Sunday, February 15, 2015

First Brevet February 2015

The route: Hillsboro Dallas.

Preparations: clean the chain.  Get the fruitcake out of the freezer.  Have the entire family over for dinner the night before...  Mind you, I was working this week, finished up at 3:30, and rode the 14.5 miles home from Wilsonville.

Michal and Cyndi arrived after everyone had cleared out.  After a brief logistics discussion, we decided that I'd drive us to the start, saving Cyndi a couple of trips to Hillsboro.  I mostly knew where I was going, as well.

Not going to rain. Going to be sunny.  "Light fog, burning off early"

We arrived at Shute Park at about 6:30am, finding Paul W.  Others filtered in, and the organizer appeared.  I said hi to all the folks I hadn't seen for months.  Some of them, years (Hi John K!  Hi John Henry!)

Michael P-P gave us the route rap, including an update on the routing in Dallas, since the cue sheet was vague.  It still wasn't quite clear in my head, but I guessed I'd figure it out when I got there.

We all headed out.  What with the crowd and early speed, it felt like a club ride start.  Groups quickly started sorting out, and I found myself solo.  No worries.  I wasn't going to get lost.

The fog was thick, and, at times, thicker.  The route was very familiar.  Found the info control; memorized the answer and time. (Two green, 7:19)  I stopped briefly for a nature break at the corner of Geiger and Fern Hill, only to discover that the blue room was BEHIND the fence.  Cruelty!  I then quickly discovered that others must have felt the same way, because there was a place in the fence to duck through.

That taken care of, I headed south on Fern Hill to Spring Hill to North Valley. (someone posted a comment on another post about how cyclists should not ride on Spring Hill/North Valley.  Because, and I quote "to the poor victim who has to live with the memory of accidentally killing a cyclist".  Nothing accidental about it.  The driver made a CHOICE.)

Eventually, I found a rider up ahead, who turned out to be John V.  We rode along for awhile (he also usually rides solo).  And then, just north of Lafayette, we found Kevin L, who thought he had started out too fast, and was pausing.  So the three of us rode along together.  John was wondering where we'd stop, and I suggested Dayton.  The route was the usual, but it wasn't a control.  The clerks at the Center Market were a bit disappointed that no one asked to have their cards signed.  Banana, V-8 and ibuprofen.

We started out toward Amity, and I pulled ahead, and finally just went on.  The fog FINALLY gave it up here.  Passed a rider in Amity ("I'm checking the cue sheet").  Steve and Jeff passed by and went on.  Continued munching on fruitcake cubes.

Out to Perrydale Rd, then up and down the 4 big rollers.

Orchard PatternsPerrydale Rd

Saw a few groups of riders headed back; waved at the ones I recognized.  Hi Chris!  Hi Susan!  Then the route crosses Hwy 22, goes up a couple more climbs, and I was in Dallas.  In only 5 hrs.  Disbelief.  Even better, there were many riders at the Safeway, including Michal.

It was sunny and warm by then, so I ditched the wool cap, and, in a feat of agility, removed my baselayer without pulling off the jersey OR flashing the bystanders.  Lunch was all the potstickers from the deli counter, another banana, and the Gatorade which didn't fit into my water bottle.  Michal thought he'd ride back with me.  I appreciated that.

Me: "there seems to be a headwind".  Sigh, yes.  A stiff NE headwind.  We were, of course, heading N and E for the balance of the ride.

After the stretch of Kings Valley Hwy/Hwy 22 (no climb back out of Dallas, nice!), we were back on Perrydale, working our way up and over the 4 big rollers.  They are easier in the northward direction, as they stairstep down, but still not effort-free.

A rider came up behind on Bethel Rd.  It was Steve's buddy Jeff, and I wondered where Steve was.  "His wheel broke just outside of the Safeway."  Hmm, say more about that.  Jeff was going to finish, then go back and fetch him.  Steve was going to have a long wait, but at least he would be inside with food and coffee.

So we enjoyed the sunshine and landscape (this is, hands down, one of the two prettiest stretches on this route, the other being North Valley/Spring Hill), and tried to ignore the headwind.

