Have I mentioned I really, really love riding my bike? I really love riding my bike. And then I take a ride like yesterday’s Oregon Randonneurs Three Capes 300k, and I fall in love with it all over again.
Gosh. I almost bailed on this ride, actually, because the 6am start in Forest Grove meant that I got up–that’s right, I set my alarm and then got out of bed–at 3:30 am so I could bike down to Sellwood and catch a ride with a fellow I’d never actually met who turned out to also be from Sacramento and sort of know my brother! I love random shit like that. (Thanks, Dylan!:) But yeah, the 3:30am thing wasn’t awesome, and I felt a little bad to be missing a Saturday 1-year-old birthday party for my favorite small child. So I thought–for a few seconds at least–about not riding this one.
But of course a bike ride almost always wins out. And I’m so glad it did! :)
Like most of the rides I’ve taken with the Oregon Randonneurs, the route is pretty amazing. I realized after the fact that most of the ride was actually along water of some sort, which is perhaps why I liked it so much: first along the Wilson River on Highway 6 out to the coast, then south along the Pacific Ocean on the scenic Three Capes route, then back along the Little Nestucca and Yamhill Rivers, and then all the wetlands around Fern Hill right by the end. Add to that the timing–everything green is sprouting right now, and the world is tinged in springtime–and it was quite a lovely day.
Even better was that some early-morning showers and mud-splattering ultimately gave way to perfect biking weather: not too hot, not too cold, mostly dry, beautiful clouds with just enough blue sky to remind you that better weather is on the way. It was an amazing day to dedicate to many miles of pedal-spinning.
When I start these rides, I’m always fully prepared to ride by myself. Thirty two riders, the number of people who started yesterday, is not very many when you spread that out over almost 200 miles, and even though I generally end up biking with several people for at least part of the time, I ultimately spend a lot of time by myself. Which I like, actually, because I’m pretty happy going at my own pace and letting my mind wander.
This time, though, I was surprised to bike basically the whole way with a fellow, Tim, I met at the Timber Rd turnaround. Whether we were actually always going the same pace or inadvertently matched ourselves up to each other as we went, it was a new experience to spend that many miles with one person. Nice, though–a good reminder of the awesome people out there in the world, just waiting to chat on a long bike ride. :)
Another fun surprise: I finished the route way before I was expecting, I think in part because it was way flatter than I was expecting, too (and there was way more tailwind than I would ever dare hope for again). But all those extra hours of daylight at the end of the ride just make me want to bike and bike and bike, farther, farther, farther.
Like I said, I fricken love riding my bike. And days like yesterday just feed the beast.
It’s always a little weird to be on a ride like this and know that there are thirty or so other people out on the same route, some in front of you and some behind, and yet have no idea what their experience of the ride is. That’s often mitigated by chatting with people either at controls or at the end, but this time I didn’t stick around the finish long enough to see too many others. I hope it was great for all of you, though:)
If you’re curious about the route itself, the OR Rando page linked above has details, or Susan Otcenas actually has a map posted here, if you want a visual–thanks, Susan!:)
And, of course, pictures, though not very many, are here.