oregon adventures

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jack Frost Time Trial

I noticed today that I had forgotten to do a post on the Jack Frost Time Trial that took place back on Febuary 26th. This was a 12.4 mile bike race against time that signals the start of the bike racing season in the Portland area. It went over the road from Vancouver lake past Frenchman's Bar park and to the end of pavement by the Ridgefield Wildlife perserve and then back. I started out already clipped in and upright as you can see in the picture and took off full speed the whole way. Well, almost the whole way. About mile ten my energy started flagging and I slowed down a little even though I was telling myself, only two more miles- push on- speed up! I finished the race in 36 minutes and 18 seconds for a 20.5 MPH average, which for me is good. Hopefully I can do that kind of speed in the triathlons this year. There was a guy taking pictures on a curve near the end and he got a fantastic action shot of me- here. Afterwards, went looking for a restaurant in downtown Vancouver and ended up at the Thai Orchid for a really good peanut sauce chicken lunch.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bridge 2 Bridge Run

Sunday I got to run over the Fremont bridge (picture) with 600+ other people during the Bridge 2 Bridge 10K run. The run was another benefit for leukemia and the weather was ok, cold but dry. When I parked downtown in a parking garage and started to leave the garage a very pretty young girl (low 20's) asked if I were going to the race, so we walked over together. When we got to the start line there were 20 or so port-a-potties, but a line snaked around three times, so we jumped in line and after that the race was ready to start. At the start line 600+ people had to filter through one lane over the start mats- it looked like a popcorn machine with everyone bouncing in place unable to really move. I walked across the start and after about 20 yards was able to start running and moved around some people and found a good stride. The first bridge was the Broadway bridge and then down and under it along Interstate avenue, I believe. Then a steep climb up to the ramp onto the Fremont bridge which is an interstate bridge (I-405). I would have preferred to run on the top level, but the route went to the lower level which was fine with my legs. At the 5 mile mark I looked at my watch and I was 3 minutes below my time during the Red Lizard 5-miler. Then down through downtown where I said thanks to the policemen who had traffic stopped and across the finish line 10 seconds slower than my fastest 10K ever which was the Columbia River Bridge run in 2004. I crossed the line at 54:08 which is an 8:43 pace. After walking a little and stretching they had free pizza and beer, so I got a cheese pizza slice and some water. After awhile I met up with the young girl again, Diane was her name, and I gave her my beer ticket since I don't drink. After she ate, we walked back to the cars and she was really excited- it was her first event and she really enjoyed it. Afterwards, being short of money I went home for lunch instead of trying a nice downtown restaurant.

Friday, March 24, 2006

St Helens Ride

A bad day of riding is better than a good day at work. The bumper sticker says fishing, but it applies to bike riding also. Had a day off today and a guy at work had sent out an email asking if anyone wanted to do a ride out in St Helens Oregon. So I drove out there in sunny parts and then rainy parts and back to sunny. Met Steve K at his place and we started out in dry sunshine although the road was wet and I got blanketed with muddy spray. We cruised along at a pretty good clip and the shoulder widened enough to get close to talk and I found out that he's training for a triathlon that I did last year and am going to do this year also. So we talked of tri's and training and kids (he has two small ones), etc. Had to stop and take a picture of Trojan nuclear plant because it's getting demolished soon. It has a park and two small lakes that people fish in in the summertime. Rode on to the town of Rainier and to the base of the Longview bridge connecting Washington and Oregon. That was 21+ miles one way so we turned around and it started raining and the wind was a very strong headwind. That explains why we were going so fast on the way out. On a sunny day, from both of the towns (St Helens & Rainier) you can see the mountains they are named for, but not today. We ended up riding slowly against the wind back to St Helens nonstop for a 43.9 mile ride with an average of 15.5. Steve K recommended a cafe to eat at, so I headed off to the Scappoose Bay Marina cafe. It turned out to be a cozy hot dog restaurant with some delicious sounding chili dogs and stuff like that, but it's training season, so I got a pretzel and Diet Pepsi and that was my lunch. I was the only one there so the owner Randy talked to me about baseball, he was a huge Cubs fan, and the Portland Blazers basketball team.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Seattle Big Climb

Sunday I drove up to Seattle to do the Big Climb for leukemia. It involved over 3000 people climbing 69 flights of stairs to the 74th floor of the Columbia Center, the tallest building in Seattle and a brochure said it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. The event started at 830 in the morning, but my start time was 1 o'clock in the afternoon, which was perfect, it gave me time to drive up from Portland. While waiting for the 1 o'clock group to start I sat down and my friend Kevin who drove up with me got in line and started talking to a pretty girl, so I went to the back of the line so they could be together. The organizers started us in small groups, so I went with a couple who were in a hurry and they took off running, so I walked by myself for the first 12 flights until some kids caught up with me. I let them pass and of course they got tired, so I passed them and then they passed me again. Around the 20th floor they had water and a big fan going. At the 40th floor they had an observation room and yogurt, oranges, Red Bull, and water. I sampled everything, looked at the view and continued on. At one point I passed a woman who was red faced and struggling, so I gave her my bottle of water- she was very happy for that. At the top they had a guy taking pictures and a huge enclosed observation deck. It was a beautiful day and I could see the Olympics and Cascades and the stadiums and the sound and etc. I saw Kevin and asked how it went with the girl and he said she was married with two kids (of course), so I joined them and started talking to her. Wow, what an amazing woman, her name was Julie and besides being gorgeous, she liked to hike and go to museums and run and had the same heel pain I have and she has a life list! Yes I do too, that will be a future post. I also have a list of what I would like in a woman and she had a lot of the list covered. We talked for so long that they were closing the place down, so we rode the elevators down and exchanged info, even though she's married, she would be a blast to adventure with sometime. She recommended an area to look for lunch and Kevin and I headed down toward the water to see about food. There were a lot of cafes, but also a ton of people and no parking, so we ended up under the Space Needle at Zeek's Pizza. I had a tree-hugger pizza filled with broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. Tasted great, but was pricey at $15, but you could see the Space Needle out the window. Afterwards, drove by the Experience Music museum just to see it up close- when I meet a nice woman I'll have to go check it out inside, or take my daughter. To make the day complete, when I got home I had a message from the one person who matches everything on my list except playing golf, but that another story.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Gresham Blind Dog Ride

