It's taken me a few weeks to get the most recent ride report posted, its been a busy couple of weeks which kind of eased up last Saturday when I passed my first National Board exam for Acupuncture (only 2 more to go). The last 100k snuck up on me and I almost missed riding it, thanks to studying, a shorter month and just general business. I did however complete the ride a sort of repeat of what I did on the 200k earlier just much shorter and quicker.
I chose Ray's Banks-Vernonia 100k for several reasons: 1. I have ridden it before and would not need a cue sheet 2. Ray responded quickly and got me the info I needed even on short notice (thanks Ray!) 3. It should be a quick easy ride mostly on paved trail with little to no traffic on the roads I would be on. All three made for an awesome ride. There is something to be said about not having to use a cue sheet, it feels so much more like a spontaneous ride than an event you scheduled.
Starting at the McDonald's in North Plains at 07:27, I had a light misty drizzle that forced me to wear my rain gear to start, I head out through the old part of North Plains that I have become so familial with over the last 2 months. Heading through the back roads and over to my first info control at the church in this small village on Roy road (I can't remember the name of the village but its small, real small). From here it was a nice little plod to Banks and my favorite ATM at the credit union on the main street for my next control. Which I almost missed because I was slow to actually start from McDonald's by about 12 minutes for actual receipt time.
After getting my slip from the ATM I headed over to the Banks-Vernonia Trail, one of my favorite trails because of the low foot traffic and smooth surface in the middle of the woods. Once on the trail I had to stop and dress down a little bit as the layers were getting to be too much, and I didn't want to be complete soaked on the inside of my rain jacket, which is not uncommon if you have ever ridden with a "breathable" rain jacket. Layers removed, but rain gear still on due to the dreadful Oregon mist I headed deep into the woods. Speeding along the trail I only encountered one person heading to Vernonia, a jogger, who I'm pretty sure almost died when I said "on your left, good morning" oops sorry my bell is on my single speed. Racing along the trail trying to make good time I got to Lake Vernonia and the second info control. It was raining in full earnest now and I took a few minutes to let the storm pass while I ate some snacks.
Heading from Lake Vernonia I meandered into town and found a Subway to get a coffee and to warm up. After getting a coffee and a cookie (apparently coffee is free at this Subway so I bought a cookie to get a receipt) I mounted up and headed the same way back home. Which turned out to be a real thigh burner until the downhill in the last 8 or so miles of the trail. I was also lucky to no longer have rain/mist/drizzle yay! Instead I traded that in for a headwind boo! Which went to help explain the thigh burner part of the ride. Dropping back into Banks the winds changed and I all the sudden had a stonking tailwind yay!
Blasting through town on the winds of change I headed back out to the nice quite country roads and enjoyed the boost to help get me back to the start. Riding with a tailwind makes you feel like you are a superstar Lycra-clad Kit wearing racer boy, its impressive how fast you feel and go! I rode the last 8 miles back at a pace that I could have never kept 50+ miles into a ride, my average speed on that section was 19.5 mph (ish). I cruised into McDonald's feeling great and even went so far as to partake in a order of small french fries...they were delicious!
The ride was great, one that I will probably end up doing again, I suggest to all you non-rando folks who like to ride to take the short drive to Banks and get on the trail, they have parking at the trail head! I was also focused on getting this ride done quickly so I neglected to take any photos, I'll get some from my next adventure though!