Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Overdrawn at the Stupidity Bank

This permanent surely takes the prize...

There was a call for folks to ride the Volcanoes vs Farmland 200k on Jan 2.  I'd be back in town Jan 2.  My bike could easily be reassembled by Jan 2.  Other than the discouraging stretch on Ridge Rd, shouldn't have been anything epic...

Careful reading of the cue sheet discovered a few occurrences of the word "gravel".  One occurrence coupled with the word "descent".  I generally don't ride off-road.  I used to ride on the Banks Vernonia trail when it WAS gravel, and downhill at that, but that was a few years ago.

So, there we were at Marsee Baking in Sellwood, before sunrise.  The weather could have been anything from "chance of showers" to "rain all day".  I did bring some extra clothes and gloves.  David P, the perm owner, was there to check everyone in and hand out cards.  Had some coffee, visited with Cyndi, introduced myself to Maria, and generally visited around.

Early morning start

At 7am, David turned us loose.  Still dark, of course, but not raining.  South for awhile, watching red lights vanish up ahead, then hopped on the bike path along the Willamette River (I've been there before), then onto River Rd for a good long while.  Nice sunrise.  Michal: "are you familiar with this part of town?".  Mmm.  Sort of.  I did know which way to go to get to Clackamette Park, our first control.

Clackamas River Rd

Evidence of participation

Then wandering eastward, on unfamiliar roads.  The stretch along the Clackamas River was very pretty.  We rode all the way out to the Barton Store (next control) and stopped for awhile.  Banana, Doubleshot and a Payday bar; consumed the whole thing right there.  Took off the jacket, hat and heavy gloves - it was sunny!

Rando still life, Barton Mercantile

Doubled back, and eventually ended up on the up and down Ridge Road through the Boring Lava Flow (hence the "Volcanoes" part of the name).  Picked up Jeff A along here; the three of us rode together for the rest of the ride.  The headwind from the south coupled with the seemingly unending up and down was a bit discouraging. Another info control.  I was speculating that David may have put multiple colors of zipties on the road sign, so as to have multiple info control questions.  Sure enough.  Michal and I had one question, and Jeff had another. Devious! Then up and DOWN Buckner Creek Rd.  Put the jacket back on.  Then steeply up again.  Oops.  The rain put in a short appearance.

Last bits of the sun

Eventually into Canby, right along the triathlon bicycle finish and run route.  No cheering crowds today.  We paused at the Thriftway.  I now know where they hide the Doubleshots, and no longer need to search the entire store.  Pulled out my pbj, and started working on it.  Through Champoeg Park (conversation around Guns, Germs and Steel), then into Newberg.

Well, almost into Newberg.  I came up with a rear flat.  Took some serious muscle (not mine!) to get that tire off.  Put the Hutchinson tire on.  There was some worry that we were now behind time, but not so.  Whew.  Mochas at the coffee shop, and off again.  Stretch of gravel road out of Newberg - not so bad, but I wasn't trying to take it fast. It occurred to Jeff that we'd be doing the gravel descent (Saltzman) after dark.  I was in total denial. Dark. Downhill.  Gravel.  Raining...

We almost had a tailwind after turning north on North Valley.  Eventually it did become a tailwind.  Finally finished that pbj sandwich. Another brief stop in Gaston, then pushing onward to North Plains, our final on-course control.  Pause in the market for some Pringles and a Doubleshot; caught a few minutes of the Rose Bowl on the big screen.  Then to the McD's for plumbing (nothing between here and the finish...), and off in the swiftly falling darkness.  Off and on rain.

Found the Jackson Quarry turnoff from West Union... I haven't approached it from this direction, but there was a handy sign before the actual road.  Then east on Helvetia, and calling out to Jeff and Michal when they missed the Phillips Rd turn.  And time to Go Up.  Jeff had it in his head that we were climbing Old Germantown, and that it would be really hard (it would be), but we were going up Old Cornelius Pass.  A gentle climb.  Better than this past summer when I was riding it with the world's most awful cold, for sure.  But it was dark, raining off and on, and rollering upward.  I was not feeling particularly zippy.  We paused at Germantown to look at a GPS to figure out where the turn onto Saltzman might be.

Now for the really stupid part...

