Monday, September 5, 2011

Bridge of the Gods 200km, Second R-12 Completed

The Portland Crew (David P, Theo and Ed) volunteered to run the Bridge of the Gods 200km route as the Oregon Randonneurs September brevet.  Excellent.  I didn't have to do anything but show up and ride.

I was very familiar with this route - I usually ride it in the other direction, and over Cape Horn on SR-14, rather than via Canyon Creek.  But Cecil and I had done the Workers' Ride for the RUSA 10th Anniversary, which was the route in its entirety.  I should note that the 10th anniversary was in Aug 2008, and Cecil and I have been riding together for longer than that...  2006?  Sadly, no Cecil riding this day.

Michal came up from Eugene to ride as well.  So, there we all were, on a cool but-not-going-to-stay-that-way morning, heading out to the Columbia River and points east.

Marine Drive bikepath

As Michal had not done this ride before, I made him stop at all the photo stops :-)

Michal with the Job Corps dragon

Up to Crown Point, where the east wind was trying to blow us out of the parking lot.  At times, standing up was a challenge.

Me at Crown Point

Michal at Crown Point

The descent was similarly challenging for the first 3 or 4 turns down - every time I rounded a corner, a wind gust would almost knock me off the bike.  Finally down to "the bottom", Latourell Falls.  Beautiful stretch from Latourell Falls to Shepperd's Dell - alders over the road, completely shaded, with the falling leaves crunching under my tires.

Multnomah Falls wasn't too far ahead, and I was jonesing for the famous ice cream sandwich.  Not that it was a control, but there are many stops on this route that are not controls!  Mmm.  Ice cream.  Helped settle the nerves from the descent from Crown Point.

Multnomah Falls ice cream sandwich

Then back into the headwind, and, eventually onto the I-84 shoulder.  Other than the first bridge, not too bad.  Big, wide shoulders, not too much traffic (for an interstate freeway).  Off at Bonneville and onto the trail.  Nice.  Carrying the bike down the stairs, and another couple miles into Cascade Locks.

Strategizing under the bridge, we elected to cross the bridge and stop in Stevenson for food.  If it hadn't been so gusty, I might have finally gotten some pictures looking down.  Maybe next time.  Michal's first Bridge of the Gods crossing; he's happy to have survived it :-)  And so, on to the Stevenson grocery, where we found some riders finishing up their snacks.  Got a jug of water, gatorade, something with salt and a Doubleshot.  Thus fortified, we set out to conquer Wind River Rd.

Michal has wanted to know about my experiences with the Agile development methodology, and Wind River Rd is just the long stretch to talk about such things.  {TOTAL geek interlude. I shall not bore you with the details}.  Gentle 8+ mile climb up, and eventually we could see the info control up ahead.  But wait!  There was Ed, ready to sign our cards!

Ed manning the turnaround control

To this point, the wind had been screaming in from the east, and ALL of us were ready to start heading back west.  But the wind was causing a bit of anxiety on the descent back to Carson - we had a headwind.  Besides being a good descent spoiled, what would it be doing when we got back to the Gorge?  Since it was supposed to remain HOT for the next few days, I was betting on a continued east wind.

And I was right.  Whew.  Back to Stevenson, where the unused part of the water jug was still waiting, as well as a  Sobe and some cookies and a banana.  The forest fires just over the ridge on the Oregon side were blotting out the sun - we could see it shining red through the smoke cover (Darkover anyone?)  

Heading west on SR-14

It did lower the temperature a bit.  We then pressed on all the way to Krogstad Rd, paused briefly, then continued along on Krogstad and Canyon Creek, to the Washougal River Mercantile, our last on-course control.  Fritos.  Water.  Sitting.  The riders immediately previous had left an almost full cup of coffee.  We didn't drink it.  

The next stretch was 9+ miles of Washougal River Road.  The workers' ride had commented on, mmm, impaired rafters heading home, so I was a bit worried.  Fortunately, we rode through before they started leaving the river.  Whew.

Into Camas, out onto 6th, then the Old Evergreen Highway.  Bumpy, but very little traffic.  Pedal, pedal, pedal.  I finally called for a cookie halt.  Fortunately we looked that the street sign before proceeding - we were at our turn onto Ellsworth.

Michal crossing the I-205 bridge

Across the I-205 bridge (downhill from the Washington side, but, again, the wind spoiled a good downhill), past the airport on the south side, over Columbia Blvd, and then just a few quiet miles to the finish.


Theo and Asta

At the finish

My second R-12 completed!   Fitz joined Michal, Cyndi (Ms. Michal) and me at Kennedy School for a post-ride celebration.

128 miles, 14.41 avg mph, 5997 vertical feet
11:03 elapsed time. 2:08 off the bike.

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