Some pics from the ride:
It's usually not so late into the year before I ride a 200k, but after toe/shoe issues on the 100k I figured I'd wait to do something longer until I procured new, ever-so-slightly-bigger shoes. Shoes procured, and preliminary cuesheet for Michael's Timothy Lake 200k viewed, I knew this one was on.
Michael being Michael, we knew to expect some hills, but they were worth it. Estacada was a change of direction from most of the ORR brevets I've ridden, and as much as I like Forest Grove, it was nice to start somewhere different. Heading out of town, it was nice and gradual, and quickly into a car-free stretch of Faraday Road, before popping back out on 224 and along to our early first pit stop, the Ripplebrook Ranger Station. As we were to be without services for the vast majority of the ride, This was a good last minute stocking up point for those who were not as well-equipped to picnic as I was...
Things continued gradually enough along for just a bit more until the turnoff onto NFD 57, which still wasn't too bad, if it had an incline or two. The real fun was saved for the ride up NFD 58 to High Rock - 7 miles at an average 7% grade. Oof. It never got *insanely* steep, but kicked up a few times to remind you it was still there - and man were people happy to find the "secret" control at the top. Hung out there for a bit, and then hit the rollers across the rest of NFD 58 to Oregon Skyline Road. This pretty much killed the last of the real climbing, but man was that road filled with microbumps that jostled everything.
Oregon Skyline was a beaut, though, especially once it opened up to the meadow that houses the Clackamas Lake Historic Ranger Station. A fine example of the mountain scenery I love so much. Stopped there for a while to get the tour of the old station (I'm almost always up for 30 minutes of history!) and then headed out, discouraged by the closed restrooms! Regardless, though - it's well worth a stop if you'd like to see an authentic piece of USFS history.
The real fun was to come, though - because turning on to NFD 42 slipped everything back into super-Euro downhill mode. 8 miles of fast downhill, all smooth turns and clear sightlines, and the nicest pavement you could ask for. Oh, and did I mention zero car traffic? Single lane, no centerline - just 8 feet of road and 2 white edge lines. BEAUTIFUL. It was 50-65 kph the entire way, with just a hair of feathering on the brakes. Absolutely wonderful, I'm still raving about it, and totally worth the climb.
At the bottom of the awesome downhill section, it was back to good ol' Clackamas River Road, gentle downgrades and light traffic (heavy, if you compare it to the virtual nonexistance of cars since we'd last left it!). Took a quick side trip down Collowash River Road to get the requisite miles in, and then continued on in the way we came. Some decent headwinds coming up the river from the valley, but most of the time we were sheltered from those, and it was smooth sailing the entire way back into Estacada. I rolled back into Fearless Brewing a clean 11 hours after the start, which was just dandy by me, as I was hoping to get myself in under 11.5, what with the extra climbing on this route, and my lack of distance since March. As you can imagine, I was happy to pull a time closer to the fast end of my 200k times for such a tough course - I suppose there was a lot of time to be made up on the downhills!
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