This Space for Rent

Dec 31, 2012

Final milage total for 2012

between 12,500 and 12,600. I’ve been trying to record my GPS logs on Garmin Connect, but the GPS suffers from a short battery life and general flakiness, so it’s been losing parts of long rides all year and occasionally having a brain freeze and dropping chunks of rides when it’s cold and/or rainy. I’ve tried to synthesize the loops that the GPS didn’t record, but have had only indifferent success, and there’s a minimum of 105 & maximum of about 220 miles not recorded. Garmin Connect has 12,417 recorded, so it’s between 12,522 and 12,637 miles for the year (a little over 3000 miles further than 2011.)

12232 RUSA km, plus another 2000 km of checkrides and dnfs (dnfed VvsF when I shattered my shoulder at 197 km into the ride; dnfed the summer 600 at Summit, so only got 210 km from home to Albany; dnfed a run up to Sandy when I ran out of time at the intersection of Kelso and Bluff roads, dnfed the summer 300 in Scappoose after Ed and I lingered over coffee and put me about 90 minutes later than control closing time) which isn’t bad and means that if I’m a little more enthusiastic about riding in winter, later autumn, and early spring I should be able to make 20 RUSA Mm and 30 total Mm for next year.

Tried and liked 2012

Tried and liked: 2012

I poked around with a bunch of new things this last year and most of them worked out (or at least weren’t so horrible as to make me want to hurl them out the window,) but nothing was so immediately positive as trying Resist Nomad tires. The 35mm and 45mm versions are nice, but the 28 (29.5 on Open Sport/Archetype rims) mm ones are spectacularly nice – smooth riding, fast, grippy, and cheap. I’d tried some of the more blingy supple high-thread count tires out there (Challenge Parigi-Roubaix, which I found would roll basically forever, but paid for that by giving me flats about once every 60 miles, and Grand Bois Hetres, which converted the handling of Russell’s P/R into slush) and walked away unhappy with the harsh ride they gave me, and I’d been riding a pair of Rivendell Ruffy-Tuffy tires which were increasingly terrifying every time I traversed a gravel section, but none of them came even close to comparing to these tires.

The only tires I like anywhere close to these were Nashbar Duro 26mm, which, of course, are no longer made, and that’s why I’m stockpiling Nomads like they are going out of style.

When I compared the 45s vs the 35s on the project bike, the 45s seemed to roll more smoothly over debris, but accelerated much slower and became really exhausting to push along after 200 or so km. I’ve not yet compared 35s to 28s, but the midlifecrisismobile now has a low-trail fork with buckets of tire clearance (and linear-pull cantilevers instead of caliper brakes) so when I get the new rack finished I can do a proper comparison of them.

The only thing wrong with them is that I seem to pick up a flat every 500 miles or so, but I’ll put up with the flats as part of the package deal.

Trolley picture of the day

A Hillsboro-bound train approaches Ruby Junction

A westbound train approaches Ruby Junction.

The year in brevets

It’s not likely that I’m going to go out for a night-start 200 tonight (even if it was just another run up to Ripplebrook; first, it’s Too Damn Cold™ up in the mountains at night, secondly, even though there isn’t much traffic I’d worry about it being drunk traffic, and thirdly, the best would no doubt object vigourously to my going out to add another 204km to my total for the year :-) so my RUSA totals for 2012 are 12232 km (out of a total distance of ~20100km – I have to ride out to far east Portland this afternoon for a therapist’s appointment, and I don’t know exactly how many miles I will ride to get there and back,) which includes

  • 35 populaires,
  • 21 brevets in the 200-299 km range,
  • 5 in the 300-399 km range,
  • 3 of 400-599 km,
  • and 2 600+km.

