Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bike blog backlog, part 2 of 4

Now up: Portland-Ripplebrook-Portland 200K, another David Parsons special (#1302), this time with the man himself!

First, though, a cautionary note: like your high school science teachers tell you, units are important. Funny things can happen when the snow level is 500 feet above sea level, and you think you'll be safe on your ride that maxes out at 450 feet... only the peak elevation is actually 450 meters, so you get several miles of snow riding.


Anyway, things started more mildly in Portland -- mere rain, for the first twenty or so miles of the day which took us out of town on the Springwater Corridor towards Boring.

I made a damp smirk:

The rain turned to snow as we approached the Boring outskirts:

David snapped a picture of our bikes at the Shell station:

Then it was off towards Estacada. I munched on a turkey sandwich in the Thriftway parking lot while David grabbed some extra snacks, then we remounted and headed southeast out of town on 224.

There was about a ten-mile detour, though, onto Farraday road -- an access road for electric workers to get to the North Fork dam and, perhaps incidentally, an awesome bike path:

The road adds a few miles compared to staying on 224, but also cuts off several hundred feet of elevation, so I'd say it's a net gain. And you get some quality mileage right along the Clackamas River:

We eventually rejoined 224 and started our climb to the Ripplebrook ranger station, and the snow started once again. I tossed on my earwarmers and plugged forward:

I think we crossed the river five different times on the way south, and David briefly pulled ahead of me while I fumbled with a camera:

Unfortunately, my normally trusty little camera did not like being used in snowfall (who woulda thought?), so the last 70-ish miles of the day are documented by just a pair of snaps from David.

First, our turnaround at Ripplebrook, where there was probably 3" of fresh snow:

And finally, an action shot of my descent on the return trip:

I wound up being quite glad that I misread the weather and elevation -- with a little prior knowledge, I probably would have chosen to spend the day with my dog, couch, and beer.

Instead, it was an 11-hour, 36-minute 206km ride. I got quite damp and chilled, but avoided any lasting damage (the camera recovered with a treatment of immersion in a bag of rice, cleaning with a CO2 spray thing, and a firm whack on my kitchen counter). And now the next four months of rainy Portland climate won't seem so bad in comparison!

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