Well folks, for me May means two things these last few years. The first is Bike everywhere month. Once again, even though I moved to the Oregon Coast, I was the captain of the team for the Mighty P! This Friday last, was bike to work day. Well when you work at home there is no commute. Michelle knows me well, though, and convinced me to saddle up for a ride around the block. Here I am, sporting game face, flip flops and cargo shorts coming into the ‘office’.
Now I did catch some grief for no helmet! Rest assured, any ride where I lose sight of my own garage I ALWAYS wear a helmet!
The other thing that occurs in May is the Reach the Beach ride.
The Reach the Beach starts in Portland and ends 25 miles north of our house in the small town of Pacific City. It’s a well supported ride that benefits the Lung Association. Honestly it is one of my favorite rides.
Now as if the 100 miles wasn’t a challenge in itself, up and until last Sunday I wasn’t sure what bike I was going to be riding. Almost a month ago, I had taken my bike to the Local Bike shop, and they were having serious issues getting my rear derailleur to work (See Here Use My Spare). I had a bike to train with
But it wasn’t mine. Last Sunday, on the last long training ride before this weekend, they called me and said it was ready to go!
I was VERY happy!
The only downside, though, was I only had a chance for a 25 mile ride before yesterday’s century (100 miles). But no guts no glory, it was time to ride.
I was at the starting line before 6 AM, I got my number and, a surprise to me, a t-shirt
The ride forecast was not stellar. Some rain, some sun, some wind, and by 3 PM heavy rain at the coast. This meant packing different layers, and shucking or adding as conditions changed.
The first 25 miles were HARD. I just couldn’t get into a rhythm, and I was hot or cold, then it rained then it stopped. I think not having my bike to train with made it harder. Won’t lie, for a bit I was wondering if I was going to do the whole 100…
It didn’t help that at 18 miles I made a wrong turn. Yep, I went left (I saw an arrow to the left, turns out it was for a garage sale) and was bombing down hill. In about a mile I realized I hadn’t see a marker in a while NOR was there anyone ahead or behind me…. Yep, that meant 1.5 miles UPHILL back to the route.
At 25 miles, though, I reached the top of the longest climb, Gibbs Cemetery (est 1889).
I can’t help but think, each time I do this ride, “Here lies those who didn’t survive the climb.”
From here, the ride got better. There is a long down hill which always makes things better! Then at 30 miles, There was a tail wind. The next 20 miles till the midway rest stop seemed effortless! I was a happy man again. Add to it, the sun came out, and I was able to shuck down to shirt sleeves. These tail winds lasted till mile 75!
Having done this ride 3 or 4 times before, I have developed a strategy for rest stops. At 60 miles I pulled over to make sure I was all watered up. My goal was to skip the last rest stop. Sadly, this stop has the best food, but it is ALWAYS crowded, and getting there and back, plus eating you lose a minimum of 20 minutes. Most times this doesn’t matter, but remember, I was racing the big rain.
I passed the rest area, and started the penultimate climb to the top of the pass. This one is not a steep, climb, but it does go on for a good 7 miles. Its always nice to see the top and head down.
However, still looming ahead was the Soul Sucker. Right at 90 miles, after a number of climbs already, and a long day in the saddle, is a short 1/4 mile climb that feels like it goes straight up! If you don’t know it is there it sneaks up on you. As I saw it, there were more people pushing their bikes up than riding. I geared down, sucked it up, and made it to the top. I will tell you, there was NOT much more in the tank after that.
The ride wasn’t done with me yet….
Three miles from Highway 101, the Oregon Coast hwy, the winds shifted. We were riding straight into a strong headwind.
All chatter amongst the riders stopped, it was head down and ride.
Confession time. I stopped 1 mile from the official finish line.
Michelle had found a great parking spot, and I could see the clouds coming in. The only real reason for the finish is the upside down pick you saw at the top. It’s fun, but I really didn’t want the bike soaked after just getting it out of the shop. Plus, with the getting off track session early on, I had 103 miles! I was happy to load the bike and get the heck out of Dodge!
As were driving home, the clouds were coming in. Five minutes out from the house, it started to rain lightly, but we got the house and inside. No lie, the clouds opened up, thundered rumbled, and it gullywashed!
Had I stopped at the last stop or gone to finish line, we woulda been drenched!!
After a quick shower, and clean clothes, Michelle made home made Mac and Cheese as “Great Job” meal. Plus, it was reward time.
Clif Family winery Zinfandel! A great way to relax after a long ride.
After a rough start, this turned out to be an excellent day in the saddle!
A big thanks to Michelle, who once again was my sherpa. Dropped me at the start line, picked me up at the end and fed me VERY well! Love you babe!