Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Beaverton - Bridge of the Gods - Beaverton

Three of us set out from Starbucks into the sprinkly morning.  Two of us were named Chris.  I had initially considered nicknames like "Cute Chris" and "Fast Chris" but, as it turns out, both of them were cute and fast.

We climbed up over the zoo from Beaverton, crossing the green speckled Shamrock Run route twice. There was an atmosphere of excitement in the air as we made our way past the pink cherry trees and across the Steel Bridge.

Routes through Portland are especially enjoyable for me, since I don't have to pay as close attention to cues. Up Wheeler and Williams, then going east on Going.  Past Rando Laura's house.  Past Break Bike Mike's project house.  Past the BikeTiresDirect warehouse. 

Riding northbound on the I-205 bridge is, well, it's better than riding on the freeway itself.  But it's loud and there seems to be a small sandstorm of debris flying up from the traffic on both sides.  Arriving at the other side, we rode on down to the bumpy, potholed Evergreen. 

We enjoyed some Burgerville goodness in Camas before heading east into a headwind on SR-14, our home for the next long while.  The gorge, of course, is gorgeous.  No matter how many times I ride along the Columbia Gorge, I find its beauty breathtaking.  Cape Horn is a particularly pretty spot.

Past the Bridge of the Gods and into Stevenson, which reminds me of a tour I've done out this way.  Several snacks and a few water refills later, we headed back westbound.  Unbelievably, we had a headwind again.  How is it possible to ride east into the wind and a few moments later ride west into the wind?

We rode across the Bridge of the Gods, which usually prompts me to sing my "fear song".  Don't know what a fear song is?  This is a song you sing to yourself whenever you're feeling especially fearful.  I've used mine dozens, no, hundreds of times.  And nothing bad happened during any of those times, so the song seems to gather power.

The new bike path from Cascade Locks to almost Ainsworth is such a gem.  Renovated and rebuilt in a style honoring the original architects of the historic highway (Sam Hill and Sam Lancaster), it's a real beauty.  This is where we started seeing a group that shall be known only as "The Assos Guys".  They were fast and advanced in age and had nice equipment and were wearing Assos jerseys and bibs and even shoe covers. We'd continue to leapfrog The Assos Guys all the way to the start of the Vista House climb.  Past all of the tremendously beautiful and overflowing waterfalls. 

More headwinds along Marine Drive set us into paceline mode.  Until I blew up and fell off the back.  My coping strategy in these circumstances is to take a deep breath, put my hands in the drops, put my head down and pedal.  The 205 bridge looked close, but it took a long time to get there.

All day the clouds and wet forecast loomed like dread in the distance, but so far there had just been intermittent sprinkles and several sun breaks.  Getting into Portland, we started noticing wet streets.  And, soon enough, we were getting more than sprinkled on.  A quick control at the 7-11 on Columbia and off into the twilighty wet.

I started having a conversation with myself in my head.  If I keep going straight, I could be home cuddling with my cat inside a half hour.  No, no, go, go, get that R12 (f) (2).  Broadway Bridge and wind and rain.  The zoo and an info control at a corner with no street signs.  We stood there in the dying light, watching our brevet cards smear as we looked for the answer to the clue.

Onward and upward, and I do mean upward, one last climb for the day.  On the other side of Washington Park lay the descent, which would have been much more enjoyable if it wasn't pouring and chilly.  Strange noises started to come out of each rider - noises I don't know how to spell.

Turning into the parking lot of the final control, a small cluster of friendly faces screamed and waved at us.  "YAY!  Good job!  Congratulations!" they cheered.  One of the Chris's family had come out to welcome us in.  I wish every finish control featured cheerleaders.

I enjoyed my first ever Philly Cheese Steak submarine sandwich and wonder what I've been doing wrong to not try one until now.  Speaking of nutrition, folks often ask, so I'll share my day's diet:
  • oatmeal, grapefruit, coffee (home)
  • coffee, banana (first control)
  • GU (road)
  • small chocolate mint milkshake, banana (Camas)
  • GU (road)
  • atomic fireball (road)
  • peanut butter & jelly sandwich, sunflower seeds, V8 (Stevenson)
  • atomic fireball (road)
  • chips, diet coke (Portland)
  • atomic fireball (road)
  • cheese steak sandwich (Beaverton)
  • electrolyte drink, zotz candies (train ride home)
  • 3 glasses of red wine (home)
Fascinating, right?  Actually, it's an interesting exercise to list all you eat on day-ride day, try it!  Apparently I like a lot of caffeine and sugar. 

Extra hugs and thanks to the Beaverton - Bridge of the Gods - Beaverton permanent route owner, Lynne, who not only created a really great ride but even rode it the week before to check that the cues were updated.  And showed up at the start to wish us well.  And loaned me a reflective sash since I grabbed the wrong (non-reflective) jacket.  Great job!

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