Amity Elevator

Through Amity, and then the deadly dull stretch to Dayton.  With headwind.  I tried to find a good wheelsucking position behind Michal, but the wind was just not cooperating.  By now I realized that the shoes I was wearing were truly done.  Michal kept unclipping, so his feet weren't happy either. 

We thought about stopping for a bit, but I figured that we should press on to Dayton, where we could enjoy sitting down outside the store with snacks, while our feet got a break.

Shoes Off Pause, Dayton

Dayton, finally.  Gardettos, another banana, another V-8.  And a brief, welcome sit.  Jeff was just leaving.

Those last 35 miles were not going to get ridden by themselves.  Back on the bikes.  I should note that it was really nice, except for the wind.  Really nice.  Beautiful day!

Dayton-Lafayette-Abbey-Kuehne-Ribbon Ridge (whee!), and back onto North Valley/Spring Hill.  I was hoping that the hills to our right would mitigate the NE wind, which they did, somewhat.  We admired the wetlands, and continued relentlessly north.  After most of the traffic turned off at Flett, we enjoyed it even more.

Golden Hour Shadows, Spring Hill Rd

By now it was Golden Hour, with amazing light from the sun being low in the sky.  In all the years I have ridden up and down this stretch of road, I have never been there with the light like this.  It was beautiful.

Wetlands on Spring Hill Rd, just south of Fern Hill Rd

Then up Fern Hill, and east on Geiger.  Wait... I was riding at 15mph!  The wind shifted!  The wind shifted!

So we VERY HAPPILY proceeded to polish off the last 11 miles, and enjoyed the spectacular sunset which lasted from just south of Cornelius to the turn off Hwy 219 onto Grabel Rd.

Sunset, just south of Cornelius

Even Better Sunset, Hwy 219 and Grabel Rd

I kept looking at the clock, and realizing that we were somewhat ahead of our projected 12 hour time. (yeah, I'd like to project a time somewhat LESS than 12 hours, but my riding the past year or so has not supported that).

With a bit of vehicular cycling, we successfully got into the left turn lane on TV Hwy (a stroad of major proportions) to get back into the park where we started.

Found Michael P-P and did the finishing rituals, plus lots of chatting while we loaded up the car.

Finished.  And I Am So Happy!

11:10 elapsed.  My fastest 200k time in almost a year and a half.  Wowee zowie!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

While It Isn't Raining

Right now, we are getting a lot of rain.  A rider rode one of my perm pops yesterday, and he got caught in some of the flooding, but made it back ok, without too many detours.  He'll send his card along as soon as the receipts dry out.

I was checking the weather earlier in the week, because if I wanted to preserve my first-ever P-12 streak, that perm pop would have to happen this week.  Wednesday looked good.  North Plains-Banks-Vernonia (the "Get 'R Dunn" of Oregon) called, and Ray even thought he'd join me, if we started at 7:30. Oh.  Ok.

One of the offspring had borrowed my car.  I went to load it up Wednesday am, only to find it full of moving supplies.  Sigh. So, I was a teeny bit late, and felt badly about that.

A quick coffee and breakfast burritos (one consumed, one for later), and we headed out.  Clouds were low.

Hills and fog

on the trail

At the turnaround info control in Vernonia, we discussed options, and decided to head straight back.  We both had plenty of food and liquids; no need to stop, and Ray had to get ready for work.

Vernonia Lake

Ray on the return

Between the Buxton and Manning trailheads on the return, we found Romulus and Remus snoozing by the trail.  We stopped and I took a picture.

Romulus and Remus working hard

waiting at the trailhead

Row markers

North Plains now has a bike repair stand in the park at the west end of town.

Ray models the repair station in North Plains

Finished up at the cafe.  The usual cook wasn't there, but "Tiny" did sign our cards, and shook our hands because that 63 miles impressed the heck out of him.

After a cup of coffee, Ray headed out.  I visited with Mrs. Tiny and admired her knitting.

I had rescheduled my trainer session at the gym from Wednesday to Thursday.  Trainer Kenny: "What happened Wednesday?  I see you changed your session."  Me: "good weather".

All the pics here.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Rainy February Tour of Washington and Yamhill Counties

Earlier this week, the spouse asked: "are you riding this Sunday?"  Wondering what brought this on, I asked why.  "Well, it is a new month".  Indeed it is.  Also a day of a major sportsing event on the tv. So major that everyone would be inside watching.

