Saturday, January 14, 2012

Andrew's Birthday Ride

Way, way back in 2003, when I was returning to bicycling after an almost 10 year lapse, one of the first folks I met was Andrew B.  And through him, the entire Team Bag Balm herd.  We've ridden together off and on over the years since then.  One of the TBB traditions was the Birthday Ride, wherein you collect a group of friends, ride your birthday in miles, and then eat something.  It was Andrew's birthday yesterday, and he hosted a ride today.  In km, though, because 1) he's not been riding much, and 2) this is easier if your birthday is in the summer.

I figured to ride over, and Fitz would show up when we finished, with a change of clothes for me.  Wasn't supposed to get very wet (we are under a BLIZZARD OF 2012 WATCH from our excitable news media) until later.  Warmest jersey (a fleecy Novara thing), wind vest, Showers Pass jacket, which I was planning on shedding, wool cap with earflaps, PI AmFib gloves (really old ones.  My winter commute gloves), Sugoi Firewall tights, PI shoes.  No booties.  Wasn't going to get that wet.

The ride over was totally uneventful, until I got past OMSI, and my directions said to go E on SE Division and turn R onto SE 13th.  There was a big train sitting right there, not moving.  I kept heading south, looking for ways to go east.  Hopefully sometime before SE Holgate, which goes over the tracks at Brooklyn Yard.  Somewhere in there, my rear tire went squashy.  Called over to say I was Not Far, and was blocked by a train and a flat.  Pumped the tire back up some, and eventually did have to take Holgate east.

Apologized all around.  At that point, I just wanted to change out the tire and tube altogether.  I have decided that tire is now done (2 flats in the last 3 rides).  I did have a spare tire - a brand new Grand Bois.  Philippe commented on the durability of that particular tire (not.  I am living dangerously.  It has supple sidewalls.).  While it went onto the Aerohead rim somewhat easier than the Michelin, it was still a touch tight.  Maybe it will loosen up a bit.  No flats for the balance of the ride.

And so, finally off, through parts of the east side I recognized, all the way up to the summit of Mt Tabor.  We then kept heading east.  And east.  I usually go north to the Columbia River, and then head east.  Or Cecil takes us east another way (182nd to Halsey, to Troutdale and beyond).

So.  The mist was persistent, but not too bad.  I was plenty warm.  Introduced myself to the riders I did not know (Jim H. and Jim H.).  They were both professors at OGI when Fitz was getting his Masters in CS.  They were both HIS professors :-) Now all at PSU, as is Andrew.

Caught up with Andrew and Diane. Heard about Nat's first grandchild.  Talked about generator hubs and lighting with Jim H.  Also recruited.  I know he wants to be a randonneur :-)

Heavier mist.  Perhaps even rain.  We misplaced Diane and Nat - turns out they went another way, and we'd find them further along.  Started south (headwind, rain) through Outer Troutdale.  I have probably ridden here on a Livestrong Ride, or the Barlow Trail Century.  After some wandering around, we eventually dropped onto the Springwater Corridor.  The rain had really picked up, and the road down to the trail had a impressive head of water coming down the gutter.  We stayed out of the bike lane :-)

By this point, my shoes had given it up, and my feet were gone.  The tights weren't helping much, either.  Serious dry clothing fantasies.  Stopped under I-205 to call Fitz, because we were about 20 or so minutes out.  Andrew and I convinced Diane to peel off, go home and get dry clothes, and then come over to eat; she doesn't live too far from Andrew.

Turned off the Springwater to ride...up a wall.  SE Flavel.  I made it.  Didn't stop.  Was even gaining on Andrew.  Bike computer reveals incline of 14-16%.  I'll die later.  A bit further along Flavel, a guy out walking commented that we had really nice bikes (thank you!) and were real troopers for riding today.  Progressing through SE Portland.  When we crossed SE Woodstock, I knew it wasn't much further.  Dry clothes, dry clothes, dry clothes...

Put my bike on the porch, and was taking off my sopping wet shoes prior to going inside.  Fitz drove up, so I stuffed my feet back in the shoes, and we loaded the bike in the car.  Dry clothes, dry clothes, dry clothes...

Whereupon I inhaled ate some REALLY GREAT Thai-inspired squash soup created by Patty, lots of bread with butter, cheese, and some excellent plum preserve (not all on the same pieces of bread), salad, gingerbread, hot cider, hot tea...  And enjoyed more visiting around.  Got to see pics of Nat's grandson.  Caught up with Patty (she had a cold and didn't ride), as well as Dave and Edna.

The cold air return at home is working hard on drying my shoes and gloves.

The route
48.9 miles by my bike computer, avg pace 11.83.
A fair amount of stopping, none initiated by me. :-)
Maybe I'll host a birthday 200k...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Permanent #1401: Beaverton-Hagg Lake-Carlton 203km

Or, wandering around (mostly) rural Washington County, visiting an amazing number of info controls along the way.

I rode most of the route in early January and saw very, very few cars.  Can't guarantee this for you, but it was delightful for me.

