Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oregon Wine Country Populaire

The closest I hope to get to Randonneuring

My former partner-in-crime from the Ride of Silence, Duane Wright, referred to this ride with the OR Randonneurs as the Notsovery Populaire,
owing to the fact that there weren't hordes of people roving around the wine country, getting sloshed and weaving around. You can get that at Red Hook on any given Sunday. No, this was a small ride with dedicated cyclists wearing wool and carrying pencils and brevet cards, hoping to get in a nice scenic ride. The Seattle-Redmond group consisted of three riders on singles: Bill, Sylvia and me and one tandem of Greg and Ruth Sneed (400lbs worth, as Greg kept reminding us while dropping back on hills). It made for an exciting group: up the hills we would go, Bill and I fighting for the polka dot jersey, then spinning down the other side until the tandem came by and I'd jump on their wheel and off we'd go to the next roller. But I'm getting ahead of myself; I wanted to mention a great comment that was shared from the group to a passing driver. The entire Populaire populous was in the bike lane heading out of Forest Grove when a car rolled up, horn honking. A rider exclaimed to the driver, matter-of-factly, "If you keep this up, 
you're going to give yourself a heart attack". I could tell that these riders were people who had seen it all, ridden there, done that ride and had a few words of wisdom to share with rider and car, alike.

We rolled into the hamlet of Cherry Grove to find the first of the controls, where we would have to answer a question, writing with the aforementioned pencil; I had hoped it wasn't a tough question as I have trouble paying attention, especially while riding. "What time is Sunday school?" We were standing outside a church so I could see that I was going to ace this exam, as the sign read "Sunday school 9:45". Not even Evergreen was this easy.

We continued on, through flats and over lots of fun rollers, alongside creeks, beside vineyards and through towns, stopping only to gather ourselves together or to stuff ourselves with cheap Mexican fare. After the stuffing bit in Lafayette, we were headed north with only 25 miles to go. Bill exclaimed that he had been on that particular road before, only it had been at night, in the dark, at the end of a 300K (that's 187 miles, people!) and he was surprised at how beautiful it was now that it was light out. I imagined riding blindfolded, as it was an area without streetlights or light from nearby houses. Just follow the flashing rear lights ahead of you, blinkety, blink, into the night.

Not much later, we passed the Trappist Abbey where they were rumored to make a brandy-soaked fruitcake. While I wanted to indulge in the sweets, I didn't want to make my jersey sag under its weight so I noted its location so I could return by car the next day. After a handful of turns and a slippery-when-wet bridge, we returned to Forest Grove and the McMenamins Grand Lodge, ready to begin the most popular segment of the populaire, dinner and drinks.
See approximate ride route here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

COGS President's Ride

The parking lot began to fill up with familiar faces: Bill L, the Big Guy, Secret Weapon, the Italian Job, Girl Who Rides with Dog (in car) and a bunch of new faces, too. More and more cars arrived and the bikes piled 30 deep and I read later that, due to all the high-visibility yellow concentrated into a small area, that the space shuttle picked us up on one of their cameras. A lot of people showed up to usher in the first ride of COGS and their new President, um, me(!)

After a little speech of a few words of some thanks and goshes, we were off, heading north toward Martha Lake, without Martha. It just didn't seem right but she had called and said she was running late and so I left a cue sheet for her on my car. The regular-sized-people on little bikes were out in front and, I tell you, I've never felt more out of place. I was on a huge bike and riding next to me was the Big Guy.

Soon, we got into the rhythm of dropping people at corners (no, not to hitch a ride home, though there was some of that later) to direct the group. The Italian Job (Mario) and Steve volunteered frequently so that they could get their heartrates up by having to chase and re-join the group again after the sweep passed by. This ride had been developed with two types of people in mind: those who didn't shift through their gears and those who had sore backs; I knew we would be ok with a little climbing, especially after a caffeinated break. As we descended from Interurban Blvd to Broadway, we started to see the Laughers, my regular ride buddies, who were probably coming back from Snohomish with full bellies, uphill, breathing hard.
We turned south on Broadway and kept riding south, on (what I thought was) the often-travelled route until we suddenly reached the gas station at Woodinville-Duvall Rd. It turns out that the cue sheet says "R to Golf Course Rd" but it is not called that, it's really 240th St or some such ridiculously high number. The gas station was a better place to re-group anyway, but where is Bill and Adrienne? I just caught the last ring of my phone and saw it was Bill who had called. I left a message on his phone where we were going and we'd see him later. We zoomed down the hill, made the turn and cruised through downtown Woodinville, window shopping along the way. We lost Mark P to the trail, an automatic reaction, I guess, while we continued to Riverside Drive and back to Logboom on the trail.

Thank-yous were said, nice to see you, great, yes, it was. See you next time. OK, everyone is gone, where is Bill and Adrienne? After some phone tag, it was discovered that they had been led astray and were between Woodinville and Redmond on Avondale and Adrienne had a flat and needed a pickup. Mark P and I, in separate cars (he's her close friend; I felt leader responsibility) zoomed over to her like the calvary and scooped her up. Actually, I scooped her and her bike, while Mark went to look for Bill. At least Adrienne had Bill's car keys but, after about 10 minutes back at Logboom, Bill showed up, then Mark after him. It was all just a good excuse to go out for dinner and "an adult beverage".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Return to the Mountains

After two months away from the mountains while I rested up and healed my mystery injury to my foot and lower leg, I made a return today with friends and fellow hikers. I led a Mountaineers hike to Heather Lake, off the Mountain Loop Hwy, just 4 miles round-trip, but a good hike for my fall trail debut.

I was accompanied by Mark, my constant friend and wannabe hiker, Bill, the Laugher leader of Goosebumps who hasn't hiked in quite a while but was willing to give it a shot and 2 women from Marysville who recently joined the club and have been getting out regularly. We started up the trail with Mark leading and talking with Bill about all things photography and moved at a consistent, steady pace but we all warmed up regardless and soon took off layers. The day was starting to look really good, much better than predicted and there was blue sky above.

Somewhere along the 2 miles to the lake, the two gals, Amy and DaNielle got ahead of us and moved on while Mark, Bill and I stopped for photos and to breathe. Well, I'm assuming they were breathing...extra, I mean. When we arrived at the lake, it looked like Amy and DaNielle had already eaten lunch but they were polite and didn't get too nervous when we got our cameras and extra lenses out and shot everything from all angles. And then we ate and talked about grandparents and liverwurst and horse- and dog-meat. And then we stopped eating.

There was a trail that went around the lake which gives another perspective and better lighting to the scenery but it ends abruptly in avalanche debris so we took our photos and headed back down the trail. The trail was mainly wet (it's November) and a little muddy but no one took any falls and my ankle seemed pretty stable so I am encouraged to do more hikes. It's great to be back!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Church of the Skinny Tires

Worship services this morning began at 10am, a little later than normal to adjust to personal preferences. Despite the baptismal conditions in the parking lot that could not be prevented, services commenced. A half hour into the services, the rain jackets came off and the air became warm and a little muggy.

Don and Mimi strayed from the Path of Righteousness, and, in the end, could not be saved. We found them worshipping at the Graven Image of a Presta valve and uttering Blasphemy, and so cast them out. Besides, their tires weren't skinny enough.

Pastor Bill, leading the way, threw in all manner of twists and turns during his sermon so that the outcome would remain a mystery. But then, creation is always a mystery!

At the conclusion of services, the congregants gathered for the Host and the Sacraments, somewhat modified to suit the doctrine of the Church of Skinny Tired Bicycles.

(with thanks to Bill P who may not be going to Hell, after all)