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"