Rickey's Populaire, Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, 9am start. Be there!
The other person in the house had just had shoulder surgery, and kind of needed someone hanging around (he's doing much better, but still not sleeping in the bed). I had babysat adorable grandson for a couple of weekdays, and daughter and partner said they owed me. So I called in the marker. I didn't figure Fitz would mind their company, Asher is a delightful baby to hang out with, and there was a Timbers soccer game on the tube.
Given the possible time constraints, I drove to the start. The start is a half mile BEFORE my last job location, but still, it would be 50 minutes vs 15 minutes.
The weather was perfect. Chatted up friends in the parking lot, and was relieved to see there were other women other there. Not that I saw any of them on the ride. Met some new riders, coincidentally all named some variation of "Michael". Also experienced riders named "Michael".
Chatted with Chris W. He wanted to know how I ended up on the RUSA Board. Well, there was an election... He was a member at the time. Hmm.
Eventually it was 9am, and the seething mass of riders headed out. I watched them all pass me. Fine. Actually I don't think they all did pass me, but I didn't see anyone behind me on Evergreen, and that's a long stretch. Brief pause in North Plains, peeled off a layer while I was at it. Sunny. Warming up!
I was on my own for the first 11 or so miles, until the intersection with Harrington Road east of Roy, where I spied Kevin L lurking at the stop sign. He took it out fast, but that was done, and wanted to ride with me. :-) I am recruiting on him for my Flèche team, dangling my minimum distance, minimum climbing route as bait. (Anyone else want to play?)
We rode on through Banks and out to the end of Cedar Canyon, watching the Portland Velo ride groups head east. I stopped at the end, because that is where the info control is. Not this year. So, continuing on up Hwy 6 and down to Gales Creek Road, we found the first info control. Whole bunch of cyclists in the dirt triangle in the middle of the intersection filling out cards and chatting. We filled out our cards and left.
And joy of joys, there was a tailwind! We zipped SE on Gales Creek, and I started eating a big candy bar I had picked up at a control some number of rides ago. A goal for this ride was to consume all that front bag food I had been toting around. Reese's Fastbreak Bar, 460 calories in 20 minutes. Kevin worried that we had missed the turn onto Stringtown, but it was still a few miles ahead of us.
We were both happy to turn off onto the quietness and non-existent traffic on Stringtown Rd, and even happier to turn onto Carpenter Creek.
Paused at the info control to peel off the base layer - it was continuing to warm up. Three riders came up. One said he was a reader of my blog. I thanked him. And I thank all of you for reading!
Worked our way up Plumlee, the only real climb of the ride. It didn't hurt. Maybe all that suffering I have been going through is helping.
photo by Kevin Lais
Once over the summit, we could see Mt St Helens and Mt Hood.
Careful descent - that last hard left has put at least one person in the ditch with a broken neck (not a rando, and he's fully recovered).
Then off to the the Gaston Pretty Good Grocery, by way of old Hwy 47, the Lake Stop store (not stopping), the lovely new bridge/pavement (same old horrible railroad crossing), and quiet back roads parallelling Hwy 47. Many bikes lined up, and riders sitting in the sunshine enjoying some food and drink.
Kevin and I kept it relatively brief - things to drink, a banana, a pit stop, and we were out of there. I guilted the heavy traffic on Hwy 47 into stopping so we could cross.
Pause on the other side to zip up my vest - the stop cooled me down. Then the almost semi-automatic return to the Roadhouse. Passing through Cornelius, we were almost lured over to a Latin grocery, which has some overwhelmingly yummy beef somethings grilling on their front stoop.
Cornelius Schefflin north out of Cornelius has been wonderfully repaved.
Eventually we turned onto SW Evergreen, and I was wanting to be done. 4+ flattish miles, and I turned it up. Overtook a couple of riders, even. Rode right up to the Roadhouse, left my bike outside by the picnic tables filled with riders, went inside and did the paperwork.
5:05 elapsed time. Not bad at all. Clearly my suffering of the past 3 or so outings did some good.
Enjoyed a lovely sunny after-ride lunch with the other riders. I was just going to split a plate of tots with Kevin, but somehow, the allure of a Reuben sandwich interfered.
Ellen M, spouse of Tom D, was one of the Portland Velo riders seen earlier, thought my bike was awfully heavy. Tom empathized with me, and told me the bivy sack story. And that he carries just as much stuff. Now, I could have gotten out the Lemond, and ridden carrying practically nothing, but I figure riding on the usual bike, with the usual stuff, is better in the long run.