At 09:00 40+ cyclist bolted out of the parking lot and onto the route, Eric and I hung back a bit to let the masses move forward and give ourselves a little more space on the road. Spinning down to the first rural road we passed, and were passed, by several other riders who had the same idea as us, letting the masses trudge forward. Riding this route was a bit like riding every route that I have done so far, it included parts of every ride I have done over the one and a half years randonneuring and a few parts that were new to me. Our ride was going stellar until the curse of the Wittinger bladder kicked in, which is a common issue that I often don't write about, where either Eric or I, or both, have to take a bio break. Holding out for 13 miles was almost a record for both of us, but alas we had to find a cozy patch of blackberries to water. Moving on from the bio break we wandered toward Banks along the same roads that always take us to Banks. Rolling through Banks we turned left onto Cedar Canyon road which takes us out towards highway 6 and our first large hill of the day.
Before turning onto HWY 6 we changed our layers in anticipation of the downhill that will freeze us if we don't prepare ahead of time. This stop also allowed about 6 cyclists to pass us...When we turned onto the highway we were greeted with a fairly nice shoulder and the view of a long slog ahead, with many other cyclists already attacking the hill. On we go, with a single gear, and ultimately a mechanical advantage, we passed cyclist after cyclist greeting and encouraging each one along the way. After passing the 6 cyclists who passed us and then a few more we hit the descent which hit back with some rain, boo. Getting to the bottom of the hill we made our turn for the first info control, this little stop allowed everyone to catch up and for us to eat a little snack.
Riding on from the control we were treated to on and off again rain, a couple of narrow shoulders and a little traffic. Plodding along we caught up with Ray and I got to chat about my upcoming 200k that was one of his routes, getting the subtle details of that route and having a good chat it was time to catch back up with Eric and hit the next control. A easy turn onto a very rural road, which reminded me of much of the eastern United States I had ridden through in 2010, we came to the control. Reading ahead we saw there was one more info control until we came to the actual signature required control. Heading on we encountered the second large hill, which was much harder than the first with lots of twists and turns but zero traffic.
After a lovely descent through beautiful farmland we rode on to the last info control, a grocery in the middle of nowhere. Quickly moving on we rode the next few miles along quite country roads to our signature control, where we met up with most of the cyclists who had left ahead of us.
|Eric and the line o' bikes|
|Sore Donkey made an appearance!|
Riding down familiar territory we enjoyed a lovely tailwind that helped push us through the Forest Grove area and back out into the rural areas of Washington County. The country roads were soon coming to an end however, as we approached Glenco Road and eventually Evergreen Parkway for our straight shot back to the Road House. Where we were logged in for a 62(ish) mile ride at 4:44 minutes, not too shabby for single speed riders.
Overall the ride was great, the roads were fairly quiet and had excellent surfaces, the controls were easy to complete and the general attitude of the day was "enjoy the ride". We were not on a mission to finish as quickly as possible, or to pass as many people as we could, we simply were out to ride, enjoy the company and conversations with others and ourselves. Mission accomplished!