Thursday, June 11, 2015

Blast Furnace 200k

Oregon Randonneurs held the Kings Valley 200k/600k over the June 6/7 weekend.  I signed up for the 200k, and figured I'd be riding solo.  I had not ridden Hwy 233 (Kings Valley Highway) south of Dallas, and, while I had been on Maxfield Creek and Airlie Rd, it was dark.

Weather forecast was for spectacular heat.  Heat advisories.  Stay inside between 10am and 4pm.  Given that, I located every water source on the route (no further than 30 miles at any point), dug out my sun skins, refreshed the electrolyte tablets on the bike, refilled the sunscreen bottle, and called it good.

Michal and Cyndi had invited me by for pre-ride coffee (Michal was riding the 600, to complete his qualification for PBP), so I arrived around 6:20am, to find Cyndi wandering around with a coffee pot and cups :-)  Cyndi and I made plans to meet up at Burgerville afterward.  I ended up drinking two cups of coffee, and jittering a bit the first couple of hours.

Lots of familiar faces showed up.  Even Nate A, who I hadn't seen for 4 years!

At that hour of the morning the temperature was pleasant.

7am, off we went.  The route was entirely familiar for the first 36 miles.  I chatted with Jeff A, until he stopped to get a picture of an old car with a canoe on top in Dayton, and Burnley from AK.  After a brief stop in Dayton to dispose of the used coffee, it was on to Dallas.  Steve M. came up about this time, and we rode along together until Perrydale Rd started rolling up.

Favorite elevator on Bethel Rd.

Steve M

I found him and a few others at the Dallas Safeway, where I bought a banana and V-8, and refilled my bottles.  A kind rider had left a partial sack of ice, which I stuffed into my non-insulated bottle.


At this point, I have always turned around and headed back, but we now rode through Dallas on the Kings Valley Highway for another 20 miles.  The terrain rolled along southward, with one noticeable climb and a couple of shorter ones.  The sun was blasting down by now, so I was delighted any time I was fortunate to ride in the shade.

Kings Valley Hwy

Speaking of that, I kept my lights on, because of the contrasty lighting.

Ritner Covered Bridge on the Kings Valley Hwy

Rode through Pedee, past a covered bridge, and, finally arrived at the Kings Valley Store.  There were a few cyclists there - Steve, Duane, and ???, plus others not on our ride, but out enjoying the sun.  They were a little taken aback that we had ridden there all the way from Newberg, and some were going to ride a good long way before returning to Newberg.  Not that the almost 70 miles remaining for the 200k riders isn't a good long way, either.

Sweetpea, Kings Valley Store

Bought some potato salad, ice cream, and another V-8, and sat down to work my way through all that, and chat with Steve.  It was definitely quite hot by now.  After finishing all that, I put more sunscreen on my face, and topped off my bottles.  24 miles to Independence.

Maxfield Creek started with a 5 mile climb.  I had left what tailwind I had behind at the turn, and it was a slog.  Not ever steep, but really hot.  I didn't remember this climb from the last time I rode it, but, as I mentioned, it was dark, and just around 300k of a 400k ride.

Airlie Rd (or Maxfield Creek)

Christmas trees, Airlie Rd

Airlie Rd

The descent was certainly fun, and opened into the Willamette Valley.  I could see Mt Jefferson to the east.  Turned onto Airlie, eventually crossed Hwy 99W, and then bumped into Corvallis Rd.

Corvallis Rd is nasty and brutish.  I mean, the scenery is quite nice, but it has short, nasty climbs, and, by now, I was headed right into the headwind.  Not helped by some troglodytes who deliberately crowded me on the last little rise.

Meadowfoam, Corvallis Rd

So, in that fine mood, I finally pulled into Independence, and headed for the c-store.  More banana and V-8, plus some of my sandwich (I'd been eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches and Fig Newtons all long), refilling the bottles, more sunscreen...

The temperature had moved from really hot to whopping hot.  The 9 miles into Rickreall seemed endless.

From there it was 13+ miles on Hwy 99W to Amity, directly into the headwind.  For the first 7 miles, the shoulder was rough chipseal :-(  There was stopping to drink, and sometimes some walking.  The elevator on Bethel Rd finally came into view. 5+ more miles to Amity.  Ride to the top of the next rise.  Repeat.  Don't want to quit.  (Well, I *did*, but wouldn't let myself do it.)

Amity.  Finally.  Rolled over to the Amity Market, a relatively new store which I have only stopped at once.  Amity isn't ever a control, and I don't usually need to stop there.  Today I did.  It was air conditioned inside.  More cold things to drink, including a Red Bull.  Some eating.  Some sitting.  Off to finish the last 22 miles.

It had gotten perceptibly cooler, as in the wind wasn't quite as blast furnace hot.  I was hoping by turning NE out of Amity that I'd have more of a crosswind.  When I pulled into Lafayette, the last on-course control, I headed straight for the new c-store, bought a bottle of Ruby Red grapefruit juice, sat in the shade, and drank it.  And sat a bit more.  Only about 10 miles to go, all on Hwy 99W.

The pavement is shiny new.  There was a shoulder starting out, but at times when there was a turning lane or a passing lane thrown into the mix, the shoulder dwindled down to about 8 inches (!)  This is a pretty high-speed road, and that seems rather irresponsible to me.  Fortunately, no traffic stoppage in Dundee, so I didn't get stuck behind any trucks encroaching on the shoulder. (Letter to ODOT sent)

Through Dundee (pavement still at its previous level of awful), into Newberg, though the historic downtown, out the other side... the Burgerville comes into view like an oasis in the desert.  Done.

Wow, that took a long time.  All those cooling down stops (2:45 total) probably had something to do with it.  Cyndi joined me, and we both enjoyed our dinner.

(Here it is 5 days later.  Randonesia has still not set in.  I ended up with a post ride vertigo migraine, which might finally be on its way out.  Guess I just don't do heat well any more.)

All the pictures here.

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