Monday, August 20, 2012

Fueled by Ice Cream and V-8

Given that the first two attempts at my August rando ride were non-starters - 1 DNF, 1 DNS - if I wanted to keep the R-24 streak going, I had to successfully ride SOMETHING.  I own three perms.  It shouldn't be hard.

Decided on 1401 - Beaverton - Hagg Lake - Carlton.  Other than the breathtaking number of info controls, it had the advantage of not getting that far away from home base.  I think spousal unit was getting a little worried about me.  All the ride buddies were unavailable, so it would be me, myself and I.  Preparing wouldn't be hard - the bike was all ready for that ride it did not start.  Wore the Randonneurs USA jersey.  I have learned that if one rides in red, white, and blue, chances of harassment are reduced.  And since it was just me, I was going to exploit that.

Breakfast of eggs, toast, and juice, then off to the Starbucks for a pre-ride mocha and receipt.  Uneventful ride west.  There was a bit of a headwind, which was just enough to make me feel like I should have stayed in bed.  Overcast, and very agreeable temperatures.  I actually wore arm warmers until I got to Forest Grove.

Helvetia Rd, looking south

Jackson Quarry Rd has fresh chipseal.  St Francis Church in Roy (a control) has brand new concrete pavement and they've remodeled the bathrooms.  The donation can is currently not present.

All of Banks turned out to watch me ride through town.  Chairs lining the street, and so on.  Ok, well, maybe it wasn't for me.  Perhaps a parade before the Combine Destruction Derby.

Banks.  Combine Crashes.

By the time I got to Forest Grove, I wanted something substantial.  An ice cream sandwich and a Sobe sounded pretty good.  By the direct route, I can make it from my house to Forest Grove in just over an hour.   By the perm route, it took almost 4 hours. :-)

Forest Grove

Props to Dilley Elementary School!

Keeping on south, out and around Hagg Lake.  There was a sign about culvert repair and construction for September.  Not clear if it would close the road.  Up and down and up and down and up and down.  Brief pause at Sain Creek.  Learning - a bicycle will fit in the handicapped stall.

evidence of slightly sunburnt participation

Hagg Lake, from the Scoggins Valley Dam

Old barn, Old OR 47

Though Gaston, with a stop for more drinks.  Their drink selection was severely depleted.  Got a V-8 to drink right there, and a Coke for my calorie bottle.  At this point I was beginning to wonder if I'd finish on time.  By my reckoning I was running it pretty close.  And so I tried to pick it up heading south to Yamhill and Carlton.  Waved at all the people in Rick and Catherine's driveway :-)  By the time I hit Laughlin Rd, I figured I was going to be ok, and relaxed a bit.


Just in time

Stopped at the market in Carlton, where I got more V-8, another ice cream bar, some Sobe for the calorie bottle and water for the water bottle.

Carlton.  More ice cream

Only 44 miles to go and lots of time in the bank.  The wind was supposed to get favorable for awhile, but it was "variable".  Finally heading north on North Valley.  While this ride was NOT finishing in Forest Grove and NOT finishing in Hillsboro, I always feel like I am on the home stretch once I am on North Valley.

Wetlands, North Valley Rd

Lots of haying in progress.  Oregon summer - hot shimmery blue sky, not a cloud in sight.  Queen Anne's Lace and a few other wildflowers by hay-brown roadsides.  By now the temperature was slowly dropping from its mid-80's high of the day.

haying in process, SW Spring Hill Rd

haybales the size of minivans...

Hoping that the turn east onto Geiger would get me some tailwind.  Maybe.  Still variable.  Some harassment from a driver headed the other way on a totally empty road. Huh?  Needed more liquids, and the Forest Hills Golf Course was just ahead.  I stop there often, but never buy anything.  That changed on this ride.  Snapple for the calories bottle, another V-8 to consume on the spot.  Got my vegetables on this ride, yes indeed.

Turned right onto SW Johnson School, and saw the ROAD CLOSED sign.  The detour would be Tongue Rd to Hwy 219, then south to Burkhalter to rejoin the route.  I very much dislike riding on Tongue Rd, so I thought I'd see exactly how closed it was.  As Cecil says... "there's closed and there's closed".  Finally, just at Behrman Farms, I saw a very big piece of construction equipment parked across the road.  "Bridge Out". Well, there's out and there's out.  After squeezing around the equipment, I found an entirely passable road.  Well, dirt, and boards, anyway.  There were other bike tire tracks in the dirt :-)  Not that I recommend this for you, of course.

