Wednesday, June 27, 2012
100% Chance of Fruitcake
I wasn't going to be able to ride the upcoming OrRando 200k brevet this weekend. But last Saturday, David P recruited me to do a pre-ride with him, for a final check of the cue sheet. This would work, because I don't ride much in the areas which require actual navigation. I would have preferred to ride on Wednesday; much nicer forecast. David could only ride on Tuesday, which promised precipitation in varying amounts (20-50%). Our email exchange, verbatim:
> Tuesday would work, but the weather will be sucky. Say "Fruitcake" :-)
"There's only a *chance* of showers, and there's a 100% chance of fruitcake :-)"
(there could be a link to YouTube of Jimmy Buffett singing "Fruitcakes", but I'll spare you)
Hopped the MAX out to NE 42nd for our planned 7am departure. It was drippy. David appeared just before 7am, I signed the release, got my card, and we were off.
The route to the Springwater Corridor, is, by necessity, through Portland. Expect many stop signs. (Translation: you won't be making time here)
Out on the Springwater. Still stop signs, but not as many. I came up with a front flat, providentially at one of the covered benches. I went for expedient and swapped out tube AND tire (on with the Grand Bois Cypres). Meanwhile, David found the shard of glass in the tire and patched the tube. A couple of walkers stopped by to supervise, but it really went quickly. In case anyone was wondering, the tire went on the 650B Aerohead rim with no tire levers.
First control is at a park. There is a baseball field with (on this day) inaccessible blue rooms, but if you turn left past the field, you'll find more baseball fields and blue rooms.
Then, off the Springwater, and out Telford Rd, heading eventually to Boring and thence to Estacada. There is one annoying climb in there somewhere. Van Curren Rd has an amazing drop. I hit 42.5mph, which is a first for Sweetpea, and not far off my fastest single bike speed ever. You have fun with that!
Through Estacada and then turning right onto Faraday Rd (aka PGE North Hydro Project).
Faraday Rd is freshly paved, and just gorgeous. You'll pass two dams, and probably no motor vehicles whatsoever (only PGE vehicle access). Check out the fish ladders.
Back on to Hwy 224. Promontory Park is a bit down the road, bathrooms and convenience store. Then off to Ripplebrook. Lots of cliffs, scenic river views, and generally not a noticeable grade. There's a few bits of 4%, and then, near the top, a 6-7% ramp after the last bridge.
David stopped to chat with a motorist who wanted to know if this was the way to Salem. It could be, but very roundabout. He wanted scenic, so David told him to follow the road to Detroit, then turn right onto Hwy 22.
The wind was "variable". We would get wet from the periodic bands of light-ish rain, then dry out in time to get wet again. The lupines are just about ready to bloom. Finally, the ramp past Indian Henry campground (and the 4th bridge), pass the marsh on the left, pass the work camp and the campground and... there's the Ripplebrook Guard Station!
Got snacks (Honey Stinger Stroopwaffel, Payday bar for later and coffee for me), visited with the guy running the store, sat outside in the sun, chatted with some folks in the parking lot ("where are you going? where did you start?"), refilled bottles, pulled jackets back on, and headed down.
Got to Faraday Rd, where the sky opened.
We only stopped once between Ripplebrook and Boring; David had to take a call. I consumed half that Payday bar during the pause. Repeated my very fast 10 mile run between Estacada and Boring on Hwy 224. But for that phone call, we didn't drop below 18mph more than once or twice. I feel compelled to mention that because David wanted me to check the cue sheet, and because he had no fenders, I pulled most of the day.
We tanked up at the Barton Mercantile. I drank the remaining half bottle of Food in a Bottle so I could refill it. Coffee. David went for the Jojos. That fried chicken looked very, very enticing, and I bought (and consumed) some. Probably the first time in years that I've eaten fried anything on a ride. It hit the spot.
25 miles to go. It is all pretty until you get into Oregon City. The turn from Forsythe onto Apperson is immediate. Oregon City has a fair amount of traffic. The turn into the shopping center is, to my mind, subtle. It isn't really marked, but there is indeed an overpass right after it, and I expect you'd end up at Clackamette Park if you went too far.
North on McLaughlin - you'll cross over a bridge - I missed it, but getting on the sidewalk is not a bad idea. It drops you right back on the bike lane after the bridge. Do follow the instructions for the left turn.
Slogging north on River Road, then David says: "remember that pitch on River Road where it gets steep, and the bike path goes away and it gets really narrow?" Yeeess. "We don't have to do that anymore, the Trolley Trail is open!"
Yes it is, and very, very nice. Except the sky opened on us again. Something about nice pavement. "Squelch" said David. My feet were not quite that wet, but they were wet.
Eventually back onto River Rd, looking for the left onto Wren. Yes, downhill, but there is bicycle wayfinding signage on the right side of the road pointing left. Then SE 19th drops precipitously down to the Willamette River, where you pick up a trail which takes you north to SE 17th (signed Harrison!) Busy road; but there is a bike lane for most of it. Where there wasn't, I rode out in the right-most tire track, because of all the parked cars. I will not ride in the door zone. The Veer Left onto SE Milwaukie is really the main road curving left - cars cannot go straight, and you aren't meant to on this ride. SE Milwaukie is more of SE 17th - busy, parked cars, and so on. Urban riding again, so you'll slow down.
Keep on. Many of the Portland street signs are not very readable - the text is faded, or they are tipped up at a bad angle. Cross Broadway before you start looking for Tillamook. :-) Peaceful neighborhood stretch, and there you are at Velo Cult.
I hadn't been there before. Job description must be interesting - the one person in the shop was mechanic/sales staff/bartender (!)
We finished at 7:04 for an elapsed time of 12:04. I think that urban riding bit at the start and end didn't help much :-)
And yes, I did eat a lot of fruitcake.
131.6 mi, avg pace of 13.74. In-town riding does that.
Since May 19th, I have ridden a 400k, a 600k, 2 200ks and a random century. So far this month, 783 miles.
Many, many more pics here