Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just under the wire

Reaching the goal of a 200k and a 100k once a month every month may not seem like a big challenge but when you have national boards to study for, a relationship to focus on and family obligations it sure makes it tough.  So when the Facebook post came out for a Saturday morning 100k with Ray and company I jumped on it!  For an added bonus my brother Eric wanted to join, so he could pop his randonneuring cherry finally!

The morning started out well, I met Eric at his house at 08:30 to prep and drive to the start point, North Plains.  For this ride I chose to bring my commuter single speed (SS), a 42x16, because the route appeared pretty flat/casual and it has been one of my goals to do as many of these rando rides on my SS.  When I showed up with my SS Eric decided to swap over from his road bike to his SS as well since its the same gearing.  With a quick change over of lights and saddle bags we were ready to roll.

The weather was fairly mild out with no sign of rain on the 11 mile drive to the McDonalds start point, that soon changed.  Arriving about 7 minutes before 10:00 Eric and I started to gear up, another set of riders, Lynne and Bill, also showed up while we were changing so the total ride group would now be 6.  After fiddle farting around we got over to the check-in with Ray picked up our Brevet cards and cue sheets and saddle up.  

Heading out from McDonalds the rain started, not a surprise but a bummer.  Riding through the fine town of North Plains was pretty quick, then over the freeway towards Forest Grove on some moderately busy roads.  With the rain coming down pretty hard it was nice to have fenders, but they were truly of little use because the wheel spray was still huge from everyone but Lynne and Ray, who had the exteno-fender thingies.  

Riding through Forest Grove, now covered in road dirt, we hooked a left on to some familiar territory Fern Hill Rd, which has a brand new bathroom at the wildlife preserve, yay for me!  Breaking from the pack Eric and I headed to the bathroom for some much needed relief and a short break.  Eric was getting pretty cold in the hands and feet from not riding fast enough to keep his HR up, I was a bit cold but a second set of gloves solved that.  After about 20 minutes at the Wildlife perserve we headed on to try and catch the other riders.  

Back on Fern Hill Rd we were able to kick the speed and cadence up for Eric and get him warm, which was good for both of us.  At the end of Fern Hill Rd we hooked a left on to Spring Hill Rd and were promptly passed by group of road bikers.  Riding the familiar route from a few weeks prior we headed on for miles gliding around corners and over hills until we reached our eventual right hand turn on to the highway.  A short-lived jont on the highway to merge off on to Abby road towards Lafayette, and again merging onto quieter roads which were actually dry.  Rolling into Lafayette we caught up with Ray about 1/4 mile from the turnaround, a small hispanic grocery store.  Cruising in to the parking lot RB was waiting by the bikes and Lynne and Bill were inside getting some much needed fuel for the trip home.

Stripping off the wet gear to head inside for some snacks, Eric and I had little illusion that there would be much that he could eat (Gluten/Dairy free), or that I would want to eat (Dairy free Gluten sensitive). Finding my go to food of choice, a banana, I checked out and got my receipt and headed back to the bikes, Eric uncovered some gummy bears in the candy section and came out and we feasted on our spoils.  Quickly realizing that it was cold but not raining anymore we decided to start on our way back, hoping that the slight headwind that we felt would turn into a massive tailwind for the ride home.  

Since this route is an out and back it was a little easier to ride back because I didn't have to check the cue sheet for any of the turns or directions, at least until we got back to Forest Grove.  As luck would also have it we did have a small tailwind that helped keep our pace above average for SS's on a flat road.  Eric and I had a leisurely ride back chatting about all the stuff that is happening and how things in life are going, you know the great parts about riding with people you know well.  

Arriving back in Forest grove was also a bit of a reminder that the quiet country roads were behind us.  With a quick snack stop, about 4 miles from the finish, to keep from bonking we rehashed the ride and how it is a great to get out of our comfort zone and ride to areas we may never get to.  Eating the last of the gummy bears we headed to North Plains, where I got turned around we were treated to a second loop of the older part of the town.  After the second tour I navigated us back to the McDonalds and we changed out of our wet shoes and clothes and got our final receipt to end the ride.  Lynne was kind enough to give a quick tutorial on proper brevet card etiquette which also gave time for the last riders to roll in.   

We completed the ride in 5h 21m with the total mileage 63.75, I'm sure if I'd had my GPS it would have shown the actual ride time much shorter but who really cares, we finished!  As you may have also noticed there are no pictures of this ride, two things happened with that, rain and poor planning.  I bought a new point and shoot camera the other day that is water/shock/dust proof and forgot it boo, and secondly my gloves were so wet that if and when I took them off I had to spend 10 minutes getting them back on, not worth it, sorry folks.  However Eric enjoyed his first rando ride  wants to do another ride, maybe try his luck on a 200k next time...we'll see about that though.  Until next time!


  1. Your a glutton for punishment Mr Wittinger!! Randonneuring on a SS in the rain... sounds fun :-)

    I prefere my hub, fools people into thinking I'm on a SS but I get 11 gears ;-)

    Shame it's still with Shimano being fixed!!

    Enjoy your cycling mate.


  2. Fender Extendo Thingies are here: http://shop.rainydaybiking.com/
    You can also buy them from RUSA, with the Randonneurs USA logo printed on.
    I think they are the very best ever. Wonderfully reflective, too.