Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Hills Have Eyes...

February.  Must be time for another OrRando brevet.  Marcello organized the Grab Bag 200/300, a series of loops out of Newberg.  One had a real climb, the others were "flat".  More on that later.

Weather was 20% chance of "drizzle", temps mid 40s to mid 50s.  I forgot to toss in some booties, and hoped for the best.  I did, at the last minute, grab a wool camisole base layer to wear under my long-sleeve OrRando wool jersey.  Good plan :-)

Ended up following Bill A down Hwy 99 to Newberg.  We both wandered up and down Hayes, looking for a place to park.

Checked in, found Cecil (we were riding together), saw Susan, who clearly had her game face on.  She was riding the 300, we weren't.  Next month (Three Capes 300k) is soon enough for me, anyway.  Better scenery, too.

So.  Off at 7am.  Still dark, so we were all lighted and reflectored.  Not that it stopped someone from pulling out of the McD's right on top of us.  An alert yell from Cecil and he stopped, just in time.

First loop was out of Newberg via SR240, Old Yamhill Rd, Tangen, and then North Valley, headed up to Forest Grove, then back via Sherwood and the climb up Kruger Rd.  The drizzle promptly set in, and stayed with us for quite awhile.  Not enough to soak through, but enough to be annoying.  We mindlessly headed north ("we can do this stretch in our sleep").  Perhaps a little TOO mindless.  We turned off Spring Hill onto Fern Hill, and found ourselves at the intersection of Hwy 47 because it said turn on Hwy 47, except it said L.  We KNEW that was wrong, and turned R, and found ourselves by the Grand Lodge, except Marcello wanted us to end up at Maggies.  No problem.  Except the route map had us continuing on Spring Hill, then heading into Forest Grove on Hwy 47.  Two bonus miles. :-)  Cecil hadn't wanted to stop at Maggies ("Time Suck"), but there was no one there.  I scarfed a yummy apricot croissant thing from the day old bin, and inhaled it, along with my banana.

What was totally different about this ride is that there were OTHER RIDERS in our vicinity.  Cecil and I are used to riding in relative solitude for hours and hours and hours.

Then, off to Sherwood, via more roads we could ride in our sleep (basically, the return stretch from the fleche in reverse).  The drizzle went away somewhere along here.  I was running out of steam on Roy Rogers Rd, so we pulled over for a snack (mmm, rye-molasses muffin and sunflower seeds).  Not that we were that far from Sherwood.   Into Sherwood, wandering through subdivisions, eventually to find the Historic Downtown and our control.  Which turned out to be the yummy Sesame Donuts.  There is one not far from my house; didn't know they'd expanded.  I got a cocoa and a sesame donut, the delightful Yusuf signed my card.  Cecil, Ray, Bill and I had a nice little sit-down.  Other patrons gave us funny looks.

Ray and Cecil in Sesame Donuts in Sherwood

More Sherwood, then it was time to cross back over 99W and climb.  First the drop down Kruger with a few hairpins, and then up.  It is a reasonably consistent climb for 3 miles, except for the last pitch on Leander to the Gibbs Cemetery, our next control.  I will just modestly say that I'm really happy with my ascent of the hill.  Really happy :-)  12 less pounds since Jan 1 helps a LOT.

Top of the climb

Faffed around a bit, took pictures, then enjoyed the descent.  A few very tight hairpins, a really nice straight drop, then we were back into Newberg, finished with the first loop.

Marcello and riders at the Newberg control

Kathy and Marcello were in the first hotel room by the back door, Marcello signing cards and Kathy pushing food ("we have grilled cheese, grilled ham and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, chips, fruit, drinks, soup, cocoa...")  Aaaaah.  I myself enjoyed a grilled cheese and some Fritos.

My grilled cheese sandwich

I had brought along a complete change of riding gear, but decided I didn't need it.  And off again.  Michal thought he'd join us, since we clearly knew where we were going.  West on 99W all the way into Lafayette.  Ick.  My opinion of the shoulder has not changed, although there do appear to be some nicely repaved sections.  In Lafayette... "must.. not.. turn.. right.. on.. Bridge..".  I didn't. A rider we caught up with did.  Took some convincing that we weren't going that way today.

Right on Mineral Springs, left on Gun Club, left on Hwy 47, and then we were on a stretch I had not ridden before.  There was an annoying, but not killer headwind.  It was flat.  For awhile.  Turned onto the Westside Highway, where the speed limit appeared to be about 80mph.  Happily, we were only on it for a mile before turning west again.  Then things started to get interesting.

We started wandering around a low rolling hilly area with occasional farms, bleak stands of trees and empty winter fields.  It was a lot of up and down, with the headwind, and the sense of making no forward progress whatsoever.  Yes, it did creep me out.  It might even be described as claustrophobic.  Cecil: "the hills have eyes?" And it seemingly went on for hours, even though I see it was no more than 10 miles.

Wandering around on Muddy Valley Rd

The bright spot was the alpaca ranch.  Huge herd of alpaca.  They were totally cute and fluffy, and I wanted to buy their fleece and have a wonderful time spinning it up.  There was a brief pause for documentation, and Cecil explained to Michal how to tell the difference between alpacas and llamas.

A really large herd of alpaca

Cecil explains the difference between llamas and alpacas

FINALLY made it to the Sheridan DQ, our last on-route control.  Asta (riding her first brevet and she was having a WONDERFUL time) and Tomas were there.  Got some coffee and ate another banana and more sunflower seeds.  I was at a mental and physical low point right then, for sure. The temperature was dropping a bit, and we pulled on our night riding gear.

Tomas and Asta at the DQ

Then we FINALLY turned ENE, and had the tailwind.  30 miles to go, and we made darn good time.  We did stop at the Dayton convenience store, sat on the curb and had a bite to eat before the last 10 miles.  Cecil: "we look like homeless people".  Me: "yes.  Expensively dressed ones"

For the first time in a long time, we were headed back to Newberg from Dayton (10 miles), rather than Forest Grove or Hillsboro (20-30 miles).  Except we were also headed  back on 99W.  Sigh.  Darkness was falling as we headed east.  The terrain is slightly rolling (feels more rolling at the end of a ride), Cecil and I were tired, traffic is fast and heavy, and the shoulder wasn't much better than it has been in the past.  I shut my mind to all the bad possibilities and pedaled east.  I didn't want to ride too close to Cecil and Michal, because then I couldn't see junk in the shoulder (and junk there was).  Finally, though Dundee, past the gas station and DQ, past the Thriftway (traditional permanent stopping point), another mile through town (clean, well-lit bike lanes, ahhhhh) and back to the Travelodge.

Card signed, I went out to put the bike away and get my change of clothes.  Kathy and Marcello had lasagna and soup and rice, but Cecil and I had plans to hit up the Burgerville.  Ate some oranges while waiting for the shower and enjoyed the post-ride (for most of the folks in the room; some were headed out for the last loop of the 300km) party.  Showered and with clean clothes, Cecil and I headed over to the Burgerville, where I had too much to eat. :-)

Put a fork in me, I'm done

11:10 total time (not bad)
125.9 miles, 13.91 avg mph
all pics here


Anonymous said...

Nice write-up Lynne. I'm glad you had a good ride. I'm getting excited for the Birkie. A group of about 7 of us did a loop out to Vernonia that day. It was fun. See you at the Birkie.

--mike j.

Trevor Woodford said...

Great report -thanks for sharing with us.