This Space for Rent

No good deed goes unpunished (another run of One Big Hill & Silver Falls)

It wasn't nearly as gloomy as the camera thought it was

When I was on the train Sunday night, my friend Ed messaged me and asked if I wanted to do a ride on Monday. Well, I was on the train to That Paradise That Is California™ (I was going down to meet with the rest of the autonomous collective that I’m doing the user interface for an iPad app for) so that was out, but I suggested that Thursday might work because I wanted to get some miles out of me to warm up for the summer 600k this weekend. And I suggested One Big Hill & Silver Falls because it’d been a couple of months since I last did it and I wanted to see how it looked like after riding about 3000 miles in the last two months (I’m dealing with the catastrophic last year by riding the f*ck out of my bicycle this summer; I can ride up to about 150km before thinking about things becomes unendurable, and I can at least double that if I plug earphones into my cellphone and play music while I’m riding. So I’ve been riding, on average, 2 permanents a week since the beginning of July (I’d ride more except my family objects when I’m spending too much time out on the bike. Oh well.)

So, at 7:15 this morning Ed and I set out to the south. It had been 3.5 days since I’d been on a bike, and about 40 hours of that was on one train or another (but all of it was in the same coach; it takes two days to run a Coast Starlight trainset from San Jose, CA down to Los Angeles, service it, and run it back up to San Jose. where most of the Portland-bound passengers were then deposited) so it took approximately 15 (fast) miles to warm up – those first miles saw my traditional slothlike climbing, but the last five miles saw me starting to get to the top of the rollers faster than Ed was doing.

It took us about 1h25 to make it the 20 miles from Portland to Canby, which was pretty screamingly fast considering the slow climb up South End Road to the top of the Boring Lava, but when we reached the first control (at Cutforth’s Thriftway we stopped and took a leisurely break, not leaving until 9am. This was the start of a theme; we’d sail along at a fairly good rate for a while, and then we’d stop for a little something and burn off a bunch of the time margin we’d gathered up.

It was also the start of another, and completely unexpected theme; from Canby south I was riding faster than Ed, and climbing considerably faster than he was. So we’d ride along together for a while, then reach a series of rollers or a ramp and I’d evaporate with an implosion of air, only to have to slow down or stop later on so we could regroup. This unusual behavior even continued on the climb from Silverton up to Silver Falls, where I was easily maintaining 10-12 mph on the lower ramp, and 9-10mph on the upper ramp on highway 214 (compare this to the first time I rode this loop, where I chased (if you can call it a chase when I was going so slowly) Asta up the ramp at a majestic 5-6mph.)

But, despite all this, it still took us about 5 hours to reach the lodge at South Falls, so I burned off some more time by eating a gardenburger before we continued up to North Falls, then back to Silverton. Once again, I got a long ways ahead every time we hit a ramp, but Ed was getting into a better aero tuck than I was doing (he’d flipped his cap around backwards, so could get really low and still see, while the bill of my cap would get into my eyes unless I contorted my body in an unaerodynamic fashion) and pulled quite a ways ahead on the steeper and curvier parts of the wonderful descent back down into Silverton.

I led part of the way through Silverton, but we started switching the lead by the time we reached C Street, and kept this up for the 4 or so miles up to the control at Mount Angel, where I foolishly didn’t get any water. Foolishly, because on the other side of Mount Angel the road became a little more hilly (hillier because I wanted to check out Needy Road as a possible route up into town for the Buena Vista Commuter route I’m working on now, and Needy Road is not very heavily graded) and I went back to zooming up ramps and getting a long ways ahead.

By the time we reached Lone Elder Road my water bottles were down to the dregs, so I refilled them at the Lone Elder Store, and, thus refreshed, we headed north again.

But the road gets really hilly north of Canby, and I opened up a huge lead between our turn onto Central Point Road and Criteser Road. On Criteser Road, I found a shady spot, stopped, and waited for Ed to appear.

And waited.

And waited.

For about 20 minutes.

Okay, this is not good. I pulled out the phone, but discovered that I was in one of the metropolitan dead zones for T-Mobile, so I couldn’t call to see what was going on. So instead I turned around and slowly rode back south along Central Point Road to the last place where I saw Ed.

And that was 4 miles down a hilly road. I wasn’t going very quickly up hills because I hoped that he’d pop over the top of them before I had to go down into a valley that I’d have to reclimb later. But no such luck; I went all the way back to where we’d turned onto Central Point Road without any signs of Ed, his bicycle, or an accident.

I’d called Julie about halfway back down the road to tell her that I was not going to make it home even close to when I wanted to because I’d lost Ed, then called her a couple more times after trying to call Ed and getting no answer from his cellphone. On the last call, I told her she should go out to dinner with the bears and my parents and not wait for me, because I would start calling around to see if I could get Ed’s home phone, then call that (but I was on Leland Road by this time, and I didn’t want to call until I got to the Gladstone end of Oregon City.) On this call, I said that I was about 55 minutes away from home, and it was about 10 minutes later (after screaming down Linn Ave into midtown Oregon City; normally I use my brakes on the 25mph corners, but, no, I was in a hurry) that I reached the Clackamas River bridge, where I was planning on starting to make calls.

But before I was able to do that, the phone rang. It was the best, calling to tell me that Ed had just showed up at the front door. He’d apparently missed the turn onto Criteser and took Central Point Road all the way up into Oregon City while I was cooling my heels waiting for him.


So I didn’t need to sprint in case I had to call out the cavalry.

But I did need to sprint if there was any chance that I could make it home in less than 12 hours. So I bolted north as if someone had lit the mlcm on fire and the only fire extinguisher in the world was sitting in my living room.

40 minutes later I staggered in the front door, turned off my GPS, then bolted for the bathroom.

Oy. What a day.

132 miles (124 + 8 bonus miles) in 11h43. Oh well, that <9 hour Silver Falls loop will have to wait for another day.

This loop brings my yearly milage to 7200 miles (I’ll be comfortably over 7500 miles at the end of August) with about 3300 of those miles being finished-for-credit RUSA permanents/brevets (and another 700 or so being unfinished/checkridden RUSA permanents.))

Pictures are on flickr, of course.

And I see that the weather forecast claims a chance of rain on Sunday, so I’m going to have to put fenders onto the mlcm tomorrow morning (as well as a couple of pipe clamps to hold a third water bottle cage. It wouldn’t be a proper random bike without an assortment of random fasteners holding things onto it) before I arrange everything for what will hopefully be my last brevet for the year (if I DNF this one, I’ve got to go either to Seattle or California to do a cleanup 600, and I really don’t want to do that. Next year I’ll have a 600k permanent or two and I’ll be able to ride those instead, but I don’t have them now and I want to ride at least one 600 this year.)