Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Accidental Errandonneur

I never meant to be an Errandonneur.

I'm busy.   I work long hours.    I drive too much.  Who has time to do 12 errands by bike in 12 days??  Not me.  And so, I put it out of my mind.

Or, so I thought.

Yesterday was one of those days that those of us in the Pacific NorthWet dream of during the long cold wet dreary winters.   Clear blue skies.  Light breezes.  Temperatures approaching *gasp* 60 degrees.

I had a Bicycle Transportation Alliance board meeting in town to attend at 2pm.   "Such a beautiful day", I thought.  "I should ride my bike!"    Still, the Errandonnee Challenge never crossed my mind.  I was just looking for an excuse to ride.

Off I went, up and over the West Hills, riding my fast bike, aptly named The TroubleMaker.   13.5 miles and 1,200 feet later, I burst into my meeting, 5 minutes late, more than a little sweaty, but grinning from ear to ear.

Two hours of meetings later, I decide to head over to the bike shop.  My rear wheel has been making a funny creaking noise, so having the awesome guys at Cyclepath take a look seemed like a good idea.   Since I was headed in that direction, Megan at the BTA asked me to ferry a bottle of beer over to Bill, the owner of Cyclepath, who is a wonderful BTA supporter.   Thanks to Megan's request, I learned that a rather large bottle of beer fits into my water bottle cage.   Good to know!

Sweetpea outside the BTA office with adult beverage in the bottle cage!

Off I went, over the Broadway Bridge and up Williams Avenue.   Lost in the pleasure of spinning my legs, I completely missed my turn towards MLK Blvd.   A mile or so later, I realized my error and turned around.   Bonus miles!

The guys at the bike shop are super friendly.  After explaining my issue, they quickly reproduced the creak in my fancy-pants Zipp 404 PowerTap wheel.  Over the next hour and a half, they tried everything they could think of.   Swap the skewer.  Still creaked.  Swap the tube (could have been the valve rattling in the deep rim).  Still creaked. Anything and everything that could be lubed, greased or cleaned was lubed, greased or cleaned, and the wheel still creaked.  Once every rotation without fail.

And so I learned that even the experts get stumped sometimes!   The bike will be going back to the shop for an overnight play date after the shop consults with Zipp and PowerTap.

Cycling buddy Asta lives near the shop, so I sent her a text to find out if she'd had dinner yet.   Nope, she hadn't.  She swung by, and we went off in search of a food cart pod where we could eat and not leave our bikes unattended.  I don't let The TroubleMaker out of my sight!  We ended up at the cart pod on 6th.  The taco cart had a long line, but the soft tacos turned out to be sooooo worth it.   Sadly I did not take a picture of the deliciousness.  I was too busy inhaling it.

I learned that my definition of "medium hot" was clearly not the same as the owner's.  Hooooo-WHEE that was HOT hot sauce!   Yummers!

Meandering around town, from BTA to bike shop to taco truck to MAX.  From Strava.

After dinner, I headed off towards the MAX train to take me back over the West Hills.  I wouldn't have minded climbing back up and over, but it was dark now and much cooler.  In my sunny weather enthusiasm, I'd failed to pack a jacket or long fingered gloved.  While the climb would be fine, the descent on the other side would turn me into a popsicle!

The Hillsboro-bound train passed me as I approached the nearest station.   Knowing I would miss it there, I instead raced across town towards the Goose Hollow station, confident that I could beat it there, thanks to all the stops it had to make in between.  Sure I enough, I beat that train to Goose Hollow by a minute or so.  Sweet!

Once off the train, it was a flat, easy 3 mile spin home.

But still, thoughts of errandonneuring had not crossed my mind.  It wasn't until reading Mary's blog update today that I realized I'd spent most of yesterday being an Accidental Errandonneur!

So, 3 errands and 23.7 miles later, I guess I'm well on my way to errandonneuring success.  Perhaps I'll go to the grocery store tonight....

Strava files:
From home to the BTA meeting
BTA to bike shop to dinner to train!
From train to home