As you can expect from my habit of riding loops until I’ve worn the paint off the highway, there are certain loops I’ve done over and over again:

loop how many times?
Cuthbert Binns / 1650 11
Portland-Ripplebrook-Portland / 1302 9
Estacada 100 / 1697 8
Nicolas Flamel Populaire / 1612 6
One Big Hill & Silver Falls / 1566 5
High Rock 300 / 1615 3
Volcanoes vs Farmland / 1301 2
Sellwood-Birkenfeld-Sellwood / 1278 2
Cedric Diggory Populaire / 1550 2
Zigzag 160 / 1565 1
Portland/Pacific City 160 / 1601 1
Pomona Sprout / 1595 1
Luna Lovegood Populaire / 1549 1
Hot Springs - Covered Bridges 400 / 1616 1
Hills to the Yeah / 1134 1
Grawp / 1691 1
Dixie Mountain 100 / 1303 1

(plus 10 bike camping prerides/loops, but they aren’t important)

If you count checkrides, jra’s, and DNFs (which don’t count for RUSA credit,) my totals are 40 populaires and 30 rides in the 200-300km range.

If I was going to have a goal for 2013 (which I don’t) I’d try for 20k’s worth of RUSA miles. That’s a moderately ambitious goal, though, since I’d have to maintain a weekly average of 384 km, which means it would be more likely to be a weekly average of 500 km when I added in shopping trips, bear deliveries/retrievals, and therapist appointments. It’s doable but for the detail that I want to have surgery to kludge together my shoulder and that’s going to keep me off my bicycles for 3-6 months (I am trying to borrow a Tadpole trike for the duration, but so far none of my leads has put a trike into my garage and the alternative is to spend $2k to buy one, which runs headon into the detail that we don’t really have $2k lying around unless I get a doctor’s prescription for the thing.)

I am, however, planning on doing at least two Permanent SRs next year. I need to finish and submit another 400, but when I get that done I’ll have/have access to two complete nonoverlapping Portland-based permanent series (one finishing with Kevin Brightbill’s Grawp!, which I’d love to do in the summer when there’s less hail and freezing rain, and the other finishing with Portland-Portland-Portland!) and then I’ll be able to consider carving out a week to ride one of the 1000+k permanents (It would be nice to ride something like the Cascade 1200, but Permanents Don’t Count™ for rides like that and I’ll just have to save my money instead) that’s out there (or finish and submit the Olympic Peninsula Death March for a Portland-based 1000+k loop.)

If I want to do an organized series there’s always the SF Rando series(s), and if there’s any way I can do it it would be lovely to get out east and ride D2R2 (180k with 3.5k’s climbing, most at 10+% grades) so I could reset my opinion of my climbing skills, but there are a lot of Portland-based permanents now and it would be a shame not to ride all of mine at least oncetwice.

But even if none of this actually happens (I could end up not riding at all for six months, which would probably give me another nervous breakdown) this was still a pretty good year for riding the fuck out of my bicycle (actually bicycles, because the midelifecrisismobile spent the last two months of the year laid up waiting for a new rack while I rode the project bike instead.)

Dec 30, 2012

The learning curve

The price of learning how to build wheels

I pulled one of my early wheels off the project bike and sat down this morning to retrue it and try to get one largish bump out of the rim. That bump had been there for a long time, and when I built the wheel in the first place I did some heroic measures to try and work the bump out, but unfortunately I didn’t really know what I was doing then, so the heroic measures meant “tighten the devil out of the spokes around the bump.”

This had the undesirable side effect (I’m not counting the rounded and twisted spokes here) of basically welding the spokes to the nipples, so when I atttempted to detension them the nipples simply shattered on me, which meant I had to cut out the offending spokes and replace them (with old spokes from my old spokes bin, which were more or less the right length. )

I did manage to true the wheel and get most of the bump out, which is something – it’s probably more important that the wheel be true than it being totally circular – but I’m happy I’ve got 14 more wheels under my belt and I don’t make the same sort of mistakes I was making early on.


Dec 28, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™


I’d ordered a black PV-8 dynohub to lace to the Archetype I’d bought to replace the almost-worn-out Open Sport on the midlifecrisismobile, and when it arrived today I started lacing up the new dynowheel. This was a somewhat more eventful chore than I thought it would be at first, because it’s really easy to overtension a wheel when I’m using a Spokey, and I got the thing so tense that it started to taco, and then some of the nipples were on so strongly that they shattered when I tried to detension them (so I had to cut out the spokes. Ugh. I’m glad I buy 4 spare spokes per wheel when I order them from Danscomp.)

