Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Snoos[z]eville and other excitement

Saturday was the annual "Snoozeville Populaire" held by the Oregon Randonneurs. This 100km ride is ridiculously flat and a great way to get off of your arse in early March.

Complaint: the maps and the organizer call it "Snoozeville", but all of the maps and locals know the north end of Dairy Creek Road as "Snooseville." Ah well, the life of an OCD who can spell...

At 6:45 sharp Nate, Lynne and Cecil "hand you your helmet cheerfully" Anne showed up at my door. Lynne suggested that we follow my commute route for the first two miles. I smugly agreed, since I have a real cake-walk of a commute, with no busy streets and about 1 km through a park.

Not to say that the rest of the ride to Cornelius Pass Roadhouse was a problem. That early on a Saturday morning, the rid was pretty quiet and uneventful. The weather was well, nice. I know, 50's may not sound warm to you, but if you have some reasonable clothing and you're working on a bicycle, it's quite pleasant.

At 8:02 sharp, the group headed west towards Hillsboro. Cecil Anne took off like a woman on a mission, so I held with her for about half an hour. At that point, I asked her what her goldurn hurry was, and it turns out she was on a mission: she had her mother in town. Since I hadn't seen Lynne for a while, I dropped back for a couple of minutes until Lynne showed up, and then held with her for the rest of the ride.

The climb to Fern Flat Road (the first control) was just enough to keep me warm, since the sun wasn't out, and there's always a disproportionate temperature drop as you climb the oh, 600 feet or so to the top. (Note to Jason: nice place to visit on a hot summer day?) At Meacham's Corner we saw a sign reading in part, "lost steer". Uhhh...perhaps I left it with my cell phone?

As we grabbed food and water at the eastern paved end of Fern Flat, Lynne deliberated removing her jacket. As it turns out, that was a wise thing. One forgets just how much downhill there is coming back south. The entire 7.5 mile length of Dairy Creek is one very subtle incline. However, as we reached the flats towards the bottom, the sun came out, and I started feeling a bit warm.

On the far side of Frogger Junction (so named, because you feel like the amphibian in the computer game of the same name, as you have to cross US-26 without any sort of protection), we came across Susan France in a "secret control". I took the alternative to lose one of my layers, as the sun was profoundly shining at this point.

The ride through Banks was uneventful (no caltrops, tacks, or rednecks hurling beverages at us). Got the impression I don't trust that place? SR-47 is just simply vile for its entire length, and I don't care even to ride on it for a mile or two like we did.

Cedar Canyon is always a treat. Sure, it's got some hills, but the scenery is spectacular. (Oh, in all fairness, I should note that we had at least four very polite cars pass us there.) Lynne allowed as the western end of that road is actually known as "Killin Wetlands". Man, were the frogs busy. I read in the paper that it's a bumper crop of frogs this year (if frogs are part of your diet).

As we stopped at the information control at Jack Road, Andrew, Lance, and Amy came upon us and rode with us for a while. Andrew is annoyingly strong, even on his new recumbent, as we were climbing Stafford Road. Of course, when we hit the rollers after that, he was long gone.

As we passed through Kansas City, the Portland Velo "hammer and nails" crew passed us by. Hey...who was that wearing the iPod headphones. Humph. Lynne seemed to start hurting about now. I acted tough, but--truth be told--I was starting to feel the effects of not having done any long rides since the fall.

Maggie's Buns was a madhouse, with it seems like about the half the cyclists in Washington County stopping by. As the "open control", we all felt obliged to purchase something. Lynne and I split a cinnamon roll (still the size of one's head) and talked to Lance and Amy.

From this point we were kind of on automatic, because the return route from Forest Grove was pretty much the one Portland Velo follows. Except that, instead of turning off to go to Longbottom's Coffee Shop, you travel about another km to get back to McMenamin's.

We had a nice lunch with friends, a short visit by a yarn shop Lynne wanted to visit, and then home. Approximately 80 miles, averaged just under 14 mph, which is pretty respectable seeing as I was riding a bike about the size and weight of a Chevy Suburban.

Sunday morning came way too early, seeing as it was the daylight savings time change. I rolled up to Lynne and Fitz's house around 7:30 and then we carpooled over to Madison's Grill, where we spent a full day in a first aid class.

Seeing as the last time I was first-aid certified I was dodging pterodactyls, I felt it was time to refresh my background. This was an amazingly valuable class. Yes, chances are I won't ever need this information, or I'll only use it once or twice. Still, it's one of those things that everyone should know, up their with naming the major muscle groups and the basics of nutrition.

It was also a fun class with plenty of humor. We got to wrap Carlo DeLumpa up like a burrito, and Mike Mulligan gave us the straight story of his accident at the Portland Velo barbecue and ride last summer: on a downhill before one of those annoying and gratuitous hard left turns you get out here, his front wheel locked up. He let go of the brake, and then he didn't have enough remaining time/space to finish braking. He had an instant choice of going down on the pavement or in the field in front of him. Grass sounded like a better bet; the three foot ditch between him and the grass was the surprise. He went over the handlebars and landed on his head/back.

Lying there, he immediately surmised that a) he could move his fingers and toes, and b) his neck hurt like hell. For those of you who don't know the rest of the story, he had a broken neck and a broken back. He's completely ambulatory, doing lots of physical therapy, and expects a full recovery. Note that Mike Mulligan works with the company that gave our class; how's that for delightful irony!

Sunday night I was exhausted, yet again, and the week has been largely comprised of an IV drip of coffee at my side as I attempt to deal with the time change.

No comments: