There's a riding posse called "Where The Pavement Ends". The group description reads like a poem:
Adventure Base Miles
Sometimes hammering but never opposed to the cafe stop
Situations where 28c just doesn't cut it
Racers training and training racers
Hardpack, singletrack, gravel, pavement
Exploring the back roads of Portland one at a time
The organizer emailed me saying this is not a Velodirt ride. I'm not sure what to make of that, but I caught his drift when he said they are a group of racers and it's a drop ride. So, waiting at the Stark Street Bridge to intercept them, I wasn't surprised at all to see a huge pack of cyclists hurtling through space at an unbelievable pace. It was like the Roadrunner had cloned himself.
Someone shouted my name and "HOP ON", which I attempted to do from a standstill. I chased a bit, then some nice person came back and offered me his wheel. Unfortunately, his wheel did not offer a fender and I was sporting a brand new jacket, so let's just say that's why I let him go.
For almost a mile, I could see them. A big shadow with a cloud of dust following it, getting smaller at each corner until I couldn't see them anymore. For some reason, I found this hilarious and was laughing as an unidentified friend coming the other way shouted at me "Maria! YOU GOT DROPPED!".
Rolling up to the Corbett store, I spied a small group that I suspected was a splinter of the fast group. But, no, they were their own group. I told them my code name was Hot Potato. One guy, Josh, asked if I'd be writing up today's ride in my blog. Sometimes I feel like there's nowhere to hide. I offered this group an opportunity to drop me as well, but they declined in order to fix a flat.
Onward and upward, I stopped for a photo and water at Women's Forum. A few of the fasties were hangin out fixing a flat at the Larch Mountain turn off and I thought, "ha! slow and steady wins the race" but they passed me again after Vista House and that was that.
A fwe miles later I could see two riders up high on Alex Barr, local legend gravelly grind. I rode up and up and up, eventually walked for a while, rode again and found myself at the top much later. I put my jacket on for the descent, but there were a few more curves to climb first.