Saturday, April 25, 2015

OVRR--Check Breakaway Off the List...

...and never do it again!

Today's race was Olympic View Road Race in Brady, WA. This was my first year to get to do this course. The first year I was touring from Austin to Memphis. Last year...I think I was in Austin again. It was a 36 mile race around an 18 mile course. It was also the WSBA Masters Road Championship. That meant us older gals weren't racing against anyone under 40. However, we did race with the 30-39 group, but we weren't scored with them. 

After my warmup, I rode backwards on the course to the last downhill into the final corner. Close to the top there was a steep right hand curve (not unlike The Ridge). At the bottom was a sharp corner. It was good to eyeball those two places before the race. Beyond that, I had only Jean and Debbie's description of the course.

At the start, we were told about the hill I had ridden to. We would know we were at the top of it (before the steep descent) when we passed the cemetery. We were also told, at the start we would be neutral until everyone was through the first intersection. The follow car would beep it's horn when we were racing (standard stuff). So, we started at a leisurely neutral pace. I was near the front. We passed the intersection, but didn't hear any horn beep. Not long after, I was on the front, but it seemed like no one knew if we were racing. At 1 1/2 miles in, I was pretty sure we were racing, but it was still at a very leisurely pace. I was still on the front. The gals behind me were chatting up a storm. It was like a group ride with friends you haven't seen for awhile, so you've got to catch up on all the news. I was fine with that.

We came to the first bit of hill. Since, by then, there was no question we were racing, most of the chatter had stopped. It was more race talk ("slowing", "on your left/right", etc.). The pace continued to be pretty reasonable. It helps that it was just us older gals--no twentysomethings pushing the pace (because they can, and do).

The course was flat-ish with rollers. The greater issue was wind. It was mostly cross winds, with not much tailwind, and a nasty headwind after rounding the last corner. Because the pace was not blistering fast, I found myself on the front a few times. On the backside (?), I had been on the front for awhile. I wanted off the front. So, I moved over toward the yellow line. At first, nothing. Then I slowed down a bit. Then, I think it was one of the plethora of Bike Sale gals (this is their sponsored race), came up and asked if I wanted to do paceline rotation. I said, "Sure." In my head I was thinking, whatever gets me off the front! So, we rotated for awhile. The only thing with that is that I don't like ending up in the back, which is what would happen. 

It seemed like forever (in hindsight, should have made a note of this) before we got to the cemetery. Finally I could see the headstones. Everyone did great coming down the hill. As we came up to the end of Lap 1, I thought, "Crap, we have a whole 'nother lap to do!" 

Into the second lap, the pace was still pretty sedate. Oh, it would pick up on the downhills quite a bit, but overall, not too fast. As we came back out to the flat section on the backside, there was some squirrelly type moving around by the front group. I was probably 3/4 back in the peleton (if you can call a group of 14 a "peleton"). They finally straightened out into a single paceline. It was still pretty slow. In my head I could hear Michelle and Jennifer (Cat 1 and 2 racers) saying, "You should just try a breakaway...don't break off the front, come from behind." Well, I was not in I decided to give it a shot. I got in my drops, and sprinted out of the saddle until I couldn't sprint anymore. I looked back and saw that no one was with me. I stayed in my drops, put my head down, and just tried to keep the pedals turning as fast as I could. I stayed away for awhile. In reality, it was probably not as long of a while as it seemed. Then I remembered...there was still one more hill to go up. They "let" me stay on the front into the hill, but then all but one gal passed me as if they were riding on the flat, and I was the only one going up a hill. As the last gal (Heather from Group Health) caught up to me, I said, "This will be my demise." And it was. I thought if I could just stay close enough until the dead people, I could catch them on the downhill. Then, the follow car went around me. Where are those dead people?!!! Like I said, should have made note of this distance. 

Finally the cemetery came into view. By then, I may as well have gone to lay with the dead people, for as much chance as I had of catching the group on the downhill. At least I got to go down the hill pretty fast--one last hurrah before turning into the headwind for the final section. I crossed the line 53 seconds after the peleton. 

So, what I learned from today's race is: NEVER DO A BREAKAWAY! What I can say, is that I tried one. I don't have to do it again...ever.'s a top 10 finish, right?

The 3 OOA Amigas.
The podium, with Jean in 3rd place (not bad for someone who said she couldn't breathe the entire race)!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Expanding My Riding Horizons in Eugene

I've been here in Eugene for the past week taking care of my Sweet Baboo grandson while his mom and dad are at work.

