Sunday, March 6, 2011

5 minutes to spare, or, we got our money's worth on THIS 200k

20:21.  That's what my finishing control receipt from the Chevron convenience market says.  We started at 7am, so, yes, our elapsed time was 13:21.  Whew.

So, back to the beginning.  Susan proposed that we ride Michael Wolfe's Urban Growth Boundary 200km permanent.  Cecil and I were in.  We asked for a dispensation to start from Kettleman's Bagels, rather than under the Hawthorne Bridge, as Kettleman's has food, restrooms, is in a much less sketchy location, and the distance difference is nil.

Michael's email on the registration: "Kettleman's is an inspired choice for a start to the UGB 200.  I think you'll like the ride; no new territory, other than climbing through the Boring Lava flow (which is more interesting than it sounds), but it's got a really nice flow to it.  Think of it as a greatest hits mix-tape of roads in the country around Portland."

Since I sometimes plan ahead, I had scored some 2032 batteries and changed the batteries in my headlight, and also in one of my PB Superflashes.  The Radbot had a battery change last week, so I was feeling pretty bright and flashy, if you know what I mean.  Also upgraded my "torso reflectivity".

Working on upping my bad-ass cred, I decided to ride to the start.  Susan offered to give me a lift home.  It's a start. :-)

Weather was predicted to be not bad at all, really, but I was prepared for Rain, just in case.  Generous bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, brown sugar and Craisins, cup of coffee, brief argument with the rain booties and...

On the road at 5:40am, climbing over Sylvan, down through Washington Park, downtown Portland, over the Hawthorne Bridge (oh SO pretty, the river at dawn!) and thence to Kettleman's.  Cecil was already there with her bagel; I ordered mine along with more coffee.

Susan arrived.  We then proceeded to do final assembly - well, Susan did.  Cecil and I had ridden over (in Cecil's case, we are talking a few blocks, lucky her) and had everything we needed.  We did spend some time trying to outdo each other in listing all the extra clothing we had brought along.  Susan started listing her stuff, and we both looked at her trunk rack in total disbelief.  If she opened it, it would have exploded.

getting ready to depart at Kettleman's Bagels

South to the Springwater Corridor, to our first control, a convenience market.  The hardest part was finding the door (!)  Quick purchase of a Snicker's Dark candy bar ("receipt please") and we were off.  The control was so close to the start (7.64 mi), so no wasting time getting there, or we'd miss the closing time.

Another 12 miles on the Springwater, through parts which Cecil characterizes as "very sketchy;  best ridden with others".  Mostly we just saw folks out walking their dogs (same effect, I guess) and the occasional runner.

Into Boring, where we found a gas station/convenience store, and a cheery employee who also was a cyclist.  Frappucino plus a Lemon Fruition bar from my bag.

It might have drizzled a bit, but not really.  By this point I had shed my rain jacket and was wearing a ls Luna wool-silk jersey and a Shebeest thermal vest and was perfectly comfortable.

patiently waiting at the Clackamas River crossing

Clackamas River, early spring leafing-out

We then continued heading south, to cross the Clackamas River just past Barton State Park, and found ourselves on Ridge Road, which, I think is where we cross the Boring Lava Flow.  It was a lot of up and down, which is what should be expected, when a road has the word "ridge" in its name.  (See also: view, panorama, sky, hill, mountain, top, upper...)

After (or before, I forget), we came across a llama ranch ("if it is grazing, it is a ranch").  All the llamas had to come over and look.  We looked back.

Food?  Got any food?

A bit further along, we found a castle!  Picture stop!  Also, I peel off the Sugoi Firewall tights and switch to knee warmers stop.  I was suffocating.  MUCH better.


On the outskirts of Canby we came onto Carus Rd and Central Point Rd, at which point I was back in familiar territory.  Clearly I need to do more riding in the far SE :-)  In to Canby and the Thriftway (50 miles on the route).  It was about 11:30, and we were hungry.  I went inside, not sure what I was looking for - I did have a tasty muffin along with me, so I guess I was foraging for protein.  After much wandering around (too many lights and signs; on long rides grocery stores are like walking into a pinball machine.) I found a nice little brie cheese, cracker and fruit plate, and after MORE wandering around, some bottled water, and bought that.  Back outside to eat.  Opened the muffin ziploc so I could munch on the road, and, after too long a pause (for which I take full responsibility), off again.

Canby to Champoeg to the Willamette River crossing.  Susan came up with a flat just across the river.  Sharp, nasty piece of glass.  Fortunately we were at a place in the road where it went from one lane to two, so my proximity sensors weren't TOO disturbed (yes, I have space issues).  She swapped both the tube and tire; I changed to shortfinger gloves with the Smartwool liners at the ready, ate some more, and patched her punctured tube.  Cecil fed us pretzels.

Susan, repairing her flat


Tire patched, we headed into Newberg, with a stop at the Thriftway - not a control, but I needed a stop.  Took advantage of that to put fresh hot water in my thermos and dump in Susan's Special Hot Cocoa mix.

Then off again, on the very familiar roads north, with a side trip to the Gaston Market (84 mi) as a control.  Susan zipped on ahead, flexing her awesome wattage, Cecil and I arrived a bit later.  I found a Starbucks Doubleshot (my new drink of choice), and Susan and I shared her bag of wonderfully salty Tim's Vinegar and Salt chips and my Cran-Lemon Twister ProBar (this one is a winner!)  A store patron admired the bikes and we all talked cycling for a bit, but we had to get a move on...

