This is one of Lisas
favorite rides, haven done it several times so far. For me, it has
always been on the day of a family reunion,
so it ends up being one of the rides I forgo each year in lieu of some of lifes other obligations and pursuits. But, this year the ride is scheduled for Saturday the 30th, and the reunion is Sunday the 31st. Hmmmm, perhaps we dont have to make a choic this year.
So we sign up for the ride, and pick up our packets on the thursday prior to the race on our bike commute home from work, at the American Diabetes offices, which is directly on the bike path under the Sellwood bridge. How cool and convenient is that? We chose the 67 mile loop as the 100 mile loop just seems too crazy. Saturday we drive to Welches, and since we have our stuff, all we need to do is pick up our "free" tshirts, and we are ready to go. Elevation at the start is 1,500 feet. First part of the ride is quiet and easy, with a gentle upslope, through the shade of the trees. Then as we start to climb towards Government Camp, the grade increases, the trees fall away from the roadside, and the sun heats up. Its now starting to get warm, but its only 9.8 to the first stop. We stop to eat, chat with friends, apply sunscreen then head on, its just 4 miles now to West Leg Road. At West Leg Road, it takes a bit of patience and daring to make the crossing of Hwy 26, to start the climb to Timberline Lodge. West Leg Road is the old forest service road to the Lodge, narrow, windy, lined with trees, very scenic, and today supposedly closed to traffic, though we did of course pass one big diesel pickup. Its a 4.5 climb, of a pretty healthy grade. The best way to attack these stretches is to persistenly grind it out in a low gear, and enjoy the climb. Clear skies and warm temps greet us at the top. Elevation at the Timberline Lodge is 6,000 feet. Michael G, and Dianne K are also up top to cheer us on. Get our pictures taken at the summit, collect our summit medallion, food, rest, blue rooms, and we are ready for the speedy descent down the main road. The wide road and gentle curves of this descent allow a fast ride, but it must be tempered a bit due to the strong crosswinds at the time. Once back on the main highway again, we must push our way along to cross over Barlow Pass, elevation 4161, and then Bennet Pass. Now its really getting hot. Lisa's thermometer on her bike bounces around in 90's depending on sun/concrete conditions. More rest stops at 31, 46, 58 miles are all welcome, not so much for the food, but for the water and a little shade. But after Bennet pass at mile 31 the ride is mostly all downhill, some slightly so, but also some pretty good stretches of straight slightly steep sections. I had a top speed of 39.5 on one stretch, without pedalling, from a coasting start. Pretty fun. The support was great, even had cheerleaders at a stop cheering us in, the food was ok, but lacking in the salty food department. But one stop did have snickers bars, so all is right with the world once more. The headwinds stayed with us, but while they were very warm winds, they were just strong enough to let us know they were there, but not the energy sapping winds that can be so brutal. Seemingly new this year is a falling rock retention wall, about 1/4 mile long that is really an engineering feat. It was fun to fly by the fencing, to be both in awe of the intelligence that went into the details of the system, and of the brutal destruction that can be caused by of the massive rocks expected to strike it, of which the fence is (hopefully) designed to protect. Then after one last long gentle climb near Odell, it is another downhill, through parkdale, where you can experience simultaneous clear views of both Mt. Hood, and Mt. Adams in Washington. Get into the park at Hood River shortly after 3:00. Enough time to get something to eat and drink, look around, clean up a bit, and catch the 400 bus back to the start.
Its a RAZ transportation bus, and we leave with nearly all seats taken, shortly after 400, having had to wait 10 minutes for a lady to go back to the bathroom to get her cell phone? Then, 10 minutes after we leave, we pass another RAZ bus on the side of the road, so our driver stops to see whats up. He goes back for 10 minutes, then gets back on as the stalled bus passes us by. Five minutes later that bus is stopped again. Again we stop, he goes back, and returns a short time later. A call in to his dispacher reports that this bus is full of a wedding party, and that the bus is overheating and cannot continue. And, since there is no other bus to help out, we must turn around (On Highway 35), go back and get them, and take them all up the mountain to a bed and breakfast at Cooper Spur, where their wedding is about to begin. So we pick them up, I give my seat to a woman in a dress, and I stand in the aisle in my smelly bike clothes. And we take the old route up to Cooper spur and down the other side. Since there is other starts for the rides, we must detour again up the mountain to the Mt Hood Meadows resort. We get up there, driver opens the door, and, no one gets off. Apparently no one needed this stop like they did the last time the driver did the loop. So, back down the hill again, and to our next stop at Government Camp. This time the only people to get off is the lady we waited for with the lost phone. Thats twice shes delayed us. At this point think Lisa and I agree that perhaps I need coffee to settle me down. Finally, we get to Welces, and find my bike, which the crew had previously taken from me, loaded into a truck and unloaded into the bike corrall. But, not Lisas. Dang. Well a volunteer informs us last truck is due shortly, possibly its on there. So I get the car, load up the stuff, and yes, the last truck then arrives, and it is there. Now we are set, our last stop being the nearby Subway for a change of clothes, coffee and ice cream. I am better now.
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