Just after getting a lecture from the spouse about how I shouldn't be asking anyone if they wanted to ride with me until I was back in condition so they wouldn't have to wait, there was a message from Susan - did I want to ride North Plains Banks Vernonia? Um, YEAH. However, I dutifully did the full disclosure thing, and she said she didn't care, even if we finished out of time. (I cared. Wasn't gonna happen.)
With the slight added complication of it being Passover, I prepared some ride food, and planned to supplement with french fries, if needed.
Weather was 50% chance of rain, but not going to be cold.
So, at 9:00 am on Sunday morning, after coffee and a hash brown, off we went. The weather was fairly decent until we were headed out of Banks, when it started to rain. On with the rain gear.
What with it having been raining, the trail was covered with wet pine needles, which kept filling up our fenders, so we had to stop from time to time to knock them out.
Climbing was a bit slower than usual. There may have been walking the last pitch at Tophill.
Just before the descent, we found that we had just missed a hailstorm. An enthusiastic one. The picture doesn't do justice to the depth of hail a bit further along.
And then downhill to Vernonia and off to the control at Lake Vernonia. Sadly, the trail is still closed. We elected to take the Adventure Detour. There was a split in the trail, and we weren't sure which way to go, but it worked out.
All the waterlilies in the lake are blooming!
Took the Road Detour back, and settled in for hot drinks at the Black Bear. By now I had exceeded my longest ride since surgery, and we were only halfway. Ok then.
The climb back was uneventful, if a bit slower than usual, and I had to walk the last pitch going up the other side of Tophill. At that point it was downhill/flat the entire way to the end.
We finished with time to spare. And french fries.