Day 1 – Astoria to St Helens, Oregon

81 miles, 4514 feet climbed

Today started out overcast and cool, with some condensed water on the pavement. I wore leg warmers, arm warmers and a my light jacket for the whole day. The sun didn’t make an appearance until I dropped off the last hill into the outskirts of St Helens.

This is the second year of a change of routing from that which we rode in 2004. (Stay tuned for more comparisons to 2004 as the ride progresses.) I recall liking the views of the Columbia River as we came down Highway 30 from Astoria. And at 69 miles, it was shorter and had only 2900 feet of climbing. But there was a lot more traffic, especially logging trucks than on this new route.

Today the climbing wasn’t too bad, steady with no super steep portions. And the resulting downhills were quite nice, especially the 2nd of the three containing sweeping curves allowing me to blast down at 32 – 35 mph without having to touch my brakes. Quite nice!

Burgerville in St Helens was recommended for its shakes. Rightfully so. Staff advises that we put something in the tank shortly after we finish for the day and I suspect shakes are going to be a big part of that program for me. Or sundays, just not the 1500-calorie monsters that I saw at Dairy Queen yesterday.

My rear shifting was a little off but Rob took care of that at our Mechanics session, held every riding day at a specified time after everyone is likely to have arrived at the hotel.

With the overcast and trying to settle in to the riding, I didn’t take a lot of pictures today but here are a few:

Route trace
Horses wondering why we’re working so hard
We crossed the Nehalem River at least 5 times. Here is the view to the south at the 3rd of 4th crossing.
We came by a couple of lots with signs saying when replacement trees were planted, presumably to replace a clear cut by loggers. This embarrassing mess looks like it was abandoned. The camera minimizes the steepness of the slopes but it couldn’t have been the easiest job to create this mess.
Turning 180 degrees and walking maybe 25 feet from where I snapped the previous photo, here’s the road yet to be traveled