Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Verboort Populaire

I like this ride.  How can one NOT like a ride which goes through Timber, Oregon, where everything is HO scale, to Vernonia, where the delights of Black Bear Coffee await, and then a return on the Banks Vernonia Trail?

(Note: not many pictures.  Rain.  Long finger gloves.)

I did some recruiting with a new cycling buddy a month or so ago, and she signed up to ride.  You know, populaires, the gateway drug to randonneuring?

Because of various things, I arrived at the start just in time to sign in before the pre-ride announcements, so we departed 10 minutes after the appointed hour of 9am.

I was channeling Captain Overpacker, in that I had extra socks, extra cap, knee warmers in case it got too warm to be wearing thermal tights, and extra gloves.  I was wearing my new custom OrRando wool cap.

Cycling cap, from a repurposed worn-out wool jersey

I didn't get a cue sheet, and I hadn't printed one out, but it really wasn't needed.

Kathryn, Bill A, and I headed out through Forest Grove, to Gales Creek, and onto Hwy 6.  Kathryn and I stopped at the c-store just before the turn onto Timber Rd; Bill passed us there; we didn't see him again.

Note: the portapotty outside the store is now locked, but the key is inside.  It seems to stay much cleaner that way.

It started raining somewhere along here.  I had worried that I would be too warm in my AmFib tights, booties, and jacket, but the body adjusted, so it was about right.  Slogged on up the switchbacks to find Kathryn with another rider who had a sliced tire.  We didn't have a tire boot (maybe I did, but, in the rain, didn't dig as fully in the saddlebag as I might have), but we suggested he use a dollar bill.  He did have one, and was going to give that a try.  We left him to it.

The rain was exceptionally heavy for awhile, and, despite the fresh coat of sealer on the booties, the feet started getting soggy.  (Note to self, inspect for yet more leaky spots)

We summitted and enjoyed the descent down through Timber.  Although Kathryn has done a serious amount of riding in this area, she'd never ridden this route to Vernonia.  I pointed out the buffalo just north of Timber.

After a bit of a wait to cross Hwy 26, we continued along the last 12 miles to Vernonia.  The rain let up some.  Kathryn said she had never voluntarily ridden this kind of distance in the rain.

Ah, finally to the intersection with Hwy 47, and we could see riders headed back on the trail.  We arrived in Vernonia and pulled into The Black Bear.  Many rando bikes parked outside, although we didn't see them inside; they must have been on the tavern side.  The kitchen was not backed up, so I ordered half a Reuben sandwich and an enormous mocha; Kathryn had a grilled cheese sandwich. The remains of the mocha went into my insulated bottle.

Fuel for the return

I spent a bit of time in the restroom blotting the excess water from my tights and jersey.  I wasn't cold when I was riding, but removing the extra water would leave much less to evaporate on its own.  The AmFib tights are pretty good at keeping me from feeling wet, but they do hold some water. (Note: these are several years old; not to be construed as a review on the current version.)

As we were headed out, I saw Andy and Jeff across the street.  And here I thought we were at the very end.  They (and Renee, who is Mrs. Andy) caught us on the trail.  I heard Andy talking to Kathryn, and called back, asking if he was hitting her up for snacks, because it was her first rando expedition.  They pulled ahead at Tophill, but not before Andy and I did a lot of catching up.

Andy, Renee, and Jeff up ahead on the trail

The trail was full of leaves from the deciduous trees, and it was beautiful, if occasionally a bit difficult to distinguish the trail from the not-trail.

Kathryn up ahead on the trail

We summitted, and descended with a bit more caution than usual, what with the leaves and the wet bridges.

One pause by Buxton, so I could swap off my saturated shortfinger gloves (the wool overgloves had been discarded miles ago) for a pair of warm and water-repellent (sort of) synthetic gloves.  The gloves were dry, my hands were a bit damp, so there was a lot of wiggling to get my fingers in them.  My hands were instantly much, much happier.

Through Banks, onto Wilkesboro, with the standard comments about the new Tracks of Death and Why Didn't They Put in a Bump-Out so the Bikes Could Safely Ride Across Them.  Pretty fields, but no picture today.

At the turn from Evers onto Osterman, Kathryn said that she hadn't turned the cue sheet, and we really had a bit further to go than earlier reported.  My reply - the finish is just around that corner.  (And my bike computer was less than a tenth of a mile off the cue sheet distance :-) )

The most difficult part of the ride was wading through the festival traffic to get to the finish at the bingo tent at the far end of the festival.  The RBA and host were lurking at the entrance, so we leaned our bikes on handy walls, and went in to complete the finish rituals.

Coffee, knitting and sausage

I pulled off my cap and wrung it out, said goodbye to Kathryn (she had a thing she had to be at), and bought sausage on a stick and a cup of coffee.  As I was now off the signed release, it was coffeeneuring and socializing time.  And knitting a bit on the Flower Fair Isle sock #2.

The RBA and host were going over the rider list, and asked if we had seen Jeff L.  Um, yeah.  They were ahead of us...

A few minutes later, I saw them pull in.  Wondering how exactly did they get misplaced, I asked.  Andy: "it said to turn left on Wilkesboro, and we did, except we found ourselves on Hwy 6!"  I have done that exactly once, myself.  Heading south out of Banks, after crossing under Hwy 6, the on-ramp is the first left, with a protected left turn, and, a mere few yards later is the left onto Wilkesboro, just before the decrepit white building, with no protected left.

Hey, look!  I'm not the last finisher!

After everyone had gotten sausage on a stick and beverage of choice (no beer there), more socializing.  One of the festival workers was trying to sell us bingo cards, and asked about the ride.  "Where did you start?" Forest Grove.  Pause.  You could see her thinking.  Verboort is only 2 miles from Forest Grove.  I helpfully clarified: "by way of Vernonia."

I walked over to the bulk sales area to get some sausage to take home for dinner.  We had company coming and that was going to be dinner.  Oops.  Guess I didn't ride fast enough :-(  Sent a text to the spouse alerting him, so alternate plans could be made.  I'd be getting home not too far ahead of everyone else.

Went back to get my bike and found the other three getting ready to head back.  They had planned to ride on Martin, but I suggested Porter, because it was not the main road.  And so, a bit over two miles later, we were back.  They took their leave, and I started loading up the car.  Bill A came over - he'd done it right, and gone by a coffee shop in Forest Grove.

Now headed home to get dinner underway.  I didn't get out of the wet clothing and into the shower until I got part of dinner cooking.  Fitz had bought more sausage at the Farmer's Market that morning, just to have it around, so main course was managed.

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