After tracking down Greg, we all set out, just a few minutes after 7. It was cold, but not anywhere near as foggy as it had been for the Dec 200k the previous Sunday. We headed south watching the sun rise, and the group started spreading out. Jason and I found everyone in Gervais, where I stopped long enough to remove the jacket and swap the warm gloves for shortfingers and wool overgloves.
Then on to the longest part of the ride, Howell Prairie Road. We did have a slight tailwind, but somehow, it was a slog. Still cloudy. I did eat, really.
Finally into Stayton, where we found everyone at the Roth's, eating and or just sitting. I ate a cup of chicken noodle soup, some cheese, and a banana, in the hopes that it might help on the stretch to Mill City. Asked Jeff A why he wasn't wearing his hat with the cute little pom-pom... "because it doesn't go with this outfit". I use the same standard in selecting my riding socks for the day.
The food helped. The group splintered again; Jason and I rode together. We had been imperceptibly climbing, and now it was still very gradual, but we had gained some altitude and there was frost everywhere. It was pretty, and on the bright side, the sun started breaking through the clouds. I hadn't seen the sun for about a week, so it was quite welcome! We came upon everyone else gathered around a bicycle - Greg's left crankarm had detached itself(!)
After watching for a bit, I decided that, being slow, I'd go on ahead. We were almost to Mill City. Jason and I went on, and the others found us before we got to Rosie's. Greg wanted a sandwich-length stop. Fine by me. They are pretty quick. Ordered my usual turkey croissant, and got my thermal jug refilled with hot chocolate and coffee. Kevin eventually appeared, and ordered some lunch.
We all headed out but for Kevin - he said he'd be along after he ate. It was a bit chillier heading down, but the frost had all cleared away. I rode solo for awhile, then with Ken until Lyons. He caught me again before I got to Stayton, and we got to the Roth's grocery. He wanted to go to the espresso stand; I headed into the store. Banana, water bottle refill and a Red Bull. I had a sandwich and some fruitcake that I was eating while riding.
We headed out, and stopped to chat with Kevin headed in. He was feeling better. We left; all dreading the inevitable headwind on Howell Prairie Rd. I attached myself to Jason's rear wheel, and Ken was behind me for much of the time. Jason punches a nice hole in the wind, yes, he does.
The hilly bits at the south end of Howell Prairie were not as downhill as they were supposed to be. Jason and I both noticed that.
The bike computer had checked out early in the ride, so I spent the time not really knowing how fast we were moving. It was a slightly unsettling feeling.
We passed Maria and Laura stopped along the road for some unknown reason (eating?), but kept on. Finally, the turn to head into Gervais. I think we stopped, but don't actually remember. I may have taken the pause to eat something, but I didn't get off my bike. Still not dark. Ken: "if you told me that we would be in Gervais before dark, I wouldn't have believed you". Or something like that.
It did get dark somewhere along Butteville Rd. Ken wanted to stop at the Broadacres store, and Jason and Jeff stopped along with him. I stood there for a minute or two, then announced I was going on; they'd catch me. Surprisingly enough, they didn't reappear until the turn onto Keene. The store was apparently missing something important. By now we were just about done. Turning onto Boone's Ferry, I made a joke about needing a nap. (Slept there on the 400k, less than 10 miles from the end...) Jeff didn't take it well. So.
Onto I-5, over the Boone Bridge, first exit. Ken suggested we take the sidewalk, rather than do two left turns. It was indeed quicker and easier. The Starbucks was still open for another 20 minutes, so we ordered up some hot drinks, finished our paperwork, and visited. Greg was already there. No Maria, no Laura. My reading glasses had vanished sometime after leaving Stayton. They were my most expendable pair, but I still liked them. :-(
After awhile we were delighted to see Kevin, Maria, and Laura roll up. There had been a wrong turn, and then they met up with Kevin and finished together. As Kevin was sitting down... "are you having trouble reading?". He handed over the reading glasses - they had been on the pavement at the intersection leaving Stayton, and he noticed them and thought they looked familiar. :-)
Eventually the nice people at Starbucks kicked us out so they could close, but they were really nice about it.
And then I found a really nice note stuck under my windshield wiper from Susan O, Theo, and Asta, who were on a 100k that day.
A good day.