Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DRR 400 or 600 km ACP Brevet : May 16th 2015

Ride your choice of either a 400 or 600 km brevet on a shared course.

More details coming soon below. The pre-drive is scheduled for the 10th - so expect more details on the course afterwards.

Organizers: Susan O and Paul W

Ride date: Saturday-Sunday, 16-17th May, 2015

Sunrise: 05:23
Sunset: 20:25

Sign in from: 5:30am
Start at: 6:00am
Finish by: Sunday, 9:00am / 10:00pm for the 400 / 600 respectively.

Fee (cash only, at the ride start): $15 (pending pre-ride/drive. If we need to provide support the cost for the ride will rise).

Start/Finish location:
Red Lion Hotel, George Washington Way, Richland, WA 99352

There will be riding in the dark. Lights and reflective gear that satisfy RUSA rules must be used. There will be a gear and bike check.

There will be information controls - please have a pen.

There will be long sections in the desert with no services and little cover. There will be long sections with no cellphone coverage. There will probably be heat. There could be headwinds, sidewinds, tailwinds and dust. It could get cold (but not icy). There will be no volunteer support available other than at the start/finish, and maybe not even there. You will be fine with all that and able to carry sufficient food and drink and tools and spares. We might ask you to show us.

registration closed            who's riding?
You will be asked which distance you'd like to ride - 400 or 600 km. It would be very helpful to the organizers if you don't change your mind after registering. It will be impossible to change your mind on the day before the ride nor any time after that.

Route cue sheets:
400 km
600 km

Map / GPS downloads (very likely but not yet officially final):
400 km
600 km part 1
600 km part 2

Now for the fun parts. The ride starts out along the Columbia river. Part of Pasco is traversed, and then you're on the Pasco-Kahlotus highway. Since it'll be relatively early in the day we don't expect that road to be too busy. However, keep an eye/ear out for the lone car moving quickly. They might not expect to see you. There's a ripping descent into Kahlotus (eventually), and then an excursion out to Washtucna. Enjoy. Then reverse course back a bit to wind over to cross the Snake river, pass thru Starbuck (no kidding) Washington. You'll get to Waitsburg. We've enjoyed the coffee shop there, as well as the grocery store. Nice place, nice people. The route from there to Walla Walla puts you thru some agricultural areas. There's a Safeway in Walla Walla for a control (not original, but very serviceable) - we'll see what nearby options there are as part of the pre-drive activities. Then you book on out of town along the old highway 12, rejoin the main highway 12 and eventually get more time along the Columbia. The 400/600 diverge a bit at this point: the 400 angles into Hermiston to get the overall distance to spec. The 600 goes straight to the Tesoro in Umatilla (the 400 gets there eventually - if one wants to regroup). The climb from Umatilla is inevitable but sometimes with a strong wind to push you up the hill. Everyone gets back to the Red Lion eventually, to either end the ride (400) or serve as the jump-off point for the next loop (600).

The second part of the 600 reprises parts of other DRR rides, and keeps you near services. You'll get up on the plateau above the Yakima valley (similar to Le Grimpeur permanent), spend some time on Emerald road (similar to the Flat Yak), and there's the Old Inland Empire Highway. We've reversed the course so if there is a blistering wind out of the West you'll get a strong push home on Highway 22, and the course should protect you a bit heading out. Finally, the awesome blandness of using a number from a power tower as an information control is nicely balanced by one of the murals in Toppenish.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

DRR Spring 300 Km ACP Brevet: March 21st, 2015

This is a new route in NE Oregon that commutes back and forth between Hermiston and Pendleton using a pair of loops on scenic and mostly very quiet rural roads. None of it is flat.

The start at Hermiston Plaza has plenty of parking. The only thing open before 6am, however, will be the Shari's restaurant (24 hrs). The route heads initially out on US-395, which will be quiet so early on a weekend morning and has a wide shoulder most of the way. After the junction with I-84 it gets really quiet as we drop down into Echo and begins the scenic trip along the Umatilla River canyon to Pendleton. The road through the canyon is twisty and lumpy in places. There's been some needed road maintenance in the last year or so but there's still a good chance of gravel and holes, so keep your head up.

Pendleton is the first open control. If you're in a hurry, a quick stop at Safeway (on the right after swooping down off the rail bridge) is probably the easiest option (restrooms on the right, just inside).

For the next stage we rejoin US-395 and climb up and away from Pendleton and into the NE Oregon hills. This is an exposed stretch of gradual and not so gradual climbing, and if we're unlucky the wind might make things interesting here. Console yourself with views of some massive basaltic rock walls. Last services for a loooong way (ok, about 50 miles or so) are at Pilot Rock, so stock up on provisions if necessary.

