This Space for Rent

A long day’s trip, in somewhat more detail

Zooming past the photographer

There are likely to be revisions here, because I’m kind of tired today and thus my prose is a bit more skeletal than usual. But the pictures can be found on Flickr, in the At Eden’s Gate 2011 set.

Woke up at 3:30, rode down to Wilsonville (a hair under 14 miles) with Ed G. and Kevin B. for the 5am start.

Was thinking of riding it fast, but got caught behind a velo traffic jam, then a long stoplight at Arndt (the e/w between Buttville and Canby.) Didn’t want to try and time-trial to catch up to my by-now mile+ ahead friends, so dialed it down and rambled.

Encountered the aftermath of a bike-car collision (no fatalities, maybe not even any broken bones, due to the quick reflexes of the auto driver.) Saw Lesli L and her sweetie Sara T proceeding southwards in the company of Kevin and Joel Metz. Asked to ride with them & spent the rest of the loop (except for a couple of places where I ran ahead to do quick detours, and a few of the longer climbs, where I ended up far in the rear as is traditional) tagging along.

Made it up the steep ramps on Cole School Road without either walking or dying, then was rewarded for it by a screamingly fast (75kph) descent down Richardson Gap Road to the Shimanek bridge.

Gilkey covered bridge

No rain, just scattered drizzle, as we rode south to the info controls at various covered bridges and railroad crossings. Sprinted ahead on Gilkey so I could detour half a mile down Goar Rd to get a picture of the covered bridge there.

Lots of conversation about many things, ranging from stories about PBP through care and feeding of bicycles, and finally to saying that the weather was really good compared to the forecast.

And then it started to rain (~10 miles north of Sweet Home)

In to Sweet Home for a longish stop at the Thriftway. Chatted with Lynne F and Michel Y, who were riding the loop together (they were running at about the same rate as we were, so we kept hopscotching until we coalesced together at the Earnest covered bridge (for 60 or so miles before Lynne needed to stop for food and a quick nap.))

South of Sweet Home, in the pouring rain, I bolted a mile or so ahead of the rest of the group so I could get photos of the Crawfordville covered bridge from somewhere other than the main road. Managed to get far enough ahead so I could leisurely set up to take pictures as the rest of the group approached.

Crept s-l-o-w-l-y up Brush Creek Road to the Marcola Road nuclear-free summit, which was socked in with enough rain to soak me to the skin and start leaking through the threads on the bottom of my handlebar bag.

Kevin was talking about packing it in, so I tried to convince him that he might as well finish since there weren’t any hills (worth mentioning; there were some short ramps, but nothing like the ones coming down.) Alas, my efforts to convince him failed and he finally DNFed in Harrisburg.

It was raining, so headwinds coming down the valley would have been completely miserable. So, by a miracle, there not only wasn’t a headwind but there was, at least part of the time, a little bit of a tailwind, so we could squelch northwards without as much pain and despair (the roads from the I-5 underpass to Harrisburg are very flatland farmroad – they are long, unsheltered, and boring.) I got a call from the best about 5 miles south of Harrisburg, and then had to ride like mad to catch up with everyone BEFORE they reached Harrisburg and vanished into the maze of convenience stores there. I did. Barely.

In Harrisburg, we decided that this would be a good time to relayer/additional layer/dry layer, because even though it was still raining the whole idea of riding in sodden clothing was getting a little bit old. But by the time we’d finished (assisted, oddly enough, by Kevin’s decision to DNF; he had brought along changes of clothing and loaned out layers to people who needed them now that he was going to get a ride home instead. He loaned me a (too large, which was good because I could fit it over the top of my ears) cap to take the place of my poor sodden cotton cap, and a pair of REI wind-resistant gloves that I used instead of my soaked-at-the-top-of-Marcola wool gloves) the rain had tapered off considerably, and by the time we rolled out it had, thankfully, stopped and would not return for the remainder of the loop.

And then onto Peoria road in the deepening dusk. And into Albany in the dark, after everything on the west side of town had closed down for the night. And after a quick snack on the patio seating of a closed gas station, off to Independence (the penultimate control) which was equally shut down (except for a few nightclubs, which was not particularly useful.)

And finally, across the river and up into Salem, with a stop for coffee at the first open convenience store we found. And then, with 35 miles to go, we wandered off into the county roads north of Keizer, where we promptly got lost (Keene Road is not the most obvious exit from River Road) but recovered our bearings when we reached the River Road/SR219 interchange and could dodge east and rejoin the route.

And after a brief stop to wait for a Portland & Western train on the Oregon Electric, we proceeded over to Boones Ferry Road, across the I-5 bridge, then up to the end of the line, where we staggered in 24h25 after we pulled out in the (previous) morning.

And then I showered, napped for about a hour and a half, then got back on the bicycle and proceeded, slowly, home for a loop distance of 278 miles and a little bit of change.

If I hadn’t yoinked something in my left knee, I’m sure that rando amnesia would have already set in.

I shall now recite the traditional listing of things that worked:

And things that didn’t work:


75 kph? 21 m/s? YIKES!

Graydon Mon Apr 18 17:52:56 2011

Richardson Gap Road drops about 70 meters in 900 meters, starting with a shallow descent to a hairpin about 250 meters into the descent, and then a steeeeeep descent for the rest of it. If you tuck into the drops (and it probably helps if you’ve got your handlebars set 3-4 inches lower than the saddle) gravity will be happy to help you accelerate.

I braked fairly severely for the hairpin, then used the brakes a little bit when setting up my fall line right after the turn. If I’d just let gravity have its way with me (and could have avoided dying on the hairpin) I could probably have done it faster.

David Parsons Tue Apr 19 10:57:52 2011

I have no doubt it is possible to go that fast; I’m just the sort of deeply cautious person who wouldn’t go that fast.

One of the reasons I like disc brakes; I can keep myself under 35 kph on steep descents.

Graydon Tue Apr 19 18:42:23 2011

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