After a week of rain mixed with snow (causing me to abort my Thursday bicycle commute), I was looking forward to this weekend. All the weather reports were promising SUN SUN SUN! Friday was more rain and cold, and a run through the Nature Park on the sucking mudpit trail, so I was dubious. Then the weather reports said, yes indeed, SUN, but beware of icy roads early.
Susan and I were to meet at Insomnia Coffee on Baseline in Hillsboro at 10am, and ride a slightly abbreviated version of Marcello's new Westside Populaire Perm.
Decisions. Which bike to ride? Dry and sunny, no need for lighting, no need to carry lots of stuff... Walked into the Bike Room in the garage, and Lemond was jumping up and down, going "me! me! me!, pick ME!" Haven't ridden Lemond since, um, maybe June? Clearly the tires needed air :-), and I quickly transferred the tire pump and the first aid kit (standard stuff I carry on every ride) to the Detours HighTail bag. Each bike has its own multitool, spare tube and patch kit; no need to worry about that.
The most direct way to Insomnia is straight out Jenkins/Baseline. Getting to Jenkins is a bit trickier, on a bike. Walker Rd east of SW Cedar Hills is inadvisable, and SW Cedar Hills south of Walker to Jenkins is similarly inadvisable. So, about 9:20am, I cautiously dropped down my street (remember the icy road part?), got myself onto SW Cabot/SW Center, did the one block sprint on SW Hall, then through the Cedar Hills Crossing mall onto W Hocken, which connects with Jenkins.
Sunny, roads were still wet, and there were frosty patches. I'm ok with untracked frost.
My co-worker who multi-modes (bicycle/MAX) to work from SW 205th/Baseline to SW 158th/Walker is not going to appreciate me telling her on Monday that I rode that distance in about 20 minutes. She probably spends twice that time waiting for the train, and riding the train :-)
So. I arrived. Susan arrived right after me, and wanted coffee. I'm always up for more coffee. Quirky little coffee shop :-) Also, great coffee and vegan pastries, for those so inclined. Susan: "you rode the Lemond!" Me: "so I don't have to work quite to hard to keep up with you when you are taking it easy". Decided it was too warm to wear the TBB jacket over my Luna wool-silk LS jersey and Shebeest thermal vest, so packed it away. Susan looked at me and shivered :-) Although she did like my cycling clothing supplier.
Then off, heading north on SW 231st/SW229th to SW Evergreen and west. No unfamiliar roads. Susan's coach had her doing a 4 hour EASY ride, with 5 spinning intervals along the way. Brief stop outside Roy to get a picture of a silo. I am usually riding in the other direction, so miss this:
Susan finally warmed up enough to remove the sleeves from HER jacket.
A brief pause IN Roy (as if Roy actually had an "IN"). Susan dusted all the dried mud spatter off my back - hazard of no fenders. Then west again on Wilkesboro and into Banks. We stopped to admire the new Banks-Vernonia trailhead, and Susan shared some of her hot cocoa mix. I also learned that I need more calories in the bottle. If they taste like that (yum), I'll consider it. Apparently my hot tea-gatorade is all the wrong kinds of sugar :-)
Then west again, pausing for wetlands photos on Cedar Canyon, and further west on Hwy 6. I stopped for a photo I had not taken the last time I was out this way.
After summiting, downhill to Gales Creek Rd. The shoulder was gravelled, so I felt like a loaf of bread on a cornmeal-covered baking sheet. Hope it is swept away by the time the Three Capes 300k rolls around.
Found Susan at the intersection, where she shared her Lemon Fruition bar. (Lynne clicks off to order some)
Did I mention that it was bright and sunny? We'd had a bit (ok, more than a bit) of headwind from the NW, and we were now heading SE on Gales Creek. Wheee! Gales Creek - nice rural scenery, and best enjoyed with a tailwind.
Turned onto Stringtown Rd, and stopped at the historical marker (Gales Creek had a mill), where Susan shared her Black Bean Brownies.
Now, "black bean" and "brownies" are not words or ingredients I myself would expect to find in such close proximity, but they were surprisingly tasty. A couple of women stopped, possibly also to read the historical marker, and told us we were "brave". Susan went into cycling PR mode; I just listened in admiration. Really, Stringtown road is very low traffic! (One cannot, perhaps, say quite the same about Gales Creek. Low traffic, but high speed.).
Pulled away, and, a bit further down the road, things felt... bouncy. Crud. Rear flat. Pulled over at a handy gravel driveway, only to be greeted by ferocious barking. Much ferocious barking, coming from somewhere in the vicinity of our ankles. The house across the road was home to 3 chubby Chihuahuas, all of which were intent on protecting their territory. They all came over to chase us away. Susan would growl at them, and they'd back off a bit. I was too busy laughing, and pulling flat repair stuff out. They shut up and started sniffing the supplies. No, that tube is not edible.
We found the hole, and I picked the offending bit of glass out of the tire. Susan patched the tube while I was swapping in the new tube. The chihuahuas supervised. Susan shared a learning from Vinnie: "if you get a flat, and you are carrying a spare tire, swap that in too - saves lots of time".
FINALLY, off again, into Forest Grove. By now, Maggie's was closed, so we settled on the Jack in the Box. They've got decent coffee, fries (mmmm, hot and salty.), indoor plumbing and a big window to supervise the bikes through.
Then east again, working our way back to Insomnia Coffee. A bit of a miscue (got my Portland Velo return routes crossed), so we ended up heading north on Brookwood (ick), rather than River, but did pop out on Baseline in just the right spot.
A long pause at Insomnia for paninis and chai. Former co-worker of husband was there; we caught up. Eventually, it was time to head on home, and we went our separate ways. Really nice ride!
69+ miles 14 avg mph.