This Space for Rent

It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Wetlands between Newberg & Gaston

As I already mentioned, the weather was supposed to be good yesterday, so I thought it would be a good plan to not let it go to waste by not going out for my monthly R200 (should really be a biweekly R200, but the weather this time of year makes it difficult to schedule non-rainy loops) and what better loop than the traditional UGB200.bis? (and as a variant to the long tedious crawl up Skyline, I decided that I would vary the return by cutting down Germantown Road, then going across the St. John’s bridge and taking Willamette Blvd (etc) down to Division, where I’d return to my regular route for the run back to the ultimate control.

So if I left at 7am, I should be able to run the loop in 10-11 hours, getting back sometime between 5pm and 6pm with lots of time to stop for pictures and/or fud.

But it was cold at 6:30, so I went through my morning routine as if I’d been dipped in molasses, and didn’t actually make it out the door until 8:18am (after, of course, promising that I’d be back between 5 and 6pm.) And that meant that the only chance I had to finish up by the scheduled time was to just not stop, but to ride the 201.4km loop in one fell swoop.

So I did that – the only stops I did on the loop were for stop signs and traffic lights, plus one stop on the east side of Canby to strip off layers, one stop in Canby to wait for a train, a brief stop at Champoeg to shoot some sheep, and one stop at the intersection of Skyline & Germantown to relayer and turn on my flashy taillight for the last 15 miles to home (BTW, Germantown Road is terrifying after 9 hours and 110 miles of riding. It’s not extraordinarily steep, but it’s twisty as hell, and all wet in the traditional western Oregon style. It’s nice to come in on Willamette Blvd instead of on Skyline, but I’m not so sure I’d want to inflict the approach to Willamette Blvd on anyone else.) And I rolled in the door at 6:09pm, after creeping around the loop in 9h51 (9h35 moving time, and the remaining 16 minutes being the photo stops, clothing stops, and waiting at stop signs and traffic lights) and pretty much immediately collapsed into a heap.

I am getting more used to climbing; the formerly annoying climb up to Upper Highland road doesn’t seem to be very noticable anymore (alas, my getting-used-to-climbing does not include getting good at it. But perhaps that has something to do with not doing any loops longer than 50 miles for the past two months?)

And in the all-so-important department of equipment, I’d like to mention that the front rack and rando bag survived the loop without falling off/falling apart/scattering things all over the road. Unfortunately this is made up by my needing to raise my handlebars a little bit (the shape of the gary bars I’m using now puts my hands ~ an inch lower than they normally sit on the old nitto b135s, which means I end up leaning on them more than I want to. So I guess I need to consider the feasability of flipping the stem over (it’s currently -17° if it’s flipped that raises the bars about an inch and a half, so I could play some games with the headset spacers to end up with it only being an inch higher. It will look hideous, of course, but a new stem and/or fork would put me back about $100, and I’d rather spend that money on food, because eating is a part of my lifestyle that I don’t wish to change.)