Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Reaching and Unreaching the Beach

An annual rite of spring is the Lung Association's Reach the Beach ride. It also used to be my first big ride of the spring. Well. mumble.

Lynne, Diane, and Cecil preparing to ride back to Portland

Sometimes we decide to Unreach as well - ride back home the next day. This works if one has a place to sleep and is riding a bike which supports a pannier, OR knows someone who is staying over but driving back. This year we had Option 2, which was great.

Cecil came over the night before, and we dropped our duffels and sleeping bags at Jason's house. Then a brief stop at the craft store, where Cecil seemed a little disturbed at my knowledge of the knitting (tacky stuff, not worth it) and beading (marginally better) sections. Then home to make up a batch of steel-cut oats for the morning. Rather than a wild party night, we conked out by 9:30, as we had to be on the road pedaling to the start at 6am.

Up and at 'em. We left the house shortly after 6, intending to meet Jason at the corner of SW Murray and SW 6th, thence south on Murray, right on Sexton Mtn, left on 155th, sort of straight onto Teal, and right, cutting through the apartment complex to pop out on Scholls Ferry, thereby avoiding the entire Murray/Scholls Ferry intersection, shopping mall, and with any luck, parts of that hill climb. Arrived at the start at 6:45, and got in line for packet pickup. I'd been in Chico, so missed the early packet pickup.

Saw Dan from Portland Velo, but not anyone else. Cecil said she saw Slug.

Numbers acquired and applied, we set out. It was already quite warm. We were all riding incognito, on our hot bikes (two Lemonds and a Bianchi), in blatant hot summer cycling clothes, with no club or other affiliations displayed. We had our day ride only helmets on as well. Little Pink Bear and Formerly Floyd were the only giveaways.

Uneventful ride to the Elks Lodge, where we stopped briefly to take care of business at a facility with no line. Then off again, for the hairpin descents and then the climb up Kruger and Chapman roads. Now I know where that cemetery is - I've ridden by it several times and never noticed. Then the descent, where Jason and Cecil left me. I eventually caught up with them at Ewing Young School, which had a very long line for water. Hot day.

Little Pink Bear in a 5-point harness

Off again, with Jason "Floyd" Penney and Cecil leaving me in the dust, and waiting. It wasn't like I was slow, for me, either. They were just moving. Hot, sunny day. Stop in Dayton, where Cecil and I visited the non-ride blue room (no line), snacked, checked out the novel bike rack, and then went across the street to the convenience store for Gatorade - the rest stop was out.

Bike Rack in Dayton

Off then to Amity, during which I played with my camera and took pictures while riding (camera was in the bento box for easy access). I seem to have gotten to where I can ride Lemond no-hands reasonably reliably. Lunch was sandwiches. Initially it looked to be all pork products, which I'm not inclined to eat, but then a tray of turkey appeared.

Jason and Cecil on Broadmead Rd

Upon leaving, we found that we had (sigh) a headwind. It was with us all the way up to Sourgrass Summit, past Grand Ronde, and reports said gusts of up to 35mph. Through Sheridan and Willamina, and onto Hwy 18. Oooh. Construction. Cars backed up. We were passing them on the shoulder, even with that headwind, which I'm sure made them even more cheery. Turned off at Valley Junction, climbed, and arrived at the Grand Ronde rest stop. I scored the only Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies of the ride, plus a nice bowl of salty chicken noodle soup. The baked potato looked appetizing, but they were way too big.

Out of sports drink there as well. Note to self - carry Gatorade powder next time. I had been sucking down water and Gatorade the whole day.

The climb to Sourgrass Summit was uneventful, and didn't seem particularly difficult. This is the first time in 4 years that I've done it on a single bike; perhaps that is why. Floyd and Cecil were long gone. The descent was great fun. Found them at the rest stop, and said hi to Bob Heath, who was looking for green jerseys and not finding any. Then down the Little Nestucca River Road, which had lovely pavement. Not much after that, Hwy 101, then the ride into Pacific City. We were given an entire traffic lane of our own this year; much, much better than the previous year's relegation to the left-side bike lane (or "Cones of Death").

Ate some veggie rice; helped Jason and Cecil with their beers, visited with Ron, Diane, and Tess as well. We all then adjourned to the beach house; Clarkie and Rachel showed up with the duffels and sleeping bags shortly thereafter.

