Thanks Bert for organizing a great ride.
This was my first 300K, and my longest one-day ride in all my years as a cyclist - 35 miles longer than my last record of 151. That may not seem much mathematically, but psychologically it was quite a challenge. Those 35 miles represented at least 2, and more likely 3, more hours in the saddle than I had ever spent. I was counting on my Brooksie, and my well-calloused butt, to pull me through. That, and maybe a tailwind if I could find one.
The morning started well - I never really got to sleep (note to self, next time I stay at the GL, I am bringing the industrial strength ear plugs) so getting up at 4:30 wasn't that hard. Wandered into the lobby at about 5:00AM to find some really hot water for tea, yay! At about 5:20, Keith from Salem pulled in, soaking wet. he had just ridden the 50 miles to the GL from home, and would ride that same 50 back after the 300K, and maybe find another 14 miles somewhere along the way to make it a triple-triple … and people say I am obsessive about riding …
Riding out of Forest Grove in the dark was a lot of fun, as was retracing the route up to Timber (almost). At mile 18 I met up with the "fast" group on their way back down to HWY 6. A mile later, it was the "almost as fast" group coming down. That was the last I saw of ANY of those folks. Just before the Timber control a big dog barked at me. I gave him a friendly "Woof!" back, only to have a very angry (and possibly nuts) woman screech at me from the house beyond that if I barked at her dog again she was going to let him loose at us. Niiiiiice …
I never did find that tailwind, but I buddied up with my friend Andrew Black, who was trying out randonneuring for the first time. Me, personally, I would have started with a populaire, but hey, if anyone could do a 300K with no real "training," it's Andrew. Anyway, about 20 miles into the ride, Andrew mentions that the longest ride he'd done this season was less than 50 miles. It's a good thing that he commutes to work up to and over Skyline and back every day! So Andrew and I "poodled" along, as he put it, and concentrated on not burning out too soon. Lots of stops to fuel and hydrate, more stops to, um, get rid of the results of all that fueling and hydrating. Not as many stops to take pictures as on the Birkie, but some. Andrew got a couple of flat tires (or the same flat twice, as he put it) and decided to just put on the new tire he had brought with him (Bike Friday-sized tires take up very little space …). We made pretty good time through to Tillamook, but the coast climbs took a lot out of us. We were getting pretty tired and pretty hungry by the time we hit Grande Ronde, and decided that we should get someting to eat at the casino. Besides, it looked like the heaviest rain of the day was about to hit.
At the casino we couldn't find any bike racks. When I asked if they had any, it turned out the only ones they had were way at the far end by the loading docks. Apparently gamblers don't ride bikes. We ended up locking them together and leaning them against the wall in the foyer. I made sure security knew they were ours and wouldn't have them towed. The casino deli wasn't bad. Gardenburgers, cottage cheese and chocolate milk made me a happy girl. Andrew had fish and chips. That would not have been my first choice with over 60 miles left to go … Andrew took the time to patch his tube, and I changed into the spare shorts I had brought (never underestimate the healing power of fresh chamois after 120 miles). I had also brought extra socks, but never needed them. Never needed my rain pants, either, but did wear my rain jacket (the ubiquitous Showers Pass) most of the day - more for warmth than anything.
We were somewhere outside of Amity when the sun went down. We donned all our reflective gear and switched on the lights. I am still working out a good light set-up. The Bianchi really is not designed for touring and so I am doing a lot of jerry-rigging. I was using my DiNotte ultra-5 as a headlamp (and blinding everyone who looked at me), but next time I will attach it to the bike. Somehow. But as it was I had enough light that I could go about 20 mph and feel comfortable within my zone. And frankly, by then, I would have had to have a tailwind the strength of Hurricane Katrina to hit 20 mph.
Riding through Wine Country in the dark was a strange experience. All the roads I knew so well all looked, well, they looked wrong. I was sure that we had made more than one wrong turn and I kept making Andrew check his GPS. It turned out that we had only made ONE wrong turn :-). There wasn't a lot of traffic and what cars did pass us did so with room to spare (unlike the guy in the white pickup at the coast that deliberately strafed everyone and nearly hit Andrew while he was changing a flat). We finally pulled into the GL just after 11:00 PM, too late for the soaking pool but with plenty of time for beer and food.
Anyway, here are some photos.