Saturday, February 4, 2012

A billion miles from nowhere

This time, a title taken from one of the best songs by the world's greatest musical duo, Japanther... because nobody writes songs about "fifteen miles from North Portland".

First, we had a steel bike party on Interstate Boulevard. In a pinch, I brought my old Stumpjumper... all forty-ish pounds of it. Ironically, I think my front wheel is the most carbon-y thing in this picture.

Go west! On a big green bridge.

I want a suburban home!

This ride sponsored by the spirit of my guardian pterodactyl.

Pterodactyls are way better than horses, but these guys by North Plains were pretty cool as well.

Lots going on here: my homemade velcro platform pedal straps, the cuff of my Nike Dri Fit golf capris (I mean, very expensive cycling-specific Rapha things), super-sweet 2.15" slick tires, and lots of hydration, et cetera.

Up Pumpkin Ridge we go!

One of the best bike riding signs you'll ever see.

Pumpkin Ridge gets more ridge-y.

A few miles later, we turned onto Smoke Ranch Road, which offered a spectacular view of Mount Hood (which I missed, so here's a generic trail photo). The terrain got a little more complicated compared to the firm dirt and occasional gravel of Pumpkin Ridge, but my compatriots on skinny tires got through just fine.

Swimming hole! It was in the mid-50s, ridiculously nice for early February in the west side PDX hills, but not quite go-for-a-dip weather. I'll check back in June.

Amy and Crossett. I had meant to do the ride on my GT, but ongoing tire problems brought out the Stumpjumper... so, extra thanks to these guys for waiting for me at the top of every hill. I could kinda-sorta keep up on flat parts, though.

Awesome road.

Stopped for a posed group shot, I situated my camera on a rock pile and pointed it towards the sun... oops.

Take two, this time pointed correctly. Amy suggested a shotgun-y pose on account of the big pile of shell casings/spent rounds/firearm leftovers. Crossett kinda played air guitar. I grinned stupidly.

Exiting Smoke Ranch Road. The gate was tagged with, "the end of the world is truly happening", or something similar.

Shady pic from Dixie Mountain Road, a relatively well-traveled NW gravel route.

Sweet shades!

Surprising amount of roadside snow, too.

Came back via Skyline, stopped by the trusty old convenience store with an outdoor water spigot on Cornelius Pass.

Never a fan of padded gloves for road riding, but I dug these out since I knew it was going to be warm and I had just one hand position on some crappy rubber grips. The hands thing actually worked out quite well, to my surprise and relief.

Back into St. John's as the sun begins to slip behind the hills we just descended.

And, to cap it all off, improvised indoor bike parking at Santa Cruz Taqueria for some burritos.

Thanks to Amy's Pagan magic Garmin computer, we got some ride data: 66 miles starting from her house, 5300 feet of climbing. Almost 80 for me considering the ride from Brooklyn to Rosa Parks. Very fun stuff, I think this old bike has a few long trips in its future... too bad there's no such thing as a dynamo Rev-X.

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