Friend Susan is inching closer and closer to her RUSA K-Hound award. I wanted to ride a 200k this past weekend, so I asked if she wanted to play along and ride the Mill City Coffee Run permanent. She had already made plans to ride the exact same route with Corey and Stefanie, so I was invited to join them.
We converged at the start in the predawn dimness, and had about 30 minutes for paperwork and coffee.
Bike for the day was Sweetpea - while I have been riding my Lemond more this year than in the last 3 years put together, it isn't up to riding in the dark/fog. And the Sweetpea is still more comfortable for the longer distances.
Corey and Stefanie are adept at porta-potty spotting, and we had an off-road (ballast-sized rock) expedition at the Marion Ag Service near Broadacres.
It was chilly and foggy. Very foggy. So we didn't see much for the first 35 miles or so, until the fog abruptly left us around Shaw.
I met Corey on my first 600k, and had met Stefanie online. This was fun. They were riding their tandem, so I had a guaranteed rear wheel to hang on to.
We made it to the first control in Stayton in about 3.5 hours. I bought a banana and some Gatorade. Topped off my electrolyte bottle with the Gatorade, and drank the rest. Ate the banana, ate half of my pbj. Corey had an extra piece of sushi from the deli counter (wait, what, they have SUSHI?), so I helped him with that. Good to know.
From there, just under 20 miles to Rosie's Mountain Coffee House on the far side of Mill City. This is a very scenic and very quiet stretch of road, lots of social riding. So nice to ride this stretch with company.
When we pass the mills, we are almost there.
We arrived at Rosie's just ahead of a big crowd. Rather than the turkey croissant I usually order, I noticed a "Pink Flamingo" item on their menu. Yes, lox and bagel, one of my favorite ride foods (tasty! caloric! salty!) when I can get it. Susan was ahead of me in line, and got the last sesame bagel, so I had to be content with an oat bagel. Being somewhat of a bagel purist, I was pleasantly surprised.
We took over a sunny picnic table outside, and enjoyed a sit down lunch.
From here, it was all downhill. Perhaps, with some headwind. I was hoping that once we got back into the Willamette Valley, we'd be crosswind, but that wasn't likely.
So, back to Stayton, where I had another banana and some leftover birthday cake (our family birthday cake is a dense thing with chocolate, chocolate chips and nuts, no goopy frosting. Also works for bribing sysadmins :-) ). Bought a gallon of water, and we all topped up our bottles. Corey had more sushi, so I got another piece. Totally must remember this for the next time.
After passing through Aumsville, Corey and Stefanie called out "big bird alert!". Field of emus on the west side of the Shaw Highway!
We then proceeded north on Howell Prairie Rd, into the headwind. As I mentioned before, there were good wheels to sit on. Susan is a very consistent rider, and a delight to draft.
A pause was taken by Corey and Stefanie, but I was saving myself for the portapotty at the gas station on Silverton Rd. Susan and I got there, and she waited to snag them as they caught up. And they arrived shortly, and stopped, so I went on; they'd catch me soon enough.
The wind started easing off, and I pulled over briefly to add the reflective vest. It wasn't anywhere near dark, but it was getting to that time of day, and the temperature had dropped a bit.
They caught me right around the turn onto Mt Angel-Gervais Rd, about 8 miles later. We didn't stop in Gervais. Stefanie mentioned that she was counting the miles down :-)
They all stopped in Donald to put on the night gear; as I had done so already, I kept going.
There were some very determined chaser chihuahuas, one black, one white. Very determined. Because they were so very small, it was funny. I kept yelling GO HOME, but they were having none of it.
The sunset was working its way up to being pretty spectacular. I tried to get a picture of Mt Hood with the alpenglow, but it didn't work out. There was a full stop on Boones Ferry to catch it in all its glory.
I waited for everyone to catch up before we rode onto I-5 to cross the Willamette River on the Boone Bridge. The northbound shoulder is so full of debris right now; less fun than usual.
But then, two quick turns, and we were done! Before the Starbucks closed, even!
Post ride adjournment for dinner at McMenamins across the street.