Dust Mite is supervising while I retension and retrue the offending wheel (and then they (the rims, not the dust mite) go into the basement and wait for the existing rims to wear through.)

Dec 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Christmas in f2.8

We are not christians, but we’ll take any excuse for a holiday.

Dec 21, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Radially laced Dust Mite

Dust Mite helps me lace up some wheels.

Dec 19, 2012

Bicycle photo of the day

The project bike sits in 6 inches of snow at the Timber Lake Job Corps sign

I rode up to Ripplebrook again today (10th time this year, not counting times I’ve just passed through) or, at least, tried to ride up to Ripplebrook. But, once again, my plans were thwarted by the quantity of snow; today, the snow rapidly deepened and the road rapidly iced when I neared the top of the last ramp up to Ripplebrook (to the point where whenever we traversed a banked section of the road our bicycles would start to slide sideways towards the edge of the road – by the time we reached the Timber Lake exit, we were walking the bicycles across tilted sections of the road) and forced me to cut back the turnaround control to Timber Lake (we made up the distance by riding a mile and change up Fish Creek Road, which I need to ride again sometime when (a) I’m not on a brevet clock and, more importantly, (b) it’s not winter.)

The weather did bad things to my GPS, my camera – the GPS spent much of the outbound leg, and the first hour of the inbound leg, turning itself on and off, and the camera started doing system resets, then booting up and asking if I wanted to set the date – and our brevet average, which ended up being very slow (11h12 to finish the loop.)

Fun? Yes. Wet, though; none of my allegedly waterproof clothing, except for the rain jacket, ended up being waterproof :-(


Dec 18, 2012

Q&D project of the day

Hugish tool roll

A large tool roll, sewn up as a distraction from holiday activities and programming.

Dec 17, 2012

bicycle photo of the day

Basketed project bike

After wading around in the rain and snow yesterday, the project bike’s porteur bag was soaking wet and needed to be put on the line to dry. But I still needed to do some shopping today, so I strapped a wire basket on in place of it.

It’s not nearly as good as using a porteur bag, but it’s sufficient for a short-term solution.

Dec 16, 2012

Playing in the snow

There's more and more snow on the road as it continues upgrade

My friend Stasia was spending the weekend in Astoria, and texted me before coming back to ask about the weather conditions. As a postscript to this inquiry, she suggested the idea of me riding out to meet her halfway, then returning as a group. This sounded good to me, and the weather certainly looked like it would oblige (cold, yes, snowy, yes, but only snowy above 1700 feet with the snowline going up from there during the day) so I agreed to the plan and starting making plans for riding out to the neighborhood of Birkenfeld.

This morning was not the greatest weather. Chilly (low 40°F’s) and dumping down rain, but I wanted to test out my latest try at waterproof gloves and waterproof shoe covers anyway, so I got everything ready and headed out the door at somewhere in the ballpark of 9:30 (I was guessing I’d get about 45 miles out before coalescing and coming back, so leaving at 9:30 would get me back into town somewhere in the ballpark of 4pm) and squelched my way up to Scappoose and points west.

Lots of rain, but a fairly stiff tailwind, so I flew up to Scappoose, doing the 24 miles up there in 1h20, and then turned onto the Scappoose-Vernonia highway for the 1500 foot climb up to the Nehalem divide. The climb did what the rain had not done and slowed me down to ~13mph as I worked my way up into the hills from Scappoose. Approaching Chapman (~500 feet ASL, near the first ledge on the climb) I started to notice little bits of snow alongside the road, and by the time I made my way up onto the ledge the roofs of houses, sheds, and barns were liberally coated with snow and fields were starting to look slightly snowy.

And it had gotten somewhat colder as I climbed, too, which meant I was riding a little more carefully in case I hit a patch of ice.

