Unlike several other days of the Festive 500 so far when I've been in full holiday mode, I actually had some responsibilities, work, chores and errands to attend to on Friday the 28th. Time and motivation for anything more than an easy leg-stretcher of a ride were not to be found, so I set out for a mellow cruise around the Peninsula. I hoped to clock 40km after lunch before getting back to work. Turns out that would be harder than I thought.
I started the ride by heading east on Ainsworth toward 33rd Drive, one of the connectors that makes a safe crossing of the chaotic truck route of Columbia Blvd.
Descending the ramp off 33rd over Columbia is always a thrill.
I rode through the Argyle industrial complex to one of my favorite hidden cut-throughs for a little gravel.
Cruised along the waterway, spotted some ducks.
After re-emerging from the unnamed cut-through onto 33rd, I turned North toward Marine Drive, pausing briefly on the bridge over the bike path to admire the view of Mt. Hood looming over the Portland airport, a rare and inspiring sight this time of year. I wasn't heading any farther east this day, so I took a left onto Marine Drive and headed back to the West along the Columbia.
This is one really good reason to love Oregon.
I took the slight detour off Marine Drive onto Bridgeton Road after passing the Portland Yacht Club and found another group of geese who had taken over a soccer field with their honking and pooping.
Two fluffy, white dogs came and chased the flock to the other side of the field shortly after I put the camera back in my pocket.
Floating homes, boathouses and sailboats on Bridgeton.
I reconnected with Marine Drive and connected to the bike path at the I-5 junction. A new craft was parked next Jean, to the rusty old heap that has been docked along the bank in the same spot since I've lived in Portland.
I'm not sure of the classification of this vessel but she looks like she could take a beating.
View from the bike path.
I connected to the Portland Road bike path and headed South towards St. Johns, dodging broken glass on my way to the Slough trail and into Kenton.
Just as I was about to descend the left-hand bend from road level onto the Slough Trail, I was stopped by a white-haired gentlemen wearing a striped sweater and ratty tights, carrying three panniers between the two racks on his old, steel touring bike. "Stop!" he said. I stopped. "Just wanted'a let you know, I just told those fellers too, (referring to a pair of workers in a City of Portland pickup) there's a dog down there, didn't see an owner, looks like he's got some pit in 'im, runnin' around pissin' like he owns the place. Now, I ain't one to be scared of a dog but I'm goin' around. Just lettin' you know, if you go through there, go through with some authority." Okay, I said. Never one to be scared of a dog myself, I thanked him for the heads-up and headed on my way as he pedaled away in the opposite direction with his squeaky chain. I unfastened the strap on my frame pump just in case I needed to give the offending canine a firm whack and kept my eyes peeled and camera ready to capture a photo of this notorious hound.
See any dogs?
I scanned the brush to the right of the trail but saw neither hide nor hair of the mysterious beast. Weird. I continued on the Slough Trail along bluff between the Slough and the Heron Lakes golf course and stopped to try to photograph some waterfowl for later identification. The pocket camera's weak zoom didn't help much in that regard and the photos aren't even worth posting here.
I exited the slough trail, realized I had clocked less than 20km, was nearly home and would have to tack on a bit of extra distance if I wanted to get close to my goal for the day. Ugh. Instead of heading South through Kenton, I headed past the Portland Meadows horse track on Schmeer Road and took a right on Vancouver Ave where I found myself pursued by a giant mechanical fire-breathing insect:
I zigzagged through the neighborhoods, ran the Lombard St. gauntlet over I-5 and coasted down Interstate Ave to Kenton, then on through more neighborhood streets to make my final catsitting visit to Peanut Butter before his parents returned home from their family vacation. By the time I made it home, I had tallied a piddling 34km but felt fairly refreshed by the chilly air and dry roads. With ride #5 in the books, let's do the numbers!
- 1:31 ride time
- 154m climbing
- 982 calories
- 14:37 ride time
- 1,718m climbing
- 8,657 calories
So, 200k to go with three days remaining. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of bike paths, catsitting and the close-to-home medium-distance rides that are usually the staples of my off-season diet. Perhaps the time has come to take things up a notch and plan a big, adventurous ride to end this challenge and the year of 2012 in a haze of suffering or blaze of glory. Maybe a trip to the Gorge is in order...