Sunday, June 21, 2015


Ray and I set out to ride the North Plains - Banks Vernonia Trail perm pop this Thursday.  The temperatures had dropped, we'd be mostly riding in the shade, and my vertigo seemed to have subsided.  I had ridden a few miles in the previous couple of days, and there had been a few disequilibriating moments.  So, we'd see.

Sweetpea by the sweetpeas

Given my almost continual hotfoot, I moved my cleats back about 4mm.  I could shove them all the way back, but I didn't want to shock my system too much at one time.

I planned on first and second breakfast - cereal, fruit, and coffee at home, and then some sausage burritos at the North Plains McDonalds.  Ray arrived shortly after I started eating; he also went for the burritos.  They are pretty tasty!

Off we went, not more than 5 minutes after our 7:30am start.  My head seemed mostly ok...

Wheatfield and trees

Past the first info control.  Through Banks.  Onto the trail.  All good until we got into the shade.  The sun was very bright, so the light was super contrasty.  Hard to tell where the trail was, sometimes.  I guess my eyes/head were still not entirely there.  That said, it was ok, if not quite the pace I usually keep riding the trail.  I sent Ray ahead if I wanted to drink, so I wouldn't have to worry about maintaining balance in close quarters.

The feet seemed ok, so far, anyway.

Bikes at Vernonia Lake

There was the usual info control/picture pause at Vernonia Lake (or, as the locals call it, the old mill pond), then we adjourned to the Black Bear for coffee and sticky buns.

Pastry and iced coffee in Vernonia

Before the ride, I had contemplated pulling out the Lemond, but after looking at the odometer on Sweetpea, I realized that a Very Big Milestone would be reached, about 58-59 miles into the ride.

Ray on the trail

We headed back.  Again, on the descent after the summit, the lighting was messing with my eyes, so I didn't fly down the trail with my usual abandon.  Plus, by now there were other actual trail users, so I needed to really slow down when a group of riders headed my way.

Ray went on ahead, but I figured I'd see him at the traditional regroup points.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  I started asking oncoming riders if they'd seen a rider with a blue jersey and silver bike.  They were unclear.

I finally popped out of the trees, and was asking one more rider, when I saw a cyclist up ahead, turning back, wearing a blue jersey and riding a silver bike.  He was envisioning me crumpled and bleeding on gravel.  I was envisioning him off the trail, down a ravine.  My, we have active imaginations.

So, after all that, we arrived at the trailhead, and I started checking the odometer.

Wilkesboro Road

A few miles before the finish, right at the historic Harrison Cemetery, there it was - 20000 mi.  We paused for a photo break and a brief cemetery explore.  I knew it was there, but hadn't ever checked it out.  Famous Oregon People are buried there!

Sweetpea rolled over 20,000 miles right by the historic Harrison Cemetery

McKay Headstone

Then, off to the finish, with 5 minutes to spare.

Fini - perm cards can be pretty

(date on perm card is incorrect. This retirement thing has me generally fuzzy on day and date...)

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