Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pioneer Century (6/7/14)

My birthday fell on a Saturday this year - yippee!!!! But it was also the day after graduation, a wonderful but incredibly long and exhausting workday.

I knew I wanted to do something sweaty, like a race, but since I haven't been running much, I thought another bike event would be fun. I chose the Pioneer Century in Canby.
In it's 40th year, the Pioneer Century offered several distances and courses ranging from 8 to 100 miles. I liked the idea of the 45 miler, but the course looked a bit sucky - lots of highway riding. I wanted more quiet roads, so we went with the 32 miler. Plus, I knew I'd be tired from Friday's long day and late night.

Brad's tire/tube was haunted, and we had to do several repairs before leaving the house Saturday morning. We had to be on the 32-mile course by 10 a.m., and we barely made it. They were starting to pack up the the registration table while we paid our fees.

Armed with maps and directions to follow the pink Dan Henrys, we set off. Mind you, this was only our second bike event of this kind, and we didn't know what Dan Henrys were (they didn't use them on our other ride). Luckily, the only other cyclist leaving pointed out the spray painted symbols on the road:
The weather was cloudy and coolish as we headed south (course map) - very nice! Other than a short stint on a busier road, we had the place to ourselves. The rolling country roads were empty of cars and other cyclists. We passed just one biker on the first half of the course.

When the 55-mile course eventually connected with us, the field became a bit more crowded. Then just before mile 19, we spotted our rest stop!
WOW! There were about a million kinds of snack mix - salty, sweet and mixed - in little Dixie cups so we didn't have to reach in with our dirty hands. And fruit and PBJ sandwiches and granola bars and all kinds of yummies! And there was a filtered-water station to refill bottles - and two types of Gatorade powder to add if we were so inclined.
It was at the rest stop that I discovered I had lost ONE of my arm sleeves while trying to clean up from a snot-rocket gone awry. Shoot! But Brad assured me we'd drive back and look for it after the ride.

We tanked up and then got back on the saddle for the last 13 miles.

Right off the bat, some more hardcore cyclists (from the 55 miler) zoomed past like we were sitting still. But after that, we mostly held our own. In fact, we zoomed past a couple people on a hill :)

When I hit the car, my trip meter read 32.24 miles (LOVE my fancy new computer - thanks, Brad!!)
The tired, sweaty couple:

The price of admission included lunch back at the Clackamas County Event Center start/finish line (or the halfway point if you were doing one of the long rides). It was a burrito bar!!!!!!
Oh, yes!
Then came the birthday miracle...

We got in the car, entered the before-the-snot-rocket location into the GPS and started the arm-sleeve search.

Confusion at a four-way stop slowed us a few beats, and we got stuck at the stoplight at Highway 99E. I looked to our left and saw a cyclist standing on the corner... with a piece of high-vis fabric draped over his handlebars.

OH MY GOSH - that's the guy that we passed just before I lost my sleeve - the ONLY guy who was behind us on that route. And that's my sleeve!!!!

I jumped from the car, ran across the street and grabbed my sleeve - woohoo!!!
Talk about timing! Truly a birthday miracle ;)

The Pioneer Century was a fun ride, good route, good support (support vehicles passed us several times during the ride), good food. But it felt a little different from the Ride Around Clark County we did last month. The Vancouver ride had a bit more camaraderie while the Canby ride seemed more individual. 

I was happy to take out my new bike with my new birthday accessories!

Can't wait to do more rides :)

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