Tuesday, March 16, 2010

North, South, Day, Night ....

It's all about equal.

Recently I mentioned that this season holds many opportunities to ride rando events here in the PNW. This coming Saturday is the perfect example: SIR offers a 200K brevet starting in Arlington, and ORR offers a 200K starting in Forest Grove. The factors that most influence the decision are time and the weather.

Time because the travel time will likely be a substitute for the cost of a cheap motel the night before. I have pretty much burned through my bike riding budget for the month.  There was that motel and gas to get there in Richland.  Then new tires and tubes for the big horse. So going the night before and staying in a motel (cheap or otherwise) would put me into next month’s budget. The Rocky Acres Treasury Dept. has proposed new ‘pay go’ rules and this is crunch time. I am no slave to matters of budget, but the global financial meltdown did singe the carbon/titanium cup holders so we are trying to be at least a little less ostentatious here on the grounds. The implementation date for pay go is stuck in the Finance Committee. The Health and Safety committee is threatening filibuster. What seemed such a commonly held point of faith now appears to be a political football.  Rachel Maddow and Ann Coulter are calling for interviews. 

There is always the chance that my inner ‘tax and spend liberal’ will whisk me away Friday afternoon so that I can blow a hole in the budget big enough to drive a Hummer through, allowing a decent pre-ride night of sleep. The benefit of this pre-ride ‘trick’ cannot be overstated and the Health and Safety committee keeps pushing that point into the forefront of the debate. The will of the body politic can never be taken for granted. If this comes to pass, it is most likely that I will NOT ride the Birkie; I stayed at the Grand Lodge last year and, much as I like the whole McMenamins shtick I got the ‘cheap room’ just down the hall from the little rockabilly trio that played the night away at the open air bar. Ugh! So much for a good night’s rest.

Back to the point at hand, drive time. Google tells us that Forest Grove is a 134 mile drive from Rocky Acres, Arlington, much closer at 133 miles. This would mean a 'no-later-than' launch time of 4:00am. That’s ’driving away’ at 4:00am, never mind getting up, getting dressed, getting coffee, plumbing check, etc. transforming a 12 hour bike frolic into an 18 to 20 hour day, door to door. Ugh!

At that time of morning traffic is a non issue, but of course there would be the return trip. Forest Grove back to the compound is pretty much auto pilot.  Returning from Arlington would mean crossing the vortex of a traffic hurricane (Seattle) and several traffic tropical depressions (Everett, and Tacoma). I like driving in snarled traffic with cranky weekenders as much as the next person, but less traffic after a ride is always better; Just like less climbing on the bike is always better after you’ve crossed Rainy, Washington, and Loup Loup Passes. But really, the travel time is close to a push.

The weather man (I know, only fools and newcomers would predict, much less rely on the forecast) says to expect highs of about 60 at Arlington, and 65 at Forest Grove. Again, not a lot of difference but a slight nod to traveling south.

My inner Spock says Forest Grove is the ‘logical choice’, but my inner Captain Kirk is leaning toward Arlington. I’ve ridden the Birkie before, and ridden those roads in previous years when some of them were part of the old Oregon Randonneurs 200. It’s a pretty ride but you know, when you’ve seen the Mona Lisa a couple times, you might develop an itch for a shot of Jackson Pollock. I’ve ridden some of the Arlington roads, and I’ve lived in some of the places that ride transects, although that was way back in the last century. Chuckanut drive on a sunny afternoon can be quite the Kodak moment.

So Who Wants to Influence a Millionaire? Taking a page out of cheap reality television quiz shows, I’m going to 'ask the audience'; toss me a lifeline why don't you.

I’ve posted a poll in the margins on the right. I’ll check it Friday and perhaps the will of the people will drive the decisions here at Codfish Industries Worldwide. You know like how Congress is following the public will as it moves to implement economic policy and financial industry reform.

A point of interest here: This ride (whichever it turns out to be) will begin in the depths of winter, and proceed into the flowering of spring. The vernal equinox is set for March 20th, about 10:30 Seattle time. Not the longest day or the shortest night but equal.  Ah, finally winter will be over and those 36 degree rainy mornings will feel sooo much warmer.


  1. I see me and 2 other friends north of you are voting for you to head north young man. Robin and I will be there and would love to see you there too! Amy Pieper

  2. Come even further north, BC Randos have a 200 on Saturday too.

  3. Simpler solution: do what randonneurs from the time of yore are reputed to have done:

    ride your bike to the brevet, ride the brevet, ride home.

    You probably need the practice, anyway.

  4. Come ride North with me in case I need a spare tube or four. I'm guessing you'll have some extras!

  5. Another vote for North. I need someone to hold down the Lantern Rouge spot in case I go into a vomit-fest.

  6. That's what I like about this nation (Nation of Codfish, includes Canadians!): you all come up with no limit of ideas, awesome!

    Charile, email me, so we can talk in private about your offer:


  7. I've cast my vote for Northerly, too. Hope to see you there.