This Space for Rent

More adventure of an urban kind

slightly modified Dixie 100

When I went out this morning, I was fully expecting that I’d just do a regular ride of the Dixie Mountain 100 and then stagger back in the door at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. But, alas, I didn’t realize that (a) that Leif Erikson Drive had been closed this spring for culvert/road reconstruction, nor that (b) this reconstruction was running slowly and would take all summer to finish.

The first inkling that something was going to go terribly wrong with the loop was when we were creeping up one of the countless insanely steep ramps on 53rd drive (I swear this ramp wasn’t nearly as steep this spring when I was the fastest person up it on the flèche) and a warning placard caught my eye and all I saw before I labored past was somethingsomethingLeif Eriksonnumbersomething. So I stopped for the next one I saw and read, to my annoyance, that Leif Erikson Drive was closed for somethingoranother from milepost 5 to milepost 9. It was an annoyance because guess where Saltzman Road intersects Leif Erikson Drive? Milepost ~6.5, which is almost exactly in the middle of the closed section.

And, unlike Skyline or highway 30, Leif Erikson Drive (and Saltzman) twist through Forest Park as if they were snakes with delirium tremens, so if I did the obvious reroute (Skyline/Thompson/Cornell) the route would be shortened to only 65 miles.

Looser gravel

I spent a considerable amount of time considering what to do as we (I was riding the loop with Kevin Brightbill, who lives conveniently close enough to me that it’s easy for us to ride each other’s permanents) wound our way up Thompson, across Skyline, down Germantown (which is being chipsealed, so we got a little more gravel to make up for Saltzman/Leif Erikson)/Old Germantown, then along the traditional Phillips/Helvetia/Jackson Quarry/etc and, by the time we hit the climby (and gravelly) parts of Dixie Mountain Road (at which point my thoughts became wonderfully concentrated on keeping the bicycle upright and on its wheels as I slowly slithered my way upgrade through loose dusty summer gravel) I thought that the best solution would be to go on Skyline to Thompson, then drop down into the city and do a lap around Mount Tabor before finishing.

Rock Creek Road winds through gorgeous scenery

Kevin had a better idea. He pointed out that Rock Creek Road would give us another mile or so, and we could take Skyline to 26, then drop down by the zoo to make up the rest of the miles. I’d never actually been on Rock Creek Road, so that seemed like a good plan. And it was – with the notable exception of a sliver of road by the old Oregon Electric mainline from Portland to Banks, which looks like a war zone – it’s a terrifically scenic road that winds past rural houses, farms, ranches, and even a bit of open range and which adds three miles (of difficult to control, alas!) road to make up for the soon to be detoured around road closure on Leif Erikson.

So we discussed how to make up the other couple of miles. We first thought that going down Thompson/Cornell would make up the other 2 miles, but decided it probably wouldn’t after all. Skyline to the Zoo was brought up, and we both thought it would be a couple of miles too long, but better err on the side of bonus miles than short-change the route.

It’s kind of climby getting over to highway 26 on Skyline. And it’s amazingly disorienting, even though I’ve done it before – by the time Skyline started dropping down to the little shopping center just northeast of 26, my brain was convinced we were coming from the south and needed to cross the bridge over highway 26 to get to the Zoo. But despite my confusion, we did find the correct way to the zoo and dropped down the hill to downtown Portland, then across the Hawthorne bridge and east to 12th, and then back to Sellwood, which we reached 6h09 after the brevet clock started at 9am (6h01 after we left Marsee Baking, because I was finishing my coffee.)

The gory details of the emergency rerouted loop turned out to be

I will probably have to either withdraw the loop for the duration of the Leif Erikson roadwork or do a new application for a reroute that adds back the missing 5 miles.

But on the bright side, the amount of climbing in this last-minute reroute makes the 400 look easy (modulo the small detail of riding an additional 180 miles; We’ll see how easy it feels when I stagger back in the door on Sunday morning!)

As always, photos are on flickr.


Gravel roads, huh? I really shouldn’t be reading this…

The Spouse Sun Aug 12 09:30:20 2012

Uphill on gravel roads. No riding downhill into hairpin turns with erosion damage for me, thanks!

David Parsons Sun Aug 12 10:45:25 2012

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