This Space for Rent

Faster, but not quite fast enough

Trolley bridge, with SP 4449 in the distance

With the change in the weather this last week I hadn’t been doing much riding, which isn’t necessarily a good thing because there’s the tiny detail of one last big brevetpermanent that’s gonna happen tomorrow at 5pm (if you’re riding 712km, why not start at 5pm? This means that two of the three gravel sections – Hoskins Road and the Logsden Gravel – will happen at night, so it’s as if they won’t even be there.) So I needed to get out to stretch my legs once during the week, to at the very least shake the cobwebs out of my brain and get me out into the country.

So I decided to ride on up to Sauvie Island again, because it’s a nice fast loop and even when I’m sluggish I can generally make it around in 4.5 hours modulo flats. I had a telephone errand to run, so I didn’t get out the door until about 9:15 (I actually locked up at 9:12, and sat on the front sidewalk until 9:14, at which point I started the brevet clock and headed north.)

It was cold (45°F) this morning, but not at all cloudy in Portland proper (the weekend rain didn’t come in until tonight) so I felt pretty sluggish as I worked my way north from Westmoreland towards downtown. Unlike yesterday’s trip up to the central eastside, I did not feel sprighty and full of vigor, but felt as if I was just sort of plodding along.

As I worked my way through downtown (across the Hawthorne Bridge, then north on Naito/Front to Kittridge) I slowly warmed up and started to feel like my normal self again, which was good because there were interesting railroad things to photograph as I went. (But, alas, the railroad photographs were the last I took because the batteries went dead in the camera!) I could see every now and then a bank of very dark and damp looking fog to the north of me, hovering ominously over Sauvie Island, but but by the time I’d reached Linnton the fog was starting to look a little moth-eaten under the impact of the sun – when I passed under the St. John’s Bridge, I could see a fairly substantial tongue of fog across Highway 30 approximately in the middle of Linnton, but by the time I reached Linnton that fog was gone and I could see the near banks of Sauvie Island clearly.

When I finally crossed over onto Sauvie Island, I briefly went under the fog – two miles of really chilling damp cold between the Sauvie Island bridge and the little town at the corner of Sauvie Island Road and Reeder Road – but I passed back into sunshine as I worked my way north on Sauvie Island Road. It’s fall now, and the fields have all been harvested and many of them have already been ploughed for the next crop (winter wheat? more corn? I dunno) and all of the farms with pumpkin patches have them in full operation. There was maybe the slightest headwind as I went north, but it faded at the Sauvie Island Road turnaround and became a lackadaisical crosswind for the rest of the morning. And then south, back down to Reeder Road at a somewhat slower (19mph instead of 20mph) speed, and across and up to the nude beach info control on the northeast.

It was fully sunny now, and I wanted to get some more pictures, but, alas, I could not :-(

But in any case I got up to the nude beach info control (41 miles from home) 2h23 after I set out, which was a pleasantly fast time (I was averaging something over 18mph brevet time here, which was nice) but on the way back my body started gently reminding me that I was possibly working too hard by slowing right on down – I found myself actually having to push to keep over 18mph now, and after I’d wrapped around the bottom of the island and reached the bridge for the return I found that ramp to be a lot more difficult than it had been on previous loops (slowing to about 9mph to climb up to the bridge.)

Highway 30 was, as always, a pleasantly fast return loop, but I proceeded a little bit more cautiously because I didn’t want to ram a field of broken glass or any other sort of tire-eating debris. But, despite all this, I zipped back into town at a pretty good rate, ignoring the scenery and occasional train in favor of watching the road ahead of me for tire-eating debris, and cleared 100km after about 3h33.

And then I started to hit stoplights. Most of which were turned red. And the next 30 minutes were, as usual, a festival of stop, then creep away on the green light to the next stoplight, then repeat. Ugh. It’s a fact of life that brevets/permanents with city sections are going to be slowed by the lights, but it was still somewhat annoying to be spending all this energy accelerating away from one traffic control or another.

I reached the closing control, alas, 4h03 after I started out, with 2km (1.25 miles) of bonus milage bringing my loop time down to just over 4 hours.

Drat. Oh, well, I’ll try to push my moving speed up .1 mph next time I do this loop (the last 4 times I’ve done this loop have finished in 4h04, 4h11, 4h21, and now 4h03. There’s got to be a sub-4 in me somewhere close at hand!)

After doing this loop, I have ~9750 miles ridden this year, and 9118km of completed brevets/permanents. And it’s not going to be too long before I’m over 10k miles this year (possibly by the middle of the day on Saturday?)