North Portland

The Portland Century – Part 1

I’m writing this recap freshly showered, foam rolled, fed and wearing my compression tights. I have a few hours before my massage. When I signed up for the Portland Century Ride I had only one goal:

I’m not a fast cyclist. I’m pretty steady and consistent rather than speedy. I had no expectations of completing the ride in a certain amount of time. I just wanted to complete the 70 miles successfully. Michael and I woke up early Sunday morning, 6 a.m. early, and ate our normal breakfast before heading downtown to PSU. Michael was silly in his suggestion “we just bike from the house to downtown.” Hmm nah. If I’m going to do 100 miles it’s going to be on a course not commuting home. 😉

We parked the car and checked our bags at PSU and then we were off!


It was about 7:45 a.m. and 65 degrees–no need for arm warmers or warm cycling gear at all! Michael and I set out following the yellow signs. I almost bit it right off the bat. We were biking down the street from PSU when suddenly the street ended in a sidewalk. Michael went over the sidewalk with his bike and was okay. I knew I would not be okay and I slammed on my brakes–of course forgetting I was clipped in. I came “THIS CLOSE” to just falling over two blocks from the start. Luckily I caught myself and did not crash at the start of the race.


We rode through downtown in the quiet of early Sunday morning. They had part of Naito Parkway closed near the waterfront. We biked along the water and then up to the top of the Steel Bridge.


I’ve never ridden over the top of the Steel Bridge–just on the lower deck. It was a little nerve wracking being that high up. We got to the Rose Garden transit area–part of where we’ve been riding during our training! It felt comfortable and familiar.


The trail changed from the familiar after that. We biked up Interstate to Greeley-which is a very slow, long, gradual hill up passed the Adidas Campus.


I’ve never biked over in that area. It was really scenic. It winded around to Overlook/Willamette and overlooked downtown and the city. I wasn’t familiar with that area at all and basically just followed the guy in front of me.


The bike paths through the neighborhoods in North Portland ended when we got to I think Columbia and the route turned onto a path that wound through the area to the first Rest Stop.

So far I was feeling really good. I think the first rest stop was at about Mile 10.


Bike N’ Hike (a local bike store here) was one of the sponsors and they had a booth set up helping people fix bike issues–which made me feel pretty safe and confident that if something happened along the course I’d be okay. I honestly wasn’t that hungry at the first Rest Stop. Our breakfast was pretty big and filled me up. But I did eat a few donut holes…


There was a lot of options but like I said, I wasn’t hungry. I skipped the Larabars, bananas and bagels. Michael had a bagel with peanut butter on it and then we continued on.


The first half of the ride was the most comfortable. The weather was perfect–not too hot yet. We left the area and biked through winding roads in the middle of nowhere and finally looped around to Marine Drive! Familiar territory!


For most of this part, including the Marine Drive path, I drafted off a group of riders in front of me. They were going about my pace and it made me work less! Smart Lisa. I barely had to pedal. It was a nice break. After Marine Drive the route diverted. The 33 Mile Route people crossed Marine Drive to the 1-205 Path and the 70/100 Mile Route people turned left onto Marine Drive. This was a pretty long chunk in areas I wasn’t entirely familiar with it. This part was a bit hard–my lower back started to ache. I was worried and anxious about it but tried to put it out of my mind.


We made our way to Blue Lake Park– the second Rest Stop. By that time we’d done about 24 miles I think.

I got off the bike and used the port-a-potty (which was super fun when you’re wearing bib shorts under your jersey!), reapplied lots of sunscreen and stretched a lot. At this Rest Stop I ate two mini cookies, half a banana, 1/4 of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and some cantaloupe slices. I just wanted a little pick me up before we got to the hard part…

 To Be Continued….

QUESTION: If you are a cyclist, which part is more challenging: hills or sitting in the saddle for long periods of time?

 

An Uncertain 40 Miles

Saturday we planned on going for a long bike ride but I was uncertain how my body would hold up after the painful hike the day before. The good news: I could walk around the house without pain or discomfort. I was worried about my knees. I slept in and was SUPER lazy all day. We watched the rest of the Californication, had leftover pizza for lunch and then finally left the house around 1:30 or so.

I had no idea if I could ride at all but I wanted to try. We rode from the house to the trail and headed to downtown. Michael wanted to do 40 so his total for the week would be 75. We biked down to OMSI and took a quick break for GUs.


After the quick snack, we continued on the Esplanade to North Portland. I was feeling good so far. No knee pain.

We took the bike lane by the Rose Garden to N. Williams because it has a wide, safe bike lane.

Last time we did this route we ended up on a horrible street that had no bike lane. It was terrifying and we almost got hit by a car (scary!!). This time we found a route that was much safer!

The bike lanes in North Portland are really nice and the scenery is pretty cool. Lots of buildings had beautiful graffiti art on them. There were some other cyclists going the same way as we were going and we asked if they knew a safer route than that scary street that had no bike lane. They gave suggestions and they turned out great.

We left the Vancouver street with the bike lanes. We followed the signs and ended up on MLK. It was scary but short and we were quickly on Marine Drive.

We rode passed Salty’s to the Marine Drive trail. We stopped for another GU break and continued on.

So far I was feeling good. No issues! We were about halfway there–20 miles done.


For once the wind on Marine Drive was at my back. It was a quick and easy stretch. I enjoyed the water and watching the people on boats. It seemed like a nice way to spend a sunny summer day.


We left Marine Drive for the I-205 Bike Path. I had a huge hill in store for me and I was not looking forward to it. The hill is a long steady climb that doesn’t seem to end. It’s definitely a challenge–I usually see people on bikes walking up that hill (well, people on mountain bikes or cruisers).

We stopped at a small park on the trail to rest, eat another Gu and drink some water before facing The Big Hill. It was a nice break.


We got back on the bikes. It was time to face it. Michael took off and I grinded up the hill. I wish I could accurately capture the size of this hill but pictures just don’t do it just. And honestly, when I’m at the base of the hill I’m counting on momentum to get me part of the way up so I don’t stop to take photos.


I took the hill slow and steady but SURPRISE! The hill was not as bad as it has been in the past! I just hunkered down and made it up that hill. It wasn’t bad. I was so happy and surprised that I made it up the hill. Going into it I’d wondered if it would be the first time I’d have to WALK up that hill…


I got to the top of the hill where Michael was waiting for me at the light and I asked, “That was the killer hill right? I’m not mistaking it for a different one right?” He said no, that was the killer hill and I happily made it! Woo hoo! The rest of the ride was smooth sailings–mostly downhill. Instead of continuing on the I-205 trail we veered back to the Springwater home. It was good to be home!

 

Ride Stats:

Times: 3:31
Calories Burned: 1464
Distance: 38.25 miles 


Michael and I split a GenUCan Recovery shake as soon as we got home. It was a good snack to tide us over before dinner. Since we’ve been so busy the last few weeks we had no food in the house! Grocery shopping was a must (not exactly what you want to do after biking almost 40 miles).

For dinner Michael made us grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. I steamed some fresh green beans as my side.


By almost 7:30pm we finally were able to sit down and eat dinner, watch some TV and relax!


And enjoy a little dessert. 🙂 Total miles for last week (in two rides): 56.36.

QUESTION: When you’re sore and tired, do you take a day off or do continue with the planned activities?