Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oregon Randonneur Spring Populaire

The sight of so many brightly clad Randonneurs Saturday morning reminded me of my first ever populaire, back during the fall of 2011.  Now, these many months later, I've graduated to become a Randonneur myself, proudly holding an R12 (f) status.

What is the (f) for, you ask?  Well, I'll tell you.  It's to indicate that I'm a female.  Because it's a big accomplishment to ride a 200K every month for twelve consecutive months, but apparently it's extra special if you have boobs.  Sarcasm aside, the men listed for the award do not have an (m) after their name and I am not a big fan or even a small fan of gender splits.  I plan to write a letter to the RUSA group and we'll see what happens if anything!

Meanwhile, back to the ride.  The weather smurfs promised rain all day, so I opted out of my cute outfit and cute bike and instead went with the trusty wool base layer I've worn all winter, pink Goretex jacket and the SOMA with its nice buddy flappy fenders.  As usual, the weather didn't act specifically as predicted, but I was glad to have the gear anyway as sprinkles were plentiful.

We went through North Plains, but didn't stop at the market, which is too bad because I always look forward to owner Kim's no-nonsense checkpoint signing style.  But there were three info controls on our cue sheets.  Info controls are the rando equivalent to alley cat checkpoints.  Often you can learn some little historical nugget or just enjoy the fun of counting zip ties on signs.  One of the info controls asked us for the number of the small bridge we just crossed.  I never even knew they numbered those little country bridges!

At one point, I believe I spotted the self-appointed president for life of the Society of Three Speeds.  He was not riding a three speed, but I spied that same teacup hanging form his saddle bag.  He peeled off in Banks for a pastry stop and I didn't see him again.  There were lots of other familiar faces, friends, Randos whose blogs I follow, Randos whose wheels I aspire to follow, and even a customer from my work who was telling me how much he was enjoying the tires he bought.

Whether I was over-trained or under-rested or just plain having a slow as mud day, I'm not sure.  I was able to keep up with many folks, but it was a battle.  The longest stop I took was a ten minute snack break at the Gaston store.  I longed to duck into the One Horse and drink beer.  Instead the overwhelmed but polite store clerk signed my card and I sat on the curb to enjoy my snacks.
From there, it was only twenty miles back to the finish.  Unfortunately, the start / finish was a restaurant chain I've lately developed a slight distaste for, so we checked in and took off.  Trader Joe's snacks and drinks on the couch made for a nice relaxing recovery from this 100K west side jaunt.

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