Still don't have my March 200k, although not for lack of trying. I had been wanting to ride my Beaverton-Bridge of the Gods perm again, to check out the new trail (no more riding on the I-84 shoulder!). The ice and really bad weather postponed it from last weekend. Michal came up to ride it with me yesterday (Sunday).
The weather was supposed to be awfully wet (100% chance of precip). Well, only 200k, we'd survive. To add on to the challenge, it was the start of Daylight Savings Time. We'd have more daylight, but we'd also be short an hour of sleep.
Down to Jim and Patty's for our start verification. Oopers, they don't open until 7am on Sundays. So, at 7:08, we were off.
Back up the hill by the house, where Michal decided he was overdressed, so there was a pause for delayering. It was raining, but not very hard. Easiest climb of the ride, over Sylvan into Portland, and down through Washington Park. Had to retrieve Michal from a couple of wrong turns. Why wasn't his GPS beeping at him?
Into town, over the Steel Bridge, then north and east through NE PDX, eventually popping out by the I-205 trail at Sandy Blvd. You will see the left turn to the bridge path by the large amount of trail construction. Over the bridge (loud). The rain was by now a foggy drizzle.
We hadn't been making very good time - got to the gas station in Camas by three minutes. I noticed that my SPOT had given it up, and installed new batteries. Yes, I carry a few useful spare batteries. Michal had total navigation electronics failure - his GPS had misplaced the route, and somehow, his front wheel magnet was not present, so no bike computer feedback either.
Ate some, drank some Coke, continued east. What used to be a simple left turn onto SR-14 is now a large number of traffic circles. Keep following the signs for SR-14 East, Kennewick. Eventually you will be confronted by a ramp which is signed "Highway Entrance". Take it, no worries.
Wound our way up to the top before Cape Horn. There has been repaving, and the road is really nice. Maybe even somewhat better shoulders, except, of course, when they go away. Foggy. There were occasional clumps of snow by the road, and lots of broken trees and branches from the winter storms. At the first meadow, there are new landslide repair earthworks. Stopped and zipped up jackets in preparation for the descent.
After the drop, on the way to Beacon Rock, we started to see bits of actual sunlight. A pause for me to remove my jacket and helmet cover, because I was suffocating in the stored heat.
On to Stevenson; we finally got something that resembled a tailwind right around North Bonneville. Got to Stevenson ("Land of pizza!" - Michal) with a half hour in the bank. I got a slice of pizza and a coke. Just couldn't consume it as quickly as I wanted, but I did eat it all. Refilled my thermal bottle with coffee/perpetuem/hot cocoa, and we got our bridge toll money handy. Or, Michal pulled out a dollar and informed me he was paying.
Bit of a headwind, but not bad, and a fun bridge crossing. I like to look down and admire the river and bridge structure. Not raining at all.
Onto the trail. I don't know why it is, but any time the trail is adjacent to the freeway, it has that crushed red lava rock on it. Gently riding over it, we soon moved away from the freeway and the trail became much nicer.
LOTS of water dumping down the creeks and falls. Ruckel Creek was pretty spectacular.
We did encounter one landslide - right after the fish hatchery, where you are directed behind a fence... well, the bike path is covered in rocks and muck. We went past that on the off-ramp and then lifted our bikes over the fence. Not, of course without me trying to hike over the landslide. Sucking mudpit, it was.
And the new part of the trail? Nice! I never realized there was an existing bridge over Moffett Creek. It is a bit more climby than the freeway shoulder; the path crosses under I-84 (nice new stone facing on the freeway bridge) and then switchbacks up. Great views to the north, which you don't get from the freeway. The new bridge over McCord Creek is adorable. Lots of Art Deco fun had there.
I saw Michal standing at the far end of the bridge. It turned out that there was a slick spot there and he'd fallen. Casualties - handlebar tape, scrape on the brifter lever and the knee of his tights.
Horsetail Falls was exceptionally spectacular, and we paused for a couple of pictures. Moving on, we passed by the Oneonta Tunnel, and were hit by a blast of frigid air coming out of Oneonta Gorge. Very brief parking lot pause at Multnomah Falls - we could feel the ground vibrate from the force of all the water dropping over the falls.
West, west, west, and then up to Crown Point. Not my fastest ascent, but, of course, I got there. Michal was waiting. He then tried to go in to get some water, and discovered that Vista House closed at 4pm, and it was 4:30... Well, ok, there are convenience stores in Troutdale.
Michal's GPS was telling him all sorts of things, none of which were related to the route, or indeed, where we were.
Climbed up to Women's Forum (road slumps repaired), and then prepared to enjoy one of my favorite descents (and, hopefully, make up some time). There was a bit of a headwind, so we didn't get going for a mile, and then it was way fun. Bell Road was, as usual, excellent fun, and then we continued dropping towards Troutdale.
Stopped at the convenience store. Happy to sell us stuff, but no public restrooms. Ok, the next control will have restrooms. Looped behind the Troutdale Airport, and up onto Marine Drive. The wind was non-hindering. Behind the Portland Airport and off to the control. A Subway has joined the 7-11 and Dutch Bros. There is a restroom, but you have to ask for the key.
A customer asked where we were riding, and was a bit taken aback that we had started in Beaverton, ridden out to Stevenson, and were headed back to Beaverton. She had just lost 70 lbs and had hand surgery, and was looking forward to riding her bike, but perhaps not that distance.
Ok. 17 more miles, one climb. Two hours. Yeah.
I had carefully studied the NE PDX return navigation this time. Yes, I designed the route, and yes, I have actually ridden on those streets, but often following Cecil, who knew where she was going. My route knowledge of NE PDX is more theoretical than practical. But it was still light, and we did just fine. Not fast, though - still climbing up from the Columbia River. Also, urban riding, many stop signs.
Across the Steel Bridge, north on Naito. Dark now. Turned a bit early, so had to loop around and take the sidewalk up to NW 9th. Got onto NW Kearney (definitely climbing now), headed up to NW 25th/Westover. Many stop signs. Bit of a pause, because I know where to go when I can SEE, but it being Portland, street signs are sometimes not present. Ok. Headed towards Burnside to cross over onto NW Stearns. Me: "see that black hole? That's where we are headed."
Climbing Stearns in the dark made me very happy I had both the Luxos U and the Ixon. Must adjust the Luxos angle downward a bit, I think. Last info control, still more climbing.
(For the unitiated, Stearns maybe used to be a road; it isn't now. Switchbacked trail up to the Rose Garden. Sketchy surface at the bottom. Right now it has fresh Lion of Flanders markers on it for the upcoming De Ronde)
Bailed on the climb out of the Rose Garden (17%), and walked it up to the turn. Then up through Washington Park (dark, no street lighting). I have ridden it enough times to know where we were, and was happy to see the lights of the Zoo come into view.
15 minutes. Still climbing, up to Sylvan. Downhill all the way from there. We had until 8:32pm. Popped out into my neighborhood at 8:33pm :-( :-( :-(
So, at that point we finished at my house (on the route). Sigh.
That said, always a pretty ride. And the weather was considerably better than promised.
7242 vertical feet (claims the bike computer)