Friday, January 12, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Just before the turn of the new year, I did this ride from my house. It's about 40 miles, and involves probably 2500-3000 feet of climbing, total (I can't tell exactly because the gmaps pedometer elevation function is non-responsive.) The route involves climbing steep pitches from just above sea level to around 1000 feet twice, in addition to dealing with some fairly good rollers on the ridgeline at the top. It's my secret training weapon -- the best way to get good at hills is to ride hills, and bike races are won and lost on the hills. I attribute all of my success last year to going out and riding up the west hills of Portland at least 3 times per week on my lunch hours.

So, it was good to get back out there. I felt pretty good, not a world beater after all my time off of William Tell, but not bad. I didn't have any trouble getting up to Skyline on Newberry, and had fun on the second ascent up Barnes. I kept reminding myself that this was my January form, and I'd be in fine shape for racing come May if I kept at it.

I was on my way home, feeling encouraged and satisfied with my endeavor, riding on a mixed-use path, when I overtook a fellow in a wheelchair. He looked up at me on my recumbent and exclaimed, "Awh, dude! Get a real bike! Those things don't climb worth shit!"

A man who did not have use of his legs was telling me that I would not be able to climb on my bike, after doing a ride that was expressly designed to go up as many hills as I could in a short amount of time. I think that pretty much sums it all up, don't you?

6 Comments:

Blogger Tomas_Quinones said...

Dude! You live just up the street from me on 60th! Wooooooo!

4:50 PM  
Blogger Jyvyn said...

The West Hills are excellent to bike on. It's just you and the hills, sometimes, without too much traffic or stoplights. The road is pretty clean, it's a gorgeous view the entire way though. Last year I got up there probably twice or three times per week. And yeah, that really strengthened my muscles. I don't race, though.

I live on the west side, so it isn't as trecherous or busy. Germantown east of Skyline is scary enough to bike down, but biking up would really hold up traffic.

9:45 PM  
Blogger JDS said...

I'm going to ask the dumb question as a newbie reader of your blog: does OBRA have a recumbent division? What races do you do? Maybe the answers are already in your blog, but I thought I'd take the quick route.... Thanks!

9:25 PM  
Anonymous patrick said...

I don't know what that sums up, exactly, but it's a great story!

12:21 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Thanks for reading, everyone! Glad you liked the story. Sorry to not respond earlier; I've been without web access due to the snowstorm.

jds -- Not a dumb question at all. OBRA does not have a recumbent division. But they generally let recumbent riders participate in time trials, because they are not mass-start events. The Vancouver bike club has a weekly time-trial during the summer that is also quite welcoming.

For recumbent riders in Portland, there are 2 main recumbent-specific races if you want to go beyond just time trials: the Wasco Wild West 75, out in The Dalles in early May, and the Human Power Challenge at PIR on Memorial Day weekend. The former is a 75 mile open road race, and the latter is a 3-day, multi-event race on the indy car track in north Portland.

Finally, the UMCA (Ultra Marathon Cycling Association) has been quite hospitable to recumbent riders. I did the Furnace Creek 508 solo last year, and have done Race Across Oregon as part of a relay team for the past 2 years. This year, I hope to do RAO solo, in addition to maybe doing the Ring of Fire 24 hour race.

Hope to see you out there!

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Michael:
Have you checked out Bikely http://www.bikely.com/ ?

It looks like it would be a great place to add some of your routes and there's a few Portland rides showing up on it as well.

Paul
P.S. Thanks again for the Hood to Coast ideas!

7:51 AM  

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