Archive for August, 2009

Danny Macaskill is Very Good at Riding Bikes

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Kind of ironic that it takes a lot of balls to do this kind of riding and that this kind of riding puts one’s balls at tremendous risk.

 

Cycle Oregon Daily Route Maps & GPX Files Online

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
Putting these maps online -- particularly in GPX format -- is a majorly cool thing

Putting these maps online -- particularly in GPX format -- is a majorly cool thing

This is really cool. VLMK Consulting Engineers, the company that does the really bitchin’ maps of the Cycle Oregon daily routes, has put maps from 2005 to present on its Website. Even cooler is that, starting in 2009, they also have made GPX files available.

These files are made with a surveyor’s GPS, which is more accurate than a recreational GPS. Great news for anyone who wants to load up their GPS bike computers in advance of the ride. This is so awesome, I’m categorizing this post under Bike Porn.

For non-GPS users, it is still worth checking out the route maps here instead of the C.O. site. They are PDFs and are in much, much better resolution.

Note: These maps are subject to slight tweaks and I have gotten word that they have, in fact, been tweaked just a tad. No big thing, but if the signs on the road conflict with your GPS, I’d recommend following the signs and the herd. You have to be a pretty big imbecile to get lost on C.O. You’d be an even bigger imbecile if you get lost because you are geeking out with a GPS.

Packing and Getting Ready for Cycle Oregon

Monday, August 24th, 2009

moving6pfIt is hard to believe that Cycle Oregon is just around the corner. It is. You can — and probably should — check out “The Big List.” This list is the one the Cycle Oregon recommends. In my opinion, it is overkill. If you took all the stuff listed, you’d probably go over your allotted weight limit for baggage.

Keep in mind that this ride is really well supported. Mechanics can be found in camp and on the road. There is no need to carry a giant tool kit, chain lube, etc. Similarly, food and water are plentiful on the rides and in camp. Two water bottles *should* be enough for most days, but if you are a heavy drinker, you might want to have a hydration pack as well. There is also a medical tent so you don’t need to go overboard with first aid kits, etc.

It is highly recommended that you segment your things in multiple large Ziplock bags to help keep them organized and dry. I also put some things like my sleeping bag and a few other odds and ends inside a river-runner’s dry bag inside my duffel. I have a hard plastic “shoe box” that I keep breakable or small things in so they aren’t crushed in transit.

Plan for your duffel to be sitting in a puddle in the rain at some point even if it never happens. Your duffel should also be marked on the ends for easy identification. When you arrive in camp, they are in a huge pile and they all look similar. If you have riding clothes for each day, then cool. If not, you’ll need to hand wash. Fun, fun, fun. Bring stuff for hand washing if that is your bag.

Keep the clean clothes you plan to wear home in your car rather than drag them along with you all week. There will be showers at the parking lot.

Below is the checklist I use:

Bike Stuff
Bike + tools, repair stuff, pumps, etc. Include your front wheel.
Jerseys
Bike shorts
Knee and arm warmers
Gloves
Helmet
Cold weather/rain gear (booties, jacket, long tights, etc.)
Socks
Bike shoes
Water bottles (3). Hydration pack if you use one regularly (water on road is plentiful)
Gels or energy drink stuff (there is plenty to eat/drink on the road)
Sunglasses
Non-riding clothes
A few changes of warm weather/cool weather clothes (undies, pants, socks, shirts)
Jacket for rain and jacket for warmth
Synthetic long johns (at the very least for sleeping in the very cold)
Winter hat (also for sleeping in the very cold)
Baseball hat
Shoes and sandals
Camp Stuff
Tent w rain fly
Sleeping bag (I also take a liner in case it is really hot or really cold)
Pillow (optional – you can also use jackets and stuff)
Big  huge air mattress with battery-powered pump
Ground cloth
Headlamp (or flashlight)
Hard plastic “shoe box” to keep things in that might be crushed when packed in a duffel bag
EAR PLUGS
Knife
Pee bottle (Gatorade bottle – avoid midnight trips to the blue room)
Bike stand
Sponge (to clean out tent or soak up spills)
Toiletries
You should be clever enough to figure out the basics (toothbrush, etc.)
Chamois lube
Lotion
Prescription meds
Ibuprofen
Benadryl (use as a sleep aid – very helpful)
Baby wipes (keeping your junk clean between showers is a very good idea)
Desitin Creamy Zinc Oxide or Bag Balm (for healing your ’tain’t)
Towel
Chap stick
Sun block if you use it
Electronics
Phone
GPS
MP3
Camera
Something to charge it all with
Other
Book
Pen and paper
Flask and whiskey


Kris and his badass new Madone

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Kris and Dean arguing about whose bike is the most badass. It might be a tie, but don't tell him I said so.

Kris and Dean arguing about whose bike is cooler. It might be a tie, but don't tell him I said so.

