Dave, Laura, and I rode 62 miles with the OrRando folks today. We met at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse and signed in.
Officially 87 riders, a good showing considering the rain that was falling last night. We shoved off at 8AM, no rain, but the roads were still wet from the night's rain. I jumped right into a pretty fast group and we held better than 20 mph (just inches apart front to back and side to side) for about 18 miles when one of the women flatted.
I paused to see if she had everything she needed. That was all it took to fall off the back of the group. We were climbing a slight grade and I just couldn't hook back up with them. I solo rode the remaining few miles to Snooseville, the turnaround point. I ate a banana and drank some water then quickly hopped back on the bike. Within about a mile a tandem caught up with me and went around. I knew where my bread was buttered and pushed hard enough to slip into their copious draft. Before long we passed Dave and Laura making their way up to Snooseville. The had smiles on their faces and waved. The roads dried off and all was well. I managed to stay in the tandem's wake for the next 20+ miles as they pulled 20-22mph on the flats. I just about lost them at the "secret control" where they got better than a quarter mile jump on me as I waited to get my ride card initialed. It was all I had in me to catch back up with them. I gave it all I had because I knew what the benefit was to be in their draft. I enjoyed the tandem's gravitational pull for another 10 miles or so. In the non city of Kansas City (just past the famous Love Farm antler filled barn) I stopped to down a gel and drink some water. I let the tandem continue on their ride. I had ridden the stoker position on a tandem on my first 1 day STP and continue to marvel at their efficiency. The stoker was feeding the captain, taking the garbage back, calling out the next turns, passing gel and water forward. I was stuck on my solo bike doing that all for myself. But then I did have an easier time on the uphill sections!
I rode the last few miles into Forest Grove and the Maggie's Buns control solo.
I felt a bit tired from about 40-45 miles but rallied. As I turned on Evergreen Rd the velvet smooth pavement helped pick up my spirits. I pedaled back up to a 19-20 mph pace and held that back to the ride's end, finishing our circuit at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse.
I did not see the colored balls control coming off the Wilson River Road.......concentrating on the tandem you are drafting's rear tire just 6" in front of you will do that! Despite not being able to answer that question the powers that be were kind enough to issue me a very cool Populaire finisher's pin. I finished the 62 miles with just over an 18 mph average, the nice little finisher's pin supplied by the Oregon Randonneurs and a scuzzy bike to show for the first hour and a half on wet roads.
My 4 Race Across Oregon teammates were to meet at the finish today to go over race logistics. One teammate had previously sent regrets having family commitments, one other just didn't show.
And so it was that Mike and I met and went over some of the challenges we will face. It's hard to plan a team event when half the team doesn't attend.
How do you spell commitment? I hope it's not going to be an issue. Before we deal with an issue like that Mike and I will ride as a two man team. I am prepared to do that.
...............Road Bike.....LifeCycle.....Total Miles