As I have mentioned in previous posts, we are having a super hot summer. It is forecasted to get to 100 degrees F today, and continue for awhile.
Last month I asked Michal if he wanted to ride Donuts to Total Domination, as the prevailing summer winds in the Willamette Valley are north to south. There is a lot to be said for a constant tailwind. After working though both our calendars, we settled on the weekend of July 25-26. Leaving it a bit late, but, life. The plan was to ride down, and help Michal with his bike packing for PBP.
So, yes, the heat. We were so lucky. The temperature moderated, and there was a possibility of rain.
I swapped the bike into touring mode, so as to carry rain gear and a change of clothes. Cooked up some individual egg-rice-mushroom-onion-parsley-bacon-swiss cheese frittatas, made up a batch of dark chocolate hazelnut spread, and did up some tortilla-spread rollups. Found a rain jacket, but optimistically didn't carry any other rain gear. It wasn't going to be cold.
Michal decided to be ambitious, and ride the Eugene to Portland 200k starting the night before, rather than taking the train north. He started at 5pm, and finished at 2:30am, arriving at the house around 3am. So he got a bit of a nap before getting up at 5am to do it all over again. He was very pleased with his pace.
Breakfast (heavy on proteins) and coffee, then we rode over to Sesame Donuts (3+ miles, 15 minutes, give or take) to enjoy some more coffee and sweetened carbohydrates before the start.
We left right at 7am :-)
Suburban riding for the first 15+ miles, until we crossed the Willamette River just south of Wilsonville, and then nothing, really, until Keizer. We had a headwind :-(. Also new chipseal on Butteville and Broadacres. Probably others; I remember endless chipseal.
Bits of refreshing drizzle, not worth donning the rain jacket.
River Rd into Keizer is always a bit nerve-wracking. Take the lane take the lane take the lane. No one will honk, but if one hugs the edge, they will try to squeeze by. Take the lane.
Once into Salem, there are sharrows. Also a bit of construction. We stopped at the last place before leaving town - the Arco c-store. I got more Gatorade; Michal did the same, and added in an ice cream cone. A local was admiring our bikes. He thought Michal's was just like a Harley Davidson, what with all the useful stuff on it (note: my bike has the exact same useful stuff...). Then he asked what they cost. We told him. He didn't blanch.
At this point we noticed that it was raining. Rain jackets installed. Off to Independence, where Michal claimed there were excellent tamales. River Rd rolls most of the way there, but it wasn't particularly burdensome. The headwind seemed to be letting up. Onto the flats, over the Willamette River, and into Independence.
We rolled up to the convenience store where I usually stop, but I hadn't explored their cooked food offerings. Yes, there were tamales. Mystery filling, but I'd cope. My receipt says it only cost 25 cents. Must have been an error. Yum. Consumed the whole thing, along with a V-8 (refrigerated drinks; same aisle as the tamales).
It was still raining lightly as we set out. South of Independence is Corvallis Rd, with several abrupt climbs. I didn't like it very much on the Blast Furnace 200k, but it wasn't that difficult this time. We both stopped before the first climb to remove some rain gear. In my case, my only rain gear. It became rather amusing as Michal stopped before most of the pitches to remove another piece of rain gear. I kept moving, so it was a bit of an equalizer. That was it for the rain, and the temperature moved perceptibly up, into the 70's. The wind was crosswind to quartering tailwind, a definite improvement from the headwind.
Then the fun drop down Buena Vista and the remaining 11 miles into Albany. Last time we rode this it was stiflingly hot, and we didn't get water or food in Albany and suffered until the exceptionally sketchy off-route c-store on Hwy 34 and Peoria Rd. This time, I noted the location of First Burger on the cue sheets. As Michal was starting to feel the effect of riding all night, and I wouldn't have minded an infusion of salt, we pulled in. We elected to split a burger. Did we want to upgrade our side? No, fries with extra salt, please. Michal got some coffee; I had a Pepsi, and before the food arrived... "pass me that salt shaker, please..." It is still amazing to me how an infusion of salt makes everything feel so much better.
I started getting a tiny bit stressed inside, because we were stopping and sitting down and it wasn't a control. I probably shouldn't have been worried, but I pushed it to the info control, pushed it to Hwy 34, and pushed it the whole 19+ boring and warm miles of Peoria Rd. Peoria Rd has reasonably fresh chipseal as well :-( I took to riding out in the right tire track, and moving back over when a car came along. Drivers fly low on Peoria Rd, because it is so very boring, low traffic, and they just want to get to Harrisburg. We wanted to get to Harrisburg, too.
But anyway, about 5-ish miles before Harrisburg, the chipseal ended. I was doing time math in my head, and decided we would be TOTALLY fine on time (not sure what I was thinking earlier). First we found the public restrooms (turn left on Smith St; they are to the left side of the museum which is on the right side of the street. If you pass the fire station, you've gone too far.) Michal wanted an expedient stop, so I found more Gatorade, and elected to eat the food I was carrying.
We had a short, annoying stretch on Hwy 99E, then turned off onto Ayres/Lovelake for a bit of peaceful riding before the 9 miles on River Rd. Lots of traffic, but not stressful beyond that, other than I wanted to be done.
Turning off River Rd onto Owosso and then the bikepaths... "whew!" Both of us, simultaneously. We were then in search of the penultimate info control, and eventually found it. A little more bikepath riding, then onto the surface streets for a bit.
Oops. Good thing we weren't at all close on time - there was a train. So we waited.
Another block, and the Ninkasi Brewery was waiting for us. Mmm. Beer. Helles Lager.
|In case it isn't obvious where we are... photo by Michal Young|