Sunday, June 15, 2008

Covered Bridges 200km, or I Washed the Wrong Bike

On my ongoing quest for the RUSA R-12 Award, I set out to ride the Oregon Randonneurs Covered Bridges 200km. I was contemplating the 400km, but it would have gone into Father's Day, and I figured I should be home for that.

Hannah Covered Bridge

I spent an hour or so Thursday cleaning Bleriot, prior to transforming it into Rando Bike. (This is why people have a separate Rando Bike; they don't have to do all this every time) Scrubbed the sidewalls of the tires, washed off all the grime, detailed the drivetrain. A clean bike goes faster, you know!

The weather forecast was OUTSTANDING. So much so, that on Friday, I decided to ride the Lemond instead, assuming I would not have to carry so much stuff. Got home Friday, and gave the Lemond a bath. It is faster to clean, no racks and fenders.

Carried much less stuff. No spare tire. No S&S coupler wrench. No fiberfix spoke. No extra clothing.

Did pack the usual 200/300km food stash - 2 sandwiches, 2 bananas, 2 bars, an emergency gel, and extra Gatorade powder. Plus first aid kit, CPR barrier device, multitool, spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, tire pump, zip tie. And a ziploc with pencil for my control card. Sunscreen; couldn't forget THAT!

Moved heavy furniture around. Stood up. Ow. Oops. Dang. Tweaked the lower back. Immediately creaked off for anti-inflammatories and an ice pack. Before loading the bike, rode it up the street (and attendant hill) and back, just to see if I *could* ride. That seemed ok, even though I couldn't bend over or lift things. This could be interesting.

Checking in is a Very Serious and Momentuous Undertaking

Up at 3:50am (ow). Ate, drove over to collect Jason, and headed off to Newberg. Checked in by a gentleman in appropriately serious clothing, and visited around. Got a lot of sh*t from Ray, about riding a bike with a carbon fork, low spoke-count wheels and no fenders. Noted that Ray was not riding his Saluki for this ride :-) Back was still unhappy.

6am, and we were off. Riding did not cause back distress. Headed south on Case Rd, only to see every single rider in front of me turn right on McKay, which was incorrect. :-) I continued off on my own further south on Case Rd, eventually arriving at the proper turn (St Paul Hwy). I knew that the riders turning on McKay would either figure it out, or run into Arbor Grove there.

I think it is going to be a nice day

Left onto Arbor Grove. Eventually I saw Jason approaching. He really needed to stop, and we eventually found a concealing wheatfield. Well, sort of. As the rest of the riders who made the wrong turn (adding bonus miles) showed up, the moon rose out of the wheatfield. I thoughtfully did NOT take a picture. Every passing rider asked if I was ok. Some wondered if it was a Secret Control. No, no, everything is fine, move along now...

Riding on, over I-5, through Gervais, heading south... We've got a nice little tailwind. Go to the first info control at the Gallon House covered bridge, just north of Silverton (entering the land of towns whose names start with S). Paul and a few other riders were there. Filled out our cards, and rode on in to Silverton. We saw Ken vanish into the time-sucking vortex that is the coffee shop, but kept on moving. The last time I did a permanent that was essentially this route, we made it to the Scio control on the very last minute. I did not want that situation to repeat.

Gallon House bridge

Climbed out of Silverton and followed the big rollers on the Cascade Hwy, past the road to Riches (sadly, not on our route), and into Sublimity and Stayton.

Sadly, not on our route

Waldo Hills to the east

Stopped in Sublimity to do a clothing adjustment and eat a bit, then on to Scio. Between Stayton and Scio is Cole School Road. This road has two outstanding rollers, one at 15% and the second, longer one at 18%. I didn't walk on either of them this time, and stood at the top waiting for Jason. He didn't walk either but stopped at the top of the first one to pull off a jacket. As he was catching his breath, Paul and Greg crested, and we all chatted a bit. Then we headed off to Ridge Road, the fun descent on Richardson Gap, and the Shimanek Covered bridge, info control #2. Then off to find the Hannah Covered bridge (this would be a new one for me), our last info control. Jason stopped to fiddle with his derailleur here.

