This Space for Rent

R is for Ripplebrook, E is for eight

Ripplebrook Project Bike

After over a month where the longest ride I took was 110km, I finally rode another 200k. And, of course, it was another run up to Ripplebrook (the 14th time I’ve been up there this year, but I’ve only ridden Portland-Ripplebrook-Portland eight times) but on the project bike instead of the mlcm because the mlcm is still laid up waiting for me to braze a new rack (though I have figured out how I’m going to mount the front fender now; I’m just going to braze two fender mounts to the rack and attach the fender to the rack and the fender stay while keeping it well away from the fork crown and any evil daruma) and it was, as expected, a fairly slow loop (it took me 4h31 to get up to Ripplebrook, which wouldn’t be so bad except I tweaked the route to do a direct run south from Milwaukie & Bybee, then made up for it by adding a couple of indirect loops on the way back. Unfortunately I can’t be sure if that worked because my GPS flaked out and needed to be reset early in the route) but I can’t blame that on the project bike, because there was a stiff (20mph) headwind almost all the way to Estacada (the Clackamas gorge blocked most of the wind on the 28 mile leg up to Ripplebrook, thank g-d) followed by a constant cold rain the rest of the way up to Ripplebrook.

My therapist (who is located way out in East Portland) was wondering if I’d be up for making the 11 mile run out there when it was cold and rainy/snowy, and after today I believe it would be no problem. Riding up to visit the psychiatric clinic isn’t exactly the same as a brevet, but still, after riding up 224 for a dozen miles in the pouring rain, I found myself being not exactly joyful, but contentedly happy to be winding up along the river even though I had sopping wet gloves, sopping wet feet, and was wet, but warm, everywhere else.

It’s been a little while since I last rode up there, and it’s been a while since I’ve done it alone. It’s nice to go out by myself on a horrible November morning and climb up into the foothills of the Cascades, then turn around and return to my warm house. It gives me plenty of time to listen to music, think (music directs my thoughts so I don’t brood,) and, at least as far as I can when rain is lashing against my face, sightsee as I creep along at 15-16mph.

And I big-ringed the entire loop again. More of an accomplishment on the project bike than on the mlcm because 48×26 is a slightly higher gear than 50×28, but it wasn’t all that hard to do, and yes I’m including the climb up Judd Road and the Broadway ramp in Estacada. The big long ramp just south of Ripplebrook was easier than I remember, but I wasn’t pushing it nearly as fast as I’ve done it in the past, but just winding upgrade at 5mph hoping that the Ripplebrook Guard Station would be open (it wasn’t, but while I was sitting on the covered porch eating my lunch one of the staff came by to retrieve something and let me go in to warm up and buy some snacks; there are benefits to being a regular up there!)

The trip back wasn’t nearly as rainy as the trip up; while I was warming myself in the store the bank of storms moved off and I returned to Portland under 98% clear skies (with one 4-mile exception where it dumped hail on me and soaked all the non-jacketed parts of me to the skin.)

I got back into Portland 10h01 after I left, having travelled somewhere between 200 and 203km (stupid GPS. I kept trying to mentally calculate the distance I travelled and don’t exactly know what the total distance actually was, though I think it should have been ~203km) and bringing my milage up to 11,375 and 11,194 RUSA km. I would have liked to do under 9 hours, but that idea fell by the wayside when I stayed an hour at the Ripplebrook Guard station!

I’ll have to finish that new front rack (and maybe a decaleur so I won’t have to use the VO one I’ve got installed right now) and get the mlcm back into service before the next 200k (unless the next 200k is on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. If it’s one of those days, I’m stuck with the project bike!) But this trip means that now all of my bicycles have brevetted their way up to Ripplebrook at least once in their existence.