Sunday, September 24, 2006

Newport, Oregon

Just a quick update. We rode approximately 30 miles to South Beach State Park, just south of Newport, OR, today. We'll catch the 6am bus from Newport to Albany, and catch the train there. That is, as long as we can get our bikes on the bus! We'll figure it out somehow.

It's quite warm here today - I'd say it's up into the 80's even! When we got to the top of a hill called Cape Foulweather, the temperature there was 76 degrees. It's been beautifully sunny, and is supposed to stay that way for a while now.

On to San Diego!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lincoln City, Oregon

We made it to Lincoln City today! We knew we had a big hill to conquer before we got into town, and I was a little scared, knowing that I had to tow all of our gear to the top of it. But it turned out to be a nice gradual climb, albeit long, and it had a nice rewarding descent, all through Siuslaw (sp?) National Forest. It was a beautiful day to boot, and we are a bit sunkissed now, finally, after covering up all week long to stay warm! We set up our tent at Devils Lake State Park, and went to grab some grub at the local brewpub. We filled a 4-person table with appetizer, entree, drink, and dessert, and proceeded to finish it all! Yum! (:

We are now at the library looking up bus and train schedules to get us inland and southward. We will either ride a bit farther south tomorrow to Newport (South Beach State Park), take the bus to Albany on Monday, and catch the train Monday night; or stay in Lincoln City tomorrow night and bus it to Albany from here on Monday, and then catch the train Tuesday.

Once we're done here, we'll head over to the laundromat to do some MUCH needed laundry, and maybe tour around town for a bit.

The past 3 days have brought us some great weather, and for that we are extremely thankful. I was almost complaining about the heat today! Luckily, riding in Houston has made me accustomed to warmer temps, so I just reminded myself of that... One thing I can say is that this entire trip has taught me a lot, not only about my physical capabilities, but also my mental strength. There were a few times where I believe it was only my will to continue which pushed me up the last bit of a hill, or made me keep going when all I wanted to do was pull over and quit (or just turn around). This afternoon, we had to walk up a very steep path to get to our campsite, and as I was pushing my bike with the trailer still attached, I couldn't even walk it up the hill! I had to change into my regular shoes just to get enough grip. I don't know HOW I towed all of that up those hills just by pedaling...

Well, I should get back to helping Kathryn figure out our travel plans. The next time I post we will either be in Newport, Oregon, or San Diego, California!!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Manzanita, Oregon

Wow, 2 days of a library/computer in a row! I'm getting spoiled... Today held dry skies, and we made it approximately 40 miles from Astoria down to Manzanita. This is a cute little beachfront town, and it's on the other side of 2 very trying hills. Since I'm currently towing Kathryn's trailer AND my panniers, the climbs were particularly interesting. (: We even got to go through a tunnel! There's a button you press to light up a flashing sign, which then warns motorists that there are cyclists in the tunnel - pretty cool. Oregon is SO beautiful. The views from the tops of the cliffs overlooking the ocean made the ridiculous climbs worthwhile. We've set up our tent for tonight already, and we can hear the ocean from our campsite. It will be so unreal to listen to the ocean as we drift off to sleep.

Per some combined advice we've received in the past day or so, we're likely going to head inland a bit sooner than originally planned, and catch the Amtrak in Albany, Oregon. That may even give us a few more days in southern California, with warmer temperatures and sunnier skies! But so far the trip has been great - and an amazing learning experience. I know that it will be over before I know it, and Kathryn and I are already saying how we don't want to go back to work. (; I'm already considering options for where my next touring trip will be. Perhaps I'll make it an annual journey, and go different places every year. At lunch today in town, I was looking at some Arizona Highways magazines, and that sure looks like a beautiful place to visit...

