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, 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.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Oregon Coast Bike Trip -2013 Day One

Oregon Coast Bike Ride - Day One

Woke up around 6:30, but that was the third or fourth time as the dogs kept waking me up for somethin.  I was not interested in getting up at 3:30

I had packed the trailer so it was easy to get just need to attend to morning rituals and wait for my wife to get up and ready to go.  Got the car packed and we were off to have breakfast.  I was riding and she drove there.

I was only about a 1/4 mile from the motel when I survived a close call.  A cat came shooting across from the other side of the road.  I had pretty good speed as I was going down hill and there was not much that I could do to avoid it.  The cat actually hit my front wheel and bounced back into the road.  Lucky for the cat or my back tire and trailer would have gone over it.  I avoided going down and crashing, which would have been a very bad way to start the day and the ride.

Had a good breakfast, egg scramble with sausage, red peppers, onions and white cheddar.  I guess Nancy hated to see me go, she wanted to stay and have coffee when we were done.  So after a nice leisurely breakfast I was on the road.

I decided to follow the same route that I took last year, and stay off 101 until Seaside.  I was 8.5 miles into the ride when I had my first incident.  I saw a small piece of what looked like rubber in my lane (the shoulder of the road) I avoided it with my front tire but somehow just nicked it with the back tire.  My tire went flat instantly.  I pulled off into the gravel and walked back to see what it was.  It was a piece of car/truck tire about 8 inches long and about 1/4 inch thick.  I throw it off the road so that no one else would hit it.

Back to the bike I inspected the tire and as I suspected it was sliced on the side wall.  Got out a new tube and tire (this is why you carry a spare tire while touring) got them on and the tire inflated in about 10 minutes, then I was back on the road.

There is an old raod that that Adventure Cyclists said was a good alternative to the Lewis and Clark Rd I was on.  I thought I would give it a try this year.  About a 1/4 mile down the road there are signs saying private property, no unauthorized motor vehicles.  Well I did not have a motor so I kept going, but another 1/4 mile later the road turned to gravel.  After having the flat and not having another spare tire, I decided to turn around and go back to the orignal route.  After climbing a hill it was down into Seaside.  When I got close to 101 I pulled out my phone and checked where the closest bike shop was.

I stopped at Prom Bike and Rental, which just happened to be on my planned route down 12th ave.  The lady there was very nice and was interested where I was coming from and where I was going.  I got a nice looking folding 25 with kevlar, I had never heard of the brand before but the price was reasonable and they did not have the Gatorskins that I prefer to run.  Purchased the tire and then off through Seaside on the side road just west of 101.  I did not try to go down the boardwalk this year as I had checked and knew the beach volleyball tournament was going on.  It hard enough to walk down the boardwalk when that it taking place.

Out of Seaside and some flat roads until I crossed the Hwy 26 junction, then the first climb on 101.  I think I am carrying too much weight this year as I had to stop twice going up the hill.  I think I have an extra 15 pounds in the trailer and 35 on me,  will have to work on lightening the load for next year.
Over the hill and into Cannon Beach, as this is a summer weekend the town was busy and all the resturants looked packed.  Decided to try the Warren House Pub by Tolovana State Park.  Had a good reuben here last year, this year I tried there special which was a BBQ chicken sandwhich.  It was very good, I drank plenty of water and no beer.  Decided not have any beer this year until I acutally get to the campground.

After lunch it was more hills, two  good climbs, with a number of rest stops along the way.  Then it was down hilll to Manzinita.   Decided to grab dinner at a pizza place that I heard about last year.  Pizza was good, not spectacular, but definately better than most places.  The crust was very good, but the sauce seemed to lack a lot of flavor, but that could have been the great flavor of the Canadian bacon covering it up.  If you are here and want pizza, you likely will not find better for miles around, it is at definately worth the price.

After dinner it was a quick stop and the store for a Sobe water for tonight and a banana for in the morning.  Arrived at the camp ground, registered and got my spot selected.  Set up the tent, locked the bike and off to the showers.  It is amazing how good a shower feels after a long day of riding.  Back to the camp site, got my mattress pad inflated and sleeping bag out.  Thunder, very loud thunder, and it started to sprinkle.  Decided it was time to close everything up and retire to a dry tent.  Wrote my blog post, a little reading and then off for some sound sleep.

Day one is in the books.  Hopefully tomorrow will be dry.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Preparing for Solo Touring

So today is packing day and driving to Astoria, where I will start my week long ride tomorrow.  I have been asked what I take and why, so I thought I would share my packing list and what I learned from previous trips.

I started my list from other lists, here are a few that I referenced to start mine.
My list can be found here:

So first thing is, I haul a Burley Nomad Trailer.  A lot of discussion on other sites about which is better: panniers or a trailer.  I will leave that discuss to others, trailer is just my preference



Fenders and handlebar bag are a must.

Camping

  • I use a REI half Dome 2 tent.  I like the large tent so that I can store my belongings inside out of the weather.
  • Sleeping bag liner - it keeps the sleeping bag cleaner longer, keeps me warmer on cold nights and I can use the liner alone on hot nights.
  • Flashlight to see at night outside the tent
  • Battery tent lantern for light in the tent,  I hang it from the top of the tent
  • Seat cover - I use my helmet cover to keep the dew of the seat overnight

Clothing

Take what you need for the time that you will be gone.  Take into account the expected and unexpected weather.  Also consider if you will be washing your clothing while touring.  Washing will cut down on the amount of clothes you need to take.

Electronics

Taking any type of electronics is all a personal choice. 
  • I like to take my Garmin GPS for routing and tracking. 
  • Ebook or tablet for reading and posting to the blog if I can find WiFi. 
  • Cell phone for emergencies. 
  • Solar Panel and extension cord so that I can keep everything powered up. 
  • Camera of course.

Food/Cooking

Most of the places you find to camp will likely not be close to where you can get something to eat.  I take coffee and oatmeal for making my breakfast.  I get lunch and dinner on the road, I just stop and get what I feel like at the time.  Sometimes it is a restaurant, a deli sandwich, pizza or whatever is available.  I use a JetBoil stove, one cup/glass, one plate and utensils is all you really need.

Personal Items

  • Chamois cream or similar if you have a need for this. 
  • Personal hygiene items, cyclists all know you need to wash up after a days ride
  • Sunscreen and insect repellant are two items you do not want to forget.
  • Small first aid kit, just in case.  If you don't take one, you will need it.
  • Laundry detergent if you plan to wash in camp, or save money at the Laundromat
  • Dog spray, pepper spray, knife or whatever 'weapon' will make you feel safe

Cycling Items

  • Tools and parts so that you can do your own repairs on the road.  You don't want to end up walking for miles to find a bike shop.
  • I take two locks.  If you get to camp and decide that you need to go to the closest town to get something.  You can lock up your trailer and leave it at camp and still be able to lock up your bike at the store.
  • Road ID and water bottles are also on my must take list

Notes

I pack my clothing, electronics and anything I want to keep dry in Sea to Summit Dry Bags.  Most other items I will put into stuff sacks grouping similar items.  This makes packing, unpacking and finding what you need a lot easier.