Yesterday marked my long ride ever, coming in at approximately 139 miles as a part of the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. We headed out to the beach (Lincoln City) on Friday evening and stayed in a suite at the Inn at Spanish Head thanks to team president Jim who served as sugar daddy for the evening. [...]
Archive for May, 2009
And that’s just the way it was supposed to be. Today was the OBRA team time trial championships, and I volunteered to do the race with teammates a few weeks back. It’s a 27 mile course, with teams of four racing against the clock for the best time. To do well, it takes precision, fluid transitions between pulls, expensive aero equipment, and a lot of raw power. It also takes a lot of trust between teammates, as you’re racing along at high speed with only inches between wheels and no ability to grab the brakes (which is actually a good thing).
We got off to a fast start averaging between 28 and 30 MPH. I was feeling good and we were exchanging pulls – taking time at the front between 30 and 45 seconds a piece. And then a teammate cracked and couldn’t hold the pace and quickly fell several hundred yards behind. This was in the first of four 7 mile laps, so it was a bit of a problem. Waiting for him would have cost too much time, so we forged ahead with only three of us. The team’s time is based on the third teammate to cross the line, so this meant all three of us had to finish, and if someone flatted or had any other issues our time was shot.
We slowed up a bit, as holding the high pace with 3 of us would have been too difficult over the entire length of the race. I was feeling great, so as we entered the 3rd and 4th laps, I started taking pulls over a minute long while my teammates shortened their pulls to 30 seconds or less to try to rest. We worked together really well and had smooth transitions the entire race. Towards the end of the race is the time that can make or break a team if you’ve gone too far, as you can blow up and go from 25+ MPH to struggling to maintain 20 in a very short period of time. I had ramped my intensity nearly perfectly, so I was able to cross the finish line with almost nothing left. We were feeling great about our time, and had passed 3 teams (they start us in 1 minute intervals) and were only seconds back of the fourth team at the finish. This means we put nearly four minutes into some teams. We came in with a time of 1:02:55, averaging just over 26 MPH. We were happy with this, and I’m curious to see how much faster we would have been with 4 riders for more of the race.
We ended up just missing the podium and coming in fourth. We were only 8 seconds behind third place (over an hour long race) and only 30 seconds off the time of the winning team. That’s an incredibly small margin over that distance. Something such as having all of us racing disk wheels could have made the difference between 4th and 1st.
As for me, I hadn’t done a time trial of that length this year, and while you get into a great rhythm in a tucked position at an extremely high intensity (note: burned 1250+ calories in an hour long race), as soon as you get off your bike your body protests loudly. Ten minutes after the race ended, I was hobbling around trying to walk, and I couldn’t bend down to pick something up off the ground without worrying my legs would buckle under me. I’ve gotten better since, but I’ll probably be sore for another day or so.
Also of note – I just submitted my upgrade request. Cat 4 no more.
All good things must come to an end, but I just realized that I’m done with one day road races for the season. I suppose now it makes sense why they have the OBRA State Championship race so early in the season – all the one day road racing is done as of June.
The good news is that the racing itself is quite a ways from being over. Criterium season is just gearing up, and while it’s not my favorite discipline, I’ll probably do a few of the local ones. There are also weekly series at PIR and Mt. Tabor. Then there are the multi-day races. No Mt. Hood or Cascade Classic (the two biggest stage races) but I’m hoping to be able to do Elkhorn in late June and Eugene Celebration in late August. Throw in the high Desert Omnium in July, and the end of the season is almost in sight. Scary!
In other news, here’s a sweet action shot from the finishing uphill sprint at the Rehearsal race on Saturday. So close!
Yesterday I packed up everything at my aunt and uncle’s house (which was easy, because most of my stuff never got unpacked) and said goodbye to the room I’ve called home for the last 5 months:
And with help from my aunt and uncle, dumped all my stuff in my new place.
I got halfway unpacked yesterday and called it a night when a friend invited me over to his place for dinner and vino on the patio. This was a welcome surprise, as I had zero food available at my place. I suppose if need be, I had a Clif bar and some Hammer Gels from racing.
