Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lunch at Nick's

Randonneur riding requires riders to present a brevet card to baristas, waiters, corner store cashiers, and even gas station clerks.  Every recipient of my "abbreviated intro to brevet-card-signing" has expressed amazement, encouragement, congratulations, or at least a polite nod, while they quickly jot their initials and time on my card.  Many appear to feel like co-conspirators in what must sound like a crazy long distance bike race to them.

When I began writing write this post, I planned to detail the first-ever exception to this rule: hostility and negativity doled out by a certain male clerk at a certain market in a certain northern town near some certain plains. Instead, I'll tell you I'm proud to be banned for life from a place where using the water, even as a paying customer, is an offense worthy of calling the police.

Now, onto the good, which really ruled the day.  Four of us braved the cold that morning.  And when I say cold, I'm talking about negative 13 degrees celcius (that's 9 degrees farenheit for you Americans).  Riders ran the gamut from Super Randonneur to brand-spanking-new Rando to R12 recipient to R12 seeker.  Laura, Jeff, and Graham had never met before, so it was a big privilege to introduce them and witness what a strong and evenly-paced team we made. 
You can't go on a ride this brisk without discussing gear.  All four sported muffs, or neck-warmers, which were fluffy with frost by our first control.  Two sported lobster gloves, which are great for Spock-lovers.  I enjoyed three hats and taped helmet vents, along with a new down jacket.  We were all generally warm enough as long as we kept moving, although we all shared in frozen toe phenomena.

A spectacular sunrise show, featuring bright salmon-speckled clouds, lasted only a moment.  We saw a good amount of birds, big and small, and wondered more than once if these little critters suffer in the cold.  A few cows and several chickens later, we split into girls and boys. I helped my team miss the turn at Laughlin, adding five miles to our day.
Stag Hollow's gravel was thin and the hard-packed dirt felt a lot like pavement.  We were chased by dogs a couple of times, but they were small and cute.  No Molly Mayhems on today's route.  Rolling into McMinnville, we spied a couple bundled bicyclists with a baby in tow.  We spent a nice warm while enjoying a fancy lunch at Nick's Italian Cafe - after all, this permanent is named "Lunch at Nick's".

Warmed up, tummies full, we began the return route.  Spring Hill Road is an old favorite and found me reminiscing about past rides.  Who could forget the info control at Laughlin on a recent brevet?  Or that one time a missed turn at night on Ribbon Ridge cost us an extra eight miles.  Ducking into the shade of an idle tractor to escape the summer heat.  Those were the days. 

Finally rolling into Multnomah Village, we arranged our bikes in the lobby of the Lucky Lab and toasted our success with a post-ride beer.  It felt as though two weeks had passed since we set out.  Intense days like this are so dense with experiences, time compresses into a tiny little nugget you can tuck into your head to reminisce on some future ride

No comments:

Post a Comment