Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Errata (the cue sheet was correct)

In the previous post I alluded to what we interpreted as a cue sheet error for the Perm 1177 Eugene-Beaverton 200km .  We followed Howell Prairie Rd to its intersection with Hwy 99E, dutifully turned left and... were misplaced.

Except we weren't on Howell Prairie Rd.  It crosses Mt Angel-Gervais Road.  Despite the impression that Google Maps gives, Mt Angel-Gervais is very much the major road, and Howell Prairie looks like a slightly upgraded driveway.  The road curves to the left, and we followed right along...

See below for details.  Should have gone straight (red line).  Won't make that mistake again!

Sorry Bill...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Eugene to Portland 200 km Adventure

The forecast for Saturday, Nov 12 called for "rain late", late defined as noon. The forecast for Woodburn called for .25" of rain. We'd be passing though in late afternoon. Was this permanent going to be fun or what?

Hungry Hill Rd

It did not take any arm-twisting at all to get Lesli and Michal on board with a permanent for November. They both live in Eugene, so I thought we should start or finish there. Bill A has perms going in both directions. The prevailing winds in November are from the south. Eugene to Portland it was. Kevin was a delightful addition. The route ended barely a mile from my house, so all were invited to come over for a post-ride feed, and, for the Eugene crowd, showers. Michal's wife Cyndi was driving up to take them back to Eugene, as the train schedule was not as accommodating.

For maximum adventure bonus, I purchased tickets for myself and Sweetpea on the Friday evening train to Eugene. I had planned to ride to the Sunset Transit center, catch the MAX downtown, and ride over to Union Station. Fitz was not working late this Friday, and offered to drop me off instead. I took him up on it.

(Brief sidebar)  I go for really long rides.  But it is still just the most amazing thing for me when I do a significant ride that starts or ends at my house.  So, yeah, I was going to RIDE from Eugene to my house.  Cool!

Sweetpea in Union Station, Portland

Got my ticket from the machine, got Sweetpea a baggage tag, sat around for a bit, then it was time to board. The baggage car was at the far end. Sweetpea and a nice Co-Motion went up on the bike racks. I am pretty sure they had a nice visit. I do love a train ride. Got myself some Mac and Cheese in the food car, then walked back to my seat, knitted on my sock, and watched the light out the window.

Lesli collected me at the train station. She and Sara fed me some more, we dithered on what to take on the bikes.  Met their delightful dog Chaz - so calm and friendly, and exhibits that "I worship anything you might be intending to do" behavior. I admired the Sidi shoe display in their bike room, and finally got some sleep.

We had a great pre-ride breakfast - eggs, cheese, tortillas, granola (made by Sara, yummy!) and coffee, then went outside to await the arrival of Michal, Kevin, and Cyndi.  They showed up almost immediately, and we started into a round of pre-ride documentation and snack-swapping (cookies and well-buttered Rye Molasses muffins). Lesli and I gave Cyndi our bags, and the four of us set out for the official start, Full City Coffee.

Sarah and Kevin, dawn documentation

Got a mocha to go, and, with some degree of difficulty, managed to secure a starting receipt.  A couple walking by... "where are you riding today?"  Beaverton.  Got the usual response :-)

Lesli and Sweetpea at Full City Coffee

Followed Lesli and Michal out of Eugene, and then we were out in the country, with much less stressful navigation requirements.

Early stages

It sprinkled for a bit, then stopped.  And stayed stopped for a very long time. We worked our way north, first through Coburg, then threading our way through the hills to Brownsville (Sutterdown, if you are a Dies the Fire fan). Took off my jacket, cap, and heavy gloves along the way.  Rode for most of the rest of the ride in shortfinger gloves and a wind vest.  I think I made some of my fellow riders chilly just looking at me :-)

Brief pause there for a pause, where I learned that Lesli is a football fan (big game this Saturday, UO vs Stanford).  She was recording the game for subsequent playback.  Other conversations on mapping, maps, bits of SF reading, Archival Clothing,...

The valley was full-on autumn - really bright colors from the non-native species, green fields where the winter wheat, hay, and grass were starting, brown stubble in the freshly plowed fields, and lots of goats, sheep, cows and horses.  A couple of chaser dogs, but with two dog owners along, I wasn't worried - they had nice commanding NO. STOP. GO HOME voices.

Green fields, Lebanon to Scio transit

Lesli - "so, does this remind you of Ireland?".  No.  In Ireland, the green goes to 11.  I was pretty amazed by that, but there does exist a place that is greener than the Willamette Valley!

Bridge into Lebanon

We had a consistent strong tailwind all day.  Got to love that.

From Brownsville we continued north through Lebanon and Crabtree, and onto Hungry Hill Road, for the sole covered bridge on this route.  After rummaging around for the info control answer, we headed into Scio for a pause at the Scio Market.  Started getting overcast here.

