Friday, March 28, 2014

Not-so-weekly Friday Downtown Bikes

From Starbucks to Atticus and other points 

first pic: a nice solid bike rack/sculpture. need to bring a longer u-lock or cable as the tubing is so wide I had trouble finding a spot my short u-lock could reach. That's the front end of the Dawn of the Donut truck.
a similar rack out front of Atticus:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ephrata Gran Fondo 2014 - Part 2

Lots more pics.

After Stuhlmiller Rd we were back on Hwy 28 to the Palisades turn-off.  Hwy 28 has perhaps the smoothest shoulder in the known universe. I felt like I could ride on it all day.

I forgot about this one bridge - not much room on the shoulder so I slowed down to let some cars pass by before I got to it.

The one imperfection of the Hwy 28 shoulder - a barely felt crack.

Maybe 5 miles of smooth rolling on Hwy 28 to the turn onto the Palisades Rd and the rest stop. There was one guy here with a squeaky chain - we'd passed each other a few times - I thought it was too bad I didn't bring any chain lube as I would've offered him some.

On the rougher no shoulder Palisades Rd.

The peloton passed me by. I was hoping they could carry me to the finish, but their pace was a few mph's faster than mine. I saw the blue team off and on the first half of the ride as they would stop and regroup, riding in the grand fondo spirit.

They soon disappeared from view.

There was another biker along here just ahead of me. I'd passed him on the downhill, but he left the pit stop before me. Thought I would catch up and ride with him, but I couldn't reel him in.

I kinda like this picture. Hope you're not on dial-up.

The Palisades Schoolhouse. Not registering on the your speed sign.

After 17 miles or so, the pavement ends. Perhaps the smoothest dirt road in the known universe.

The Billingsley Ranch.

Three Devils Hill - one of the nagging thoughts from riding down Baird Springs Rd.
One Devil
I caught up with the guy I was chasing on the Palisades Rd here, walking up the hill. Turned out he was on a single speed. Egads.
Two Devil 
Three Devil 
wait…Four Devil?
I think I counted Five Devils on this Three Devils Hill.

The last 18 miles or so on Roads 24, 23 and Sheep Canyon Rd were a mixture of gravel and pavement, and slight ups and downs compared to the Three Devils climb.

By now I might have been getting a little delirious, as I waved to the cows as we road by.  Bit of a commuter habit.

Your basic far from assistance Sagebrush Flats area pic.

This was the greatest sign to see on Sheep Canyon Rd - just beyond it is a steep, fast drop from 2,130' elevation to 1,300' in just a few miles.  

The gopro died here. At the Bottom of Sheep Canyon we turned right into a headwind and it dashed my hopes of finishing under 6 hours.
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Ephrata Gran Fondo 2014 - Part 1

Holy crap my legs ache. Put on by the Ephrata Bike Club Vicious Cycle.  Once again, I finished ahead of the unibikers. When I rode from the ol' homestead to the High School this year the temp was 47F, last year it was 33 or so. Winds 15 - 30mph were forecast. I put on a long sleeve shirt because I couldn't believe it would be warm in the higher elevations. Bad move as I had to stop and take it off.

Forthwith, tons of pics.

"remember it's not a race have fun"

Beezley Hill(s) in background - the first part of the ride
climbs up the hills to the right of it. Beezley is home to
the Beezley Burn. I think its elevation is 2899', the start is
1,273'; our highest elevation was 2681.

The ride out of town felt like just another Sunday morning bike ride. That quickly changed.
lots of lycra - counted a few miscreants who didn't get
the dress code memo. Baggy knickers for me.
um pretty sure this is Norton Rd

Probably Johnson Rd. A few fendered bikes out there -
I took off the fenders and racks on my Vaya. If it rained, I
was just going to live with the splatter.
the stuff-your-phone-in-your-sweaty pants-pocket
 soft focus effect. this is Baird Springs Rd for sure. Like
99.8% sure - I remember the sign just before I took the pic.
I put the gopro on along here; I knew the battery wouldn't last the whole ride. Not fond of the wide-angle-curved-telephone-pole effect - someone should make a sport camera with a high megapixel/regular focal length setting.

Baird Springs Rd is my favorite part of the ride - all gravel all down hill (AGADH). The fast fun factor is marred by the nagging thought that you're going to have to climb from 755' back up to 2,000+. And the other nagging thought - what if I hit a thick spot of gravel at high speed, will I go flying head over heels?

Despite what the pictures show, I wasn't completely alone on this section. I passed a few guys on skinny tires along here that had passed me climbing up the hills; then some guys on skinny tires caught up to me at the bottom. Make of that what you will in the debate over how wide a tire to ride this combo asphalt/gravel/dirt route. I think it depends more on your purpose, your bike handling skills, your fear threshold bombing down gravel roads, and your engine. You just don't want anything real knobby.

After a short jaunt on Hwy 28, we turned on to Stuhlmiller Road, a road in name only.

The Columbia. The drawdown of the reservoir behind
Wanapum Dam exposed more of Crescent Bar than has been
seen in ages.

One of the riders I was with off and on, when he saw the climb and the gravel, muttered "well, this looks like fun". The fun was just beginning.

