This Space for Rent

A slightly zoomier trip down to Silver Falls

An orange bicycle in a tree

I hadn’t ridden a ride of any consequence since the tuesday before the summer 200k so I was starting to get a bit antcy as the clock ticked over until July. I originally thought of riding on Monday the second, but was a slug and didn’t get out of the house until about noon, so, no, no 200k for me that day, and it was promised to rain on Tuesday (it did, but not much) so I wasn’t planning on riding then.

Wednesday was, of course, the annual festival of state worship, explosives, bbq, and beer that is the 4th of July, so I was originally not planning on riding then, but then my friend Kevin mentioned online that he was, once again, unable to get under 10 hours on a 200k loop. So I sent him a note saying that if he wanted to shave a hour off his timings I was planning on riding One Big Hill again with the plan of trying to get under 9 hours.

The plan was to depart from the Sellwood Marsee at 7am, which we more or less accomplished (I made one or two extra loops around the house getting everything set up, so didn’t make it there until about 7:02, and we didn’t get the waiver signed and brevet cards handed over until 7:05 (which became the official starting time; I’m not going to penalize riders for my slothful start) at which point I started the gps and we sailed away to the south.

Like before, I varied the route to take the Trolley Trail to River Road, the 99e bike lane to Park Ave, and then the Trolley Trail again all the way to Boardman Ave, and then back to River Road the rest of the way to 99e at the Clackamas River bridge. And, unlike before, I paid close attention to the route after we climbed up South End Road and made sure we didn’t miss the hard to see turn onto Partlow Road (Oregon City has many streets that change their names when they reach an arterial; Partlow Road is one of these – on the west side of South End Road it’s actually Lafayette, and on the east side the sign is obscured by a tree.) And after this we were on Central Point Road and could bolt southwards at a fairly quick pace.

It’s kind of hilly between Oregon City and Canby, but it was cool enough to encourage us to move along at a good pace, and after a brief stop at the Canby control we shot southwards towards Silverton. We weren’t really pushing it, but weren’t lagging either, and managed to maintain a 15mph brevet average up until we reached Silverton, where we paused so Kevin could refill his water/science diet bottles and I could finish delayering. And then it was time to go up for about 20 miles to Silver Falls again.

That climb is getting easier, too. It’s ~19 miles (with approximately 2200 feet of climbing) from downtown Silverton to the South Falls lodge, and Kevin and I managed to transit that in a little less than 90 minutes (arriving 4h31 after we departed Sellwood.) ~12.6mph average isn’t speedy, but it’s considerably faster than the first time I did this climb a few months ago.

And then at Silver Falls we did one small control change; instead of settling in for a long lunch we simply caught our breaths, refilled our water bottles, slathered on some sunscreen, then jumped back onto our bikes and bolted off towards home.

We’d been off the bicycles for about 10 minutes, and we could tell it; our legs had started to slowly freeze up, and it took most of the way to North Falls for them to warm up again (on my previous run I reached South Falls 4h37 after setting out, but then stopped for about a hour to have a leisurely lunch, which killed my energy for the return) but then had enough rollering across the top of the ridge to force them back into a riding mood before tumbling off for the descent down to Silverton again.

A large chunk of downtown Silverton was blocked off for July 4th celebrations, but highway 214 remained open through the festivities so we were not delayed in our second transit of the city.

And then we cut over to Mount Angel for the last transit control (at the same minimart I stopped at the previous time; this time I needed more water, and I got a bottle of strawberry milk for the road,) but we cleared the control after no more than about 5 minutes and headed east towards Meridian Road for the run up to Canby.

Unfortunately, a headwind had developed while we were up on the mountain, so our trip north was interfered with by that pesky wind. Kevin and I took turns dragging ourselves along, which was only slightly spoiled by my traditional behavior when confronted with a headwind (which was to put my head down and pull as fast as I could. I did that here for a while, and then looked back and *poof* no Kevin, so I had to sit up, softpedal, drink the strawberry milk, and wait for him to catch up before chugging northwards again) and was almost spoiled a while later when I was pulling along and rammed a wasp, which became stuck under the right temple of my glasses, freaked out, and stung the shit out of me before I managed to knock her away from my face.

As far as I know, I’m not allergic to bee-stings, so I didn’t bother to stop after being stung, and continued to crank my way north with a little extra profane commentary about the nature of bee-stings. And by the time we reached the Lone Elder Store the pain had died down to an annoying itch and didn’t bother me for the rest of the loop. But, of course it had to happen to my right side, which I’m half expecting will tear itself loose and run away one of these weekends when I want to do a fast loop or two.

I was distracted by the bee-sting, so the last half-dozen miles to Canby passed me much quicker than they usually do, and then it was time to turn east to climb up to Central Point Road and (eventually) up into Oregon City. And this is the point where we started to slow down – I’d done much of the loop in my 50×16 gear, but every little roller between Township Road and the top of the Leland Road ramp took just a bit out of me, so when we topped the ramp into Oregon City I geared up to my, um, 50×21; gear, which is pretty much the gear I stayed in for the remaining 12 miles back to Sellwood.

We topped out in Oregon City at 8h20 and 12 miles to go. I optimistically thought be might make it back to Sellwood by 9h10, but, alas, the transit between Oregon City and Milwaukie worked its usual anchor-dropping magic and we didn’t get back into town until 9h24 after our departure.

Sigh. Next time I’m going to push myself a little bit harder and get under 9 hours. There’s a sub-8 200k in me (and not an optically flat racers 200k, either) but I’m not going to see it until after I get myself under 9 hours.

But even with a 9h24 loop we still made it back to Sellwood early enough to avoid the evening crop of post-bbq drivers, and were able to enjoy a snack before heading off to our respective 4th of July activities (which, in my case, included a run up to the Big Big Store to get beer and snacky things before the evening munitions display.)

Not very many pictures, alas; I was in more of a transit than a sightseeing mood this time. Maybe next time (yes, of course there will be a next time; I am nothing if not someone who obsessively rerides permanents into the ground.)