Sunday, June 4, 2017

Finding those Covered Bridges

Oregon has quite a few covered bridges, so much so that one of the brevet routes is the Covered Bridges 200k.  There's a corresponding 400k, with a few more bridges (Eden's Gate), but I wasn't going there this year.

So a couple of weeks ago, I found myself with Ray and Kevin L (yay!  he's back riding again!), and some number of other riders, in Wilsonville getting some pre-brevet coffee.  Very civilized start, what with it being in a coffee shop with plumbing and places to sit and coffee and food.

My food strategy included hard-boiled eggs, Fig Newtons, Brookside Dark Chocolate snacks, and rice pudding, along with the usual collection of a couple of bars, gels, and Gatorade-maltodextrin drink mix.  And plain old salt.  I sucked some down halfway through the ride.

And so, off we went.  After crossing the Willamette River on the Boone (I-5) Bridge, we headed down the west side of the highway, working our way to south to Aurora, then up to Lone Elder and Meridian Road (didn't miss the turn this time), where we'd be for a good long while.

Getting close to Silverton

We quickly found ourselves at the tail end (not unexpected).  We did catch up to the group in front of us, but we stopped to visit the blue room at 91 School, and they didn't.


Baby Vineyard

Dairy cows

We had a tailwind heading south.  Eventually we turned off Meridian Road, heading west on Downs Rd to the Gallon House Bridge.

The Gallon House Bridge sign

From there we went into Silverton, and had a minor navigation miscue.  We thought we were headed out on Main Street, except we weren't and the expected climb out of town failed to materialize.  So we backtracked, and headed out to the Cascade Hwy.  How we got confused, I'll never know, because we've all only ridden through Silverton many, many times.

Towns which start with "S"

The Cascade Hwy hasn't gotten any more flat.  There's a big climb up to Riches Rd, then it goes up and down until just before Stayton.  We zipped through Stayton, and headed out to Cole School Rd.  Again, roller #2 won.  Sigh.  Excellent descent down Richardson Gap Rd, to bridge number two, the Shimanek Bridge.

The Shimanek Bridge

Then we rode over to Scio, the first timed control.  We found the folks right ahead of us, but they were leaving.  We went over to the grocery and stocked up there.  I also bought and consumed a sandwich.

We now headed for the last two covered bridges - the Hoffman and Gilkey bridges.

Hoffman Bridge on Hungry Hill Rd

Fluffy Little Sheep

Kevin (no hands) and Ray, Gilkey Bridge

And then we headed north, into the wind.  Lots of rear-wheel-sucking on my part.  The last climb of any substance was approaching, Parrish Gap Rd.  It starts out fairly innocuously, then ramps up.  I came up on Kevin using his two foot gear, and joined in.  He though that would be the top and there wouldn't be any more painful bumps, but I remembered otherwise.  Sure enough :-(

We found Ray hanging out under some trees, and we all stood around for while, and then headed into Turner, and then west to Salem.  Hauled Ray back from a wrong turn.  "I made that same wrong turn last time and got a lot further!"

It did start raining in Salem, but it didn't last long.  We headed for the McDonald's, and all had burgers (ok, Ray's was chicken) and fries, and wolfed them down (how often do you hear the words "wolf down food on a brevet" come out of my mouth?)

36 miles to go, about 4 hours left.  I was a bit tense, so kept up the pace as much as I could.  Somewhere on River Rd, my bike computer speedometer checked out.  I thought to swap the battery in from my cadence pickup, but that didn't work either.  The clock still worked, so I could figure out how I was doing from the distance at each cue and the clock.

To make a short story long, we did finish with 40 minutes to spare.  We were relaxing in the coffee shop when the folks just ahead of us came back in to visit, along with Cyndi (Michal was riding the 400k).

Changed Every Single Battery on the bike computer setup the next day.

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