Ray was prospecting for ride partners. He pointed out that this would be a good tune-up for the upcoming 300k, what with all the climbing. The weather was going to be amazingly nice.
Found Ray and Kevin at the Scappoose Library, followed shortly by RB. We headed over to the little market for starting receipts, and cleaned them out of bananas. Not any chances to restock on this ride, until 10 miles from the finish.
Out of Scappoose, and we promptly started climbing the Scappoose Vernonia Hwy. Ten miles up, pretty gradual until the last couple miles.
Ray and RB pulled ahead; Kevin and I came around a corner to find RB working on his bike, and Ray asking if I had a quick link. Which I did, and RB was resolving a chain suck issue, but he was just going to shorten his chain, and didn't want the quick link. Ray checked out the sun, and then went to hold something for RB. Well, ok, we were stopped. So I ate one of the bananas. Pointed comments about Luddites may have been shared.
Off again, and shortly heading down to Hwy 47, then over to the Big Eddy Campground, info control and rest stop :-) I took off, knowing they'd catch me. And eventually they did, a few miles after the turn onto Apiary.
Didn't remember Apiary being challenging last time. Of course, we had a headwind this time, which pretty much followed us around the entire route, but for the last drop to the end. So, up to Camp Wilkerson and down, then a rolling stretch, which eventually took us to a turn onto the expected 3 uphill miles of gravel. Mostly dirt-type gravel, but there were also stretches of loose gravel.
And loose dogs. Many loose dogs. The scariest was a very determined miniature pinscher type who chased me the last part of the gravel, where I really couldn't accelerate and kept yelling "go home! bad dog!". I kept expecting sharp pointy teeth to do something painful to my calf or ankle. The dog's owner had yelled something half-hearted as I passed their place, but didn't follow up. :-( Got to where the other three were waiting at the intersection; Kevin chased it back.
So, adrenalin up, we then went to finally find Yankton. Rolling terrain again, alongside a scenic valley, then up (dang, another dog, but it just sat there) and down into Yankton. We stopped at the store long enough to buy something to drink, and for me, a packet of Oreos, which I happily wolfed down on the porch.
Long discussion on breaking in leather saddles (between the four of us we had a Velo Orange, a Berthoud, a Selle Anatomica, and a Rivet). RB's considered opinion after looking at my saddle, was that it was awfully hard (yes indeed, and 1100km hasn't softened it up appreciably). He recommended I loosen it a bit.
Last bits of up (one slightly egregious wall), then winding around some farms and houses, and the last drop down to Hwy 30. Then a bit of Hwy 30, a protected left across, and a few quiet miles back to the start. Kevin had been saying that if we pushed it we'd finish in less than 5 hours. Now, we were at 5 hours at Yankton, so I was not sure what clock he was using, but anyway. We rolled in just after 6 hours, and there were a few more minutes before we could get a receipt.
Last time, we finished, and it started pouring, and there was no place but the market. Now there is Bert's, a wonderful little place which serves breakfast ALL DAY. My kind of stop.
6:10 elapsed, my bike computer records 4220 vertical feet.