Biking from Tualatin to Portland for SRCCON

Growing up, I always rode the cheap bike from Costco. I didn’t know what it was like to actually enjoy biking until I ended up with a Trek 7.3 for my birthday last summer.

SRCCON is pretty much my favorite conference of all time. The first year was in Philly, and the second year was in Minneapolis. This year, SRCCON ended up in Portland, on my birthday to boot, which meant I could do the unthinkable: attend SRCCON by bike.

As it turns out, there’s a great bike path for all but a quarter mile or so of the ride.

Tualatin to Portland

From Tualatin Community Park, ride through Cook Park and then along Hall Blvd. You’ll go past the Tigard Public Library, over 217, and then eventually end up on Oleson Rd. There’s a short jaunt on Garden Home, then you end up on Multnomah Blvd for quite a while. The one sketchy part of the route there is where Multnomah turns into Terwilliger, and you have to bike on the odd combo off/on-ramp. From Terwilliger, you turn right onto Barbur for a short while, then drop down to the waterfront near Willamette Sailing Club. It took me about an hour to get to this point. The waterfront then connects you to whatever part of downtown you want to go to.

2016-07-29 at 4.43 PM

Portland to Tualatin

Surprisingly, Google Maps doesn’t just reverse the route for the ride home. Coming from the Pearl, I ended up taking Broadway to Terwilliger, where I rode in the shade for quite a while. After Terwilliger, you take Capitol Hwy to Multnomah Blvd again, then reverse tracks home.

2016-07-29 at 4.43 PM -2

Awesome way to spend the day!


Race report: Best in the West Triathlon

Today, I happily completed my first olympic triathlon with a total time of 3:13:12. An olympic triathlon is a 1,500 meter swim, a 40 km (24.8 miles) bike ride, and a 10 km (6.2 miles) run. Overall, I finished 36th out of 38. My 37:32 swim put me at 35th out of 38 for the segment, my 1:44:08 bike ride put me in dead last, and my 48:30 run put me at 14th out of 38 (beating my friend David by four minutes too).

The course was spectacular. Sweet Home is a gorgeous area to begin with. The race started with an open water swim in Foster Lake with the temperature at 70 degrees. Our bike segment then journeyed through pretty stellar countryside with only a few minimal hills. The run finished up with a quick out and back near the lake.

What I did right:

  • Trained properly. I’ve been running or swimming up to six days a week for the past several months, regularly far exceeding the distances on the course. Both of those segments were a piece of cake.
  • Hydrated and fed myself well. Not perfectly, but good enough that I didn’t feel like throwing up, have low energy, etc. I ate a big dinner Saturday night so I wasn’t starving when I woke up, and fueled myself with Gatorade and Gu before and during the race.
  • Paced myself. In a race, it’s very easy to get caught up in the energy of the moment and push yourself as hard as you can out of the gate. This generally leads to burn out. I had the mindset that all I wanted to do was finish the race, and it made things much less stressful. I also wanted to make sure I could
  • Sprinted the finish. Not many others could say that about their finish…

What I need to do better next time:

  • Swim in a straight line. This was my first open water swim so I won’t be too hard on myself, but I lost momentum a few times when I veered off course. They even had to send a jet ski after me once to get me back on course.
  • Train on my bike. Biking was the most difficult segment, and it wasn’t made any easier by the fact that I hadn’t ridden my bike for almost a year.
  • Fix my bike or ride a road bike. I have a Novara Buzz urban bike I had shipped back from NYC. Last night, when putting it back together, I discovered the front fork was bent in such a way I couldn’t get the wheel back on. After fixing that with a vise grip, I thought I was back in business. As it turns out, both rims were also bent in such a fashion that the back wheel had a significant wobble and both had the disc brakes partially engaged for the entire segment. No coasting made biking exceptionally painful and slow.
  • Push myself harder. Now that I’ve finished my first, I know what it’s like to complete the entire race. I should focus on improving my time a bit.

This triathlon was an incredibly enjoyable event for me. I’m looking forward to another (half Ironman, possibly?) when the season starts again.

Escape to Maine, Memorial Day weekend edition

To get out of the city for Memorial Day weekend, Albert and I found cheap tickets (~$200/roundtrip) on JetBlue and flew up to Maine to meet up with Will for three days of hiking. It was epic.

Friday consisted of: getting leftover guacamole and chips from a lady at the airport restaurant, a four hour flight delay including a twenty-five airplane wait for the runway, 2 am tortellini pizza at Otto’s, and arriving in Bangor, finally, at 4 am.

After an early wake-up call Saturday morning (noon), Will, Albert, Will’s girlfriend Elyse and I drove to the coast to hike Acadia. It was a cloudy day unfortunately, but the hiking was great. Starting at the top of Cadillac Mountain, we dropped down one side to Jordon Pond and back up a sketchy Class 3 or 4 scramble with non-existent protection. Finishing just as darkness fell, we did about 8 miles and a couple thousand feet of vertical. For dinner and drinks, we went to Geddy’s in Bar Harbor.

Sunday became our gorgeous rest and recuperate day. Albert and I rented mountain bikes (his a Cannondale and mine a $2,500 Santa Cruz) and, with Will and Will’s friend Andrew, rode through Bangor City Forest for a couple of hours. This include water crossings and a leech. Afterwards, we drove to 4 Points BBQ for an early, incredibly filling dinner. I had spare ribs and beef brisket, heavy on the Kansas City BBQ sauce.

For Memorial Day, our big goal was the summit of Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain and one end of the Appalachian Trail. Waking up at 3 am to snag a parking slot (there ended up being plenty), we started hiking around 7 am, scrambled thousands of feet up Abol Slide, and summited just after 10 am. It was a lot windier than the forecast said. We took Hunt’s Trail, another popular route, for our never ending sketchy scramble down the mountain. I got back at 2 pm, Albert at 2:30 pm and Will and Andrew at 2:45 pm. In total, Katahdin was about 9 miles in length and around four thousand of elevation gain.

Three days of awesome.