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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: Oregon Coast Solo Trip

Did not complete the ride as I had planned.  Actually only made 2 1/2 days.  Don't know why my knees were bothering me so much on this ride.  I had done the Gorge ride two weeks earlier with no issues at all, same bike, same trailer and basically the same gear.  Maybe I need to do more training.

So I am planning for the same ride again next year.  This is on my bucket list so it is really something that I want to complete.  Somethings I am thinking of doing differently.

  • Don't start with an 80 mile ride on day one.
  • Plan for 40-50 days to allow for more time to sight see and enjoy the ride.
  • Plan camp sites to be closer to cities or shortly after.
  • Make sure bike is complete tuned, go over everything.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day Three: Oregon Coast Solo Trip

Woke at a decent time this morning. Had everything packed and was on the road by 8:30. Stopped at Hill Top restaurant for breakfast, french toast, eggs and sausage,  the french toast was very good.  Back on the road about 9:30, Day was overcast with some breaks, but no moisture.

My knee is really bad today, every pedal stroke is an effort. Don't known what is wrong, I have a sharp pain under the knee cap. Want to finish this ride, been planned for a long time, but if things don't get better.....

Leaving Lincoln City via Hwy 101, traffic was not to bad and the shoulder was a decent width.  Stopped at Boiler Bay and ate a couple of packets of the apple slices I purchased last night.  Rode through Depoe Bay and on to Otter Crest Loop. The Otter Crest Loop is a nice alternative to Hwy 101,  The scenery is great along this route and traffic is very low.  The first section is uphill but is one way with a bike lane.  There are multiple pull outs for views and taking pictures.  At the Otter Crest State wayside, the road becomes two way and the bike lane ends,  but it is all down hill to Otter Rock.  Leaving Otter Rock we return to Hwy 101, higher traffic rates, but a wide shoulder.

Shortly after entering Newport the Bike Route leaves Hwy 101 and goes on Oceanview drive.  This keeps us off Hwy 101 through Newport as this portion is two lanes with no shoulder or bike lane.  This is a nice residential rode with light traffic, but has a few minor hills.

As I was winding through the neighbor hoods and the old area of Newport it became apparent that I was not going to be able complete my intended route today.  I stopped at the Whaler hotel to get a room for the night.  Called Nancy to let her know that I had to abandon the ride.

Well I was hoping to have more post and to complete the ride, but the issue with my knees was not improving and I decided it was better to abandon than to risk possibly further injury to my knees.

Day Two: Oregon Coast Solo Trip

Slept later than usual (no dogs this morning to wake me up). A little sore from yesterday, moving slow this morning. No place for breakfast this morning, had some beef jerky instead. The ride this morning starts out with the biggest hill climb on the route.

Rained most of the night, but was light enough to get everything packed up fairly dry. Had a light mist as I began the ride. 1000+ feet of climbing over 2 1/2 miles. The road was always climbing, sometimes 1 or 2 % other felt like 10 or 11%. I will have to wait to see when I download my GPS. Took my jacket off part way up, it was cool but I was generating too much heat. I was about a mile into the climb and noticed that something was rubbing on the back tire.  Appeared to be the rear fender, finally got it adjusted so that it was no rubbing.  Reached the top, put my jacket back on for the downhill ride.

The downhill was nice, "the payoff after the climb".  Towards the end of the downhill there are some nice views of the dunes, this is the Sand Lake recreation area.  Heard some off road vehicles but never saw them. Right turn onto Sand Lake road and the ride into Pacific City.

Stopped to the Pelican Brew Pub for lunch, this was my planned breakfast stop. Another rider, Steve, that I had seen at the hiker-biker camp at Cape Lookout was already there. Ordered a bowl of chili and a side Caesar. Talked to Steve for a bit, found out he was doing the same ride but had started from Astoria on Saturday.  Steve said he was riding to Newport that day, so I would not likely see him again that day.  But as we are traveling the same route with the same planned end date, I would likely see him again in the coming days.

