Quick thoughts on the Portland Century, whose 50-ish mile route I rode Sunday with my good friend Scott.
- Portland is the epicenter of awesome (Scout, Jarrett, Ted and Scott live there). It’s also a pretty city. The St. Johns part of the route (towards the end, as you’re coming back into town) and path along the Columbia (though I’d have preferred going the other direction) were my favorites. Bicycle signage is fantastic and there is a bicycle passing lane. It was somewhat shocking how many drivers with the right of way would stop to let cyclists cross.
- Cool bikes. Scott rode his Xtracycle.
Team Xtracycle – w00t
- Hot Lips Pizza – oh, this brings up fond memories of last year’s Cycle Oregon. Fresh slices of cheese, basil-pesto-mushroom or pepperoni pizza made right on the spot are so good. Too bad they didn’t have their fruit sodas for sale. As Scout noted during the inaugural ride, “Honest to goodness food!” I would have (hearted) for them to have had a presence at the end of ride soiree.
- OMG, it’s been like forever since I’ve ridden a flat route. By mile 61 back to Scott’s house, I had only about 1,000′ of elevation gain for the day. I enjoyed it.
- Inadequate Toiletage. Why do large events skimp on toilets? The first rest stop had two porta-potties. Lines were about 20+ minutes. I was curious what kind of guidelines there were. The chart below is pretty standard:
Image source: mrjohn.com and many others
Next question, how much does it cost to rent a toilet? I didn’t get quotes – but the Internets say it’s about $150 each, with discounts for quantity. Portland Century cost ~$60/person with at least a thousand paying riders present. Three riders would pay for another commode. Three riders.
I can see for miles and miles…
- Rider #800, one of the “support team,” twice came very close to getting whacked by not heeding that mysterious red octagon thing … or looking at the car coming towards her. I was eager to Not Be Riding Near Her. [Oh, and dude, thanks for volunteering, but please, don’t get yourself killed. (Or, “dibs on the patch kit!”)]
On the drive to/from, I picked up several geocaches. Among the more interesting:
Traffic on I-5 was pretty bad. Even with listening to my backlog of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me podcasts — yes, I finally have a car wired for my iPod — I needed a break. The Mima Mounds earthcache was a good excuse to get out and stretch my legs, and it’s the kind of weird thing I love stopping and seeing.
On the way out of Portland, I made a detour to the Original Stash Cache, the first geocache placed anywhere. It’s also the most visited.