We arrived at Saltzman.  Sorted out how we'd go about this.  We were definitely sticking together.  Jeff has a fabulous headlight on his helmet, so he went first.  He'd actually ridden up it once, in daylight.  Me next, Michal sweeping.  After a bit, I had to stop.  I was shaking so badly I couldn't control the bike.  Cold.  Wet.  My head was buzzing.  It was very, very strange.  I did eat a banana.  And a gel.  Michal produced some chemical handwarmers to put in my gloves.  And we walked a bit until I was shaking somewhat less.  Then rode downhill for awhile, maybe with two more stops.  Lots of squeezing the brakes.  I couldn't see far enough ahead (for me) to completely relax.  We could see the lights from Linnton and St Johns through the trees.  I did start to relax a bit, but never warmed up.  I think the grade backed off.  I was figuring we'd be here forever.  Finally, a gate, some really bad pavement, and then Hwy 30.  Jeff wanted to know if I was going to do it again next weekend.  No.  I think this is really a dry summer route.

Conversations about doing stupid stuff on a bike.  I hate crossing the Hwy 219 bridge south of Newberg.  Granted, it isn't as bad as the Boone Bridge in its current construction state in Wilsonville.  Michal isn't all that fond of Bridge of the Gods.  Neither is Jeff.  I love crossing it.  Even when it is raining.  They'd both rather ride down some gravel fire road at night in the rain (!)

Zipped into Portland on Hwy 30/St Helens Rd.  Warmed up with the pedaling.  Up Wardway, through NW, onto Naito, across the Steel Bridge, really gorgeous bit on the Esplanade (many photographers out there with cameras and tripods, getting shots of downtown and the river, all lit up), past OMSI, onto 4th...

"There you are!".  David P was riding back along the route to see if he could find us.  We were at the very tail end, and had 10 minutes left...  Buzzed down the Springwater, and then David stopped and said: this is Sellwood.  You are done.  (and with three minutes to spare!)

He was off to get some groceries, and would meet us at the Oaks Bottom Pub in a few...

Rode with slightly less urgency back to the pub next to Marsee Baking, put the bike away (thank you Cyndi!), and got some 7-Up and snacks.  Visited with Jeff.  Did the perm card rituals with David.  Went home.  Took a very long hot shower, trying to not fall asleep IN the shower, and crashed.  The bike and stuff finally moved out of the car this evening after work.

The numbers:
134.86 mi
12.14 avg mph
7342 vertical feet.  Rather more than the route description claimed...


bikelovejones said...

Looks like a pretty route! (I have never forgotten the cold January morning that you and Cecil introduced me to Jackson Quarry road, which was then covered with a fine layer of black ice in spots.)

Glad you got to ride with my pal Maria. She's been getting into the distance thing more and more (I tried to get her to try 'cross but I don't think that's happening...)

Congrats on volcanoes conquered.

Bicycle Kitty said...

What a treat to read about the ride from someone else's perspective.
I planned on spare gloves and ended up bringing none. Luckily my friend had a spare pair in his car, but they were floppy.
PBJs are my fave ride food.
I love your self-portrait with your glove in your mouth.
I also love your pink goggles - where'd'ya get 'em?
Saltzman in the dark was really scary for me too.
Might you do some Velodirt rides in 2012? Good gravel practice.
Glad you went, sorry we didn't get to ride together!

lynnef said...

Maria - you are definitely at the speedy boundary of the group :-)

The glasses are Tifosi, got them from Team Estrogen...

Unknown said...

I was thinking about that descent yesterday. I had adjusted my disc brakes for the first time when I replaced the pads just before this ride. Thanks to the video tutorial by Volagi Bikes. You had also just replaced your brake pads. In hindsight, we all must have well adjusted brakes, because I don't remember any brake squeal even though it was an extended descent in wet conditions. Pats on the back, all around.

Dr Codfish said...

Hey! Throw that blankety-blank rear tire away! Do it now, don't wait for it to wear out.

Get something that is easier to change(Pasela?) because, you know, ... you're gonna get flats in the rainy winter.
Yr Pal Dr C

Amy said...

Wow - pretty impressive climbing for a first of the year ride - good job and thanks for sharing.

lynnef said...

Dr. Codfish -
:-) the Michelins are now relegated to the Synergy rims - different bike altogether. I'll check them out on the A23s when they arrive. Never going back on the Aeroheads. Ever.

orc said...

Your 7500 feet of climbing may be an artifact of your gps; When I ride this loop, I end up with a raw GPS measurement of ~10,000 feet, which then collapses down to 6500 or 5000 feet depending on how it fits to the published topography maps.

5000 feet is pretty close to the elevations that the online mappers give me, so I stick with them.

And I lovelovelove the descent down Saltzman Road, but I suppose I should offer an alternative routing down Germantown or Thompson/57th Drive for after dark arrivals.

Fully Lugged said...

Great rude and ride report! And I was pleased to find your name listed on pg 10 of my new copy of American Randonneur too! :)