There comes in a time in every cyclist's life where they have to choose one ride over another. What I'm getting at is that I missed the West Side Invite not because I'm a total loser, but because my body is overworked and under rested. Plus I've got way more skin in the R12 2 (f) game. If you know what that means, as I do, you have my pity.
East, east, east to Boring and the Shell Station in Boring. The clerk told us she was sixty years old and still hadn't learned to ride a bike. We saw some other cyclists there who told the cashier they'd be back in an hour or so after their loop. I envied them.
We rolled out, passing those riders, into the eastern view of Mount Hood, which never fails to astonish me with her beauty. I assume it's a her, anyway. Up and down and around the rollers past Barton Park and over along the Clackamas River, veering south to Canby, where we enjoyed a nice lunch.
We set our sights on Gaston and soon enough, I was slamming two big lemonades in line at the store. Then we walked next door to the One Horse to split a beer. There's nothing quite like the twilight experience of sitting in a dark cool bar on a bright hot day. It felt like sitting in the corner of a boxing ring. As soon as we saw the bottom of our shared glass, a bell rang and we were back in the ring.
Every stroke felt like punching the pedals. I watched the sweat drip onto my top tube. I pedaled and coasted and did math to figure out when I could stop pedaling. Mark stayed with me all the way to the Rock Creek Tavern, where we split another beer.
Don't worry, dear reader, there's no chance of getting intoxicated on a day like this. One's body drinks in whatever fluids it can find and sends them packing back out as sweat right away. Mark peeled off to go host a party at his nearby house. "Missing a control is just like me", he quipped, "''cause I'm out of control".
Thompson at last! The top of the hill. I pulled into the triangle to breathe and sweat and another cyclist coming up Thompson did the same. We nodded to each other and took off before anyone could see us.
Descending at full speed down Thompson, and then Cornell, was sheer bliss. The city came into view and I thought about all the places I'd ridden all day. The route takes riders on a circuitous trip following the Urban Growth Boundary of Portland, only missing the northern border on the south side of the Columbia River. A beautiful route, I'd recommend to everyone.