Well, enough for now. I'm sure I'll post again soon. Keep your fingers crossed for more dry days for us!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Astoria, Oregon

We made it to Astoria - finally across the border! I'm 10 minutes overdue on my computer usage here at the library, but I figured I'd post a quick update. This was our 4th day of riding, and our 3rd day of rain. We've camped 2 nights, hostelled 1 night, and tonight we're staying at a motel to stay try (or rather, to dry out). We've met a lot of other cyclists, and a bunch of kind people.

Our plan now is to head south on 101 to Waldport, then take Rte 34 inland to Peoria Rd to Eugene, where we'll catch the train southward. I might even get to meet my coach in Santa Barbara!! I sure hope that works out in our plans...

I'd better get off the computer now. Hope to post again soon! (:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I can hardly believe it's really going to happen...

Tomorrow morning I leave town with my bags packed full of cycling and camping equipment. I will make a quick stop in Massachusetts to visit the fam, then I'm heading to Seattle to pedal down the coasts of Washington and Oregon. I've been wanting to do this for years, and now it's finally happening! It's hard to believe, and I don't think it will really sink in until I'm actually on my bike, on the road, without a care in the world except where I might sleep that night.

I'll try to post updates if I come upon an internet cafe, but no guarantees. (: I'll be thinking about all my loyal blog readers, nonetheless, and I appreciate the words of encouragement I've already gotten from quite a few people.

Catch you on the flip side!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Back at the track!

Friday saw me back at the velodrome. I couldn't WAIT to go back and race! They don't have races in the middle of the summer (too hot, perhaps). Last week was the beginning of the Fall season, but I was at the HHH. So this Friday I'd race the 6-lap handicap, a miss-and-out, and an 18-lap points race. I knew the points race would be my best, and I'd just do the best I could on the other two.

For the handicap race, I was surprisingly NOT given the largest handicap - one junior was ahead of me - wohoo! I had another Spincycle rider hold me for the start, and we were OFF! Except he didn't let go of me! "GO! GO! GO!" I yelled. He finally let go, and as I tried to accelerate, Shelby zoomed past me. I caught her wheel, and was feeling pretty good. She pulled off, and I pulled for half a lap, and pulled off. Then I realized we were all there in the paceline. Eek! At this point there were about 3 laps left. Where was I supposed to go?? I didn't want to get caught at the back for the sprint, but I didn't want to be out in the wind for the rest of the race... I stayed to the right for a while, but eventually rolled to the back. I came in second to last, sprinting pretty hard to try to beat out Shelby, but I just couldn't make it.

After a few races to rest, I had the miss-and-out. My initial goal was to not be first out. Then I thought maybe I was setting my goals too low - maybe I should try not to be the first 2 out! Well, I made the first goal, but fell short of the second...nothing too surprising, but better than I've ever done before in that race!

Like I said, I knew that the 18-lap points race would be my best. We lined up, and I found myself a pretty good position after the neutral lap. But the quick juniors quickly picked up the pace, and I found myself struggling to hang on. As the points laps came and went, the pace quickened and slowed accordingly. I was able to work my way back to them so that I was never lapped, and sucked one kid's wheel quite a bit. Sometimes he would drag me back up to them, sometimes I would drag him, and sometimes we were too spread out to work together a lot. But I felt pretty good, and even lapped 2 other people. Definitely a good race.

The racing that night was sponsored by NWCC (Northwest Cyclery Club), which supports the Alkek Junior team, so Kathy made a big speech about how well the juniors had done at nationals this year. After she rattled off all the medals they'd won, I felt a LOT better about them beating me all the time. (: They're even sending 3 of their juniors to worlds!!

So I guess I learned that I've improved my fitness enough to not get lapped by the jr's in an 18-lap points race, and I'm getting better at the miss-and-outs. Other than that, still just working on fitness. But MAN I love racing the track!!!

By the way, if you didn't know, the City of Houston has decided to hand over track management to a newly formed non-profit organization, the Greater Houston Cycling Foundation (GHCF). We currently need to raise a lot of money just to keep the track alive. If you are interested in learning more, and/or donating money or items for an auction we'll be holding, visit Thanks!!