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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

If you have spent any time reading about L’Eroica, you know that food and wine are a big part of the ride. In fact, the ride traverses scores of vineyards where the strade bianchi are essential to wine commerce. And, olive oil commerce, too.

I had a Twitter follower ask me if I was ready for the ride and by ready, he meant was I prepared for the riding and the eating along the way. I laughed it off, but I think he might be serious. In fact, how will you find enough daylight to ride 205K and consume all of the excellent food that is provided along the way? I will soon find out.

The menu for Sunday lunch

To help me train for that, my sponsor, KitchenCru is hosting a Sunday lunch, or Il Grande Pranzo della Domenica, that reflects the owner’s memories of his youth when the big family meal was served mid-afternoon on Sunday. Having read the menu below, I think this Sunday should be good for training.

The wines that Michael and Dan at CorksCru have selected are equally interesting and another form of training that is far more enjoyable than grinding up 5% grades on gravel.

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It’s hard to know where to begin with this post. I set today aside for a long training ride to include enough climbing that I knew I would feel it when it was complete. Right now, with the late afternoon sun pouring in the window, heating the office area beyond comfort, my legs and knees are reminding me that today’s training ride was long, and hilly, and steep.

The ride I mapped included several climbs, one of which caught me by surprise and another that was the result of road work on the principal north-south route at the crest of the West Hills.

The Strade Bianchi on Saltzman

I mixed in a bit of gravel and also was greeted with gravel I didn’t expect. Speaking of unexpected, how about a dropped chain along with gravel in the new cleats, in so tight that it took a guard rail to exorcize them. More on that later.

Because this sort of thing is self inflicted, I don’t complain. It was a glorious morning. I took care to have a quiet evening on Friday, rising early to get the whole ride in before the 90 degree temperatures came along. Even so, I didn’t wear the new kit knowing that the weight of the wool and the strong sun would have done me in.

The first third of the ride came easily and I felt like the legs belonged to someone else, someone more fit. A cruise down the old friend, Springville Road, made the day seem effortless. I descended that one because of road work. I worked my way north, then east up Germantown Road, another old friend. The legs responded, keeping the pace with effort, but not pain. I reached Skyline Drive again and turned north.

Given the extra distance that the detour required, I considered backing off my original plan, which put the ride at almost 120K. I felt justified. I made a real L’Eroica like stop to pick blackberries, part of my day’s nutrition I figured. Then, I remembered Rule 5 and pressed on toward the end of the pavement on Skyline. But, Skyline wasn’t done with me.

Blackberries along the way.

At Cornelius Pass, I dropped my chain as I shifted for the next climb. I managed to return it safely and make my way across the busy road. I felt a bit smug, figuring it couldn’t be that far to either Logie Trail or Rocky Point Road. As I made my way up what I remembered was a steep pitch, I couldn’t get my cleats to settle into the pedals. A careful look showed gravel embedded in the cleat. If it were metal, it would have seemed like it was welded into place. Tire tools were no use. I had to use the tail end of the guard rail to finally free the stones and get on my way. That interruption killed my tempo. What was relatively straight forward ascending just a few K back was now a stand-on-the-pedals effort in the lowest gear just to get to what I hoped was the top. It wasn’t.

I soon realized that there was a good bit more climbing yet to do and much of it long and unrelenting. Not too far from the exit to Logie Trail, my bail out point, I spoke to a fellow cyclist repairing his tire. He assured me that Rocky Point Drive was just 3 miles away (5K). That buoyed me. Of course, it ended up being more like 8K away with enough climbing to make me wonder just how long that return to Portland might be.

The turnoff for Rocky Point came into view, as did the sign saying “Fresh Gravel.” That’s not to uncommon since Skyline and Dixie Mountain continue on as unpaved roads. Looking forward to a zippy descent to Route 30, I quickly learned what the sign was all about. The road was fresh with tar-and-chip repaving. Now, it was my arms and hands that felt the day’s effort because I was braking, madly, on steep terrain, some of which must have just been treated last week. I figured this was good training for L’Eroica because it became apparent that descending on the strade bianchi will be far more difficult than the climbing.

A Natian Session ale to toast a good day in the saddle

Fortunately for me and my hourly average, the road turned to asphalt about half way to the bottom and I cruised along, enjoying the breeze. It wasn’t long before Route 30 came into view, a vision of wide lanes, big shoulders and miserable traffic. There was no other alternative that made sense and a northerly wind provided the mo

tivation as I put the hammer down, averaging 30+K/hour on the return.

It was poetic that the bike meter tripped the 100K mark as I crossed over the middle of the St. John’s Bridge. I headed back on the old route by the Columbia Slough, finally getting to the Fifteenth Avenue Hophouse

in time for a couple of tasty beers.

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The roads and scenery around Trout Lake, Washington bring you within a few kilometers of  two significant Cascade volcanoes, Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens.