Then, to Scio. I looked at the time. We could make it in the 12 miles covered per hour pace. Always a goal, although I've met it for the duration of a long ride only once. We rolled into Scio with 20 minutes to spare, even. Mind you, the control itself wouldn't close for another 2:15. Not bad! As we rode into town, Jason was wondering where we should get our control cards signed. I led him to the Scio Market, where all the cool randos hang out. Seriously, the entire outside of the wall had bikes leaning up against it. We all visited, shared the gallon jug of water and the communal Fritos bag. I met Narayan from Seattle. Everyone left before Jason and I, as they had arrived sooner. Except for Natalie, Austin and Heidi, they were all riding the 400km, and needed to get a move on.

Two Peas in a Pod

So, halfway. Off to Jefferson. I had planned on jo-jos with ranch dip at the store there. We arrived, and I got the jo-jos, dip, and a big bottle of Gatorade; we had a little picnic on the bench, and peeled off the last extra layers and applied sunscreen.

Rando lunch treats

A brief tour of Jefferson, then off on Marion/Jefferson-Marion Rd. Not all that interesting, and kind of long. Perhaps it was the "after the big lunch" crash. Then Darley Rd (ditto) and into Aumsville. As it was not a control this time, we rode through without stopping (still had hopes of the 12 miles/hour pace), and then north. So, remember that gentle tailwind? By now it was a serious headwind. Shades of the fleche!

A few miles past Aumsville we turned onto Howell Praire Rd. In the future, I see acres of wind farms sited there. The first part is a climb - not steep, but annoying with the headwind. Then a nice downhill stretch before one settles into many, many miles of wide-open headwind encounters. Farms, baby animals, lots of open nothing. We did pull over before Sunnyside Rd, and had a second lunch break under a gazebo next to a barn. It was absolutely silent. No cars, just the breeze and some birds.

Snack stop on Howell Prairie Rd

I wish we could bottle the smell of wheatfields. Mmmmmmm.

Barn on Howell Prairie Rd

Continuing on north, we eventually got to the terminus and headed into Gervais. Again, not a control, but a good place to get more water. On to the home stretch, only 17 miles to go. North on Butteville and Case roads, a short stop at Champoeg Park, west on Champoeg (west is good. The wind is almost helpful), then north on 219 into Newberg for the finish. Since leaving Scio, we had not seen any other riders, which was odd. We wondered if we were at the end, but knew we weren't. So where was everyone? By this point, my hopes of the 10 hour 200k were gone.

Jason riding through the hops on Case Rd

Cecil and Rickey were waiting to greet us at the finish. Rickey has sort of fallen off the radar, what with his hand injury, but he said he was getting bored, so came out to volunteer at the finish for awhile. It was great to see him. We changed into non-cycling clothes, got drinks and chips, and sat outside with them under the breezeway and visited for awhile. 4 more 200km riders came in, but there were still 7, all recumbent riders, out on the course, by the time we finally left.

Cecil and Rickey, the welcoming committee

For the record, the Lemond was a fine bike for yesterday's ride. I did not expect any mechanicals, even with the wheels (practically new, I might add) and carbon fork. I take care of my bikes, and the Lemond is no stranger to long rides on bumpy roads.

And the back? It didn't hurt any more than it did when I started, but I was really glad to be finished. I hurt from the ride a bit more than usual today, possibly from compensating. Most importantly, the R-12 streak is still going!

More pics here


RayO said...

I was just kidding about the bike.
Many randos much more accomplished than myself ride non-ferrous machines and many of them live to talk about it.
Enjoyed your accounting.

Ray O.

lynnef said...

:-) I know. Not that it stops me from writing about it. :-)