How best to start out the New Year? Go for a bike ride!
Marcello organized the OrRando New Year's Brevet; essentially the same route as the Hillsboro-Dallas-Hillsboro permanent, with a tweak at the beginning and end to avoid the flooded roads. It has been a bit wet here.
Happily, THIS time it was not going to rain. Granted, the temperature range was expected to be 29/35 deg F, but it wouldn't be raining.
Even MORE happily, Cecil's doctor cleared to her ride her bicycle up small hills. The hills from Perrydale to Dallas are small. Sort of. For some definitions of small. (in the greater scheme of things, they are, really)
The usual over-obsession of what to wear (which is why I write these things down, so I can go back and spend less time obsessing), plus the new wrinkle of how to load my bike into my new car. Fortunately, this car was bought with the EXPRESS purpose of stuffing bikes in it, but as I bought it the day before the ride, I had to work things out quickly.
Food - baked up a batch of Rye-Molasses muffins, tossed in a few bars and a banana. Thermos of Gatorade-Tea and water bottle of, well, water.
Extra chemical hand and foot warmers.
And off to Marcello's early Saturday morning. It being dark, I really didn't know who was there, except for Susan and Cecil and Ray and Ken.
We were promptly off at 7:30, after a warning to keep an eye out for ice. It had been dry but "sometimes people water their lawns..." Didn't need the route map much, except for the Singing Woods-Smith-Morgan part - my regular club rides traverse this particular route often. Cecil and I left a bit after the herd, heading out into the brightening day.
After much wending around, and a brief stop on Tongue Road for me to remove my jacket, we FINALLY exited Hillsboro and it felt like the ride really started. Admired the frozen wetlands as we headed south on Fern Hill/Spring Hill. Found Marcello just past the Laughlin intersection with hot water and fixings for hot cocoa and tea, and lots of cookies and snackies. This was a Secret Control, so placed to ensure that no one took the shortcut over Bald Peak. Ken Bonner was there - he'd broken his rear derailleur and was going to catch a ride back with Marcello. Too bad, since he'd travelled the furthest to do this ride.
We figured we were at the end (I should rename this blog "The Continuing Adventures of Lanterne Rouge"), but as we turned onto Abbey Road, Ray and Ken came in from Hendricks Road. Bonus miles. Ray: "I ride out here often enough, you'd think I'd know better". Heading into Dayton, we saw a bike headlight approaching (that LED gleam is unmistakeable). Who could it be? We thought maybe Ken decided to attempt a roadside repair and continue on, but it turned out to be someone I did not know. Cecil did, and they chatted all the way into Dayton.
Several riders at the Dayton convenience store; I greeted the cashier. She thought I looked a lot drier this time. Purchased and consumed a dark chocolate Milky Way, met the mystery rider (Tomas), who had fabulous naked-lady helmuffs, and headed out again. Quick control, there.
Though Amity, with a nice little tailwind speeding us along. South on 99W (no continuous conversation possible; traffic), then onto Bethel Road. Started eating a yummy muffin. Ziploc bags are hard to manage on the bike; I shall have to try wax paper next time. Left on Perrydale, stopping to chat briefly with Marcello, who was now parked at the Perrydale School. Most fun ever on Perrydale Road - the tailwind made the rollers almost fun, the sun peeked out, and it was DRY.
Even managed to do a no-hands stretch on Sweetpea (still working on that)
Cecil wondered if I had noticed that I was beating her up every hill. Yeah, sort of. But as she hasn't been riding for months and all, I figured I had unfair advantage and wasn't going to mention it. But, as this is probably the only time in my entire life that I'll be in this position :-) I was trying not to stand on the hills in solidarity, since she wasn't supposed to be standing either.
We only saw three riders returning (two guys and Susan, who was on a mission to do a sub-10 hr ride), and wondered where they were. I figured they were sitting down for a three course meal with tablecloths, china and silverware in Dallas.
They were all at the Dallas Safeway, getting ready to head back. We went in and bought hot drinks (mmm. Mocha!), and I applied fresh chemical footwarmers. Ate another muffin. Got more water. Came out to find Ken, Ray, Joe M, Jeff A and Tomas arriving.
Ken and Ray left with us, but quickly fell behind. There was a bit of a headwind; nothing showstopping. Returning on Perrydale did not seem as endless as it did a couple of weeks ago - dry, pretty scenery, great views over the distance from the tops of the rollers...
Found Marcello again and had a nice Cup of Noodles. We chatted about the lead group and how they did have time to take a nice long break in Dallas. Marcello: "I have heard that faster riders can do that. Not that I'd know". Me either :-)
Ray passed by, he didn't want to waste the sunshine. We found him on Bethel Road. Back through Amity, the endless stretch to Dayton (in reality 8.6 miles) and the Dayton convenience store. Another dark chocolate bar (Snickers, a better choice) and my banana. Still daylight, but we pulled our reflective gear back on, so we wouldn't have to later.
Off through Lafayette, then onto Abbey and then Kuehne. RUDE drivers on Kuehne - several passed us with oncoming traffic and the oncoming traffic had to swerve to avoid them. Stupid stupid stupid.
Swooped down onto Ribbon Ridge, at which point it was statutory sunset, so we turned on the rest of our lights. I was still not wearing my jacket. I was hoping we'd get to Flett before it was full dark, but we did better than that. The sunset was spectacular, and the wetlands were amazing in the fading light.
At Flett, most of the traffic turns onto it, and Spring Hill gets even less busy. We could see the lights of Gaston ahead to the left, eventually falling behind us. Turned right onto Geiger before Forest Grove and had a small snack (we were both feeling a touch of the bonk. It was now 28 degrees. Did I put on my jacket? No.)
Worked our way east - again, back in very familiar territory (the entire route is familiar territory, what am I saying?), but rarely ridden in the dark. One busy crossing that was uneventful, then north on Minter Bridge to the cut-through for Minter Bridge. We found Morgan. But there was no Smith. Looped through the neighborhood, ending up on Minter Bridge again. SLOWLY headed down Morgan again. No Smith. Pulled out the phone and checked google maps. There it was. Except it was labeled Singing Woods at this end. Very Strange. Ray and Ken came up - they were similarly confounded. Cecil and I knew exactly where to go at this point, and we all rode together. Heading into the Dark Hole that is the undeveloped end of Davis... Ray: "Is this right?".
A few more turns and we were back at Marcello's. We went inside and... I started shaking and couldn't stop. Two bowls of Mac and Cheese, two big mugs of hot tea, and a big serving of warm peach cobbler, nice visiting all around, and I was finally warm again. Whew.
12 hours elapsed time, 9:52 riding time.
all the pics here
Cecil's pics here
What I wore:
long sleeve Joneswares wool baselayer
long sleeve OrRando wool jersey
Shebeest thermal vest
Sugoi Firewall gloves (the lobster claw ones)
PI AmFib tights
Sugoi Firewall booties
Sugoi Wallaroo cap
Showers Pass Elite jacket (for awhile, anyway)
Bell Metro helmet with the fitted helmet cover
chemical toe warmers
I had chemical hand warmers, but they made my hands too hot, so I took them out. My hands were fine all day.
Except for the last 12 miles, this was perfect.