Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why East

I arose at eight on Saturday, bathed til nine, and arrived in Troutdale at ten.  Almost the entire trip there is made up of bike paths, empty except for the odd roadie or dog walker.

I meet Scott and Luke and we continue east, along the Sandy River.  We head south into Bull Run.  A short stop at Waterworks and we're climbing again.

Then Shipley, and Marmot.  Those names are like a poem to me; a poem that recalls the start to so many adventures and triggers each rider to tell their eastbound tale.  Shipley's pavement is shitty, but that's ok.  It's quick to Marmot and my favorite meadows just west of Mount Hood.

"Wy'east!" I like to yell when I first see the mountain.  I slaughter the Indian fable to the Texan, but he doesn't seem to mind.  The mountain hides behind some trees that seem too small to hide a mountain.  Flirtatiously at first, then boldly, she shows herself to us.

A roadie in a green Belgium jersey zips by silently on vintage Mercx.  I would've been annoyed but some people are just naturally fast and there's nothing for it.

Brightwood is a bustling little two corners in the woods that features both a tavern and a store.  We learn there that the man in green, Eric, is training for his first one day Seattle To Portland.  Well, he climbed more hills Saturday than there are in six STPs.

Like unwinding a tensioned spring, we spend the afternoon undoing our morning miles.  Back to Marmot.  Down Shipley.  The ti bike feels like tailwinds all the time.  Even so, some of these hills begged me to walk them.  I refuse give in, except to stop twice and shove some candy in or change the song to a faster beat.

My riding partners, strong and stylish gents both, gave me the gift of wait; each time denying they had been there long.  This is a skill I long to practice, but rarely get the chance.  Everyone is just so blazingly fast.

We descend into the Sandy River Valley, along the new french toast route, over the Stark Street Bridge and back to the car at Otto Miller Park, which felt a lot like cheating.  Until our leader opened the trunk to reveal a cooler of finish line beer.

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