After lunch it was a few miles on Hwy 101 then onto old Hwy 101 to Otis. This is a longer route but a gentler grade, less traffic and through an old growth forest. Just as I started this portion the rain came back as a heavy drizzle. I was wearing my wind breaker and thought it would suffice. I was soaked after about ten minutes, no reason to change clothes now. Despite the rain thus was a beautiful section of road to ride.

At Otis turned onto Hwy 18 which soon became Hwy 101, moderately heavy traffic. A few miles later a left  turn on to East Devils Lake road. This road is a nice alternate around Lincoln city and the high traffic on Hwy 101.  East Devils Lake road is all rollers with some steep hill climbs, misjudged one of these and actually had to stop because I was in the wrong gear

Made it to the camp ground around 5:30. I was debating getting a hotel but ended up sticking to my plan and camping. Got everything setup and headed out for dinner. Went to the Mcmenamins Lighthouse pub. They had sturgeon fish and chips. It was the first time I had sturgeon, it was very good, no fishy taste at all.

Tomorrow may be a challenge as my left knee has been bothering me since the start and the tennis elbow that I developed last week is not helping things. Plan to stick with the ride until my body says quit.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day One: Oregon Coast Solo Trip

Woke up about 6am, the dogs won't let me sleep any later than that. Packed up everything into the trailer, finished getting ready and went over to Buoy Nine for breakfast. Breakfast was four slices of French Toast, sausage patty and coffee. French Toast was large slices of sourdough bread, very good.

The day was overcast but almost 60 degrees. Took the back road through Fort Stevens State Park out to Hwy 101. My map showed a side road from Sunset Beach to Surf Pines. This added a few miles, the road was there but about 1 mile from Sunset Beach it became a gated community. Turned around and went back to the original route.

Saw several other riders some going south some going North. Route through Seaside was along the promenade. It had been a while since I have been to Seaside, it sure has been built up! Back to Hwy 101 and the two large hills before Manzanita. When I had finished those hills I was ready for lunch. Stopped at the Pizza Garden in Nehalem. Very good pizza, I ate almost all of the ten inch pizza I order.

Back on the road it was starting to sprinkle. I stopped at a road side rest area filled me water bottles and put on my wind breaker as it was only a sprinkle and not actual rain. Before reaching Rockaway Beach, I put on my shoe covers. It did not look like it would let up and wet shoes are not fun.

On into Tillamook and the turn towards the Three Capes Scenic Route. The route here heads west then north west, there was a good headwind here. Decided to take the Netarts Hwy alternate route, this saved eight miles. Planned on stopping at Whiskey Creek BBQ, but they had moved. Turned around and headed to Netarts, Yelp showed they had moved to Netarts. Did not see them, stopped at the store to get directions. Picked up a few supplies for tonight. The clerk said that if I wanted better food I would find it at the Schooner. She was right I had a very good seafood pasta dinner and was also able to watch part of the basketball game.

Out into the rain, it had been rain on and off since Nehalem. It was longer to the camp ground than I expected, likely because I was worn out by now. Reached the park, set up the tent and off to the showers. Showers were nice and hot! Since it was still raining there was not much to do but go back to the tent. Called Nancy again, checked the route for tomorrow and wrote the blog. Now time for a good long sleep, no dogs to wake me in the morning. :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day Four Columbia Gorge Explorer '11

Morning has come, the final day is here. Packed everything up, seems to get easier each day. Winds appear to still be strong, not the 7-9 mph forecasted.

Today's ride starts on I-84 again. The winds started off strong but died down after about only one mile. Finally off the highway and onto some nice side roads into Cascade Locks. Stopped at Char Burger for breakfast. This Char Burger is not your Portland area Char Burger, it is a full service resturant. Omelet, hashbrowns, sausage, toast and coffee. Stuffed and now time to get back on the road.