Long discussion on who would get the first shower. Ron maintained that those taking the shorter showers should go first, and he wondered what it was we were DOING to take so long in the shower. I mumbled something about guys (especially this subgroup) not needing to spend time with the hair product. Oh well. Diane, Cecil and I elected to sleep in the dormitory upstairs. Cecil went grocery shopping. I got my shower (AAAAAAHHHHHHHH). Ron went out to dinner with friends, the Penneys went out to dinner somewhere, and we got some pizza.

Walking down to the pizza place to pick it up was entertaining; some folks in their front yard were, I think, inviting us to join their party. We also stepped into the market for more beer, and Diane and I got ice cream cones to eat on the walk back.

Pizza. Hot tub. I knitted a bit, Clarkie beaded, and we all deconstructed Fern Gully. Bed.

Our plan was to be on the road by 7am, so up at 6. There was coffee and oatmeal and fruit, which would hold me for awhile. Jason got up to see us off. We met Diane's friends at the Inn at Pacific City, and waited for them to finish their coffee.

Adding Tess and Mark to the Unreach group

It was somewhat cooler and foggy this morning; I added armwarmers, knee warmers and a jacket, and thin wool gloves over my shortfinger gloves. The fog went away shortly after we turned off Hwy 101 onto Little Nestucca River Road. The climb was beautiful. The sun was shining through the trees onto the river, and lighting up the dewdrops on the beargrass. A stop at one of the bridges for pictures; I ditched the jacket.

Nestucca River

Bridge on Little Nestucca Road

climbing Little Nestucca Road

By the time we reached the turn-off, I needed to remove all the extra layers. The blue rooms were still there from yesterday; we availed ourselves of the one still upright :-)

2.9 more miles and lots of pictures to the summit, then the descent into Grand Ronde. Had to pay attention to the pavement at this point. Another stop at the blue rooms from the day before, then we deviated from the Reach the Beach route and followed Grand Ronde Road all the way to 18/22.

Grand Ronde Market

A brief stop at the store for more water and Gatorade, then east for a couple of miles and a right turn onto Little Yamhill River Road. This road parallels the highway all the way to Willamina, has brand new pavement and NO TRAFFIC and NO RUMBLESTRIPS. Nice!

Diane on Little Yamhill River Rd

Into Willamina, more pictures. At this point we figured that our (mine and Cecil's) agenda and Tess's agenda were not quite the same. Too many picture stops. Didn't stop us, though. Then Sheridan, where we toured the town looking for a blue room. Found it in the city park, which also had a skate park with a half-pipe, which Cecil promptly started riding on. She's good.


More cool shadows

Lunch in Amity

We never did get our tailwind, but at least we did not have a headwind. Into Amity, where we got lunches at the market and sat under a nice shady tree to eat them.

Once we arrived in Lafayette, we stopped to tank up on beverages again; nothing available for many miles after this.

We had decided to return home via North Valley/Spring Hill/Fern Hill, rather than go through Newberg and Sherwood (and climb Bell/Chapman/Kruger) again.

Conversation at the Corner of Indecision

The wetland and crimson clover were breathtaking. Many picture stops along there.

Wetland on North Valley Rd

Red Clover Hill on Spring Hill Rd

Red Clover on Fern Hill

Some of our party needed to get back to the start point, so we went throught Fern Hill Wetlands and got them all the way to the corner of Minter Bridge and Burkhalter, where they thought they could find their way back with the help of a GPS.

It was still quite warm and we were all fading.

Diane, Cecil, and I headed north on Minter Bridge, then east all the way in on Baseline. I was happy once the cross street numbering was a system I could relate to. SE 52nd? Nah. SW 231st? Yup, I know where I am now. Diane and Cecil were lobbying: "is it possible to get to your house on a route that does not include the Park Way hill?" (10% but short). Well, there is, but any way to my house involves a hill. We came up from below, but I know the bottom bits of my street are pretty darn steep as well.

Jason had thoughtfully dropped the bags off at the house, so no extra trips to retrieve them were required.

Whew. Dinner was takeout.

Saturday 107 miles.
Sunday 112 miles.

My pics here
Cecil's pics here

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