Outbound along the Columbia River

Outbound along the Columbia River

The Portland Century is really just another hundred mile ride, but is does have one distinguishing characteristic. Each year the course is on a different and mostly unique route. This year, I believe for the first time, the route left Oregon altogether and crossed over the Columbia River and into Washington and the rural country in outlying Vancouver.

I have never ridden on the Vancouver side of the river before and I have to say that I did enjoy the route that the organizers chose. Once you get out of the suburbs the rural nature of the route was quite pleasant. There was one little navigational mishap during the ride however, in a construction zone it seems that some of the navigational marks that were painted on the road had been paved over on the morning of the ride. As you can imagine, if you miss one turn, you will miss all the following turns. After finding myself off course along with several riders I did negotiate my way back to the route. Some of the other riders did not share my confidence of the route correction and went their own way. They definitely got some bonus miles for the day.

Lacamas Lake, smooth as glass

Lacamas Lake, smooth as glass in the late morning

On the final leg of the ride and back on the Oregon side of the river there was another anomaly in route finding. I was following a fast group of maybe 2 dozen riders when they went a different direction than I expected. I figured that they knew the right way in and so I just followed the group. I soon realized that we were off the official route and that we had all been led astray by a few riders who were probably just riding home. I along with dozens of others followed like lemmings for several miles before recalculating our route. It did not really matter in the end however as I knew my way back to the finish at the University of Portland.

I rode my 1998 De Bernardi this year

I rode my 1998 De Bernardi this year

This event is also known for its excellent post ride meal, and this year was no different. In addition to the bottomless glass of Hopworks Beer to greet you at the finish, there was a full food court court on the University of Portland campus. Forget the sad old plate pasta you get at many events, this was food made order, from pasta to sandwiches, salads and fruit, pretty much whatever you wanted! It was another great year for the Portland Century!

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