Well, the first organized ride of the year has come and gone, and I think I'm pretty well on track. We rode out to Cornelius Pass Roadhouse for the start, so that tacked an additional 30km or so onto the day, and started me out "warmed up" (or something - since we left Portland at about 6:45 and made it to Forest Grove at 7:50, we weren't exactly making "warm-up" pace, in my book...). Weather was mild, overcast, and threatening rain, but nothing really materialized until later (forecast was for rain possibly after 10, and the NWS was right, as usual) - generally really nice riding weather.
We headed out at 8, and immediately things broke into groups - the fast crew motored off immediately, and me, I just toodled out the gate. A little faster than usual, but the Taylor makes my legs a little frisky, so that's ok. We turned onto fairly calm rural roads soon enough, and started our big "climb" for the day, up Dairy Creek Rd to Fern Flat, where the 1st control was. On the ride profile, this looks *far* more dramatic than it actually is, and is really just a gradual incline into the mountains. Not really all that bad, and nice to get over with early on in the ride. I spent most of this leg chatting with other riders, and just motoring along at a good clip. Arrival at the staffed Fern Flat Rd control meant cookies and lollygagging, and I hung out there for about 30 minutes, enough time for pretty much everyone else on the ride to come through.
From there it was downhill and then onto the flats back into Banks, through a "secret" control and around the long way back to Forest Grove, where we stopped at Maggie's Buns, our 3rd control. Now, if I didn't know there was a small college in Forest Grove, the existance of Maggie's Buns would immediately reveal it to me. Definitely a there's-a-school-around-here-somewhere type of business. They were slammed, thanks to us and several other groups of riders, it seemed, but they coped well. My order got forgotten, but that was ok, I hung out for about an hour, having a coffee and cinnamon roll and chatting.
In from Forest Grove back to the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse was almost autopilot routing for me, and it passed quickly - amazing how much faster the distance goes when theres's lots of turns to make, and break up the mileage. Back at the Roadhouse, I found the stragglers and organizers, having the customary post-ride food and beer, so I joined in. Good company, as always!
If I figure in my lazy controls, riding time looks like 4h15, which isn't too bad at all, considering that the fast crew was in in less that 3h25... Puts me well on target for the type of pacing I'm aiming for in a PBP year... Faster riding means more time for food and drink at controls!
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