Rackin up the miles: August 2013

Well folks, here it is Labor Day weekend.  Traditionally the end of summer.  Thankfully though, it is not the end of cycling season in the Northwest.  Even though the rains and cold weather are about 45 days away, I don’t normally have to contend with snow (Quick to the a piece of wood for knocking!) so I can ride all year.

All in all, this has been an interesting month!  It seems like Michelle and I have been on the go non stop since it started!  We never quite know how we end up getting so busy so often, but we will sit, look at the calendar and suddenly realize we are swamped!  (You know, someone paying attention might think I am working my way up to an excuse for a lousy mileage total….) Continue reading “Rackin up the miles: August 2013”

It Aint Over till Its Over…

Folks, stand by, cuz this ride proves that this is true without a doubt!

But, as always, we should start at the beginning. We drug our butts out of bed at 500 AM. It wasn’t easy after two long days in the car. Damned if I didn’t almost leave my water bottles in the fridge! But, in the end, we were on the road at 530, and at the starting line at 615, plenty of time! Michelle then went back to hotel to rest. (Smart woman!) Continue reading “It Aint Over till Its Over…”

Recon Mission!

Two years ago, I did the High Pass Challenge.  This is a century ride from the tiny town of Packwood, WA, to Windy Ridge Observatory in Mt St Helens Volcanic Monument.  This was, bar none, the hardest route I have ever ridden.  I will tell you, it saved my butt driving the route the week before with my wife! I knew where the hills ended and what was coming.

Learning from the past, Michelle and I came down to Klamath Falls, OR 2 days early.  This left us today to sleep in, eat breakfast, get coffee and then head into the park!  Damn I am glad we did! Continue reading “Recon Mission!”

Hi I’m Tony and I am an Over-Packer

Here it is, the day before we head south for 8 hours to Crater Lake for the big ride of the year (100 miles to the park and around the lake and back).  I made my run over to REI and picked up the requisite Shot Blocks (Black Cherry of course, WITH caffeine!) I’ve also made the run to the bagel shop to be able and make my breakfast sandwiches the morning of the ride.

I’ve also started the list of items to grab for the bike.  Therein lies the problem.  I HATE leaving stuff behind.  You never know what you might need!  Should I throw in the roll of duct tape?  How many CO2 cylinders should I bring?  Is one spare tube enough?  The small pump?  Tools?  OK it’s a supported ride, but should I bring the camel back?  Extra food “in case”?  Gotta have the swiss army knife!  Camera and batteries…. Continue reading “Hi I’m Tony and I am an Over-Packer”

The BEST pre ride email I’ve ever received

This is the most comprehensive, helpful, infomative and funny pre ride email I’ve ever received!

Hello Riders!

I went up to Crater Lake this past weekend to make one last run around the course and wanted to give you some last minute notes and observations!

Observations: Continue reading “The BEST pre ride email I’ve ever received”

Did I make the Cycling Gods Mad Somehow?

Do you ever get the feeling that the cycling gods are conspiring against you for some reason?  I am almost starting to wonder about that this summer.

First off, I was not chosen for the RAMROD. I was seriously bummed, especially a week ago today when that ride I was hoping to be on was happening.  It was the perfect cycling day, not too warm, morning clouds, I would’ve loved it!

The VERY next day, I came outside to find my bike was gone!  Stolen from some dirtbag who blazed into the garage at work, snipped my lock and flew (ever hear the term ride it like you stole it?  He did) out the downstairs entrance of the garage.  If the cycling gods were happy with me, one of the many dump trucks working the local construction site woulda taken him out clean.  Sadly, no dice.

There is never a good time to have a bike stolen.  But this was particularly bad because my plan B ride, the Crater Lake Century is only 3 weeks away.  This meant I had to not only get the bike, but get it adjusted to me and get used to it in time for a hella hard century ride.

However, this ride is worth it.  I am a nature geek, I love national parks, and I am totally looking forward to getting pictures like this:

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I have never been to this park before.  The lake was formed when Mt Mazama blew its top eons ago, and the top collapsed into a caldera, that filled with water.  It contains some of the purest water in the world.  No motors are allowed on the water.  From everything I have heard, it is truly a spectacular place to be.  And no better way to see it than on a bike.

And here is why I think the cycling gods are NOT happy with me.  Because here is a daytime photo of the lake from earlier this week

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That is NOT darkness, that is smoke!  There are some HUGE forest fires going on in Oregon right now, which is causing the smoke.  The problem is compounded by weather patterns that is holding the smoke at ground level.  Basically its trapped there!

I have wanted to go to this park since hight school, but for some reason it just hasn’t worked out.  This year, it seemed perfect.  I got time off, Michelle and I were going down early to check out the park and the route, and she was going to volunteer on the route during the ride.  It was a perfect plan!

I am not saying it is NOT going to happen.  Lots can happen in 3 weeks.  A good strong breeze can clear things out, and the firefighters we have in the Northwest are the best!  If anyone can do it, they can…

So it’s a wait and see.  My plan is I ride.  Michelle, though, has lungs that can’t handle something like this, so I may be flying solo.

What I need is a way to make offerings to the bike gods?  Do I pour out a bottle of Gatorade in their honor?  Shred an old bike jersey?  Develop a bikers prayer?  I am open to suggestions!  Anyone have any ideas?

Its going to be a nervous 3 weeks….