Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 1 - July 1 - Starting not with a bang, but with a (technical) hiccup

Day 1- Netarts, OR to Beaverton OR - 74.6 miles (119.4kms)

Starting time: 2:15pm
Total time: 5hrs 26mins
Riding time: 4hrs 31mins  (lots of red lights and a few photo stops - and one road repair stop)
Average speed: 16.4 mph (26.23 kph)
Maximum speed: 35.9mph (57.44kph)
Total distance: 74.6miles (119.4kms)
Total elevation gained: 2599 ft (792 meters)
Calories burned: 3950
Weather: Northerly wind, but quite light.Neither helped nor hindered me.  Temperatures went from 70F  (21C) in Netarts to 90F (about 34C) In Beaverton.

Powered by: those enormous pancakes (pictured below), 1 Cliff Bar, 2 bottles of Gatorade, and 2 bottles of water

I'm beginning to understand the GPS nuances, I think, so here is the route and the elevation profile for July 1.

The plan was to get to Netarts on the Oregon coast about 5 miles west of Tillamook and start riding about noon for a point south of Portland where Jody would meet me.  The best-laid plans of mice and men ganged aft agley once again  (apologies to R Burns).  I had a ginormous plate of blueberries and granola pancakes at the Busick Court restaurant in Salem - so large, that I could not finish the lot.  See the photo -
Enough for a family of four - and their dog

We finally reached Netarts harbor about 12:30 just in time to see a family on touring bikes with four  panniers each collide at the bottom of the hill near the restaurant.  The mom got a nice road rash/gash on her calf while the dad was hobbling badly from what looked like an ankle injury. The girls were unscathed and after a lunch, they all got back on the bikes and rode gingerly off south.

The reason I know that they had a leisurely lunch is because we were sitting waiting for the GPS to charge in the car. I forgot to turn it off after a practice ride on the Oregon coast road on Sunday. That road is designated a bicycle route but it's very dangerous. The shoulders (margins) are almost non-existent and there are a lot of camper vans, motor homes and large cars towing stuff that render it even more dangerous on a busy Sunday afternoon.  It seems as if the July 4 holiday was off to an early start in Oregon over the weekend with plenty of California and Washington licence plates to the fore.  Still, despite the traffic, the sights along the coast are magnificent.

Lighthouse on the Oregon coast

Finally, about 2:30, the GPS was charged sufficiently to allow me to charge uphill towards Tillamook.

It was cool on the beach, windy and temperatures about 70 (21 C). But it got hot quickly as I rode east towards Portland.

Since it was getting late, I left the panniers with Jody to bring to Beaverton, about 75  miles away.  The road from the beach is quite steep but levels off to gentle rollers after a few miles.  Either from unbridled enthusiasm (like the start of a marathon) or pent-up energy from 3 days off the bike with the exception of a 20 mile ride on Sunday, I set off at a good pace towards Portland.  The road (Oregon route 6) is very busy with unpredictable shoulders (margins) that ranged from zero feet to about 3 feet wide.   There is a very gradual, almost imperceptible rise, to about 900 feet but then the road kicks up  quickly to the summit of the Coast range at about 1600 feet.  From there, it's mostly downhill towards Portland.
The shoulder is relatively good at this point -  a lot of truck traffic on this road.

Still full of energy and vim, I turned off route 6 onto route 8 towards Forest Grove and the western suburbs of Portland.  Things were fine till Forest Grove through a nice valley with vineyards and an almost empty road.  Unfortunately, from Forest Grove to the planned meeting point in central Beaverton, the bike lane is cluttered with the detritus of suburban America.  While drivers observe the white lines and don't generally crowd the lane, the marked bike path is littered with broken glass, small stones, gravel, bits of tires from blow-outs, and throwaways of fast food and drink.  It's great that communities designate bike routes; too bad many of them are not cleaned, though it's obvious that this effort varies from one suburban community to another.  One has to be on guard because there are lots of drive-ins/drive-outs  and other entrances to shopping and strip malls and rush hour is probably not the time to be riding.  Overall speed is severely compromised in suburban and city traffic.

Who knew that Beaverton has multiple transit centers and stations?  It took Jody and I almost an hour to meet up but the day ended well with a huge cold pale ale from a local brewery and two orders of fries (chips) to go with the veggie burger.

I'm beginning to understand the GPS nuances, I think, so here is the route and the elevation profile for July 1.

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