Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The New Bike Ride

Not mine :-)  Rando friend Michal just (as in just) took delivery of his custom Winter rando bike, so of course he wanted to ride.  Rando friend Graham was planning to ride Bill Alsup's Eugene to Beaverton 200k perm, taking the train down to Eugene on Saturday (Feb 1) morning, and starting at 11:30am, or something like that.  Michal suggested he come down Friday evening and start earlier Saturday morning, and I joined in. The finish is just over a mile from my house, so I offered up dinner for all afterwards.  Plans were made.

Michal (and new bike)

For me, it was "hop the MAX train downtown and figure out the best way to get to Union Station".  I could transfer trains and get right there, but with a 15 minute wait time, I could ride over there quicker.  Almost.  The roads are either one-way or transit mall.  Can't easily get there from here.  After trying this twice, I think I will stick to 4th St.  Anyway, got there, got my bike ticket, and Graham found me in the luggage room.  He got his bike ticket, and we went and hung out in the lobby waiting for the train.  Which was late.

When we got our boarding passes, they directed us to the left.  Everyone else was sent to line up on the right.  Eventually they told us it was so we could jump ahead of the group and get our bikes in the baggage car soonest.  Nice.  Other than the train being late, uneventful ride.  Graham and I got better acquainted, he did Sudoku puzzles, and I worked on my small knitting project. Cyndi was pulling in as we walked to the front of the station, and Michal had a batch of chili with tasty bread waiting.  And ice cream for dessert.

Of course, time was spent in the garage admiring the shiny new bike.  He really had only ridden it around the block when he picked it up, so this would be all new.

We planned to leave the house about 7am for a 7:30 start.  Michal and Cyndi had breakfast out and multiple cups of home-roasted coffee.  Still dim heading down the hill, but our bright headlights helped.  We arrived at Full City Coffee, and bought yet more coffee for that starting receipt.  I had some Caffe Latte Perpetuem and hot cocoa mix in my thermal bottle, and just had them fill it up with coffee.  Lots of coffee.  We set out only 4 minutes after 7:30, which has got to be a record.

Michal and Graham outside Full City Coffee in Eugene

So Michal had his entirely new bike, and I was riding on an entirely new saddle - a Rivet Pearl.  Right out of the box, and only a couple trips up and down the driveway, plus the 2 miles total riding to get to Union Station.  This could be an interesting ride.

First stretch, Eugene to Brownsville, 29.7 miles.  Early, sunny, cold.  The wind was not hindering, and might even have been a teeny bit helpful.  The climbs on Gap Road were not a big deal (somehow, they always hurt coming the other way toward the end of the Five Rivers perm), and the descents down the other side were quite fun.  Horses, cattle, sheep, and llamas out in the fields.  Still very much winter, but some trees were getting that pre-leaf fuzzy look.


There might have been a pause along the way to remove some layers.  Or we did it when we stopped in Brownsville; I really don't remember.  Bought some peanut butter crackers, but I really had plenty of food with me.  Also ate a slab of Italian Fruitcake.  Michal broke his bike in by plopping a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos on the seat.

Promptly breaking in the new bike rando-style, with Cool Ranch Doritos

Graham's front bag has a built in corndog holder.

Graham's bike has a built-in corndog holder

Brownsville to Hoffman Covered Bridge info control 24.2 miles.  Still wonderfully sunny.  More rolling hills (I think they call them buttes).

Nursery trees in mesmerizing rows

Passed through Lebanon and Crabtree (there isn't much in Crabtree), to turn onto Hungry Hill Road, where the bridge is to be found.  We stopped to write down the answer, and take a few pictures.

Info control selfie

Inside the bridge

Hoffman Covered Bridge to Stayton 13.2 miles.  The last time we rode this, we stopped in Scio, but not today.  The only wall of the route was waiting - gets up to 12% or 14% toward the top.  I bailed and spun my way up; Michal and Graham climbed somewhat faster.  This puts us on top of a ridge with wonderful views.

By now I was noticing that I had a new saddle.  Or, more to the point, the sitbones were noticing.  Shift, wiggle, shift. Michal was also noticing his new saddle, but perhaps not as acutely.