But what the colder meant, as I left the first plateau and headed up for the saddle that divides the second long climb into a pair of 400 foot ascents, was that the snow got heavier alongside the road and started to creep onto the road surface until I was riding down a wheel track in the snow. The snow got a little lighter on the saddle, but when I left it for the last ramp to the top it came back with enthusiasm.

I made it about 100 feet past this truck before the project bike started sliding sideways on the ice

About 100 feet up the first ramp I came upon the signs of a automotive incident – there were tire tracks fishtailing all over the road and off into the gravelled shoulders, then finally off the edge of an embankment to where a pickup truck sat, nosed down into a copse of trees. I slowed down a bit and kept climbing, but wasn’t more than about 100 feet further on when I heard vehicles approaching from behind me, veered a little towards the side of the road to give them room, and went *flop* onto my side as the rear wheel of the project bike just kept on sliding until it was no longer under me.

And the road didn’t look like it was getting any less snowy as it went uphill.

So I decided on the spot that perhaps this was not a good day to ride over to the neigborhood of Vernonia, turned around, and zipped back into Scappoose for a cup of coffee and an urgent text message saying “DON’T GO ON THE SCAPPOOSE-VERNONIA HIGHWAY BECAUSE IT IS COMPLETELY SNOWED IN” and then a somewhat slower (due to a stiffening headwind) ride back up highway 30 to Portland.

It’s 72 miles, more or less, to go up to 300 feet below the Nehalem divide, then turn around and retrace my steps back to Portland. 70 miles of that was in the rain (it stopped raining on the last half mile up towards the Nehalem divide, and then it stopped raining again when I entered Sellwood on the last leg of the trip back home) and I came home soaked to the skin and filthy with road grime.

Great fun, though. I’ll have to do it again, hopefully without the sliding sideways on the ice part :-)

1 comment

Dec 15, 2012

Bodged railroad picture of the day

Distant blurry Coast Starlight

My iPhone doesn’t deal at all well with low-light situations.

Dec 14, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite & candied citron

Dust Mite guards the freshly candied citron.

Dec 13, 2012

Not wasting a sunny December morning

Pushing a load of sand or gravel past the Morrison Bridge

I’d made plans to ride Kevin Brightbill’s Cuthbert Binns populaire this morning, and was pleasantly surprised to wake up to a clear (if cold) sky and no wind. So when I dragged the project bike out, I was actually somewhat hopeful that I could push myself up against 4 hours.

Alas, no, this was not to be the case. It didn’t help that I stopped downtown for a couple of minutes so I could get a photo of a tugboat shoving a barge full of sand or gravel upstream, but the main reason I didn’t bump closely up against 4 hours was that the windlessness of the early morning gave way to first a stiff east-southeast wind that sapped a lot of my energy (the project bike is much more of a sail than the midlifecrisismobile, so I slowly lost headway when I was coming back from both of the turnaround points on Sauvie Island) and which cruelly switched to a west-southwest wind just as I made the loop around the southern end of Sauvie Island.

And then, after I managed to pull my brevet average up to 16mph again, I was stopped for 10 minutes by a slowly moving freight train on Naito Parkway (the brevet clock had just ticked over to 4 hours when I was pulled up short by the (stopped on the crossing. Grrr!) train) and I ended up coming up to the ultimate control 4h27 after I departed.

So it wasn’t the speedy loop that I wanted. I suspect that for a speedy loop I’m going to have to use the midlifecrisismobile, which means I’ve got to braze up that rack ASAP. But, instead, it was a sunny December morning, so as long as I kept moving I could enjoy the bits of warmth that the sun provided and I could get quite a few railroad pictures in the sunlight instead of the traditional murky gloom of winter.

A++ loop, will ride again.

And this loop brings me up to ~12,000 miles and 11811 RUSA km for the year. I was hoping for 13,000 RUSA km by the end of the year, but that would mean I’d have to ride another 750 miles in the next 16 days, and I’m not sure but I think that my family would probably object if I went out and rode 6 200k’s during the winter break. I’ll probably get 3-4 of ‘em, but even with filling in odd mornings with one populaire or another I don’t think that will be enough. Oh well! There’s always next year, provided I can beg borrow or buy a tadpole to cover the 3-6 months I’ll be unable to ride a bicycle.

