Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Death to bike lanes?

The Tigard (Oregon) city council just voted to amend city planning codes to NOT require bike paths on specific downtown streets.

BikePortland.org has the details.

In the comments there was a lot of fuss and bother about how Tigard has magically become bike-hostile.

However, the city's planning manage had some very rational sounding reasons for the amendments.

I don't really care for bike lanes. I think they're terrible and often filled with debris. After the winter storms, they are filled with gravel and go from annoying to hazardous. Furthermore, bicyclists just become invisible to cars once in the bike lane.

The best solution is education! Everyone must understand that they are sharing the road and must learn how to do that effectively.

It can be done. Bike lanes are not the answer. They're really only a "band-aid" that make people feel like they're being taken care of.

MTB Short Track #5

It was "casual night" at this week's short track race.

Which was excellent. We had just come back from a weekend camping trip and some camp food was not sitting well with me. After my second urgent trip to the bathroom that day, I had begun to worry about even racing. So the invitation to dress in "casual" attire for the race was a salvation. Or excuse. I could dress in my loudest Hawaiian shirt and just toodle around the course. Yay.

It was scorching hot, too.

But it was a fun time-- lots of noise, cat-calls, cheers and jeers.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oh-- about Lance

Yeah-- I've kinda had it with Lance-mania. But still. Still... it's a little thrilling to see him do so well in Le Tour.

It's also fun to see local company Columbia plastered all over the jerseys of a ProTour team. But their kit design reminds me of some Underoos I had when I was a kid.

Tillicum Beach

Going on a two-family camping trip to Tillicum beach this weekend.

According to "Kissing the Trail" by John Zilly, there's a short little loop nearby. Close to Yachats/Cape Perpetua.

Well well... maybe I can get in a little trail riding this weekend. I'll feel so guilty sneaking away. They probably won't even notice.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

MTB Short Track #3 and #4

Work work work. How does life get this crazy that I'm so messed up so easily? For the past few weeks I've managed to get out and ride maybe one other time besides the short track race. When I don't get exercise I get grumpy. I hate it.

I though that all the riding I did over the winter would add up to something. Apparently not. I though that the "fartleks" that I was doing would confer some badassedness. Nope.

So I continue to suck. But you know what? Monday nights I'm out at PIR redlining and enjoying it. I'm not pissy that I'm not really moving up in the results. I just can't get angry. Is this what keeps me from being a badass? That I'm having fun? Must be. Out in the middle, maybe with less than two laps to go I feel like pulling over and taking a nap or maybe barfing and THEN taking a nap, but at the same time I want just one more lap. And then another. And once it's all over and I've recovered I'd like to go again. Although I'd likely be even slower and good for fewer laps.

What the heck.

So about race #3. I can't really remember race #3 except that my son didn't want to go.

"Will there be a kiddy race that's just one lap?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Eh. I think I'll go watch mom play volleyball."

What a bummer. My race was fun, though. Until my beloved Botrager InForm R saddle's pointy bits RIPPED GIANT HOLES IN MY BIBS!!!!

Oh gosh. I was just sick. Still am. My favoritestest bibs. Pearl Izumi Slice. (Oh, the irony.)

So I made the saddle PAY.

The first photo doesn't really do the point bits justice. They are POINTY.

Once I hacksawed the points off, getting the cover back into place was terribly fiddly. Anyway-- I managed to get it done and while it looked a bit ugly (I hope to remedy that soon) it worked really well for...

Race #4

My son came out again and had a lot of fun. We stayed out after the races playing on the MX course until the OBRA folks were ready to kick us out.

My hacked saddle worked out really well-- I was able to move around WITHOUT my shorts getting ripped to shreds.

I wonder-- why the hell did Bontrager, after spending two years and millions of dollars on creating the most comfortable, ergonomically-correct saddle EVAR -- why did they bung it up by giving the saddle that pointy-ass little cut-out shorts-ripper thing in the back? What good does that do? Why won't anyone think of the shorts!?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crossniacs kit-- ordered!

Oh, one last thing. Just ordered my Crossniacs kit.

Long sleeve skinsuit (for CX) and a ss jersey for other stuff.

I would like to have gotten some bib shorts too, but...

Money money money.


Anyway, the new design looks really good. I'm excited.

Carbon composite seatposts on off-road bikes-- take 'em off!!

Oh-- quick note about Race #1. Saw some guy break his composite seatpost. Jagged, nasty looking pointy shards sticking out of the seat-tube.


