I've got a new manager. We were chatting about his weekend (he surfs), and he asked if I went for a ride this past weekend. It is rare that I don't ride. He'll learn that.
Being the weekend bookended by the 400k, and the upcoming SIR 600k, I wanted something, but not too much.
OrRando had a lovely Forest Grove-Vernonia Populaire. Ride to and from, and I'd probably have more than 100 miles.
This ride was going to be the test ride of Calories in the Bottle. Specifically, Carbo-Pro and EFS - 2 scoops of one, 1 scoop of the other, 300 calories. Filled one bottle with the magic potion, another with plain water, and tossed a few bananas in my bag. I can always eat a banana. I wouldn't get to the point where I would bonk - that takes approximately 300km, but I would at least see if my stomach was ok with it.
Advertised as the "Sleep In" Populaire, it started at 10am, which meant I could leave the house at 8:30, and still get there in time. Took the expedient route to Forest Grove - straight out Baseline, which eventually merges with TV Highway, which goes directly into Forest Grove. Except there was a farmers' market in Hillsboro, and I had to go south a block somewhat earlier than I wanted to. As I was doing this, two cyclists rode up. "Going to Forest Grove?" they asked. Well, yes, riding a populaire. So were they. We continued westward, and, of course, on the climb up from McKay Creek, they pulled away. Still got there with 20 minutes to spare (16.6 miles), registered, and visited with Ray, Bert, and RB.
Yes. Well. Theo told us there was construction on the trail, and not to impinge on the orange netting because there was a very deep hole. And, off we went.
Standard route to Vernonia - out Gales Creek, west on Hwy 6 (quickest crossing ever), north on Timber Rd... I was riding by myself, although I knew Bert, Ray, and RB were not far away. Played with the camera. At the top of the Timber switchbacks, started looking for the info control. Pink zip ties on a speed limit sign. Found it! Started drinking the the liquid calories along here (breakfast at home, banana in Forest Grove)
Then, down into Timber, with a pause at the post office to remove all extraneous clothing and apply sunscreen. There is a real person working in there, and those cool old post office boxes. Ray and Bert zipped by while I had stopped.
Brief pause outside of Timber to document the bison ranch. This one guy looked like he wanted to charge the fence.
Then down to the Hwy 26 crossing. Cecil should take note - 29mph on the curves. There is hope for me yet. I had the road to myself but for the last curve. As there was no place for me to go, I took the lane and enjoyed the ride. Not entirely sure the driver behind me had quite as much fun.
Met up with RB and Ray at the Hwy 26 crossing. They all stopped for some reason; I continued on. You know, on a nice sunny day in late spring, that 11 or so miles into Vernonia is EVER so much more pleasant. Ate half a Payday bar, kept drinking.
Ray and RB came along at some point, and we all decamped to the Black Bear Cafe. Cyclists everywhere. They so need a proper bike corral. Eventually got someone to take our order at the counter. Outside seating was full, got a booth inside. Coffee and a sticky bun. Mixed up another bottle. My stomach was absolutely quiet.
Then back out and onto the Banks-Vernonia trail. Love this trail. Ray and I were chatting; this is fairytale forest, which led to him talking about Grimm, and how the forest scenes are filmed right across the street at his neighbor's place. He needs to invite me out next time they are filming; I'll bring beer. And a camera.
I think I ate the banana and the rest of the Payday bar somewhere along there (and kept drinking). Somewhere between the Manning trailhead and the Banks trailhead, a cyclist felt that traffic on the trail was not to his liking, and passed between me and a oncoming small child. Couldn't wait just a few seconds there. I called him a name (unworthy of me, I know). Ray - did you just...? me: yes. Ray: thank you!
Then the end of the trail, a bit of loitering at the end of it with several other randos, and then the last 8 miles into Forest Grove. Passed a young boy on an ATV in his yard. Helmetless. Ray: I'll see him at my place in a few weeks. He said one of the more interesting ones was a 6 year old boy on an ATV. What was interesting is that his BABY SISTER was driving. <soapbox> Now, I have nothing against free-range children, and, indeed, my (now successfully grown and launched) children were not overly supervised. But never mixed with internal combustion engines! They can get into enough trouble on the self-powered variety.</soapbox>
Picked up one of the riders I had met riding in; we finished together. Long visit with David P and the others at the finish. It was asked if I was heading back home via a MAX station. Well, I was, but it was the Sunset MAX, at which point they'd be better just riding into Portland :-)
Mixed up one last bottle, and headed home. The route home is my preferred route back from Forest Grove, 22+ miles, and much quieter. So it took a little longer to get there. But get there I did. :-)