As I write this on Sunday, with the sun streaming in the windows, I'm reminded of how much difference one day can make. It was Saturday not today, unfortunately, that several of us took to the roads to pre-ride the newly updated 300k. The weather wasn't really bad, particularly if you like monsoon rains and wind.
Following are comments, wisdoms and sometimes useful information about next Saturday's ride from those of us who rode it yesterday.
Grand Lodge to Tillamook
Take a good look at the cue sheet. Unlike the recent 200K, we take a very nice ride out Stringtown Road on the way out of Forest Grove. Bear left on Pacific Ave about 2 miles into the ride. Don't stay on Gales Creek.
The route follows the same route as last year with a new addition. Those who did last weeks 200K will re-enjoy the addition of an out and back ride to Timber. Climbers will be disappointed that the turnaround point is just at the base of the climb up to Timber (but not to worry, there are other opportunities to gain and lose altitude).
The road surfaces on this leg of the ride are generally smooth. The Wilson River Hwy (SR-6) has mostly wide shoulders that are relatively clean of debris but with fast, heavy traffic. If the weather is nice, expect lots of trucks towing recreation equipment. The out and back in the Timber direction is quiet with good road surfaces.
This section also includes the biggest climb of the day topping out around 1500 ft. The main climb is about 5 miles long but gentle, reaching the summit near mile 35. The descent is also gentle and runs almost to Tillamook.
The Three Capes
On a good day, the scenery is spectacular along the coast. Yesterday, we experienced mostly good weather since the pelting rain had begun to subside a bit, but with some gusty winds. The road surfaces are improved from last year with several patches of new, smooth pavement. There are still some significant patches of rough, pot-holed, patched pavement and a small gravel segment near the summit of the Cape Mears climb.
After the long decent into Tillamook, it's time to enjoy some climbing. There are two significant climbs, each interesting in its own way. Careful on the descents: the aforementioned rough pavement comes without much warning as does the odd patch of gravel on the road. Wind gusts can also be a factor. At about mile 75, there is a descent to a T intersection as you near Netarts. There was a small gravel patch there yesterday.
Pacific City to Grande Ronde
After leaving the coast, enjoy a gentle, sheltered (from wind, rain or heat) climb up to Sourgrass Summit. At 672 ft, it is the last significant climb of the day. Enjoy the climb and then the smooth descent into Grande Ronde.
Traffic is light on the smooth surfaced Little Nestucca River Road but picks up a bit after turning onto SR-22. Careful of the quad-laden trucks on the way home from the coast.
Grande Ronde to Lafayette
Revel in the flats and with good luck you'll enjoy a very nice tailwind starting in this section and perhaps continuing for the rest of the ride.
A new routing avoids all but a few miles on SR-18. Instead you'll travel on the much quieter SR-18 Business and one of my new favorites, Ballston Road, among others as you wind your way over to Lafayette. Enjoy the quiet, wide open spaces. This section is almost all low traffic roads with smooth surfaces. SR-233 is rough in a few spots.
Lafayette to Grand Lodge
This is the homestretch and familiar territory to many riders. Low traffic and smooth surface make this last 25 miles a nice way to finish this awesome ride.
A Few Stats
My GPS was pretty close on the cue sheet mileage. Vertical gain was 8300 ft which seems a bit too much. But I had a few problems with the GPS so the climbing may be off.
If you're interested and have a high-speed connection, follow this link to Bikely and check out the 300 on Google Maps.
A few suggestions for a safe ride.
Here are a few choices. All are on route:
From the start to Tillamook:
Three Capes area:
Have a great ride!