Thursday, April 15, 2010

Berkie 200k 4/20/10

Too much riding and not enough writing. The season is in full swing, so here is a little recap from the Berkie 200k put on by the Oregon Randos. I always feel like I spend too much time refreshing the weather report screen during these early season brevets. The weather can be fickle and ever changing from the beginning of the week to the end and it really doesn't ever change the fact as to if I'm going to go or not. This ride was no exception but I knew it couldn't be worse than last year when it rained for the entire time. Corey and I drove down to Portland the night before the ride and stayed with fellow rando rider Allen. I could see lingering stars in the sky, promising at least some good weather. At the start, we prepped our gear  while stamping and shivering in the cold morning air. The bank thermometer said 35 degrees. Finally, it was time to start and the fast group took off through town at a full sprint. The rest of us took a little more time to warm up and watch for the first rays of sun slowly creeping over the hills. The river valleys are always cold and damp with the night air. By the time we hit the climb up and over Timber, I was ready to get the blood moving. It was fun to see new faces as well as friends from last years Oregon series.

Finally we reached Vernonia and were treated to fresh pastries and hot coffee. The air finally started warming up and the extra clothes coming off during the short out and back. Our larger group broke into a few smaller groups as we followed beautiful rivers into Berkenfeld. Randonneuring takes us into some of the most random small towns. The mustached owner of this store greeted us with incredible enthusiasm and was glad to sign our cards with a call of "See you next year" as we left. Watered and fed, we basked in the full sun that was now shining down on us. A small gust of wind greeted our return south the Vernonia. The headwind followed us all the way back into town. I was glad to be in a group on this ride and our pace line made good work taking turns into the wind.

I started feeling tired and wasn't excited about getting into the wind again, but my mood changed after a few calories and some stretching. We retraced our route back into Timber and over the hill behind the town. At this point my saving thought was a Starbucks Double Shot. I knew that the next control was a gas station and all I wanted was the cold caffeine. It has become a favorite drink of mine during the brevets. We didn't stop long, just enough to get our heads out of the wind again. Finally the temperature peaked at the predicted 57 degrees. It felt incredible to be sweating and have the sun baking my skin. Again, our team worked hard into the wind as we pulled the final stretch into Forest Grove. Corey and I were shocked when we looked at our watches and realized that it was still happy hour! Our time of 8:28 was the fastest 200k for either one of us. We rejoiced over a burger and beer with others at the McMenamins before we headed back home.

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