This Space for Rent

Oh well

The signpost at Kelso Road & Bluff Road

My plan for this morning was to make a quick run up to Sandy on Kevin Brightbill’s Nicolas Flamel populaire before going over to Llewellyn to retrieve Silas, but a few things got in my way.

First, I was an absolute slug this morning and didn’t get myself out the door until about 9:45 (and this after discovering the rear tire on the mlcm had gone flat in the three days since my last populaire – I pumped it up and hoped that it was not a puncture, but, alas, this was not to be the case…)

Secondly, when I got four miles north of home, I needed to stop and find the pokey thing that had put a hole in my rear tire, because the pumped up tire had lost most of its air by then. The tread on the rear Nomad is getting worn down a bit after 1400 miles, but that’s not where the puncturing object was; no, there was a piece of glass driven sideways into the tire about half a cm away from the centerline, and it had been driven, possibly during the last populaire, just far enough to put a teeny little puncture into the tire.

I pulled the piece of glass out, repaired the tire in place, and, miraculously, it stayed patched and didn’t force me to do the 35 minute marathon tube repair/replace/repair/curse session I did when the bicycle tried to eat a cotter bolt.

Thirdly, and most importantly, after I transited NE Portland (overhauling Natalie Ramsland and her tiny baby™ as she rowed her narrow-tired drop-barred (and with saddle to bar drop like G-d Himself Intended) xtracycle up the ramp on 15th just south of Prescott Street. I recognized her from the Sweetpea website (as well I should, because I’ve been sadly admiring her framebuilding for several years now, both from pictures on the website and from the Sweetpea frames that four of my friends/acquaintances own. Man, if I had $3000 burning a hole in my pocket I’d be frantically trying to get onto her waitlist to build me a road-geometry longtail to replace the trek with (and then put a low-trail fork and 650b wheels under the Trek 400 frame, just so I could have a machine to compare low trail 650b vs 700c with a wide variety of tires instead of the limited set I experimented with the last time around) but I noticed the geometry and wheelset of the bicycle (650a wheels? 26" wheels? In any case, the tires were much narrower than the nicely painted prismatic fenders on the thing, and they certainly looked narrower than the 28mm Nomads on the mlcm) well before that) I was thwarted by a nasty gusty east wind that pushed me back all the way up Marine Drive and most of the way up Bluff Road. I tried to do my usual put my head down and ram through the wind, but, lord, the headlong gusts of wind just killed my forward momentum and made it really hard to keep above 13mph.

In any case, the trip up was slow enough so I reached the southern border of Sandy (at the junction of Bluff Road and Kelso Road) at 12:40, which left me 90 minutes to get back home, switch bicycles, load the bear-fetching bicycle with snacks, and get the half mile over to Llewellyn before people panicked. I can do that without too much trouble when there’s a tailwind (fortunately the east wind was showing no signs of turning around when I got there) but if I’d taken the additional 20 minutes to go the 2 miles up (another 200 feet of climbing, all into headwinds) to Joe’s Donuts and 2 miles back that would leave me with 60 minutes to go 24 miles.


So I DNFed on the spot, turned west, and sprinted towards home (along, may I add, the return route for the populaire – there’s an info control in Gresham to stop people from short-circuiting the route along 212 or Sunshine Valley Road, but there’s much more climbing there which makes those two alternatives slower than just taking the Springwater Trail – arriving home (after stopping to retrieve a dollars worth of change when I reached CSellwood) 85 minutes after I abandoned (I’m not sure if this is my fastest return – I managed to burn down the hill pretty quickly a few times last year on the xtracycle – but it certainly had some of the fastest segment speeds I’ve done (averaging 30mph on Kelso road, averaging about 18mph for the rest of the run into Portland, and only losing speed when waiting for stoplights and cross traffic at grade crossings,) which gave me a whopping 10 minutes to get everything ready and get over to Llewellyn. So I put on some +4s over the tights I was wearing, so I wouldn’t look quite so bike-geeky.

The truncated loop was still pretty slow; 4h23 to go 60.25 miles (4h05 moving time; the tube repair was not as much of a timesink as it usually is) so I’ll have to try it again in the next few days to see if I can get myself under that 4 hour bar.

Not very many pictures today because once I reached Marine Drive I was too busy cursing my way along against the headwind, and then when I was coming back I was too busy sprinting along as fast as I could go to even slow down and take photographs en passant.

Oh well, there’s always another day.