Except me.  And, after an email exchange with Michal, him, too.

Bribery works.
He and Cyndi arrived in time for a yummy dinner - Fitz made tortilla soup, and I made up a batch of cornbread.  I'll take just about any excuse for making cornbread.

We were riding my 1401: Beaverton-Hagg Lake-Carlton perm, and after some discussion and negotiation, settled on a 6:30am start time.

I was looking at Wundermap as we were eating breakfast.  The forecast had been for "showers early, clearing off in the afternoon".  The map was solid green and yellow.  Well, that was unfortunate.  We were prepared, but still...

Our options for start locations that early on a Sunday were limited, but the Starbucks was open.  Not only that, they were now open until 8pm, so we wouldn't have to finish at another place.  Even better: "If you save your receipt, you can get a pastry for $1.00 after 2pm".  We assured them we were all about saving our receipts, and would see them that evening.

Starbucks Start
And so we set out in the rain.  We headed west and north for about 10 miles, popping out of the Urban Growth Boundary just west of NW Cornelius Pass Rd on West Union.  My legs felt vaguely leaden.  The route is not flat - goes up and down forever.  After passing through the Helvetia area, we looped around and through North Plains, past the lumber mill (pause for me to pump up the front tire; seemed surprisingly squashy, but not going flat), Banks, where there was a brief pause, and then out Cedar Canyon and back along Stafford/Strohmayer/Kansas City... to Forest Grove, our first timed control.  Now, I can get to Forest Grove by a fairly direct route; 18 miles.  Or we could take the scenic 42 mile route, which is this perm.

Again, because Sunday, not much open in Forest Grove, especially before 11am.  Since we arrived about 10:30, our options were the convenience store and the lottery deli.  Wanting to be expedient, we stopped at the c-store.  There was cue sheet flippage here, done very carefully, because we didn't want to get them wet and we were awfully saturated by this point.

Now we were headed off to Hagg Lake, which has the most concentrated climbing of the route.  As always, once the initial ramp is surmounted, it is a fun loop around the lake.  It seemed by now that we had been riding forever, but it wasn't even after noon.  I think the rain started clearing away here, but I don't remember.  My gloves were pretty heavy; I squeezed them out, which helped.  They'd be cold after I took them off, but would warm up in about 15 minutes.  I felt somewhat zippier after the stop in Forest Grove, but I don't think it showed much :-)

After leaving Hagg Lake, we discovered that there was a headwind.  We did stop in Gaston, because we needed to top up liquids (Lynne eats a banana and some fruitcake).

So, 15 miles of headwind to Carlton.  While I wasn't flying along, my pace wasn't too bad, except on the three bigger hills, where I fell back.

Michal's GPS was actively trying to sabotage his route in Yamhill; I had to retrieve him from a wrong turn.  Now just 3 miles to Carlton along the shoulder of Hwy 47.  A little narrow for my taste, but certainly rideable.

Ray had introduced me to the Carlton Bakery a couple weekends before.  Oh my goodness, yes!  Not only are they a bakery, they've got soup, sandwiches, coffee, and, of course, many tasty baked things.

And a rubber stamp.
Of course I can make that stamp work with the card!
One of the best half hour control stops ever.  I decided it was truly done raining, and removed the Rainlegs.

Now we were headed north and east, and fully expecting a tailwind.  And, indeed, the pace we were riding increased, with much less effort.  One of the more enjoyable traverses of North Valley/Spring Hill.

Brief pause to apologize for not a lot of pictures - I wore different gloves, and they weren't conducive to pulling out the camera while moving, nor, for that matter, getting food from my bag.  They weren't wool.  I was hoping for serious water resistance, but they gave that up.  At least my hands stayed warm.

Just before Forest Grove, we turned east, and then a few miles of south (boo), then back east and some north again.  Just north of the Rood Bridge, we found ourselves back in the Urban Growth Boundary, and had only a bit over 10 miles to go.  One more on-course timed control.  6 miles to go, all mostly on SW Baseline; a straight shot to Beaverton.

We pulled in at 6:40pm, for 12:10 elapsed time.  And we produced our receipts from the morning and got our $1 pastries!

Got home just as the sportsing event ended.  Excellent timing.