Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nehalem River 200k Permanent

(Another delayed report)

For the 11th installment of my 2nd R-12, I chose to ride Marcello Napolitano’s Nehalem River 200k permanent (from Vernonia to Astoria and back). Initially, it was Ray Ogilve who scheduled this ride for the 14th of November, but he backed out due to a brush with the H1N1 virus.

That left David Kamp, Ken Mattina, and me. None of us got to the start in Vernonia early on that cold Saturday morning (except maybe Ken), so our 7:00 rollout time got delayed about a half hour. The temperature as we departed Vernonia was a few degrees below freezing.

The cue sheet for Marcello’s Nehalem River 200k is the shortest I’ve ever seen. It’s actually memorizable, as there are only a couple of turns, a couple of highways (numbers 47 and 202), and one mid-route contrôle (at Birkenfield, each way) for the entire 200 kilometers.

10 miles till astoria
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
I hadn’t met David before, but enjoyed chatting with him about his experience at PBP in 2007. Clearly a seasoned rider, he made much quicker work of the Birkenfield contrôle than me. (I couldn’t turn down real hot chocolate in a ceramic cup.) I would see David once more during the day, and that was a few miles outside of Astoria as we waved while passing in opposite directions.

Ken fell back a bit early, about half way to Birkenfield, so I would see him only once more during the ride as well. Like with David, it was again a few miles outside Astoria, only this time after my turnaround.

While the weather threatened to rain during much of the ride, it (for the most part) stayed dry. I did end up putting booties on at the first Birkenfield contrôle, but that was more for warmth than dryness.

helmeted colonel ...
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
I “did lunch” with Colonel Sanders at the KFC in Astoria (near where Astoria-Megler Bridge crosses the mouth of the Columbia River over to Washington), and then headed back over the Coastal Range. It’s 40 miles between Astoria and Birkenfield, but at times during the return it seemed longer.

The sun set while I snacked in Birkenfield, but my now-trusty Edelux lit up the last 20 miles to Vernonia just fine. And while my official time was 11 hours and 50 minutes, my on-the-bike time was barely under 10 hours. Guess I needed those sit down breaks in Birkenfield and Astoria.

Complements to Marcello for putting together this nifty 200k “permanent” (ride).

Photos at

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