This Space for Rent

A quick morning ride to Snooseville and points west

Snooseville Populaire (28-May-2011)

Now that the Portland(ish)-based spring series (200km,300km,400km,600km) of long rides is over, there aren’t very many loops based out of Portland planned. One of them, the Snooseville Populaire, was scheduled for this morning, and since I had no other plans for this weekend (it would be unseemly to ride the Hills to the Yeah! loop again when I’ve not even submitted the paperwork for the first loop yet, and I’m getting a little bit tired of riding loops by myself) I thought it would be lovely to run out to Hillsboro, zip around the loop, then come back and still have some time left in the afternoon.

So, at 5:30am, the alarm clock went off and I got ready to go out. I’ve gotten shamefully lazy about preparing for short (<300km) loops these days, and the extent of my advance preparations this time around were to do my laundry so I could have clean clothing. I ate some breakfast, fired up the computer to deal with spam, hurtled some extra clothing, a pen and notebook, and a collection of science diet into my rando bag, then scooted out the front door to catch the 6:35 train to Orenco.

It was raining when I went out the door, so I wore a rain jacket (the faux-waterproof Cannondale jacket had the stupid zipper fail yesterday when I was caught in a sudden storm, so I had to drag out the neck-abrading O2 jacket that I tried to retire after this spring’s running of the At Eden’s Gate R400 and wear it instead) but by the time I made it down to the trolley station at 2nd & Morrison it had stopped raining, so I wadded the jacket up and stuffed it into my bag, never to use it again.

Orenco is only about 2 miles away from the start of the loop, so I ended up getting there about half an hour before the ride started, and then filled in the time eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. It was cold out, but the cold in May is not quite the same as the cold in February, so I didn’t have to layer up to keep from freezing my butt off.

And at 8am(ish), we were off. As usual, I did my routine for the year of stomping on the gas right off the bat and seeing how far I could go before I blew up. (With the thought in my mind that if I could keep my starting rate going for 30 miles, then pick up a “ride is about to end” second wind soon thereafter I could make it back in an unreasonably fast time.) So I drifted forward through the small group (only 9 riders today) and within a matter of 1-2 miles found myself ping-ponging the lead with Tom Durkin, which we kept up until about a mile past North Plains, when I bounced myself over a couple of rollers and left him behind.

The weather forecast claimed a high chance (70%) of rain and/or thunderstorms, so I thought it was just the weather taunting us when the clouds opened up enough so we started casting shadows on Jackson School Road, but by the time we rolled into North Plains the clouds were beginning to gap open enough so that the patches of sun, though still small and separated, were starting to consume a noticable fraction of the sky. This lagniappe cheered me considerably (I got rained on every single ride of the series, and even though 100km isn’t nearly as long as 600km, it still would have been 5 hours of squelching along in the damp) and I hit the 8+ miles of false-flat city that is Dairy Creek Road with a 17.1mph brevet average pushing me along.

Gravity pulled me back, and I was down to 16.5mph average by the time I pulled into downtown Snooseville to answer the info control question there. And then back down Dairy Creek Road, faster but, alas, not quite fast enough to make up for the grasping claws of gravity on the way up (I was back to a ~17mph average when I reached Mountaindale, but the collection of short hills from that point on ate relentlessly away at my average speed.) And then I zipped, in the increasing sunlight, along Mountaindale to the US26 crossing (there was almost no traffic on US26 that time of the morning,) then across to Banks and onto Cedar Canyon Road.

Cedar Canyon road comes with a series of speed-sapping ramps, and also at this time of the morning it came with a gaggle of birdwatchers, who had just pulled up to a good stopping point about 5 minutes before I came by, and were in the throes of ambling down the middle of the road, with occasional jumps off to one side or another, as I attempted to make my way through them. I was ringing my bell almost continuously, but it was painfully obvious that even though they may have been hearing it they weren’t actually recognising it, because several of them started walking across the street into my path and didn’t even realize I was coming until I stomped on the brakes and waited for their heads to eventually pivot around to the point where they could see me (at which point they said “Oh, a bicycle! I didn’t know there was a bicycle here!” – the mlcm has a very powerful headlight which is always on and a loud bell; I’m not sure what I would need aside from a klaxon to be make it more obvious.)

I reached the info control at the end of Cedar Canyon Road just ahead of Steven K., who overhauled me a little while later when I reached the last big ramp at Stafford Road, and who then remained a tantalizing ½ mile ahead for the rest of the way into Forest Grove.

At the control in Forest Grove (the traditional Forest Grove Control – Maggie’s Buns – is closed for Memorial day weekend, so I used a little deli on Main St) my average speed was 15.8mph, dropping to 15.3 by the time I got back on the bicycle and headed east. But Steven K and I coalesced together here and did a halfhearted, but very fast, paceline all the way back into Hillsboro.

Most of the roads through here are fairly familiar, but there are a couple of new ones; from Verboort Road, the route goes south on Cornelius-Schefflin Road, then across to Susbauer on Long Road, which is a tiny tertiary road which is very pretty, particularly when it’s nice and sunny like it was today. And from Susbauer Road, it’s all “I can do this in my sleep” from Hornecker through Evergreen (which goes by a lot faster when you realize that if you move along smartly you can get to the end of the line in less than 4 hours) and across to Imbrie Road to the last control.

And then, for a change from my traditional “okay, gotta go back home now!” end of ride routine, I sat down and chatted for a hour and a half before I got up and rode back home (for the first nine miles I rode along with Lynnef, then diverged to climb over the hill on the US26 bike path, then into town past the Zoo (where I heard, but did not see, the steam engine pulling a passenger train up from the Rose Garden station) then across the Hawthorne Bridge and down the Springwater Trail to the vicinity of home.

The gory details of the trip are


Hereabouts, the custom is to shout “bike!” or “car!” in amongst a group of bird watchers to indicate road traffic.

I have no idea if the custom pertains to your environs, but if it does, there’s no reason you can’t shout that yourself, and perhaps from the anecdote some considerable reason to undertake the practice.

Graydon Mon May 30 10:24:11 2011

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