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Two Susan's Oregon Coast 600k
by Ken Bonner

Ken checks in again in an e mail message, this time about the OR 600. [Eric]

I rode the Oregon Coast 600 a year ago. It was an enjoyable and wet ride where I actually slept at the overnight control at the Motel 6 in Lincoln City. This year, the RUSA Oregon Regional Brevet Administrator, Susan France, worked in tandem with Susan Otcenas to run another superbly organized Oregon Coast 600. Susan Otcenas attracted 37 riders to this event, perhaps enticed by Susan’s excellent pre-ride report under sunny skies.

The weather forecast was not good, but although a light drizzle was falling, it was not cold and the riders were all anxious to start the ride at 6:00 a.m. (The night before, Susan France provided an early registration at 8:00 p.m., which meant those who registered the evening before, could get a few more winks of sleep.)

A very nice feature this year, was the completion of the 20 mile long, paved & scenic bicycle trail which ran from just 10 miles from the start to the town of Vernonia. Susan O had encountered much wildlife on her pre-ride along this stretch of the route. Perhaps the wildlife preferred fine weather also, as the only wildlife I saw on the trail was one live and one squished escargot. However, in the wee hours of the morning when daylight came after many hours of heavy rain in the dark, I saw: a coyote, wild cock pheasants, deer, crows eating ‘road-kill’ and a turkey vulture keeping a sharp eye on me as I struggled up another of the eternal hills towards the finish of the ride.

On the way out to the Coast, I could hardly see the road on a couple of the long descents due to the heavy rain. It was even worse descending on Slab Creed Rd, (not either of the N. Slab Creek Roads (last year I discovered the difference … you have to ride N. Slab Creek Road to appreciate the difference!) There was no rain, from Astoria to just past Tillamook (in fact bright cloud and sunshine at Manzanita), (see the photo I sent you) but the turn onto Slab Creek Rd. brought a deluge, fine for the climb in the dark, but it meant a ‘brakes on’ descent over a bumpy road after the summit as my lights reflected in the heavy downpour and made it difficult to see.

It was a pleasure to ride for a while with my long time rando-friends, Ken Carter and Del Sharffenberg; and to meet and ride with fast recumbent guy, Michael Wolfe. They left me in the ‘dust’ and arrived at the overnight control quite some time before me.

Managed to ride right past the Motel 6 (overnight control), so added some extra mileage there and then later with about 30 miles to go, both my GPS and bike computer malfunctioned and I spent some time to and fro-ing trying to find a few turns. Fortunately, once dawn came, although the roads were flooded with recent rain and there were many black, water-laden clouds around, I managed to avoid being rained upon until to the finish.

It is important to note that with only a couple of exceptions, the pavement on the roads was excellent, and the traffic was light. A great ride for folks to think about for next year.

With a two hour stop at the overnight control for food and dry clothes, I was the first finisher in 30h 20m – a relatively slow time for a 600, but much faster than all of my 600’s so far this year. In spite of the wind along the coast and the rain, there were only 3 DNF’s. Later I dropped in for a few minutes at the finish and both Susan’s were presiding over a large group of finishers ‘chowing down’ on excellent pizza.

A very big ‘thank-you’ to the two Susans, neither of whom got much sleep (Susan O. was bright and cheery for all the riders at the Lincoln City overnight control, which certainly added to the recuperation of the wet and weary riders – Susan also packed riders’ drop-bags to and from the Lincoln City control.)

Cheers … Ken


Go to: Results (Oregon Randonneurs site)


May 13, 2011