During the week, I've been able to get in rides each evening when one of them gets home. The first couple of rides were just an hour or so each, with lots of climbing and some fast descents. Fridays ride was a bit longer, still with lots of climbing.
Coming up Gimpl Hill Rd.

Yesterday, I expanded my distance to 39 miles, with just the climb up Fox Hollow. There were some other smallish climbs, but nothing like the others. Today, I further expanded my loop to 49 miles. 

Starting at the kids' house, it's just .3 miles to the beginning of Lorane Hwy. It starts climbing right at the beginning, and continues for a good 1 1/2 miles. Along the way, I heard the unmistakable gobble of a turkey. Sure enough, as I rounded the corner there were a couple of the big birds on the side of the road.
Gobble Gobble!

I came down the other side out onto the flat to the intersection of Lorane Hwy, Bailey Hill Rd, and Spencer Creek Rd. Spencer Creek would eventually take me to Crow Rd (Gimpl Hill is off Pine Grove which is what Spencer Cr. becomes). Bailey Hill goes to the right, and would take me back to the West end of Eugene (not far from Bike Friday). I went left to continue on Lorane Hwy. 

Lorane Hwy is a very nice road. Fox Hollow Rd comes into Lorane Hwy, and that's where I came from yesterday. Today, I breezed by on a nice downhill. Lorane runs along the valley for a number of miles.
The nice smooth pavement of Lorane Hwy in the valley.

As I was riding along, I saw something off the side of the road. It was another turkey. Then I saw the rest of them (a dozen total). There are a lot of wild turkeys around here!

Lorane Hwy ends at Territorial Hwy. I kept to a westerly heading by turning right. I rode for a number of miles to Crow. Yesterday, I had turned onto Crow Rd. Today, I continued on Territorial. Just as an aside, if I continued this ever expanding loop riding, in a week's time, I'd be looping to Florence (on the Coast) and back!

I finally started heading more north, coming into the small towns of Veneta and Elmira, and crossing Hwy 126 (the Florence-Eugene Hwy--I took this from Florence a couple of years ago when I did my Long Way to the Cabin Tour). Staying on Territorial Hwy, I began to ride near the Fern Ridge Reservoir. It seems more like a large lake, but since there is a dam at the northern end of it, I guess it really is a reservoir.

I looped around the northern end of the lake/reservoir onto Clear Lake Rd. I went by a Lane County Park called Richardson County Park. It's on the reservoir, and has camping. I will stow this info away for later as a place to bring my grandson for a overnight bike tour! 

Fern Ridge Reservoir

A few miles further, and I came to an intersection. Strangely, there was no sign saying what the cross street was. I figured it had to be Greenhill Rd, so I turned right to head to the Fern Ridge Path. I did finally see a sign at another cross street. It was Greenhill. 

The Fern Ridge Path is a multi-use trail that begins in downtown Eugene (sort of) and goes all the way out to Greenhill Rd. I've been on it many times, however this was just my second time to do the whole thing (the first was when I picked up Betsy from Bike Friday). 

I rode the trail into town, then got on the Amazon Park Trail back to the kids' house. A respectable 3:09 ride time with an average of 15.6. I've really enjoyed the riding here. There are so many great roads! Tomorrow, I head home on the train...sad to leave my Sweet Baboo.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Cleveland of a Different Color, or...

...Why Does a Chameleon Change Color?

I woke up to sunshine and blue sky in Cleveland! What a difference! Today we had a few things to do. First, we went to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens.

It's free for Dillon with his student ID, but for me it was $12. It was well worth it! We went into the tropical Glasshouse portion. As it really is a glass house, it was nicely bright and sunny...and warm, of course. The first area was the spiny desert section. All plants of a pokey nature could be found there. In addition to the flora, there was also a fair amount of fauna. There were red finches flitting around as well as some slower movers such as a couple of chameleons. 
This is a young chameleon. He doesn't have a name yet.
This is Ernie. He's an adult and about 18 months old. 

Both Ernie and the juvenile chameleons are males. I always thought chameleons changed color based on their surroundings. Not so, according to the guy at the garden. Nope, chameleons change color solely for display toward a female (females also display, but their colors are more muted). The color of Ernie above is his "calm" coloring. When he is displaying, his oranges become brighter, the lighter greens near his feet become almost yellow. Chameleons are slow moving. They great "Live long and prosper" feet. Their prehensile tale helps them to climb. It was very interesting learning about these guys. We also saw these two tortoises.
They looked to be enjoying each other's company.

