Riding “Together”- Jay

Work and travel back to Oregon continue to occupy much of my time. I’m still commuting the 3 or so miles to work, except for a few icy and particularly heavy snow days. 032aSome of my coworkers are inspired by commuting year-round by bike in Spokane while others just think I’m nuts. I’m happy for the first group and the second group wouldn’t think about doing anything but driving anyways…

Although my Continental Gatorskin Hardshell tires are wonderful to commute on, these 27×1 1/4 inch slicks aren’t particularly good at maintaining traction in snow and ice. But, neither are most tires. There aren’t many choice these days for quality tires with a 630 ETRO and none designed for winter conditions that I’ve been able to find. If you know of one, please tell me. I’ve run these tires with pressures from 40-85 psi, depending on conditions, with no flats. I have noticed the rear tire seems to be a bit out of round however. No, the rim is true and I remounted the tire twice. I need to swap the tires around to make sure it really is a problem. I only notice it at higher pressures and when going fairly slowly.

I have been able to get a few extra rides in for fun. Thanks to Pat at 26 Inch Slicks, I got a chance to explore some of the trails at Riverside State Park. The park has an incredible selection of trails to choose from and it is the site of the annual 24 Hours Round the Clock race. The park is laced with single and double tracks to be combined in any way you’d like. There are numerous short and steep climbs along the way to really get your heart rate up. I was thankful to have Pat take me on a tour of the race course as he learns it ahead of this years event. Now it’s time to get the GPS out and start exploring it for myself…

Night road riding is something I’ve always loved but rarely have I had enough lighting to do it safely. Since I ride home around midnight, this needed to change. I was able to pick up a Light and Motion Stella 300 on sale as a primary light and I’ve had a Planet Bike Super Flash and Super Flash Turbo from previous bikes. Additionally I’m using a reflective vest and lots of reflective tape on my bike to increase my visibility. In the bicycle headlight arms race currently being waged, the Stella 300 may seem to be lacking in firepower but it is plenty bright enough for my guardian angel to help me see. Besides, I’m not exactly tearing up the pavement after dark…I just enjoy the solitude and the complete sensory change from daytime riding now and then.

Today I decided to head out for a couple of hours so I mapped out a mostly new course, printed the cue sheet and headed out. The specs were listed as 60 miles and 3500 feet of climbing, the temp was in the upper 30’s 024aand the sun even made a few appearances. Navigating the first 35 miles slowed me down a bit but the riding was wonderful. A combination of last minute holiday shopping, low temps, fresh snow in the mountains and football on the idiot box seemed to keep the traffic to a delightfully minimum. About 5 miles of the route (see map below) turned out to be dirt or gravel, sloppy, mucky, slushy and sometimes icy. 047aThis was particularly true along the top and down the backside of Orchard Bluff Rd. It was icy enough to walk down the switchback section just after mile 21. At the same place, I watched an older man slowly driving his SUV up the hill, with his hazard lights blinking, while his Australian cattle dog ran along side. Too bad the road was icy because I didn’t have my camera out…steering was a bit dicey at the time.

2012 has been a very good cycling year for me. Over the past couple of years, I hadn’t been riding as regularly as in the past so my only goal was to get some good base mileage in and have fun. Thanks to Janet, the fun part comes easy. Touring Wales through July and August was just magical. Our imaginations and touring desires have stoked ideas for bigger and better tours in the near future – stay tuned!

For 2013, the Peterbergers have joined the Randonneurs USA to give us more concrete goals to strive for. Randonneuring events are simply long-distance rides (100k, 200k, 300k, 400k and much more!) with a time goal. These events are not races and, as such, results are listed alphabetically not by times. The emphasis is on self-sufficiency and comaraderie among participants rather than winning. By finishing in the allotted time and completing the necessary documentation, you’ve won!

While Janet is off teaching in the winter wonderland of the central Oregon Cascades this January, I’ve decided to try and kick-start my 2013 riding. In the spirit of 30 Days of Biking, I’m challenging myself to my own 31 Days of January Biking. Now, many of these may only be to work and back, some will be in Oregon and, given a few bits of decent eastern Washington weather, maybe a couple of longer rides on the back roads I’ve been exploring. I’ll do my best to document my efforts right here as the days pass. Anyone care to join me, in spirit if not in Spokane?

Enjoy the ride…

JS

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