Breitenbush 300k

I suppose that sometimes I am a cocky bastard. After the Molalla River 200k a few weeks ago, I wrote that it was not as hard as I thought it would be and that I was psyched for the 300k coming up because–I think these were my words–maybe it would be more of the soul-crushing challenge I was hoping for.

I swear, how do you guys even put up with me? :)

But that being said, yesterday’s Breitenbush 300k was not, in fact, a soul-crushing challenge. It was actually quite lovely! The 6am fog shrouding our start burned off after a few hours, leaving nothing but glorious sunshine. It seemed like everyone was in pretty high spirits. I hope so, anyway, because otherwise my uber-exuberant comments about how amazing and beautiful everything was and how much I loved life probably got annoying pretty fast.

Until the hills around Detroit Lake, I spent a good portion of the morning with some variation of this group:

(pictured here are Kevin, Ian, Michael, Ed, and John; not pictured are David, Asta, and Theo)

We split up a bit once the road started climbing more, and I made the hike up to Breitenbush (and most of the rest of the ride) by myself. I was actually kind of excited about that. It was really nice to bike with lovely people for the first many hours, but I also sort of wanted to prove to myself that I could do this kind of thing even if I’m not being entertained by conversation with others. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but I wonder sometimes if I actually have the mental fortitude (or whatever you want to call it) to do hard things if they’re not made easier by someone else’s presence. So I was psyched for the chance to spin along with only my own thoughts to keep me company. Just to prove to myself that I can.

(though it’s easy to enjoy yourself when you’re biking by this kind of thing. Mt Jefferson and Detroit Lake)

This was an out-and-back ride. So when I got to the control in Lyons on the way back, at 132 miles, I’d gone as far as I’d ever previously biked in one day. And though I was kind of nervous about the next 60 miles, it turns out that they were totally chill. Aside from 30 or so miles of super intense stomach cramps (if anything, that was the almost soul-crushing part;), I felt pretty spunky. And when I managed to will the cramps into submission with about 25 miles left to go, I was definitely feeling spunky:)

(close to the end and the sun’s still shining!:)

This isn’t anything that I haven’t said before (probably millions of times:), but there is something so rad about getting on your bike in the morning and knowing that you’re going to be biking all day. With short distances, you worry about how long it’s taking you or what you’re going to do when you get there, or any million number of things–but with a ride like this, where you’ve already committed to it taking all day, you just sort of settle in and enjoy it. At least, I do–maybe I shouldn’t speak in universal yous:) But it’s so fricken awesome. And even though I’m still a total newbie to this (all these fools I was biking with who have done ridiculous distances like 600, 1200, whatever k at a time are so inspiring), I seriously can’t imagine anything better.

(though next time I’m going to remember to put on sunscreen)

Now that I know a 300k is totally possible–even thoroughly enjoyable:)–I guess there’s nothing left to do but sign up for a 400k. And then maybe a 600 and 1200;) Bring it.

(more ride pictures here)

7 Comments:

  1. I’m betting that you’re gonna enjoy the 600k. It’s a great way to get in two full days of cycling. You’re easily fast enough to get into the overnight control early and get 5 or 6 hours sleep. Or you could sleep less and finish earlier. Who knows, maybe you’ll just ride straight through although that can get a little dangerous if you get sleepy on the bike.

    Glad you’re enjoying randonneuring. The summer series is gonna be great as I think the routes will be even better.

    –Leaf S.

  2. Yeah dude. I’m so crazy psyched about it. I’m sad to miss the rest of the spring rides because of work, but I’m glad you said that about the summer series. Bring it on:)

    When it comes time for 600+, I’ll need some coaching from fools like you to know what the heck to bring with me. heh. The only multi-day rides I’ve ever done have been full-on tours, with a much different packing scheme:)

    • For a 600, it’s not so much what you bring as what you leave behind. Your common sense and sanity are two good things to leave at home, for instance.

      When I did my first 600 last year, I ended up riding all the way through with Asta & Theo. I’d packed a drop bag for the halfway control (toothbrush, change of clothes, shoes) but everything else I needed was stuffed into my big rando bag, which was basically packed the same way I load up for anything longer than a populaire (more food, plus as many extra layers as I could fit into the thing; I left my common sense and sanity out to save weight) I used up almost all of the food, but only about half of the clothes; I suspect that you could pretty much just pack extra clothing into a drop bag and ride the first 350k or so (of a 600) with the sort of load you were carrying on the 300, then sort through the drop bag before either sleeping or continuing on to finish the loop.

      The summer series is not that far away, either; the 400 is Aug 4th, the 600 is the 25th(+26th if it takes you longer than 24k to ride 600km)

      • Common sense and sanity? Aren’t those the two things that drive you to ride long distances in the first place?:)

        I don’t know about you, but I surely would be much more insane without the outlet of massive physical exertion;)

  3. Impressionnante! Est-ce génétique?

  4. I really enjoyed the 300k too. The 400k that’s coming up is a great ride as well. Very beautiful scenery down one side of the Willamette Valley and back up the other side. Lots of flat riding and lots of smooth roads. I always enjoy the ride back from Salem in the dark.

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