This Space for Rent

And that makes two

Foss Road MLCM

I rode Kevin Brightbill’s Grawp this weekend; 52h11 total loop time (loops longer than 699km enjoy a relaxed minimum speed, so we had ~54 hours before the final control closed, and we certainly took advantage of that extra time) and now have two 2-3-4-6 series for the year; an ACP series of brevets and a PSR series of 1-2-3-4-6 permanents. This ride brings me up to 10200 miles of riding this year and 9830km’s worth of finished RUSA brevets/permanents, with over two months still to go until the year staggers to an end.

This was possibly a bit late in the season to ride longer loops. It was cold for about 40 hours of this loop (only warming up Saturday and Sunday afternoons when the sun came out) and there were savage rain and hailstorms on Friday and Saturday night (Friday was annoying, because it first started to rain just as we left the opening control at Milwaukie & Bybee, and that converted into a slashing downpour with about 5' visibility in Canby, and then, after stopping for a few hours, we got another round of it as we were going west from Independence to the Kings Valley highway – fortunately the Ritner Creek covered bridge exists, because we were able to shelter under it and relayer with drier clothing before heading west towards Hoskins Road (first gravel stretch; a honkingly steep ramp up the side of the Coast Range to Summit – but the Saturday ones were downright dangerous. We were dumped on with freezing rain just as we reached the Bible Creek Road descent from Bald Mountain, and my allegedly waterproof REI gloves and raincoat immediately failed, so I froze my butt off to the point where we had to stop in Beaver for about half an hour to thaw out, and then we got another one as we transited Netarts Bay towards our overnight control in Oceanside, and finally, just after we cleared Bay City on the way back towards Birkenfeld, we were absolutely nailed by a hailstorm that left between a quarter and half inch of hail on the ground and, once again, soaked me to the skin. We spent about 4 hours on the Miami-Foley Road scrambling from one sheltered spot to another, and finally found ourselves holed up for a while in a barn while I wrapped myself in a space blanket and crammed food into myself to push my metabolism up to high heat production. I was most certainly colder than I’ve ever been, and that includes the DNF on the Barlow 300k. When Kevin finally pried me out of the barn, I cut apart the space blanket and went to full tinfoil by putting a chunk of mylar under my had and then wrapping a bigger chunk around my torso before putting on my actually windproof vest. I’m sure I looked somewhat ridiculous, but, shoot,. I was nice and warm!)

That was probably the low point of the trip (Kevin thought I was going to DNF just before we found the barn; I was more worried about actually freezing to death, though once I got off my bicycle and started walking I was producing more heat than was being sucked away by the wind and thus my fears were possible a bit overblown.) The high points of the trip were, I think, the gravel sections, which were made not exactly easy (can’t get 20mph in gravel no matter how I try) but actually fun by the 28mm Resist Nomad tires I’m using on the mlcm these days. The climb on NF 17 was a blast because I could actually open it up and climb at close to my pavement climbing speed through this spectacularly lovely stretch of coastal forest (there was actually some snow on the ground here) and Foss Road was a spectacular rollercoaster ride where I was regularly accelerating uphill on loose gravel (and only had to walk one particularly steep ramp because I was unable to finesse my pedaling enough to continue to move without spinning the rear wheel on the gravel, mud, and fallen leaves) – The Nomads are actually surefooted enough so I could do some fairly drastic maneuvering to get around potholes without having the tires wash out on me and dump me into those potholes.

The insane parts of the loop were the climbs. Ridiculous climbs, ranging from the regular super-steep gravel climbs on Logsden Road and Hoskins Road (the traditional “we’ll put switchbacks in because we can’t get the road surface to stay in place when we paint a line directly up the mountain) to the mindbogglingly steep climb up Gilbert Road, which is a 3-4 mile stretch that was painted directly up the side of Bald Mountain (it was paved, so they could do that) – imagine, if you will, a climb that starts off with 800 feet of 15-20% ramps with very short stairsteps between them, and then finishes with another 600 feet of a steady 8-10% ramp, and then, in the last 40 miles, a climb up Clapshaw Hill (a steady climb that varies between stupidly steep and insanely steep; you’re climbing one of the insanely steep pitches and the stupidly steep one ahead look level, but, no, you’re still going to be climbing in your alpine ring and you won’t be very happy about it) followed by a climb up Laidlaw and Thompson to get to the top of the west hills (I walked one of the pitches on Laidlaw, because I’d been sprinting up all the other steep ramps on the loop and was getting kind of tired after about 56 hours with only 2 hours of sleep.) Ridewithgps claims 7600 meters of climbing on this loop, and I’m tired enough to believe it.

I will post more about it later, but I’m a little too tired to do so now.


Hurrah! for not dying.

Graydon Mon Oct 22 16:47:08 2012

You and Kevin showed “true grit” in accomplishing this ride - no doubt a challenging ride in the best of weather, but it was so damn cold and wet this weekend. I probably would have bailed after that first downpour. Congrats on your ride.

Oliver Smith Wed Oct 24 10:36:23 2012

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