Next we moved on to the tropical rainforest of Costa Rica. Here there were butterflies dancing around. It was quite humid. 
Managed to get some photos while some were sitting still.
A feeding frenzy...butterfly style.

These two were...well...busy.

There were also birds in this part two. They were, decidedly, more tropical.

There was a nice waterfall we walked behind.

After the Glasshouse, we went outside to the large collection of outdoor gardens. Although it was sunny, Spring has not quite fully arrived in Cleveland yet.
The tulips are coming!
Topiary of a peacock (at least, I think so).

Still, we managed to find something blooming.

We left the Botanical Gardens, and walked to the Cleveland Museum of Art. It's a fabulous museum that is free! We ate some lunch at the cafe (okay, that part wasn't free--in fact, that part was quite expensive), then wandered the museum. It is actually two buildings connected together by a massive atrium.

Here's some of my favorites.
Don't know who the artist was. I just liked the green color.

Having a little fun.

We finished with the museum and went around Wade Pond. 

Severance, where we are going to the Symphony tonight.
The art museum across the pond.
Bare trees...still.

We finished the afternoon by going to Emily's violin recital. She is in a different studio than Dillon, but they are friends. She's a sweet girl, and she played very well.

Now we are off to the Cleveland Symphony. Tomorrow, I head home at the crack of dawn.

Cleveland is not so dreary when the sun is shining!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

On Walkies About Cleveland

I'm in Cleveland for a few days for my son, Dillon's, 1st Masters Recital. Today he had some things to do, so I took myself for walkies around Cleveland.

I started with some breakfast at Potbellys. It's actually a chain, but it was good (I will go to Subway at some point so I can check an Ohio Subway off my list). Dillon suggested I go to Little Italy. 
Little Italy borders the neighborhood where he lives.

There are mostly restaurants and a couple of good bakeries. First I went to check out a violin shop. I had offered to purchase a new case for Dillon's violin (his current case is 15 years old). It was Terry Carlin Violins. She was having a sale on BAM cases, so I checked out what she had (later, Dillon and I went back and he selected a case).
Dillon and his new BAM case.

After the violin shop, I walked up the hill to Lakeview Cemetary. 

This is where President James A Garfield is buried. He has a rather impressive memorial.

The front entrance.
A "dogoyle" as opposed to a gargoyle.
In the entrance.
A statue of Garfield in the rotunda.
Looking up into the dome.
The crypt downstairs. Assuming that is his wife next to him.

There was a spiral staircase that went all the way up to a balcony with good views of Cleveland and Lake Erie.
Can't really tell that's the lake out there due to the cloudy weather.

After the Cemetary, I returned to Little Italy for some lunch at Presti's Bakery. It is a popular place serving all things of Italian deliciousness. I had Bruschetta and, of course, a cannoli. 

After lunch, I walked to Blazing Saddles. This is, of course, a bike shop. I always like to visit a bike shop in a new city.
The boys in the shop were very nice. When I spied a bike hat with their name on it, I asked if I could purchase it. They said it was the last one, and I could just have it. They also gave me some stickers. The hat turned out to be fortuitous because it had started to rain. I had my raincoat, but I had opted to not bring my rain hat. The little bike hat under my raincoat hood kept the water off my glasses.

Next, I walked myself to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). I still had an hour or so before Dillon would be finished, so I toured the museum. It's not very big, but it is in a architecturally interesting building. The visiting exhibit was in a black curtained room with 9 large film screens. On the screens were musicians all playing the same song, and playing various instruments. The artist/musician himself was playing an acoustic guitar in a bathtub full of bubblebath. There were pianos, more guitars, a cellist, a drummer, and even a gal playing accordion--all on their own screens. It was all filmed in different rooms of an old mansion at the same time. At one point, one of the piano guys walks out of his screen, and appears in the other piano guy's screen. The song was a bit repetitive, and when I went to the exhibit next door, I asked the employee there if that song was stuck in his head (you could hear it clearly from the other exhibit on that floor). He said, "Oh yeah!"

Here's my own addition to the museum.

When I came out of the museum, it was torrentially pouring (hence no photos of the outside of the building). Fortunately, Dillon lives just around the corner. Even still, my lower legs were soaked by the time I got to his apartment.

So, except for the downpour, it was a good day of walkies around Cleveland!