One must always double check the starting location the morning of the ride.
I had it all figured out: Get up at 6:30am, catch the Max to Gresham, breakfast at Elmer’s, meet up with the Cycle Wild starting group at the Cleveland Max station.
Everything was working out just perfectly. Except the part where there wasn’t anyone at the Cleaveland Max station. I headed back to Elmer’s to check my e-mail one more time and re-read the start point as CASCADE Station which is way out by the airport. I took the wrong line!
Due to the Grand Floral Parade and other events in Downtown Portland, the Max lines all seemed to be running a little late and very crowded. I eventually got to the Cascade Station and thought I could catch up to the group at the Safeway in Camas, WA, but I got a flat tire!
Impossible! I’m running the Schwalbe Marathon XRs, the most flat resistant tire I could find! However, it ended up not being a puncture flat at all but rather the rim tape shifted, again, and exposed the holes that lead to the recessed spoke nipples. This is now the THIRD occasion to bring me down. I happen to have new rim tape with me from the last time this happened but never go around to changing it at the time so now I pay the price.
Problem #2: The spare tube I brought was entirely the wrong size. I run 26″ tires on Betty and the tube was 700c. That wasn’t going to roll.
Problem #3: No patches. I loaned them out to someone the last time I was on a group ride and never got them back! It took about 30 minutes to finally flag down a passing ride that carried a spare patch kit. To that rider, I thank thee!
After re-assembling the tire, attaching all the camping gear and regaining my composure, I doubled back to the Sports Authority a short distance away. They happened to have the exact size tubes and the patches I like in stock. I stopped at Panda Express for a quick bite but by this time I was feeling so demoralized, knees were sore as hell, and I was so tired from stress that I was on a hair’s edge of just turning around and going home. It was 12:30pm and I haven’t even left the PDX Airport area. Pathetic.
Panda Bowl, Excedrine dose, and a bottle of Mountain Dew later, I was ready to rock the 40 mile ride along SR 14 to the Rock. A 1pm start was a bit late, but I knew I could get there with plenty of time to do some hiking.
4:30pm, I roll up to the camp site just as the group was walking away to do some hiking. Their 3-hour lead was cut down to 1 hour 30 minutes due to their long stop at Safeway and some mechanical problems of their own.
After downing some food and catching up with the ride leader, we caught up with the peeps while hiking up Beacon rock. Something triggered me to just have a ton of energy and bolt the rest of the way. I passed everyone else and was second at the top.
Oh what a view of the Columbia Gorge. Check out Matt’s Flickr set (coming soon).
There was some tom-foolery at the top involving my barefeet, dancing like a monkey and being nude for a quick picture. Fun times!
The weather was just a bit over-cast but still rather pleasant. The camp sites were a little pricey but comfortable.
Good company and good times.