You start in beautiful suburban Beaverton, right at the corner of SW 117th and SW Canyon Rd.  There's many, many places to get a starting receipt.  If you don't want to ride over the hill from Portland, you can hop the MAX; the Beaverton Transit Center is one block over to the west.

Working your way west and north, you will escape the Urban Growth Boundary at West Union and Cornelius Pass  roads, not to be seen again until you re-enter Hillsboro toward the end.

The route takes you through Helvetia, one of the prettiest bits of countryside around, up the Jackson Quarry Hill (not steep, and be sure to look off to the left as you ascend), and then an up one side and down the other around a valley just outside North Plains.

Through Roy, info control at the church, and ALSO flush toilets in the building to the left of the church back by the garage doors.  There is a donation box on the wall in the hallway on the right.  Let's keep the hot water, flush, paper towels and TP coming.

Then on through Banks (Thriftway on the right after crossing under Hwy 6), out Cedar Canyon, and back on Hwy 6/Stafford Rd/and so on, ending up at the first timed control in Forest Grove.  I recommend Maggie's Buns on 21st.  Best sticky buns ever, and as big as your head.  She's not open on Sundays,(closed.  End of an era).  You can get receipts and food at the Mama Jiah's convenience store at 2248 Main St  and Pizza Schmizza (also on Main St, a little further along).

Following the pause in Forest Grove, you'll circumnavigate Hagg Lake.  The initial ramp after entering the park can be a bit of a downer, but it is all fun rollers after that.  The park is closed in the winter, but spring through fall, there are facilities at several picnic areas.

Then south, entering Yamhill Country and wine country.  You'll pass through Yamhill, and the next timed control in Carlton.  There's wineries and tasting rooms all along here.  Disclaimer- most of them are at the top of steep gravel roads, but there are are few right in Carlton along the route.  Carlton has a grocery (on the left just before the left turn), a couple of convenience stores (one on the right a couple blocks after the turn, but more importantly, an AMAZING bakery, with tasty pastries, coffee, hot cocoa, soup, sandwiches...  The bakery (and I encourage you to stop there) is on the left just after the turn, hiding behind a coffee cart.

Now you are heading back north, along the familiar (to the local riders) Kuehne-Ribbon Ridge-North Valley-Spring Hill-Fern Hill leg before  turning east and skirting the southern boundaries of Forest Grove, Cornelius, and Hillsboro.

Somewhere along Rood Bridge Rd you find yourself in Hillsboro, and back within the Urban Growth Boundary.  One last timed control at Borwick and Baseline (Jackson's Store at the gas station is handy; also a Wendy's, a Subway, and a grocery).

Then a stretch along Baseline; bike lane the entire way.  Exercise a bit of caution after crossing SW 185th - after crossing, the right lane cloverleafs off to get onto northbound 185th.  I move into the left side of the right lane and take the lane to avoid the potential of getting right-hooked.

After passing Nike and Tektronix, you'll turn right onto Hocken and head back the way you came.

Enjoy the ride!

the cue sheet
and map
and registration form
and route/gps track

Please contact me if you'd like to ride the permanent for RUSA credit.
This is how I like to get your card and receipts back.

Helvetia Church

Jackson Quarry Rd

View from Jackson Quarry Hill

Red Clover and Rugosa on Cedar Canyon Rd

Wetlands, Cedar Canyon Rd, Banks, Oregon

Fuzzy berry bushes on Thatcher Rd

Hagg Lake

Wetland on North Valley Rd

Spring Hill Rd

Red Clover and Barn on Fern Hill Rd

Spring Hill Road

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Overdrawn at the Stupidity Bank

This permanent surely takes the prize...

There was a call for folks to ride the Volcanoes vs Farmland 200k on Jan 2.  I'd be back in town Jan 2.  My bike could easily be reassembled by Jan 2.  Other than the discouraging stretch on Ridge Rd, shouldn't have been anything epic...

Careful reading of the cue sheet discovered a few occurrences of the word "gravel".  One occurrence coupled with the word "descent".  I generally don't ride off-road.  I used to ride on the Banks Vernonia trail when it WAS gravel, and downhill at that, but that was a few years ago.

So, there we were at Marsee Baking in Sellwood, before sunrise.  The weather could have been anything from "chance of showers" to "rain all day".  I did bring some extra clothes and gloves.  David P, the perm owner, was there to check everyone in and hand out cards.  Had some coffee, visited with Cyndi, introduced myself to Maria, and generally visited around.

Early morning start

At 7am, David turned us loose.  Still dark, of course, but not raining.  South for awhile, watching red lights vanish up ahead, then hopped on the bike path along the Willamette River (I've been there before), then onto River Rd for a good long while.  Nice sunrise.  Michal: "are you familiar with this part of town?".  Mmm.  Sort of.  I did know which way to go to get to Clackamette Park, our first control.

Clackamas River Rd

Evidence of participation

Then wandering eastward, on unfamiliar roads.  The stretch along the Clackamas River was very pretty.  We rode all the way out to the Barton Store (next control) and stopped for awhile.  Banana, Doubleshot and a Payday bar; consumed the whole thing right there.  Took off the jacket, hat and heavy gloves - it was sunny!

