Route Map / Cue Sheet
As one of the early rides of the year, we were anxious to get started. The weather looked to be be cool, but not rainy. The elevation is minimal and this year the winds were light, so its a very nice ride. We packed up enough food to support us through the ride, along with the food at the snacks. Withouth pre-registering, we did not order a lunch. Its a fairly short ride that finishes up early afternoon so a real lunch isnt really needed. Lisa and I rode together to the lunch stop at Champoeg, as a fairly easy ride. There we did meet up with Sue Kloster who had ridden the first half with her friend Molly, but that was all Molly was going to do, so she rode the rest of the way with us. The last half of the ride alternated between cloudy/cool, and sun coming out/pretty warm, so layers came and went.
Added elevation and route map/cue sheets for this years ride.
Up to this point in the year, karma has worked against us in getting involved in an organized ride. So this years Monster Cookie was the first for 2007. It has been the first for other years past as well, but we have tried to work in other early season rides into our schedule lately. So, having not preregistered for this years ride, and seeing that the weather has been improving, we got an early start in the morning, so that we could get down to the capitol and get registered. On years of nice weather, the day of ride registration lines are usually long. We got there about 745, and unlike their previous promises to not start til 800 they were open and the registratin went fairly fast. I did hear later that day the the lines got pretty long later, so we were lucky. Armed with our maps and lunch wristband we were off to Champoeg and the cookies that awaited us at the stops. Getting out of Salem is a lot of hurry up and wait, as bikers are anxious to get going and to warm up, but are hampered by the many traffic lights. After getting past Keizer station where the new shops, and the baseball field is, the roads open up to country farms, and we can then settle into the pace that suits us. It remained cloudy all the way to the lunch stop, but there was never any hint of rain, just a coolness that required our coats. At lunch we saw many of the friends we have ridden last year and it was good to chat and get reacquinted during a quickish lunch, before heading off for the second leg back to the capitol. We had none of the adverse weather from years past, and the last twenty mile section that I often find so brutal was lessened considerably by the lack of a breeze. If anything we seemed to have had a tailwind coming back in. Saw a Calfee bamboo bike, that was pretty cool.Kind of a slower Monster cookie for us as we haven't gotten a lot of miles and I was hampered by a cold, so we got in about 2:30.
What a difference a week makes. Last week we drove out to Champoeg Park for the Blueberry pancake ride. It was grey, cloudy, rainy and in the high low 50's. Today, we go to Salem for the ride to Champoeg Park and back, and it is sunny, clear and in the high 70s. Toady was the best conditions for this ride that I can remember. As one of the first organized rides of the year, it often suffers from bad weather, which tends to keep the crowd down. This year it seemed, everyone felt it was a good day for a ride. The roads were full of riders, at times a little too congested on the road, and there was always other bikes in site. But everyone was in good spirits and the ride was very enjoyable. Pre-registered this year, which is the recommended way to go for this ride. That allows you to order a box lunch at the park and puts you in the short registration line, and particularly with a day such as this, where so many decide at the last minute to ride, the registration lines can be very long. The box lunch is good to have, it really helps to have something substantial. Even though they provide such a great selection and quantity of cookies, after a while your body needs something a little more. Lisa and I rode it this year, and we saw so many people that we knew, it was like old home week, and a great way to get in touch with our friends after a long off season. Scott and Linda offered to share their rental home at Pacific City after Reach the Beach, if we wanted to ride home again after. (Lisa is not excited about back to back centuries so early in the year) Saw Kay and Mark at the rest stops, and once on the road as a blur, as they and another tandem raced past in a pack. No way to keep up with them. Sue West, my distant cousin met us at a stop and once again tried to persuade us to come with her and her girlfriend on a cross country bike trip this summer, or at least on the Oregon stage of it. It would be fun, though just don't know how we would fit that in to our schedule for the year. And with everyone else we saw, we were sure to announce our engagement. People are genuinely happy about it and it has been really fun. The wind was down this year, and with the nice weather, it seemed like a race of sorts. Many of the people we ride with were concerned about keeping a good pace, and most of them were actually looking to add more miles on to this ride. So the pace for the day was pretty fast. We completed the 61 miles at an average of 15.1, which is pretty good for us, considering we weren't really trying to keep up such a pace. Little tired afterwards, but we feel good. Lisa hopes to ride to work the next few days as well.
Wet, windy and cold day.We awake very early in
the morning and prepare for the trip.
Lisa, Pam O. and I ride down to Salem this morning. The morning after the 67 miles of rolling hills that make up the RACC.
still a little slow and stiff, we scan the horizons for any possible break in the dark gray cloud cover.
There doesnt appear to be any.
Lisa and I are pre-registered, Pam must stand in line to register, and even after we arrive in Salem there is still some doubt concerning everyones drive and determination to do this ride.
We have all done it before and now how wet and windy and cold this ride can be.
But we are here, and I insist we give it a try.
Our fears are confirmed, 5 miles into the ride the rains come, and followed by the winds, and now the raingear that was starting to get too warm at the start, now isnt warm enough.
We stop at the first rest stop, in the rain, and wonder if the elements will ease up.
Its decided that the elements wont, so we should.
With the groups resolve weaker than the weather, we decide that since we are at the rest stop we would be returning to in a few hours, then to take a slightly different route back, we should just take that route back now and cut it short.
We still have about 20 miles of wind back to the start. The rain has let up for now.
So, we return to the start, there are still cookies to enjoy. and we take the time to stop at Starbucks for warm coffee for the ride home.
Returning north in the area of the ride, we smugly pass through very dark clouds that are dumping heavy rains and enjoy the warm dry ride home.