The route had us headed south of Hillsboro, west, up over Blooming Fern Hill, into Forest Grove (Maggie's Buns stop!), then north on Thatcher to Kansas City, and finally turning east through Roy and back to Hillsboro.
I decided to live dangerously, and ride Lemond, fender-free. Weather forecast said no rain to speak of after 9am, and the Weather Underground radar looked very cloud-free.
Uneventful ride to the start (talk about autopilot. And this is cool, because the contract I start next week is right by Longbottom's Coffee and Tea), visit with Mike Stevens, who was JRod for the day. Saw Diane; she thought she'd ride with my group. Diane and I have been riding together since 2003 (wow!)
We were joined by the others, who are rapidly becoming the Usual Suspects.
There were a couple of modifications to the published route - the speed limit on Shute Rd is now 50(!), making it possibly not the best choice to return to Huffman and the finish - we would turn onto Sewell, thence on to Evergreen instead. I also modified the route exiting Forest Grove - we took the route through town, past the high school, and on to Thatcher on NW David Hill Rd, rather than picking it up closer in town.
Lots of pretty late-winter rural scenery - the Marionberry canes are a wonderful purple, and the pond on SW Johnson School Rd is a nice shimmery blue, ringed with gold reeds and a green field.
We had a headwind/quartering headwind heading south and west; I really appreciated it when Rob offered to pull some. Not that I did so badly, but everyone still climbs faster than me. It is like riding with a herd of Jasons, all of whom spin smoothly past me heading up, and I'm slogging along. Slogging faster, though; I don't think I dropped below 6mph on Blooming Fern Hill at any point, and was mostly going a bit faster.
On into Forest Grove, to the delights of Maggie's Buns. She has fabulous Lemon Bars, Cinnamon Rolls as big as your head,... MMMMMMMMM. Today I just went for a cup of hot cocoa. Diane did the same, and also ordered a muffin. Everyone else stayed outside. Didn't know what they were missing, nope...
Then north through Forest Grove, and onto NW Thatcher and the 5 miles of rollers up to NW Greenville. We had a tailwind. I lit up :-), 17-19mph. Fortunately, all the riders in my group are entirely up to that pace.
The turn on to Greenville... Rob: "you should drink Maggies cocoa more often". Or something to that effect. Really, I think it was the tailwind.
Then heading east and slightly south, with the wind mostly at our backs. We could see a storm. It was heading NE. We were heading SE. I hoped we'd miss it. I had taken off my jacket in Forest Grove. I *could* always put it back on.
So, 8 miles out, heading south on NW Kerkman, we picked up the edge of the storm. As it was at our backs, at least I didn't feel like I was getting very wet. As it was at our backs, we got a nice push! I didn't start to feel wet until Sewell, at which point we had only a couple miles to go.
Got back to Longbottom's and there were other riders still there (!). Ordered the Farm Plate, and, as I had a full card, got a free big mocha. Spent a bit of quality time with the paper towels in the bathroom, blotting off some of the liquid, then settled down for a nice, late, second breakfast. Brian C and Mike Y stayed to chat with us.
And then I rode back home, with a detour by Bike Gallery for some tubes. I was on my last tube. Got to see Mechanic Mark, who I have not seen for months. He had to show me the new Electra bike with hammered metal fenders and fancy rear rack (the Ticino line). Looks like Velo Orange components to me. Nice bike, too.
For the day, 65+ miles at a 13.3 average. Best this year.