Saturday, September 15, 2012

Farm to Farm (to Farm...)

I rode the F2F century again this year.

It is a fundraiser for the Monroe Sharing Gardens and exposes people to a fee of the wonderful farms we have in the valley. As a ride, it has pretty much all the elements I could want in a ride: breakfast, dinner, food stops with awesome fresh (and real) food, pretty scenery, support along the way, and a swag bag with only good things in it.

I borrowed Mike Ripley's bike for the ride (thanks Mike) which is an awesome racing bike that weighs maybe 17 pounds. I certainly felt fast on it. One of the mechanics admired it fondly. I'll be giving it back this week with a little sadness.

The ride starts in Monroe nice and early with a breakfast and then a short tour through Monroe out towards Alsea falls.

I'd parked next to two guys and made small talk in the registration line. They were from Eugene and Tillamook and ride together often. They seemed like they would ride about the same pace as me and I thought of joining them, but we got to breakfast at different times and left separately. I didn't want to be that creepy guy who hangs uncomfortably nearby wanting to be their friend. So I rode off toward Alsea ahead of them.

I felt like a pro biking past lots of people. It seemed like this years crowd was more recreational riders than serious ones. There were two recumbents biking side by side taking up the entire lane (and cyclists wonder why drivers sometimes resent cyclists).

The climb up to Alsea falls is pretty steep and I passed even more people. There were quite a few who were walking there bikes. I crested the peak after climbing 1000 feet and enjoyed the windy descent.

The first rest stop is at a goat farm and they had pasties, zucchini bread, and cookies again. I had a sampling of each of them and chatted with the two guys from the parking lot who had rolled into the pit stop a couple of minutes after me.

We set off together making some pretty good time and chatting. The next climb was up to the base of Mary's Peak - another 1000 foot climb though not as steep. The two guys were named Dan and Mike. We were pretty well matched - Dan was a bit faster than me and Mike a bit slower due to coming off an illness.

The ride down has to be my favorite section of road in the area. We were behind a car that luckily was going fast enough not to get in the way.

We stopped next at Gathering Together Farm - for a snack of watermelon and potato donuts. The donuts were awesome as usual.

We cruised through the the farmer's market and then headed down Peoria road. Last year the entire second have was into a strong headwind. This year there was a slight tailwind.

We cruised through the second half pretty fast. We found out we were the first riders to come through. There were a couple of guys not far behind us. It wasn't a race but we were WINNING!

Dan's rear wheel started leaking air pretty fast, so we stopped a couple of times to pump it up and limp in.

We finished up clocking in 100 miles on the dot. After changing into real clothes we headed back to the start to eat some dinner.

All in all a great ride.

I really enjoyed riding with Dan and Mike. We had quite a bit in common and had a good time chatting it up while riding. Plus it helped to have some people to draft off.

I'll be doing the ride again next year.

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