The original route had a climb in the middle that was, to say the least, intimidating. Mapping it out on ridewithgps had bits of 22%. Oh well, less than 2 miles. I could walk it, if necessary. But the weather remained persistently bad/wet/windy, and that climb was apparently quite exposed, so the route was changed. About 800 less feet of climbing. We'd still have to go over that ridge, but not THAT way.
In a flash of insight that will make some of my riding partners SO very proud of me, I annotated the cue sheet. Where the climbs started and finished, and (the important part here), instructions to EAT! every 12-13 miles. I even ate when the cue sheet said to eat. Things with 200+ calories, too! Usually more calories.
Up at 4:45, on the road by 6, for the 7am start. Many riders at the start, including the Portland Crew, who rode over. I don't want to know what time THEY got up. Except Asta - she hadn't slept in 24 hours.
Raining, raining, raining. Off we went at 7am, quickly diverging from familiar roads. I rode along with Oliver for awhile, then I stopped at a handy blue room (climbing over a fence was involved) and he went on. Eventually ended up on Dickey Prairie Rd. We caught glimpses of the Molalla River - it was running very fast and high. The first climb was a 12+ mile ride up Molalla Forest Road, following the river. Beautiful fairytale forest. Lots of water features - the river, of course, plus many, many waterfalls. (Maria, later: "I could have done without the water from the sky water feature") It was, of course, raining heavily. Gentle climb; about 3 miles from the top I saw the returning fast group. My feet were sopping wet. At the turnaround control (thank you Keith K!), I ate a banana and the other half of a nutritionally dubious pastry. Keith obligingly zipped up the pit zips on my jacket for the descent (if I took off the gloves, it would have been a bit of a challenge getting them back on). Asked if anyone had dry feet. Hysterical laughter.
Lovely descent, and into Molalla. Saw Asta, David and others heading out. Cruised through town looking for a place to get food, and settled on Subway. Got a breakfast muffin and some regrettable coffee; did a bit of blotting excess moisture. Squeezed out the gloves (made puddles). My cue sheet had a big wet spot (need to get another 8.5x11 ziploc!), so downloaded the cue sheet to my phone, just in case. Ah, technology.
Time for climb #2. This climb is over the same ridge as the Portland Wheelmen's Spring/Pioneer century, but different roads than I have been over. Not difficult, just up. Then down (whee!) and eventually into Silverton, where I found many bicycles with luggage and blinky lights parked outside the coffee shop. Joined the changing group inside (some leaving, some arriving), and ordered a bagel with lox cream cheese. Lots of tasty calories there, and I ate the entire thing while visiting with Maria, Nick, and Rob (who ordered TWO hotdogs).
Nowhere to go from Silverton but up. The climb started right from Silverton, and did not finish until the Silver Falls State Park entrance - 19 miles along the ridge. It was pretty, but very painful - not killer steep, but the headwind screaming in from the south made it very challenging. But! Not raining! Sun! Lost the jacket and heavy gloves, and started to dry out some. Except my feet.
That bagel and cream cheese should have kept me going for a good long time, but at most 10 miles into it, I was dragging. I figured a gel would do it. They kick in quickly, and I can really feel it. One peanut butter gel later, I made it another 5 miles. And ate another gel. Gels are like matches, you either have to keep sucking them down, or follow with something longer-lasting. I was looking forward to something at the Silver Falls Lodge. There was mentioned a fire and hot chocolate.
Stopped to take a picture, SURELY I was near the top. No, but it was a pretty picture. Finally, finally, I got to the park entrance sign. And then it started sleeting/hailing. Quickly pulled on the jacket and dropped for a couple of miles to the lodge.
Met Karel S at the parking lot entrance. I don't know if he was having a flat, or waiting out the sleet. In any case, he drove out from Montana to ride, and he's riding my two perms on Sunday and Monday. Likes to get his riding's worth of any road trip. I am in awe.
Went into the parking lot. Where's the lodge? Saw David and Asta headed out; they pointed me in the right direction - it is way off the parking lot, and not signed. Lots of bikes with blinkies and luggage on the porch. Went in, found the roaring fire and the park ranger to sign my card. But no hot chocolate - I arrived at 4:10, and the snack bar shut down promptly at 4.
I did peel off my rain booties, shoes and socks, and set them by the fire. Got some dry socks out of my bag. Maria and Nick arrived. Nick sat down on the sofa and fell asleep. He was even snoring :-) After pausing there for a bit, I reassembled (the dry socks weren't much with really wet shoes), refilled my water bottle, and headed out. By this point, I was owed a downhill and a tailwind.
A pause for a picture at the North Falls overlook, and more rolling climbs until mile 97, then a really nice descent into the outskirts of Silverton. Not raining, but I was still wearing the jacket.
Stopped in Silverton long enough to pull on the reflective gear and turn on my other rear blinkie (I ran the headlight and one rear blinkie all day. Seemed safer, as I was mostly riding by myself.) Maria, Jeff, and Nick came along, and then went ahead. Opened my bag of sunflower seed filled pretzels, and munched on those heading north on Meridian Rd.
There was the expected tailwind. Found Ted, Bukie, and Jeff in Monitor. Updated the husband on location and distance out (15 miles), then pressed on. Twilight on Meridian Road.
Turning onto Zimmerman, it started raining. Then it REALLY started raining. If I'd just been out riding around, I'd have headed north on Meridian until Lone Elder. The route took a teeny bite off the distance, and over much quieter roads. Raining, raining, raining. What seemed like forever, but was really only 2 miles out, I pulled over and had a little pity party. Me and the remains of my Nutella sandwich. Then topped the rise from the river (really it was RIGHT THERE), and... there was Canby. I knew where I was (I knew where I was miles back, but I was beat), headed north past the schools and swim center, crossed 99W, turned left on 2nd and started looking for the pub. Sure enough, building with many bicycles with luggage and blinkies leaned outside.
After detemining that there was no way I'd get home in time to see any of the Portland Timbers game, ordered some dinner and visited with Rob, Asta, Theo, Michael R (great volunteer; we haven't had a chance to talk in a long while), and others, as they came and went.
Stats from my bike computer: 133.3mi (a few extra wandering around Molalla), 12.58 avg
Vertical feet: ridewithgps: 5845, my bike computer: 7355. I am sure the truth lies somewhere in that range.
1451 miles, ytd, 611miles for March (whoo!)
All the pics here