Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Rap"-ping up 2011

It was another fine year with lots 'o bike ridin'
From all the hard work I surely wasn't hidin'!

Spent 48 days in the Sierras and Cascades
Doin' all 'o that climbin' is why Stella was made.

Grindin' up all those passes goin' 3 miles an hour
Fortunately for me, my legs they got the power!

My night's on the road were mostly spent
Sleepin' nice and cozy in my little 2-person tent.

CouchSurfing and Warmshowers I used them both well
Even spent a night in a sleazy motel.

Spent a couple of days with my cousins in Bend
And in Hood River, Oregon, I did it again.

I had a few detours due to too much snow
From Yosemite over Tioga I just couldn't go.

If it weren't for my heroes, Jessica and John
The schedule I was plannin', I couldn't have stayed on.

Then there was Bruce at Almanor Lake
He showed me a detour around Lassen to take.

He even invited me to stay at his place
I quickly agreed since he had a nice face.

In some state parks I met PCT hikers
But I didn't really see very many other bikers.

Except near Sequoia I met a kid named Sean
We stayed together a day, but then I moved on.

After Hood River I had my third and final detour
I went West instead of East and rode to Vancouver.

I did a little hike to the top of Beacon Rock
Where, with David and his pals I had a nice talk.

In the end I rode over 2000 miles without a single flat
I know you all are thinking, how amazing is that!

I managed to be home for just a few days
Before Christian made it here for a 2 day stay.

We did some sightseeing, in the car we did go
Went up to Mt. St. Helens to the volcano.

Then it was back on the bikes to head out to the Coast
With Christian and his harem it was 75 miles at the most.

Day 2 we got to Raymond and not a restaurant was seen
We ended up eating at a Dairy Queen.

We said goodbye to Christian, it was sad but okay
Because we met two other Germans who were goin' our way!

When we made it back home Nolan didn't have a clue
I'd left with one German, but I came back with two!

Up to Mt. St. Helens I took them and their stuff
The weather wasn't great, but it was good enough.

When August rolled around it was time to go again
I was off to France to see my good friend.

I did some hang gliding from Col de Forclaz
The ride was spectacular and I was totally in awe!

We went to La Baule on the French West Coast
Of our four days there we definitely made the most.

We drove along the coast and saw a lot of scenes
For Maximilien's birthday I had langoustines!

We rented bikes and Pornichet we did reach
Then we spent the afternoon playing on the beach.

Less than 24 hours from France I was back
Lorraine, Annette and I headed to the cabin where I relaxed.

We met up with Christie and floated down the river
The day it was so hot that we didn't even shiver!

After returning home I took Kyle to school
With all the bikey culture I thought Eugene was cool!

In Kyle's small apartment we did stay
Then out to Bike Friday we went the next day

I really wasn't planning on getting a new ride
But my eyes lit up when we walked inside.

We did a short test ride down along the trail
Little did they know they had likely made a sale.

A month or so later, well into the Fall
I looked up the number and gave Bike Friday a call.

I placed my order for pickup in mid November
I racked my brain deciding what to name her.

Then the name "Betsy" popped into my head
It's due to her color which they call "Flag Red".

Well, 2011 and this rap are at an end
2012 will be New Zealand with my very good friend!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's a Most Wonderful Day for a Ride!

The sun it is shining, the wind it's not blowing, we're having good times! It's a most wonderful daaaaaayyyyy....for a ride!

Here it is, Christmas Eve, December 24th! The weather report said it was going to be 40% chance of rain. But, NO! This morning it improved to a mere 10% chance of rain! I put away the rain coat and didn't even consider the lobster gloves!

Today's goal was 50 miles. Leandra, Shawn and I headed toward Yelm to do "The Big Loop". The road to Yelm, trail to Tenino and road back. When we got to Tenino, we realized it was not going to be quite 50 miles. So, instead of continuing on the road from the trail, we came back on the trail. We were still going to be a couple miles short so we looped through Indian Summer where Leandra's folks live. They weren't home, but the added loop put us over the required miles to 51.

Due to the nice weather, we saw a fair number of people on the trail. I started wishing everyone a Merry Christmas (Leandra thought I should be tossing candy canes as we rode by). Most people came back with a hearty "Merry Christmas" of their own.

I must say, I'll take a nice sunny Christmas over a cold white one any day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Long Way to go for Lights

As I headed out the door this morning, Nolan said, "I thought you were going to get lights for the tree today." I told him I was. I just didn't tell him which way I was going.

It was pretty chilly this morning. The ducks were walking on top of the golf course water hazard. I just added a couple more layers. Two long sleeve wool shirts with a long sleeve heavy weight jersey and hi-vis jacket. Long padded tights with warm/windproof pants over the top. Two pairs of socks under neoprene booties, a wool buff and a wool bandana. Topped it off with a pair of lobster claw gloves. Bring on the cold!

By the time I got about 5 miles down the road I had to stop and take off the long sleeve jersey. I was cooking and I hadn't even had to go up any hills yet!

