So, once again it is time for me to bid farewell to Cycling Mecca and return home to the land of rolling hills, short climbs, terrarium-like humidity and TRFKATP.
I have not been around much since my 100 Miles of Nowhere report. I had to venture back to Portland for quite a while, and work has taken up most of the time I used to spend typing away on this little corner of cyberspace. So let’s recap…
I set a PR in May for most miles in a month at 406.
In July I spent most of my time in Portland, and my hours on set leave little time for cycling. Mostly, I sit and stare at these…
But you will notice that Leverage is Bicycle Friendly! So even if I’m sitting indoors not riding, I can imagine being outdoors and riding. However, mostly I just sit… occasionally we will decapitate a panda, but that’s only on special days.
But I did manage to get outside one day and ride. It was beautiful, and I started out over the water near downtown.
Then rode out to the Columbia River – about 25 miles from where I started. The day was so clear you could see Mount Hood in the background – still snow-covered.
While in Portland, I made a point of eating really, really healthy. And guess what? I liked it. Instead of ordering burgers and fries from room service, I was going out (walking) and dining on fish and scallops and steak, asparagus, squash, and other assorted veggies that – if they are roasted or grilled or steamed – I truly enjoy.
Fat Guy tip #33 — anything can taste good with enough seasoning and/or proper cooking.
So, while I was not riding a lot, I knew I was keeping the weight off. And when I returned to Cycling Mecca I could not wait to ride. And what should pop up on my first day back in town? Harlene.
I wrote about Harlene a couple of posts back. She is a killer. In the best sense. She never met a distance too far or an elevation gain too high. She will ride forever. And then ride some more.
So on this weekend when our cycling club traditionally offers rides anywhere from 15 to 60 miles, Harlene decided it would be a good day to ride a century. Why not? Sun was out, but it wasn’t too hot, there was wind, but not too much. Let’s do 100!
So we did. Eleven of us total started out at 8am to ride an “out-and-back” route along the Pacific. We’d stop at 50 miles, eat, then ride back. And the best part for me – coming off of 2 weeks in PDX – was that there was not much climbing at all.
It would be a flat century. One short hill toward the 45-mile mark and that was it.
Here is our motley peloton at our first rest stop, about 25 miles in.
We rode along marinas and beaches, and the entire day was absolutely gorgeous.
We even rode along a Naval Air Base that had some interesting items out front.
I will leave it to Steve to tell us what we are looking at, but I think one might be an old F-4 Phantom and an F-14 Tomcat? Plus some missiles. I’d have taken better photos, but one thing you must know when you are riding with Harlene – you only stop at designated rest stops or maybe for someone’s mechanical issue. You never stop for such silliness as taking photos.
The day was great and after the ride I felt like I could do another 30 miles. That night, the legs squawked a little bit, but I was glad to have another century under my lycra for the year. I knew the next day would be y last chance to ride in Cycling Mecca this year, and I wanted to go out strong. So, despite doing 100 miles on Saturday, when Sunday morning came, I set out for Rock Store.
I could not leave Cycling Mecca without climbing one more time, and while I pondered going up Piuma, or Mulholland, or Stunt, or any of the other big climbs with amazing views at the top, I opted for Rock Store. It’s the Alpe d’Huez of Cycling Mecca – there are longer, tougher climbs, but none with the history and panache of Rock Store.
I hit Rock Store with all I had. And I crushed it. I joined Strava recently, and while it leaves a lot to be desired as far as software and accuracy, it’s a lot of fun from a social fitness standpoint. You can find me there be searching for Fizzhogg.
Anyway, Strava does this fun thing where you can measure you efforts against not just yourself, but others. I won’t go into it here, but do NOT trust the Strava accuracy when it comes to the KOMs and other such comparisons between riders. There are far too many instances of inaccuracy to make the competitions valid.
But for measuring oneself against oneself it is pretty cool. There are all these “segments” people have created – certain sections of rides – where you can see your time versus everyone else who has ridden that particular section or “segment.” But I like to use it to look at my previous times and see how/where I can improve.
I digress about Strava because I used it to measure myself going up Rock Store (and several other segments on my ride) and I hit PR’s (Personal Records) on nearly every part of the ride. I went up Rock Store faster than I ever have, and did it on my very last ride in Cycling Mecca. It was a perfect way to end my 2012 in California. Now, for the good news…
When we last stepped on the scale (May 19) we were at 206.
This morning we weighed in at — drum roll please — 202.
Down another four and dropping. I can see sub-200 in my headlights. I have headlights cuz I have man-boobs cuz I still need to drop 25 pounds. But I digress.
When you hear from me next, I will be back in the rolling hills of St. Louis and hopefully will have cracked the 200 pound barrier.
Ride your bike.
Never give up.
Fair winds and following seas, Willy