Ken Bonner on a Snowy Three Capes


It was a 'character-building' experience over the weekend. From Olympia to Forest Grove was a drive in a steady downpour. No rain when I got up for the start, but the forecast was rain. One other rider in the parking lot at 5 am. Then the RBA showed up. Due to a snow forecast in the Coast Range the ride was postponed until next weekend. However, she offered the BC riders the option of trying to ride the route and if we made it, we would receive credit as an official brevet. The other BC riders decided to stay in their warm cozy beds. I, on the other hand was primed for a ride.

And it was quite a ride. Wet roads at 0 C. Black ice? Fortunately not, but I rode carefully just in case. We (me and my bike) had a little dog's leg up a paved forest road to about 800 ft., with a km. to go, I encountered snow on the road and falling on me. Fortunately, I made it to the turnaround, although it was impossible to see the information control's question which was what are the letters painted on the pavement? Fortunately, there was a road sign, so I noted that and gingerly descended the slippery switchback road.

Once back on the main highway, and heading for Tillamook, I had to cross the Coast Range. Susan France, the RBA thought it was 2000 feet, I thought it was 1200 feet, and it was actually 1500 slippery feet. Got up to 1000 feet with just light slush on the pavement, but the trees and ground were covered with fresh snow. Looking up ahead, it looked like fog, it is also now below freezing. Not much further and the world was dark in heavy snow! I had many thoughts of turning around, but I thought I'll keep going until I can't go any further, and then, maybe I could walk to the top. Made it, but then had to descend, once again very slowly and gingerly. This was very frustrating as I recall this being a great descent on dry roads.

Things brightened at Tillamook, the temp. rose to about 5C, had a tailwind and the rain stopped . but just briefly, as when I rode around the 3 Capes Loop, the rain/sleet poured down, the wind just about knocked me off the bike and the temp. dropped again. On a few of the beaches, when I had brief moments of not fighting to keep the bike on the road, the gigantic waves crashing onto the beaches were spectacular!

Headwind back over the range, no snow at the south end of the ride. Then, a glorious last 80k, with a strong tailwind, smooth pavement on mostly flat roads . and no rain (it started again just as I got to the finish!) Oh, there was a brief moment of excitement when at the last information control my control card got blown away in the wind!

All in all, a typical Eau de Hell Week brevet! Just to finish it off, the ferry from Port Angeles experienced strong winds this morning — made for an exciting ferry ride to Victoria!

Many thanks for setting up the route, it is truly a very scenic course.