Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grab Bag 200k, + Ahearne Update

The first weekend in February would be my first attempt at a 200k since the hernia repair surgery 9 ½ weeks earlier. It would also be Clara’s (the Ahearne's) first brevet.

I joined probably three dozen other cyclists in the pre-dawn hours of February 5th in Newberg. Some of them would ride 300k (on 3 different loops starting and ending at the local Travelodge). But most of us were content to ride “only” 200k.

The route started out in a northwest direction. I managed to stay up with some fairly fast company for about 10 miles (till around Patricia Green Cellars on North Valley Road), but then faded to a more customary pace the rest of the way to Forest Grove. I missed one turn in FG (didn’t recognize Main St at the

Originally uploaded by tangocyclist
appropriate time), and ended up riding a bonus mile or two. But it was still early enough for Maggie’s Buns not to be too busy. Considering all the food I packed (the Acorn Rando Bag has more capacity than what I’m used to), I bought only an Odwalla smoothie, mixing most of it with the orange juice/Emergen-C in one of my water bottles.

Rode much of the next section to Sherwood with Lonnie Wolff (from Utah, with family in Oregon), and listened to some of his PBP stories. At one point, my front wheel started to wobble, and I discovered the skewer had come loose. Lonnie forged ahead while I investigated a few new noises on my bike.

Originally uploaded by tangocyclist
Once in "downtown" Sherwood, I was happy to find a new Sesame Donuts. Evidently, they’ve expanded their family business from Raleigh Hills to Tigard and Sherwood. (They still do all their baking in Raleigh Hills.) I was particularly delighted when the guy behind the counter made an authentic Italian espresso macchiato. This made for a rather extended break in the ride, as there were also riders to talk with, and pictures to take.

The hilly rural roads between Sherwood and Newberg were new to me. And steep. The lower gears of the bike seemed to help, though, as I actually passed a couple riders heading up Kruger and Chapman Roads. After stopping for another photo session at the cemetery at the top, I headed back to Newberg and tried to make relatively quick work of the half-way contrôle.

Back out on the route, I rode quite a bit again with Lonnie Wolff. Turns out we have common interests in motorbikes as well as pedal-bikes. We chatted for most of the way to Gun Club Road (past Lafayette) until my fender started rattling so much that I got off the bike in order to inspect things. Couldn’t find anything, but boy did coarser pavement make things noisy. It was about this time that I also discovered the wire from the front generator hub had severed. Not good! This meant I would have to hustle for the rest of the route in order to get back to Newberg before dark.

This part of the ride in the countryside around McMinnville was new to me. I saw signs for quite a few unfamiliar wineries. [Note to self: Must return here with pinot-friend Barbara.]

greg & taylor
Originally uploaded by tangocyclist
There was another contrôle at Muddy Valley Road, where I was caught by late starter but speedy Greg Olson. We rode to Sheridan together, got our cards signed at the local Dairy Queen, then started back towards Newberg. Once on Bellevue-Hopewell Hwy, Greg offered to stay with me so I could see once it got dark. But by now it looked as though I would make it back by dusk. And if I didn’t, I could just wait for someone with lights. I bade Greg farewell, and he sped away on the remainder of his 300k ride.

Worked pretty hard through the debris-strewn shoulder of Highway 99, made it through Dundee, and then finally reached Newberg (still able to see…barely).

Marcello and Kathy had tasty lasagna, hot soup, and cold sodas waiting at the finish. Very nice indeed. But what I was really craving was … a beer. A nice craft brew. For the last half hour of so. Nonetheless, I partook of Kathy’s excellent food, then considered stopping at Max’s Fanno Creek Brewpub in Tigard on the way home. But by the time I passed through there my craving had abated, so I ended up driving the additional 10 minutes straight home.

I dropped off Clara with the mechanic the next day. When he finally had a chance to look at her, he commented “you pretty much shook loose all of the fender and rack fasteners, I’m now concerned about the type of blue loc-tite I’ve been using…you are riding the hell out of your bike!... you shook it up real good…Also, how many miles have you logged on your bike so far?”

The answer: 423.

A few more pictures from the ride are here on Flickr.