Theo was rounding up company for his push to earn his RUSA K-Hound award over this Thanksgiving weekend. I figured I could join him on Friday, and we'd ride Ken's Never Nervous in Gervais perm pop.
It was going to be very rainy, and very windy. I am not sure what I was thinking. Well, I KNOW what I was thinking - once across the Boone Bridge on I-5 at mile 15, riding to Gervais is a piece of cake. Many of our rides in the valley pass through it. It isn't usually control, but there is a convenience store. The route is pretty much flat and uneventful. Usually not paying much attention to the distance and... oh, we are in Gervais, does anyone need to stop?
In preparation, I located all the rain gear, packed a turkey sandwich and a banana (we were that non-stressed getting ready to host Thanksgiving for the family :-) ), and left it at that. Oh, and reminded myself of the cycling route from my house to Grand Central Bakery in Multnomah Village. 6.22 miles.
Up early, as I wanted to be out the door before 8am, to allow for a leisurely pastry and coffee at the bakery. Gray, sort of damp, but not raining. I arrived, and didn't see Theo's bike there yet. Went in and... "Lynne!" It was the now grown up young woman who grew up next door (and my daughter's very good friend) getting breakfast with her two year old daughter. I dumped my jacket and helmet there, ordered a mocha and cheese danish, and then we visited.
I was starting to wonder where Theo was, when Jordann asked if he was the cyclist who just walked in. Theo got himself a coffee, and joined us.
So, just a few minutes past the 9am start, off we went. Still not raining. There was a nasty steep hill right at the beginning (I thought Ken didn't like climbing), a block of non-pavement (a signature of all Ken's rides - there will be some gravel or dirt), and then the joy of rollering our way south on Boone's Ferry Rd in a stiff headwind. By the time we made it to north Wilsonville, we both decided we were quite ok without the rain jackets. For awhile at least.
Through the industrial park (gee, there's traffic there on a weekday), onto I-5, over the bridge and off, where the route now becomes pretty much pancake flat. With the headwind, which was now stronger. And bands of downpours.
We plodded south, not very quickly. The frequent wind gusts were strong, later reported to be 35mph, with a constant wind of 20mph. Oh, and it rained. Lots of wheelsucking on my part. Thank you Theo!
I was wearing my new Lake cycling boots, and my feet, to this point, were neither wet nor cold.
The turnaround was at the Gervais Market, where I ate my sandwich, and Theo ate his burrito. Still raining heavily, but it was behind us now, and we had a great push all the way back to Wilsonville. Then we climbed up Boones Ferry, down and through Tualatin, working our way north and up back to Multnomah Village. Over the gravel bit (car-swallowing potholes), and then it was time for that last part of the climb. I admitted defeat and walked the last part - inclinometer shows bits of 14 and 15%. Too toasted from beating against that headwind earlier, plus my left calf had an interesting pain.
Over the top, and then we zipped down, and right on Multnomah Blvd, to pull into John's Market with 3 minutes to spare. We celebrated with Pellegrino sodas out under the awning (still raining), and then Theo headed off two miles and a climb east to his house, and I headed west and generally downhill to my house.
Maybe that cold soda wasn't the best idea, coupled with the heavy rain and downhill. All my clothing, shoes included, gave it up here. The Fanno Creek Trail portion of the route was underwater in a few places.
But all the wet and wind and cold aside, it is always great to ride with Theo. He reckoned we earned this 100k :-) Not going to take a ride to Gervais for granted, ever again.