Monday, August 31, 2015

"This is a FLAT Perm!"

No, really, it isn't!

Susan O, being in pursuit of her K-Hound and Mondial (and it looks like they'll happen right about the same time), will ride with anybody.  I realized that, after the wedding, and people departing, and all that, that I did not have to be anywhere or do anything last Saturday, and wondered if she wanted to ride.  I suggested 100k, because it was going to be hot, but she really wanted to ride a 200k.  We settled on Banks-Elsie, which has 42 miles of guaranteed shade, and large amounts of highly probable shade.  Last I rode it was January 1, when it was 21 degrees at the start and finish, and may have gotten above freezing for a couple of hours mid-afternoon.

Learnings - the Thriftway in Banks doesn't open until 7am, but the gas station does have a restroom, and the bank has an ATM for a starting receipt.

Note: my camera lens is not foggy.  That is smoke.

I had gotten the stem raised on the Lemond, and was riding it, with not very much extra stuff.  No lights, so we darn well had to finish before dark, which I knew would not be a problem.  I had even less stuff than I had planned; my arm coolers seemed to have escaped from the front bag.  Oh well, I had sunscreen, not to worry.

It was surprisingly cool - 41 degrees - at the start, but as we were climbing, it didn't seem at all chilly.  When we got to the summit, Susan worried that I might get cold, and produced the bolero sleeve thing from her vest that she wasn't using.  It was just right.

Heading to Vernonia early morning

Stopped at the c-store in Vernonia; I purchased and ate an entire egg salad sandwich and a V-8, plus restocked my bottles.  Brief conversation with the clerk about the edibility of Southern Biscuits and Gravy Lays Chips.  We thought it was probably a fail.

Just say no.

The route is scenic and fairly benign until Birkenfeld (not yet open, but they had a show that night), and then the rollers get rather more frequent and abrupt.  We saw many cyclists out on Hwy 202; they were members of a triathlon club.  As we continued west, we could see the haze from the forest fires gathering in the hills, but I, at least, couldn't smell anything.

Smoke haze looking west

We arrived at the Elk Refuge, and found, much to our surprise, that the heated restrooms and water spigot were a heap of rubble.  There were portapotties, and another water spigot, but still...  Bids are out for reconstruction.

Our triathlon riders were pulled over by a bus, and being served lunch.

Headed back to Hwy 103, and south to Elsie.  Susan hadn't done this route before, and hadn't ridden on Hwy 103.  "Now, how many times, exactly, do we cross the Nehalem River?"  That is one to be solved with RideWithGPS.

Had to wait for a break in the endless traffic on Hwy 26 to cross over to Baker's General Store.  A pizza slice and more V8, plus more Gatorade and water for the bottles.  It was definitely starting to warm up.

Barn on Hwy 103

Back on Hwy 103 to Hwy 202, where we pulled over for more sunscreen and eyedrops.  The smoke haze was getting thicker.  The rollers back to Birkenfeld were getting to me; there was some headwind, and I was slowing down.  We stopped at The Birk for some soda, and, in my case, a handful of salt, washed down by the soda.  Susan: "this is really flat".  Me: "to YOU, maybe!" (44.8 mi, 2100 vf, Birkenfeld to Elsie and back).

In any case, the salt, sugar, and calories perked me back up, and we turned such that there was more of a crosswind/tailwind.  Back to Vernonia.  By now, every single bicycle contact point was, um, uncomfortable.  It wasn't that I wasn't having fun, because I was, but I was kind of resigned to the overall discomfort.

Susan, Hwy 202

Another pause at the c-store, where I had more V-8 (salt!) a Red Bull, and ice cream.  From here, 10 relatively easy miles up, then downhill all the way to the end.

Final on-route fueling

Buxton trestle

The haze was making golden hour even more interesting.

Flying downhill, golden light

End of the world

Just under 12 hours, and an hour till sunset.

(saddle swapped out on the Lemond...)

All the pictures here.

Monday, August 24, 2015

JRA With The Niece

A is the oldest niece on my husband's side.  She (along with many other family members) made the trek west for our son's wedding.  What with preparations and all, I hadn't been on a bike, any bike, not even to ride to the library, since the first weekend in August.  She had asked if she could borrow a bike and ride around Portland.  I had a perfectly nice old Gitane hanging out at the daughter's house, so it was arranged for her to use that.  (We are all about the same size).

Given that it was before the wedding, I couldn't take off and ride with her, but I did plot her out a totally Portland route (Springwater Trail, food carts, coffee shops, bike boulevards) on Ride With GPS, then used the Print Map with PDF feature, which produces an excellent "Triptik" style cue sheet  (remember the old paper ones?  My parents always got one for our cross-country trips!) with maps.  I also made her a standard cue sheet, but, not being from around here, I thought she might like context.  She had a great time!

Then, after the wedding, and, after most folks had gone home, she was wondering where else to ride.  I thought about it for a few minutes, and as it was going to be another overly hot day, offered up the Banks-Vernonia Trail.  We could ride out as far as she wanted, and then come back.  Found a rack trunk for her bike, and made Gatorade bottles for us both.  I picked her up at our transit station, and we headed off to Banks.  She was happy about the rack trunk; she wouldn't need to wear her backpack.

At the Banks trailhead

She thought it was beautiful.  I, in turn, learned about her teaching experiences, and what she's doing with her art.  Turns out she rides her bike to her school in Brooklyn, every day during the school year.

A on the trail

A on the trestle

Old bridge from the new bridge

We weren't in any hurry, but she did just fine.  At the summit, I double-checked - she was good to go, so we went all the way to Vernonia, and had a great lunch at the Black Bear.  Learning - you can order a half sandwich.

Gitane and Sweetpea in Vernonia

Lunch stop in Vernonia

We stopped on the return to get pictures of the red barn she liked on the outgoing leg, but, sadly, the cows eating up in the trees like giraffes had moved on.  Cute calf by the barn, though.

Red barn on Hwy 47

Calf and cows

The shade was excellent; we didn't notice the heat until we popped out just south of Pongratz Rd.

Post-ride ice cream at the Banks Trailhead Cafe.

Post-ride ice cream

All the pictures here