[OrRando] Snoozing in the Prairies...Two Days, Two Perms

Susan France susanfrance at teleport.com
Thu Jan 26 14:46:35 PST 2006

Saturday... Eventually all five riders arrived, assembled their bicycles,
submitted their paperwork, and grabbed a cup of coffee before pushing off a
few minutes after the planned departure. Optimistic at first, a few
additional minutes was need as everyone sighed and donned signature
attire... the rainjacket.  A possible rain free day would be a "heavy mist"
turning to a "light rain" day.

Duane Wright and Eric Vigoren were visiting from WA, Nate Armbrust was out
on a brand new Kogswell fixie, Michael Rasmussen and I make five.

Off to Snoozeville the ride would be Audax, we were clumped close enough for
me to consider it a group ride. Near Snoozeville (we don't quit get there)
we put up our info control marker and were quickly back down the sloping
valley. Next we head towards Banks, the whole time I'm thinking about all
the places that could possibly be flooded. Sure enough we were surrounded by
flooded fields for much of the ride.

We headed up quiet Cedar Canyon then headed south skirting David and
Clapshaw Hills towards Forest Grove. There are some rolling hills here, so I
fell back into my normal sweep position with Duane to keep me company as the
others pushed on a little faster to Maggie's Buns near the 60km mark.
Entering town, I recognized a group of regular Saturday riders just leaving
Maggie's. Noting we were missing a couple cyclists I asked them to direct
any bewildered looking Randos to the correct location. It turns out Nate had
already settled into a comfy spot at Maggie's and Eric decided to ride to
the hotel for a quick change of tights. Eventually, we all had our pastries,
coffee and sandwiches and noted that this control was about to close so best
to move on down the road. As we left I "noticed" it was only 6 miles to the
next control and we had a tad bit of headwind... well I hadn't thought this
out all that well had I? Hard to believe I designed this route.

Gaston, we got there just fine and before the closing time as everyone
scattered to find relief from Maggie's brew. We all met out front the market
and Michael, oogling over Nate's Kogswell, inquires as to whether there are
any rules about riders switching bicycles in the middle of a permanent.
Finally, each on their own bicycle, we head for Longbottoms zigging and
zagging around wetlands. Only one road closure, the same flooded road I'd
ridden through a week earlier. A mere 2-3 inches of water, just enough to
clean some of the grit from our brakes. As the others smell the barn and
pick up the pace, I do just the opposite, I crank it down, drink some water
and ease back to the start.

Longbottom's closed just as we arrived, so I collected cards, Michael
snapped a few pictures, and 4 of us gathered at the Grand Lodge to rehydrate
and refuel for Sunday's Permanent.

Sunday 6:30-ish I arrive at the designated parking spot, Marcello Napolitano
and Bert Lutz arrive soon after and we do the usual bike assembly. We
patiently wait for our northern visitors as the scheduled start time grows
nearer. Finally we notice a lone cyclist go by... we look at each other and
comment "boy that looks like a Rando if I ever saw a Rando"... but the rider
just keeps on pedaling. Finally I head for the sidewalk and see the
bicycle-laden Metro drive by...I'm waving my arms, flashing the headlight,
of course he saw me. No, Duane is looking for the parking lot he remembers
from a permanent he did last fall. The parking lot is in a different town!
He doesn't know this, so continues laps around downtown Newberg.

Finally, as yesterday, we push off a tad late. We head toward Red Prairie on
our Three Prairie ride. Duane and Bert are leading, chatty and I'm thinking
this paceline stuff is just a bit hard. In Amity the group stops and I tell
Eric I'll push on ahead because there are some hills on the way to Dallas.
Well, they didn't give me much time before the whole group caught me. Bert
had mentioned he didn't remember the hills... I remembered them all and knew
they continued on longer than one thinks possible. The boys went on as I did
the hills at my own pace. I was witness to a rare sight of a huge assembly
of geese, if fact several different flocks, swirling and assembling as made
their way up from the nearby Blaskett Slough NWR. It was quite a sight that
made me forget I was climbing Perry hill.

Entering Dallas I didn't spot bicycles so headed for my normal
stop..McDonalds. Bert was just leaving and tells me everyone else is at
Subway and he'd ride to meet everyone. I do my normal quick stop. Mixed more
food, a quick cup of coffee, most dumped into the bottle, and a bathroom
break. There is a reason I was given a tortoise totem 15 years ago. As I
leave town I'm hoping to get through the next bit of rollers before the boys
catch me. Nearing Amity I remember I have Bert's cell number so I call and
leave a message that I'm "probably" ahead. Not long after, the boys come
rolling up. Soon, the cell phone rings and Michael says he's on the way to
join us for the second loop.

In Newberg, everyone gathers at the parking lot but I'm desperate for a
bathroom and need water so I tell them to meet me at the right turn on
College. Meanwhile, I'm riding around Newberg trying to find something open
on Sunday. Newberg has the highest church per capita ratio in the US.
Downtown Newberg shuts down on Sunday so everyone can attend one of those
churches. Finally, I spot a car in front of the Coffee Cottage, could it be
true? In over 15 years of its existence I'd never know CC to be open on
Sundays. I'm in the bathroom and the cell phone rings... Michael... where
are you? I give him directions and he and Eric amble over for mochas. We
have 1 hour banked so we're in no hurry to go.

We head for the French and Howell prairies toward Mt Angel. Bert, Marcello
and Duane are no doubt chasing down invisible riders, not realizing we are
behind them. Suddenly a rider appears from the other direction, it is John
Kramer, and then we know the identity of the mystery rider we had seen
pedaling out of town in the wee hours of the morning. Next came Bert,
followed closely by Marcello. We spot the steeple of Mt Angel Monastery as
we near our turnaround point. At the market Duane joins us. We readied for
night riding as the sun was about to set on the prairies. The sunset was
glorious fiery red as we headed out of town to the west. Something we'd not
seen for months.

I had promised we'd be lucky to see any traffic on the roads we took north
that zigged and zagged up the middle of the French Prairie. Soon dark was
upon us but traffic was extremely light so it was easy to catch the lights
of homes on Parrott Mountain and the Red Hills as we drew nearer to Newberg.
It seems we flew through the night and I felt much safer with 3 escorts for
the evening.  A quick jaunt over the Willamette River bridge and we are
entering Newberg. The cell phone rings once again. It is John, he's just
finished eating and has leftover pizza, "would we be interested?" Yes, of
course. Eric and Duane head for the barn, I head for an ATM receipt, and
Michael heads out for 2 or 3 more miles to make it an even 100k for the day.
We meet back at the lot. John feeds us pizza and passes out fridge magnets.
Lots of quick hugs, wasn't this a great weekend and everyone's off on their
respective ways.

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