Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Harvest Century (9/28/14)

My season of cycling wrapped up this past weekend with one last event. In fact, the Harvest Century is touted as "The Last Organized Ride of the Year!"

Earlier this summer, I convinced Dad to train along with me with the 45-mile route as our goal. Dad has some arthritis in his low back that makes walking and running fairly painful. But cycling feels great, and this was good motivation for him to keep moving throughout the summer. 

Sunday finally arrived, and it was time to ride! The event started and ended in downtown Hillsboro. After picking up our bibs and T-shirts (free to the first 500 registrants!), we grabbed a little granola for second breakfast. I topped mine with soymilk while Dad opted for the yogurt. Yay for free food!
Mom and Eryn saw us off at the starting line before heading to Seattle to catch the last home Mariners game:
The first rest stop was just 12 miles in. This was Dad's first organized bike ride (other than Bridge Pedal, which is a whole different animal), and I kept telling him about all the food. He was starting to catch on when he saw the spread laid out for us on this private farm:
The route was fairly flat with just 1,200 feet of elevation gain in 45 miles. The only bigger hills were between the two rest stops. So 13 miles later, we'd tackled all the big hills and it was time to eat again!

The second stop was at Montinore Vineyards, a gorgeous spot on top of a hill:
While you can't tell in the photo, we could see Mount St. Helens across the way:
Each ride we've done has been unique, including the food. This one had tiny baked potatoes covered in butter and salt. YUM!
The obligatory picture with the vines:
And Dad with his bike:
And my sweet road bike, which I've yet to name. Suggestions??
One thing I thought was so cool about this ride was the course markings:
It was so well marked, and these little guys made me smile each time I saw one :)

Action shot:
And finally, approaching the finish:
This one included lunch at the end - and it was quite a spread!

Green salad, potato salad, corn on the cob, chips, cake, chocolate milk, apple cider and sausages with all the toppings. I was so happy that they had veggie sausages, too!! 
In all, we rode 47 miles (including getting to and from the car) at a 12.6 mph average:
Pretty good!

This was a great event - good price, well supported, great food, beautiful course. Plus, I always love adventuring with my dad :)

Next year the 75, Dad?? :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Unity Run (9/26/14)

A 5K fun run was added to this year's homecoming activities!

The Unity Run was sponsored by the GSA Club (Gay-Straight Alliance), with proceeds going to the the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

We heard there was a costume contest (though no one else dressed up and we never heard anything about the outcome...), so Eryn and I donned our best matching green outfits. You can't see in the picture that we also have matching green compression sleeves on our legs:
We helped out at the registration table before, then lined up to run down Durham Road as the beginning of the parade. It was mostly just us and the cross-country team. Nothing like coming in last ;)
Before - ready to run!
The parade spectators were really nice and had lots of good comments about our awesome outfits!

Three miles later:
Not wanting to walk in front of the parade crowd, Eryn booked it down Durham Road - her fastest mile ever! Then we took it easy in Cook Park before heading back up the hill and finishing on the track.

For a first-time event, it went pretty well. And I'm sure there were lots of lessons learned to make it even better in the future.


Friday, September 26, 2014

September Discovery Run

Last night was the monthly Discovery Run scavenger hunt in Tualatin. Spoiler alert: We didn't win anything this time.

Last month, the whole fam - and Sean - joined us, and Sean won free BBQ! This month it was just me and Brad, and we walked away with nothing. But we still had loads of fun sprinting around town and collecting raffle tickets.

Oh, and there's free root beer floats and red vines at the end! (and beer if you're into that sort of thing)
We collected a ton of tickets in the hour - and ran 4.72 miles at an 11:11 pace. That includes all stoplights and collections locations. Not too shabby.
 It was a gorgeous night - perfect temp for running. And it stayed dry!
Can't wait for next month. I think they said it would be the last of the season :(

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Halloween treat and lots of squats

I couldn't help myself - I had to try this little Halloween treat that I spotted yesterday at Bi-Mart:
I ripped it open in the car, anticipating a yummy snack. Nope. It was kinda nasty. I gave the rest to Eryn and she agreed. Don't waste your $.50.

Wednesday means kickboxing day! We hit up the 5 p.m. class with Brittany and did lots and lots of squats! My butt hurts so good today :)
As always, a great workout at Fierce Fitness!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Picture day

Staff gets pictures, too...


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Twin day

Homecoming week at THS... twin day!

Eryn and I had a long discussion yesterday to decide which matching outfit to wear :)

Happy Fall


Monday, September 22, 2014

Cycle the Lakes (9/20/14)

I'm an all-in kinda gal. When I find something interesting, I jump in with both feet... like riding my bike.

I've had a mountain bike, my beloved Sherm, for years and years. And he faithfully takes me all over - running biking errands, exercising, exploring, hauling stuff, playing, commuting. I love that bike. 
When I got injured early in 2014 and couldn't run, I decided to turn my attention toward biking, which doesn't hurt my ouchy Achilles tendon. I began increasing my mileage, and then, on a whim,  I signed up for the Ride Around Clark County in May. It was SO fun - and so different from the dozens and dozens of running events that I've done.

