Sunday, January 31, 2010

Skyline - Vernonia 200k

The biggest question about riding the 200k Skyline-Vernonia permanent last January wasn’t the route, but rather whether to continue riding monthly 200k’s at all. But I can’t say the answer was ever seriously in doubt. Monthly 200k (or longer) rides have become a cornerstone of sorts of my training-for-PBP program. So rather than take a break (which in retrospect might have been a good idea), I went ahead and scheduled the 200k in mid-January that started and ended in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland. The cool thing about St. John’s is that it’s only 10 or so miles from my place, which meant 1) I could ride to the start, and 2) I could hang out at a friend’s place in that neighborhood after the ride.

waiting for ed
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
Ed Groth and Rob Anderson offered to ride along for the first third of the permanent (out to Forest Grove), and were already at the start (at the Starbucks in St. Johns) by the time I got there. Ed flatted on Hwy 30 (St. Helens Rd) shortly after the ride commenced. Of course, Rob & I didn’t discover this until waiting for him at the Burnside entrance to Washington Park. By then, Ed had decided to return home and get ready for his later-in-the-day commitments.

respite at maggie's
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
Rob rode a bit faster than me, but waited on Skyline and Old Cornelius Pass Rd. After that, I didn’t see him again till Forest Grove (at Maggie’s Buns). But he said he didn’t arrive there much sooner than me. Sure could’ve fooled me (if he had wanted to).

The ride from Forest Grove to Vernonia (via Timber) has become quite familiar. It’s territory shared with other rando routes. The nice thing was that the weather (and roads) dried up a bit by this time (after a rather misty/drizzly morning).

Vernonia has a new local brew pub inside the Blue House Mediterranean Café. I sampled their porter, which tasted okay and felt good at the time. Eventually, though, that small amount of beer probably contributed to a rather sluggish climb over the hills beyond Vernonia before the descent into Scapposse.

streetlamp lit
Originally uploaded by tangobiker
There’s some rural farmland between Scappoose and the Columbia River, and in that farmland there’s a house, the color of which needs to be observed and written down on the brevet card. The challenge was, after dark, the orange-ish streetlight in front of the home thoroughly disguised the actual color. It felt invasive to get close enough for my Edulux headlight to help identify the house’s real color. But I managed.

Ah … Highway 30 after dark by bicycle. Even though the shoulder is mostly generous, it feels a little too much like riding on a freeway. So I was happy to finally get to the St. John’s Bridge. After collecting a receipt from an ATM in St. John’s, (to document the end time), I headed over to friend Amy’s home for some delicious chili and beer. It was like a personal little 200k chili feed, two months earlier than the much larger one put on by the Seattle Randonneurs.

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