Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Time for tired: because that's what I do on Mondays.

The Award of the Day goes to Jimmy, who is the man, and did not even complain when I showed up at 10:00pm with 2 bikes to build before the morning's ride. Okay it wasn't as dramatic as it sounds, but still, my mechanical skills are not exactly up to the challenge, so he's pretty awesome for helping out. We got my DBR all cooled out, finally eliminating my 2 pet peeves about it -- the weirdo FSA "wing pro shallow drop" handlebars, and Rival shifters that worked just fine but whose aluminum blades stood out among the rest of the black-and-carbon bike. Pics shortly.

Picked up my Portland State team kit. Photos also to come, of more interesting people than me wearing it, even. This year it's made by Pactimo. The overall quality of the stuff is pretty good, except for the fact that it is made for midgets. I mean, seriously midgets. I ordered a size Small in everything, like I always do, because Yours Truly weighs 140lbs soaking wet on a heavy day. The jersey and shorts were basically fine, but the skinsuit needs tire levers to get into and the arm warmers are more like thumb warmers.

Kevin also wore his skinsuit to the team photoshoot. Because he is a dork.

Portland is a really beautiful city. I think I like it more than Seattle. The new Portland Tram is up and running, and I was sad that I didn't get to take it for a ride. They are really trying hard to make the Portland public transportation a slick, integrated system, and now they have got the ever-expanding Streetcar, the Max, including the new Yellow Line to the Expo Center, and of course the trusty busses. The problem with the Tram seems to be that, though it's free (rather, subsidized) for OHSU patients, students, volunteers, and a few others, it's $4 to take it otherwise. 4 bucks for a 5-minute tram ride? Okay, that's round trip, but, whatever. They say they honor Tri-met annual and monthly passes, which are partially subsidized for students, so that's nice, but it doesn't seem like basic transfers from the streetcar or MAX will work. Granted there was expense in building the thing, but a bus ticket is $1.70. I see what they are doing -- an all-zone bus ticket is up to $2 now, thanks to fuel cost, and the transfer lasts 2 hours, rather than what appears to be a one-use, all-day rountrip on the tram.
But this is my point: the tram is bicycle accessible, which is cool. If you take your bicycle up the tram, you probably don't need to take it down. Riding to OHSU might not be a very hard climb for a bike racer, but if you are a commuter wearing street clothes, it is enough that it would be annoying and get you all sweaty.

I like the idea of a $100 annual pass for both the streetcar and tram. I would buy that, even if I only took 'em occasionally, just for the convenience. Let's face it, I have never actually BOUGHT a ticket for the streetcar, the few times I've taken it.

The Ride -- the Portland State team went for a ride on Saturday that had a really cool turnout. There were some 20 riders at the start, making for a pretty serious pack that rolled out to Sauvie's Island at a nice, conversational pace. It was really great to see the team expanding, especially the number of women on the team. I've always said the gender imbalance in cycling doesn't make much sense to me, and it will be sweet for the team to have more than two of those bicyKILLERS out at the races. Besides, when you have people shouting, "Pillage and burn!" from the sidelines, how can you go wrong?After the loop, those in for a lighter day wheeled on back to downtown and succeeded in missing two things: the rain that must be obligatory on a Portland ride, and what I think is the hardest longer climb in the Portland area: McNamee road, which is a tiny little 120-degree left off of Highway 30 nearish to Cornelius Pass. Sucker is about 4 miles long, and has several little psych-out whoop-dee-doos that make you think you're done and add to the total elevation gain. We found it courtesy of Eric from the Trek / VW team, who was riding with us. It's pretty darn steep for the first mile and a half, and I got to a little dip and thought I was done, waited for Pete from Garage, and realized we were NOT done when there was another rise and Jimmy comes flying by us in the big ring. Jimmy realized the climb was STILL NOT DONE as I came flying by him in my own big ring, and then died. Eventually the three of us were all at the top, pretending we weren't completely tired, with wondering what that climb was and why I'd never been up it in the time we HAD been living in Portland.

Did I mention that Eric was on a fixed-gear? Apparently his team bike for '07 has not come in yet, so he was riding around on his paddy wagon. Dude is crazy.
It rained a bunch, there was lots of wind. We climbed some more, and we went home.

1 Comments:

  • At 8:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Erik did that in a fixed gear!??! What a sick sick SICK man!
    -Steph

     

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