Covered Bridge 200k
Oregon Randonneurs brevet. My first. Beautiful day, great people. Wilsonville to Scio then Salem and back.
I got up at 3:30 and drove up to Wilsonville. I got to the Starbucks early but there was already a group of riders getting ready to go. Turn out they were doing a 400k ride. Glad I didn't go with them. Pretty soon people started showing up for the 200k ride. Right away I meet Narayan, Keith, and Susan, and it turned out they would be my companions for the rest of the day. I also met Lynne whom I have been working with online on the RUSA website.
There was a mass start at 7:00 of about 12-15 riders. The pace was swift from the start making me thing I would soon get dropped. The route started on the freeway of all things. It was the only way across the Willamette. Once we got across the river and off the freeway the group started splitting. The fast riders were off the front in no time. At first everyone else stayed together but soon the slower riders started falling back. I managed to stay with the middle group thinking I would fall back to the slower group later. I never did. The group I was with set the perfect pace for me the entire day.
We were soon on Meridian road riding long rollers for many miles. In fact the hills continued all the way to Scio. At one point I left the group behind as they were waiting for one rider to get up a hill. I rode on slowly expecting them to catch up but it turns out one of them had a flat. So I had about 12-15 miles of solo riding at a very mellow pace before they caught back up. I think this really helped my overall day.
The first bridge was Gallon House. It was the only one on this route that was not also on the CBBT. The rollers continued until not far from Scio there was one serious hill. I had to get off and push it was that bad. Then the fast downhill to the Shimenek Bridge and I was now in familiar territory.
We stopped at the Covered Bridge Cafe in Scio which was our first open control and had our cards initialed. We were well within the time so we sat down ate and rested a little. From Scio we followed familiar roads to the Hoffman and Gilky bridges and then headed towards Jefferson and turned on Green Bridge road. But instead of heading in to Jefferson we followed roads directly north over more hills and on in to Salem for our second control where we stopped at a Starbucks.
After Salem the route followed the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway on and off for quite a while but then broke off and headed east through Donald and eventually back to Wilsonville, once again crossing the river on the freeway. Our finishing time was 11:40, almost 2 hours ahead of the cutoff.
It was amazing for me to be fairly effortlessly keeping up with riders for whom 200k was just a warm up ride. Both Narayan and Susan have completed Paris-Brest-Paris in both 2011 and 2015, and have done other 1200k Grand Brevets. This means they had to first complete a series of 200k, 400k, and 600k in the same year. I still cannot wrap my mind about that. While I felt good after 200k I was a wreck the next day and 3 days later am still not recovered. Still I want to do more. There is a 300k at the end of June but it conflicts with the Loop Tour which I'm doing. So I might just do another 200k in early June and see how that goes.