Monday, August 22, 2011

Bike Pooling

Eugene is internationally famous for its Number 1 Commute in the Country.  (Well, if it wasn't before, it is now.  Some magazine somewhere said it was so.)  You can complain about much, but in Eugene, we just don't have much to complain about in terms of getting to work.

Sometimes for work I have go to to other places.  Yesterday, we had our annual parish picnic.
Don't know 'bout you, but at our parish picnic, we go for mule wagon rides and get a look at Mt. Pisgah.  Thanks to Copper Windmill Ranch for the rides!


So I was very excited yesterday when I talked a parishioner into bike-pooling with me to the parish picnic. He's a well know bike commuter and knows every road in the area.  The parish picnic was being held at the Copper Windmill Ranch, which is acres of delightful hosted by two gracious long-time parishioners.  

My parishioner- let's call him SuperCruiser- rolled into St. Mary's at 3:30 on his fat-tired cruiser with a trunk.  Meanwhile, The Boss had been psyching me out with stories of HOW BIG the hill was en route to the Ranch.  The hill was HUGE, and MOUNTAINOUS, and there was NO SHOULDER and ALL THE CARS WANT TO KILL YOU.

I got a little freaked out, and went home and traded my hybrid cruiser with the granny gears for my light and speedy roadie.

SuperCruiser rolls in and asks me, "Do you think I'll be able to keep up with you?"  I replied that I was looking forward to a nice mellow ride.  SuperCruiser smiled one of those cheerful happy smiles that people seem to have at St. Mary's when you are doing something they like, and proceeds to take off at the soul-crushing pace of 16.1 mph.

Did I mention that he was on a bubble-tired cruiser?  I was holding his wheel comfortably and steady on my roadie, but he was RIDING COMFORTABLY AT 16.1 ON A CRUISER!

He then strikes up a casual conversation.  "Oh, people think I'm really fit, but I'm really not, I just ride my bike to work and around town a little."

You need to be aware that when people say things like that in Eugene, they don't really mean it.  Well, they do mean it, but their perception is skewed because we live in a town with a bunch of Olympians.  So the 75 year old man says "Oh, I"m SO SLOW these days" and reels off a 10K in 45 minutes, while his Olympian neighbor crushes it in 30.  And the UberCyclist (the professor) says, "Oh, I have a few tools and I like to tinker" and his garage could make a mechanic weep in envy.  And I feel super, super slow in tri club, and I do brick workouts with people who made the Team USA team for ITU worlds this weekend. (Yeah, he's mellow about how super-fast and strong he is, too.)  

So when SuperCruiser says, "I just ride to work" he means that he rides up this giant freakin' hill every day and that hills are his favorite geography.

That explains how we ended up on Dilliard Rd.  At the end of the day, it was a great ride.  It wasn't so hard that I couldn't do it.  But it was hard enough to give me a workout.  It's a 2.5 mile climb.  Once, I could see a car in my rear view mirror, and when the driver pulled up, she started yelling at me.  I had already hollered "Car Back!" to SuperCruiser and had no air left.  All I could do was scream, "PASS ME!"  to the car.  She continued screaming at me.  Later, SuperCruiser and I decided she was cheering us on.

He cruised up the hill handily.  I ground my way up, fighting heroically for every inch and using my new mantra of "Up up up up up".  The Fat Cyclist said we could all have his mantra, and I have to say, it DOES help you remember to use your upstroke.  Besides, it takes less thinking than my other mantra of "I get ice cream".  Thanks, Fat Cyclist, who has never met me and who has no idea that I exist, but I think his wife (The Hammer) is awesomesauce.

In other news, one of my favorite new friends (who's a chef.  Wonder why she's my favorite new friend?) passed us as well, and they DID wave and cheer.  As in, they waved their arms and screamed things like "GOOOOOOO!!!  YAAAAAYY!!!!!"  That's the way to do it, folks.

At the almost-top, we met SuperCruiser's son who'd ridden his MTB over on the trails that cover Spencer Butte.  And Jr. proceeded to crush me as well as the climb continued for one last little roll.

Trivia: Dilliard St. turned out to be where my favorite little running trail came out.  So I knew the trail!  I was very, very excited to discover this knowledge and got to say things like, "Yeah, the first mile up from Martin st. is just 900 feet of climbing, but then you feel like a rock star on Dilliard".  Don't I sound so very in-the-know?  I credit Multisport Advantage for showing me stuff like that.

And then, finally, at last, at last, at last, we crested the top and it was all downhill from there.

43.6 mph downhill from there, if you would like to know.

Later, I checked my heart rate monitor.  Average was 151, max was 181 (that would be the hills.  Yowch).  And with all the cycling yesterday, I burned 1155 calories.

Yes, actually, I WILL go back for more salads and that extra veggie burger.  And the fresh blueberries.  And that mint brownie square.  And I really wish that there was more tortellini salad, because that was quite good.  And I sucked down my two bottles of Gatorade, a water, and a Hansens soda.  I'm a hydrating rockstar.

Our host took us cyclists on a longer mule wagon ride, and showed us an extra bike route.  It does cover some significant gravel, so I might have to bring my hybrid (or maybe the roadie can handle it if I do a little walking?)  but eventually turns into pavement again.  It swoops down towards what I learned is Mt. Pisgah and through the town of Goshen, runs over to LCC and back into Eugene.

And now I'm wondering if SuperCruiser and Jr. might someday want to ride Dilliard again and follow it up with the run through Goshen...

Doesn't it look kind of hilly?  But think... it means I GET TO EAT CARBS!  
Maybe there's something to hill riding after all...


Off to work now.  I have to ride my roadie again today because Hutch's is letting me ride a super fancy bike later today.  Remember, it's my flowers from them losing me and me getting stuck with the Fast-And-Furious group last week.  :-)

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