Today I woke up early and made a quick stop at Target for some basics I was missing (trash cans, a lamp, cleaning supplies, etc.) and then headed to Ikea for the first time ever. There was a pretty decent line, which I found out was partly because of the fact that they were giving away free breakfast. I was still without food at that point, so this was a wonderful surprise.
Ikea shopping is way fun. It’s something to do for the experience, even if you don’t end up buying anything (but there’s so much cool stuff, it’s hard not to). I kept myself to the kitchen island that I came for, plus a towel and knife block. Not to say there weren’t some temptations.
Next up I decided I had better do something about my food situation. I stopped at Winco where I stocked up on all the basics, and then headed on to Trader Joes where I got to shop for the really fun stuff.
I came out of TJs with some dark chocolate, cous cous, enchiladas, soups, and Descutes Brewery beer, among other things. While I have to be a little price-conscious, it’s nice to have a much more lenient food budget than during college (though I got the obligatory Ramen today as well).
I got home and went about putting together my main Ikea purchase:
Then I finished off unpacking and organizing things, so now I’m pretty much completely moved in.
So I suppose I should back up a bit and give the whole walkthrough. Here’s the house:
If you walk up towards the garage you see the side door that serves as my entrance.
From there it’s down a flight of stairs.
At the base of the stairs you’ll find the unfinished half of the basement to the left:
In there is where my bike/miscelaneous storage is at.
If you head right at the base of the stairs, you walk into my apartment. It’s a nice cozy 1 bedroom.
The kitchen is part of the main room and is pretty much perfect size for one person (once I added the island for some extra countertop and storage).
To the right is the rest of the room, which currently contains my desk and lots of shelving. The bathroom is through the door you can see on the left. The one piece of furniture I still plan to add is a small two-person table in the foreground next to the shelves:
A view back the other direction from the desk area:
And the bathroom, now with a shower curtain:
The bedroom is fairly roomy and gets lots of natural light.
It’s got a nook for hanging cloths, and that combined with a dresser fits all my clothes nicely.
I also get to use the backyard area, including a couple hammocks. If you’re wondering where I’m at this summer, I’d say there’s a decent chance you might find me in a hammock with a book.
So that’s the place. It’s perfect for what I wanted, and the location can’t be beat as far as balancing work commute/proximity to downtown Portland/ability to bike out of the city quickly.
My race report from the Rehearsal Road Race today:
Whew that was fun!
The first two laps were spent sputtering along with no one willing to do work at the front. Team O had a big turnout and major props to Andrew, Larry, and Alan, for going to the front and mixing things up. The third lap I drilled it up the steep climb immediately following the sharp sketchy off-camber left hand downhill turn. I made some people hurt a bit and was able to confirm that my legs were feeling every bit as good as I thought they might be. After another lap with the backside at an exceedingly slow pace, the descent with the headwind had a couple minor attacks, but nothing that was hard to cover.
In the last several kilometers, Pat and I got ourselves up to the front, and with just over 1k to go Pat and I were both on the front of the race just before hitting the base of the final climb. I decided that wasn’t going to work, so I jumped on the flat section just before the climb. I figured I’d either get away and try to stay away up the climb or I’d take everyone with me – #2 was what happened. Pat and I played the climb nearly perfectly – he went from the base of the climb hard, and I found myself sitting 3rd with Joe (Veloce)and Pat in front of me – so I sat up. That gave Pat and Joe a good 25 yard gap at one point, and Joe died off and it was only Pat up the road. I found myself really nicely set up as a result sitting 6th wheel or so, and as Pat started to get caught at about 200 meters to go I went for it and came around 3rd place with about 50 meters to go.
I missed first by just over a bike length, and if I’d had another 50-100 yards I probably could have won the race, as the guy who won was starting to fade and I was still going strong. I’m very happy with 2nd though, and my legs felt absolutely amazing today.
Just in time to move and do away with this lousy 45 mile round trip commute to work, I think I’ve finally figured it out. On the way in, if I leave at 7:35-7:40AM I get to work between 8:30-8:35AM fairly reliably. However, if I leave at 7:30AM, I get there about 8:10-8:15. I found the sweet spot! The way home is more of a shot in the dark. Traffic patterns are less reliable, and the time I leave isn’t set in stone. The commute home has taken anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.
