Monday, September 21, 2009

Centralia Dart 2009

From Dart2009

Rode the Centralia Dart with ReadytoRide and Eric last weekend. A dart is a team event where teams of riders converge on a central location from different starting locations in Oregon and Washington. Each team consists of 3 to 5 riders who ride together for 200 kilometers to the destination where they have a banquet and tell stories. There were 3 Oregon teams and 2 Seattle teams. The RUSA rules require the teams to maintain a rate of progress that brings them no closer to the finish than 25 kilometers at the 11.5 hour mark. After 11.5 hours, the teams can ride to the finish. This fall's finish was at McMenamins Olympic Hotel in Centralia, Washington. On Sunday morning after the ride, the five teams met for breakfast and stories in a banquet room in the Olympic Hotel.

Randobiker's Rootbeer FloatOur ride strategy was to hang out at the controls until we were out of time and then ride fast to the next control where we would stop, find a place to eat, lounge, and watch ReadytoRide post the adventure on twitter with his iPhone. Then, when we were out of time, we would saddle up and ride hard for the next control.

We started in Lake Oswego south of Portland with a lite rain but by the time we got to the Banks-Vernonia trail, about 11 o'clock, the weather was clearing and we were starting to dry out. Eric and RandobikerWe rode the trail from Banks to Vernonia. Eventually we found ourselves on the Vadar-Winlock road where we found a Road Closed sign. We asked locals for information and they advised us to back track to Vadar and take the long detour to Winlock on Military Road. Our 11.5 hour control was Winlock where we ate again and then finished the ride to Centralia for a total of 13 hours and about 225 kilometers. The Dart was fun and we were warm, dry and well fed by the time we arrived at McMenamins where we indulged in another meal.

ReadytoRideThe Olympic Hotel was noisy with a large wedding party. Sleep was impossible with young men and women boisterously celebrating flirting in the hallway all night morning. The wedding party managed to block out the noise of the trains and train whistles rumbling past the Hotel. If it wasn't for the wedding party, the noise award would go to the trains. If you go to the Olympic Hotel, bring ear plugs.

Sunday afternoon we boarded the Amtrak train back to Portland. After we arrived at the train station in Old Town, ReadytoRide led us back to where we started the day before using one of his favorite bike-to-work commute routes. We rode 14 miles through trails, quite streets, hill side cemeteries and superbly steep residential streets. Portland might be large enough for a nice 100k populair with many nice hills. The route would probably require a four page control card for the many information controls.