Rando still life, Barton Mercantile

Doubled back, and eventually ended up on the up and down Ridge Road through the Boring Lava Flow (hence the "Volcanoes" part of the name).  Picked up Jeff A along here; the three of us rode together for the rest of the ride.  The headwind from the south coupled with the seemingly unending up and down was a bit discouraging. Another info control.  I was speculating that David may have put multiple colors of zipties on the road sign, so as to have multiple info control questions.  Sure enough.  Michal and I had one question, and Jeff had another. Devious! Then up and DOWN Buckner Creek Rd.  Put the jacket back on.  Then steeply up again.  Oops.  The rain put in a short appearance.

Last bits of the sun

Eventually into Canby, right along the triathlon bicycle finish and run route.  No cheering crowds today.  We paused at the Thriftway.  I now know where they hide the Doubleshots, and no longer need to search the entire store.  Pulled out my pbj, and started working on it.  Through Champoeg Park (conversation around Guns, Germs and Steel), then into Newberg.

Well, almost into Newberg.  I came up with a rear flat.  Took some serious muscle (not mine!) to get that tire off.  Put the Hutchinson tire on.  There was some worry that we were now behind time, but not so.  Whew.  Mochas at the coffee shop, and off again.  Stretch of gravel road out of Newberg - not so bad, but I wasn't trying to take it fast. It occurred to Jeff that we'd be doing the gravel descent (Saltzman) after dark.  I was in total denial. Dark. Downhill.  Gravel.  Raining...

We almost had a tailwind after turning north on North Valley.  Eventually it did become a tailwind.  Finally finished that pbj sandwich. Another brief stop in Gaston, then pushing onward to North Plains, our final on-course control.  Pause in the market for some Pringles and a Doubleshot; caught a few minutes of the Rose Bowl on the big screen.  Then to the McD's for plumbing (nothing between here and the finish...), and off in the swiftly falling darkness.  Off and on rain.

Found the Jackson Quarry turnoff from West Union... I haven't approached it from this direction, but there was a handy sign before the actual road.  Then east on Helvetia, and calling out to Jeff and Michal when they missed the Phillips Rd turn.  And time to Go Up.  Jeff had it in his head that we were climbing Old Germantown, and that it would be really hard (it would be), but we were going up Old Cornelius Pass.  A gentle climb.  Better than this past summer when I was riding it with the world's most awful cold, for sure.  But it was dark, raining off and on, and rollering upward.  I was not feeling particularly zippy.  We paused at Germantown to look at a GPS to figure out where the turn onto Saltzman might be.

Now for the really stupid part...

We arrived at Saltzman.  Sorted out how we'd go about this.  We were definitely sticking together.  Jeff has a fabulous headlight on his helmet, so he went first.  He'd actually ridden up it once, in daylight.  Me next, Michal sweeping.  After a bit, I had to stop.  I was shaking so badly I couldn't control the bike.  Cold.  Wet.  My head was buzzing.  It was very, very strange.  I did eat a banana.  And a gel.  Michal produced some chemical handwarmers to put in my gloves.  And we walked a bit until I was shaking somewhat less.  Then rode downhill for awhile, maybe with two more stops.  Lots of squeezing the brakes.  I couldn't see far enough ahead (for me) to completely relax.  We could see the lights from Linnton and St Johns through the trees.  I did start to relax a bit, but never warmed up.  I think the grade backed off.  I was figuring we'd be here forever.  Finally, a gate, some really bad pavement, and then Hwy 30.  Jeff wanted to know if I was going to do it again next weekend.  No.  I think this is really a dry summer route.

Conversations about doing stupid stuff on a bike.  I hate crossing the Hwy 219 bridge south of Newberg.  Granted, it isn't as bad as the Boone Bridge in its current construction state in Wilsonville.  Michal isn't all that fond of Bridge of the Gods.  Neither is Jeff.  I love crossing it.  Even when it is raining.  They'd both rather ride down some gravel fire road at night in the rain (!)

Zipped into Portland on Hwy 30/St Helens Rd.  Warmed up with the pedaling.  Up Wardway, through NW, onto Naito, across the Steel Bridge, really gorgeous bit on the Esplanade (many photographers out there with cameras and tripods, getting shots of downtown and the river, all lit up), past OMSI, onto 4th...

"There you are!".  David P was riding back along the route to see if he could find us.  We were at the very tail end, and had 10 minutes left...  Buzzed down the Springwater, and then David stopped and said: this is Sellwood.  You are done.  (and with three minutes to spare!)

He was off to get some groceries, and would meet us at the Oaks Bottom Pub in a few...

Rode with slightly less urgency back to the pub next to Marsee Baking, put the bike away (thank you Cyndi!), and got some 7-Up and snacks.  Visited with Jeff.  Did the perm card rituals with David.  Went home.  Took a very long hot shower, trying to not fall asleep IN the shower, and crashed.  The bike and stuff finally moved out of the car this evening after work.

The numbers:
134.86 mi
12.14 avg mph
7342 vertical feet.  Rather more than the route description claimed...