Monday, July 14, 2008

Chehalis to Gresham (CTG)

I decided to go ahead with the ride. My desire to ride it was greater than my distaste for the STP.
Group rides are not my thing and such a large group ride is even less interesting to me. I prefer just tooling along and getting lost in the surroundings and stopping when I feel like stopping. Having a constant stream of cyclists deters my enjoyment since I have to pay close attention to the road and the other cyclists. Stopping becomes more complicated, is the stop mobbed with people, are there lines for the bathroom. Starting is complicated too, you have to time your start. Even riding is harder, there were many times where someone would pass me and slow down or pull out in front of my and break my rhythm.
The weather forecast was for 90 plus temperatures. I decided to make an early start of the ride to beat the heat and if possible get ahead of the pack of riders (at least for a while). I started out at 5:07 AM, with 46 degree temperatures. I began the ride just wearing, sandals, shorts and a sleeveless and got pretty cold. Temperatures were going to climb soon so it was not a big deal. The route took my usual south plan to cross I-5 on park. On Meier Road I came upon a fresh deer carcass with a large vulture standing over it. I tried to get a pic of it with my iPhone camera but the vulture would not let me get THAT close.
Exploring Military road was part of the route. I was not expecting it to be very nice but was well pleased with the southern half. Lots of nice wooded sections and ridge views. I will have to work in more routes that include S Military Rd.
At the intersection with SR 506, my route combined with the STP route. One of the first bikes I encountered was a tandem with a radio attached to it. Fortunately, after passing them, I did not see them again and nobody else had a radio. Riding SR 411 with all those other riders was not my idea of fun at all, the previous time riding it was way nicer.
Surprisingly, then I got to Riverside park in Kelso, I was expecting to wait in line for the restroom and deal with the mobs but they were all herded into the south part of the park and I had the north side to myself.
Continuing on, the bridge crossing was tough because it was single file and I did not want to hold the people behind me up so I pushed harder than I wanted to. On the other side the tailwinds were blowing pretty good so it was easy to rest and ride. The pace really picked up and I sailed along at about 17 mph average for the next 30 miles with a stop at Prescott Beach park to eat lunch and fill water bottles. I had the park to myself.
After Scapoose, the tailwind died, the heat was in full swing and the terrain got a little bit more hilly. Combined with it being near the end, riders started to really slow down and many were on the wayside. I slowed my pace and stopped to make sure I was still sweating (not dehydrated).
Once on the edge of Portland, there is a tap by City of Portland, I filled up on water, wet down my head and set out. Most of the final approach is downhill or flat and I blazed into town.
Finishing time for 100 miles was 6:54 riding time and 8:01 clock time.
The final 11 miles to my apt I took real slow and stopped to hang out in a shady park and get dinner.
I arrived at 3:36.

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