While Sherm and I had a blast on the 34 miler, and conquered some big hills with no problem (mountain bike for the win!), Brad convinced me to start shopping for a road bike. My friend, Richard, says it's like having an SUV and a sports car: different purposes.

We shopped around for a nice, entry-level road bike that fit my short legs, finally finding a terrific deal on Craigslist. 
I've been logging tons of miles with Brad, Dad and Sean. But riding around town isn't enough for me - I need the excitement of the event! So we also did the Pioneer Century (32-mile route) on my birthday, the Covered Bridge Ride (40-mile route) in August and Cycle the Lakes this past Saturday.

This time we went for the 67-mile route - my longest ride ever! (We did a 55-mile training ride a couple weeks ago, and that was my previous PDR - personal distance record.)
The ride was a fund raiser for the Cottage Grove Rotary Club. The Village Green Resort offered a $59 (!) rate for participants, so we booked a room and decided to make a weekend of it!

The hotel included breakfast to help us fuel for the big ride. We both tanked up:
It was funny to see the restaurant full of spandex-clad people :)
The course opened at 7 a.m. and breakfast started at 7 a.m. So we ate and then hopped on our bikes to pedal the short distance to the start line Bohemia Park. I was a bit nervous but feeling confident. Our plan was to go nice and slow, take lots of breaks when needed and keep hydrated and fueled.
We spotted this sign on the way, and I got really excited!
The start of bike events is so much different than running races - much more casual and laid back. We added our wheels to the collection while we checked in and got maps and instructions from the nicest volunteers ever!
We set off and soon rode across this little covered bridge:
Our course was a giant figure eight with the start/finish in the middle of the two loops. The first loop headed south (and uphill) to Cottage Grove Lake and beyond. At about Mile 18, we found our turnaround and our first rest stop stocked with yummy food and more great volunteers:
The route back was a bit downhill and on a path - easy riding! Then we saw this poor sap walking his bike with a flat tire. He had no patch kit, no spare tube and no pump. We and another couple stopped to help and got him on his way. I don't think he even thanked us. At least we had a nice view of the lake.
Mile 35: back at the start/finish/midpoint spot for a little rest and more snacks:
The second loop goes east/south to Dorena Lake and beyond. Outbound was all on the Row River Trail - which I assume is an old railroad right of way. Shady and very nice!
It looks like Brad's going really fast!
My left knee bugged me at the end of our 55 miler, and I was nervous about how it would hold up Saturday. Because I started feeling it before the first rest stop, I contemplated bailing at Mile 34 when we returned to the park. But we decided to just take it easy and keep going until I couldn't. Brad said he'd come get me with the car if we had to.

Well, when we were out on the flat Row River Trail, it seemed to warm up and calm down. It still felt abnormal but tolerable. Because it hurt most when I put heavy pressure on it, I pulled up a lot when we hit any hills. Good thing I've learned to wear clipless bike shoes!

Our turnaround - and final rest stop - was at Mile 51:
Again the people were so nice! There was a older guy there making custom sandwiches. We ordered a standard PBJ to split. MAN, that was so yummy!
Because the outbound trail was fairly smooth with a slight uphill grade, we thought the last 15 miles would be mostly downhill. But the course was a loop, returning on roads with rolling hills. Still, it was no biggie.

Then came the big hill at Mile 60. It was short and steep, but organizers gave a flatter option to skip it. I decided to go for it. If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do this :)

I took my time, pulling up more than pushing down. It was a piece of cake. And then we got to cruise down the other side, hitting 30 mph in the process!

The last couple miles were back on the flat Row River Trail, and we cruised in to the park and under the finish banner:
Certificates of completion!
This ride offered apple pie and ice cream to finishers. Brad was in Heaven! I skipped the pie and ate my weight in watermelon! Salty potato chips also tasted so good!

This ride was incredible. The course was great - though I would rather have done two out-and-backs on the trails instead of the loops with half on roads. The volunteers and course support was over the top - in a good way. Almost every intersection was staffed, and when needed, volunteers even pushed the crossing buttons for us so the "walk" signals came on before we even reached the roads. The volunteers were super friendly - probably the friendliest I've ever encountered at an event.

The food was abundant and tasty. The maps and cue sheets told us everything we needed to know and more. The attention to detail was amazing - from the certificates that were individually signed to the flags lining the way to the finish line to the mandatory checkpoints to make sure we were safe to the lady who went over the entire course with us on the big map before we started.

I am SO doing this ride next year. And hopefully the 100 miler!

After some resting and refueling, we saddled up once more for the short ride back to the hotel. In all - 73 miles!!!!
We changed into swimsuits and hit the unheated pool for a "cool bath" to help our muscles recover. Then showers, a short nap and dinner at the Vintage Inn.

We slept in Sunday, ate more free breakfast, lazed around and then took our time going home. A great weekend of work and relaxation :)