This year turned out to be a much soggier, but no less stunning affair. The scenery on this route never fails to disappoint, and I'd be hard pressed to find a brevet of this distance with more to look at.
After making the trip down to Portland the night before and loading up on nutrition (read: beer and veggie dogs) for the upcoming ride, I tucked myself in for a nice 3 hours of sleep on the couch of one very generous Joshua Bryant. 4:00 am comes quickly, and after a quick breakfast and bike check, we headed out for the start.
I was riding with my usual rando crew (Robert and Chris), along with the aformentioned Joshua, and a couple other Oregon folks we met along the way. We stuck together for the better part of the day, and everyone seemed to have about the same tempo, except when Robert would ditch us all on the climbs up the capes (someone ate their Wheaties that morning!).
The rest of the day was glorious, as we passed the bays, ocean beaches, dunes, and farmland that make this brevet such a stunner. Good company and good scenery make the kilometers melt away sometimes, and at times (obviously not the whole time) this ride felt more like a Sunday spin with friends than a brevet. We even had a ridiculously vivid rainbow appear near the end of the ride, as we wound our way back to Forest Grove. Theo, one of the Oregon guys we met along the way, managed to capture it best so I have gratuitously stolen his photo and placed it here:
Our group kept a good pace all day, and with no flats and only 2 mechanical mishaps, we ended up clocking in at the finish just hair under 14 hours.
With the 200 and 300K brevets under my belt this year, I just have the 400 and 600km brevets left before I'm all qualified for Paris-Brest-Paris. I get to pre-register for it next weekend, and the butterflies of nervousness and excitement are already starting to form in my stomach. PBP is widely touted as the ride of a lifetime, and it seems that every time I glance at the calendar it gets exponentially closer. I'm going to really have to buckle down to get everything ready in time (my fitness, my saddletime, my equipment, my food choices, and my language skills), but when rides like these are part of the program, I realize how damn lucky I am to be doing all this.