Wednesday, April 25, 2012

OR Rando Spring 300K


After crapping out on the 200K due to laziness, this was my first non-populaire brevet of 2012. I was a little leery of the course at first, especially its ~40 miles of Hwy 22, but the ride turned out to be one of my favorites of the last year or two of riding.

I headed to Lynne's house in Beaverton on Friday early evening -- she graciously offered to host me that night, then carpool down to Newberg in the morning. I was quite happy not to set a 2am alarm to leave my house at 2:30am to be in Newberg by 5:30am for the 6am start time... yea. Instead, slept all the way 'til 4:15 or so, then headed south in her vehicle.

The start was just before dawn, cloudy and mild. Our pack had the usual smattering of neons and reflective silver:

I stowed away my wool mittens and went with my old favorite gloves for high 40s conditions -- a pair of Seirus ski liners:

We strung out and moved along at a good pace past Champoeg Park towards Stayton -- and I mean a VERY good pace compared to my usually relaxed brevet numbers, doing 17-20mph for most flat stretches.

15 or 20 miles in, the sun was up but hidden behind a thick cloud and fog cover. I rode with Asta and Theo for a while (not quite visible, but those are star-emblazoned lime green tights of course):

To my surprise, I actually pulled ahead of these two for a while to join another pack -- this time with David, John, and Stasia.

Michael and Dieter were there, too, and we kept up our strong pace aiming for the first control in Lyons:

We pulled over briefly to re-examine a "long-cut" Lynne had planned which cut out several miles of highway riding in favor of back roads near Stayton. The diversion added two-ish miles, but we were happy to deal with that rather than face the high traffic and low visibility on the planned course.

I tested out the half-eaten banana holder pocket on my V-O bag:

The fog finally began to dissipate around mile 30, and the gloriously blue skies were a rather welcome sight (although after the spring/summer brevets in 2011, I was happy just to be dry).

After an expedient snack purchase in Lyons, we rolled onwards towards Mill City and then Detroit.

Out came the sunglasses, of course.

Highway 22 proved to be not nearly as bad as expected -- traffic seemed to be mostly tourists in cars and SUVs, not too many log trucks or 18-wheelers. The shoulder was wide and clean-ish; only drawback was its elevation, which separated me from our small group on the first climb.

Away they go, around a corner overlooking the North Santiam River:

Now solo, I took a 20-second break to check out the view from the smaller of two dams we would pass:

And, a little later on, the same idea from the larger dam:

I munched on the pizza stick I had purchased in Lyons then stashed away when our quick departure caught me off-guard. It wasn't very good (shocking!), but still much tastier than those god damn Clif bars that were stuffed into the bottom of my bag for emergency use only.

We turned off Highway 22 before going into "downtown" Detroit, taking NF-46 a.k.a. Breitenbush Road a.k.a. (eventually) Clackamas River Rd a.k.a. Highway 224, the same road that will eventually take you past the Ripplebrook ranger station and into Estacada.

Our turnaround point was at about 2100 feet elevation; about halfway up that last road, I started to see snow on the side of the road:

I made most of the climb still solo (ran into Ed as he patched a flat, but he was able to pull away from me again). There was some confusion about the turnaround point, though; so when I arrived at mile 11.8 on NF-46, there was a small rando pack waiting, discussing the signage (yep, I blurred out the sign in question).

The descent back towards Detroit was quick, warm, and glorious:

Ed and Michael showed some Pacific NW camaraderie:

Alternate view:

We stopped for a quick snack at the intersection of NF-46 and Hwy 22, and ran into a couple other folks heading the opposite direction. I grabbed my obligatory corn dog, refilled bottles, then left by myself, figuring the other stronger riders would surely catch me on the climb up towards the dam.

The wind had rotated 180 degrees since we had taken our Breitenbush expedition, meaning all 40 miles on Hwy 22 were done with a headwind. But, somehow, I kept a strong pace by myself, and was not caught before making it into Lyons for the second time. I hit the 200K point at about 8:54 (elapsed time, obviously) -- a full 80 minutes faster than any other recorded 200K effort in the last two-ish years.

Chicken strips and ice cream were in order at Lyons, and as I ate them I was joined by Ed and Michael and John. We grouped up for the next stretch, which was just ten miles before a Stayton control:

The last 35 miles were fairly slow, made a little bit slower by another flat on Ed's rig (convincing me to never buy Fatty Rumpkin tires). Thankfully, "slow" still meant 13-14mph or so along rolling farmland hills as I munched on my homemade oatmeal cookies accidentally mixed with buckwheat flower:

We had a rather beautiful view of a sunset which can only be approximated by an in-motion point-and-shoot camera:

Stopped to light ourselves up:

A good thing to see after 14 hours on the bike:

We rolled into the hotel at 8:24pm, giving us a finishing time of 14:24 -- my fastest-ever 300K (out of two attempt), Michael's slowest-ever 300K, and presumably something in-between for the others.

I marveled at David, who had managed to finish an hour ahead of us after we split up at around mile 105. Stasia was even faster than that, I believe, and in her longest-ever ride, too. Another half-dozen riders or so had finished in under 12 hours and had already left.

My fellow carless rando contingency arranged rides back towards Portland; I waited up for Lynne to finish, and made a trip to Abby's pizzeria for a big ol' Hawaiian pizza and a pitcher of Mirror Pond.

We drove back to her Beaverton home, and for some dumb reason I opted to pedal home rather than wait for the last MAX of the night at Sunset TC. The bad news is that this took me over the brief 11% climb on Pointer Road; the good news is that the last six or eight miles or so are all downhill along Hwy 26.

Oh, and I swerved around SE for a little bit so my odometer would hit an even double century:

Got home at 1:30, in bed by 2:00, then slept 'til noon rather than take on the De Ronde ride. Fucked up my ankle mildly, so I've ridden maybe six miles in the last four days, but rest and ice and stretching is enough to have it almost healed and ready for more silly adventures.

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