Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Barlow Trail 300k

takin' off
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
Prior to Michael Wolfe’s excellent and challenging 189-miler (last Saturday, Sep 26th), I had ridden five other 300k brevets. Three of them were the ’07, ’08, and ’09 versions of the Three Capes 300k brevet that heads out of Forest Grove to the Oregon coast and back every April. The other two were in August ’08 … Mr. Wolfe’s Detroit Lake 300k, and the SIR Tumwater-Mt. St. Helens-Tumwater 300k. Ironically, my fastest 300k was my very first (Three Capes in April ’07). I have never come within an hour of that 16 hr, 41 min time since then. In fact, most of my times have been in the 18 to 19 hour range. And the SIR brevet took me a Cyclos Escargot qualifying time of 19 hrs and 42 minutes.

But for the Barlow Trail brevet, I was feeling primed and ready to do relatively well. My lighter LeMond Buenos Aires was now set up for rando use, my generator front wheel now moved to that bike, a bright new Edelux light mounted to its front skewer, and my old small Caradice tailpack mounted behind the seat (rather than the rack and pannier set up I had been using on my Mountain Cycle Stumptown).

why we rando
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
The Stumptown (an aluminum ‘cross bike with 15,000+ miles) had been the weapon of choice for most of my randonneuring activities (and all the rides 300k and over). That bike, though, is now stripped (for the first time in two years), and ready for the ’09 cyclocross season.

I managed to get to Sandy, Oregon in plenty of time for a punctual 6:00 AM start, and had the novel experience of riding with or leapfrogging a number of other riders for the first 200k or so. Had a nice conversation with RB Buschman on quiet and scenic Faraday Lane (off of OR Hwy 224), and even rode a little with Kramer (who had been handicapped with an early flat) until he flew up NFD 5810 Road towards the Anvil Creek Crossing. I saw quite a bit of Mark Thomas, Vincent Muoneke, and Geoff Swarts (all of whom came down from Seattle) for the first 9-10 hours of the ride, although their style of riding involved longer breaks than what I took. However, once we hit relentlessly steep NFD 48 Road on our return over the Cascades, they were soon out of sight for the remainder of the brevet.

The descent towards Maupin on Oregon Hwy 216 is probably the longest stretch of fast road I have ever experienced.

deschutes river
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
My 1:30 PM arrival time there gave me the illusion of a possible PR for the 300k distance. That would soon fade, though, into the headwinds that paralleled the Deschutes River. And a couple of hours later on NFD 48 Road, the illusion totally vanished. I managed to keep up with RB for much of that ascent. But when daylight faded, so did my energy. I spotted RB 15 minutes during a wardrobe change ‘round dusk, and wouldn’t see him again until my arrival in Sandy.

My body ran outa fuel during that ascent up to Hwy 35 (pdj sandwiches and Ensure all used up), and my left leg cramped up at one point. So when I finally got to Government Camp, I sat down for a proper meal at the Huckleberry Inn (just as Scott Peterson and Kramer were departing). After a bowl of tomato-meat-pasta soup, some funky mocha, and a rather large doughnut, I started my descent towards Sandy. An hour and a half later, I arrived at the finish, where Philippe Andre was performing check-in duties. Scott and RB were still hanging around, so I was able to rehash some of the ride with them. I believe my official finish time was 17:50, which would still be my second best time for a 300k.

Thanks to Michael Wolfe for another excellent route. I was particularly happy that he had us traverse Anvil Creek, as the roads on either side of that ‘cross like obstacle were part of what made the ride memorable.

Photos here on Flickr

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there. Found your blog while searching for Joshua Bryant's blog. I met him out on the road the other day and wanted to read a bit about his adventures. I'm happy to have found your blog and am excited to read more about your riding experiences. Recently got interested in self-supported distance rides. Any chance you have Joshua's blog site information? Thanks and looking forward to catching up on your posts.
-James Wilson