(not to worry, the Stupidity Bank is untouched)
My new perm was approved this past Wednesday, which meant that the planned ride this weekend got to follow through on Plan A. Indeed, the OrRando spring 200 brevet is this month, but it is also scheduled for the 31st. No do-overs for the R-12 if something unforeseen was to occur.
Michal was in, as was Kevin. My bike was clean and shiny, with new pedals and a new saddle early this week. I even had "new" shoes to test out; as my Pearl Izumis are getting soft. A slightly used pair of Sidi Dominators, which all the cool kids wear. And new shoe covers, after finally trashing the many shredded ones.
Michal and I had breakfast, and eventually coasted down the hill to the start. We left it a little late, and arrived at the start one minute after our planned 6:30am start. Got my thermal jug filled with a mocha. Kevin had not yet arrived; we eventually started just before 7am. Kevin was riding his fixie, and wearing shorts (!) It wasn't COLD, but it wasn't what I would consider warm, either.
Conversations on someone's next rando bicycle. Something about front rack, proper front bag, different rear dropouts...
Uneventful escape from the Urban Growth Boundary (there is no traffic to speak of that early on a Saturday), eventually to end up at Banks, our first control. Not a long stop. I sucked down a bottle of grapefruit juice, and we were off to the most anticipated (by me, anyway) part of the ride, the Banks-Vernonia Trail. The promised rain started up around here; a persistent drizzle. Very light traffic on the trail.
Right about the Stub Stewart park entrance, we found a small snowbank, and promptly posed for pictures.
Then, a little further along (almost to Tophill) the trail was littered with small branches and debris from our recent snow event. My front mudflap proved to be an excellent debris scoop; I had to stop every so often to pull branches out of my fenders.
And then - tree across the trail! We had to stop and duck to get past it.
Then a little further along - many trees across the trail! Portaging required. The entertainment here was watching Michal using his new phone to document it. He did eventually succeed, but I think the phone still has the upper hand. (Can't tease too much, that's going to be my next phone as well.)
Then down and up at Tophill - I can't ride up it without stopping, the switchbacks are very tight turns. Shortly afterward, we summitted (over 1000'), and began the long coast down into Vernonia. We elected to stop at Black Bear Coffee, but "not for too long". Orange-poppyseed scone and a mocha for me, a scone with chocolate drizzles and a latte for Michal; Kevin watched.
Back out into it; still a heavy drizzle. Munched on a couple of cookies, kept drinking. I felt pretty good most of the way to Birkenfeld; the last few miles of lumpy rollers did have me wanting some more food. The Birkenfeld Store has undergone quite a few changes since I first rode out there in 2007. The grocery part is now much smaller. The liquor offerings, while probably not much reduced, are de-emphasized. It is mostly cafe, which suited us just fine. Kevin ordered nachos. Michal and I elected to split a pastrami sandwich. When it arrived, it was clear that this was the correct choice; it was pretty big. Last year I had ended up eating the other half of Kevin's friend Nick's sandwich :-)
Hot tea, sandwich... Spiking my hair so it would dry out a bit. I should have tossed in a spare cap. Still raining on the way out, but not (yet) the expected headwind. Again, I felt pretty good most of the way back to Vernonia. Keeping up. Taking pulls even. Chatted with Michal and Kevin about their upcoming fleche. We all slowed down a bit before Vernonia. Elected to stop at the gas station to really keep the stop short (we were an hour up; it was ok, really). I am sure I bought something to eat there, but don't remember what it was.
Then south again on the trail. I was still feeling draggy, and telling myself I'd eat my Clif Builders Bar (chocolate mint, lots of calories, and yummy) when we got to Tophill, but finally forced myself to get it out and eat it NOW. Which was the right decision. Munched on it all the way there. Down, up, over the trees, under the tree and the descent back to Banks. It had quit raining; there were bits of sun. Totally unexpected. Conversations on books we were reading or had read. I always come away from these rides with a list of books to read.
Potato chips in Banks, and time to finish it off. It was not yet sunset, but we all pulled on the reflective gear and turned on some lights. It was warm enough that I swapped the jacket for a vest and shortfinger gloves. By now we had a quartering headwind. This is a pretty mindless 22 miles for me. Banks to North Plains (more lights on). North Plains to north Hillsboro. Seemed like a good time to eat a GU, so I did - Peppermint Stick. Must get more of those.
north Hillsboro to Tanasbourne. At this point, I was on a mission, not stopping. It seemed that every driver in the Beaverton area was out on the road. Kevin and Michal just followed along. Tanasbourne to SW 158th. Don't cut over to go through the Nature Park (my standard route home). Left on Jenkins. Right on Hocken, turn past New Seasons, left on Center, right on SW 117th... Turning onto Center, Michal: "are we there yet?"
Finished up, Kevin gave me his card, and we headed up to my house; Kevin continuing back to Portland. I have to wonder if he rode all the way in on that fixie. There is an 11% grade on Pointer.
Entered the results, fed Michal, sent him on his way. Joined the spouse at a dinner party (mmm. good food.), but had real difficulty sitting in the chair. I finally had to stand up and walk around, and, by 11pm, make my escape. Still pretty beat up, which I do not understand. I suspect that I do not appear to have Sidi feet, which might be part of it.
135+ miles, all told, with a 14mph average. Nothing to sneeze at there.