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Archive for June, 2007

PDX to Glacier 1000k

June 25th, 2007

6 days until my PDX to Glacier 1000k brevet. I’ve been training for this ride since an “interested riders” registration form popped up on the OR randonneurs page back in January. For some reason, I now seem to be the only party among my Eugene biking buddies still motivated and ready to participate (at the beginning of Spring, one friend grandly proposed that we ride to and from the event, by bike, from Eugene). Since I’m not doing Paris-Brest-Paris, and the Centralia Poor Man’s PBP is an iffy prospect(August heat, blech!), the PDX-Glacier 1000k looks to stand in as my milestone ride for the year.

Although I qualified for the Glacier ride several weeks ago, I’m still a little anxious about my ability to complete the event within the time limit. I know my legs will hold up (thanks to friend Erin’s Rocky TM gym training regimen). However, I remain concerned about three non-fitness related obstacles: heat (we’ll be riding along the Columbia Gorge into summer heated E. Washinton, Idaho and Montana), lack of sleep (ride must be completed in 75 hours so sleep breaks must be kept to a minimum) and foremost, proper nutrition (there seems to be few quality food services between Troutdale and Glacier and my own “carry on” cuisine will probably only stretch into early Day 2). Poking around on other rando blogs, I’ve discovered, to my fright, that many riders are preparing to subsist on “meal kits” of water dissolved powders, bars and gels. Since I cannot stomache the thought of food whose form does not somehow resemble its flavor, or food whose flavor is determined by its color, I plan to stick to simpler, rookie randonneuse fuels like bananas, PBJ sandwiches, PayDay bars, my special nut mix, minimart coffee slop (black coffee mixed with push button hot cocoa) and the all mighty little debbie snack cookie.

If you’re awake and alive next weekend, June 30 through July 3, think of me and eat something fresh, organic, tasty, chilled, savory or green. Or take a nice fifteen minute power nap.

Tonight’s prep: I need to doublecheck all the screws and bolts on my bike since it was rattled pretty badly this past weekend on Jack’s pre-ride, 200k gravel brevet.

Sample “meal kit” (courtesy of Ready to Ride):

And a provocative counter-example by a wise PBP veteran and PDX bike messenger, Joel Metz:

Shopping From Goodwill: Super Trek Randonneuse

June 18th, 2007

Riding pal and custom frame builder Chuck Lathe wrote a blog entry week last week celebrating the fact that his Coho red randonneuse bicycle had achieved super randonneuse status (completing a full brevet series, from a 200k to a 600k, in one calendar year).

I’ve never been good at haggling or negotiations (averting my eyes and offering uncounted cash) but about three years ago I made a series of nearly no-cost to me trades which landed me my own super randonneuse–my Trek super trek (aka, the tin donkey).

For about a half day, I owned a blue Schwinn Collegiate which came to me by way of a former faculty member who had abandoned it in a campus office. Mid-day, I traded I the Collegiate for a mid-1980s, mid-range Trek road bike which had been deposited at the local Goodwill. Trade took place behind Blue Heron bicycles, from the back of a pick-up truck, between me and a fellow who combs goodwill for decent bikes and than remakes them as campus commuters. I saw the Trek and offered, first cash, and than the Collegiate in exchange for what looked to be a pretty road worthy (if somehwhat rusty) bike. Poor old Trek was on its way to a gentle life of a leisure as some sorority girls one block beach cruiser (probably ridden with toe clips in flipflops).

Later in the Fall, in exchange for another 3-speed, my beloved Raleigh, Orphea, I had a local shop upgrade parts, wheelset and convert bike to a 7-speed drivetrain. I also made the crucial, class-me-up gesture of adding a Brooks saddle and Carradice Pendle bag to the rig.

At the time of the Trek trade, I rarely rode bicycles beyond my short commute. However, once the Trek was up and running, with 7-speed drivetrain, I found that I could ride further, free of physical discomfort or mental fatigue. Something about the Trek, with its long chainstays, ancient paint, illegible graphics, hodgepodge parts and gentle fork rake, kept me afloat and moving forward for longer and longer distances. The next year, I started participating in metric and full centuries and begin my preparations for a future season of “randonneuring” (a cryptic word I associated with a style of handlebars and fine French cycling luggage made by Gilles Berthoud).

