Mindful of what happened right after I finished my first R-12 (Dec 2008, three weeks solid of snow and ice!), I planned to get the December ride in as early as possible. The route was Hillsboro-Dallas-Hillsboro. Not epic, and not likely to get interestingly icy. Weather was to be sunny and cold (30-45 degrees F)
I thought awhile about riding Lemond, but Sweetpea has the lighting, the carrying capacity, and the comfort.
Recruited Michal to join me. He and his wife got up at 3:30am (ow), and drove up from Eugene so he could ride. We arranged to meet in the Freddie's parking lot. I got there, and watched them drive in, and wander around a bit before parking :-) Rode over, and arranged with Cyndi to meet up at my house at the end.
The store opened at 7, so we had to wait until then to go in and get a receipt. On the road by 7:15. Still very dim.
The exit from Hillsboro out to SW Fern Hill south of Forest Grove is very familiar to me - I had ridden this route 3 times previously, plus my local club rides all over this part of the county. Probably didn't even need to print out the cue sheet.
The sun had trouble coming out. We didn't see it the entire outbound leg. That said, I still ditched my jacket and heavy gloves in the first 8 miles. Rode the rest of the way in a long sleeved wool baselayer, long sleeved OrRando jersey, thermal Shebeest vest, summer mesh gloves with ragg gloves over them, shorts, Craft Storm tights, wool cap, wool socks, PI X-Alp Goretex shoes, and some old Louis Garneau booties that are worthless when it rains. And chemical toe warmers. Michal had on a few more layers, and I think he shivered every time he looked at me.
The scenery riding south along Spring Hill/North Valley/Ribbon Ridge/Kuehne/Abbey was its usual outstanding self. My favorite clerk was working at the Dayton Center Market, our first control. It was slowly (sort of) warming up.
The boring stretch to Amity, then 6+ miles on Hwy 99, then onto Bethel Rd. We saw some other cyclists headed north. Clearly we weren't the only idiots out this day. Fields of grazing sheep. Cute fluffy grazing sheep. Also a few llamas, cattle, and some horses. Big fields turning green with winter wheat. Farm buildings. The antique fire truck at the corner of Bethel and Perrydale. Whereupon Michal took the only picture of the day.... "that firetruck is a lot more antique than I thought it would be"
Then, over the rollers to Dallas, and into the Safeway, with the indoor seating, hot deli counter and Starbucks. More sesame chicken and a Pumpkin Spice Latte for me; Michal had soup and a wrap, and expressed doubt that I was drinking actual coffee.
After a 45 or so minute pause, we headed back out. There was a bit of sun, but sadly, also a bit of headwind. The view from the tops of the hills (I refuse to call them rollers) to the north was outstanding. No stops between Dallas and Dayton. Michal wanted to flip his cue sheet, but I pointed out that there was absolutely no way we were getting lost. The headwind finally gave it up around Dayton. My bike computer display decided it was too cold, and hid. It was still recording, but not sharing. Last battery change was in April; might be time to do it again.
Topped up various liquids, ate something (I started working on a muffin; took almost to Ribbon Ridge to finish off). Michal took off his shoes for a bit. Called spouses to give them an ETA.
Last push northward. Long slanting rays of the sun as it dropped below the hills. Stopped at the corner of Ribbon Ridge and North Valley to turn on all the lights and swap in the clear lenses. We hadn't taken off the reflective gear all day; nothing to do there. North on North Valley, north on Spring Hill, climbed the last rise of any significance just past Catherine and Rick's house. A car honked at us (friendly honk) - thought it was Catherine and Rick, but she says it wasn't them.
Pretty sunset. Rode past the wetlands at the north end, on to Fern Hill. Starting to get dim... Sucked down a gel (Cherry Chocolate. Tasty.) for the final push. Full dark showed up somewhere on Geiger/LaFollett. It wasn't really DARK dark - waxing moon and some ambient light from our surroundings as we skirted the southern boundaries of Forest Grove, Cornelius, and Hillsboro. Finally, north on Minter Bridge, right on River, and the last turn onto Davis. (Still a black hole past Brookwood).
Into Starbucks for the receipt (free with purchase of coffee). The barista asked about our ride, then offered that she had ridden to Forest Grove once (15 miles? tops?). I asked if she had fun, and yes, she did. We then loaded the bikes into the Element and drove home. Cyndi had arrived. I put the last ingredients in the soup and took a very hot shower. Dinner. Visiting. Completing the perm cards (in the mail, Ray :-) ). Plotting for next month. Maybe Donuts to Total Domination. Or Three Prairies. Michal wants to see that part of the valley in daylight.
All in all, a pleasant ride with great company!
Feeling awfully creaky today.
126 miles, 11:16 elapsed time, 13.74 avg mph. Slowdown after lunch. Power-mass improvement indicated.