Hoffman Covered Bridge

Riders, Hungry Hill Rd

After Scio, the route took us to Stayton on a route that did not include Richardson Gap or Cole School Rd.  Wonderful, I thought.  No 15% grades!  Then we came around a corner and... a wall.  Both Michal and Lesli had completely edited this out of their memory from the last time they rode this route.  Ground our way to the top.  Well, most of us did.  Michal has bionic climbing legs, and dropped us.  Bike computer post-ride analysis shares a blip of 14%, mostly 11-12%.

Then rolling along the top of the ridge (amazing view off to the NW) and.... Michal came up with a flat.  We pulled into a handy driveway and did the pit crew thing.  He had a spare tire and went directly to that.  I deflated the tube, and found the wire in the tire.  Kevin extracted the wire.  We packed everything back up.  10 minutes total.

Then into Stayton, for our lunch stop.  At this point, we really were on track for a 10-ish hour total ride time.  Perused the deli counter.  I really didn't want a sandwich.  Safeway has a great hot food deli...  I went for .45 lbs of sesame chicken and a banana.  Oh, that was yummy.

Sesame chicken and a banana

eating lunch in Stayton

From Stayton on through Aumsville (site of a really destructive tornado not too long ago.  We don't HAVE tornadoes in Oregon, which makes it really disturbing) and then onto Howell Prairie Road.

Howell Prairie Road is 18 miles long, and, as I have said before, a prime location for wind farms.  I cannot remember a time I have ridden it when the winds were favorable.  Until this ride.  We had a killer tailwind, and flew north, usually at speeds in excess of 17mph.  Complete enjoyment and lots of pictures.  Fresh autumn air.  This was fun.

Red barn, Howell Prairie Road

Fall color, Howell Prairie Road

Michal, old house, and Kevin on Howell Prairie Rd

Arrived at the intersection at Hwy 99E, where we were to go to Woodburn.  Turned L as instructed on the cue sheet, and were supposed to find Boone's Ferry Rd within a half mile. After about a mile of beating our way into a headwind, we didn't find it.  I pulled up Google Maps on my phone, and discovered that we should have turned R. At least we'd get blown back to the turn.  And so, After an error on our part, we corrected and headed into Woodburn and the taqueria.  Mmmm.  I had asada tacos with tomatillo sauce and lime.  I had two, and they were tiny (and only $1 in total).  Might get 3 or 4 next time.

Late lunch in Woodburn

It was now starting to rain, and getting...dim.  Also, chilly. I started shaking, and pulled the jacket, cap, heavy gloves and reflective gear back on, and headed out to Hubbard.  With the wind at our backs, the rain wasn't so annoying, and we all quickly warmed up.  By the time we hit the outskirts of Canby, it was dark.

Headed north on Airport Rd, and then it was time to get onto I-5, to cross the Willamette River.  Picture it - dark.  raining.  Freeway shoulder.  Freeway shoulder under construction.  I ran over some interesting-sounding things on the Boone Bridge (I second Bill and probably every other cyclist in a 200 mile radius wanting that non-motorized traffic bridge built from the northern terminus of Boone's Ferry Rd across the Willamette.  Soon.  It is funded.), and hoped I would not flat.  Then the construction barrels started encroaching on more and more of the shoulder, to the point where we were just about riding in the lane...  Down the off-ramp, left on Wilsonville Rd and (this was going to continue until we got into Beaverton proper) stopped to check the cue sheet and street signs.  When we could see the street signs.

Through the office park for several miles, then a pause at the Chevron before the last 13 miles.  Note to self - print future cue sheets out in 16pt font.  If it hadn't been for Kevin's sharp eyes, we'd have gone off-route a few times. A passer-by at the Chevron station... "I do not envy you folks".  We were quick to assure him that this was best fun ever.  Not sure he was convinced.

The stretch to Tualatin was not much fun,  but eventually we got a bike lane back (busy, narrow road in what used to be a quiet backwater).

Then through some parks, popping out into Tigard (lots of cue sheet checks), then around the back of Washington Square, at which point we didn't need much cue sheet checking at all; this is within 4 miles of my house.  I scooted very cautiously across the Tracks of Death on SW 5th Ave.  No way was I getting this close to the end to wipe out on those tracks.  We did miss the turn onto Griffith in the dark, so went around the corner on Lombard and Canyon.  Lesli got a finishing receipt at Starbucks.

Now, the last bit home.  Cyndi had just arrived.  We walked in, and it smelled like somewhat more than the split pea soup, cornbread and apple cake I was expecting...  Fitz upped the ante and added meatloaf and a cabbage-apple slaw.

Post ride feast

Perm card completions (had to get all the references to shared receipts straight), dishes and eating utensils, habanero jelly for the cornbread (thank you Cecil!), and we settled down to eat.  And eat. The UO-Stanford game was still on, so the football fans (Cyndi and Lesli) were checking on that, and were very happy with the result.