Mt. Adams by the USGS

With my son-in-law as ride-mate, we took on a loop ride from the Lower Falls Campground in Gifford Pinchot National Forest through Trout Lake and over the western flank of Mt. Adams. The ride includes some very quiet roads, breath taking scenery, steep ascents and equally enjoyable descents. For a map of the ride, go here: Lewis River-Trout Lake Loop.

On family camping trips, the Moseman tandem is usually the machine of choice. This time, my wife decided she didn’t want the punishment. I don’t blame her. She and I have ridden this loop before, albeit without the extra 33K of road between the loop and the camping. My original mapping of the ride had the distance pegged incorrectly and my son-in-law pointed this out before we set off. I wish he hadn’t said anything.

The weather on Saturday, August 6 was beautiful: sunny skies, temperatures in the low 70’s with a light breeze at our back when we started. We thought about that as we knew that the return would be into that same wind.

The first significant climbing occurs after you make the turn toward Trout Lake. The road is perfect, though, with just a few patches of gravel. The gradient is easily managed, even with the relatively high gearing that I cannot escape. We took just about two hours to get to the Trout Lake Ranger Station where we refueled with water and sandwiches and some excellent homemade cookies. Prior to that stop, though, I choked down my first experience with “Gu.” All I can say is that I hoped it helped me in some small way because the experience otherwise is not pleasant.

It’s not long after Trout Lake that you begin the climb of Mt. Adams. Here, the angle is more significant, with steep pitches that are followed by milder climbs and even some descents. The sun was on us, too, so we doffed the helmets and rode like hard men. Phillip was kind to me, letting me catch him as we made our way up the 20K or more of climbing.

Views to Mt. Adams are wonderful here and we had been teased with peeks at the western slopes as we made our way down to Trout Lake. After finally topping out, we rode the relatively flat, then steeply descending road to its junction with our return.

On average, the return is downhill, though there are some rollers that remind you that what looks easy on paper rarely is. Add to this the wind dimension, which at times was blowing quite hard in our faces. That meant crouching over the handlebars and creating the sore necks that we nursed with beers late in the day.

By the end, we had logged 116K of fantastic riding, averaging 23K/hour. As I made my final turn into the campground, I felt proud. Proud, that is, until I realized that to approximate L’Eroica’s long ride, I’d have to make the circuit all over again.

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The readers here have told me, as clearly as possible, that I need to pay attention to my training and worry about tire selection another time. Really, the scientific and irrefutable evidence is on my previous post about tubular vs. clincher tires, all summed up in a poll. The poll is still open and I would be delighted if you could skew the results to something a bit more relaxing than training.

Yet, regardless of the advice, I am training and have been hitting the road and the trainer and the weight room. And, pushing myself away from the training table. Strong legs go much farther if they have less to push up the hill.

The training elements, early mornings in the gym, weekends on the road or short road rides after work, are beginning to take hold. I am breaking new barriers on the training machine and even the hilliest of rides is manageable.

The test of this preparation will come this weekend when I attempt either a long ride with my wife (and stoker) on the tandem or the more punishing ride up NW Saltzman on the Moseman. I may even try to get those brake levers returned to pre-aero condition, as if doing so might help me prepare for 2 October.

Lunch hour is over. Spare bits of chicken and salad with a few treats for a successful week of training. So as to leave you with something actually interesting on this page, I’ve linked to the new Rapha video by Nick Livesey. It’s over the top melodramatic, but it is Paris-Roubaix this weekend, which is nothing if not over the top.

A Throw of the Dice from RAPHA on Vimeo.

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The Patron

It’s one thing to have a good friend who wants to sponsor your hobby interests with moral support. It’s quite another when he opens up his kitchen to offer you and your colleagues lunch. With Michael, it’s no surprise.

The dish at today’s training table, corned beef. Made right here, of course, by the Patron.
My office mates and I headed down to “Cru Central” for an excellent New York-style corned beef on rye sandwich, washed down with cream soda. My colleagues were treated to some Argyle bubbles, courtesy of one of Michael’s clients.
Guess this means an extra set of intervals tomorrow morning . . .

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Fuel for the ride

Everything I’ve been reading tells me my training table should be lightly set with lean meat, lots of vegetables and fruit, easy on the carbohydrates. But, what do you do when one of your prime sponsors, KitchenCru, serves freshly baked bagels that rival anything calling itself a bagel outside of New York? You roll up to the kitchen and you eat.

I’m not expecting Michael at the ‘Cru to bring bagels the day of the ride, though I’m guessing he’d like to be there. But, I figured it was important to show my loyalty to my sponsor even if it meant sacrificing my strict dietary regimen for it.

More sacrifices to come on St. Patrick’s day.

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Should be no surprise that when you begin in earnest to chase a dream, you find others doing the same.
I’ve been fishing about the interwebs and social media, finding more and more references to the ride. Here’s a video showcasing the area and the ride.

L’EROICA (english version) from Edouardi Sepulchro on Vimeo.

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