Eventually we'll turn off 395 and onto OR-74 which will take us to a summit and the highest point of the ride at about 2680 ft. Pretty wild views into two or three different valleys from up here and nothing to hear but the wind and your breath. Next is a fast and curvy rolling descent to the next junction, where we leave 74 and join Butter Creek road. This is a small, local, pretty, remote farm road. It's quite empty except for widely spaced farms. Very little if any traffic. Cattle and cowboy country. The road is rolling, but more down than up. It's surfaced, but there's holes and gravel because the winter out here is unkind to roads. Stay awake. There's also several cattle guards at various points, a couple of which ambush you after a bend or cresting a hill. Please slow down and be cautious riding over them, especially so if it's wet!

Picture by Susan

Butter Creek eventually joins OR-207, the Lexington-Echo highway, for a long, straight gradual descent through industrial-scale farms back to Hermiston. With luck you might have a tailwind. Now's a good time to refuel and resupply (back at your vehicle!) because there's plenty left to do and no services until Pendleton (56 miles).

We're spat out of suburban Hermiston on Diagonal Road, pick up busy OR-730 beside the Columbia, briefly, but soon climb away from the river on OR-37. This will be a rolling, twisting ride across deep valleys on a quiet road past farms and ranches, intriguing ruins and tranquil settlements that were obviously once larger than they are today. The further we go the more rolling it gets, until near the high point (1820 ft) and the turn onto OR-335 it's a real roller-coaster.

After the turn it's a descent with good views of the Blue Mountains, down to busy OR-11, which we'll only be on a couple of miles before turning south for a little detour to Mission (if you're quick enough, you'll get to Mission Market before it closes). Then it's a quick dash back into Pendleton and dinner (or second dinner or third lunch?).

Finally, take the canyon road and 395 back to Hermiston the way you came first thing this morning (but likely this time in the dark, so try to stay awake) and you're done.

Organizer: Norm Carr

Ride date: Saturday, 21st March, 2015

Sunrise: 06:59
Sunset: 19:11

Sign in from: 05:30 Sat
Start at: 06:00 Sat
Finish by: 02:00 Sun

Fee (cash only, at the ride start): $10

Start/Finish location:
Hermiston Plaza, Highway 395, Hermiston, OR

Nearest accomodation:
Oak Tree Inn, 4th St.
Rodeway Inn, Hwy 395

This is an unsupported ride with long distances (sometimes more than 50 miles/80 Kms) between services. Please prepare accordingly and carry sufficient clothes, tools and spares, and food and drink for your needs.

There will be riding in the dark. Lights and reflective gear that satisfy RUSA rules must be used.

Much of this route follows rural roads that serve working farms, so there can sometimes be muck, mud, gravel and other debris on the road surface. Please keep your head up and take care, especially if it's wet.

Be advised that outside of Hermiston and Pendleton and anywhere away from major highways (most of this route, in other words) it is very unlikely that you will receive a cell phone signal.

There will be information controls - please have a pen.

registration closed          Who's riding?

Route Cue Sheet

Map / GPS download

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

DRR Spring 200 Km ACP Brevet : February 28th 2015

Yep. It's Flat Yak. Again. Would be a shame to break with tradition.

This is a low-level course through the Yakima River valley out to an open control lunch stop in Toppenish and back. It follows generally quiet roads through Eastern Washington farmland. Some pre-ride notes from a couple of years ago are still relevant.

There's still a possibility of wintery weather at the end of Feb, and there's a good chance it could be chilly or windy. Bring extra layers and a weatherproof shell. Like all our brevets, this is an unsupported ride but there are sufficient opportunities to find food and drink along the route.

Organizer: Norm Carr

Ride date: Saturday, 28th February, 2015

Sunrise: 06:38
Sunset: 17:42

Sign in from: 06:30
Start at: 07:00
Finish by: 20:30

Fee (cash only, at the ride start): $0

Start/Finish location:
Starbucks, corner of Gage Blvd. & Keene Rd., Richland, WA 99352
(NOT the Starbucks inside Albertson's!)

As an early season ride there's a significant possibility of riding in the dark so lights and reflective gear that satisfy RUSA rules must be brought and used.

There will be information controls - please have a pen.

Registration now closed
(the "Who's Riding" page is currently down for maintenance, but if you filled in the form, you have been recorded)

Route Cue Sheet

Map / GPS Download