Next up: Hwy 28, the Palisades Rd, Three Devils hill, more gravel, more paved, the not-so-big finsh when the forecast winds materialized after Sheep Canyon Rd. Those interested, can skip right over to my garmin page.

I thought of doing a Drunk Cyclist style post - you know like how me, the Cayuse Kid and the Sagebrush Jesus stayed up all night drinking bud light, got thrown in the drunk tank, got bailed out just in time for the start of the race yet Sagebrush Jesus still finished in the top ten riding a BMX bike, then finish off the post with an irrelevant picture of a semi-hot woman with big boobs. But I stayed over Saturday night and visited with the folks.

And Hank couldn't make it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

oh no! wrong shoes!

a reenactment 

It wasn't until I was getting ready for bed last night that I saw a pair of my stay-at-work shoes by our closet door.  I did a double take - wait, what are those doing here why aren't they under my cubicle? Where are my 5 Tens?

In a rush to leave work yesterday, I forgot to switch over to the sneaker or skate style shoes I like to bike in and rode a whole 6 miles in my casual work shoes. And didn't notice it. My feet did slip off the pedals at one intersection which was odd and embarrassing, but I didn't think much about it.  The slippage was due more to the pedals I have on - Redline Lo-Profile platforms, great $25 pedals but not very grippy. I've been thinking of switching over to to the VP-001 pedals that I have on my Fargo and now just might have to do it. The VP-001's are nice, thinner pedals that have just the right amount of grip but are not too sticky.  Next time I accidentally or on purposely wear street shoes, my feet will feel more secure.

At least I remembered my old man leg band yesterday.

Monday, March 10, 2014

More Trail 25 Obsessiveness

Saturday I went out for a ride, thinking I'd stay out for a couple hours, and see how ready I am for the Ephrata Big Ride without overdoing it. Right.

Headed to TJ Meenach Bridge and explored the loop I've found - take either the Centennial Trail or Trail 100 up to the Military cemetery, climb up Houston Rd, through Ponderosa Park, swing back on Greenwood to Deno Rd, up Mission Rd, to Old Trails Rd for a few miles to where it becomes, turns into or collides with N Inland Rd just past Marchand Rd. Turns out the elevation gain is similar to the first part of the Ephrata Gran Fondo and is good practice.

At the Old Trails/Inland Rd point there are a few different loop options - Trail 25 crosses here, so my idea is to take it east down to the Bowl and Pitcher for a short version. Or go west skimming the ORV park for a longer ride. Or continue on Inland Rd, down to State Park Rd to the Deep Creek Overlook area and then to the Centennial Trail again. It's a flexible loop.

I figured Trail 25 was still icy and snow covered in spots, so I headed on Inland Rd towards Deep Creek. But I got waylaid by another sign for Trail 25 just off Inland Rd. I've been on this trail a few times, and was still wondering how it could be Trail 25, too, when 25 just crossed Inland Rd a hundred yards back. Imposter trail? I can't just ignore a sign for The Trail, so I took it. It sucks me in.

I'm pretty sure this isn't Trail 25. I think maybe, just maybe, I've figured out the trail signs. This might be old hat to people familiar with trail markers, or I could be completely wrong which wouldn't surprise me. If the marker has an arrow pointing up, as in the above picture, it's a sign saying "ahoy, this-a-way to Trail 25".  If the arrow is pointing left or right, you're on the trail, and it's pointing which way to continue.  This way of looking at the markers matches the trail up with the Riverside State Park map produced by the Inland Empire Back Country Horsemen. Might have to talk to a ranger next time, or maybe somebody can clue me in.

But of course, this trail doesn't lead directly to Trail 25, it heads around the ridge down to Inland Rd/Seven Mile Rd. From there you go to the State Park Rd to The Trail.

Arriving back on Inland Rd, I crossed it and followed another trail down to the creek:

Didn't feel like wading across, so I headed back to the State Park Rd, through Deep Creek Overlook area to the Centennial Trail up to the Carlson Rd Trailhead. Last year I rode Trail 25 from Bowl and Pitcher to Wilbur TH to the Carlson TH but lost it there. There's a bit where 25 and 402 are the same trail and somehow I continued on 402 up to the Trailhead instead of looping around on 25. I'm not sure how I did it as I found Saturday the signs are pretty clear.

It's easy to see looking at the Horsemen's map how The Trail turns around here and the east and west sections are also connected by 402.  25 is the red line:

Just another sign for 25 further up Carlson Rd.
NW corner of the trail
I rode, walk, slipped, and tumbled my way down the icy 25 trail to Deep Creek, then managed to climb back up. Almost slipped back down to the creek once or twice.  I tooled around the Carlson area for quite awhile, going back and forth trying to familiarize myself with the trails in the area.

Time for a bike pic.

By now I was out more than the couple hours I planned, but not having any other obligations that day, I explored as much as I could. I finally got tired of it and headed home. I think I have Trail 25 mostly figured out now - of course, I thought that before and was wrong about it.

The whole confusing garmin map is here. Turned out I was out for 5 hours. Afterwards I thought that's a little excessive - I think I'll keep my rambles to 2-3 hours tops from now on. But I think I'll be able to survive 6 hours at Ephrata.