A weekend with Tilly Jane

Posted on Mar 21, 2017 in General | 0 comments

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I spent the past weekend with 18 strangers (friends of a friend who I’d now call friends) at the Tilly Jane A-Frame up on Mount Hood. Built in 1939 and with no modern amenities, the recommendation is to pack for a backpacking trip minus the tent. You’re given a roof, a wood stove, and not much else. This is apparently an annual trip for these folks, but for me and the friend it was kind of spur of the moment as spots opened up last minute. Luckily we both had most of what we needed and REI was able to provide the rest.

We set off early Friday morning from town. The RAV4 was the chariot of choice so I had to take it out of enclosed pickup truck mode by installing seats for passengers. Note to self: Don’t do that the morning of next time… Almost had a serious issue. As expected, the old girl performed flawlessly. Upon arriving at the trailhead we donned our stuffed packs, cold weather clothing, and trekking poles. The snow wasn’t too slick so despite a few concerning spots, we managed to make our way up with only boots (had snowshoes in case). The trip up is 2.6 miles and 2000ft of climbing. With a full pack and the 50mph sideways sleet we faced, it was far from an easy hike. Apparently there are amazing views on the way up, but they’re missed when your head is down in an attempt to shield your eyeballs from ice pebbles.

Tilly Jane A-Frame

Tilly Jane A-Frame

Upon arrival to the cabin, we got to work firing up the wood stove. I believe the temperature inside was 37? We would eventually reach 59 before the weekend was out with some serious stoking efforts despite the outdoor temperature dropping to the low 20s. Keeping the place warm was kind of the main focus of the weekend because fire, and well, people tended to congregate around the only heat source.

Sleeping was in the upstairs loft. Basically, pick a dry section of floor and lay your sleeping bag down. This was tricky because the dry spots weren’t always the same throughout the night. I ended up having to move when I felt a trickle on my toes, but others dealt with worse. Prior to the trip I bought a nice new bag that was rated to 18. It turned out to be overkill and I ended up leaving the feet unzipped all weekend, but I’m glad I’ve got a super cold bag now and it was on a monster clearance.

The Saturday forecast appeared to be pretty rough with the risk of us not getting outside at all. Early in the day I went for a solo snowshoe with no destination in mind to make sure I got out. Well, the toilet (half a mile away) was actually the first goal, but from there anything went. It wasn’t snowing profusely, you eventually run into trail markings wherever you go, and it’s easy enough to retrace your steps so I kind of lost myself in a wander, intersected the main trail, and made my way back to the cabin.

View from Cloud Cap Inn

View from Cloud Cap Inn

Later Saturday the weather broke. Folks got outside for sledding and my friend, Jackie, and I made our way up to the Cloud Cap Inn to take in some amazing views of the mountain. Winds up there were absolutely insane and there was a near vertical section, but it was well worth the trip. After some time we made our way back down to the cabin to get warm again.

Sunday morning we arose fairly early, packed it all up, and made our way back to the car. Whereas the hike up would take nearly two hours, the hike down was barely an hour, but damn if I don’t feel the way down in my calves two days later. With the colder temperatures later in the weekend the snow had iced up a good bit so I ended up snowshoeing all the way down.

We finished things off with an attempted lunch and beers in Hood River, which became lunch and beers at Thunder Island in Cascade Locks because we weren’t interested in hour+ waits at Pfriem.

Overall, an awesome weekend and unlike anything I’ve ever done before. Next time I’ll put a bit more planning into my diet (ended up eating entirely freeze-dried camp food, but others made some fresher stuff with light/high calorie foods that made me a bit jelly), but otherwise I’d change nothing. Made a lot of new friends, saw some amazing sights, revived the sinus infection I’ve been battling for a month, and had a blast of a time.

No, I don’t know who Tilly Jane is.

GPS: Up, solo, Cloud Cap, and down.

Race: Jack Frost Time Trial

Posted on Mar 5, 2017 in Cycling | 0 comments

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Finally, not a loss (although my check engine light came on during the ride home so continue to FML). Not a win either, but third, and bested by second by only .2s over 20km.

I did this race two years ago and while I put in a faster pace (average speed) then, I placed 12 positions worse. I noted then that it was windy that day, but it was clearly even windier today as times were roughly 3:30-4 minutes slower (I was 2:30 slower). There was also an additional .5mi this time around. Cliff’s – slower speed, much better result, I’m faster… I think.