I’m glad that I’ve gotten the long commute experience for a brief period. It’s showed me what I’ve been missing out on, and reconfirmed that I picked a good spot to live. Lots of major things coming up very soon. The OBRA rehearsal road race on Saturday is one of the most important Cat 4 races of the year for those of us under 30 who don’t have a field to race in at the state championships. Sunday, I move. Monday, I have the day off and will be working on getting settled into the new place and figuring out what I might need for furniture. Tuesday, it’s back to the work routine. About that time it’ll probably start to sink in that pretty much every aspect of my life has changed in the last month. Exciting!
My report from the Team Oregon forum:
I’m glad we had a morning race. It’s hot out for everyone racing right now. The 4s race was fairly non-eventful. The first lap was moderate pace and I sat 10th-20th wheel most of the lap. Most of the second lap was painfully slow save for the longest climb which had several hard accelerations and threatened to split up the field before the front of the race sat up. Coming into the third lap, I was feeling very fresh and was ready for the large climb the final time. I guessed it would be the only possible place a break might get away for good, which turned out to be the case. There was never a major attack, but the pace at the front was very high and eventually a group of 8 of us got a gap with lots of smaller groups chasing.
The break has to be the worst organized break I’ve ever been in that somehow worked anyway. We had less than 30 seconds gap for quite a while with a chase group of 10 or so and a main field still in sight of probably 15. With Pat and I in the break, Team O was the only team with two riders in the lead group. Pulls were disorganized and not smooth at all. I don’t think we ever managed a full rotation through the 8 of us without some sort of disruption in the paceline. I started to cramp pretty badly with about 5 miles to go and dug in pretty deep just to hold on. There is a short steep riser before the finishing climb that I finally lost contact on, but so did two other riders. I managed to get clear of them and nearly caught back onto the break, but never quite caught them before they hit the base of the finishing hill. From there it was using my bodyweight to get the pedals to turn because my legs were starting to freeze up. I finished probably 100 yards back of the leaders but managed to hold off the others for 6th place. I’m pretty happy with that given how much it hurt. A top 5 next week means an upgrade!
That’s the longest I’ve gone without blogging since last July. I’ve posted 231 times since the beginning of last July, amazingly enough. So I better get back to it, huh?
Anyway, lots new to report and nothing new to report at the same time. This was my first week at work. I was ready to jump right into things, which was good because that’s exactly what I have to do. Being back to work is interesting. I’ve got a sweet dual monitor set-up, though I’ve had to reacqaint myself with using a PC after 4 months of pure Mac bliss.
One of my job focuses will be blogging, so don’t be surprised if this blog suffers a bit in post quantity as a result. Things I’ll have to talk about here: cycling, social media/marketing ideas, and whatever I manage to do in my free time. This is the first job I’ve had that’s truly the classic 8-5 day shift, so suddenly I feel like I’ve joined the massive river of cars commuting to work like fish going upstream, sitting at a desk, and commuting right back home at the end of the day. My commute is crazy at the moment – 23 miles each way (taking between 45 minutes and an hour and a half) with at least some guaranteed stop & go traffic. That should get significantly better after I move next weekend. It’ll suddenly be under 10 miles and 15-20 minutes and traffic will for the most part be a non-issue.
Speaking of moving, I found a great place that I’m excited about. It’s a cozy basement apartment in a house in North Portland. It’s blocks from the nearest Max stop, only a couple miles from downtown Portland, right next to an I-5 onramp, and less than half an hour into the West Hills by bike! Great location, nice apartment, friendly landlord/homeowners, and at the right price.
This weekend I’ll be joining Team Oregon on the Saturday Team ride, and then finally it’s back to racing on Sunday after a lull in the racing schedule. I’ll be doing the Silverton Road Race this weekend, then the OBRA Rehearsal Road Race the following weekend. I’m also scheduled to do the OBRA Team Time Trial Championships the last weekend of May. It’s a lot of racing to pack in with a new job and moving, but I’m antsy to get some more upgrade points.
Now off to do something not in front of a computer screen – I’ve done plenty of that this week.
