Yesterday, Larry, Andrew, and I headed out to Portland International Raceway for the 2007 US Cyclocross Gran Prix. The weather was cold and rainy. The mud was flying, and the cowbells were ringing. We saw the elite women and men's races, plenty of incredible cross bikes, Gary Fisher himself, and plenty of good muddy wipeouts. Here's a video taken from the men's elite race.
This photo was taken at the races of myself, Larry, and Andrew (left to right). Here's Barb Howe's report of the day (an elite class racer).
My new blue merino wool cycling jersey came in the post yesterday from Vintage Velos. Mom and dad gave me the money for one of these jerseys for my birthday (January!). I hemmed and hawed over which one to get - the classic Eddy Merckx Moltini Arcore versus the Vittadello versus the Salvarani. After much flip flopping and changing of the mind, I decided on the Salvarani.
But... there were were no mediums available. However, I took a chance at a long shot and emailed the company inquiring whether they'd be making more of these. Alex returned my email right away and said they wouldn't be making more. So, I hung my head, about to cry, when, the next day, I find out (angels singing, harps playing mind you) that he had found two more medium jerseys in their European warehouse. I ordered one, and a week later, it arrived, full with complete instructions on proper care of merino wool (two pages!).
I wore it today to work for the first time - it's very comfortable. Just a twinge of itch the first minute, but after that, it's golden. I haven't washed it yet, so perhaps even that initial itch will go away.
I had to stop by the Bike Gallery (downtown Portland) on the way into work to get a new water bottle and replacement cleats for my Specialized Pro Carbon road shoes. Eric, the manager, remarked, "That's a really cool jersey. Where did you get that?" Makes you want to smile.
As I neared the Broadway Bridge Monday morning on my way in to work, I noticed a lot of onlookers, including pedestrians and cyclists gawking over the Broadway Bridge down at the water. I rubbernecked a little as I sped by, but figured I'd Google it the next day and figure out what happened.
Turns out, that the onlookers were looking down upon a dead body floating in the Willamette- a 30 something year old woman. Story can be found here. It's currently under investigation, so no more details are known yet.
The crazy things you see when you're on the bike in Portland.
Thanks Todd (bro) for giving me the heads up on this incredible helmet cam taken during a bike messenger race in NYC (2004). There are some very close calls with cars, buses, taxis, pedestrians, other bikers, etc. It's 7 min long, watch some or all, the backgrond music will relax you a little, while your nerves are being jolted while watching the action.
This is pretty much what my morning commute in Portland is every day. The only difference is - the cameraman in the video gets passed by other bikers. ;)
1) near miss - tight space with bus/taxi at 3:40 (time left)
2) running through lights, narrowing avoiding pedestrians (5:10 time left)
3) fixed gear hipster flying down descent on bridge in NYC (:30 time left)
:: peder ::
I'm so glad it's over. Can we (the country) please talk about something else now? *yawn*
Perhaps I should be a little more in touch with our pop culture. I just found out Saturday which teams were playing. Does that make me a bad person?
The only good thing about the superbowl is that it means we're one step closer, in the long march of spring sports, to Le Tour (and all it's doping scandals, to be 100% fair). Cool thing, the tour's first stage will start across the Channel, in London!
Speaking of cycling, Portland's annual "Worst Day of the Year Ride" is this coming Sunday (2007.02.11). I've signed up for the 40 mile "challenge" loop, which promises to be a decent ride out in the West Hills of Portland. I'll likely get plenty wet (supposed to start raining again this week - woohoo), but drinking Lucky Lab beer in the finishers circle will definitely be worth it.
Spent some time last night around midnight changing out to the old knobbies (Kevlar WTB Velociraptors - love these tires!). And for what? Turns out --- naught! Ack. The ambient North Portland temp was 34.5 this AM when I arose from the slumber. The roads were slushy (got sprayed with mud - was getting ready to pass a guy on Terwilliger when he rode through a big mud-slush puddle). Yuck.
Hopefully, things will continue to melt. Can't wait to reinstall the slicks to get that sweet low rolling resistance back again.
Portland was shut down by 3-4 inches of snow yesterday, for the second time in 3 years. When is this city going to invest in some snow plows and manpower? It was utter chaos. Videos of cars crashing abounded on YouTube.
Once again proving my stubborness, I decided to forego Holly's gracious gift to take me to work. I tested the snow with the bike - yes, it would be doable. The snow hadn't been packed in yet. Only one other bike track in the snow. As long as I could keep the bike in the fresh snow, I shouldn't have much problem. Turned out, that I was right and one of the few in my department to be on time. Ahem. It also turns out that biking in fresh snow is quite a workout. Snow affords a great deal of rolling resistance.
I ended up taking the tram down the mountain at the end of the workday, since I figured getting down the snowy and icy hill would be the most treacherous part of the commute. Good idea. Roads had become icy and hard-packed (few stretches of pavement with virgin snow in which to ride). The riding was rough-going due to the effect of snow chains. My bones and sinews got a good jostling.
I drove today. Too much ice, and I didn't want to change out my commuter slicks (Ritchey Tom Slicks) for the old knobbies, especially since the snow _should_ be gone soon. If things haven't melted by this evening, then I'll have to change out the tires.
All told, it's 6476 ft of climbing, 6460 ft of descent, for total overal elevation gain of a whopping 16 ft. Total mileage was around 40 miles (my cyclocomputer indicated 43, but the Topo map says 40.4).
The photo to the right is a screen capture off Larry's cool topo software.
The information about climb grades/distances was taken from Shawn Kolitch's website, which has great profiles of the best West Portland climbs.
:: peder horner ::