Sunday, November 18, 2012

Long, Wet Ride for Coffee

Not coffeeneuring, although MG did say one could ride 100 miles for coffee :-)

Vineyard, almost to the southern terminus of Howell Prairie Rd

Susan O proposed Ken M's Mill City Coffee Run 200k perm for this month's R-12 adventure.  We settled on a date and time, and watched the weather forecast get bleaker and bleaker...  Went from 50% chance of rain to 100% chance of rain with 15-20mph winds from the south.  High would be about 50.

Went into a mild obsession over what to wear, reviewed clothing choices from similar rides, and decided I'd be fine.  I packed an extra baselayer, extra socks, and two changes of gloves.  Wore a wool bra, wool sleeveless baselayer, ls wool jersey, wool shorts, Craft storm tights, wool socks, shoes, Endura booties, Showers Pass Elite, Gore Visibility Vest, and a very thin Ibex cap.  Pearl Izumi pro softshell gloves.  The raincover came out of the drawer and onto the helmet.

So, on a very soggy Saturday morning we all descended on the Wilsonville Starbucks attached to the grocery store.  Papers signed, lots of organization by the other riders - my goal is to be completely organized when I get to the start of the ride.  Everything is on the bike the night before, and the bike is in the car, if I am driving to the start.  More time for coffee and socializing.  Ken was already there, so I did the paperwork and received my card.  Susan, Theo and Asta showed up shortly thereafter, followed by Lesli and Michal, who came all the way up from Eugene.  I had a lovely cheese danish and mocha, and watched everyone get ready.

Theo and Ken (perm owner)

Theo and Michal (signing in)

Started out about 10 minutes after 8.  It was raining.  Our first order of business was to hop on I-5, and cross the Willamette River to get to points south.  Noisy.

Then the familiar roads south to Gervais (17+ miles).  Everyone was moving right along, and I was pushing it to hang on.  We stopped for this and that at the store.  After a brief pause I decided to push on, knowing everyone would catch me.  Out of Gervais, then south on Howell ("Howl") Prairie Rd.  16+ miles of open valley.  Headwinds from the south.  And rain.  I got a good long ways before anyone caught up.  I had pulled over to switch the jacket to the vest, and Susan, Theo, and Lesli found me.  My feet were quite wet by now, but the rest of me, albeit damp, was just fine.

Howell School

More riding along, and Susan came up with a flat.  I helpfully found whatever it was in her tire that caused the flat ("OW!"). We heard that Asta and Michal were back a ways fixing Asta's flat.   Once the new tube and tire were back on the rim, I took off again.  Got some pictures along the way, and, as the rain was returning, pulled the jacket back on.

Lesli, preparing to document Susan fixing her flat

Old truck, Howell Prairie Rd

Finished Howell Prairie and the Shaw Hwy, and found myself where I should be turning left on Mill Creek, except the street sign said "Main".  Susan, Asta, and Theo came along, and, as Susan was riding with the GPS track, she just turned left.  Followed them the next 4 miles into Stayton, where we pulled into the Roth grocery.  Bowl of potato chowder and a banana, refill of the bottles, and tracking down Lesli and Michal.  They were back a bit, having had the same navigational confusion I did at the Mill Creek turn, so we went on ahead.  More texts back and forth, so I was dropped before leaving Stayton.  No worries; I wasn't going to get lost.

Rando provisions, Stayton

Paralleled OR-22 all the way to Lyons, through Lyons and on to Mill City.  The rain kept falling, but it was lighter.  Left my bike on the porch at Rosie's Mountain Coffee Shop.  Susan told me they had pumpkin lattes.  Oh happy day.  Also a big selection of pastries.  Tucked my way into a big frosted cinnamon roll and the latte.  Also ducked into the restroom and changed to the long-sleeved wool baselayer and dry socks (didn't last long, shoes were saturated).  Michal and Lesli arrived, and got themselves some hot coffee as well.  Got out a pair of dry gloves.  The gloves I was wearing were warm even when wet, but I thought dry would be a nice change.

Rosie's Mountain Coffee Shop

We all headed down; Mill City is uphill.  Very gradual, but we could tell we were riding downhill on the way back.  The wind was also slightly favorable, so we flew right along, and soon found ourselves back in Stayton.  Those not in night riding gear pulled it on.  I had a banana, and made up a calorie bottle.  Easier than eating with big puffy gloves.  The rain had pretty much called it quits by now.  Susan, Theo and Asta left; Lesli finished her soup, and we followed very shortly thereafter.  Had to explain to the store patrons, that no, we weren't cold.

It was getting pretty dim, and the roads were busy until we crossed OR-22.  But we had a wonderful tailwind, and flew northward.  The sky cleared, and we could see the moon and stars.  I was happy I'd included that long sleeved baselayer!

I was in charge of navigation; this area is very familiar.  There really aren't many turns, and there are only 3 maybe that aren't t-intersections.

Chatted with Michal about his upcoming custom bike (well it will be upcoming once he orders it).  We are both fantasizing about the upcoming B&M Luxos U light (bright! integral USB charger!)  Braze-ons were discussed.  I figure if you are getting a custom bike, there should not be any zip ties or electrical tape.  With Sweetpea's lead time, I had lots of time to work out all the bits I wanted.

Also discussions of next month's ride.  I am liking Eugene to Beaverton - winds are from the south in the winter, and 200k of tailwinds is pretty nice.  Flèche routes were also discussed.  I've worked up a route which is 366km from my front door, ending in Olympia.  Goes out to Astoria, over the 4 mile long bridge, then north and back inland via Raymond and Elma.  Never ridden the part of Washington State that is north of Parpala Rd. Assuming this year's flèche also ends in Olympia, that is.

Finally on to the last bit, and again on I-5 to cross the river.  Found Cyndi, and everyone else at the finish.  The non-Eugene crowd went over to Perfect Pizza, gorged ourselves on pizza, and changed into dry clothes.

Pizza at the finish

12:32 elapsed time, 14.04 avg mph.

All the pictures here

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