wet wet wet

The radar as I left the house

I don’t know the last time I was so miserable on two wheels for so long a time.

I set out in the rain to ride to the Canby Ferry, but by the time I got to Oregon City, I had had enough.  That was possibly the wettest ride I’ve ever done and I was very glad to pull into the driveway after 70km.  Not the 100 I had set out to do, but a good effort nonetheless.

I didn’t have the fortitude to stop for many pictures, but I think that this one gets the point across best:

high water

I have to say I am tired of riding in this rain.  This isn’t the run-of-the mill Portland rain.  It’s heavy and relentless instead of the general glum drizzle we’re accustomed to.

Sauvie Island/Rocky Point–still windy

Fortunately for me. though it was windy, it was not very wet, so I was only slightly frozen by the time I arrived back home.

I set out under high clouds and a low Solstice sun for a run at another 100km.  I made it 99, so I’ll call it a success.  This is one of my favorite loops and although I can’t complete it in the same time I could have years ago, I still love it for it’s scenery and quiet roads–made all the more quiet being Christmas day and all.  A secondary goal in my quest for a “Festive 500″ is to ride some of Portland’s iconic rides and this is certainly one of them.

leaving over St. John's bridge

It starts out simply enough with a pleasant spin along Willamette Blvd and over every Portland cyclist’s favorite bridge: the Saint John’s Bridge (if I may speak for every Portland cyclist).  Then along “dirty 30″, a flat loop around Sauvie Island, back to 30 for a few more miles and then UP UP UP Rocky Point Rd.  At just over 5 km long, it climbs more than 450 meters.  I’m always glad to arrive at the top.

Sauvie Island

bottom of Rocky Point

Like I said yesterday, my legs are knackered.  I haven’t racked this many miles in as many days in ages.  This is a great jump start to my base miles and a great way to spend the holidays!

Windy Marine Drive/Columbia River Highway

I made up my mind to take part in the “Rapha Festive 500″ only yesterday morning.  I threw the gauntlet by declaring myself “On the way out the door!”. But I couldn’t manage to get out of my own way long enough to actually get out the door, and given the abbreviated hours of daylight, the day passed without a ride.

So this morning, I was determined to make it happen, come hell or high water, and though I’m embarrassed to admit it, I was on my way only shortly before noon.

The plan was simple:  ride out for 50km and then turn around and ride back.  The Columbia River Gorge is a veritable wind tunnel this time of year, but fortunately the winds are generally east-west in the winter, which means a bitch of a headwind on the way out, but a gracious tailwind all the way home.

just before the wind tunnel

I slogged my way out to one of the Gorge’s many landmarks, the Vista House, and as I turned the corner to descend past it, the wind very nearly picked me off the ground!  I don’t remember ever experiencing such a powerful wind in all my 20+ years of riding.  Lucky for me it wasn’t raining and the clouds were high, which allowed for a great (brief and cold) view from the Women’s Forum:

Despite being only 45km into the ride, I decided to turn around because I could not imagine having to negotiate this wind both coming and going.  Even when it shifted into a tailwind, I was frightened at its strength.

Back towards home I rode with a screaming tailwind.  I tacked on a loop through Smith and Bybee Lakes and was home well past dark after just over 100km.

First ride in the bag.  My legs are knackered, but I’m still looking forward to the challenge.