The Wind,The Rain, and a Few Lions

I was supposed to get a phone call if there was work for me yesterday. I hadn’t heard anything by 8:30 and figured it was time to ride. It was raining and there was a high wind advisory, but I had just finished watching the the fifth stage of Paris-Nice. The stoke factor was high so it was time to go. I got dressed, set pandora to my “Wilco” channel, donned my clear plastic rain jacket and hit the road.

It has been a long time since I’ve been in the West Hills, too long in fact. I’ve been complainy about the conditions up there, but today I decided that it was time to put the big boy pants on and get out for some old fashioned suffering. SW Thompson is closed and I didn’t want to go up through the Zoo, so I had to find a different way up there. What I found was great climbing in spades.

The Lion, at home in the wet weather.

Months ago I followed a teammate up to Council Crest. I tired to recreate that today. Those exploratory plans were scrapped when I came across The Lion of Flanders. These are all over certain parts of the West Hills and mark the course for the annual Tour of Portlandia. The first time I found one I didn’t know why it was there, but I thought it a good idea to follow it.

I was rewarded with great twisty climbs all the way up to Farmount loop. I rolled past big, over priced houses, a giant bark chipper, a bunch of women running.

I knew I was close to the Sylvan exit on HWY 26, but didn’t know how to get there. I was given some very helpful direction from a very nice lady in a very nice car. She was great, and I thanked her. Then she said that thing that everyone says when it’s raining. “Stay dry”. Clearly I had already fail at that. I followed her directions and made my way up to SW Skyline. It was all known from there.

From there it gets boring, well for the rest of you, I was entertained the whole time. This isn’t meant to be an angsty post about some bike ride I went on, but I can’t go on with out saying that I needed this ride. It was cathartic. It felt so damn good. Even though I had two flats and blew out a presta valve on my second spare tube. After the second flat I discovered this little gem in my tire.

PVC Pipe?

To end check out Tyler Farrar getting lead out by the Classy World Champoin Thor Hushvod for the win in today’s stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico. I love how people keep trying to steal that wheel, but he won’t let them have it.

I meet Tyler back in November when he sat down to talk with Hedi Swift. Good kid who doesn’t race like he has a calm heart, but he does. Perfect combination.

I’m learning so much by just watching critical race moves over and over again. Now its just time to apply them.

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