Monday, August 16, 2010

Alpine Century - Your Next "Bucket List" Ride

How would you like to do a fully-supported century ride with:

  • zero stoplights
  • two stop SIGNS (both in the first 20 miles)
  • great scenery
  • little to no traffic
  • all the hazelnuts you can reasonably eat, and 
  • a swimming hole that appears JUST when you think it's getting a bit warm-ish?
Look no further. The Alpine Century is all that. I ran into a bunch of Corvallis friends on the ride (Mark, Tim, Joe, Kate....Joanne from Salem...) .but I mainly rode with Carbent Bro' Chris.

I rode up to Alpine from Eugene. It's about 50k. See? I'm bilingual! I rode 50k to do a 100 mile ride! This is what I get for hanging out with the rando crowd. The plan was to meet Chris at 7, and plan to be riding by 8. I figured that since I'd be all warmed up and ready it was okay to be a few minutes late, so I didn't leave until 5:45...I was only a few minutes out the door when I realized that I'd calculated my time/distance to Monroe, not Alpine - I was 5 miles short, so I'd better haul a$$. Which I did.

I got to Alpine with a full head of steam, rolled in to the parking lot and asked the lady at the registration table if "my riding partner had shown up, yet"...she gave me a blank look. I'll take that as a "no" -  even for a 'bent guy, Chris cuts a distinctive figure; if he were there, she'd know who I was talking about. By the time I'd filled out registration paperwork it was 7:20. A quick tour of the parking lot - nope - but just as I was heading back up to the breakfast table, here he comes....Miyata, top down, bike in the back...Mr. Cool.

We did make it out of the parking lot by 8:00, but barely. No worries...up and over Bellfountain. Chris is SURE there's something wrong with my front wheel; it's making a lot of noise. Now, sports fans, I'm auditioning a new front wheel - a Cosmic Carbone SL, with (yep!) a carbon fairing bonded on to an aluminum rim. Although this wheel has a reputation for being bombproof, my recent history with carbon/aluminum bonding is pathetic, so we stop and check. Everything. Nothing apparently wrong...

Over Bellfountain, made the turn onto Decker. This is a very easy course to navigate, and I've been on all the roads before, so I don't really have to think too much. Down the other side, on to Hwy 34. One guy catches me just before the Marys Peak access road and congratulates me (on being almost as fast as him??? Hmmmm).

Turns out that he and Chris are both waiting at the top, and pull out right behind me as I head down. This is some of the best pavement on the planet. Seriously. On club rides, even on my upright, I've been known to make grown men cry. And today I've got the Raven. I had some initial speed on Chris, so it took him a couple of miles to catch back up to me. We don't see the other guy until the rest stop at Alsea.

Rest stop at the Alsea grange hall. Hazelnuts, M&M's, and Gorge Delights fruit bars. Oh, and Gu and Gatorade and stuff like that. But - Hazelnuts and M&M's. I think I could do a century on just that.
Lobster Valley Road - nice. Quiet. Up. Back to 34. Up a little, then back down to Alsea again. MAN, that was a quick 50 miles! And a good's getting hot, and Chris is almost out of water (we skipped a rest station).

Load up, and on the home stretch. It's pushing 100 degrees in the sun (oof!) but we're going to be in shade for most of the rest of the ride. There's a rest stop right at the trailhead down to the falls. We're on it. We tell the volunteers there that we're going in. They offered to watch our bikes.

COLD THERAPY!!!! OOOOOOOH!!!!! Chris got a young couple to snap a cellphone pic of us in the falls, and he managed to navigate clear across the river and back without dropping the thing. Not bad.

A few more miles of easy climbing, and then DOWN! to Alpine...a nice lunch. I was a little behind on fluids so I refilled water bottles and had a soda. The local businesses put up a lot of raffle prizes; since I'd done day of ride registration I wasn't in the drawing but several friends won bottles of wine, etc. Something to remember for next year!

Chris dropped me off in Corvallis, and I changed into "party" clothes at Peak Sports. I had a few minutes to kill before heading to a party, so I stopped in to a gelato shop (shoppe?). I had a small dish of chocolate-orange and cherry. Could easily have had all chocolate-orange...and an iced espresso. Nice!
Drank probably half a gallon of water at the party, ate everything salty I could find, and stayed WAY too long, but had a very nice time - a good mixture of "bike" and "non-bike" people. (Meaning - mainly bike people, but we were finding other things to talk about.) People were a little surprised that I was heading out at dark to ride the final 40 miles...but hey - I've got a great light. Might as well use it, and it was cooling down nicely.

On the way home I stopped in Monroe for QUITE a while - still feeling a little thirsty, so I sucked down a large iced tea and refilled yet again while I watched the moon set and a little bit of heat lightning dance to the south...the latter brought a bit of headwind; I allowed that to slow me down a bit, and got home around 11:30.

Long, good day. You know you've done a good one when you have to think about whether it's worth it to grab a shower, or just crawl into bed filthy.

Consider the Alpine Century! They do a great job and they deserve more turnout than they get.

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh... *notes calendar for next year*

    Oh, and... "You know you've done a good one when you have to think about whether it's worth it to grab a shower, or just crawl into bed filthy."

    Been there more than a few times. Very, very true. And even more applicable after epic mt bike rides. ;)