Thursday, April 5, 2012

Braving The Brevet

Although last Saturday included a generous amount of suffering, somehow the fun won out. Unlike other cycling events or goals from the past, I've reserved the right to quit my quest for R12 status at any time. Instead I plan to take it month by month and only continue if it's more joy than pain.

It rained non-stop for the first couple of hours. We rode on a beautiful stretch of deserted road by the Molalla River for ten cold and soggy miles. Every bend revealed dramatic waterfalls, moss-covered cliffs and stunningly surreal ravine views.

Things started looking up on the way back along the river, which was mostly downhill. We crossed a final bridge and were back in "civilization" in no time. At the gas station control point, I sat down, took my shoes off, drank hot cocoa and put on my newly-purchased $1.25 gloves. I vow to carry two spare pairs of gloves on all future day-long rain rides.

A sudden headache. A lot of candy. A windy but scenic and dry climb up to Silver Falls. Then a descent with hail balls ringing my bell concluding at the South Falls Lodge. Oysters and chocolate by the fireplace. They practically had to kick us out of that little piece of heaven.

Finally, on the home stretch, I experienced some punching in my kidneys. Back spasms. It's scary when your normal fixes (ibuprofin and stretching) don't work. We continued even though I was ready to quit at mile 115. Twelve hours and forty minutes after starting, we checked in at the finish control - a three hour lag behind the front runners but an hour before the "lanterne rouge" or last rider. None of which matters, because it's not a race.

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