Found Michal and Graham at a corner, with a bit of a quandary on which way to go.  Michal's GPS was indecisive, and I thought we'd stay left.  I got to pull out MapsWithMeLite with the ride track installed and verify that this was indeed the case.  We continued on Stayton-Scio Road, and quite soon found ourselves in Stayton, headed for the Safeway.  Applied some lubricant to my poor sit bones.  Bought a sandwich, which seemed to take longer than it should have, but Michal was still in line at the Starbucks.  Got another bottle filled with coffee, Perpetuem and cocoa mix, and topped off my water bottle.  Ate half my sandwich and a banana, and we were off again.

Stayton to Woodburn  28.7 miles.  This stretch was mostly autopilot, as it goes from Stayton to Aumsville, north on Howell Prairie, and then, departing from the Mill City Coffee Run, into Woodburn, rather than Gervais.  We were all looking forward to some Mexican food in Woodburn, at one of the many stores which line the main street.  This is a pretty stretch of the route.

Between Stayton and Woodburn

The barn at the southern terminus of Howell Prairie Road

Howell Prairie Road, clouds and buildings

Trees in rows.  And good clouds

Heading into Woodburn, an impatient driver passed on a two lane road, with oncoming traffic.  The oncoming pickup almost ended up in the ditch.  We all shook our heads in disbelief.

Stopped at the same place in Woodburn as before, except all the window signs were now in Korean(?)  Bought a Red Bull to get a quick receipt, not that we were anywhere near pushing the time limit.  Receipt time was almost 30 minutes off :-)  Then went to order some food.  Brain freeze.  I just ordered what Michal had - three tamales.  They turned out to contain chicken, and were somewhat spicier than either of us were expecting.  I ate two.

Michal tanking up in Woodburn

Woodburn to Beaverton 29.6 miles.  And here we were leaving Woodburn, and it was still light!  Granted the shadows were getting long, but still...  A zombie freight train was heading north, same as us (the locomotive was at the other end, running in reverse), so I could head straight on, knowing that no one would be turning or crossing in front of me.  Michal and Graham came up in not too long, and we headed into and through Hubbard, then NW towards Aurora.  A stop to swap to the clear lenses and turn on a few more lights.  Rode alongside the Aurora airport, and Graham and I swapped stories about my brother's flying lessons there, and his flying lessons there.

Then it was time to hop onto I-5 for the Boone Bridge crossing.  Still not full dark.  That didn't happen until we were headed through the Wilsonville industrial park.

Last time we did this ride, it was dark and raining, and we had to stop and check the cue sheets much too often.  I had done some serious review of the route north from Wilsonville, and Michal had his GPS set up.  I was a bit stressed about the next stretch on Boone's Ferry/Tualatin Rd, because, again, the last time was in the dark and rain, and the road was two lanes, no shoulder, and heavily traveled.  I was in for quite the pleasant surprise!  Road widened, big shoulder/bike lane, and new white curbs, which my headlight picked out quite nicely!

Into Tualatin Community Park, over the Tualatin River bridge, and then the left turn in Cook Park on the bike path. Now, this is clearly a recreational, meandering path.  Not a single light in the park, and no edge lines painted on the path.  Good thing there was a wide beam on my headlight!

Now north on road with names I recognized - SW Hall, SW Burnham, a funny u-turn in downtown Tigard, through some neighborhoods, and then we popped out on SW Greenburg Rd, at which point I no longer needed the cue sheet.

Pulled into the Starbuck's at the Beaverton Freddie's, and I ducked in to get us a receipt.  Came out to find Bill A, the route owner.  Called home to say we'd all be there in about 10 minutes.  Graham wanted to get a picture of a license plate (200 DNF), so he said he'd be right behind us.  He never was right behind us, but as we headed up my street, I could see a bike taillight in front of us.  Bill pulled in right behind us.

Finish photo with Bill, the perm owner

Aftermath.  First things first, it being Graham's first R-12, his wife Sharon had brought a bottle of champagne, and we had a celebratory round.  Then we fell into dinner.  Sharon had also made a wonderful lasagna, which we accompanied by a big Rich and Charlie's salad, bread, apple cake and ice cream.  And beer and cider.

And Bill takes a picture of all of us

The route
130 miles in all,
13.05 moving average,
11:57 total time, about 15 minutes quicker than before, even without the tailwind assistance
about 3800 vertical feet

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