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!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Horse Leaves the Stable

One of my fillies has moved on to a different pasture. With the addition of KITT, it was time for Star to find a new home. I dressed her up with new derailleurs, new brake calipers, new bottom bracket, new cable, new chain, and new bar tape. Why with all this new stuff would I want to get rid of her? Well, as fabulous as she was for my style of riding when I purchased her, she no longer fit the bill for the rider I am today. 

As sad as it is to let a family member go, I am happy because she went to the perfect person. My friends' daughter is doing the STP this year. As it so happens, her name is Belana. It also so happens that Belana was named after the Star Trek character of that name. Annnnndddd...Star is named Star, because she is a Trek! Get it?...Star Trek?...Belana? Isn't that perfect? I think that is definitely some good Karma for Star and Belana!

I'm confident there will be many more happy miles in Star's future. And, if I miss her, I can always go visit. I know where she lives.
I didn't think to get a photo of Star and Belana, but here's an artistic model.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Ridge TT and Circuit Race--Round and Round the Race Track

Today was something new! Shelton has a new Motorsports Park called The Ridge. It's a car racetrack, but today it was a bike racetrack! Today's female OOA representatives were myself, Jean, and Karen (TT only). Karen gave me a ride out, and Ron and Jean brought me home. I'm very greatful to them, because I really wanted to do these races.

The weather was mostly cloudy with a wind out of the West.

The Time Trial

The Masters 40+ Cat 4 Women were first up at 9:00. Karen was at 9:03:00, and Jean was right after her at 9:03:30. I was last, at 9:06:30. Funny thing though, when we doing loops in the "pit" area of the racetrack, keeping an eye on the official start clock, it kept changing. As in, going back in time. We looked at it, at one point, and it said 8:59. Next time we looked, it said 8:56! By the time the first gal went, it was well after (real time and official time) 9:00. Oh well, no big deal...I guess.

Finally, it was my turn. It was going to be 4 laps around the 2 1/2 mile course. It started with the end of a long straightaway, and a tailwind. Then the road turned and went up a hill...a rather steep hill. It was fairly short, but when we pre-rode it, we quickly realized we would need to drop to the small ring in the front, and get out of the saddle to pedal up it. My first time up, in the race, I got into my small ring, but did not shift up enough in the back. I was barely able to turn the pedals over in the last bit of the hill. Note to self...shift into an easier gear for the next lap!

Then, there was a slight downhill that went into, what many were calling, a false flat. Well, it didn't look like a false flat to me. In fact, it looked like a flat-out hill! Although I had shifted back up to the big ring, I found myself having to shift up in the back a couple of times. No big deal, except, since I do not have a TT bike with shifters on the aerobars, it meant I was out of aero position (at least with one arm). Also, that part of the course was going into the wind.

It flattened out a bit, swept around to the left (tailwind), then came down into a sweeping right hand turn (back into the wind). That was great as it gave a little momentum into the next hill. I could get about half way up before getting out of the saddle again. 

The course did two more sweeping turns, then I came to the hairpin into the steep steep downhill. I braked a tad into the left hairpin, but let it fly through the next right, left, and final left at the bottom and back onto the straightaway. I was not on my aero bars as it took all the stability I could get from the bike to make it down that hill and through those turns. Once I was back on the straightaway, it was a tailwind, and I was able to go pretty fast.

Laps 2, 3, and the final lap were pretty much the same, except I shifted better going into the first steep uphill. Since it was a loop course, and people went off every 30 seconds, there were times when there would be several people in the same part of the course. I passed a few people that I knew were in my category, and was passed by women from the other categories, and some men. In a TT, until the results are posted, you only know that you beat the ones you passed. When they posted the results, I managed to get 3rd place! I was 7 seconds out of 2nd. Karen got 4th, and Jean got 10th--top 10 finishes for all of us!!!

Podium shot (the 2nd place gal had already left)--Beth, did very well. She won by over a minute!

So, what does one do in between the two races? Well, eat, drink, chat, and in the case of today, play with these two little cuties!
This is Evie (4) and Rowan (7) from British Columbia (their brother, a Junior, was racing today). They were the sweetest little girls! I gave them each a dollar, and thanked them for wearing their helmets. I know they're Canadian, but they were headed onto Cannon Beach, and there's a great candy store there.

The Circuit Race

At 12:01, we started the circuit race. The wind had picked up a bit more which made it a little suckier on the headwind sections. We would be going around and around the racetrack for 60 minutes. We figured we would do 8 laps (I think we did 9). We went a minute behind the Cat 4/5 men. The first time up the steep hill wasn't too terrible as we didn't go quite as hard as in the TT. When we came to the downhill, I think we were all a little bit nervous about coming down the steep twisty-turny hill as a group. It was okay. I quickly learned that I couldn't do as Ron had recommended and stay to the outside on the right hand turn. I had more speed, but then the group cut into the apex of the left hand turn and I was almost pushed off the pavement (on the first lap, anyway). 

Round and round we went. After the second or third lap, the fast girls got away. There was a group of four of us that worked together, but we were only able to catch another two that had also been dropped. Round and round we went some more. Apparently, one of the gals (the Junior) had sat out a lap (according to Jean), and then got back in with the group of us dropped gals. I did not notice this, but I can rarely keep track of who's doing what, except the ones just in front of me. Anyway, she rode with us for a few laps. 

At one point, as we came by the Finish again, the clock said we had 3 laps to go. We all groaned as we really were hoping we had just one more. When we saw that, the pace slowed considerably for that next lap. Then it was two more. As we were nearing the top of the steep downhill, the main group of 4/5 men passed us for the second time. We slowed waaaaaay down so as to not get into the mix on the downhill. When we came to the Finish, the clock said, You Are Done. Well, the 4/5 men were done, but we still had to go around again! It was a little crazy as the men were cooling down, chatting, and whatnot, as we were still racing through them. They finally figured that out, and got out of the way. The last time up the steep hill, I fell off the back. Fortunately, I was able to catch back on after the "false flat". I stayed with them up the last real hill. All that was left after that was a few more turns, then the downhill, and onto the straightaway with a tailwind to the finish.

Coming down the steep hill, I followed my preferred line and managed to pass a couple of gals. There was a gap, and with a couple of pedal strokes before the next left (another Ron instruction), I was able to slip in in front of them, and not get pushed off the track. I was drafting behind two of the Bike Sale gals. At, I don't know how many meters from the finish, I got as low as I could in my drops, and hammered the pedals in my hardest gear. I passed both of them, but just before the line, one passed me. I ended up in 8th place. Whew! I was glad that was over!

Overall, I really enjoyed this course. There was never a dull moment, and even in the hardest parts, I knew a tailwind or a downhill was coming soon. 
My "prize" for my 3rd place finish (the Montana Hucklberry is my favorite).