This Space for Rent

Running as fast as I can to catch up

I’ve found a small problem with my “ride the eff out of my bicycle” policy this summer, and it’s not the normal collection of things that can happen when I’m hammering my head against the well of exercising too much (though I did develop some really interesting blisters at the base of my hands, which ended up with me getting a pair of unpadded cycling gloves to try and work around; if they don’t work, I’ll just stock up on moleskin bandages and apply chunks of it before each ride) but it’s that if I forget to write up the ride in question (because of either being burned out, exhausted, or staggering along on the edge of a nervous breakdown as I juggle several projects + babyherding) right after doing it another one comes along and needs to be written up as well.

So, after a mere two weeks I’m backlogged by, um, six permanents.

So I’ll do executive summaries of them all.


On the 20th of last month, Kevin Brightbill and I (we’re dragging each other along in an attempt to get up to 10k RUSA kilometers for the year) rode his Nicolas Flamel populaire up to Sandy and back. Joe’s Donuts has ceased to be as much of a time sink as it traditionally has been, cuz vegan, but we still felt like we were creeping along the loop (it was an unusually sunny day, with only a slight wind, so we didn’t get the feeling of being blown along the road that we have been getting) and were pleasantly surprised to finish up in 4h22. Not very many pictures, though, because the only camera I brought along was the iphone, and there’s no way I’m going to take it out and try to take pictures at speed, because if I lost my grip on it the results would be unpleasant. One of these days I need to get a phone case that gives me a better grip, but that day is not today.

Halfway MLCM

On Saturday the 22nd, Kevin and I decided to ride down to Silver Falls on my One Big Hill permanent, with a couple of moderate reroutings that I wanted to check out. This was another slow day, but slow now means between 9 and 10 hours. We discovered, to our annoyance, that there are some new rangers at Silver Falls who are running around saying that not only can’t people ride their bicycles by the South Lodge (a reasonable demand, given the amount of pedestrian traffic) but people can’t even walk their bicycles up to the Lodge, but instead need to stash them in a flimsy wooden wheelbreaker rack.

Sorry, that’s not going to happen; if my bicycle got stolen or had the wheel folded, I’d be stuck 60 miles from home without any way to even call for help, because Silver Falls is a long ways away from any t-mobile cell tower. So this permanent is going to need to be rearranged to avoid the South Falls lodge, and I’m going to have to find some way to make up the missing mile elsewhere.

And the rerouting? The return route normally goes from Mount Angel over to Meridian Road via Marquam Road, but if you continue east instead of turning onto Meridian you eventually (in a mile or so) reach Farm Road, which takes you north to Needy Road,, which rollers enthusiastically all the way up to where it rejoins the published route at Zimmerman. It’s a far more orrando-friendly route than Meridian and Barlow (almost no traffic and long stretches of terrible pavement) which is, as far as my odometer can tell, exactly the same distance as going up Meridian.

More pictures here, because I remembered to bring the camera.

Look, I found a cotter pin!

After riding down to Silver Falls on the 22nd, I wanted to go out for a quick ride on the morning of the 23rd to keep my legs from freezing up on me. So I planned on a quick morning trip up to Sandy. Or what would have been a quick morning trip except that I went through a drift of gravel that contained a cotter pin, which went right through my rear tire and gave me the opportunity to cool my heels for about 40 minute while I patched the tire, discovered that I missed the second hole where the cotter pin went in, and swapped out for a second tire, which, thankfully did not have any surprise holes in it.

I wanted to do the loop in < 4 hours, but it took 5h23. Oh well. And there weren’t very many pictures either, due to the run to Sandy being one that I’ve done approximately 100 times in the past 4 years.

Approaching the Sauvie Island bridge

The following Wednesday (the 26th) I decided that I’d make another run at Sauvie Island and see if I could get under 4 hours for that 110km loop. Sadly, no, this was not going to happen; it was a more traditionally cold cloudy September morn, and that took a lot of the bounce out of my step and made the run up to Sauvie Island and the two runs north (against a nice cold headwind) seem like they took forever.

To my surprise, “forever” was 4h11, which was only 7 minutes slower than my fastest run on this loop. Proof that I’m getting faster.

Once again there weren’t that many pictures of the loop, because I was too busy being cold to remember to photograph the atrocities.

Mount Jefferson detail

On the last Saturday of the month, Michael Powell Parich and I took another run at my High Rock 300, trying to see if we could do better than my solo 14h58. The quick answer to this was “no” – despite not having to make repeated stops to check cues and mark down info control questions it still took us 15h50, mainly because of a series of hardware failures (Michael’s Paramount ate a metal screw on 224 opposite Promentary Park, and the new tube had a pinhole in it that took the wheel down to flat on NF 46 about 4 miles this side of the junction with NF 42. It took quite a while to repair the second one, because when we patched the first tube again the patch blew off when the tube as inflated, and then I had to spend a considerable amount of time hunting down the pinhole on the second tube. And then, to add insult to injury, the brake bridge fender mount on the mlcm started working loose as we descended Peavine Mountain towards Clackamas Lake, so we had to stop and retighten it before continuing.

A few more pictures because I’ve not ridden this loop enough times to become jaded about it :-)

A BNSF locomotive switches the P&W interchange as we sail on by

And then we come to October, where the first ride was another run up to Sauvie Island. This was a traditionally nasty October morn; no rain, but it was cold, cloudy, and there was a savage north wind blowing. Kevin rode with me this time, and we exchanged pulls all the way north. Alas, my tendency to put my head down and ride as fast as I can into headwinds didn’t work very well this day, because every time I got in the lead I stomped on the gas, charged north at 20+ mph, then realized that Kevin had fallen a long way behind me so I had to slow way down for him to catch up. After a while of this, I decided it was probably the better part of valour to just follow him except in particularly nasty headwindish spots where me pulling made the difference between 16mph and 12mph.

It was really cold up until we reached the nude beach on the northeast corner of Sauvie Island, and then the clouds broke up and it was a lovely warm(ish) tailwindy day all the way back into town, which had the undesirable effect of making us a little slower with the tailwind than we were with the headwinds. 4h22, which isn’t a record breaker, but which also isn’t bad.

I took pictures of locomotives, trolleys, and Roxy, but not so many pictures of the scenery here :-)

And, after all this, I had my RUSA kilometerage up to 8603 (868 miles to a megameter) and my yearly milage up to 9200. I’ll break 10k miles before I break 10 megameters, but it’ll be close either way. Maybe I’ll get there by the middle of this month?