Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekend Riding In The Valley

Steve-O came down for an afternoon ride yesterday. We used to live about 50 yards away from each other, now it’s more like 50 miles. Getting together for a ride takes a little more coordinating than it used to, but we’re figuring it out. Our spouses continue to be good friends, so while they spent the afternoon together, Steve-O and I rolled.

For our route I wanted good scenery, some distance, and some climbing. We got all that plus more: no more than a block from my house we got hit with a shot of cold, pelting rain. For the better part of the ride, headwinds and crosswinds added to the overall fun. We always manage to get a headwind when we ride together. Always.

I’m so taken by the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge that I added it to our route. It’s really a phenomenal place and I was glad to see there other folks were there, taking in the sweeping views. Our primary entertainers were several thousand canadian geese congregated on a large meadow, with hundreds more taking flight in their signature v-formations. Some nice farmlands surround the area as well. Even on a mostly cloudy day, this area is just downright purty.

Riding across the Independence Bridge, we were almost knocked over by the cross winds coming up the Willamette River. Thankfully there was no car traffic just then. After a quick break in beautiful downtown Independence, we were approaching the moment of reckoning: the West Salem hills stood there waiting for us. We chose to ascend Oak Grove and Orchard Heights Roads. Getting yourself and your bike up a steep hill can really test your toughness, your limits, and your commitment. This was not a lengthy climb but it was plenty steep. From the valley floor we climbed to over 1000 feet in a few short miles, the final mile being the hardest. The grade was steep enough to even get some groans out of Steve-O! Mission accomplished.

Since our route was going to take us past my folks house, we included a brief stop to see them. My mom and dad just always know how to be hospitable. On the kitchen counter they had chilled water bottles and electrolyte mixes ready for us. Perfect! Thanks, Mom and Dad. You’re the best.

After a big climb and a quick water break, there’s really nothing better than hopping back on the saddle, heading downhill, and hanging onto the handlebars for dear life! Rippin’ down the hill was so much fun, and we earned every mph of it. Our speedometers saw numbers we’ve not seen before. Sorry, I can’t divulge them publicly because I’d be incriminating myself and Steve-O. :)

Our 50-miler was just what we had hoped. Of course, just as we got back to my house, the wind stopped.

No comments: