Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Snoozeville Populaire

Okay, first things first, I KNOW that the real name is Snooseville. But this ride has been called Snoozeville since its inception, and you know how folks can be about change. . .

Anyhoo, today was the Oregon Randonneurs' first organized ride of the season. It was a "Populaire," which, according to the RUSA "glossary" is "a shorter randonneuring event usually run under the regulations and pace of a standard brevet, but being less than 200 kilometers in length. . . often 100 or 150 kilometers in length and frequently used by experienced randonneurs for training and/or socializing, as well as introducing new riders to the ways of randonneuring." Last year, we had 39 riders. This year I am guessing there were at least twice that many. I am chalking part of it up to the promising weather forecast, but I have also noted an increased interest in randonneuring on the part of many riders who are tiring of doing the same old supported rides every year.

The ride was to start at 8:00 AM, from the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse in Hillsboro, about 20 miles from home. As usual, I rode to the start, which meant leaving Ladd's at 5:30. My friend Nat decided to join me (I can always count on Nat to go the extra miles) and he showed up at my house right on time. Of course, I was still faffing around, trying to get my new computer to cooperate (more on that later), but in short order was ready to go. We were meeting Lynne (another person I can count on to go the extra miles) at the top of her hill at 6:30, and from there were going to pick up our friend Jason at his house at 6:45. Assuming all went as planned, we would get to the start in plenty of time to register, powder our noses, and (being "experienced randonneurs") socialize . . .

Climbing up through Washington Park past the Zoo to get to the Hwy 26 bike path, I began to feel seriously overdressed. It had rained all night, and I had put on rain gear just in case it started up again. I also had on a long sleeve wool jersey, leg warmers. and winter gloves. The cloud cover had kept the temperatures up, however, and so I got a little warm (especially on the 15% grade by the Rose Garden)(did I mention I have a new bike computer?). Coming DOWN from the Zoo, I appreciated all that gear, however . . .

When we got to the hill by Lynne's house, she wasn't yet there, so we headed down to meet her. With her new headlight, it wasn't difficult to see her coming up the hill toward us. Then it was off to Jason's, where he was ready and waiting. He led us to the path he takes on his daily commute - a really great route with no traffic (part of it is on a park path, the rest on low traffic streets).

We got to the start by 7:20, and there were already dozens of riders there. A lot of familiar faces, and a few that I had never seen before. A whole bunch of skinny guys in matching spandex race kit were there. They looked pretty funny mixed in with the generally wool-clad randos. Of course, once the ride started, they took off like bats out of hell and we never saw them again. I wonder if they'll show up for the longer rides . . .

Lynne and I had decided that if people were going to tease us about the fact that we were slowly morphing into each other (there had been mutterings of "Bobbsey Twins"), we should give them something to really work with. So, from the top of our "Don't Hit Me Orange"-colored helmeted heads to our Sugoi Resistor booty-covered feet, we were a matched set. Of course, Lynne's pink Road ID band was on her ankle, and mine was on my wrist, but otherwise . . . . anyway, I think we got more of a kick out of it than anyone else.


Bill gave the usual instructions and we were off.

Notices and instructions

I was riding more quickly than usual, because I needed to get back to entertain my mother who is in town, and I also had an appointment to get my hairs cut (each and every one). Of course, these days "more quickly than usual" is a relative term - I was passed by about 3/4 of the riders before I reached the first control.

The first control was Fern Flat, at the end of Dairy Creek Road. Dairy Creek road is a 7.5 mile climb disguised as a flat. It LOOKS flat, but once you turn around and head back the way you came, you realize that you'd been climbing the whole time. As I rode up to the control, the first thing I saw was a rider (male, of course) answering the call of nature off the bridge that was the info control clue. It was impossible to look for the bridge number without having to also look at what he was doing. Perhaps next time he'll rethink that strategy. It's a good thing that Bill was there to fill in my card for me - otherwise, I might have answered the question with "urine" or, perhaps, something even MORE inappropriate . . .

How do you lose a cow? Sign on Dairy Creek Road - How, exactly, does someone lose a COW?