Everyone seems very caught up in the whole idea of internet monetization these days. One of the problems most websites seem to have when deciding on a revenue model is dealing with the fact that people aren’t used to paying for internet services. As a result, ad-supported models are the most common revenue source on the internet. I fall into the same boat as most of my generation – growing up with free everything on the internet results in not wanting to pay for anything on the internet. However, there are several tools and services that I find valuable enough I’d be willing to pay for them, even though they’re free:
Gmail: Google’s email service blows away all the competitors that I’ve used, which includes most of them. Their spam filter actually works, labels and filters are easy to use, and everything is conversational.
Google Maps: I don’t know why anyone out there still uses Yahoo Maps or Mapquest. Google has street view, the best search functions, and even Google Earth. Between my laptop and my iPhone, it’s my complete GPS and navigation system.
Firefox: I’m not sure where Mozilla’s funding to keep Firefox free comes from, but it’s a browser that provides real value to me. It’s the most flexible, most user-friendly, and fastest (with a few tweaks) browser out there.
Facebook: I’m not a huge fan of the Facebook interface, but at this point it serves as a valuable address book and catalogue of all my friends.
Twitter: Twitter is quickly turning into both my main online conversational tool and my RSS reader. It’s also becoming a potential threat to search engines.
WordPress: WordPress is pretty much amazing. A great interface and blogging platform that I’ve come to rely heavily upon in the last several months.
Now I’m not saying these should suddenly become pay services, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind as websites I would pay for if they suddenly started charging. When I think about it, they all fall into a couple of similar categories: interfaces, communication tools, and services that replace older non-internet offerings.
Then there’s another category. There are many other sites I find useful, but if they began to charge I would find a free alternative. However, if suddenly every website became a paid site with no free alternatives, here are some more I would likely continue to use:
Popurls, Evernote, Flickr, Google News, Wikipedia, & Craigslist
This is still a very small percentage of the total sites I use, which means the rest are all better off with ad-supported revenue models. The good news is as traditional media channels continue to flounder, advertising budgets will shift more towards the internet. This should result in steady growth in internet ad revenues in the near future, and continued growth of useful sites and services that I and many others enjoy for free. I can deal with free.
Monday night Chris was in town to help with the novice racing clinic at PIR, so he came by and we went over to McMenamins, grabbed some food and caught up. The biggest news? On Sunday night he got engaged! I’m really excited for them, as Chris and Karey are one of my favorite couples and Chris is one of my close friends. The wedding likely won’t be until summer 2010, but a weekend-long bachelor party consisting of camping and lots of biking is already stewing in Chris’ mind. So much so that we may have to do a “rehearsal” bachelor camping trip this summer sometime.
Monday morning I went with Chris on a ride and wanted to give him a tour of the West Hills/Skyline area. I took him up or down most of the major roads in the West Hills:
Up Thompson, down Springville, up Old Germantown, down Kaiser, up Old Corneilius Pass, down backside Logie Trail, right back up backside Logie Trail, then down the front side of Logie Trial, through Jackson Quarry, up Mason Hill, and eventually looped back through the flats for a nice 60 mile loop. The elevation profile would look like a heart rate graph of someone dying – big ups and downs followed by a flatline. Luckily we survived the ride.
After the ride and some lunch, we went out to fly Chris’ kite. I’d been excited to try it out after hearing of fun in Eugene with it. This isn’t just any kite – it’s a 3 meter kite used to train for kiteboarding.
It’s small compared to the actual kites used on the water, but massive compared to your standard kite. It’s a lot of fun, and you’re actually flying the kite, rather than holding onto a line while it hangs up there. You can steer it, make it dive, and do all sorts of interesting things with it.
With decent wind it’s quite the full-body workout, and will drag you around with a good gust.
After Chris left, I went to get the car from Pat. Here’s a better picture than the one from the other day:
It’s a little less red than the picture looks, and more of a red/orange. I think the official color is called burnt rust. I got insurance set up today, so now I need to finish off the title & registration stuff and get that in the mail tomorrow.
Today I spent the day babysitting again, and the day went by in a hurry. Tomorrow will be more apartment hunting and job prep. Friday will likely be a repeat of my ride through Portland delivering fliers to bike shops – different fliers this time. Saturday and Sunday will include some riding, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten in planning the weekend. Then comes Monday and the start of a new job.
