Here's a great article on couch surfing. I gave Phil some advice when he embarked on his bicycle trip across America last year. (The article got his trip stats wrong--he did 90 miles a day!) I wish couch surfing had been around when Eric and I did our bike trip. We probably would have met a lot more people that way. I guess we'll have to do it again one of these days...
I rode the Portland Century last weekend. I hadn't done much training in the last month, so I knew it would be tough. But it ended up being a lot toughter than I was expecting...
It was very hilly with almost 5,000 feet of elevation gain. And I haven't done much hill training this year on account of my Seattle-to-Portland training. Luckily the weather was extremely pleasant - a hot day would have made this ride a killer! I started out with Par and Kurt, but got dropped somewhere before the first rest area. No problem, I'm used to riding alone on long rides. I caught up with another friend, Lindsey, after the third rest stop and we rode the rest of the way together.
I didn't have any physical problems but did lose mental motivation on Marine Drive (around the 70 mile mark). It also rained on us for the last hour of the ride, although it was a warm summer rain and not really that unpleasant.
Overall, the course was great, traffic pretty minimal, fun crowd, decent rest stops (although way too few bathrooms), and great food, especially the huge buffet at the finish line. At a little under eight hours, I wasn't a speed demon, but I felt like I finished at least in the top 50%. I'm going to have to come back next year and try to crush this thing!
Kurt turned me on to Bikely, a sweet bike route mapping site. It has a great user interface, provides an elegant Google Maps mashup, offers elevation profiles, and can print out turn-by-turn directions (cue sheets). Here's an example, the Portland Century route.
Up until now, the venerable gmaps-pedometer had been my favorite way of conveying this information, but I'm switching to Bikely! It has a few areas for improvement (such as its search) but development seems active so I'm sure they'll get resolved.
I rode the Reach the Beach ride on Saturday with my friend Par. We did the 100-mile route, which started in Portland and ended at Pacific City. We got going around 7:45am and the first 60 miles went down easily. Most of that was with Par in the lead and me drafting. After Amity, the heat started to get to me and I bonked for a 10-mile segment. The last 25 miles got a lot easier, especially as we cleared the coastal range and the cool ocean air revitalized us. We arrived at the beach around 4:00pm (6.5 hours ride time), did a quick dip in the ocean to cool off, had dinner, and headed back home.
Overall, a very well-organized event. I would definitely ride it again (although I should probably do a little more pre-training next time). This ride was an eye-opener for me that the Seattle-to-Portland ride is less than two months away. I really need to up my training game if I'm going to make it in one day.
I've decided to go for Seattle to Portland in one day this year. It's 202 miles. That's about 60 miles more than I've ever biked in a day. But hopefully with a lot of drafting from the pace line, I should be able to make it!
Unfortunately, I'm already falling behind the recommended training schedule...