I saw a few friends at Fern Flat that I hadn't seen at the start, met a few folks that I only knew as on-line personalities, but I didn't stay long - I was on a mission. I rode most of the way from Fern Flat to Roy with a guy named Tim, who mentioned that he'd been reading Lynne's and my blog posts about randonneuring and decided to try it. I tried to talk him into doing the Berkie Brevet next month, but he is still undecided. "How do you train for 200s and 300s?," he asked me. "I ride my ass off," I said.

From Fern Flat to the next info control at Cedar Canyon was pretty uneventful. There was a "secret" control just past Frogger Junction, and I was pleased to see that the info control at Jack Road and Cedar Canyon was new (we all knew that there were two faded green plastic strips tied to the pole - it was definitely time for a change). Today we had POM-POMs tied to the pole - very colorful!

Then it was on to Forest Grove, for the "open" control. In THEORY, we could have gotten our cards signed anywhere, but of course we all went to Maggie's Buns - great food, nice people, and a discount for cyclists! Maggie was working the register - she asked what I wanted.

Me: "A brownie, please." "

Maggie: "Do you want an Orgasm Bar?"

Me: "No, not today, thanks."

Maggie: "Are you sure?" (disappointed look).

Me: "Aw, honey, I'm in menopause; I don't get those anymore."

I thought Maggie was going bust a gut laughing. She gave me my brownie for free. It was a blackberry brownie, and quite delicious.

From Maggie's back to the roadhouse, I was pretty much on auto-pilot. My right knee had been complaining since about 9:00 AM (incipient patellar tendonitis?) and I was eager to be done. Of course, at this point I was still 35 miles from home, and there were some big hills in the middle of that 32 miles - I hoped my knee would hold out long enough to get me there. I took it easy, and stopped to take pictures of people's yards.

Yard ArtDriveway GuardianA surprising sight

Passing through Verboort, I came across the Velo race team (to be more precise, they came across me - I was waiting at the intersection of Porter and Verboort as they came flying past: "Hi, Cecil!", "Hi, Ty!"). I briefly contemplated trying to catch them, but got over it.

I was still riding as hard as I could, and was on track to complete the ride in about 4.5 hours - but then I got stuck waiting for a very long, very slow timber train at Cory Road. While I was waiting, my friend Mike, who was also doing the Velo ride (but not with the race team), and Carl (Karl?), another randonneur, rode up. The three of us rode most of the rest of the way together, until Mike peeled off for Longbottom's.

Back at the Roadhouse, Bill was signing card and handing out lapel pins - a nice touch, I thought. Of course, TRFKAF is now sporting the pin, along with all his other ride jewelry. I popped inside to powder my nose, and to check on what was suspiciously starting to feel like a saddle sore (and which proved to indeed BE a saddle sore - it's been ages since I've had one - must be time for new shorts). On the way to the rest room, I was hailed by Richard, Nance and Nat. They'd been there at least half an hour, because they already had their lunch and were well into eating it (mmm, fried things . . . ). After admiring Nat's British Commando sweater, it was time for me to be off.

The climb back up to the top of Sylvan was more painful than usual, thanks to my grumpy knee and grumpier posterior. ON the other hand, I enjoyed the descent into downtown more than usual, so it all worked out. At the end of the day, I had covered 101 miles in just over 7 hours riding, with another 1.75 hours of standing around at the start or controls (aka "faffing" time). I hadn't drunk enough water (always a problem on cooler days - I don't get as thirsty, and so don't think to drink), so I had a killer headache, but that was easily resolved with water, food and Vitamin 'I".

Total Stats (did I mention I have a new computer?)

Distance: 101.19 miles
Total Time: 9 hours
Total saddle time: 7 hours, 11 minutes, 32 seconds
Average Speed: 14 mph
Maximum Speed: 32 mph
Elevation Gain: 4048 ft
Maximum Altitude: 789 feet
Average Climb/Incline: 2%
Maximum Climb/Incline: 15% (that nasty little pitch up from the Rose Garden in Washington Park)


beth h said...

Your average speed is only 2 mph faster than the average speed I am working my way up to. I figure that in about five years I'll be able to keep up with you.

= )

Congrats on what sounds like a great ride.

Cheers --Beth

Kevin said...

Oh, commuting to the ride is how to add miles! Cool!
I had to go out and ride a few to make up for my easy day yesterday. I averaged 18 mph for the 62 miles :-)

Thanks to you and all the OrRando folks for a great day!