Well, it's all over. Despite weather just this side of crappy, 15 moderately sane riders from as far away as Seattle made their way to this year's Rites of Spring.
I think I've figured out a rule regarding the weather: if it's rainy, windy, and cold, I'm miserable. Any two of the three, it's bearable. We had all three on the ride, but never at the same time. We started into the teeth of a headwind, got drenched by a shower or two, and it never got out of the mid-40's- but it never got miserable.
I'm getting ahead of myself. Here we are at the start:
A couple Tour Easys, a V-rex, a pair of Lightnings, a Double Vision tandem, Jamie's Baccura trike and a couple token uprights. As you might guess from the raingear, those who showed came prepared.
The first few blocks of the route are a challenge- there's construction going on near the bike path and a bunch of street crossings to negotiate.
Here's Rand Milam (in a bodysocked Tour Easy) and my wife Diane (on her tailboxed Lightning) waiting for one of the lights to change. There's a freeway offramp to the left- I've never had trouble with drivers not seeing us.
Once we got going, I tried a couple rolling shots using my motorized 35mm camera. I wasn't completely successful- you try framing a photo while pointing a camera backward over your shoulder and riding a bicycle in close formation.
A shot looking back along the bike path. Blurry, out of focus and tilted (untilted thanks to PhotoShop!). That's Diane in front, Roxy Cate and Rick Mulvihill on the Double Vision, and Tim Walls on the V-rex.
Here's another shot of Roxy and Rick. Yep, Roxy's the captain. Further along, they passed me with Roxy calling out "Bang", "Bang", "Bang". I finally realized that this was how she indicated shifts to Rick.
They went thataway! Jamie directs traffic while Rand stands guard. This is where the I-205 bike path intersects the Springwater Corridor trail. The Springwater Corridor is built on the old electric car right-of-way, so there's still a railroad sign or two.
A just plain lousy over the shoulder shot of Roxy and Rick. He's smiling and waving- not that you can tell.
Rand Milam coming on strong! He kept warm and dry inside the body sock, despite wearing only shorts and a fleece vest. The scan of this photo got screwed up somehow- his face isn't really that yellow!
Lonnie Morse takes a stoplight break. His helmet looks a little funky 'cause he's wearing a plastic shower cap over it. Normally Lonnie's a very stylish dresser- on this day everybody's fashion sense went out the window!
This is one of the prettier stretches along the Springwater Corridor. It's flat, there're no intersections, and it's nowhere near any of the rampant subdivisions that are a plague upon the landscape. It's pretty rural- that's a herd of sheep off to the left. Here's a better framed but blurrier shot:
For some reason, we always end up stopping here. It's probably got something to do with it being the only porta-potty for a couple miles. Somehow it's avoided being vandalized in all the rides we've had.
We exited the Springwater Trail in Gresham and continued on city streets toward Troutdale. We're rode on bike lanes all the way there- a good thing since we were riding in consistent rain. I didn't feel daring enough to try to take pictures in the rain while steering one-handed in city traffic. Discretion, as they say, is the better part of valor.
The descent into Troutdale is a 1/2 mile long hill that I thought I should take it easy going down- until Roxy and Rick came around me in the traffic lane. (There was minimal traffic.) Soon after, 3 Easy Racers went around them in formation, leaving me trailing the group. I figured I couldn't let that go- so I cranked it up, passed the tandem, caught up to and passed 2 of the 3 Easys... just in time to jam on the brakes and make the right turn into downtown Troutdale. We coasted the last two blocks to:
The Rainbow's End! Food and attitude! Yeah, it ain't McDonalds, but they make an incredible turkey sandwich. Since we were behind the rest of the gang, the prime parking spots were all taken. My Lightning is right in front- the one with the huge tailbox on it.
Once we got inside, much noshing commenced. You'll have to excuse me for not taking more pictures- I was too busy inhaling food and talkin' recumbents with a bunch of fun folks. I do have a picture of the remnants of the feast- but it's on the roll of film still in the camera. You'll have to wait.
The return ride was uneventful- I spent a lot of time at the tail of the group, talking with Lonnie. It stayed dry, with a quartering headwind. Despite the gray conditions, it's fun to watch the familiar scenery of the Columbia River flow by.
Once we got back to the starting line, we found that Rand and one of the other Easy Racer riders had skipped one of the turns to try out their mettle on long straights of Marine Drive. I knew Rand was familiar with the area so I wasn't worried- they showed up as we having the usual post-ride chat.
Rand commented that he was 9 miles per hour faster than his partner at maximum effort. I don't know- Rand's a darn fast rider. I don't think it's the bodysock alone.
So there you have it- another Rites of Spring in the books. If you skipped it because of threatening weather, you missed a heck of a ride!
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