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It’s raining, so it must be time for another Orrando ride

Massed randonneurs wait for me to give the preride announcements

The Verboort Flat Tire Extravaganza! (officially the Verboort Sausage Populaire, but I have a long memory for rides that founder on the rocks of many many flats!) was today, so I found myself sitting in the Grand Lodge parking lot at 8am helping sign people in for the loop. When I’d awakened this morning, it was raining and I thought that this would cut down the ridership substantially, but this was apparently the day when all of the bicyclists in the Portland area were going to be out no matter what, and randonneurs were no exception; 44 people had preregistered and most of them showed up, along with enough other people to fill the Grand Lodge parking lot with 59 riders waiting for the 9am starting bell(ow). (so many people showed up that we ran out of pencils for the info questions, we ran out of baggies to keep the cuesheets from getting wet, and we were down to the very last brevet card. We still had a dozen or so cuesheets, but that’s only because many of the riders printed them out themselves from the copies of the VFTE! Orrando page.)

What we (Ed, Theo, and I) had planned for the ride was to have Ed out in Snooseville, Theo at Hillsboro (Longbottoms Coffee, which we had prearranged to have a place for people to sit and chat if they so desired) and then to ride sweep around the rest of the loop, and me at the start and the end. But on Friday Theo decided that he’d rather ride over to Verboort to check people in and leave the riding to me. So, just as we did last year, I rode out after the swarm had departed and made my leisurely way around the loop.

Leisy Road

It wasn’t exactly raining at 9am when everyone left, but it was pretty aggressively coldly misting. And this kept up, in fits and starts, for most of the morning, but finally relented and went away about the time I departed Snooseville for the run down Dairy Creek Road.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I wasn’t “riding” – I’d done the workers ride last sunday and already had a brevet card filled out and signed by the organizer (me. I wonder if that will make RUSA blow a gasket?) – but I was following along so that if someone had a disaster (either mechanical or existential) I could offer assistance, fud, or just urge them along. Normally not much (if any) assistance is needed (randonneuring self-selects for bull-headed stubborness and most riders will push themselves along until their arms start falling off, and then reluctantly start thinking about DNFing the whole shebang) but populaires attract new riders who haven’t been brainwashed yet into thinking this is the proper way to do things. But it’s a useful thing to do, and, hey!, it’s another 100km’s worth of riding which is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!

So between Forest Grove and Longbottoms, there weren’t any lost souls; I overran Holden H (he’d stopped to patch a flat tire, but had finished just before I rode by) and followed him at increasing distances into the Longbottoms control (he has a nice little Bike Friday which is capable of an amazing turn of speed – he’s pretty speedy by himself, but he rides the Bike Friday faster than I can keep up) and reached the control at about 10:20(?) after about half the riders had already come and gone (the other half were still in the process of wrapping up and getting ready to go; a couple of people had flats and were in the throes of repairing them.)

So I stopped for a while and chatted with Theo until the last rider had left (and then waited a little bit longer so that I wouldn’t be breathing down his neck for the next 20 miles) then headed on into the rain again. I proceeded north, then west, then north onto Jackson Quarry Road, west (and down) on Mason Hill, then north again on Jackson School Road, where I overran (just past the info control at Jackson School) three riders – Tom(?) and his father Ed (who was on his first rando-length ride, and starting to fade) and Rodney L, who was moving along at a slow but relentless pace and would drop us soon after leaving this control. And then I followed along with Tom & Ed, trying to accurately but reassuringly describe the topology going up to Snooseville, but, alas, not reassuringly enough to keep us from gradually moving slower and slower as Ed’s legs became progressively more dissatisfied with this whole idea of riding up into the mountains in the rain. Alas, my attempts at encouraging were unsuccessful, and Tom & Ed had decided to abandon by the time we crept – 30 minutes past the closing time for the control – into metropolitan Snooseville where we caught Ed G & Susan F in the midst of packing up to go.

Ed loads up his cargobike

(Ed G had ridden his Cetma out from Portland this morning – starting at 5am to climb over Tualatin Mountain via Germantown Road – and was planning on riding directly back home as soon as the control was closed. That’s 80 miles, including two 1000 foot climbs up Tualatin Mountain. Ed wins the hardman award for the decade.)

I had a problem here; organizer-Ed & I gave Tom & not-organizer-Ed directions for the fastest route back to Forest Grove (Dairy Creek->Mountaindale->47) but I had to get out of dodge quickly if I was going to catch up to closing time and be able to provide productive assistance to anyone who had trouble. So I bolted out of Snooseville after Ed (his Cetma might be slow uphill, but it descends like an icbm) and then headed west as fast as my legs could go.

By the time I’d reached Banks, I’d caught up to closing time, and by the time I’d finished the outandback in Cedar Canyon I was up about 20 minutes from closing time. And then, up on the alphabet soup of roads that eventually becomes Kansas City Road I overhauled Elly Blue and April W(?), who looked like they were heading for a DNF because April’s rear wheel had a slow leak and they had to stop every mile to pump it up. I volunteered one of the spare tubes I was carrying, and (after an attempt to keep going only to realize that the leak had progressed to the point where it was needing to be pumped up every half mile) that tube (and a couple of pieces of the duct tape I carry for emergency booting, and then my pump because her tubes and pump were Schrader-valved, and my tube is Presta-valved) was pressed into service to replace the old punctured by a huge piece of glass tire on her bike.

And by the time we’d finished this repair, we were right on the closing time for Verboort (I thought we were going to miss it, because I was thinking it was 6h38 instead of 4h48) and needed to hustle to have even the slightest chance to make it there before the gate went down. So we whipped down to the junction with Kemper Road (“right before the abandoned school or church or whatever” was my helpful cue), then shot eastwards towards Visitation and the drop down into Verboort.

Fortunately it was not (a) raining or (b) quite as cold anymore. The wind was coming from the southeast, which would have been bad except that after we crossed highway 47 it brought the sounds and smells of the Verboort Sausage Fest right to us, which gave us a little extra encouragement to get there quickly.

And Elly and April made it into Verboort at 3:45, with just under three minutes breathing room, as the last of the 56 finishers out of a starting field of 59.

And then I said my goodbyes and scuttled into Hillsboro to catch a trolley home, arriving at home with the last of the sunlight at 6:08pm (awake enough to upload photos and take a shower, but not quite awake enough to write a coherent trip report!)

There’s not so much of a what worked/what didn’t work for the organizer side of things, but it was nice to actually be able to use some of the emergency supplies I drag along when I’m sweeping, and I really need to finish the camera-searingly red porteur-randonneur bag so I can repair and upgrade the big rando bag before the spring series rolls around.

Oh, and I probably need some new brake shoes on the mlcm because the old ones are starting to get worn down to the point where their braking qualities are starting to deteriorate. But aside from that, the play was excellent.

PS: In the “stupid rando tricks” department, I’ve now got a traditional compact double on the mlcm, and I’ve been taking a lot of advantage of the alpine ring on brevets recently. But not today – I did the entire loop in the big ring, only dropping down as far as the 55" (50×24) gear once (for the creep up Stafford Road.) I’m not sure if this is a feat to be applauded or treated as evidence of insanity…


Thanks again for the tube/pump!

I did a write-up on my blog if you’re interested:

April Wiza Fri Nov 11 14:40:21 2011

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