portland100ka[1]

This event was held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of RUSA. 10th anniversary events were being held all over the country on this weekend and this one had a good turnout as did most. There was a 100 km as well as a 200 km option today. I chose the lesser distance for a couple of reasons, we had family plans later in the day but the bike I was riding is fairly new and had never been on a brevet before. It seemed wise to work up to longer distances to work out any bugs. The bike is a Surly Cross bike and is basically out of the box except for some 28c road tires. This is the bike I keep in Portland to ride when I am in town.

The route is basically an out and back to Multnomah Falls on the old highway. We start in a neighborhood park in Portland and work our way out past the airport and then along the river. The pace starts out briskly and then moves to fast. I am usually not an “A group” rider but I decide to hang near the front for awhile. About 6 of us are taking pulls at the front and several more are just hanging on. The pace is about 21 – 23 mph which is fast for a brevet but I know it wont last all day.

We arrive in Troutdale pretty quickly and wind our way through the town. After crossing the river we leave Fishville behind and start up the old highway on a gentle grade. In spite of the incline the pace has not slowed and it is now faster than I care for. When it pitches up just a little more I decide to bail out the back of the pack. The group has shrunk  to 6 or so riders now and they wont miss me. The scenery is great and traffic is light and I am enjoying the climb. There are many small farms and fruit stands along the way and I am guessing that this route is popular with tourists. Traffic will probably be much heavier later on the way back in.

The road continues to wind and roll. It will be a hot day today but for now I am under a canopy of trees and it is cool and green. Suddenly the road bursts out into the sunshine at Vista House, an overlook of the Columbia River. It was built in 1916 for tourists to enjoy the view and is still popular today. It is our second control point in the ride so I make a brief stop. The turnaround is at Multnomah Falls, just another 8 miles down the road. It is a spectacular sight and is usually crowded with tourists. We are here early enough that it is pretty peaceful and there are not many people here yet. We enjoy the moment before moving on.

The return ride is back along the outbound route and although the route is the same the scenery is different. I ride solo for most of this part and enjoy the sights. I arrive back at the start just after noon and pull into the cool shade of the park. It is quite warm out now, probably 90 degrees or more already. I’d be tempted to blame global warming for this but the record high for this date was over 40 years ago, so that was a little before my SUV.

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