Pictures? Yes, right here.

Dec 12, 2012

The year is running down

Porteur bag view of the road ahead

… and I’m rapidly running out of riding time. The last few weeks have been a bit of a dud, but winter break is coming up in two days and then I’ll hopefully be able to finish the year in a blaze of glory; I’ve not ridden VvsF for several months, so I should ride it again, I want to do a fast run down to Silver Falls (to see if I can make it there and back during daylight in wintertime), and I suppose I should go up to Birkenfeld while the store is still there.

And maybe there will be an overlap between sunny days and the days I’m out on my bicycle. I’ve got enough warm clothing so that bitterly cold mornings aren’t quite as bad as they’ve been in the past (and enough so that if it does manage to snow at Ripplebrook I can scoot up there and do some skiing with the mlcm or project bike.)

And then it will be next year, where I will probably not do as much riding as I did this year (thanks mainly to the surgery I’m going to try to arrange to kludge together my right shoulder; the 3-4/4-6 month downtime is going to severely crimp my riding, even if I do manage to beg borrow or buy a tadpole for the duration.)

Dec 08, 2012

Railroad picture of the day

iPhone 4449

SP 4449 on the Holiday Express.

Dec 07, 2012

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite and a very tall stack of brevet cards

Dust Mite is just barely taller than the stack of brevet cards I’ve accumulated so far this year (11,701km’s of completed brevets/permanents – the check rides and DNFed ones would add another 2,000km to the heap, but, alas, I don’t have any brevet cards for them.) As accomplishments go, this one is pretty meaningless, but eh, I’m not doing randonneuring for public acclaim.

Dec 06, 2012

Silas on the move

Silas on the Shiromoto

Silas rides around the Llewellyn schoolyard on his new Shiromoto

Dec 05, 2012

Fender clearance

Mafac Racers, plus plenty of room for fenders

As a 650c bicycle, Silas’s Shiromoto had basically no clearance for fenders, so one of the main rebuild goals was to provide that clearance. 24×1⅛ (520mm) wheels give me that clearance (the used Mafac Racers I’ve put onto that machine just barely are long enough in the front, but have a teeny bit of breathing room in back) in spades. Now all I need to do is modify some 26" fenders to wrap around 24×1⅛ wheels without looking hideous.

Dec 04, 2012

Another bicycle creeps closer to being finished

Wheeled, cranked, derailed

The spokes arrived late this afternoon (delivered by bicycle, because UPS does that when it gets close to the winter holidays) so I sat down and built up the wheelset for Silas’s bike. And then, since the frame was now sitting on wheels, I was able to install the crankset, the pusher, and the dangler. (And now I need to buy a 7-speed cassette, some more shift/brake cable + housing, fenders, and then figure out how to attach the front rack.)



Two fruitcakes, both vegan

Two veganized Moosewood Italian Fruitcakes, both good. I veganized the Moosewood recipe by

  • ½ cup applesauce + ½ tsp baking powder instead of two eggs
  • molasses (left cake)/corn syrup (right cake) instead of honey

and the only differences are that the taste of the resulting fruitcakes is maybe a little more fruity than the regular recipe, and that they’re a little moister than the regular recipe.

FYI, using molasses instead of honey is wonderful (if you like molasses, that is; one of the fruits (not actually a fruit, but a root) I put into this recipe was ginger, and the molasses + ginger gives that fruitcake a bit of a gingersnappy taste) and I wonder why I didn’t try it earlier. Using Karo syrup is really good, too, but it’s more of a subtle difference than the molasses.


Dec 03, 2012

Fruitcake season gets closer and closer

90% of a candied citron (the other 10% were consumed for quality assurance purposes)

The citron has been cleaned, chopped, boiled, simmered in sugar-water, rolled in more sugar, and is now sitting out on the drying rack for 12 hours or so. Tomorrow I gather up the rest of the ingredients (substituting mashed banana + some baking powder for the eggs, substituting Karo syrup for the honey, and substituting non-dairy chocolate for dairy chocolate) and perform the vegan fruitcake experiment.

