Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Worst Day Ride

The Worst Day of the Year ride is held on the weekend closest to what is historically the worst weather of the winter. For the past 3 of th 4 years I've been doing it, they've failed miserably on getting bad weather. In other words, it didn't rain, and was relatively mild.

Fitz and I rode to the start (9.4 miles, climbing the West Hills), passing Ian, who was preriding the course to check the signage. Got to the start, where I found Diane and immediately left to do the Challenge Loop (40 miles). Fitz was planning on doing the Urban Loop (18 miles) and leaving it open how he got home.

We wandered around SE for a bit, then crossed the Hawthorne Bridge, and worked our way up Naito Pkwy, then west to the NW REI. Dragonfly Chai, then off again. Up through NW, crossing Burnside and switchbacking up NW Stearns Way into Washington Park. Diane and I did a lot of catching up; we haven't had many opportunities to ride together for a long time.

Up to the Rose Garden, then the very, very steep pitch and switchback, then a lessening of the grade for awhile. A couple of slightly steeper pitches interspersed with gradual climbs, then descending past the Forestry Center and Children's Museum. A woman in a green Hyundai Elantra honked at every single one of us, and yelled at Diane to get in the bike lane. Which was full of gravel, so we were sensibly staying out of it. She then proceeded to blow through the stop sign at the crosswalk at the Children's Museum. I'm sure it was all our fault. Mind you, this is a downhill, and we are all proceeding at the posted speed limit :-)

Up again to the the Sylvan summit, then the 9-10 miles out to the Hillsboro REI. Familiar territory to me; I ride stretches of it every weekday.

Peanut butter and jam, and something to drink at the REI, plus a nice visit with Bruce Buffington (he had no water bottles for me this time), and a quick sit down to apply the chemical toe warmers. Everything else was quite comfortable, but for my right foot.

Then west a bit more, under Hwy 26, and heading east through the neighborhoods north of the hwy. Eventually we popped out on West Union just before Bethany, and headed east to NW Thompson, winding our way up (nice, continuous grade) to Skyline. The keyword is "wind" - the road hugs the hill contours, and the summit always seems right around the next corner.

A brief pause at the top, then the descent down Thompson (wheeeeee) and Cornell. I wasn't worried about the tunnels this year - Bleriot's front light is always on. We did get one unsafe pass right in front of the Audobon Society - I could have reached over and touched the car.

Then down through NW Portland, past the REI, and... no signs! We pulled over to check the map. The one with the miniscule print. It revealed that we were to go over the Broadway Bridge and head north on Williams. I could do that. The route signs returned just before the turn onto Williams.

Heading north on Williams - there is a bike lane, but it is narrow, and many cars are parked to the right side. A dooring waiting to happen. 7th/9th is a much nicer way to go.

Right on Skidmore, working our way up to Going, then east until the turn on NE17th, to get to the Community Cycling Center. All out of cookies! Fortunately, Diane and I had emergency backup provisions.

Then back through NE Portland, stopping at every other block. I could see why people blow the stop signs - there's way too many of them! Not that I did. Diane was patient.

Bike Gallery on Sandy, with ample pbj and fruit. More wandering, now through SE Portland, where I spent time acquainting myself with Rolex, from Team Crab (real name: Mike). We met previously at the Cycle Oregon kickoff in the bike storage room.

It didn't rain at any point, which was very nice. Finished at the Lucky Lab, got our chowder and foccacia. On the way out, who should Diane and I run into, but..........Slug. He was riding by and thought he'd see if there was anyone he knew. Just about every time I ride on the east side, I intersect with him.

Then Cecil walked by, on her way home from NAHBS. She got to see Robin Williams, up close and personal. Plus the bicycles, of course.

Now heading off home, for my 4th and final climb of the West Hills. Over the Hawthorne Bridge, up whatever street that is, left on (?) right on Jefferson, under the Vista Bridge, onto the bike path into Washington Park, up again, and then down to home. I will say that the 4th summitting was somewhat less perky than the first 3.

Got home about 3:30. 61.4 miles. Fitz had been home for about an hour. After becoming one with the recliners, we went out for dinner, rather than bestir ourselves and cook...

No comments: