This Space for Rent

Variations on a theme

MLCM in Newberg

Michael Wolfe’s UGB200k is a very nice R200 permanent that I’ve ridden multiple times (3 successfully, one DNF) and will probably ride many times more. But it’s not perfect; it starts down by the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, which is not the greatest place for services (and, just as important for me, it’s about 3 miles away from home, so I have to get on my bicycle 12! whole! minutes! in! advance! to ride down to start the ride, and then I have to do the same thing all over again to get back home after I finish. Okay, so it’s not a Forest Grove situation where it’s 1h45 out, 2h30 back, but still)

So I was thinking that if I moved the start of the loop a little ways south – down to Bybee & Milwaukie – it would put it closer to many services (2 coffeeshops,five bars, a QFC branch, an ice cream shop, a pizzaria, a sushi joint, three restaurants) and also within about 350 feet of my front door. And while I’m at it, I can extend the loop so that it uses Upper Highland Road instead of Lower highland road (about 150 feet more elevation) and route along Milwaukie to get down to the Springwater Trail in the first place and then back from the Eastside Esplanade to get back to the end of the loop in the last place.

And I was also thinking that this might be a good week to actually draw the map & make up a cuesheet, because after discovering that the Three Capes R300 was inconveniently scheduled for the same day as Silas’s eighth birthday party, I got an incredible itch to do something nownownow and if I did this one I’d be able to see how my thoughts would work out in reality.

I didn’t mention this to anyone; Friday conflicts pretty seriously with people who are employed (And since it was a checkride, there is none of that pesky ACP or RUSA credit; it’s just a R200 for the sake of riding an R200.) So, at the slightly more G-dly hour of 8:08 this morning, I rolled out the door and headed out, alone, towards the east, hoping that I could beat the 8h31 riding time I did when I rode the Birkie last weekend.

That grand plan didn’t last long. I was barely away from home when I rolled over some broken class and punctured the rear tire (which put me on the horns of a dilemma; I’d promised to DQ myself if I had a flat, but here I was almost within spitting distance of home and if I abandoned I’d roll back in before 9am. So I decided, while I was pulling out the newly punctured tube and stuffing my spare (unpunctured, which was a relief) tube into the rear wheel, that I would just pretend that nothing happened and I’d go on my way.) And after I finished repairing the flat and setting out, I became aware that I just didn’t have the same degree of energy that I had when I was riding out to Birkenfield last week. Not 650b slow, but xtracycle slow, and this meant that I’d really have to push it if I wanted to get back in under 11 hours (I almost made it; I rolled in the door at 19:12, so if I hadn’t have had that flat I would have turned in a 10h42 loop even at the 13mph moving average I maintained around the loop.)

Having the flat killed my timings; I made it to Bell Station 8 minutes before the control closed (and I really need to redo Bell Station as an untimed pacing control – I want to use it to force people to route on the Springwater Trail, but I don’t want to risk having them blow their loop if stoplights are against them) and Boring at about 12 minutes before that control closed. Past that I managed to maintain a fast enough pace running uphill so that the really steep ramps (or the obchaindrop, which turned out to be the first way my chain reminded me that it’s overdue for a cleaning and relubing) were more than made up for by the screamingly fast downhills, and I managed to pick up about 30 minutes per control past that point.

And I took pictures this time around – after the embarrassing lack of pictures on the Birkie, I wasn’t going to have my pentax spend most of the trip sitting forlornly in the handlebar bag.


The first pictures I took were of the clearcut on Ridge Road about halfway between Redland Road & Lower Highland Road. I was clicking happily away at the horizon when I realized that there was the freshly dismantled skeleton of some large ruminant sitting basically at my feet (via “oh, that bush looks a lot … like … a – holy shit, that’s a skeleton!”), so I quickly took some pictures of it and then got back on my bicycle to get away, because if whatever it is can take down a big deer, it could probably take down a skinny primate.


The next picture was of the ramp up to Upper Highland Road; I was going to take it as a “haha, I don’t have to go up there!” when I remembered that my reroute said that I did have to go up there. *sigh* – at least the ramp was nowhere nearly as steep at the one I just climbed up (half a mile or so at >10%, ho ho!)