I also borrowed a TT bike this go around, but after a few rides I wasn’t able to get comfortable or feel efficient on it. The night before I even popped it on the trainer and completely overhauled my positioning. No idea if I got it right or even close to right, but it had to be faster than my road bike… right? It had a power meter and my wattage was right around what I would have expected based on previous hard efforts of this length on the trainer, but low considering my FTP – maybe my FTP is off? I mean another 23 watts for another 29 minutes in theory? Something ain’t right.

I don’t think they had awards or anything so just some pride earned. Would have been nice to get 2nd for the additional upgrade points, but I’m hopeful I’ll be reaching 3 before the season gets into full swing.

[GPS]

All the losses

Posted on Mar 3, 2017 in General | 0 comments

This is a mopey post. I hope it’s the last one for a long while.

This morning I was laid off effective immediately. I had worked for the company for ten years. It didn’t come as a shock as the writing has been on the wall ever since we were acquired a handful of years ago, and especially so when my development team dwindled to near nothing and was not replaced.

But shit. Mom, marriage, house, job. My f’ing cat had better not get sick.

I received a pretty reasonable deal so there’s no rush finding new work. I started working the Monday after college graduation and have never had a gap in employment so this will be the first time in my adult life I’ll be unemployed even a day. What to do Monday? I’m thinking snowboarding. Tuesday? Maybe more snowboarding. Wednesday? Probably take a nap.

The timing is pretty good as it gives me a free week in which to unpack in the new place (oh yeah, I skipped mentioning I bought a new place – more on that later). I also had my finger on the trigger for a new desk purchase, but was going to wait until the weekend to pull it. Now, perhaps no longer working from home I don’t need a fancy new desk? Maybe I can even downsize my home office setup and more easily fit my arcade cabinet in the living room? These are important things.

If you know of anything – freelance, contract, part-time, full-time, let me know. My resume hasn’t been used in a long time, but I’ve given it a super quick and lazy pass so feel free to take a look and provide feedback.

Captain Echo (product mascot) Out!
Captain Echo (product mascot) OUT!

Doing More

Posted on Feb 24, 2017 in Cycling, General | 0 comments

Years ago I was overwhelmed, wrote about it, and was happier for it. Times have changed and I’ve recently felt I’d be happier doing more. When asked if I’d be interested in joining the board for my cycling team, I went for it and got the position. As of this week I am the webmaster/communications dude for Prestovelo/Bicycleattorney.com.

I don’t have anything significant planned as the person previously in the role did a great job and left me nicely setup (he inherited a much tougher job), but I’m floating a handful of ideas specifically to improve event awareness/tracking/participation.

Noteworthy – during this regular shuffling of the board, the team became the first coed team in Oregon history (as far as we can tell) to have a female president. Kind of surprising considering how progressive Oregon is, but less surprising when you consider how male dominated cycling is.

Some divorcee v-day thoughts and observations

Posted on Feb 14, 2017 in General | 0 comments

Nothing too related to the day, but the subject is relationships, people, that’s what today is all about, and I’ve got some free time to write, so why not? 😉

  • People treat you as if divorce is a disease they don’t want to catch. It’s not a lot of people, but there is definitely a stigma attached. Fortunately, just about half of everyone has been divorced so there are also a plethora of folks who get it and pass no judgement.
  • Friends you had met through or with your former spouse who are no longer friends. They actually unfriend you or seemingly put you on mute. My divorce was not the tidiest in the world, but these folks are all working with half a story (at most) and making a full judgement with it. That’s unfortunate, but probably not the type of person you want to be friends with anyway.

A quick Googling tells me these are not original thoughts.

Be cool, don’t be judgey, I’m out [to ride my bike and eat pizza and drink wine and watch Netflix ALL NIGHT LONG].

Race: WBR 1 flat lap – By a tire

Posted on Feb 5, 2017 in Cycling | 0 comments

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Lead group finished

By now you probably know I do a lot of trainer/online bike riding from the comfort of home. I haven’t raced online much since last off-season and am pretty focused on a training plan right now so again no real time for racing, but now and then I fit quick ones in… like today.

I’ve progressed enough with my cycling that I’m now in an open category, which means my functional threshold power is over 4 watts per kilogram. I’m only barely over that mark so I typically get crushed in category races by folks who are comfortably in the category. Today, either none of those folks showed up, or I was a tactical genius. I’d like to think it was a bit of both.

Conveniently, there was a 1-hour easy ride scheduled just before this race, which served as a great warmup. After that concluded I had a chance to hit the restroom, top off my water, and even reweigh to make sure my power to weight ratio (that’s what this stuff is all about) was correct (it was – I’m +10lbs over race weight… eek! but within 8% though so nothing to be too concerned with).

