I was fortunate enough this year (along with my stepson Justin) to be able to participate in a great event which after only 3 years in the Portland area is already becoming a local classic. This event began in McMinnville and wound a 103-kilometer loop around the gentle slopes and quiet, scenic roads of the Willamette Valley wine country. Due to it’s quickly growing notoriety it was recently featured in Bicycling magazine which is either a sign of it’s distinction or a warning of it’s demise.

Was this a bike ride or was this event about something else entirely different? You will have to be the judge.

I like a ride that starts with food! Before the start of this ride we sat down for a wonderful breakfast, attended to by our host, Chris King. It was served buffet style with an Asian theme which included items such as Tea eggs, a sweet sausage patty, fresh fruit, a sweet cake and other oriental delicacies which I cannot name. I dared to taste many of them but I must admit that I did pass on the 1000 year old egg!

At the start of the event things seemed to be a pretty casual. We lingered and waited for an “official start” but after watching a number of other riders depart we eventual began ourselves. This is a totally non-competitive event and seemed to draw local club riders and and other laid-back bike enthusiasts. There were very few “team kits” to be seen.

After cruising some easy miles through the valley south of McMinnville we arrived in the small town of Dayton and the location of the first rest stop. We were among the first riders in and hardly felt that we deserved a rest just yet but we dived into the home-made cookies anyway. We would try and deal with any guilt later on.

The lunch stop included a nice platter with a sliced pork sandwich seasoned with a spicy sauce, roast duck in a lettuce wrap accompanied by a salad of greens, peppers and fruit!

Next there was a choice of cakes. Let me see, should I have the pineapple upside-down cake or the lemon ginger. There was only one way to choose, let’s have both!

Cana’s Feast Winery hosted the last rest stop and so as to not offend our hosts we agreed to sample their offerings. The winery is in a setting reminiscent of the Tuscany region of Italy and their wines are produced in that tradition. We sniffed, swirled and sipped several varieties while observing Bocce ball being played on the courts below.

We rested here longer than we should have but some things you just cannot rush!

The temperature had reached 80 degrees or so by this time and were feeling more like a nap than in a sprint to the finish. But, we were on a bike ride after all and it is best to finish what you have started. We re-mounted our bicicletta’s and departed our Tuscan retreat.

We had been among the first riders to arrive at the rest stops all day but after our little Tuscan holiday we had fallen behind. We were still in good shape to make our 3:00 pm seating for the post ride meal however. That was now our mission.

We had time to shower and change before the meal and then went straight for the beer table. I forgot to take pictures of the appetizers and got about halfway through the main course before I remembered to take a photo. It started out as pot-stickers and veggie wontons along with a veggie wrap and spring rolls. The main course was skewered meats, beef, chicken and pork over some kind oriental green bean along with many other accompaniments. In the end it was too much and I pushed myself back from the table….. But not before a little dessert! It was some kind of cake that I did not recognize, kind of green with a funny frosting. It was okay I guess but I did not finish it.

.

Thanks to our host Chris King and his staff for hosting this great event. They put as much passion and commitment into preparing food as they do into manufacturing their bike products. It seems that these qualities are becoming harder to find in either endeavor these days. The only mystery is how they managed to arrange such perfect weather for the day.

Advertisements