SW Johnson School construction

Back on the bike, crossing 219, oooh!  look! the alpacas are back!

The alpacas are back!

Last info control, and then working my way into Hillsboro.  I love the "Reduced Speed Ahead" signs.  Coming into a town.  Pulled in at the Jackson's for the last timed control and bought a half height Pringles to munch on for the last 6+ miles.

Finished.  Cooling down.

Finally, the tailwind!  Finished off the last bit pretty quickly, for a total elapsed time of 11:43.  Not much slower than our February ride, but a bit slower riding and a bit less faffing.  Some day I'll get the faster riding and the less faffing together on the same ride.

Including the to/from, 132 mi. 13.5 avg.
All the pictures here

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

THAT was a hot one...

This past weekend was the Oregon Randonneurs Tygh Valley Traveller 400k.  I was the co-organizer, and the day-of person in charge.  It would not have gone off as well as it did without the wonderful volunteers - Dave and Edna, who staffed the Pine Point control, Dave and Kevin, who surprised everyone at the Secret Control (gotcha Michael!  Not on Judd Rd!), and Vinny and Theo, who did some sightseeing, set up at mile 169, and then wandered back along the route after awhile.  And not to forget the Main Co-Organizer Susan O, who designed and submitted the route, and did much of the pre-event running around.  And all of our pre-riders, some of whom were not local and could not infer from tribal memory what some of the cues really meant.

Things to not forget

Loaded Element

After sending the riders off, getting Vinny all his supplies, and waiting out the hour, I set out to the start point for the 200k perm I planned to ride.  The speediest 400k rider assured me he wouldn't finish before 8pm, which would give me enough time to do my ride.

The temperatures were going to be extreme - over 100, which for Portland is awfully darn hot.

Bagel and Sweetpea at the start in NE PDX

South about 6-ish miles to NE Broadway and NE 22nd, where I inhaled a pumpernickel bagel with lox cream cheese, then off.  Eventually the route had me headed west on SE Stark, which turns into SE Water and eventually dumps me on the Springwater Corridor Trail.  All well and good, except when I got to the part where Stark turns into Water, there was a train.  A very long train.  A very long stopped train.  Ok, then.  A bit of mental navigation, and I turned around on Stark, turned right on SE 6th, followed it all the way to SE Madison, west on Madison. crossing the tracks on the Hawthorne Bridge approach and dropped down to the Esplanade, which would get me right to the Springwater Corridor Trail.

And, where the trail turned onto SE Umatilla, I was zapped with a Secret Control as well :-)  Good morning David!

Continued east, not too hot yet. Eventually off the trail and into Boring.  The clerk at the control told me several riders had stopped there - once on the Springwater Trail, I was on the same route until the turnaround.  Sucked down more liquids and continued on.  Eventually I ended up on Judd Rd, one of the two annoying climbs on this route. (7-9%).  It got warmer here.  But the reward for suffering on Judd is the drop on Van Curen. I was about a mile shy of getting up to the speed limit (45mph).  Next time maybe.

Getting hotter and hotter.  I stopped at a skate park on the outskirts of Estacada for more water.  And stopped again at Promontory Point, 13 miles down the road for more water.  The headwind on Faraday Rd was pretty stiff; it was like riding into a blast furnace.

I sincerely hope that is for fish

Then up to Ripplebrook.  If the headwind had been anything like the stretch on Faraday, it was going to be a very long day.  The first 10-15 miles actually weren't all that bad.

Clackamas River

Between bridges 3 and 4, though...  It was really hot.  My bottles were hot (yes, I was drinking).  The last 5 miles was painful.  My feet were really, really hurting (this much foot pain is very new), and, then, of course, there was the heat.  I pulled off the road at one point, took off the helmet and just sat.  One motorist (of MANY) asked if I was ok.  I would have killed for some cold water, but he didn't have any.  Shortly after that was the Indian Henry climb.  I walked it, which is a first, for me, ever.  It did occur to me to turn around and go back down, but the store was now less than three miles away, and it was the closest source of cold liquid things.

