Monday, March 13, 2017

First Ride of the Year

I know it has been entirely too long since I've posted up a blog, but the dry weather days and blog worthy material have been pretty much non-existent these last few months.

Last Friday we had a beautiful sunny day. Unfortunately I had to work in the morning, but we were able to get out for a nice long walk in the afternoon and soak up some much needed vitamin D sunshine.

While Saturday was a mixed bag of rain and showers, yesterday was another dry day.  While not as warm as Friday it was still dry and in the high 50's in the morning.

What to do, what to do?  We had the option of motorcycles or bicycles since we knew we wanted to be on two wheels.  Troubadour deferred to me for making the decision and I chose bicycles. Why you might ask?  Well, after such a rainy winter I just couldn't put all that gear on for a motorcycle ride.  I wanted to wear minimal gear and enjoy the outdoors.  That, and I was worried about the mud up in the hills if we rode the little dual sports.

So, having decided on bicycles I had to decide where.  I chose the 7 mile (11.26 km) Vineyard Mountain Loop at Lewisburg Saddle Trailhead just north of town.  I believe the last time we were up there I was on my hybrid bike and had to do a lot of pushing on the uphills.  Not so this time on my trusty Cannondale Tango 7.

First step was getting the bikes off the racks in the garage, putting some air in the tires, and then Troubadour mounted our fenders.  A nice set of front and rear SKS, made in Germany. Shockblade II for the front and X-Blade for the rear.  He'd had his mounted at some point last year, but this was the first time they'd be mounted on my bike.

We left the house about 1 pm and were at the trailhead in about 10 minutes.  Unfortunately parking was scarce.  It seemed everyone wanted to be outside and play in the dry weather. Someone pulled out and we were able to park on the side of the road.  Good thing Troubadour has mad parallel parking skills.

We chose to ride the loop clockwise, which means you start off on a downhill grade, end up with a long uphill grade, but also end on a long downhill grade.  Easy start and finish and a long slog in the middle.  We stopped for a few rest breaks pictures along the way.

(Vineyard Mountain Loop, MacDonald Forest, Corvallis, OR)

(Apparently our winter storms brought down trees)

(Some stops had a nice view of the valley)

(The research forest is managed by Oregon State University)

(A close up of the informational plaque)

(Troubadour on his Trek waiting for me as I took the above few pictures)
Troubadour beat me to the top of one particular long uphill stretch and took the few pictures below as I huffed and puffed.

(Trobairitz huffing and puffing)

(Just keep spinning, just keep spinning.......)

(Ta-da, made it)

(The long hill I'd just ridden up, the hill goes way beyond those trees)

(Troubadour & Trobairitz - helmet selfie)
Where we stopped was at the junction at the end of the loop where we would start heading back towards the car, we still had some more uphill to go so we stopped at the cap house for a quick photo opp.

("Built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Cap House was designed to store blasting caps for various projects, such as stump removal on road clearing projects and rock quarrying.")

(The bikes at the abandoned Cap House)

(Close up of the bikes)
We finally made it over the hill and on one of the downhill runs I was out in front and stopped to wait for Troubadour.  Not because I was faster than him, but because he'd stopped to try and identify a bird call.  We think it might actually have been an owl.  Anyway, it gave me a chance to snap a few pics of him as he caught up.

(Troubadour on a Trek)

(Hamming it up for the camera -  no hands downhill - now that's balance)

(He caught me)

It was all downhill from the above photo so we didn't stop for any more pictures.  We did slow down when we approached two riders on horseback.  Didn't want to spook the pretty horses. We made it back to the car and the indicated temperature was 63˚F (17.2˚C).  Nice.

This was a good opportunity for a shake down ride to evaluate our level of fitness.  While Brad had a wee 5 mile (8 km) ride on Friday, this was the first time I'd been on my bicycle since September.

Surprisingly I feel pretty good today.  And I was quite proud that I'd ridden the whole way this time.  While I might have stopped a few times to catch my breath (I have exercise induced asthma) I was able to get back on and ride after just a minute or so and keep going.  No pushing this time, yay.

Hopefully it won't be as long between posts and two wheeled riding next time.

- Au Revoir

"Get a bicycle.  You won't regret it.  If you live." - Mark Twain "Taming the Bicycle"


  1. Looks like you guys had a fun outing....all that exercise though....

    1. We did have fun. It was nice to get some exercise that was more than a walk through local neighborhoods among the rainstorms.

  2. I cannot imagine being house bound for sooo long! Good to see you out in the woods again. Just remeber to sit back and spin easily up the hills. The trap is feeling like you should be going faster and then overexerting yourself. Spin, spin, spin. ;)
    I have a Cannondale as well now, a Habit. Best mtb I have owned by far!

    1. Yeah it was really bad this winter. Our rains started a month early in October and beat records with over 14 inches and we broke another record in February with over 13 inches. I am about done with rain. I too love my Cannondale.

      Sure was nice to get out on the bicycles again.

  3. It still looks a bit muddy but it looks like you had a great time. And it sounds like the new bike works well so it's time to look for steeper hills!

    1. Luckily it was mostly gravel. The worst park was the mud on the side of the road when we got out of the car. Slippery.

  4. How great you were finally able to get out in the fresh air. Maybe spring is finally on it's way?

    1. The problem is that Spring is usually our rainy season. At least it is a warm rain. Temperatures have been in the 50's (10-12 ˚C) in the morning which is nice.

  5. Yay, very inspiring, Brandy. Despite huffing and puffing, I am sure you've thoroughly enjoyed the exercise. I need to liberate my bicycle, too, and very soon. Still rainy and way too muddy over here...

    1. We did thoroughly enjoy it. We were almost euphoric after and that lasted clear into the evening. Most of the trails are too muddy to ride and bicycles are banned until mid April or May so we had to stay with one of the gravel roads but it was nice.

  6. Looks like a nice spot. I love riding through forests/bush. The track looks good too - I'm sure that Max would have made it up there fine...

    1. It would have been fine on Max, if only motorized were allowed........Well, he might have had trouble surmounting the fallen tree.

      There are all kinds of trails up there that would be perfect for dual sports, but alas the University says no. Harrumph.

  7. Nice mountain scenery in your area plus your getting fit as well, all win - win!!

    1. Yes yes. Can't go wrong with exercising in nature.

  8. I wondered about your long absence! Your weather is so completely different to ours at the moment, we have just had a ride in 44 celsius which I see is around 110f and which was absolutely draining, and yet you went out in the "high 50s" which is 10 to 15 celsius which we would hesitate to venture out in! Ah well, different strokes for different folks.

  9. Glad to see the hibernation is over and the weather is improving. That photo of the tree across the road is one of my main motorcycling fears - coming around a bend to find a tree blocking the road. I've also started a bit of cycling, prefer the motorised version though.