Newsletter - 2014 Archive

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Our Klamath Falls -1000
Ride dates: August 2-5, 2014
by Gary Baker

Will and Bob planned to set off at Midnight ( Aug. 2) Barry and I elected to depart at 5AM. it was a grand morning and the route was flat as we worked our way towards Bellingham. It reminded us of riding through rural France.....sublime. Chuckanut Drive was spectacular in the early morning sun!

Following the Centennial Trail south from Arlington towards Woodinville was wonderful as usual ( we had followed it on a SIR 300 and the Cascade 1200). We were making good time , a flat in Woodinville slowed us down a bit and some minor route errors had the potential to create big problems. As we had ridden several SIR 200 and 300km brevets through this area earlier in the year we knew the general lay of the land and were able sort the issues out with minimal bonus kms. Oh, although the weather forecast called for it to be clear, sunny and hot we getting rained on! The Sammamish Trail south of Woodinville towards Renton also made for pleasant riding. . As we entered Renton proper, numerous cycle path/trails braided onto and across this trail complicating the route finding. Although our moving time was comfortably over 20kph our elapsed travel speed had slowed to approx. 12kph over the next 120km. This was not good!

We had a motel reservation in Ramble ( 377km) and optimistically thought we could have got there between 11:30 and midnight. We arrived in Morton ( 350km) at 1:40AM. Barry was VERY sleepy and I wasn't much better. We decided to stop and get a motel room. Both motels in town were full. Plan 'B'. We went to the first commercial establishment that we saw was open, a combined Chevron Station, Mini-Mart and Subway. As we walked in the clerk took one look at us and said, "I'll sign your cards.". SIR obviously used this store as a control. We learned from her that she was the night clerk Friday and Saturdays and had done so for 6years. She was a sweetheart. We look longingly at the closed Subway area and the vacate tables and benches and sheepishly asked if we could take a short rest there. "Of course." was the reply. Barry claimed a bench and a table. I couldn't get comfortable stretched out on a bench and decided to climb under a table and rest flat out on the floor. The local bars closed at 2AM and some of the drunken patrons began to stagger into the store. (I was only half asleep and could hear them.) What happened over the next few minutes is what Barry told me. Apparently one drunk was distressed by my presence and position on the floor and kept asking, one and all, " Is he OK, are you sure he is OK.". Barry finally lifted his head and said, " He would be OK if you stopped bothering him!". Several other drunks came in and were rather vocal and demonstrative about my choice of sleeping arrangements. Our short rest lasted 2 hours.

We were behind the clock and facing 2 big climbs ( Elkview and Old Man) before descending into Carson on the Columbia River). Barry didn't think we could make the closing time at the next control, but we pressed on. The climb over Elk was tough, but the descent was a rush. I usually have trouble matching Barry's speed descending ( something to do with mass, fluid resistance, and gravity) but my Boulder ( with low pressure 650B 38mm tires) rolled like it was on rails. WOW, I don't know who was more surprised, Barry to see I was right on his tail or me braking. We made the control at the bottom of the hill with 2 minutes to spare. A few kilometres after the control we encountered another route signage issue, but we were following the Cascade 1200 route at this point and we sorted it out, but lost valuable time. We stopped at the Northwood store near the start of the Curly Creek Hill Rd climb up to the Old Man summit. Here we learned that another rider ( fitting the description of a Randonneur) had passed through approximately 90 minutes earlier. We though it would have been Bob. We were wrong. We learned on returning to Vancouver it was Will and that Bob has abandoned much earlier. Clearly the rider would not have made the closing control time less that 10km earlier. The rider had also told the proprietor he was heading to Portland, that confirmed the rider was abandoning.

Off we went. Oh I forgot to say that my hub generator had failed. I was using a rechargable backup light that needed a minimum of 4hrs to recharge, something that was not possible before what we knew would be a long night ride into Madras, OR. Our spirits were badly shaken and there was growing concern about making control times, the lighting situations and uncertainty of the road conditions on the route Will had mapped out going over and down from the Old Man Summit ( Will will have to confirm this but using Google Street View it looked that the 2000ft descent /39km was mostly gravel.). Half way up the Curly Creek Hill climb we called it quits, I stuck out my thumb and we hitched a ride most of the way to the summit. We then rode the Cascade 1200 route over the summit and to Carson. This was another great descent ( we did it in the dark on the Cascade). We both agreed it was one of the best we had every done ( at speed). On the Cascade we arrived at Carson in the dark, it didn't look like much, it doesn't look like much in daylight either. We stopped to get info on local motels there or to the west and were told there were two motels in Stevenson ( 4-5 miles away). One was apparently 'so so' the other was a resort of some sort. A little pampering was in order. We rode through the town , the resort was about 3km further west, saw the sign and the driveway. We couldn't see the Resort,but the driveway must have been a 20% grade. We walked some of it. When we got our first sight of the resort complex, this was way upscale. it was a destination golf course, strange.... there were ZIp lines going through the trees as we made our way to the grand entrance. Here we were smelly, dirty, having worn the same clothes for the better part of two days and we were welcomed like royalty. The room rate was surprisingly reasonable. We checked in and headed to the PRO Shop to purchase some 'civie' clothes for the evening and the trip home. Adult recover beverages and a wonderful dinner followed.

We were asleep shortly after 9pm, awoke 11hrs later and enjoyed a fabulous buffet breakfast. Being a destination resort it has frequent shuttle service to the Portland Airport ( 75km west) where we rented a van, drove it to the Bellingham Airport where we dropped it off. We then rode the 40kms back to where we had parked the cars in White Rock and drove home. I arrived at 10:45pm.

Barry and I are disappointed that circumstances and our own decision led to us abandoning this ride. We both think the route has real potential and along with Bob and hopeful Will would like to take the lead and organize this as the 2015 June 1000km. We think it would be a fine 'tune up' for PBP. Finishing the ride would have been getting to eat the cake, finding and staying at the Shamania Lodge was getting to eat the icing. It was a grand adventure!


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August 8, 2014