Friday, December 14, 2012
Then, up to the top of Rocky Butte.
Then, on over to Mount Tabor, taking all available unimproved roadway detours.
We all split up after Tabor, except for me and Ed. We went to a diner on Hawthorne for a second breakfast of eggs and toast and coffee.
Monday, December 10, 2012
As usual, we started a bit later than planned. It was chilly but dry. We kept a comfortable but decent pace all the way to the first control at North Plains Market. Owner / operator Kim is all business when signing brevet cards. She's probably seen a million of 'em.
Heading south, we enjoyed even more dry skies. Riding on Fern Hill reminded me of the detour we had to take around this flooded section on a different day. Riding on Mineral Springs and Gun Club Road reminded me of last summer's winery ride. And then there's Spring Hill, which reminds me of trespass touring and of beer in Gaston, even though we didn't go there.
We didn't eat lunch at Nick's but at an inexpensive cafe instead. I had a craving for squash soup and was blown away when I learned the special at the cafe was squash soup. With braised fennel! And kale! Fried chickpeas on the side completed a scrumptious lunch.
We rode together for a nice little while. Then the rain started. Just a little drizzle, but enough to require a raincoat. Daylight started fading and rain continued. This is the part of the day where I start to feel strong. Riding my own pace, instead of "chase pace", makes me faster in the long run.
Back at Kim's market in North Plains, I was glad to have a second hat and spare gloves to change into. I've learned just what spare gear to carry for comfort in changing conditions. I drank a milk and ate some nuts before filling my bottle with hot water and tossing a tea bag in. Another thing I've learned from these long rides is just what my body needs nutrition-wise.
Dark now, regrouped with Alan and on our way back through the suburbs, I was grateful for Alan's familiarity with the territory as it meant way fewer stops to mess with cue sheets. Riding at night is an acquired taste and I enjoy it now.
Ten more miles to go and I feel invincible. I start thinking about three hundred Ks and hope the future holds some. Pedaling, I peek down at my shadow, and pedal faster. Soon, we're turning off. We're in front of a corner store.
Walking inside, just like countless controls done before, I get my brevet card signed. But this time is different. I imagine crowds cheering, confetti flying. I'm almost tearful as I look at my soggy little card. I've done it. I've earned my R12. "R What?!" I'd boast later that evening, all dressed up and enjoying treats at a holiday party. "R12, that's what!"
To earn one's R12, a Randonneur, or in my case, Randonneuse, must ride a 200K permanent every month for twelve consecutive months.
Friday, December 7, 2012
I planned to pass tandem dude at the next light and pulled up next to him. Lo and behold, it was Cosmo! The same Cosmo I was going to meet at the beer fest. We rode together to Yamhill, locked our bikes up dueling-basket style, and started a text war to find the Texan.
Last year I was cold and hungry so this year I consumed a large lunch and carried a bag full of extra layers. Once inside, I instantly regretted bringing a messenger bag as pretty much every person there knocked into it at least once.
After we enjoyed a few tastes of ridiculously potent but delicious ales, the crowd started to thin. We even took a seat for a short while, running into another Sisyphean Hill Rider and reminiscing summer cycling.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
So, I u-turned, rode back down the hill to Hawthorne and bombed down to the food carts at 12th. Some folk were meeting there for an impromptu Werewolf Hustle and I couldn't resist.
Five of us rode off together into the cold fog. The leader, a girl I know only from facebook, and who told me she is no longer on facebook. Another dude, wearing a werewolf hood. Another guy, on a big fat-tired bike. And a pretty young girl with long blonde hair who just tripped out of the pages of Cute Co-Ed magazine.
Heading south on the Springwater trail, the clear sky showed us its full moon. I avoid this stretch of bike path in the dark, so it was a treat to ride it in the safety of the pack. We rode and raced and howled and coasted.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
But, still, almost a dozen hearty riders, ready for fun, drizzled into my kitchen that sunny Sunday morning. I served bowls of oatmeal, topped with bananas or cranberry sauce, peanuts or toasted sesame seeds, dried plums or dried pears.
We headed east, over the river. We turned north and found the swath of land known as "the bowl". There, next to the Crown Point Highway, which all Portland roadies have ridden a zillion times, is a cornucopia of country roads with fine pavement, barely any cars and great views in all directions.
Meandering back on San Rafael Street, we discovered a jagged, but enjoyable, alternative to riding on busy Halsey. Three of us made it to the finale Pho stop. We chuckled at the neighboring Cannabis club and continued west to town.
The next Bowl Ride will be held in 2013. Detailed cue sheets are provided, at no charge. The weather probably won't live up to the grim forecast we've come to expect. Many types of bikes and bicyclists and paces will be represented. How will you secure an invitation?