Sunday, March 29, 2009


Today I will be riding both road courses. I shaved my legs so I should be fast… or maybe just cold, but I look more like a bike rider now than a Sasquatch.

So off I went to explore some roads that I had never been on. I had my map and some spring cycling clothes on. The forecasts said rain showers here and there in the Gorge and the day before the forecast was partly cloudy, I figured it would be somewhere in between.

The first 12 miles or so were great, tail winds light to no rain and false flats, love in it, even when I hit the long climb up Emerson loop to Kelly Cut Off it was good, I was shelling clothes and listening to good tunes. There was some sort of a foot race going on out this way too. But as we made the turn for The Dalles the skys opened up and the wind was what I would imagine a friend of mine saying it’s a 5 2 day (he is a wind surfer). But hey the rain isn’t going to stay for long so we keep the pace tempo and I am warm anyway but the rain starts getting thick and the drops become heavy and painful so I head back to the hotel before the second loop (stage 4) for a quick costume change and a bite.

As I take off for the scout of the fourth stage I was still a little unsure about my legs for this stage race but the first 10 miles of stage 4 put things in to perspective… I am going to just finish this stage race. 7 mile hill is all of that and maybe a little more. The head wind and cross wind at 7 mph doesn’t exactly help with climbing either. We get to do this climb twice. The first real decision point in the race I can see happening at the second switch back of the climb. The riders will become exposed to the cross wind more and the pitch picks up a bit. If it is raining during the race like it was today the descent will be punishing. The cold shivers from this long windy decent will have anyone begging for climbing again and they won’t have much time to wait. As I passed through Mosier the climb to Rowena Crest begins and has a fair amount of false flats and some steeper sections as well. But the real challenge for the return part of the loop is the descent off of Rowena Crest, although challenging it is quite fun and if the course is dry the descent could be a decision maker on the last lap.

The ride ended with 62 miles of wet, cold, windy miles.

Of course a few minutes later it dried up and the winds calmed. But the tough rides are the ones you remember. It is really beautiful country and I look forward to the race and finishing with the bunch

The TT is false flats all the way to the turn around; the return trip will be fast and windy. Shouldn’t have to come out of the arrow bars.


I drove in last night to The Dalles, that’s right “The” Dalles because any other place called Dalles just isn’t. I came in from the west on 84 and hopped on the old Columbia River Gorge highway at Mosier. I wanted to see what kind of descents this Cherry Blossom stage race was going to offer the riders.

There have been lots of posts and blogs and just a ton of talk about the climbs of this race and how they will affect the race. That descent coming off the Rowena visitor center is enough to make a tour rider pucker. The roads are so narrow that two mini’s couldn’t pass each other. The roads are covered in sand dirt and boulders that would be hard to miss. There are tough switch backs and with only one lane action crashes are eminent.

I am not nearly worried about the climbs to make it to the finish it is going to be how many times I can pick my bike up out of the ditch or off the pavement without it being in too many pieces to ride.


BB #4. After more than a year I am back in the pelaton. I am riding with pain but training and riding none the less. I spend about twice the time working on my neck as I do riding.

I was afraid that my fitness wasn’t going to be on but I am actually feeling pretty good and planning on doing something at Cherry Blossom, like staying in the race. But today was spent working some of the time and chatting at the back with some guy with a new BMC, stupid name (Bicycle Manufacturing Company, couldn’t come up with a better name than that? Lame!). On the third lap I was just ridin’ along (JRA) and some how ended up off the front. I looked back and no one was doing anything about it. I didn’t want to go off the front and hadn’t planned on it. In fact quite the opposite, I wanted to spend my time in the bunch saving my legs for the end. But the boys seemed to be calling me out so off I went. I was reintroduced to my old pain. I went up the road and got a healthy gap and looked down at my HR monitor. It was flashing STOP! My legs agreed but my head was overruling. I could see a couple of people trying to make the gap but couldn’t. Then as I got out of sight one little guy came up just as we hit the long descent to the dam. “Thank GOD!”

We rolled over the dam and the little guy was starting to pull and we were working well together but I just couldn’t get a break behind the little fella. We had no chance. My nose was in the wind the whole time. Oh well it was back to the bunch at Lee hill and time to recover for the finish. If that is possible. The decision was made to help a guy from our team take another win at BB so I took the first pull up Lee Hill on the fourth lap and let ‘em fly. Good thing too because I missed a crash off the back and was able to still finish middle of the pack.

Good Job Johnny and Brian. What a great first race back.


Tempo Ride 32 miles 3200’ of climbing. It is funny that about five years ago when I was first starting to ride for more than just getting from here to there I hated climbing. Now I am bored stiff if it doesn’t have a 1:100 ratio or less.

So today I did a bit of exploring and was just trying to get 2 hours in. I took a left on this road up on the bluff that I don’t usually take. I learned my lesson. I am just cruising along up a little pitch and out comes an English Pointer with hair standing up barking growling and didn’t care much for me being on his road. If my heart rate wasn’t high it was now and I was standing still with the bike between me and him. Thinking this might be a mistake… what if he scratched my bike! Out comes the owner without an apology and gets him back in the yard. Wow ok, not the dogs fault but come on not cool. So I headed off, heart racing and bike not. I cruised up to Crown Point and off the back to work on my descending and back up to working on my climbing. I head up to Larch Mt. and to the back roads back home. What a beautiful descent and quite roads. This descent is a screamer, 45 50 mph and long sweeping turns. Awesome.