Leaving Cascade Locks the route takes us on the the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail. This is a nice paved bike/pedestrian pathway, much better than riding I-84. I had left my handlebar bag unsnapped so that it would be easier to get to my camera while on the trail. This was a mistake as I found out when I hit the first of the tree root bumps. Several items fell out including my camera which went straight under my wheels.  Note to self: Save the equipment and not time by snapping the bag closed.

The HCRH Trail comes out at the Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery, then heads up a road marked with a Do Not Enter sign.  There is a bikelane on each side of the road which soon turns back into the actual trail.  A few hundred feet beyond where it becomes a true trail agin, there is a set of stairs that need to be negoiated.  This was a little bit of a challege for me having both a bike and a trailer.  I really enjoyed riding this portion of the route, but is was all too soon back on I-84.

After a short duration on I-84 it was back on to the HCRW (Crown Point Hwy).  This was also a nice section to ride, with the exception that it was Memorial weekend and the traffic was rather high.  At this point it was starting to warm up and I was going through my water rather quickly.  Stopped at Horse-tail falls then Multnomah Falls, refilled water bottles here.  The climb to Crown Point begins as I leave Multnomah Falls.  The road is still good, nice scenery and shade, but still large volumns of traffic.  It takes almost an hour to ride the approx. 8 miles to Vista House at Crown Point.  My first time here, the views were great.  A little rest, more water, a call to Nancy so she could meet me for lunch and I was on my way.

There was still more climbing, but not a lot, then down hill into Corbett, Springdale and finally Troutdale.  Saw a few other riders stopped at a cafe for lunch, but I rode on as I was meeting Nancy at the Edgefield for lunch.  Arrived at Edgefield and was getting ready to lockup my bike and wait for Nancy to arrive, but she texted me that she just arrived,  what good timing.  Found her, put my tailer and other gear in the trunk just as it started to sprinkle.  Now off the the Powerstation Pub for food and beer.

Actual route and personal riding data

What a trip!!!  Very enjoyable, sore legs, saddle sore, worn out and really tired, but I would definately do it again. 

A collection of all my photos from the trip.

Thanks to Jim and all the others at VBC and PWTC for putting this together.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day Three Columbia Gorge Explorer '11

Woke early knowing that we would have head winds and that they only get stronger as the day goes on. Only had half the bagel before packing up and starting the ride. I was loaded up and heading out by 6:30.

The headwinds were as strong as I had expected them to be, that is until I rounded the point and got the full blast of them. I averaged around ten mph for the 17 miles to Cousins in The Dalles.

Cousins is where I had my real breakfast. If you are ever in The Dalles and looking for somewhere to eat, I recommend Cousins. The food was great and the service was very good.

Heading out from The Dalles we headed toward the Rowena curves. This is a three mile climb up a 5% grade. Today we also had the headwinds to contend with, though the trees did break it up once in a while. After finally reaching the top and snapping a few pictures, it was time to enjoy the downhill payoff from all that climbing. But today was different, the headwinds denied me the fast downhill joy that I was expecting. There were times going down a 3% grade that I had to pedal just to maintain 10 mph.

When I reached the bottom at Mosier I stopped at a small market to refill my water bottles. Almost fell because my shoe would not unclip (note to self: always check the tightness of your cleats before starting a long ride). After getting the water and taking care of the mechanical, it was on to the Mosier tunnels.

This is a nice ride on a wide bike path, with a bit of climbing. If you are riding this path be careful of the roadies that zoom down the trail. It was the first time I had seen the Mosier tunnels, it was enjoyable and worth the climb.

From Mosier we rolled into Hood River. As it is Memorial weekend the town was very busy. Rode through downtown stopping on the way out to grab something to eat, Pizacotto Pizza and sub sandwich to take with me for dinner.

The next seven miles were all on I-84, still fighting the headwinds with the added bonus of the high speed traffic rushing by just feet away.

