A "training" Brevet x (0.5)

Jason and Andrew (aka me) set out on Saturday the 7th to get the legs moving again and some distance under their belt.  We decided to do the Grab Bag 200k  Brevet that was a mostly flat ride leaving from just south of Portland.  The weather was amazing with clear skies and relatively warm weather (after the sub 40 degree start).

We started in Newberg, OR after a nice 430 AM wake up to get there in plenty of time to sign in, pick up our card and be ready to leave at 7.  As usual we were a few minutes late to actually get on our bikes - leaving us at the back of the pack and only catching the slower riders as they stopped to use the restroom.  Jason (as usual) was riding the deepest wheels and I think we were 2 of only 5 riders on Carbon out of a field of 30.  Two of the others were on custom Calfee's, one of which was a recumbent.  This is a group where the boutique bikes are heavy steel and there is certain prestige in riding the most dilapidated machine possible.

Both Jason and I were pretty comfy on the get go even though my chin was quite cold. We both were happy to live in oregon and sport the requisite beard. Why didn't I bring a neck warmer like I always do?  Plus I had to bring rain gear just to break the wind.  But clear skies in March can't be beat. The first stop was about 20 miles in - the entire field descended on one Sticky bun place that had an amazing sticky bun.  Jason bought a quarter of one -which filled a plate - and we then split it among 4 people.

It was really an amazingly pretty day.

From this point on we continued along keeping a solid if not great pace - sitting right at around 15 - 16 mph average.  Not super fast but steady.  I slowly had to start shedding layers as I was overheating.  

The roads were good but there was an insane number of turns. I had loaded everything into my Map My Ride kit and then kept my phone charged off my Dynohub for the whole route which absolutely made my ride better.  I just had to make sure my dot was on the blue line and all was good.

Soon we made it to the next stop which was another coffee shop.  Here Jason chose a scone which turned out to be cream filled.  Needless to say the idea of keeping a calorie neutral ride in was not a problem.

I opted for a healthier cookie and espresso.  It melded well with my gel blocks which I had been eating continually.  These were my first Gels since RAO last year. I follow the "eat before you are hungry and just always drink."  I had my first leg cramps at mile 15 so - I rapidly switched to water with tablets in it to restore electrolytes. Made a difference from that point on.

Jason also learned that he looks pretty stupid with a cycling hat under his helmet .  OK - well Jason didn't learn that but hopefully he reads this post and comes the same conclusion.  He also hated the hat and ditched it within a couple of miles of this point. His question was - why would I put something to make it so I can't see? 

Leaving (whatever the town was called), we headed out at around mile 45 and onto the only climb of the day.  It started with a fun descent and it had gotten warm enough that I was down to bibs and riding shirt .  Jason was still rocking arm and knee warmers. I don't know how he didn't melt.  
Jason on the climb.

We then started up and up and up.  It actually wasn't that long of a climb but it was fun. I expected worse. The weather was crystal clear and we were rewarded at the top with a great view of  Mt Hood (Which is the image that started this post).  We met the climb organizer at the top and then did a super fun descent down into Newberg. 

Then we texted that we were DNFing.  We rode 99km and felt pretty good.  We both felt that we could have finished the race but considering our distance training to date (almost none) that it was better to have legs to keep training on rather than pulling a tendon or getting really bad spring knee and having to spend time off the bike. Since this was a training ride and not a goal it seemed like the smart choice even though the last 100 would have been fun too.  

How'd it go?  Well the bikes worked perfect.  I love having a dyno hub for long rides since I can keep my phone up and running the whole time and don't have to worry about not having enough battery (I'm not using it on RAO though - there is a support vehicle).  I was using a new helmet that has better airflow and that will be super welcome on RAO this year. Mostly it felt great to get miles on the legs in great weather.  And hell - Jason didn't flat which is always a surprise.


  1. Great write-up and a great ride! Indeed, the hat looked stupid and (more importantly) gave me effectively no forward visibility. I also didn't flat. I really wish I had found and brought my real cold-weather gloves, as my hands being cold was the only part of the ride that was less than perfect!

    I might mention that the 1/4 of a sticky bun was about $2.50... making it the calorie bargain of the century.

    This was EXCELLENT motivation to start training in earnest.

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  3. No rain = No Flats. Historically this is a true statement. Let's hope this year's RAO has the same effect (and no rain, if you please). Hats under helmets look silly but they keep UV rays off the scalp and keep sweat / salt / hair goo off the inside of the helmet. Perhaps a skull cap versus a ball cap style makes sense (fashion sense). Great ride.


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