This particular race was an all-out 1-lap race. That means gunning from the start, which I’m usually ill-prepared for and end up off the lead group immediately and completely out of contention. NOT TODAY. For the first 5 miles nothing occurred. Nobody pushed the pace and I was my typical vocal self egging folks on 😉 On the final hill, a short to medium 4%, one guy broke away. A few seconds later, another. With the group not jumping, I became the third to break. There was a 3-4 second gap between each of us at the top of the hill. I think the first guy gassed himself or realized how long a 1-mile slog by yourself can be and his power dropped significantly. The second guy caught him and a short while later I did too. At this point the pack was still only 4-seconds back. Sensing blood, I pushed the pace. The other two grabbed my wheel and we pulled further from the pack. Knowing tactics (I’m usually the breakaway guy because a solo break is fun as hell and VIDEO GAME), I wasn’t going to let them ride me in. I eased off a touch as they picked up their paces at the 1k mark and began sprinting shortly thereafter. I bided my time, but stayed in their draft. With 400m left I dropped the hammer. For a moment I thought I had started my sprint too late, but I edged them both at the absolute last possible moment before the line for the win.

I only pulled a 4.1w/kg for the race, which usually isn’t enough for a win, but this one came mostly down to tactics. I could have certainly put more power in, but until that last mile I was biding my time and saving juice as opposed to being combative and making things interesting like usual.

Today’s lesson? Smart is less fun, winning is most fun. Race smart.

2016 Year in Review

Posted on Dec 31, 2016 in General | 0 comments

15697440_10155094814014396_1593391325734765536_nAnother one down and much change had.

General

  • The big one – I got divorced. I’m okay, thanks. Halle is making sure I don’t get too lonely and my friends have been wonderful allowing me to third wheel anything and everything.
  • The other big one – the house is sold. Well, pending for now, but I need to find something new and move within the next three weeks. Owning turned out to be an amazing investment, but the flip side to that is I can’t find anything suitable within my price range very easily. I’ll be moving to an apartment for at least the short term. Definitely not leaving Portland. Ideas for what’s next is buy a small place to live in/rent out part time, buy a condo and live in/rent out part time, put life into storage and travel, rent long-term and buy a cabin or something fun. In case you can’t tell by the options, my feet are itchy for some movement.
  • Family is all doing very well. Grandma moved to PA so I don’t get to see her much, but that just means I need to schedule a separate trip.
  • Fantasy football was nasty. Played in two leagues and in both had top picks not perform or go on IR. In the better of the two I ended up only starting a single drafted player in the final week of the season. Can’t win ’em all.

Goals/Achievements

  • R13667741_10154620525289396_6760467099498958483_oan 12 miles. I had no goal here so this is alright, but for real for real I’m definitely no runner any longer. Had I not been sick to close out the year I’d have gone out to the track to pop off a sub-6 mile just to prove to myself I still have it, but it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe I’ll get that done early in the next year.
  • Biked 6,041 miles. Two years straight of big leaps here and I expect next year to follow that trend. Really starting to feel strong on the bike. I have to thank my indoor trainer for a lot of this mileage; it has enabled me to ride when I otherwise wouldn’t want to or be able to. Moved up a category in cyclocross, the only discipline I really focused on.
  • Swam less than half a mile. After two years of no swimming whatsoever, we’ve got data again! This was a single trip across the Willamette. I’d really like to get into a routine of open water swimming, but I’m not going to fret if it doesn’t happen.
  • Hiked 15 miles. That’s terrible. I’m ashamed of this.
  • Spent 15.5 hours snowboarding. Quickly approaching “not a beginner.”
  • Weight dropped to a low of 162 and an average of 165 or so. This did wonders for my cycling power to weight ratio. I’m currently at “holiday weight” so no good year-end number to note, but I’ve clearly made a breakthrough after years in the low 170s. Eating cleaner and burning more calories is the trick.
  • Burned 317,000 calories. 10% jump from last year.
  • Read 24 books. Well, 23 at the time of this writing, but I’m finishing another today. I’ve found this to be a healthy number, which I’ve been hitting year after year. Outliers was the best book I read.
  • Rated 140 titles on Netflix. Must-see titles according to me are Captain Fantastic and The Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
  • Reviewed 7 businesses on Yelp. I’m over it. I still use it for recommendations, but am not interested in sharing my opinion as much anymore. Farewell, Gold Elite status and the perks that come with it.

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Monthly Highlights

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2017? More miles, a road upgrade, becomes a “masters” racer (I’m supposed to start slowing down? PFFT!), more adventures, everyone having kids/having to step up the Uncle Mikey game. Looking forward to a fresh one.

Previous years in review: 2015201420132012201120102009200820072006.