Total time: 12:14
Total distance: 136.49mi
My riding average 14.5mph.  It WAS 15.5 by the time we got to Woodburn, but all the start-stop the last 13 miles didn't help.
All the pictures here
Michal's pics

Great November perm.  Now, which to do for December?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Annual Verboort Sausage Populaire

It is November again, time for the Verboort Sausage Festival, and so, time for the Oregon Randonneurs Verboort Populaire.  Any ride that ends up at a sausage festival is one to do.  (Also rides that include ferries, or cross international boundaries.)

Getting ready - not so much.  The weather was going to be rainy and 40's.  Wool, wool, wool, Craft Storm Tights and the Showers Pass Elite jacket.  And food.  I get home from rides, sometimes with more food than I started with, so I toss it in the freezer and pull it out for the next ride.  This ride, I retrieved some cookies from the last ride with Michal.

Lots of socializing around at the start; big crowd, despite the weather.  Lesli and I had planned to ride together to continue our conversation from the Bikenfest, and Diane (riding buddy since 2003!) joined us. Andy S. gave me a fair amount of trash talk about the quantity of food I had been carrying along on the 600 last June... "I got a hernia just lifting up your bike".  Wish I could figure out how to carry less stuff, but it just doesn't work out that way.  And I am happy to have the food and spare clothing along!

Turned loose at 9am (drizzling), heading east to Longbottoms Coffee in Hillsboro, our first control about 12 miles along. Rode along with former co-worker Ian for a bit; we caught up on doings at my former place of employ (layoffs again.  boo.)

Got there, got my card signed, and.... Lesli wanted an espresso.  Service there is, um, not fast.  So we stood around and waited.  And got a bit chilly.  And finally, she got it, sucked it down and we left.  But we didn't get very far, because my front tire became exceedingly squashy.  (Crud)

Back to fix it.  Couldn't find anything in the tire, so crossed my fingers and changed out the tube.  BikePortland's participant took my picture.  First flat I've had in months (and second flat all year), and that's what I'll be remembered for.  Fortunately, it was possibly the fastest tire change EVER.  No messing around with tire levers to put the tire back on.  I like that.

Off again, heading north over Hwy 26.  I saw on the cue sheet that we were going up the fabled Jackson Quarry Hill, and mentally deduced the route was Helvetia to Jackson Quarry.  I mean, why go any other way when that way is so darn pretty?  Well, it wasn't, it was Helvetia to West Union to Jackson Quarry.  Our alternate was .2 mile longer, but much, much, much nicer scenery.  Lesli hadn't ridden there before, because no brevet or perm uses that route (I have a perm design in process which does; stay tuned), and I enjoyed pointing out my favorite parts (most of them).  A teeny bit more climbing, but worth it for the view. (What it looks like in nicer weather)

Back on the published route, around a few turns, and at the base of the Jackson Quarry Hill.  I only know one way to go up it, so punched it and made myself work all the way to the top.  Too many years racing Jason to the top (score, Jason: some really big number, Lynne: 1).  Then down Mason Hill (wheeee!) and back to Jackson School/Shadybrook/...

Chatting all the way north on Dairy Creek made it go pretty quickly.  Consumed that entire bag of cookies.  They were very, very good.  Could have eaten more!  The field of alpacas had 4 cute baby ones this year.  Don't know where the grownups were.  Vegan sausage and a rando mocha, chatting w/Susan F and Lesli about how I am leading her astray (what?  ride in the WINTER?) and time to head back down.  It was chilly for a few miles until we warmed up.  The trees at the ornamental nursery were spectacular - rows of green, then yellow, then red.  We plotted next weekend's adventure - Bill Alsup's Eugene to Portland 200k permanent.  I've got the train ticket for me and Sweetpea for next Friday evening already.  Also ordered a rack for Sweetpea, for the inevitable pannier of stuff.

Crossed at Frogger Junction, and then off to Banks, quick pause, and west on Cedar Canyon.  The wetlands haven't really filled up yet.  In a month they should be spectacular.  Back along Hwy 6, up Stafford Rd, and the last short number of miles to the end.  Except the stretch on Kemper/Visitation seems to take much too long.

Lesli: "I know we are there when I hear polka music and see oxygen tanks and walkers."  We got the polka music and a couple of walkers, but no oxygen tanks this year.  Diane and I rehashed some previous year's rides - "remember when it was sunny?"

Finished and cards signed, we set off in search of sausage on a stick, coffee, and uncooked sausage to take home.  Got the sausage and coffee in the bingo tent (visited with Brian from Olympia, who was having an amazing run at bingo).  Located the bulk sausage sales, and managed to buy somewhat less than 2 pounds this year.

Back to the Grand Lodge, where Lesli, Diane, and I were all completely prepared to soak in the hot pool.  Frozen feet and hot water is an exquisite feeling, I must say.  We defrosted for a good 20-30 minutes. Great finish to a great day.

Stats: 65 miles in total, 62 and a bit for the populaire.
total elapsed time for the populaire 5:27.  Analysis: about 15 minutes more riding, a flat, and a bit too much faffing.
Riding pace for the populaire: 14.03 avg mph
Overall pace (includes the coast back to the start) 13.83 avg mph