I had wanted to throw a group ride for my new teammates at Team Slow, so today was the day. I'd warned everyone that this would be a mellower ride, with a pace not to exceed 12-14 mph at any time and a considerably slower pace in the steepest hills. I figured that might keep most of the hammerheads away, especially those preparing for the unbelievable Dalles Mountain 60 in a couple of weeks. So when I pulled up and saw that several stronger riders had gathered for this event, I was a little nervous. Still, everyone was glad to see everyone else and no one raised any objections when I spelled out the guidelines:
--this is a re-group ride at best, so if you need to go faster, go faster.
--if you need to go slower, go slower.
--if you fall behind me, I will slow down and wait up a bit for you.
--we're all meeting at the same place for coffee and bagels, so whoever gets there first try to get us a decent table.
--suggested route was Marine Drive to about 208th, where we'd turn off and climb through some rather sterile suburbs to get to downtown Gresham.
Steven, Theo, Ed, Steph, Klaus, Rob and John joined me on a sunny, bright morning loop down 33rd to Marine Drive, with Ed and Steph on a gorgeous vintage tandem (which they were borrowing from Theo, as it turned out).
Everything was going great. The pace was still a little brisk for me but I managed to hang in there all the way to 97th Avenue. Then, something really strange happened. I fell far enough behind that by the time I'd caught up with everyone else, we were off Marine Drive and heading south on the I-205 Bike Path. By the time I realized it, we were too far off Marine Drive to double back and still have the ride make sense, so I shrugged and suggested we keep going, all the way down the I-205 path to the Springwater Corridor, and go to Gresham that way. Everyone said that sounded like a fine idea, and so we went on.
What I had forgotten, not riding out there much, is that it takes quite awhile to get to all the way down the path to the Springwater this way. And so by the time we got to Gresham, we'd added another ten miles to my intended route. It wasn't fatal, and it turned out to be totally okay; but I know I will probably pay for it tomorrow. (Thank you, lungs and knees! Have I mentioned lately that I love you guys?)
We somehow split into two groups, with the first group arriving about 20-25 minutes ahead of the second group. We all stayed along enough to enjoy bagels, coffee and conversation. At length, we decided it was time to move along; I had to be somewhere in the early evening and would need time to get home and clean up beforehand. After some discussion, we decided to go back along the Springwater (it's been repaved and is oh-so-lovely to ride now!), agreeing to meet up at one of our sponsors, Migration Brewery. I advised everyone that I might need to peel off before then to get home in time. Again, not a problem. Everyone was completely and cheerfully agreeable. I wound up riding the whole way back with Ed and Steph on their borrowed tandem, and we enjoyed lovely conversation and mellow, manageable pace all the way to NE 47th, where I peeled off to head home.
Heading home took slightly longer than I'd planned; the # 75 bus was at least 20 minutes away and I didn't feel like sitting around waiting for it. So I rode all the way back over to Clinton, and down through Ladd's Addition and over to MLK near Hawthorne, where I hopped the # 6 bus to get across town. (I rode the last couple of miles just to unkink my legs a little.)
Total for the ride came to about 44 miles, the longest I've ridden in quite some time.
A truly lovely ride. I'm looking forward to more.