Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rando Amnesia Needs to Set In

Up this month, the Scio Covered Bridges Permanent. Lesli and Tom were coming up from Eugene to ride it with me.

Covered Bridges Route

The weather was supposed to be, in short, not good. Weather.com was promising clear until 11am, then 50% chance of rain the rest of the day, with 15mph WSW winds. Highs, mid 40's. Maybe. The route headed pretty much due south for the first 44 miles.

So, suitably fortified against the expected weather, we headed south. The first thing one does on this route is cross the Willamette River. The only way across the river for miles in any direction is I-5.

Tom: "are you sure this is legal?"

A long run south, mostly on Meridian Rd (strong head/cross winds) until we got to Silverton, where we had a brief stop, then another long run south to Stayton on the Cascade Highway (much strong head/cross winds, enhanced by rain).

Long conversations going on in my head, along the lines of "this isn't any fun. Wonder if Fitz would pick me up in Scio (not very likely). I could turn around and go back." Found Tom and Lesli in Sublimity; they were eating corndogs. I changed my gloves for dry ones, ate a hard-boiled egg, and pressed on. I'd consumed a Payday bar in Silverton, and a banana at the start (for the record, I had a major breakfast at home).

Off though Sublimity and Stayton; Lesli and Tom caught me at the initial turn onto Cole School Road. I made the first roller (ow). Started at the second roller, and, well, it wasn't going to happen today. I walked up it, and we proceeded into Scio, passing through the Shimanek Covered Bridge.

Now, the last time we did this, we faffed around in Silverton, and got to the control at the Very Last Minute. No faffing this time, just very strong headwinds. I looked at my watch and promptly bought a candy bar :-) Seven minutes to spare. Ate the candy bar, and half a pbj. This was the slowest, hardest 48.7 miles ever.

The checkers in the store were nice, wishing us a good ride. The patrons were similarly polite: "bit of a day for a bike ride, isn't it?"

I pushed off again; Lesli and Tom found me by the Hungry Hill Drive turnoff. Lots of pretty farms there. The rain had let up a bit. Another covered bridge (Huffman), then into Crabtree for the info control.

The wind was not entirely unfavorable at this point, and the rain had let up. We wandered around and found the Gilkey Covered Bridge (construction entirely finished), then rode almost to Jefferson and up and over Parrish Gap Rd. I had to stop three times on the steep bit, which was worrisome.

Then, heading over the rollers to Turner, I was buzzed twice at very high speed. Silver/taupe sedan Oregon plates YBU-something and a dark SUV-type thing Oregon plates 601 CTG. Neither of them needed to do that; there was no oncoming traffic. Bullies. They probably torture small animals, too.

Lesli and Tom were long gone. Rode through Turner, then onto Salem, and (I'm proud of myself here) followed the cue sheet exactly. Found Lesli and Tom at the corner of Liberty St, in the Starbucks. We all ate, drank, and the very kind barista also filled my water bottle with cold water, and my thermal jug with hot water, so I could make up another batch of Gatorade tea. Ate the other half of my sandwich, and the banana. The barista offered up wishes for a good ride back to Wilsonville.

Lesli took many pictures of my Acorn bag at this point. A bystander asked if our hubs were generators. Not many folks would have gotten that, and he'd never seen any before today, and didn't even know such things existed.

Some young male college students worked themselves into the pictures, then, as they were walking off, one proudly informed us that he was majoring in dickology. Tom: "did he say what I thought he said?" Me: "I'm pretty sure he's an honor student in that department". I thought Willamette had a better class of students (the other two I know are wonderful kids), but I suppose there are always a few.

And, wow! That tailwind we were owed? It showed up, blowing us north. We were on (for me) very familiar roads now. There were even brief bits of sunshine. We didn't pull on the reflective gear until somewhere just south of Donald. The last 15 miles were uneventful. Dark, but uneventful, until the last bit on the freeway to cross the river again. I will say that my Petzl E+Lite was great. I could read the cue sheet AND street signs; just had to tweak the angle - easy to do, even with many pairs of gloves on.

Someone had to honk at us on the on-ramp (what? there are cars here? going fast? I never would have known, thank you for alerting me!), but other than that, no issues. We found the spot to jump off the freeway before the offramp. Tom: "are you sure this is it?" Me: "follow the tire tracks" :-)

So, back to the Starbucks, where beverages were consumed. I had orange juice (sugar. give me sugar). Came back out to find that I really had gotten a flat tire, but just took the bike to the car, and I'll get around to fixing it this week sometime.

Lesli assured me that she was having similar conversations in her head, during the first part of the ride :-)

And we did it in 12:34; faster than our outing a year ago January.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you notice my Co De La Vie tire tracks just at the spot to jump the guardrail? I was out for a spin on Friday afternoon in the prairie. (From work)
Susan.

Hope the coming brevets perk up the riding experience... I know how you feel, especially in a headwind for 50 miles.

lynnef said...

we certainly noticed bicycle tire tracks! It was dark, so tread specifics were not really visible.

I just want a nice, sunny ride (it doesn't even have to be hot, just above 45 degrees) with no headwinds! Too much headwinds and rain in the past few months!

beth h said...

Feeling better today? (You were walking like an old lady at my house yesterday morning.)

Enjoy the recovery and lemme know when you're up for another coffee ride. Cheers --B

Kevin said...

Buzzed by morons in vehicles?
Rude comments by morons?

I didn't know Marion County extended that far!

(http://tinyurl.com/bluesuv)