We finally got a chance to see Kris’ super-sick new bike. He didn’t want to do a full reveal until he had the right wheels on there, but whatever. This bike is sick. The only downside is it makes him even harder to keep up with. This is the same bike Alberto, Lance and Levi rode in the Tour. It is the bike Chris Horner would have ridden if he had been in the Tour.

Actually, this bike is a little sweeter than the model Team Astana rides because it has the electric Dura-Ace shifters. The blacked out paint job also looks pretty slick — I would have probably gotten one in custom colors with flames and stuff (Trek does that you know) but this was most probably the better choice. Either one would have looked much nicer than than the paint job Lance’s bike was sporting at the Giro.

This electronic shifting is sweet. Almost enough to make me want to give up Campy hotness -- almost.

This electronic shifting is sweet. Almost enough to make me want to give up Campy hotness -- almost.

It would have been REALLY trick if Trek had made a special frame just for the electric shifter guys. Perhaps this hole can be used for smuggling the performance-enhancing drugs that Kris might have taken today. It sure was hard keeping up.

It would have been REALLY trick if Trek had made a special frame just for the electric shifter guys. Perhaps this hole can be used for smuggling the performance-enhancing drugs that Kris might have taken today. It sure was hard keeping up.


Joel admires a backside

Joel checking out the rear end

Lance might have ridden better in the Giro had it not been for this nauseating paint job. Kris' rig is much cooler.

Lance might have ridden better in the Giro had it not been for this nauseating paint job. Kris' rig is much cooler.

Iowa Hill

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

This was a good early-season ride. Fairly short and flat with the exception of one very steep hill. Going back later in the season to see if that hill is as steep as we remember. I’m guessing it is.

Update: Yep, it is as steep. In fact, I think it is a little steeper. The flattest spot is 13%. It hits 17% and 18% in a few spots with plenty of 15% and 16%. I ended up walking it (again) and Cole damn near passed out at the top (again). Thinking about trying the route in reverse or scratching it from the list of next year’s training rides. As an indication of this ride’s steepness, there are actually 4 riders on the slope. You can only see two.

Why yes, it is as bad as it looks

Why yes, it is as bad as it looks

 

Documentary — The History of the Bicycle

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Molalla River Ride — a.k.a the Camel Toe Ride

Sunday, August 16th, 2009
This might be a fun ride to do in the winter. I'll bet this river looks pretty cool when it is full

This might be a fun ride to do in the winter. I'll bet this river looks pretty cool when it is full

Another awesome training ride — in fact, Michele thinks it is one of her favorites of the year. Again, mostly rural with a few exceptions. While it seems pretty flat, there is actually some altitude gain. In the Rubber to the Road book, this ride starts by the Canby Ferry (on the Canby side).

We started from Wilsonville. This adds a few miles and some fun rollers (the fun rollers are a lot more fun on the way out than on the way back). Note the second downhill on the way out, the top bit is extremely steep and you’ll want to come at it with some momentum on the way back. The ride up from the ferry on the Canby side is steep but short.

The ride up on the other side is pretty steep (seems like a sustained 13% grade all the way up). It is probably less than a quarter mile, but it seems longer. The whole thing is very scenic and very nice.

BTW, this is a politically balanced ride. At one point, a sharp left turn drops you onto Liberal Way. You get off Libral Way with a sharp right turn. On the way home, you spend some time on Wright Rd., but shortly thereafter another left turn puts you on Union Mills. You also pass a gun club.

The locals seemed a lot more tolerant of bikes — much more civilized than the folks on other rides just a few miles to the west of this one.

I still get a kick out of the fact that I helped convince Michele to get into cycling and this was the cause of her dropping a 20-year vegitarian habit. Still, the Wendy's hair style is taking it a bit far

I still get a kick out of the fact that I helped convince Michele to get into cycling and this was the cause of her dropping a 20-year vegitarian habit. Still, the Wendy's hair style is taking it a bit far

Why else would we rename this the Camel Toe ride?

Why else would we rename this the Camel Toe ride?

Science, geology, erosion and whatnot

Science, geology, erosion and whatnot

Team Fartlek

Team Fartlek

Four sensitive new age guys (S.N.A.G.s) enjoying nature, while still looking manly in lycra

No, it's not a "natural break", it's a "nature break"

KoiFish Communications Invitational Two Ferry Century

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

KoiFish CommunicationsThe Two Ferry Ride is a pleasure. It started pretty close to the worldwide headquarters of KoiFish Communications. It got me to thinking that making a few tweaks would turn this 70 mile jaunt into a century. 45 minutes playing around with Map My Ride and I built a route that is 100 miles on the button. I was thinking of doing the Peach of a Century right after Cycle Oregon, but social commitments will make this unlikely. I think I’ve found a viable option.

