400km brevet
At Eden's Gate Brevet, Wilsonville - Silverton - Stayton - Scio - Lacomb - Sweet Home - Mohawk - Harrisburg - Independence - Wilsonville, 16 Apr 2011

Well, laminating my cue sheets to ward off rain didn't work this time...

An earlier 400k than last PBP season meant more chance of rain, but we'd been being taunted by the chance of mere showers as the forecast shifted around in the days leading up to the brevet, but in the end, we got stuck with a "50% chance of occassional rain" kind of thing, and it certainly bettered that.

Headed out of Wilsonville at 5am into overcast skies threatening dampness, which manifested itself soon enough, but really only as very light showers, giving us hope for the rest of the ride - maybe we weren't going to get soaked after all... Things went pretty well through the first few covered bridges, rolling along nicely, overcast but pleasant, quick stops for food and question-answering. Cole School Road came and went with its 2 big "rollers" that are still walls, but somehow a hair less monstrous than I remembered them being. Of course, this didn't stop me for mis-shifting on the second one, thus throwing my chain and buying myself a mid-hill restart. Gah.

Things continued pretty well, and then IT happened. The rain, that is. It started up somewhere before Sweet Home, and just continued. Not torrential, but solid, and consistent, and enough to soak you through and through. It wasn't too cold, but still, when you're soaked through, any temperature south of the 70s is cold. All of this served as a mind eraser for me, and really most of the ride is a haze at this point - we were just plodding on and on through the wet, probably questioning our sanity a good bit of that time. Certainly everyone we ran into was.

Somewhere past Harrisburg, it tapered off. This was almost guaranteed, as we all stopped and changed into warm, dry clothing there. Perfect timing, right into some of the long monotonous flat stretches. Albany and Independence were both total busts for food, but fortunately I was carrying pretty substantial provisions, even at this point. Finally hit our last restock just outside Salem, and then continued in through the last 50 miles, taking time out to miss a turn and have to navigate back on course. Having been in Salem at 211am, I knew my chances for sub-22h were gone, so I was aiming for sub-24h. Didn't hit that either - when all was said and done, it was 24h24m. I can live with that, given that weather made this a much harder brevet than it was in 2007. Thankfully the occasional headwind we got on the way north from Harrisburg wasn't anything more than occasional.

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