06 December 2009

Scio Frozen Bridges

Well, seems there’s been a lot of carpin' 'bout the frigid air (and I ain't talkin' 'bout the one in yer kitchen) so I might as well talk about yesterday's little fiasco. Mind you, this ride was MY IDEA, so I can't complain.

I decided I wanted to go to Oregon in December and do a permanent with one of our new board members, but when I emailed Cecil Anne, she couldn't ride on Saturday, but could on Sunday. Well, doing a ride of 125 or so miles on Sunday is tough enough for me, but having to do a 4 hour drive back from Portland to Seattle in heavy Sunday nite going home traffic is pretty much unthinkable, so I organized one of Susan France's routes, the Scio Covered Bridges. I've wanted to do it for a while, and thought this would be a good chance. Relatively flat, not up into the higher hills so if there's cold rain and snow in the foothills, I'll probably be okay.

So Greg Sneed told me in late Oct. he wanted to go for his R-12. November we did 3-Rivers Cruise. He was signed on for this one, as was Ron Himschoot and John Vincent. Two Oregon Randonneurs, Sam Huffman and Bill Alsup signed on as well. Bill needed a ride in December to make his 2nd consecutive R-12. Sam hasn't ridden anything long since May, but is strong and young.

Then the weather forecasts started to bear watching. Dropping temps, threats of snow, freezing fog and wind. First Greg bailed. Then Ron. I told 'em I'm probably better prepared than some guys since I now have studded tires. So I loaded both bikes in the truck and headed off to Portland late Friday afternoon. 31 degrees when I got to Wilsonville about 9:00 pm. 27 degrees when I woke up, and freezing fog. Still dark, but there's a sheen of frost on the pavement. Susan had granted me permission to delay the start a couple hours if I needed to, so we decided to roll out at 8:30. As we went out to start getting ready, John says to me, "Boothby, there is ice forming ON my tires - just since we've been here. I'm packing for home.' Now we are 3.


Sam, Bill and I started out and rode the first mile along I-5 on frosty pavement. When we got off the highway and started down the back roads, I said, "Boys, I'm not doing this." Sam 'llowed as how he was with me. Bill? Well, he decided to soldier on.


As Sam and I got off the northbound freeway, I decided I'd go get my ice bike and do a short ride anyway. Maybe go along the course down to Silverton and back - that's about 40 or so miles. Once I had those studded tires under me, I felt pretty doggone good. No slip slidin' and very comfortable with that magic red saddle on it. The sun had come out around Wilsonville,


but as I got south a little ways, the fog settled in again, and there was a bunch of ice pretty much everywhere.



All the fog and ice made for some really spectacular sightseeing, though my teeth were chattering pretty good for a bit in the below-freezing temps.


OK, to make matters worse, when I changed bikes, I forgot to move my Spiz and Cytomax bottles from Katrina over to Iris, and just outside of the first little town, I reached down to grab a drink and my water bottle was EMPTY! So I stopped in Barlow at the little mini-mart and grabbed a cup of coffee. Hot and fresh, but too hot to drink, so I put a little ice in it. Then a little more, and drank a nice warm coffee. Before leaving, I topped it off with iced coffee which tasted great for the next several miles. Still had ice in the bottla 2 hours later.


And I found these beautiful black horses standing in the snow white fog. Very mysterious scene, with them emitting clouds of steamy breath and steam rising from their wet coats. I'm convinced they are responsible for all the fog.


And the huge Oregon Live Oaks were pretty awesome looking, too.


I overtook Bill in Silverton, and he convinced me (took a lot, right?) to ride on with him. And from there on, no clouds or fog


This is the Scio COVERED BRIDGES permanent:

The first of the three is just before coming into Scio


They do love their High School Football team here, too:


Scio beat Kennedy 14-7 to take the championship - this game was in progress as we rode through.


Bill dropped his camera and broke it right by that first bridge, so stopped at the Scio Market and bought a very patriotic adorned instant camera he was very pleased with


After a snack, it was off to the Hoffman Bridge


And then into beautiful downtown Crabtree, Population about 250 maybe, but our brevet card has a secret control here and we weren't sure if we were supposed to count the doors or the reindeer, so we counted both


After a bit of wandering about, we finally got to Gilkey Bridge



The temperature had jumped up to about 40 degrees in mid-afternoon, and we now had another 35 miles to go to get into Salem. We picked up the pace a little, trying to make it through Salem before dark. At least we arrived before Sunset, in time to take our pictures at the Capitol (where I was sworn into the USMC on 6/12/69)


OK, I aplogize for you having to turn your monitor on its side to see this one.


And now with 40 miles to go, the sun is down, the night air is chilling rapidly and we're ready to roll out. The Salvation Army bellringer must have told us 20 times to be careful. She told me the story of her brother getting hit by a car 3 times.


And at 8:10 pm, after 11 hours and 40 minutes, one false start, one bike change, no serious missed directions and a whole lot of hot coffee along the way, Bill Alsup finished his R-24

R-24 in the books

and Raleighdon the insane was there to witness it.

Now for the post script.

I went back to the hotel and got in the shower. I had stopped and picked up a chicken teriyaki to go and was really hungry, but wanted to get under a nice hot shower first. So I did. Now, normally, I'm a 3-minute shower guy. But I didn't want to get out. But I wanted to eat. But I didn't want to get cold again. I was seriously conflicted - probably a bit tired, too. I finally had to turn the water up so hot I couldn't stand it in order to force myself to get out. Hotels never run out of hot water. After eating a little bit, I crawled into bed still chilled. I pulled on clean wool base shirt and a clean pair of wool knickers and kneesocks. I was still chilled. I pulled the bedspread back up and started to get warm. Then I started to get leg cramps, and twitches. So I got up, drank a bottle of water with NUUN. Then ate a banana, took 2 advil and got back in bed. 10 minutes later, still having small cramps. Drank a bottle of warm cytomax. Crawled back in bed and finished watching Santa Clause 3 on Disney and everything got better. I think I was a little dehydrated and electrolyte deficient, but mostly, think I just had trouble getting my core temp balanced.

But at the end of the day, I'm now at R-6 and don't have to worry about getting anything else til January.