Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Wyeth hill, Mosier tunnels, up Rowena and back down into the Dalles. Motel Six. Dinner with beer. Beer with dinner? Every decision in a group of eight is by consencus and begins to wear on my easy-to-unravel patience. But, alas, these fall in the category of white person problems. All in all, the group I'm with is super-fun and considerate and ready for anything.
But, all's well that ends well. We scream by stonehenge, over the bridge to Biggs, quick water stop at McD's and into the headwind, taking turns pulling. Working hard for almost ten miles, it's finally time to turn south onto good old Old Moody Road. This road was my first ever gravel experience a couple of years ago. The first quarter mile is steep. Really steep. I still haven't managed to ride that stretch.
Teammate "Fool" catches up with me mid-Moody. We hang out and ride and chat and say hello to the cows in the road. Back to pavement. It almost feels anticlimactic knowing the ride's near its end. The valley is calm and the bucolic views peaceful and pretty. There's barely a car. So much so that I decide to let loose on the double-yellow. Line, that is.
Meeting up with everyone at the start-cafe is pleasant. There's a dude from California giving everyone cans of beer. People share their snacks. We start devising a plan for evening food and drink. We share stories of the ride as if it were last week or last month instead of just now. The evening is a blur of fun at the brew pub and The Dalles' dark streets and our hotel rooms. Face masks and toy cockroaches, zombie games, laughing at everything and nothing, our group feels cemented.
Monday, March 4, 2013
At the top, enjoying the sunshine from the pavilion where the Tweed Ride will be starting this year, folks took out their thermoses and cookies and started heating water for tea. I felt unprepared but put out my trail mix and hard candy to share anyway. Folks even broke into spontaneous poem recitals, each about three speeds.