Dec 02, 2012

It’s that time of year again

The 700 runs towards me

It’s nice to live in a town with three active steam locomotives (and a slowly-expanding street railway + interurban)

Cargobike feats of stupidity, porteur bike-style

The porteur bag runneth over again

I should have taken the trek, but, no, I wanted to use the project bike today. And I got just a bit too many groceries, so I had to balance a box of cereal on top of the bag for the trip home.

The next (waterproof, because I owe David Cox a waterproof porteur bag, and if I’m making one I might as well make two) bag is going to be a little taller.

Dec 01, 2012

Rando junk


This must have been cellphone day, because I found two broken cellphones along the highway when riding up to and back from Ripplebrook.

Ooops, I did it again

Here I am back in the national forest

Less than two weeks after sloshing up to Ripplebrook to break a month-long 200k drought, I turned around and rode up there again. This time I was ready with waterproof gloves (good ones, not the horrible REI ones I almost froze my fingers off with on the 700 I rode in October), a new rainshell (a Shower’s Pass one instead of the heat-sucking horror that I had on the 700) and a pair of waterproof shoe covers (yes, I’m sure they’re terrifyingly geeky, but I’m getting kind of tired of having my shoes and feet get wet and cold) so, of course, there was basically no rain (a brief shower by the North Fork reservoir which convinced me to stop and put on the rainshell, and then a serious downfall when I was transiting Brooklyn – I didn’t stop to put on the rainshell because I was 8h50 into the loop and I wanted to make it into Sellwood before the brevet clock ticked past 9 hours) but it was instead a nice late-fall ride up into the mountains.

It’s late enough in the season so that there is almost always a good wind from the south. Today the wind was from the southeast, so that meant that it wasn’t blocked by the Clackamas River gorge but instead it funnelled down the gorge and gave me about 59 miles of headwind between home and the Ripplebrook Guard Station. This was, um, kind of painful – I tried to go full-speed into the wind, but ran out of steam between Boring and Estacada and ended up shoving myself the rest of the way up to Ripplebrook at 12-15mph.

The hydro pipeline goes east

My GPS was acting flaky the last time I did the loop, so I tried to redo some of the route variations again to get a better idea of whether they would give me enough distance. And this time I finally went up Ripplebrook Road so I could see the village of Ripplebrook – I couldn ’t see very much of it because there’s a sign by the road into the village (Ridgeview Road, I think) saying ‘PRIVATE ROAD; NO THROUGH TRAFFIC’ and I respected their wishes for privacy and only stopped at the entrance to snap a couple of photos of the town – and then went further up the road to find a good info control so I could strip some of the loops I’d put in closer to town in favor of an extended outandback.

The trip back was not quite as fast as it should have been, because, despite the now-tailwind my legs were kind of exhausted and every climb became much more difficult than it should have been (I’m sure I missed some of the views because I was forcing my body to pedal dammit! instead of looking at the scenery around me.

But I still made good progress, project bike and all, and managed, even with an 8:30 departure, to make it back into Portland before it got dark and back to Sellwood in 8h57, which gives me 11,700 miles and 11,597 RUSA km for the year.

The absolute high point for this trip was not the scenery, or that I’ve finally managed to maintain a streak of 12 months of at least one 200+km loop, but the direct-pull cantilevers I put on the project bike yesterday. They stop the bike and I can easily lock up and skid the rear wheel instead of the previous behavior of the wheel just spinning happily under the closed-as-tightly-as-I-can-get-them traditional cantilevers I used to have on the thing. Yes, I know that Travel Agents wrap the brake cables pretty tightly and I’ll be needing to pay closer attention to my brake cables so they don’t snap on a long descent, but, damn, these are nice and I’m going to have to braze canti studs onto the seatstays of the midlifecrisismobile so I can get that performance on my allegedly-dedicated rando bike as well.

Photos are, as is traditional, on Flickr.