Sunday, January 20, 2008

Scio Covered Bridges Permanent

Cecil talked me into joining her on the Scio Covered Bridges 200km permanent. The weather forecast changed over the week from really bad to pretty good to probably not going to rain much but won't get very warm.

Shimanek Covered Bridge

With that in mind, I ordered some REI waterproof taped overmitts and a Smartwool long-sleeve base layer.

Met Cecil in the Wilsonville City Hall parking lot at 6am. (Sunrise at 7:45am) We got organized and rode over to the Starbuck's to get a start time receipt. Bill found us there.

And off we went. It was dark and cold, as expected, just above freezing. But dry. The first bit of the ride was pretty interesting - we hopped onto I-5 to cross the Willamette River via the Boone Bridge. No other way across for miles and miles (the Canby ferry is currently not operating). Lots of junk on the shoulder, but it was only for a mile. Then off the freeway, heading south, west of Canby, through Aurora, then onto Meridian Road for quite a distance.

Street sign on Meridian

My new light worked wonderfully. I just left it on. A very liberating feeling, knowing that your batteries will NEVER run out.

Finally, into Silverton, where Bill wanted to take pictures at a friend's restaurant, then into a coffee shop for snacks and a restroom. In retrospect, we faffed too much in Silverton.

We had a headwind all the way there - couldn't ride much faster than 11mph. I would have chalked it up to my new generator hub, but Cecil and Bill weren't going too much faster.

The climb out of Silverton was special, and a harbinger of things to come. This route has 3000 vertical feet, and I think most of them are between Silverton and Scio. Specifically, Cole School Road has some seriously vertical rollers. Cecil and I had to walk the top part of one of them.

I thought I saw a cyclist up ahead and figured it was Cecil, but we caught her and it wasn't her.

Richardson Gap was a fun little downhill (steep, 4 sharp turns), and then we were at the first covered bridge - Shimanek. Picture stop, then on into Scio. And found the cyclist in front of us - Marcello! He was slurping down an Ensure (rando Drink of Champions).

We got there Just In Time. (5:12 from the start). Don't faff. The cashiers at the Scio Market kept leaving to do stuff, so it took forever to get a timestamped receipt. Go the the bank ATM down the street!

Ate my peanut butter/butter/jam sandwich and a banana. We couldn't stand around too long - it had warmed up to all of 37 by this point. And it started to rain. Not heavily, but definitely rain.

The route had us do a semi-loop south and west of Scio to go through two other covered bridges. Marcello rode out with us. I wa a bit worried about Hungry Hill Rd, after the earlier climbing, but it was very gentle, with nice farm views to the south. At the bridge, Bill, Cecil and I stopped to take pictures, but Marcello pressed on. That was the last we saw of him.

I pulled out my REI overmitts, as the rain seemed inclined to stick around. They've got long cuffs, so Cecil got to be "mommy" and tuck them in for me.

I had purchased a big Payday bar in Scio, and ate a chunk of it every so often.

Then a detour into the hamlet of Crabtree, for an info control question, and off to the Gilkey Covered Bridge. Which was closed. Given that we had no local road information, and would probably have to head back into Scio to move onward, we investigated. The roadbed was fine, if one didn't mind detouring around construction debris. So we went on through.

Gilkey Covered Bridge

At this point we had turned and the wind was behind us. Yeah! Speeds of 15mph became possible.

Still rural, farms and ranches. Large expanses of "nothing" but the occasional farm. I contrast this with the our summer vacation in Central Europe - villages every 2-5km. No isolated farms.

Then onto Parrish Gap Rd. Note that "Gap" is keyword for "some climbing included". It was pretty. It stopped raining somewhere along here.

Then into Turner, where I bought some water and Cecil made a stop. Bill wanted to keep moving, as his knee was hurting; he said we'd find him at the Salem Safeway.

Heading into Salem, traffic was slow, and the car behind me not inclined to pass. So I signaled that I was turning left and moved into the lane. Easy turn onto Airway Dr, and a nice ride behind the airport. The rain returned.

We somehow got to the Salem Safeway, found Bill's bike, and took turns going inside to get receipts. The nice workers at the Starbuck's in the store filled my thermos with hot water so I could make more Gatorade Tea. 40 more miles in the cold - I needed my hot drink. Ate half of another sandwich and another banana.

Off again, passing the Justice Center (Cecil: "I work there!"). Broadway was closed, so we wandered around awhile to get to the other side of the closure, and proceeded on out of Salem, following the Monster Cookie Ride route in reverse.

Somewhere on Ravena we stopped, so I could put my night gear back on - turn on helmet light and reinstall reflective vest. Not that my jacket and Camelback didn't have tons of reflective strips on them already. But rando rules are rando rules.

Then a lot of riding around in the dark for another 30 miles :-) Mostly deserted roads, so I could sit up and ride no-hands to unkink my shoulders and neck. One should note that Keene Rd (right turn off Hwy 219) is the ONLY street not marked or indicated, until you get there. Easy to miss, in otherwords. But we didn't, because Cecil was alert.

Stopped about 8 miles before the end for snacks. I was running on empty. I shared the remains of that massive Payday bar around, and Cecil produced a big Tootsie roll and broke off a chunk. I figured I'd spend the last 8 miles working it out of my teeth :-)

Rode along, then on Boone's Ferry Rd (which, if followed to the end, would take one to the river, and no ferry), then up over I-5, and down the on-ramp, for the 1.1 miles of I-5 freeway shoulder riding.

The shoulder IS wide, but interesting in the dark. Then into Wilsonville, and back to the Starbuck's where we all started. Hot chocolate all around.

Cecil's pictures here (and you should look!)
and her blog writeup

Gear notes:
The temp for the day never got above 40, and it rained sporadically
Smartwool ls base layer
OrRando ss wool jersey (extra warm because it is slightly felted)
Ibex wool armwarmers
Showers Pass Elite jacket
Smartwool liner cap
Descente Wombat gloves, with handwarmers in the pouches on the back of the hand (and this was INSPIRED!)
REI taped overmitts (for about an hour, in the rain)
Defeet thicker wool socks, with chemical toe warmers
Shebeest shorts
Pearl Izumi Amfib tights
Pearl Izumi X-Alp Mid GTX shoes
Sugoi Resistor booties.
(gosh that is a lot of clothing)
I did have a Shebeest thermal vest on as well, but pulled it off about after an hour. I was too hot with it on.

This clothing combination worked perfectly all day. I'd get cold when we stopped, but would warm up quickly once we got moving again. I never felt clammy.


bikelovejones said...

I really appreciate the lists -- of what to wear, what to carry, what to eat/drink. Keep it up.
Congrats on a ride well done!

Nelson Ralls said...

Hi Lynne!

Sound and Looks like you had a great ride. It was nice and dry here in Texas on our 200K, but it was also below 40 all day and a bit windy, but beautiful nonetheless. I was thinking of you guys and hoping you were having as much fun as me.

Take Care,