C'mon folks. Get the carbon composite components off of bikes being ridden off road.

Well, at least composite forks seem to be doing okay. I've not seen one of those break yet. Just lots and lots of composite seatposts.

Portland Mountain Bike Short Track Series: #1 and #2

I've been super busy lately. It's weird how much stuff falls by the wayside. A little disappointing, too. So for the last couple of weeks I've been able to get out for a "training" ride maybe once a week. So that's left me feeling a little cold for the Monday night races.

Race #1
Still I had fun. The first race was a HUGE disappointment because in the weeks prior to the first race, the organizers had made note of the fact that they would split the kiddies up into two groups, with the older kids doing a slightly longer race on the more challenging motocross course instead of out in the relatively flat and grassy part under the trees outside the MX course fence.

When we showed up, we were hanging around the MX track awaiting the start of the "big" kiddie race. In fact, once an official set me straight, we dashed over the the trees only to discover that the race had ENDED. A mere three minutes after it started.

Total bummer. My son was visibly upset -- you know, 6 year-olds -- and seemed to be on the verge of tears. I can understand. When you get all keyed up to race and then something happens to prevent that release of pent up adrenaline it can be a hard crash.

What was worse, what I felt like I had let my son down after weeks of talking up the new kiddie race format. My son was stoked about racing on the MX track: "I get to race on the part with all the bumps?"

Last summer he came out to a couple of races with me and at the end, I'd take him out on the MX course (which was part of the race course) and let him ride the whoops and table tops while I ran around picking up cones. He loved it.

"I feel like I'm flying!!"

No kidding. He actually said that.

But the regular kiddie races -- where he's with kids being pushed on trikes, kids on "like-a-bikes", and kids with training wheels -- just leave him wanting something more challenging. And he's obviously not alone.

I wonder if maybe I should try to see if there's something I could do to make a "bigger kiddie" race happen? But's it kind of an issue of time-- it's tough enough getting out of work early enought to get to PIR by 5:30.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if maybe there's a liability issue with having the little kids out on the MX track? I have to admit there were a couple of times when my heart skiped a beat as my son came zooming and bumping down one of the short and steep tabletops.

(But I think we all know how that feels: "I want MORE! Let's do it again!")

Well, he missed race #2. If he comes out with me to race #3 we'll see what happens. I'll have to pay attention.

Race #2
Anyway-- race #2 got off to a good start. I arrived to the course with about 20 minutes to the start. *whew* I was so pumped with nervous adrenaline (Will I make it? Will I make it?) that a pre-race warm-up was not really needed.

I went with the first group -- the Masters -- and was feeling pretty good and holding my own. For a little I was dicing with some guy in WHITE shoe covers.

Yep. White. Shoe covers. Off road. In actual dirt. Dirty dirt.

Shoe covers.

Anyway, there was some pushing and shoving since he seemed to be having some trouble negotiating the turns. That's racing! But I was eager to get by him and those white shoe covers.

After we left the MX track and headed out into the trees, I came to the log between two trees. I was ready to ride over it but the guy in front of me decided to hop off and do the "straddle-tippy-toe" to get across the log. He was occupying most of the opening between the trees so riding through was not a terribly viable option (I didn't want to cause a crash or get caught in one if he keeled over while doing the tippy-toes.)

So I dismounted and ran through on the inside -- bump push 'scuse me -- and dropped my bike back down and hopped on.

Yeeee-hoooooo! My legs just spun round and round so fast! My chain had decided to take a flying leap.

I was rather a funny thing to look down and not even SEE my chain. At all. Where the hell was it? A group of the Team Beer folks across the trail were asking "Dude, where's your chain??" :)

A guy called out that he had a chain tool handy and offered it to me. At first I thought "Foo. I'm done." Then it was "What the hell-- I'd rather be riding than sitting around." So I motioned him over and while I held things in place he removed a link and put things back together. A quick shake of the hands and I found out his name was Jason.

Thanks Jason! You rock.

It was weird how my concentration and rhythm had been broken. For the remainder of the race I felt so off. The chain kept making popping noises and I was worried about it breaking on one of the steep little climbs so I wound up just creeping up them.

But that didn't really matter-- I was riding.

The 8-10 oz. of HEED I had chugged about an hour before kept wanting to come back up. Bleah.

Silly tummy!

I'm looking forward to next week! Maybe I'll put my seat bag back on my bike. Even if I never use it, maybe I can help someone else?

Although I don't think there's any helping someone that wears white shoe covers in a mountain bike race. :)