Thursday, March 1, 2012

Clatskanie - Cape Disappointment 200K


What a day! What a day, what a day. I've said this to others and myself over and over since Sunday. It reminds me of an expression my dear Grammy used. She'd say "what sort of day is today?" then continually determine the answer and comment on it through the day. She was excellent at living in the present moment. I bet she'd be quite the Randonneuse if she were around today.

Sunday was many sorts of days, all rolled into one. It was a jittery and nervous day. First, I awoke to snow falling. There were only two of us attempting this Permanent route and I felt in over my head. I was dreading what promised to be a gusty crossing on the long bridge to Astoria. And I was worried about my new bike fit. These concerns worked together to distract from stopping at the first control point of the day. Knowing you've probably blown it right out of the gate sure takes the pressure off!

It was a day of many weathers. We saw pretty white snow in the air, then on the ground as we climbed a gentle mountain pass called KM. Big clumpy slushy snow fell during our descent. Rain, of course. A little sleet. Miniature white hail balls that bounced off my arms and made me laugh. Pelting hail that stung my cheeks. A rainbow. Dark, forbidding clouds. Hopeful patches of pale blue sky. The sun temporarily winning its battle with the clouds and shining through.

It was a day of bridges. First a bridge in Clatskanie, then a bridge from the island in the Columbia to mainland Washington. A covered bridge with a checkpoint clue. More bridges than I could count before we reached the big scary one I dreaded. It was dark and wet as we started the four and a half mile crossing. The sun shone brightly on Astoria just across the bay. On the bridge, it snowed and hailed, but traffic and wind were light and we were over in no time.

It was a day of funny names and wordplay. Towns like Cathlamet, Skamokowa, and Clatskanie (pronounced klats-kah-neye). Cape Disappointment, which wasn't disappointing in the least. Ilwaco! There's a charming camp song about old Ilwaco town - something about delicious fish. We coined fun phrases like: Sisy Tish's Nancy flaps fend off freckles. Jackhammer Jessica's jumping jacks. Randy rando rider Ronny ran into rowdy Rhonda on the road.

It was a day of calories! Oatmeal, banana, coffee, more coffee, gel, more gel, pink rice crispy treats, PBJs on blueberry bread, unbelievably sour gum (to celebrate reaching Highway 101), dill pickle potato chips, a whole pack of necco wafers, mini-Lara bars, a mocha, hard boiled eggs with capers and toast, and finally, Atomic fireballs scored after climbing the last hill.

It was a day of checkpoints with friendly clerks. Part of the fun of randonneuring is enlisting the help of shop owners and cashiers to time stamp and initial your brevet card. In sunny Astoria, we chose to stop at the Blue Scorcher cafe because, well, my partner likes blue and he's a scorcher! The owner of this bikey cafe shyly interviewed us about our ride.

Mostly, it was a day of nature. One can hardly recall all the beautiful sights and sounds and smells. Riots of birds partying in trees is one of my favorites. Picking out the nuance of color in what might appear to be a colorless landscape at a glance. So many shades of purple. The best though, were the choirs of singing frogs we heard on those last several miles while racing sunset. I grew up near a frog pond and this was the perfect soundtrack to take me home.

1 comment:

  1. very nice description of your ride. Soon i will get it together to enter some Rondo's!

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