Where to start…
I spent the day watching my cousin’s son (my first cousin once removed). I generally have more than enough energy, but I think I was outdone by this little guy:
He went non-stop all day. Legos, play dough, table tent, the playground, the creek, a movie, and more. Nap time consisted of me pretending to nap while he pretended to nap until he deemed I was asleep, then he went back to playing with toys. So naptime lasted about 30 minutes.
I went for a killer ride. I did some hill repeats on old Germantown Road with several sprints thrown in each climb. Then I went up to the top of Skyline and marveled at the night and day difference between the way I’m climbing on a bike now compared with only 3 months ago.
I returned from the ride to find a job offer sitting in my email inbox! Four months of non-stop job hunting paid off!
I accepted the job offer. I start a week from this upcoming Monday. My position will be Social Media Coordinator at Dotster, an internet domain/hosting company. The position is a new one, and I’m really excited about it. I’ll be working in their marketing department to leverage social media for marketing purposes. I find it fascinating that this sort of position didn’t exist anywhere only a couple years ago, and it’s fast becoming a major marketing channel. There are many unknowns, but also the potential for a ton of creativity in the position.
The company is based in Vancouver, WA so my plan is to try to find a place in N/NE Portland where the commute will be easy. There are some great neighborhoods in that area too.
What DIDN’T happen on Saturday? I started out the day with the Team Oregon group ride. We got poured on for a while in the morning, but it dried out fairly nicely for the three of us that decided to do the longer route. The longer route included the back side of Logie Trail Road, which is a climb with a reputation. For starters, it’s several miles long. It goes all the way from Highway 30 near the Columbia River up to the top of Skyline. The final kicker is that it’s steep. Switchbacks near the top have grades probably close to 20%. I’m proud to say I’ve now had the Logie Trail experience. That is one heck of a climb.
Next up I went to check out a studio apartment in North Portland. It’s a pretty nice place and I’d be happy there. Now I have to wait and see where my application falls in line and if someone else will get first pick on it.
Next, I went to teammate Pat’s house to check out and test drive the car he’s had for sale that I’d been talking to him about. The test drive was fairly uneventful as expected, save for the storm of the century that came out of nowhere. I saw a black wall of rain coming from the west, but thought it just looked like a good rainstorm. Two minutes later, the trees are blowing like a hurricane is coming. A minute after that, it’s a torrential downpour. The wipers are on high and can’t keep up with the rain. In less than a minute the gutters are overflowing and the roads are becoming rivers. I made it back to Pat’s place in the midst of the storm, and five minutes later it was done. I’ve never seen anything like that in Oregon. Probably at least a half an inch of rain in less than ten minutes.
But anyway, the car. It’s a 2003 Kia Rio. Pretty much one owner, and low miles. It’s a tiny little economy commuter car, which is exactly what I was looking for. It has a CD player, AC, and power steering, but that’s about it. There’s not much to it, which means there’s not much that can break. It drives pretty nicely and has enough power to get up to highway speed. Perfect. And it’s mine as soon as we switch over the registration and I pay Pat.
After the rain let up, it was like nothing had happened. Partly sunny and maybe a little breezy, but you could tell that something wicked had come through:
Next I met up with Jim and Russell from the cycling team and a few of their friends for the Belgian Beer Festival in Northwest Portland. It was a beer tasting with close to 40 different belgian style beers from local breweries. This guy looked a little busy to be fully enjoying himself (bluetooth and a baby!):
After some tasting we went to Por Que No. I’ve been wanting to make it to Por Que No pretty much since I got to Portland. I’ve heard rave reviews about the food and atmosphere, plus my cousin Eric works there. Eric was working while we were there, but he was scrambling around in the back of the kitchen looking busy and I never got his attention, so I had another employee say hi for me. And the food was indeed delicious. Lots of complementary flavors.
Job hunting has suddenly turned into apartment hunting.
I’m also really enjoying watching the NHL playoffs on TV this year.
This afternoon I’m going to see my cousin Jessica in Annie Get Your Gun. She normally plays a different part, but she’s the understudy for the lead role, which apparently she’ll be playing today. Should be fun.
If it remains sunny into this evening, I think I’ll finish off the day with an easy ride.