Back on the 4th of March I went for a training ride from Gresham to the Guide Dogs for the Blind place and then across Highway 26 to Orient Drive and back to Gresham. Went with my friend Steve (on the left) and one of his friends John (on the right). The first part of the ride until the guide dog place we were going a normal 17-18 MPH pace. As I talked to John about the bike races I'd done the pace picked up and on the way back we were zooming along at 22-27 MPH- good race training pace. The numbers for this ride were 21.6 miles at a 16.8 average.
If you haven't seen the Guide Dogs for the Blind place, it's just off highway 26 between Gresham and Sandy. They have a really nice campus with large trees and several buildings.
Going up to Seattle on Sunday to do the Big Climb, hopefully I'll post that on Monday.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Triple Falls Hike

Back in Febuary on President's Day I went for a short hike in the Gorge. Triple Falls is up above Horsetail Falls about 2 miles. You park at Horsetail Falls, go up the trail beside it, pass under Ponytail Falls and then up to Triple. Being February, there was ice on all the falls and parts of the trail under Ponytail had ice on it which made for tricky hiking for a short distance. This is a very popular trail even in February, there were a lot of young (20 something) hikers that day.
Numbers wise this trail at 4.4 miles round-trip and about 800 feet elevation gain is very easy, but it has a lot to offer in that you see 3 falls and a gorge (Oneida) and climb a little bit. Afterwards, went to eat in Cascade Locks and the deli I really like was closed for the holiday, so off to Stevenson Washington via the Bridge of the Gods to the Big River Grill for a really good lunch.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Marine Drive Ride

I'm a government worker, so I work nine hours eight days a week and eight hours one day and get one day off every two weeks. The upshot of all that is that I was off today, so my friend Kevin (picture) and myself set off to do a local ride. I started at Gresham Main Street park and met Kevin at the intersection of the I-205 and Springwater bike paths. We rode up the I-205 path to Marine drive and then went east right into the wind until Blue Lake park where we stopped for a Cliff bar break. Had been cruising about 18-22 MPH up until Marine drive, then 12-15 against the wind. I hate wind! Coming back the same route we hit 30 MPH on the flats of Marine drive with the wind, cruised around 25-27. Then a lot slower back up the I-205 path and Kevin left at the same intersection and I rode on back to Gresham. I stopped to take a picture of a runner with a Seattle Marathon shirt running on the Springwater trail with Mt Hood dominating the skyline, but it was too bright and Mt Hood didn't show up. I haven't learned how to use the camera enough to take it out of auto and get pictures like that. The ride ended up being 39+ so I rode a little more and back to the Jeep at exactly 40 miles with a 15.7 MPH average speed. Yes I am a geek, I keep a spreadsheet of all my rides and runs and hikes with avg mileages. Last year my average bike ride was 47.9 miles, this year I only have a quarter of the mileage I had at the same time last year- oh well.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Cherry Pie Bike Race

Back in Febuary, the Sunday before President's day, I went down to Harrisburg and did the Cherry Pie bike race. This is a tradition with me- the start of the racing season. Two years ago I did it for the first time on an old REI bike with toe clips and a Camelback. I started out then and lost the group within 2 miles and did the whole 44 miles (group 4/5) by myself. Last year I had my new Bianchi bike and they had separated cat 5 and made it only 21 miles for cat 5. I managed to stay with the group 4 1/2 miles last year before someone wrecked and I had to slow way down to go around and couldn't catch the group in the wind. This year they had an over 40 cat 5 group and I stayed with them for 10 miles and then ran out of steam and fell back. But I averaged 18.3 MPH or so for the whole 21 miles and that includes a pretty good hill. About 4 miles from the end of the race my seat fell, so I had to finish the race with the seat all the way down. The weather was beautiful blue sky, but my Jeep said it was 30 degrees when I parked, so I had 3 shirts on and it was still cold, until I started- then it was just racing. After that of course I was sick with a chest cold by the next day, but it was worth it to get my 3rd Cherry Pie water bottle. Next year I should be able to stay with the group the whole race!
In the picture that's my gorgeous Bianchi Veloce leaning against the Jeep with a random rider going by after the race was over.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Red Lizard 5-Miler

Last Sunday I did the Red Lizard 5-miler run in Lake Oswego. It started and ended in George Rogers park and was suprising hilly. I kept a good pace for me until about mile 3 when I came to a very steep hill and lost momentum and had to walk for about 30 feet at the top, then started back up and finished with a 9:19 mile per minute pace. Afterwards, I had bananas and organic hot chocolate and started talking to a beautiful girl, Laura, and ended up walking back to her car with her. She never mentioned a husband or boyfriend, but I chickened out and didn't ask her for a number, I guess that's why I'm single- way too shy.
Later that afternoon I went with friends to see the Lewis and Clark exhibit at the Historical Society. It turned out to be more about the indians than about Lewis and Clark, but still interesting. I was amazed at how big the peace medals that they gave out were.