And then there were no pictures for a long time; farmland is pretty, but farmland under a grey sky is not so interesting, and some of the non-farmland may have been interesting, but I encountered it while I was zipping past going downhill really fast, so I wasn’t going to stop, and then when I reached the riverbottoms around Canby my mellow was harshed by a stiff crosswind which took most of my concentration to keep me from being blown off the road.

Champoeg Woods

Until I dropped down to Butteville & the Champoeg Park bike path, which greeted me with a blast of sunlight while I was following the path through the regrowth forest east of the Park. And then (after discovering that the water standpipes near the cabins had been capped for the winter, sniff!) I was too busy trying to get over to OR219 so I could use this crosswind as a tailwind for a while.

Typical Oregon Brevet Weather

And in Newberg (after a blessed 10-15 minutes of being blown along at a reasonable speed for a change) I stopped at the Chapter’s bookstore/coffeehouse for a hot chocolate, and got to see first some rain, and then full sunlight, and then more rain as I rolled north on Tangen Road, then west on North Valley Road.

Yamhill Vista

And then, halfway between Newberg and the control at Gaston, the clouds gave up the ghost, rolled away, and let me finish the ride turtling along in the warm rays of the sun.

Yamhill Farm Tualatin Barn

Hornecker Road

The tailwind was nice, because it meant I got to go from just west of Newberg up to past Cornelius at half again as fast as the cross and headwinds we letting me go the rest of the way, and when I reached the climb up to Skyline Tualatin Mountain blocked most of the rest of the wind until I reached the top of the hill near Thompson (at which point I dropped quickly down into the shelter of the other side of the hill, and didn’t get any wind until I hit Naito Parkway and was heading south towards home.)

The final statistics for the loop were

And the only thing I forgot to do was to clean the chain before I went out (I took the mlcm out on a short loop in the rain yesterday afternoon, and the rain washed a lot of the boeshield off the chain. As a result I got to listen to the chain going squeakySqueakysQueakysqUeakysquEakysqueAkysqueaKysqueakY for 60 effing miles until I rolled in the door.) Tomorrow I’m taking the chain off, El Duking it, then properly glooping it with Chain-L so it will stay quiet for a more reasonable amount of time.

And I’ll probably have to replace the rear Nashbar duro tire while I’m at it. It’s starting to get somewhat chewed up after ~1000 miles, and I don’t know if it’s going to last any longer than the Ruffy Tuffies did.


Think you might be starting to Vimes Boot’s yourself with the tires?

Graydon Sun Mar 28 11:52:05 2010

No, not really. So far the cost/durability of tires is:

tire cost mileage
vittoria randonneur $25 5500
riv ruffy tuffy $40 2000
bontrager hardcase $30 1500
panaracer pasela $20 1500-and-counting
nashbar duro $20 1000-and-counting
chen sheng disposatire $12 500
riv nifty swifty $40 200
panaracer col de la vie $25 200

The good tires get flats every thousand miles or so. The ruffy tuffies were exceptional in that they went almost 2000 miles before they died the death of a million cuts. I ended up riding the Vittoria Randonneurs until the tread had completely worn off and I was riding on the aramid belt; so in a perfect world, I’d probably put them on the MLCM, but they weigh a ton (and you feel it) and don’t come any narrower than 28mm.

The worst tires were the (bought as a test case of narrow 700c tires) chen sheng ones, which got holes punched in them every 150 miles. The second worst were the nifty slothy and CdlVs, which were only slightly better than that (and the nifty slothies were the absolute worst riding tires I’ve ever put on any bicycle.) The bontrager hardcases were only slightly better than that at ~400 miles between flats.

So there’s really not much of a link between tire cost and durability.

David Parsons Sun Mar 28 13:58:45 2010

I should have expected you had accurate records!

After a set of tires that probably got glass in teeny invisible bits embedded in them and ate inner tubes, I’ve got a set of 700C/28 Nimbus Armadillos. I don’t have 500 miles on them yet but they’re doing very well at not going flat, especially compared to the previous set of tires. (Which would have gone flat twice by now.) They’re supposedly heavy but, well, I doubt it’s a percent of my body weight.

I will of course get out on the Bloor West rail trail very soon and have to walk home because I mentioned this. :)

Graydon Mon Mar 29 18:42:47 2010

Comments are closed