Greg reported that the Historic Columbia River Highway was again open, but the under-construction trail which would remove the mile of freeway shoulder was not yet complete. He registered to ride it.
On a completely different track, I was fishing for folks to ride with me that weekend. Some persons who shall remain nameless wanted to ride 1513, and we settled on Saturday. Then they backed out. Michal wanted to ride, but his bike was in the shop. More to the point, his generator wheel was in the shop. I dangled a loaner 700c generator wheel in front of him, and he thought he'd be able to ride.
He and Cyndi appeared Friday evening, and we did the wheel swap and made sure our bikes were ok. Perhaps not as thoroughly as some of us should have.
Down the hill at 6:30, said hi to Greg, and got some more coffee. We really weren't expecting Greg to ride with us - he can be wonderfully social, and he's a delight to ride with, but there are days when he'd rather turn on the afterburners. But he thought he'd ride along, at least until we were out of Portland. The route starts in scenic suburban Beaverton, goes back up by my house, then traverses Portland from SW to NE, before crossing I-205 into Washington.
Foggy ride down through Washington Park, heading through town, then finally across the I-205 bridge and onto Evergreen, the old Hwy 14. Pause in the Burgerville in Camas (a control, and purveyor of good hot chocolate), then on the new construction east. SR-14 is getting interesting. Just follow the signs to Stevenson, or Kennewick or whatever. Points east.
Stopped at Lewis and Clark and the Three Little Bears sign, then up to Cape Horn. No stops on my part.
We did stop at Cape Horn for pictures, and then enjoyed a lovely descent down to Prindle, at which point there was some pedaling required. After that, no stops until Stevenson, the turnaround. Greg left us on the climb to Cape Horn; we didn't see him again.
Weather was decent. I don't believe I have ever done this route in FEBRUARY! The sun didn't come out, but neither did it rain, or be annoyingly windy or cold.
Stopped in the pizza place on the right, and ate two pieces of pizza. Michal: "nice to see you not forcing something down". And so, full of pizza, we headed back, and across the Bridge of the Gods. Still a bit too breezy to get pictures.
My favorite stretch of the ride was up next - the multiuse path west from Cascade Locks. We could see the Moffett Creek bridge construction, but still had to hop on the freeway for that one mile.
Nice ride back along the scenic highway - lots of pretty waterfalls and all that. Brief pause to fix my flat tire. Should have checked it more closely the night before. I am very, very tired of getting flats with these tires. These are more flats than I have ever had in my life. Lovely to ride on when they aren't flat, but...
Then time to climb up to Crown Point. I explained to Michal that the first person up had to lean over the railing and cheer the others on. He thought he'd pick it up a bit, and took off. I had turned on Strava back at Shepperd's Dell, so I could get a reasonably accurate time on the climb. I could see him ahead for most of the climb, but he did, of course, beat me to the top, and cheered me on from the railing :-) I was pretty happy with my time as well.
Note: the pavement from Latourell Falls to Crown Point has been replaced. It is wonderful to ride on!
Last climb for awhile, up to Women's Forum, and then the wonderful descent down to Troutdale, with the Bell Road part. Then time to slog back from NE PDX all the way SE. The control at NE Columbia and NE 47th is now improved with the addition of a Subway and a Dutch Bros. coffee. We went for hot coffee drinks.
But it was now dark, and navigation was difficult - street signs in Portland are notoriously hard to read in the dark, and the going was slow. Finally over the river, up through the park (17% grade at the Rose Garden OUCH), up to Sylvan and down. Would we make it?
It was very, very close. Two of the three timepieces (my bike computer, which I had been using all day for time, and the SPOT track) had us done in time. Whew.
Then slowly back up the hill for a shower and dinner. Fitz made up a big pot of hot and sour soup, which was great.
Aftermath: I bit the bullet and pulled out the Soma Xpress tires. They are 650B x 38, which is somewhat larger than my fender installation could deal with. I had new fender stays, but it was just a lot of work. Spent the entire Sunday afternoon refitting the fenders (oh, new brake pads, too). Stay tuned for a review of the tires...