Really hot

Topped that pitch, and started pedaling again.  I was also back in the shade.  And, maybe a mile before the store, who should I see but Paul W.  He was not having fun, and decided to turn back.  He thought I had already gotten to the store and turned around.  Hah.  No.  We went to the store, and I got a bag of salty chips and a bottle of Gatorade, and we sat in the shade.  At one point I moved and my right quad made like to cramp up.  Paul tossed me some Endurolytes.  Had a nice visit.  I've been on many rides with Paul, but not had much opportunity to have a real conversation.  Back into the store for liquids for the bottles, and then, after a really long sit (the control had closed 30+ minutes ago), we decided to head back.  Just before we left, Norm C rode up.  He wasn't having fun, either, but he was going to get his wife to collect him in Estacada.  Texted the control workers to expect 2 fewer riders.


Except for the drop at the top, the downhill was not nearly as much fun as it had been in June.  Paul: "has the wind shifted on us?"  Toward the bottom, Paul allowed as how he needed water - we stopped at Promontory Point, went inside, and I flopped into a chair and sat.  Big cups of ice.  The smart thing to do would have been to eat something, but I think I was past smart.  I was drinking calories, but not eating them. We used up all our warm water by dumping it on our heads, arms, and legs.  I dumped some on my jersey as well.  It lasted most of the way into Estacada.

Headed off to Barton.  Did I mention that it was hot?  Really, really hot?  Over 100 degrees hot?  Our bottles were hot again.  Finally pulled over into some shade, and flopped down.  Paul offered up some cold water- his Camelbak was still cold.  After awhile he said that while he wasn't as far along with the heat issues, he wasn't very far behind.  I thought about it a bit, then called Fitz and asked if he would please pick us up at the Barton Store.  Called David to tell him I was abandoning.

Paul sitting in the shade on Hwy 224

By this point I'd gotten a text that another rider was abandoning, and then one more rider called from Maupin to say his ride was finished as well.

Laid around in the shade for awhile longer (tried to get up twice, got a bit dizzy), then rode the last 4 miles to Barton at a very relaxed pace.  We got some cold drinks, and, not 15 minutes later, Fitz appeared.  We must have been sitting in that shade a good long time, because it isn't that quick a drive.

So much for that perm.  Sigh.  Back to the start location, where I checked in, and we all got showers, and went to find some dinner.  The Island Cafe on Hayden Island is kind of fun, and it was certainly the right temperature to be eating outside on a floating restaurant.  Paul and I demolished some burgers; Fitz was more restrained - "I didn't earn that".

Back to the hotel - no one had finished yet.  Got a text from Vinny estimating a midnight finish for the speedy riders.

Sat around.  Dozed.  Probably fell asleep.  At midnight, there was a knock on the door.  Opened it to find Michael W (first finisher), and Vinny and Theo.  Finish card rituals, visiting, then Theo took Michael home.  He came back (he had Vinny's truck :-) ) and more sitting around.  Kevin showed up for his shift right about the time Del finished, just before 1am.  He ate a bagel and visited for awhile, then took himself home as well. I turned control over to Kevin and fell asleep.  Vinny and Theo fell asleep.  For all I know, Kevin fell asleep.

Woke up at 4:45.  So did Vinny - "got to get home before the traffic picks up!".  So we went out and moved the control equipment and supplies back to my car.  He and Theo departed, and shortly after that, Kevin left as well.

One more phone call - a rider abandoning in Troutdale.  He had deliberately gone off course on Devil's Backbone.  The climbing finally did him in.

More dozing, then a call from Shun.  The folks at the front desk were great - they'd sign the card, and then send the rider up.  They thought this was great fun.  Shun ate a bit, took a shower, and got a nap.  Just one rider still out there.

I went down to get some breakfast, sitting where I could see folks come in.  And just as I sat down, Ed finished! Yay!  He joined me for breakfast, as did Shun.  Shun headed out.  Ed got a shower and a nap.  I loaded the car, sat around, and eventually wondered if Ed was rested enough to get home.  He was, so we cleared out of there.

I went home and was catatonic until we went to the Portland Timbers game.  Catatonic there as well, and not at all sad to leave at the half because Fitz wasn't feeling great either.

For the day, about 109 miles.  For the 102 miles of the perm, I averaged 13 mph.  I just spent so much time off the bike in the heat, though, that finishing in time just wasn't going to happen.