Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hangin’ with leisurely fast guys

‘Twas an interesting cycling weekend, where I did two rides that shared a common thread: riding with fast guys, who (on these rides) traded in their well-known speed on something more relaxed (and perhaps social).

Saturday 200k

Gallon House Bridge
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
The first was last Saturday, where about a dozen of us randonneur folks rode the “Prairies & Wetlands” 200k permanent. Now, I was a little rusty with this 200k business. I hadn’t done one since early December, when a number of us completed our R-12’s (12 consecutive monthly 200k [or longer] rides). But more than continuing to work on an R-whatever, I think it was that general rustiness that motivated my drive to Newberg in the wee small hours last Saturday. (I am not a morning person.)

This was the 3rd time in 16 months I rode “Prairies & Wetlands;” first time was in the Fall of ’07, next was two months ago (Nov ’08), and then again last weekend. Eventually, I intend to construct a few permanents of my own. But in the meantime, most of us ride the familiar ones put together by our RBA in Newberg.

The roads are mostly agriculturally rural … not too much traffic. And in this case, not too many hills, either. Started out chatting with David Rowe a bit, and then with Cecil. But within about 15 miles, they and a handful of others were out of sight.

But John (Kramer) and Vincent (both of whom are capable of getting to the next town really quickly) opted for a more relaxed pace. They set their hammers aside and basically hung out with Lynne and me for most of the 200k. Lynne saved the three of us from a wrong turn approaching the Gallon House Bridge, we made our stop in Mt. Angel brief, and we discussed our Newberg options before checking in at the Coffee Cottage.

espresso macchiato ...
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
If I’d realized how busy the Coffee Cottage is in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, I probably would have steered us to Chapter’s Bookstore (my usual place), or to the Thriftway. But Lynne was glad for the chance to warm her feet, and John and Vincent didn’t seem to mind the wait. So why should I? After all, the espresso macchiato was excellent (the barrista took great pride in it), as was the straight-ahead coffee I chased it with.

We rode through Dayton, Lafayette, Carlton (a brief stop), Yamhill, Gaston, before stopping in Forest Grove. I got beverages at a local convenience store while Lynne, Vincent, and John hung out at Pizza Schmizza. Then it was back to towards Newberg.

I think this was the first time I cycled Springhill Road in daylight. It was my favorite part of the journey … soft fading light with all those wetlands on the right. On this road, Vincent pulled ahead, and John hung back with Lynne. Vincent missed the turn onto Old Yamhill road (and took Hwy. 240 straight into Newberg), while Lynne, John and I reconvened at that easy-to-miss turn and navigated the labyrinth of streets back into Newberg.

I passed on the post-ride meeting at Burgerville, and instead headed back to Portland for a friend’s early evening milonga (tango dance). Click here for the rest of the photos from this ride.

Sunday fixed gear 40k

The next morning, there was a thin layer of fresh snow to greet Portland. Again, it was hard to get up, but I wanted to try my new 19-tooth cog on David Auker’s Sunday morning fixie ride.

But the snow must have been dicey in David’s neighborhood (he lives in the West Hills), as he wasn’t at River City Bicycles at the appointed time.

Peter Drake was, though. I kinda know him (better than he knows me) as a fast rider whose name often appears high up in OBRA’s race results. I’ve seen him race at the Alpenrose velodrome, and at PIR. In fact, he mentors some of the novice racers during the Monday Evening Races at PIR (during the Summer).

So there we were. A Cat 1 racer, riding with me, a “Cat 7 with a bit of endurance.”

track stands
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
We were able to reconstruct most of David’s route (down the Springwater Corrider, through Sellwood, past Milwaukie, and back) without David. Missed a few turns, but Peter got us back on track. Met up with Kathleen (another strong racer, although I don’t know if she’s active anymore) on the return portion.

Turns out Peter’s a very pleasant person to ride and chat with. Articulate. Knows a lot about Portland. Wrenches at Northwest Bicycles on 21st Ave. I know a few of his Lakeside/Fred Meyer teammates. As with David, a chatty ride for him is a real workout for me.

Have to admit, after 150 miles of cycling, and 7 hours of tango, it wasn’t the most relaxing of weekends. But I got some of the rust off my long distance legs. And I got to hang with some fast boys.

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