netarts its self.  Since I was going to miss the climb and be early into the campground I decided to stop at the Netarts store and deli.  Picked up a ham and swiss and something to drink for dinner.  I was then off to the campground.

Arrived at the campground and checked in.  The park ranger said that they were open until 10pm and if I had anything that needed charging to just drop it off.  Got my tent setup and packed my gear to head to the showers, dropped my GPS and cell phone off at the registration building for charging.  I think that I really enjoy a shower more after riding than any other time.  The showers here at Cape Lookout are larger than most as they have a 2x3 bench outside the shower stall to sit on, instead of the standard 8"x12".

Retuning form the shower it was time to type up this blog and get my sleeping bag and pad setup for the night.  As I was writing a lady by herself pulled in, I said hi and she came over to talk for a bit.  She said she is from the Netherlands and was traveling from Gearhart to San Francisco.  She was traveling with others but they seem to want to not travel as far each day and she was looking forward to some time in San Francisco once she got there.  Had my ham and swiss sandwich while writing this, not it is time to finish putting things away and get ready for another good nights sleep. 

Until tomorrow.