Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Permanent #1894 -- Irma Pince
Surprisingly, my 19th registered RUSA permanent is my first which comes close to be a "true" 200K that both starts and ends in Portland.
Also surprisingly, none of the previous eighteen routes took advantage of perhaps my single-favorite stretch of road in the greater Portland area -- Pumpkin Ridge to Smoke Ranch, as seen here from a ride report a while ago.
As you can see, the best parts of the ride are unpaved; on this route, about 20 total miles on either gravel or dirt. You can certainly navigate everything on a road bike with narrow tires, but you'll have a better time with some wider rubber between your legs.
It's also a damn hilly route, with a handful of climbs competing for the title of "best part of the ride". Going up a furlong (which I learned was an eighth-mile at bar trivia yesterday) of loose gravel at 12% on Pumpkin Ridge might be a good pick, or there's a similar stretch on the paved Mountain View Road which is particularly painful since it comes just two miles after a quick control stop in Scappoose.
After Canaan Rd spits you out on Highway 30 at the Deer Island mini-market, your last 45 miles of the day will all be dead-flat. A loop around the east backside of Scappoose gives you some lovely quiet miles instead of the usual bustle of 30 (and is needed to put the route over 200K), but then it's back on the highway and returning to SE Portland.