The birthday miles that almost weren’t!

So long term flowers of the this blog know that November is my birthday month.

Many cyclists ride their years on their birthdays.  Thats easy when you are in your 20s and 30s and born in the summer.  Even I can crank an after work 40 or so in June,  However, when you are born in November, and in your (holy crap I am!) in your late 50s,  It’s harder.

I have modified the tradition to make it one day in November I ride my years. This year through, things weren’t looking good.

First off, you need a decent day. We have had, no lie, 19 inches of rain in November!!  We had close to 9 in the last week. Someone turned on the spigot and aimed the hose right at us!  Flooding, standing water and mudslides to not make for a fun 57 mile ride.

Then there is the lack of overall miles this year. Up and until yesterday, I had only a little over 1200 miles total. (Last year I ended at over 2500) Plus my longest ride of the year was 44 miles. I needed a ride with over 1/3 more miles… I did not have the legs or butt callouses for a long ride.

Near the end of October, there was a part of me wondering if I would really do the birthday ride. No one makes me do it, and last year I feel like I cheated a little doing laps along the river road to get the 56. Was this to be the year it stopped? (been doing since 2008 by the way)

Well, one day at the top of Cape Foulweather I met 4 other cyclists.  I am SO crappy at names! The only one I remember was Conrad, who spoke very little.  However, the chatty guy who introduced himself made a point of telling me that Conrad was the old guy of the group (not one of all of us was young). Yep, Conrad is 82, and on his birthday it June it rained ALL day on his birthday, and they all joined him to ride 82 miles….

Well hell..

If Conrad rode 82, then someone who calls himself the Oregon Coast Cyclist better damn well ride his 57.

But what day??  It was looking like it would have to be a rainy weekend. But then the cycling gods smiled! Yesterday dawned blue sky and sunny!

I hadn’t planned on riding though. We did our normal Saturday grocery shopping, had breakfast and then I started to get ready.  I decided to drive to Newport at start at the Yaquina Bay Light House, I was on the road at 1030.

From there I dropped down to the Bayfront, said “Hi!” to the sea lions

And headed inland along the Yaquina River.

This the route I took last time, but the plan was to do only one lap, and gain a fast 25 miles. Then head north to a yet undetermined point, then pedals south to the car.

The fast 25 was a bit relative. Darned if I didn’t keep stopping for photos!

But soon I was back at the car and ready to keep pedaling north.

I had to stop at the car to shuck layers (if felt like summer time!) and top off the water bottle, then north I went.

I kept watching the odometer. I knew I had gotten to the car at 26 miles, so I kept counting the miles north as the ticked and doing the math to see if I had gone far enough,

Sorry for the math, but it went like this. When I hit 30 miles, I knew I had traveled 4 miles from the car. If I turned around then, and went the 4 miles back, I would be at a total of 34 miles!  I needed a lot more!

At the north end of Boiler bay, I had 42 miles!  That is 16 total, meaning if I turned around and did the 16 back I would be at 58!  Boom!  Boiler bay was the turn around point!

Funny thing though what I thought would be a brilliant plan didn’t quite pan out! See, normally the winds come from the north, so I was hoping for a tail wind to wind up the miles.

However, in the winter, when the rains are coming (and they were due to return that night) the winds come from the south, so yep, I had headwinds that were picking up!

And the sun was going away!  Just a few miles south south my blue skies looked like this!


And if you remember from above, I left the warm clothes at the car….

Luckily I always ride with the yellow trunk bag on the bike!

I had stashed a windbreaker, warmer gloves and a cycling knit cap in the panniers. By the time I got to car I was wearing everything I had and wishing for one more layer!

I had 16 miles and one long climb to go! Luckily I am used to headwinds, so I just sorted put my head down, moved to an easier gear, and kept pedaling. It was not going to be a fast 16 miles!

I had to climb back over Cape Foulweather to get back to the car. For those who have never cycled the Oregon Coast, it is quickly learned that if you see the word Cape on a map, it means HILL! And they aint small!.

On a normal ride I can go up and over Foulweather going and coming, no problem. But I was already at a point beyond my longest ride of the year. Going up the second time was a challenge.

I do not like to stop when I climb a hill. However, if there is a photo worth taking, a stop is allowed. I will not lie, I was happy a photo opportunity appeared about halfway up!

I decided to hedge my bets a bit, and add a short detour going back to the car. I was a bit tired, and didn’t want my calculations to be off. I did NOT want to have to do an extra mile or so at the end. So the Yaquina Head light house was added.

I was watching the miles. and at the bottom of Foulweather I hit 50. I also had more head winds….

Those 4 miles to the turn, the thighs were burning!  I really didn’t have much of a choice at that point. I had the car with me, so even if I was tired I couldn’t call Michelle to come get me (in case of emergency, ANY of our neighbors would have gladly shuttled her if needed, no worries) and I would not have been happy with myself if I quit!

So slow and steady, I made it to the turn to the Yaquina Head light house .

Always worth a stop.  I got off the bike and did a walk around the lighthouse, which seemed to help the legs a lot!

I saddled back up, and was soon on the last stretch! Funny thing, my calculations were dead on! In fact, added the detour gave me MORE miles that I needed. When I got back to the car, it wasn’t with 57 miles, I hit 60!


But the weather had also gone downhill!  The light house and bridge at the beginning of this post were taken just as I left the car.  When I got back, they looked like this!

I loaded up the bike and hit the road back home with minutes to spare before the rains hit!

I know damn well, there will come a day where I will wake up, and NOT be able to jump on a bike and gut out 60 miles! Some day that day will come, but yesterday was NOT that day!

Michelle was proud of me, and I came home to a loaf of homemade pumpkin bread!  I was proud of me for getting it done, the cycling gods smiled at me for using the one possible day in November to ride, and somewhere, Conrad, who I cussed more than once in that last 16 miles, has given me a slight nod.

Shoot even the Hulk raised his hands in a cheer! (Yes that IS his happy face!)

Yep for the last 8 years I have ridden the birthday miles! Who knows, maybe someday I will crank out 82 on my 82nd as well!

Like the wind!

6 thoughts on “The birthday miles that almost weren’t!

  1. First of all, happy birthday month!

    Second of all, nice job! Cape Foulweather certainly did not disappoint, as the weather definitely looked more foul upon your return.

    Third of all, since you pedaled more than your birthday years, does that mean you can take the next few years off?

    Fourth of all, I have heard of wiser (aka “older”) cyclists switching from the standard system of measurement to the metric system. Just a heads up: I don’t think any of your blog followers would be disappointed if you decided to start cycling kilometers on your birthday… especially in years in which the skies decide to dump atmospheric rivers.

    Fifth of all, holy Hulk! Is that in Lincoln City?

    1. Hulk is at the wax museum in Newport right on the bay front. I need to go in since they update that and Ripleys

      Metric system…. Now THERE is an idea!

      And I think it gives me 3 miles if i need them next year 🙂

  2. I didn’t know this was a thing! Unfortunately my 66th birthday is in December. I put lots of miles on the bike this summer, but the wet Oregon coast weather has really put the brakes on my fall mileage.

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