03 May 2010


I'm not entirely sure at what point the "P" was dropped from the name of this town, but I assure you, it was originally named Pestacada. A Portland cyclist could hope that when one drives such a distance from the windy Gorge, one is rewarded with a beautiful ride, protected from such nasty elements that the Gorge is known for. Not true.
10 April 2010, I set out at 7am, the horrid hour that it is on a Saturday, headed for this small town where we would begin our ride. This was the first ride that I did not look up the elevation, so I wouldn't psyche myself out dreading hills. I am not sure why, but I thought that this was supposed to be a pretty flat out and back ride. Fantasy, maybe? As I am sure you have guessed, I was wrong. One mile into the ride, we began our 2.5mi trek up a hill - that's right, muscles cold and all. Now, the average grade was 7-percent, which to those hill lovers and avid cyclists might be shrugged off. For me, however, it tore open a whole new creative side of me whereby I was able to make up expletives that might even make Denis Leary blush. I have waited over three weeks to make this entry so that I could calm myself enough to be sure none of those slipped into this post. After all, I am still the angelic daughter my parents believe me to be. 0:-) (I think that is a smiley with a halo on it...I'll consult a teen.)
So, the summit finally arrives and then it's my favorite part: the descent! This was awesome. Yes, we were on a highway, but it was four lanes and not many cars, so if you needed to pass, there was plenty of room. Halfway down it struck me - this is an out and back ride. Pestacada!!! Oh well, enjoy the few miles of speed. Shortly thereafter, we were met with the wind that assures me that this place was called Pestacada at one time. The wind is more of a pest than rain. Truly. There were moments when we were going downhill, yet we had to pedal - hard - to continue moving against the wind. What??? That's not how it's supposed to work. Yet more strings of expletives.
Linda, Mari, and I were riding together. We were pace lining as best you can with only three people, as we fought against the wind and worked out way to the turn around point. I arrived feeling rather famished, dry, and really happy to think about how that wind would be hitting us as we headed back. Our SAG was there at the Ripplebrook Ranger Station...hmmm, three weeks ago, don't hold me to the name of that. He had PB&Js, PowerBar Gel Blasts (my fave!), and other yummy stuff. We had a quick bite, filled our water and decided to get moving as others started arriving. Not that we didn't want to be social, we just didn't want to get cold.
As we set off, I noticed that I'd only logged 25 miles. This was supposed to be a 55-mile ride. Being the math genius that I am, I was quickly able to compute that this was only going to be 50-miles. Upsetting. I was set on my 55! So, as we rode, wind at our backs, I was thinking. There was a road that went around that nasty climb we had done at the beginning of the ride. It went down to the Faraday Dam and then on to North Fork Dam and their respective reservoirs. About halfway back, I asked Mari and Linda what they thought about doing a 2.5mi out and back on that road to get us to our 55-miles. After looking at me like I was nuts and a bit too anal about the ride distance, I got a maybe from Mari, but Linda was going to be out of time. Mari had carpooled with another rider and so long as we could make good enough time to not keep the other rider waiting, she would be up for it. Yes! Motive to keep the speed up the rest of the way back.
Now, I need to interject just here to point something out. I COULD have suggested we take that road around that climb...you know, so we had plenty of time to get our extra five miles in, but I did not. Nope, I knew we had the climb coming and just like I always do when I know about a climb, I started psyching myself out about it. As we rode, I began wondering if I really had the amount of fuel left within me to do it. Am I going to have to walk? Dear god, no, I won't walk. I just won't. It's not Laurelwood for crying out loud. No, walking isn't an option. Take a break halfway up? Maybe. Only as a last resort...wham! The wind suddenly changed direction and hit me from the side, nearly blowing me over. More expletives. Yeah, it's one of those unexpected things mother nature likes to do when you find yourself a little too deep in thought on a ride. A little jolt back to reality. As it happens, this little jolt came as we were going down a bit of a hill and somewhere between 35 and 40mph. "Wham" is really not a great word to describe wind hitting you from the side, but as it had about the same effect that I feel a bat or a robin flying at me would, I will let it stand.
The hill was before me. Oh how I remember just hours ago when I enjoyed flying down it. As much as I psyche myself out approaching hills, I also play little psychological games to get myself up the things. It's only a mile, Heather. I stare at the computer, ticking off each tenth of that mile. Do I know that this hill is more than a mile long: abso-friggen-lutely. Will I convince myself otherwise? Let's just say, I can be very convincing to myself. So, that mile runs out and I switch to the little white reflector poles lining the highway. There are only ten to the top...tick them away. Dam. No, literally, I should have gone around the way of the dams. Back to mileage. Okay, so there can't be more than half a mile left at this point. Do I have a half mile of air left to breathe? Do I have any gears left? Dams. Only a tenth left of that little half mile game and still...oh wait, I see the summit. Puuuuuuussshhhhh. Yes, it is like labor. Breathe. Push. Breathe. Swear. See? Just like labor...only without the pain down there because on a ride we're well equipped with Chamois Butt'r (yep, another product plug) to keep us from such added issues. Hmm..So, yeah, sorry guys, it's not really like labor. And with that little side thought, I found myself at the top. Psychological games and odd conversations with myself win out again!
Down the hill we go, treating our legs to a well-earned respite and cool ourselves down. Near the bottom, Mari and I turn left and ride out on Faraday Road our 2.5 miles. This was actually quite lovely and I'm glad we did it. As we rode, we encountered one of our team riding in the opposite direction - they had opted to take this road back instead of doing the climb. If only I could package my head games for them to use to get up those hills.
I was tired and really quite moseying along these extra miles, but I was content - I got my 55. Longest ride to date. I hated the hills, I hated the wind, but it was over and I loved it. Expletives withdrawn.

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