Made it into the camp ground before most. Set up my tent and was ready to hit the showers when I was told that the hot water was out and it would be several hours before it was repaired.

Sat around talking to everyone about the ride today and previous adventures. Ate my sub sandwich and munched on some nuts. It is amazing how hungry you get riding. Well it is time to hit the showers and then the rack. Tomorrow is the last day of the ride.

Actual route and personal riding data

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day Two Columbia Gorge Explorer '11

Got a good nights sleep, despite the trains going by about every 30 minutes. Made coffee and had the last half of my turkey sandwich. The light rain had stopped by the time I finished eating, I was able to pack away a somewhat dry tent.

The day started out nice with a 15-20 mph tailwind. I made a early stop at a boat dock to use the restroom. I had parked my bike at the curb, shortly there after the wind knocked it over breaking my review mirror. Spent the rest of the day looking into a mirror that was no longer there.

Today's route was mostly on Hwy 14 with some detours for better views and some sightseeing. Stopped in Lyle for lunch, had a hot roast beef sandwich and fries, it was actually very good. After a lot of climbing and knowing there was not likely to be a good place to eat later, I stopped at the Maryhill Vineyards. They had live music entertainment, I had a BBQ chicken sandwich.

As I was finishing up my early dinner, I noticed a thunder storm aproaching. Knowing that the route would only head east for a few miles, thought I should leave if I wanted a chace to avoid it. Did not make it more than a mile before I had to don the rain gear again. Hail and the wind changing directions made for a tougher last section.

Despite the weather I still stopped at stonehedge to get some pictures. One last stop at Biggs Juction to get a two beers, some carrots and celery for snacks and a bagel for breakfast in the morning.

Made the camp site. Got the tent up and went straight to the showers, it felt so good. Sat around talking for a while, writing today's blog and then off to bed.

Well that is all for today, tomorrow comes early, they say the winds get stonger as the day goes on and it will be a headwind the entire time.

Actual route and personal riding data

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day One Columbia Gorge Explorer '11

Day 1: Vancouver, Washington to Home Valley, Washington - 51.2 miles.

The ride started at Larson's Bakery in Vancouver, I arrived about an hour late, and everyone had already left. Nancy had driven me to start and went into Larson's to grab me a sandwich and small coffee.  Ate half the sandwich and finished getting the bike ready.  While I was getting the bike ready our dauschund Kasey decided to treat herself to the other half of my sandwich.  Nancy went and had another made so I could take it with me.

About an hour into the ride decided to put my rain pants as the weather looked like it was about to turn. Almost had them on when it started to hail, it lasted about 10 minutes then was a steady heavy rain for the next hour. 

I stopped at the Washougal River Mercantile,  had a large coffee and got some beef jerky for later.  Met two other riders here at the store.  Stayed for a while to drink the coffee and warm up a bit.

The back roads through Washougal were nice, a lot better than riding SR-14.  Stopped at the picnic area across from the ranger station at Beacon Rock.  Had half of the Turkey and bacon sandwich that i got from Larson's that morning.

Made it to Stevenson and spotted a half dozen other riders at Andrews pizza . Had a couple of huge slices of pizza and an IPA.  Stayed a while warming up, texting friend and checking weather forecasts.  Several riders had decided to go to the Walking Man brew pub, which is only a block away, I decided to join them hoping that the rain would let up.

Left after having one IPA, as it looked like it was trying to clear up. Made it to Home Valley during the break and was able to get the tent set up before it started raining again. Sat around talking for a while, had the last half of my Turkey bacon sandwich, then it was off to bed.

Actual route and personal riding data

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Rainy weather and getting ready

So it has been several months since I make my first post.  Nothing much has happened as far as my training goes.  I have been doing my usual commute to/from work on a regular basis,  one PortlandVelo ride and some indoor rides on the trainer.

I have signed up for several rides that are coming up.
I have also been gathering needed equipment for my week long ride.  Look for more in the coming days for details on this equipment.