Don't think I've been to the Oregon coast in the last 3-4 years, except by bicycle. Each time, it's been on a 300 kilometer bike ride from Forest Grove out to Tillamook and Pacific City, then inland to Grand Ronde, Sheridan, Amity and Lafayette, and then back North to Forest Grove. This ride happens every Spring, and is put on by the Oregon Randonneurs. It’s called the Three Capes 300k Brevet.
This year's version (held last Saturday, April 11) was hosted by cycling veterans Cecil-Anne and Lynne, and started promptly at 6:00 AM. I, however, was not prompt. I am definitely NOT an early morning person, and my day job (ironically) involves getting up every weekday before dawn. So by the time weekends roll around, I'm usually ready to ride again sometime ‘round the middle of Saturday afternoon.
On this particular Saturday, I managed to leave home at 5:30 in the morning, and got to Forest Grove 45 minutes later. By 6:30, I was off and rolling on what promised to be another solo rando ride.
On the out-and-back up Timber Road, there were still a dozen riders returning the other way. Many of them were more than 1/2 hour ahead at this point, so I wasn't gaining much ground on anyone. Had a nice short chat with Cecil at the 1st controle, then continued on Hwy 6 towards the coast.
It's interesting the things I remember from previous years’ versions of this ride, and the things I don’t. For instance, I hadn't memorized the topography (or grades). The summit on Hwy 6 came sooner than I expected. And the tough hills between Tillamook and Pacific City seemed less severe than I remembered (although I'll probably never ride them quickly, or on a fixie).
Upon arrival at the Tillamook Safeway, I noticed two bikes, and then their riders (Brad Reber and Ed Groth), who were doing lunch in front of the market. They resumed their ride shortly after I got checked in. We met up again after Netarts, and rode together for much of the way from there … up Little Nestucca River Road, over Summit Sourgrass, and then to Grand Ronde.
I bought some liquids in Grand Ronde and soon pushed on towards Sheridan and beyond while Ed and Brad elected to have a sit down meal from the market’s deli. Nineteen miles later (at the info control in Ballston), Brad passed me. He was quite determined to get to Forest Grove in time to ride to Hillsboro and catch the last Tri-met train to Portland.
Like last year, darkness fell somewhere around Amity. I ran into Brad one last time at one of the small-town convenience stores; he was surprised that Ed hadn’t caught up with me.
I actually felt pretty strong for the remainder of the ride … up Ribbon Ridge, North Valley, Spring Hill, and Fern Hill roads. My lights and reflective material must have worked well, as most of the passing cars gave me about 10 feet of space.
A little before midnight, as Cecil signed my card in Forest Grove, Lynne announced, “It must be Bill,” and promptly fell back to sleep. After a few snacks and refreshments, Cecil expressed some concern about two riders still out on the course … with no cell phones. She contemplated driving the course in reverse when the ride officially ended at 2:00 AM, but I saved her the trouble by driving out there well before then. As it turns out, it was unnecessary. Duane Wright (who I hadn’t seen during the whole ride) and Ed (both of them on fixies!) finished in time. However, it was too late for Ed to catch the Max back from Hillsboro to Portland, so I gave him and his bike a lift back to Portland.
Cape Mears, Cape Lookout, and Cape Kiwanda are the Three Capes featured in this annual bike ride. I didn’t take as many pictures of the coast as last year, because 1) the skies we more overcast, and 2) the visibility less. However, the pictures I did take this year are here on Flickr. (You’ll notice quite a few are of Brad and Ed.)