Mmm, hay

Wetlands on Spring Hill

North again.  Cecil stopped and told us she'd meet us at the next control (Rock Creek Tavern).  She was, I think, a bit tired by now.  We reluctantly went on.  On Hornecker (just outside Hillsboro), we decided to pause for a snack and a stretch, then rode through Hillsboro.  Cecil called when we were just the other side of town, and told us not to wait.  We waited anyway.

She showed up about 10 minutes later.  "You two don't take instruction well, do you?"  Uh, no.  Dispensed some Advil and bribed her with the offer of tater tots at the Rock Creek Tavern.

After crossing Hwy 26, we started climbing again.  We'd had about a 50 mile stretch of mostly flat.  Phillips Rd is big rollers, then we were at the tavern.  It was not dark yet, but I'd gotten across 26 and Cecil and Susan were stopped by the light, so I took advantage of that to turn on the helmet blinkie and Radbot.  The Superflash on the bike had been on all day.

Parked our bikes in the covered employee smoking area, went in, and got a table.  Ordered various things to drink - the waiter was telling us what was on tap, but we couldn't drink that now and expect to complete the ride :-)  Lemonade (me), Diet Coke (Susan), water (Cecil), two orders of tots and the avocado cakes.  McMenamin's same-day service did not disappoint; I had to get a register receipt before our food even arrived, just in case.  As it turned out, our real receipt was still barely within the control's closing time :-)  Eating.  Sitting.  Nice, but we'd pay for that when we got back on the bikes.


Fuel for the last 13 miles

Cecil went out and came back and told me it was raining.  {Expletive}  Got my rain pants out of my bag and put them back on.  This takes longer than you'd think; I have to take my shoes off to do it.  Fortunately I can do THAT without removing the booties...

By now it was almost full dark, so reflective gear and lights all on.  We were to climb up Old Cornelius Pass and then head east on Skyline (which, I might add is STILL climbing).  Now, back when I started training for Cycle Oregon V (1992), I'd make myself ride up Old CP.  I thought it was a really hard climb.  I have since learned what a really hard climb is :-)  So, easy spin up, cross Cornelius Pass onto Skyline and eastward.  Very little traffic (yay!); Skyline (mostly) has a white edge line, and Cecil and Susan were usually a bit ahead of me, so knowing where to go was not an issue.  My job was to call out cars coming in from behind.  The rain stopped, whew.

We got to Thompson, where we were supposed to descend (and join onto Cornell), but it was closed.  Landslide (!)  Ok; we'd continue onto Cornell and descend into Portland there.  I had been trying NOT to obsess (or, at least, obsess out loud) about that descent.  I reef on my brakes the whole way down in DAYLIGHT, and here it was, pitch black.  The top of Cornell is steep, and, as we are headed through Forest Park, no lighting because no houses.  Yes, I do have a really good headlight.  It doesn't make me feel that much more relaxed about it :-)  Followed Cecil down; she called out gravel.  As we were descending, I heard a distinctive rattling sound on my right.  Another (small) landslide.  Ok then. Fortunately, hardly any (none) traffic; I stayed more toward the centerline, where there was no gravel.  Got to the Audobon Society, with streetlights and much less steep.  Susan was waiting there.

Then, through the tunnels (hey, with all our lighting and reflectivity, I wasn't at all stressed about THAT today), then into Portland.  My bike was exhibiting a bit of a shimmy, which was, in all probability me being stressed.  Slowed down, tried to relax.  Right.

We were supposed to turn left on something that "looked like a driveway but wasn't" and go through town that way.  We didn't find it (subsequent examination of google maps shows it before the hairpins), so took the NW Overton bike boulevard down to the river, crossed the Steel Bridge, and headed south on the Esplanande to the Hawthorne Bridge.  Very pretty and colorful, but also kind of surreal.  Paying close attention so as not to hit a random bollard or something.

The convenience store in Ladd's was our best bet for a quick receipt (time was running out...).  Susan bought something, I got a Sweet Salty Bar, and Cecil bought a quart bottle of 22oz bottle of Lagunitas IPA beer.  Heck, she just had a few blocks to go :-)  Whew.  Done.  Just about wrung every minute out of this one.  We felt just like another rando who is known for using every possible minute allowed.

Loaded the bikes in Susan's truck.  Got home.  Took a shower, pulled on the compression tights, and fell asleep in the family room.

UGB 200 Elevations

Starting from home:
136.58 miles, 12.74 mph avg, 7821 vertical feet
YTD miles: 1021, and it is only the first week of March :-)

a few more pics here


Cecil Anne said...

"She was, I think, a bit tired by now."

Physically I was just fine. Mentally, I had had enough. Too many cute dogs on the route. Thanks for not leaving me on the ice floe, however. The lesson from this ride is do NOT stop at the Rock creek Tavern any longer than it takes to have someone initial your card.

sag said...

"like walking into a pinball machine"

This phrase is absolutely perfect...


Cecil Anne said...

Oh, and it was not a quart. Crap beer is sold in quart. it was 22 oz of the finest Lagunitas IPA

bikelovejones said...

The Xinglet looks like a Sam Bra instead of a Sam Brown. Pretty darned bright. Impressive.

And so was your ride. I cannot imagine actually stopping for sit-down food service anywhere on a timed ride. I'd be too nervous about not making the time cut.

Ellen said...

Thompson (on the Portland/east side of Skyline) has been closed to cars for a couple of weeks now due to that landslide. But for bikes you can go down Thompson, left onto 53rd, then hook up with Cornell. Or, maybe go all of the way down Thompson to Cornell, I haven't ridden that way. But bikes go up and down it all the time. Enjoy the car-free zone while it lasts.

lynnef said...

@Ellen - nice to know. If we hadn't been on a timed ride, and cutting it really close, it might have been worth exploring. As it was, we took the route we knew would get us there :-)