[ORRando] A brief workers' report on the Covered Bridges 400 K (200
K riders can ignore half this report - you decide which half)
cecilanne at comcast.net
cecilanne at comcast.net
Mon Jun 9 21:12:41 PDT 2008
I will, of course, eventually be posting a thoroughly narcissistic account of the 400 on my blog, but for those of you who really just want details of the course, here is the short version:
Andrew Black, John Henry Maurice and I pre-rode the 400 K course this past weekend. The promised/threatened rain never happened and we had perfect biking weather during the day--slightly overcast, with temperatures in the high 50s/low 60s and very little wind. Because of the forecast rain we had packed extra layers and warmer gloves - this turned out to be a good thing, because the temperature dropped to 41 overnight, and we needed those layers. The early forecast for the 14th calls for sun and higher temperatures, but if you are going to be out all night you may want to bring extra layers anyway.
I know that the official description of this course is "relatively flat." The word in that phrase to focus on is "relatively." It's no Torture 10K,
but it's no pancake, either. More like an aebleskiver, perhaps. But without the lingonberry sauce. The overall elevation gain for the course was 7038 over 400 km, and maximum altitude is barely over 1100 feet, so on paper at least it IS relatively flat. And, to be honest, there really are not that many climbs, it's just that the few climbs that are there are significant. But overall, you will be on the flat more often than not. Which means a lot more pedaling and a lot less coasting.
The first part of the course, from Newberg to Silverton is indeed pretty flat. Starting in Silverton, however, you will begin climbing very gradually toward Scio, through Sublimity and Stayton. Outside of Scio is the steepest climb of the day, on Cole School Road - 2 rollers, one of which clocks in at about 15%, the second at 18%. Don't count on using your momentum from Roller #1 to get you up and over #2 - it's a long, steep climb. But shortly thereafter, you get to descend Richardson Gap, which is equally as steep. There are two hairpin turns on Richardson Gap, however, and the first is pretty tight, so be careful on that descent. For the rest of the course you will encounter the occasional roller, plus a pretty long climb between Crawfordsville and Mohawk - nothing more than 4-6%, but it goes on for a while. Other climbs to note are the stretch between the Larwood Bridge and Sweet Home, and the Prather Road/Corvallis Road section between Buena Vista and Independence. I
f you are a so-so climber, time management between Silverton and Scio could be an issue because of the grade, but everywhere else you shouldn't be slowed down too much by the hills.
200 km riders will follow the same course as the 400 km riders through Scio (yes, that means EVERYBODY gets to enjoy Cole School Road). From Scio, the 200 km riders will head back to Newberg and 400 km riders will continue to travel south.
In addition to regular controls in Scio, Sweet Home, Mohawk, Harrisburg and Independence, there will be information controls, so bring your pencils. Until about 9 PM you should have no trouble finding food for sale along the way (the sandwiches from the deli counter at the Sweet Home Thriftway are huge) and depending on your speed, you may be able to find services open for the full route, but if you ride as slowly as we did on the pre-ride, you will find that there are no services available between Mohawk and Albany (54 miles). If you need to snack more often that every 3 hours, you may want to make sure you have something with you.
In Albany, there is a bar on Broadalbin between 1st and 2nd Street, about 2 blocks to the west of US 20 that is open until 2:00 (They were still kicking people out at 2:30 when we got there and they filled our water bottles for us). There is also a pretty decent 24-hour restaurant in Albany on Madison where it intersects with 99E (from US 20, turn right on 2nd to Madison, right on Madison to 99E, the restaurant is on the right - Pop's Branding Iron. At 3:00 AM, it was surprisingly busy and service was a little slow - something to keep in mind if you are pressed for time. If you have time and are hungry, you can get a LOT of food there for not too much cheddar. If you are running late you should at least get water in Albany, because your next chance won't be until you get to the 24-hr Plaid Pantry on River Road in Salem.
If, like us, you get to Harrisburg and Independence long after they have rolled up the sidewalks, there are ATMs where you can get a receipt. In Harrisburg there is a Wells Fargo right on route, and in Independence there is a Sterling Savings Bank right on route. They lock the public restrooms in Independence sometime after 11 PM, but there are blue rooms by the play structure on the other side of the park from those restrooms (down by the river).
>From Independence to Newberg it is again close to completely flat. River Road into Salem is gently rolling, and there's a teeny hill on Liberty Street in Salem. After that, the most significant climb is into Newberg after crossing the Willamette.
Overall, it is a lovely course. The scenery is great and the traffic after dark was pretty light.
See you Saturday!
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