It is November again, time for the Verboort Sausage Festival, and so, time for the Oregon Randonneurs Verboort Populaire. Any ride that ends up at a sausage festival is one to do. (Also rides that include ferries, or cross international boundaries.)
Getting ready - not so much. The weather was going to be rainy and 40's. Wool, wool, wool, Craft Storm Tights and the Showers Pass Elite jacket. And food. I get home from rides, sometimes with more food than I started with, so I toss it in the freezer and pull it out for the next ride. This ride, I retrieved some cookies from the last ride with Michal.
Lots of socializing around at the start; big crowd, despite the weather. Lesli and I had planned to ride together to continue our conversation from the Bikenfest, and Diane (riding buddy since 2003!) joined us. Andy S. gave me a fair amount of trash talk about the quantity of food I had been carrying along on the 600 last June... "I got a hernia just lifting up your bike". Wish I could figure out how to carry less stuff, but it just doesn't work out that way. And I am happy to have the food and spare clothing along!
Turned loose at 9am (drizzling), heading east to Longbottoms Coffee in Hillsboro, our first control about 12 miles along. Rode along with former co-worker Ian for a bit; we caught up on doings at my former place of employ (layoffs again. boo.)
Got there, got my card signed, and.... Lesli wanted an espresso. Service there is, um, not fast. So we stood around and waited. And got a bit chilly. And finally, she got it, sucked it down and we left. But we didn't get very far, because my front tire became exceedingly squashy. (Crud)
Back to fix it. Couldn't find anything in the tire, so crossed my fingers and changed out the tube. BikePortland's participant took my picture. First flat I've had in months (and second flat all year), and that's what I'll be remembered for. Fortunately, it was possibly the fastest tire change EVER. No messing around with tire levers to put the tire back on. I like that.
Off again, heading north over Hwy 26. I saw on the cue sheet that we were going up the fabled Jackson Quarry Hill, and mentally deduced the route was Helvetia to Jackson Quarry. I mean, why go any other way when that way is so darn pretty? Well, it wasn't, it was Helvetia to West Union to Jackson Quarry. Our alternate was .2 mile longer, but much, much, much nicer scenery. Lesli hadn't ridden there before, because no brevet or perm uses that route (I have a perm design in process which does; stay tuned), and I enjoyed pointing out my favorite parts (most of them). A teeny bit more climbing, but worth it for the view. (What it looks like in nicer weather)
Back on the published route, around a few turns, and at the base of the Jackson Quarry Hill. I only know one way to go up it, so punched it and made myself work all the way to the top. Too many years racing Jason to the top (score, Jason: some really big number, Lynne: 1). Then down Mason Hill (wheeee!) and back to Jackson School/Shadybrook/...
Chatting all the way north on Dairy Creek made it go pretty quickly. Consumed that entire bag of cookies. They were very, very good. Could have eaten more! The field of alpacas had 4 cute baby ones this year. Don't know where the grownups were. Vegan sausage and a rando mocha, chatting w/Susan F and Lesli about how I am leading her astray (what? ride in the WINTER?) and time to head back down. It was chilly for a few miles until we warmed up. The trees at the ornamental nursery were spectacular - rows of green, then yellow, then red. We plotted next weekend's adventure - Bill Alsup's Eugene to Portland 200k permanent. I've got the train ticket for me and Sweetpea for next Friday evening already. Also ordered a rack for Sweetpea, for the inevitable pannier of stuff.
Crossed at Frogger Junction, and then off to Banks, quick pause, and west on Cedar Canyon. The wetlands haven't really filled up yet. In a month they should be spectacular. Back along Hwy 6, up Stafford Rd, and the last short number of miles to the end. Except the stretch on Kemper/Visitation seems to take much too long.
Lesli: "I know we are there when I hear polka music and see oxygen tanks and walkers." We got the polka music and a couple of walkers, but no oxygen tanks this year. Diane and I rehashed some previous year's rides - "remember when it was sunny?"
Finished and cards signed, we set off in search of sausage on a stick, coffee, and uncooked sausage to take home. Got the sausage and coffee in the bingo tent (visited with Brian from Olympia, who was having an amazing run at bingo). Located the bulk sausage sales, and managed to buy somewhat less than 2 pounds this year.
Back to the Grand Lodge, where Lesli, Diane, and I were all completely prepared to soak in the hot pool. Frozen feet and hot water is an exquisite feeling, I must say. We defrosted for a good 20-30 minutes. Great finish to a great day.
Stats: 65 miles in total, 62 and a bit for the populaire.
total elapsed time for the populaire 5:27. Analysis: about 15 minutes more riding, a flat, and a bit too much faffing.
Riding pace for the populaire: 14.03 avg mph
Overall pace (includes the coast back to the start) 13.83 avg mph