Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wine Country Populaire

The last scheduled Oregon Randonneurs event of the season is the Wine Country Populaire, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The weather was to be clear and highs in the mid-40's. The night before, the forecast changed to maybe some rain, definitely cloudy, and I'm not sure the temperature even hit 40 :-)

I modified my clothing to change to the Pearl Izumi AmFib tights, and the Showers Pass jacket. I was sort of hoping to not even carry it along, but I should know better by now.

So, picked up Jason at 7:05am, headed out to Forest Grove to find.... an empty parking lot. Wrong day? The ride started an hour earlier? What happened? After a walk into the Grand Lodge, it hit me - the ride perhaps started at 9am, not 8am. Walking back out, we found Susan setting up in the parking lot. After she got over laughing at us, we signed in (first! no line!), then went back into the Lodge for more coffee, crashing the Seattle International Randonneurs table.

Properly fortified, back out to the frigid parking lot (temp 31 deg F), where I put on toe warmers, my new Pearl Izumi Gore-Tex shoes (mine are thankfully black with hot pink accents), and booties over that. I did not want cold feet. Hot pink Shebeest hat with hot pink Shebeest vest over a heavy pink jersey (going for pinkness on this ride), then the Showers Pass jacket. Smartwool liner gloves under Gore-Tex Windstopper gloves. I had a spare pair of vaguely waterproof gloves in reserve, just in case the projected rain was more than transitory.

Jason tried to get Amy to put on some chemical toe warmers, but she didn't see where they'd fit in her shoes. She missed out on 6 hours of warm feet, there.

David was test-riding a bike to review it; watch his blog for details.

Right about 9am we headed out of Forest Grove. Heading south on Stringtown Rd, there were bits of suspiciously shiny pavement; I avoided those. I was at the back of a large pack, and each and every one of them missed the Dilley Road turn. Using my outdoor voice, I yelled until some of them started to turn around.

Tried to get a picture of the Montinore Vineyards grape vines with their wonderful fall coloration. My camera battery said nope, not going. I think this battery has a recycling in its future.

South on Hwy 47, where my waterbottle cage decided to come off - this is the adjustable plastic one; the screw heads are now the same size as the hole. I shoved it back on, but by then the pack was off ahead.

So, solo riding all the way into Cherry Grove, stopping to reseat the water bottle cage a couple of times; mulling over roadside fixes. A ziptie (which I did not have) would be best, followed by tying it on with cord, which I did have, and my multitool did have a knife blade. At least I think it does. I should check that. Rollers into Cherry Grove - I could see the pack ahead, and was closing very slowly, but not fast enough. Every dog in town was barking as I rode through, up to the info control at the church (I knew the answer to the question. I could have filled it in at the beginning and saved myself 12 miles of riding. Cheating :-) Wouldn't go there :-) ), to find Susan, doing the Secret Control thing. And she had a ziptie, too.

Secured the waterbottle cage, took off my jacket, and headed back out, passing the last few riders coming in.

Right on Bates Rd, into Gaston, at this point searching for publicly accessible plumbing. Found a blue room on Main; locked, but there were open ones at the park a block further along. Chatted with Jane, of the hand and foot powered recumbent.

Off again, then south on Spring Hill, working my way over the 2 or 3 biggish hills to the next control at Laughlin Rd. There was a brief hailstorm just at the intersection with Flett Rd. The control was staffed by Mike Rasmussen and his mom, and had hot soup, hot coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, cookies and chips. The bulk of the group was there; Jason and Peg were working their way though some soup.

I got my card stamped, and a cup of soup. Sal took a picture of me in my hot pink and Peg in her fluorescent orange Showers Pass jacket - "I'm documenting that randos do not always wear muted colors".

Slurped though the soup as quickly as possible, ate a banana and some chocolate, visited with Amy and Jack, and then Jason and I headed out on Laughlin Rd. Amy and Jack passed us (tandem). Laughlin Rd goes through some hills; vineyard and forests, pretty much, then opens up, still climbing gently to SR 240. Rescued Amy and Jack from an incorrect turn at the corner of Laughlin and SR 240. Into Yamhill, where I spotted a blue room by a barn (Jason was wanting a stop), then south on Hwy 47 to Carlton. Stopped to pull my jacket back on; it was starting to rain. Rolling country, farms and vineyards here.

South past some more wineries, then left through Carlton (retro little town, lots of tasting rooms there, too), out again into the countryside (open, rolling), then south on Mineral Springs Rd. Bits of forest, but mostly fields and vineyards. The drizzle stopped somewhere along here.

Waited a bit for a break in traffic, then turned left on 99W into Lafayette; finding a small group at Bob's Market. We needed a receipt or signature here. The cashier was Korean. No English. As I wasn't the first rider she'd seen that day, though, she had it figured out. It helps to buy something at the store - I got a Reese's Fastbreak candy bar, and inhaled it right there in the parking lot. I don't think I ate or drank enough on this ride - I was dragging way too much on the last 23 miles.

Through Lafayette, north on Bridge/Abbey (I contemplated stopping for fruitcake, but remembered we had lots of leftover pie at home), Kuehne roads. One mental giant in an old dirty gray Suburban sort of vehicle felt the need to yell and throw an open, full soda can at us. Good thing his aim was exceptionally poor.

Left on Ribbon Ridge Rd, left on North Valley. Jason is getting annoyed by my rear fender rattle. It needs one more bolt, or something - it rattles in the bridge. We stop by a wetlands to stretch, then proceed on north. All autopilot now. Pass Laughlin Rd, pass Chehalem, pass Main. The toe warmers are approaching the end of their useful life. Gaston is visible on the left, then we pass it. Down around the corner, over the creek, up again, pass through the Fisher Farms nursery area (I know this area in my sleep now), knowing that the Fern Hill turn is up ahead, around the corner skirting the hills in front of us.

Onto Fern Hill, pass Blooming-Fernhill Rd, climb to the red barn (last hill!), down to the wetlands, through Forest Grove... done. We put away the bikes, change our shoes, and head in to finish. Cecil is there, too, yay!

Beth finishes up our cards, and we head down to soak in the hot pool before the dinner. Fitz sends me a text message that he AND Brian are coming out for the dinner. Amy and Jack join us at our table, plus there is a lot of visiting around.

After getting home, I had second dessert :-)

Pictures here

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