I've known Chris since the early 90's. We were on the same projects in the Computer Research Lab, and later the User Interface Research Lab at Tektronix. Plus, he got me back into riding my bike, and introduced me to Serious Coffee. We did some long (long == 60 miles :-) ) rides, as well as riding around after work. A good friend to have.
I've been taking it as a mission to get HIM back on his bike. I got him out for an easy 20 miles a couple years ago, but not anything since.
So, I proposed something this past Sunday, offering up a 15 miler with a real climb, but right out of our neighborhood, another loafing 20 miles, or, my personal favorite, the Banks-Vernonia Trail. We could ride it from Banks, stop for lunch in Vernonia, then ride back. Yes, 42 miles, but mostly railroad grade, with a super nice descent to finish.
I must be more persuasive than I thought. While Sunday was out, Monday was available, and the weather was going to be outstanding.
And we were off. Started out with arm warmers and knee warmers. After the Manning trailhead, we had a delightful encounter with Romulus, Remus, Callie and their owners. And who should come cycling the other way but Mike Y, a former riding companion on club rides? So after a somewhat protracted conversation, we proceeded on our respective ways.
Stellar. The weather was stellar, and the arm warmers were removed before we got to the Buxton trailhead. Chris had never ridden on the trail, so I had great fun pointing everything out. He thought the trestle was pretty darn cool.
By now we were headed very gently up. Chris hasn't been riding (indeed, I discovered that his last ride was that one with me a couple years ago!), so we took it easy.
Finally, I was able to promise him that we were at the summit, and, but for the Tophill climb, all downhill to Vernonia.
(Granted, Tophill is pretty special. But short.)
About 9 miles later, we were in Vernonia, and ensconced at an outside table at the Black Bear. Chris: "I didn't bring a lock". Me: "you don't need one here" (or, for that matter, anywhere in town).
Wonderfully leisurely lunch. Removed the knee warmers, added sunscreen. Watched lots of cyclists come and go.
We then headed back, again, taking it easy. I took pictures of pretty flowers.
Kept Chris company on the hike up the other side of Tophill (it is harder going that way), and then, shortly thereafter, we summitted for the final time.
I had promised him a wonderful descent. By the time we got to the Buxton trailhead, he allowed as how the descent was indeed wonderful. And the scenery was just as nice, except it went by 3 times as fast.
Then a casual pace on the last 5 flat miles, and we were done. Chris may demand an elevation profile the next time we plan a ride. :-)