I would be riding with Ray O and Steve B (RUSA's newest member, joined the day before the ride :-) )
Sweetpea was (is) still in pieces, so I thought it might be time to take the Lemond Zurich out for its annual ride. The tires needed air. The last time I rode it, I was really hurting after 50 miles, so I gave it a spin in the driveway to figure out why. The saddle seemed awfully high. Dropping the saddle meant that I could no longer use the Detours High Tail rear bag - it would rub on the wheel all the time, rather than occasionally. The trials and travails of a short person with a teeny bike and 700c wheels. Maybe a different seatpost would let me mount the bag higher... Two seatposts from the bike parts bin later - no. Gave that up. Again, rummaging around the bike parts and accessories selection, I found a seat bag that had some degree of capacity and didn't come near the rear wheel. I think it used to be black, but it is faded brown. So.
It was surprisingly chilly at the start. Armwarmers, vest, legwarmers.
We all met up at the North Plains McDonalds. I arrived first, and ate some more breakfast - sausage burrito and orange juice.
And away we went. There is a gravel stretch by the lumber mill, and here I was riding the Lemond, with its scrawny, underfed tires. Cautious, steady pedaling got me through it.
We stopped at the first info control, so Steve could find the answer. Lost the all the outerwear at the trailhead. Lots of people setting out to use the trail. Ray said that was the most he'd seen on a weekday. Romulus and Remus were not in evidence, nor were their feral chicken friends. More gravel bits, all successfully navigated. I guess after riding on sand last week, I am getting better at non-pavement.
The sweetpeas are still blooming, but the Queen Anne's Lace was the most prominent wildflower, white against the dried grasses.
Looped around Vernonia Lake, again stopping for Steve to get the info control answer. Given that this was his first RUSA ride EVER, we were mentoring on how to go about it :-)
We then stopped at Black Bear for coffee and an expedient food item, before heading back. Still cool in the trees.
The last 10 miles featured a headwind, but we plowed along. Found Ray in North Plains, chatting with someone in an SIR jersey, who turned out to be Alan W. After a brief chat, I left, because I was hoping to finish in under 6 hours.
And so, at 5:38 elapsed (a PR for this route!), there I was at the McDs. Diet Coke, lots of salty french fries...