It was the best of times, it was the...oh wait...that's not mine. The Three Capes 300k had a some best of and lots of worst of moments. Conversing with Philippe Andre during the week leading up to the ride start made it more and more apparent to me that it was going to be a challenge just getting to the start. I rode the 200k after a rest week, but this time I wasn't so lucky. A fairly heavy week of training preceded this brevet.
We figured out that if the ride started at 6, we'd have to leave around 4:30 am. All I want to do is sleep in just once! I digress. I met Philippe at his house as he drove for the 200k. I expected to see a stream of cars with bikes on the roof driving up Burnside on account of the close of Hwy 26 but to no avail.
We arrived at the Grand Lodge in good time. The temperature seemed quite warm so it made it hard to judge what to bring/wear for the event. Everyone seemed to have a different and more epic weather report. I heard there was going to be 50 mph winds on the coast and Philippe had packed almost a complete change of clothes into his Carradice. I put my rain coat into a poor man's Carradice, a Fred Meyer shopping bag, bungy cord'd it to my rear rack and awaited the start.
Lots of riders at the start. The proverbial flag was dropped at around 6 am and like clockwork, we were chasing the lone figure of Sam Huffman. Sigh. This, of course, gets the hackles up on the other riders and away we go. Thank you to Marcello for directing us to the correct turn in the beginning. One of the recumbent riders kept echoing that he shouldn't have been at the front because he didn't know where he was going, but kept riding at the front anyway. So probably for the best that we had a good samaritan to show us the way.
Our little group on the way to Timber Rd contained Singlespeed John, Binglespeed Mike, Del, Philippe, Sam, myself and one or two others who I didn't know. Heading west on Hwy 6, Single and Bingle went away like greased lightening up to the summit of the Coast Range. The rest of us cruised up using Mike's rear light as a gauge to how far they were up the climb. As we got near to the summit Sam surged ahead and split the group evenly, 3 up the road and the 3 of us following.
The yawner descent from the summit was a good chance to relax the legs. Del, Phillipe, and myself rode pretty well together touching on the usual rando conversation topics. Around this time, I started seeing my shadow on the ground. I think this means there's 6 more weeks of winter or something, but it really just meant the sun was coming out. Felt good. This reminded me of the last 300k I rode a few years ago when it poured the first 4 hours and as soon as we got closer to Tillamook, the sun came out and all was well.
We found the lead trio on the side of the road as we approached Bayoceran Rd. Apparently Mike had a double flat. We didn't see surgin' Spurgeon until just before the control on Netarts. He left first, Del and Mike left next, I left but returned because I forgot my gloves, and apparently my mind for doing this ride.
I caught up with Del and Mike out on Netarts Bay Dr where we proceeded to chase John. I could tell Del was riding very strong today as he no problem recounting his trip to Davis while climbing the Summit Cape Lookout. He was in a larger gear then Mike or myself climbing out of the saddle. He got over the top first and went pretty darn fast on the descent. Mike and I finally caught up as we bore down on Pacific City. Saw John's coroplast fender as we stopped at the Shell for the control. We didn't see John again until Little Nestucca River Rd. The tail wind helped.
John and Del climbed their way out of sight for Mike and me. I had the dubious distinction of falling apart after about 115 miles or so. Bad patches stink and even worse are bad patches when you are about 25 miles away from civilization and food and drink. The climb to Sourgrass was super annoying because every little climb seemed like it should have been the summit and the descent was very lame considering how much work there was to get there. There really ought to be a tram or something to expedite the trip.
I had the familiar glazed look of a store bought donut bearing the same name as I auto piloted to Grande Ronde Rd. I knew the convenience store was coming up and I could replenish myself. Two jalapeno corn dogs, cookies, and donettes helped as did some Powerade.
Mike B. rolled up and we paired off to make the trudge along Yamhill River Rd towards Willimina. Just as Bridge St became Ballston Rd, Phillipe came zooming along...'Hey guys!!'. It was good to get some much needed energy infused from another rider. Every little bump or gust of wind made me want to sell my bikes and start my life over as a 'normal' person. Gut check time.
The tail winds brought us quickly through Ballston and the now defunct store control. One slight glitch was when we saw Broadmead as a right hand turn eventhough the cue sheet said Ballston became Broadmead. We cautiously moved forward and eventhough the next street sign still said Ballston, we kept our fingers crossed. Turning around would have meant a horrendous head wind. Thankfully, everything worked out.
We made our way through Amity, Dayton and so forth blah blah blah. Bad patch #2 came when the winds shifted and became a head cross wind on Kuehne Rd, SR-240 and the like. Mike and Phil waited for me a few times to help me get some shelter but we eventually parted ways as I again ran out of steam on Spring Hill Rd. I knew where I was and I didn't want to keep them from getting done faster.
It was touch and go, but the tail wind on Fern Hill was much appreciated. Got in with a half way decent time considering I wasn't really trying to accomplish anything. I see Del rode an 11 flat. Holy moly.
Had a lovely chocolate milk and dinner at the Lodge, got home around 9 pm, took a shower, checked my start time for the 20 mile time trial I rode on Sunday and went to bed.