Fast forward to 2007 and I’ve already ridden almost 3,000 miles on the Trek.

Last week, I completed my first 600k, securing super randonneuse status for me and the Trek. In two weeks, I head up to Portland for the Oregon randonneur’s point to point, 1000k. For this event, Super Trek and I will be travelling from Troutdale to Glacier, Montana.

Though I’ve qualified for Paris-Brest-Paris, I will be taking the Trek up to Centralia, WA, for another 1000k, the poor man’s PBP, to be held the same month.

Dark turn of the tale (the Black Beauty factor): As some of you know, I’ve had a custom Rivendell on order for three years and counting. Some wonder if the Rivendell exists but I know that at some point this Summer or Fall I will get an email indicating that the bike is in the mail.

Question remains: what will become of the Trek? Should it be put out to pasture, donated to a needy campus kid, repurposed as a wet weather winter bike or sent off to the bike knacker for parts dis-assembly or tube harvesting?

Additional flickr glamour footage of the Super Trek can be found here.

Shopping From Goodwill: Super Trek Randonneuse

June 18th, 2007

Riding pal Chuck Lathe wrote a blog entry week last week celebrating that his custom built Coho red randonneuse bicycle had achieved as super randonneuse status (completing a full brevet series in one calendar year, in effect, rolling through a 200k, 300k, 400k and 600k).

Shopping From Goodwill: Super Trek Randonneuse

June 18th, 2007


Riding pal Chuck Lathe wrote a blog entry week last week celebrating the fact that his custom built Coho red randonneuse bicycle had achieved super randonneuse status (that is, completing a full brevet series in one calendar year).

I’ve never been good at haggling or negotiations but about three years ago I made a series of no-cost to me trades which landed me my own super randonneuse bicycle. For about a half day, I owned a blue Schwinn Collegiate which came to me by way of a former faculty member who had abandoned it in a campus office. Mid-day, I traded I the Collegiate for a mid-1980s, mid-range Trek road bike which had been deposited at the local Goodwill. Later in the Fall, I had a local shop upgrade parts, wheelset and convert bike to a 7-speed drivetrain in exchange for another 3-speed, my beloved Raleigh, Orphea (who had outlived her use value as a campus commuter).

At the time of the trade, I rarely rode bicycles beyond my short commute to work. Once I got the Trek up and running with gears, I found that I could ride much further without discomfort or mental fatigue. Fast forward a few years, and I’ve already ridden almost 3,000 miles on the bike this season alone.

Last week, I completed my first 600k, securing super randonneuse status for me and the Trek.

I have a custom Rivendell on order (three years and counting) but I’m unsure the new bike will equal the comfort of the original Goodwill Trek.

Shopping from the Past: Centralia Knitting Mills

June 1st, 2007

In the blur of working to complete my first full randonneuring brevet series (200, 300, 400 in the bag, now focusing on the 600 and 1000), I’ve fully neglected my duties as the Archival Clothing shopkeep. A Memorial Day side trip to Seattle by way of Centralia, WA, reawakened my sense of duty and dedication to all things knit and wool. During our trip, Sara and I made an unplanned visit the Centralia Knitting Mills, a company specializing in top quality, hard-to-believe-it’s-still-made, machine knit woolens, varsity jackets and “award sweaters.” I first found out about CKM, of all places, on the Japanese “import select” web shop Explorer (the same site which taunts me by selling amazing, customized versions of venerable US brands–Duluth Pack, Woolrich and Filson–not availabe for sale to US customers).

Since it was Saturday, and Memorial Day weekend to boot, we assumed that we’d just be able to take in the front window display and check hours for our next trip up to Seattle. As it were, the Mill’s kind owner, who was overseeing a rush production run of Chenille letters, saw us peering into the window and offered to show us around.

Sara reports that the owner thought I might be a corporate competitor since I asked so many questions and took so many pictures! Highlight of the tour was a visit to the back sewing room where a woman was working on custom designs for a Japanese client. One project involved cutting down large, Pendleton blankets into coats, another involved remaking a basic cotton Muji peacoat out of vibrant orange Centralia wool.

I’m now trying to figure out how I might endear myself to the owner so that she would consider training me to take over for her once she’s ready to retire. Some people want to make it in Hollywood, I just want to make it into the knitting mill biz.

Complete flickr set can be found here.