8 am at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse outside Portland Oregon. Rain just starting.

Friday the 13th of March was a beautiful day in the Portland area, sunny and cool with light winds. It would have been a great day for a bike ride. The ride I had on my schedule however was for Saturday the 14th and the weather forecast was much less optimistic.

We gathered at 7 am at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse which was our designated starting location. There were 38 riders who were ready to ride with about half of them looking more like racers than randos and seemed to be travelling pretty light. The rest were on fully fendered bikes and looking pretty prepared otherwise. The weatherman was predicting rain so it was probably just going to be a matter of time until we got wet. Almost on cue during the pre-ride meeting it started to sprinkle and a few minutes later at 8 am as we got started riding it began to come down more seriously. By the time we were 5 miles into the ride the roads were saturated and the spray was coming up from the other riders tires as heavily as the rain was coming down.

I myself felt pretty prepared for a wet day having come with wool clothing, raingear and booties. I even had a spare pair of dry gloves in my bag. I may have underestimated the cold a little however as the temperature at the start was 41 degrees. My Portland bike is a Surly Cross Bike, fully fendered and with front and rear bags. It is a little on the heavy side but it is comfortable, rugged and goes good. This would be my first real rain ride with it.

We cruised out of the Beaverton area into farm country, zig-zagging our way through farm fields and pastures. Our first control was in what once was a town called Mountaindale. These days it appeared to be little more than a soggy crossroad but this is where the rain really started to come down. The control had a canopy to protect the volunteers but offered little protection for the riders. Not that it mattered much, we had already been exposed pretty thoroughly to the elements by that time. I left my Surly leaning on a Suburban and went to check in. Paperwork done, I grabbed a quick snack and took care of other neccesities. It is amazing how quickly you will cool after you have stopping for a break. The temp was still in the low 40’s and I needed to get moving so I did not linger.


Return from Mountaindale

It had been a little bit of a climb to get here so it was going to be a cooling descent once I got going again. I decided to crank it up a bit on the return to get the heater going again. That worked okay but it is amazing where spray off your tires can end up in swirling crosswinds! This next section manuvered through a very pleasant farm country on a circuitious course. There
were many picturesque farms and buildings along the way. We passed through the town of Banks and on to the next control which was the far point of the loop. After a quick stop the route turned more south and into a headwind as the rain continued. There was a secret control thrown in just for fun but it didnt really seem neccessary.


Forest Grove Control

As I left Forest Grove it was raining hard but it soon started to taper off and a few miles later it was hardly raining at all. The wind was still up but it became a crosswind for the rest of the ride which was not too bad. It wasnt too long before I pulled into the final control at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse which is a fine McMinamens Brew Pub. I do think that the Oregon Randonneurs know how to finsih a ride with food and other refreshments.

The Surly rode well all day. It has 28c tires and is fully fendered. Bar end shifters, Detour bags, and a Rock Shox road post complete the accessories. It is a low/mid range Shimano group and does not go like my normal Campy stuff but it is very acceptable for these shorter events. The biggest event that I am likely to do on it will be Seattle to Portland later this year. Yes, I am signed up for that! Stay tuned for more on that.