I headed north on Pacific toward I-5. At Mounts Rd. I hopped on I-5 for the obligatory 3/4 mile to the Center Drive exit. At Dupont (Northwest Landing) it was noon, but I didn't want lunch yet (I was on a quest to eat at a different Subway). However, I did stop and have a hot chocolate at Starbucks.

I continued on Center Dr. to Dupont/Steilacoom Rd. I headed toward Steilacoom. Although it was gloomy overcast weather, two kitted-out road cyclists blew past me. I'm sure they were toasty warm just from their effort. They continued on toward Steilacoom. I turned on the newly paved North Gate Rd. I like the ride to Steilacoom, but it is really a bunch of gratuitous hills. As I was riding the now nice and smooth N. Gate Rd., I was remembering how on the Rapsody ride a few years ago William (guy I met on the ride) and I were drafting off this kid who was going 25 and 26 mph along this road. I thought to myself, "I wonder how fast we could go now?"

When I got to Edgewood Dr., I continued straight for my only section of road I haven't been on. I thought I'd see how long I could stay off of Washington Blvd. Turns out I was able to avoid it completely. I ended up on Veteran's Dr. which took me to Gravelly Lake Blvd.

Of course, from Gravelly Lake, it's back on the freeway. Actually, it is the section I refer to as "The on and off freeway section". I get on the freeway at Gravelly Lake, then off at Thorn Lane to ride parallel on Union Ave. I was thinking I had seen a Subway on Union. Sure enough! It's kind of in the "Military District"--surrounded by Military Loan places and Military Surplus stores (just as an aside--I thought I'd maybe see if the Foxhole Surplus store had some camo bike clothes for when I want to go as "Super Stealth Biker Woman"...can you say, "Camo-chamois"?). In Subway, a couple jokingly asked me if I was out for a century. I think they were surprised when I said no, I was only out for about 1/2 a century. They said they were fair-weather cyclists.

After Subway, I was back on the freeway at Berkeley St. From Berkeley, it is the longest stretch on the freeway to get past the JBLM. Then I can get off at Dupont/Steilacoom and, again, ride parallel until Center Dr. for the last section on the freeway to Mounts Rd.

As I was riding along Old Pacific, I saw this flock of geese. I guess, instead of "Six Geese-a-laying", it was "Multiple Geese-a-waddling".

Since I had told Nolan I would get lights for the tree, I came back into town on the Woodland Trail to Chehalis Western and then to Lowes for the lights. I just wheeled Betsy right into the store. After all, she's not any bigger than a cart!

So, it was a long way to go for Christmas lights, but not a bad ride for a cold December 10th.

Total miles: 47
Total feet of lights: 48.9

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just Barely the Longest Ride...

...on Betsy so far.

It is December 8th. The sky is filled with clouds and an occasional glimmer of blue sky--just enough to tease. Chance of rain is minimal, so it looks like a good day for a long ride.

In my quest to get as many miles as possible on Betsy before New Zealand, I set out to cover at least 45 miles (my current Betsy high). I took the trail to Tenino where I stopped for lunch. Fueled up, I continued on Hwy 99 toward I-5. I rode past my friends the alpacas. They are looking pretty scruffy in their winter coats. As I turned onto Case Rd, the wind smacked me in the face. As this was, essentially, a training ride, I just thought of it as an opportunity to see how Betsy would conduct herself in conditions I will likely encounter in NZ. Yes, the going was a bit slower, but not too bad. I turned off of Case at Maytown Rd and rode over to Tilley. I opted to continue on Tilley rather than turning onto 113th. Might have been a good thing to do the climb up 113th (and corresponding downhill on the other side), but that would have resulted in less miles.

I turned off Tilley at 100th (a little back road barely two lanes wide), passed a tractor with a big pile of hay for the cows and came out at 93rd. From there I rode over to 99. It's kind of interesting how I was already on 99 earlier and there I am getting back on 99 but going the opposite direction...sort of.

I rode into Tumwater, cutting through Trails' End and out to Henderson. I decided to take the new part of Yelm Hwy to just before Blvd., then cut through a couple other neighborhoods to avoid the still bad section of Yelm Hwy.

I arrived home having done 46.8 miles. Feet were abit chilled, but otherwise all was good.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Little Added Pounds for the Holidays

That is, on Betsy. Today I put all the panniers (including the handlebar bag) on Betsy. I loaded my barbells into each of the four bags. 14 pounds in each of the back panniers and 5 pounds in each front pannier (would have put more in the front, but that's all the weights I had). I also strapped not one, but two tents on the rear rack with the panniers. I didn't feel like packing up my sleeping bag and sleeping pad for the second bag on the rack, so I just grabbed another tent. Was it as much weight as I normally tour with? No, but it was a start.

I rode the trail to Rainier. The ride was pretty easy. I stopped at Main Street Cookie Company for some sustenance (not that I really needed it, but the cookies sure are good). After the cookie break, I took the road back. I wanted to see how Loaded Betsy handled on the hills. She did just fine. With the 20X1.75" tires, plus the extra weight, she pretty much rolls over most of the debris on the shoulder. Going up the hills, I never even came close to running out of gears.

Even though I wasn't carrying the total amount of weight I normally tour with, I think Betsy will do just fine going up the many New Zealand hills and mountains.