 

Bike Safety — A Racer’s Perspective

Friday, August 14th, 2009

This video was shot via helmet cam during the Portland Twilight Criterium. The insight below comes from Robert Burney, a seasoned Portland rider and racer. This gives you a good idea of what it is like to ride — as well as crash — in this type of race.

 

 

This video was filmed with a camera attached to the racer’s helmet and shows where is face is looking. The racer has peripheral vision although this camera does not. I am sending this out to everyone to reinforce several ideas we have discussed on our rides:

1.  Ride a straight line, even if you might bump over an obstacle. It is safer for you (and the people near you) if you verbally tell them of the obstacle. We should all pay attention to the road in front of us and steer around obstacles, but we must do so in a controlled manner. Abrupt motions create additional hazards.

You can see what can happen at about 1:20 into the video. At that point someone throws a tennis ball into the pack as they round a right hand corner. Several riders try to dodge the ball and cause a crash on the left side of the road. Had they ignored the ball and ridden a straight line, the crash probably would not have happened.  that crash.

2.  Watch what is happening ahead of you on the road and try to leave an escape route for unforeseen emergencies. At about 3:19 in the video a racer crashes on the left of the screen, ahead of the camera. The rider with the camera does not see it happening in time and has no place to go when a bike flips out into his path. Although the rider crashes (and it may look scary through the camera), he is able to continue the race after a ‘free lap’.  Most of the other riders were also able to continue.

3.  Riders who have crashed should be watched. Note how dazed this rider is for the next few minutes of the video. He even inserts an editorial comment making fun of himself.

4.  Check all equipment after a crash. It is best to have a rider who has not crashed do this for you. This rider forgot to check his rear wheel and it was rubbing the brakes for the rest of the race.

5.  Always wear a helmet. Check to see if the helmet broke in the crash. If the helmet is broken (as was this rider’s helmet), it may be wise to stop the ride and get a lift home.  If there was enough road shock to break the helmet, your brain may have suffered shock causing slowed thinking for a time. Buy a new helmet if yours has taken an impact — helmets are designed to withstand only one crash. Destroy and discard the old helmet.

6.  Look where you are going, not where you are or where you have been. Early in the race the rider is watching where he is riding, but late in the race, when he is very tired (and after he has crashed), he starts to look down at his front wheel. We have all done this sort of thing when we get tired in a pace line or on a climb. When we get tired, our reaction time is worse as well.

Remember that when you look down, you can’t see what is happening ahead of you and it is much harder to react to circumstances you do not see coming.

This is a great video despite the rider crashing.  It gives a great feeling for riding at 28 miles per hour in a pack of riders, plus we get to learn from another person’s mistakes instead of making our own. Mike Sheppard, Darroll Batke, Shari Shanks and I have made all of these mistakes (and more) when we were racing. When we suggest things in our coaching rides it is with the hope that riders will be able to learn better skills (without checking to see for yourself if pavement is still tougher than human skin. Note to self: pavement is still tougher than skin).

Robert, feel free to send stuff like this any time.

Doin’ Time in Leavenworth

Thursday, August 13th, 2009
Mandatory Barvarian architecture makes for one cheesy downtown, but Leavenworth is bad ass

Mandatory Bavarian architecture makes for one cheesy downtown, but Leavenworth still kicks ass

Leavenworth, WA is awesome. It sits on the Eastern edge of the Cascades. The downtown is made as silly as possible due to the fact that ALL of the buildings were built using Bavarian building codes. The good news is that the tourons flock there and leave the surrounding areas empty. There is hiking, skiing, river running and biking galore.

For mountain bikers, there are all sorts of trails including some gnarly downhill courses. There is also plenty of road biking to be had. One route I really like goes from downtown up the Chumstick “highway.” It is 9 miles of steady 1%-2% grade climbing followed by another 4 miles of steady 3%-4% grade climbing. From there you can turn around and motor back to town or go over the top of the  climb and drop into the little town of Plain where several other riding options exist.

If you want something mellow, you can stay in town. We stayed at Run of the River — a great little B&B that has bikes you can borrow for a nice, flat, 8 mile loop that features some beautiful scenery. I’m pretty sure you could spend weeks on end riding around this awesome place.

One other nice feature — the Gorge Amphitheater is 60 miles away. It makes Leavenworth a viable place to stay if you are going to see some shows at this amazing venue and don’t feel like camping in the lot. The drive back is a bit tiring, but Leavenworth is a great place to wake up. It is 5-and-a-half hours from Portland, but worth the trip.

The view from the top of this mellow 13 mile climb

The view from the top of this mellow 13 mile climb

Plain Washington is anything but.

Plain Washington is anything but.

The 8 mile loop from our B&B was easy and awesome. Add a climb up Icicle Canyon if you want a workout

The 8 mile loop from our B&B was easy and awesome. Add a climb up Icicle Canyon if you want a workout



The Gorge is a great place to see a show

The Gorge is a great place to see a show

And a particularly great place to see Phish

And a particularly great place to see Phish