Friday, November 14, 2008

Eleven down … one to go

poster gals ...
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
Even though I ride most brevets alone (‘cause of my speed, or lack thereof), I am not totally by myself. There are people tracking the riders’ progress. There are people to call if I need to bail.

Less so on a permanent. I have only done one 200k permanent totally on my own. That was last February … from Clatskanie to Cape Disappointment and Astoria and back. Despite one mishap on the Westport Ferry near the beginning, and a scary return on Hwy. 30 after dark, the ride went okay.

I was prepared to do another solo permanent in November, as it didn’t look like my schedule was gonna coincide with Cecil’s and Lynne’s. But when they mentioned the Prairies & Wetlands 200k on November 11 (Veterans Day) as a possibility, I decided to jump on it, and take the day off work.

Mother Nature, however, put doubt into the plan. Weather forecasts predicted a particularly wet and ugly day. Unbeknownst to me, Cecil and Lynne conversed the night before about alternative plans. But since I didn’t hear from them, I showed up in Newberg well before the scheduled 6:00 AM departure time. As did they.

The weather turned out to be manageable, even though it slowed us down quite a bit. Last year (September ’07), I completed this same permanent in 10 hours and 30 minutes. This time, we were well over 12 hours.

The first info control was at the Gallon Bridge, followed shortly by the first timed control in Mt. Angel. The headwinds were stiff enough during these portions of the ride that we didn’t arrive till 10 minutes before cutoff. I didn’t bother to take any pictures until we verified our time at an ATM.

We got some tailwind relief on our return to Newberg, although our rest stop there was quite lengthy. While Lynne and Cecil went to the Thriftway, I checked in at Chapters Bookstore for a dry cappuccino made with Stumptown coffee. The 3 of us reconvened at the parking lot where we had left our cars, and then departed on the next leg.

Hwy. 99W from Dundee to Dayton is pretty abysmal. Lotsa traffic. Lotsa debris. Lotsa irregular pavement. I was amazed how thoroughly I blocked out this portion of the ride from my memory of last year’s adventure.

“Merkeley.” “Obama.” Left-over signs from last week’s election, seen on Gun Club Road (near Carlton). I guess street names have nothing to do with political persuasions or issues. Or perhaps nothing to do with anything at all.

Cecil rode in front most of the way to Forest Grove (actually for most of the ride), but got really hungry before finally arriving at Pizza Schmizza.

pizza in Forest Grove
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
Up until this point, the rain was fairly mild, even though my gloves were sopping wet. I put on a dry pair as we left Forest Grove, but they wouldn’t stay that way long. The return to Newberg was probably the rainiest part of the ride. It got dark ‘round Springhill Road, and the traffic on North Valley Road seemed particularly busy. Cecil had a little spill on a crease in the one-lane bridge that was reminiscent of my fall on the ramp to the Westport Ferry nine months earlier. Later on, Old Yamhill Road was pleasantly quiet. And navigating the rest of the return to Newberg benefited from Cecil’s and my previous ride of this route last year.

I guarded Cecil’s and Lynne’s bikes as they had their brevet cards signed at the Thriftway in Newberg. After a quick pit stop and getting my card signed as well, we headed back to our cars, loaded our bikes, and had some dinner (and changed into dry clothing) at the local Burgerville.

The three of us are now one permanent away from an R12. Sounds like we’ll do the Three Prairies 200k on either December 6 or 13. Anyone care to join us?

a few more pictures
Lynne's account
Cecil's account


Cecil Anne said...

Aw, we would have called you had we decided to bail, honest . . .

beth h said...

I really, really wish I could join you on the 6th, but my legs don't have 200km in them just yet. Let's check in next spring. I'm working on it. And congrats! You rock!