The Portland Century – Part 1

I’m writing this recap freshly showered, foam rolled, fed and wearing my compression tights. I have a few hours before my massage. When I signed up for the Portland Century Ride I had only one goal:

I’m not a fast cyclist. I’m pretty steady and consistent rather than speedy. I had no expectations of completing the ride in a certain amount of time. I just wanted to complete the 70 miles successfully. Michael and I woke up early Sunday morning, 6 a.m. early, and ate our normal breakfast before heading downtown to PSU. Michael was silly in his suggestion “we just bike from the house to downtown.” Hmm nah. If I’m going to do 100 miles it’s going to be on a course not commuting home. πŸ˜‰

We parked the car and checked our bags at PSU and then we were off!

It was about 7:45 a.m. and 65 degrees–no need for arm warmers or warm cycling gear at all! Michael and I set out following the yellow signs. I almost bit it right off the bat. We were biking down the street from PSU when suddenly the street ended in a sidewalk. Michael went over the sidewalk with his bike and was okay. I knew I would not be okay and I slammed on my brakes–of course forgetting I was clipped in. I came “THIS CLOSE” to just falling over two blocks from the start. Luckily I caught myself and did not crash at the start of the race.

We rode through downtown in the quiet of early Sunday morning. They had part of Naito Parkway closed near the waterfront. We biked along the water and then up to the top of the Steel Bridge.

I’ve never ridden over the top of the Steel Bridge–just on the lower deck. It was a little nerve wracking being that high up. We got to the Rose Garden transit area–part of where we’ve been riding during our training! It felt comfortable and familiar.

The trail changed from the familiar after that. We biked up Interstate to Greeley-which is a very slow, long, gradual hill up passed the Adidas Campus.

I’ve never biked over in that area. It was really scenic. It winded around to Overlook/Willamette and overlooked downtown and the city. I wasn’t familiar with that area at all and basically just followed the guy in front of me.

The bike paths through the neighborhoods in North Portland ended when we got to I think Columbia and the route turned onto a path that wound through the area to the first Rest Stop.

So far I was feeling really good. I think the first rest stop was at about Mile 10.

Bike N’ Hike (a local bike store here) was one of the sponsors and they had a booth set up helping people fix bike issues–which made me feel pretty safe and confident that if something happened along the course I’d be okay. I honestly wasn’t that hungry at the first Rest Stop. Our breakfast was pretty big and filled me up. But I did eat a few donut holes…

There was a lot of options but like I said, I wasn’t hungry. I skipped the Larabars, bananas and bagels. Michael had a bagel with peanut butter on it and then we continued on.

The first half of the ride was the most comfortable. The weather was perfect–not too hot yet. We left the area and biked through winding roads in the middle of nowhere and finally looped around to Marine Drive! Familiar territory!

For most of this part, including the Marine Drive path, I drafted off a group of riders in front of me. They were going about my pace and it made me work less! Smart Lisa. I barely had to pedal. It was a nice break. After Marine Drive the route diverted. The 33 Mile Route people crossed Marine Drive to the 1-205 Path and the 70/100 Mile Route people turned left onto Marine Drive. This was a pretty long chunk in areas I wasn’t entirely familiar with it. This part was a bit hard–my lower back started to ache. I was worried and anxious about it but tried to put it out of my mind.

We made our way to Blue Lake Park– the second Rest Stop. By that time we’d done about 24 miles I think.

I got off the bike and used the port-a-potty (which was super fun when you’re wearing bib shorts under your jersey!), reapplied lots of sunscreen and stretched a lot. At this Rest Stop I ate two mini cookies, half a banana, 1/4 of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and some cantaloupe slices. I just wanted a little pick me up before we got to the hard part…

Β To Be Continued….

QUESTION: If you are a cyclist, which part is more challenging: hills or sitting in the saddle for long periods of time?


Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

16 thoughts on “The Portland Century – Part 1”

  1. Ahhhhh!!!! I can’t wait to read more! I didn’t know it was going to be continued……….

    Hills are the bigger challenge for me! I am going to do a long ride (75 miles) on the coast! Should minimize the hills!!! πŸ™‚

    I am so excited to hear about the rest of the ride!!!
    Jill recently posted..Pound Cake Strikes Again

  2. I am SO proud of you! What a great attitude and story – I love the pix – I don’t know anything about this kind of ride – so interesting! Yay for rest stops and cool dudes there to help with bikes if necessary. The whole course looks so lovely – I had no idea you could actually have bike paths – woot!
    Can’t wait for more!
    Kris @Krazy_Kris recently posted..Jefferson Airplane | Music Monday 1967

    1. Portland has bike lanes all over the city. That is one of the things Oregon has done right. Not that the drivers in cars always respect the bike lanes…but yeah. It was a great day!

  3. Yayyy! So awesome that you guys did this.

    The saddle kills me… I need some cycling shorts-I forced the turn around after 8 miles yesterday because I was worried my booty would never forgive me if we went farther.
    kalin recently posted..Touristy

  4. Because my bike commute involves going up a HUGE hill (I say bike commute like I do it often, haven’t done it in 3 weeks… whoops) I think I am stronger on hills. During my tri last weekend a lot of people were struggling up the one hill and I blasted up it. It was way easier than the one I’m used to biking! So sitting in the saddle for a long time is definitely more challenging for me.

    I admire your ability to take photos while biking! I am not coordinated enough. Lol

    1. It makes a huge difference when you train on hills. Michael’s commute is short but it’s ALL HILLS so he’s great on hills. My commute is pretty flat so I’m more conditioned for longer, flatter rides. So during the Century Michael’s butt started to hurt after 60 miles but I was okay because I was used to sitting for longer rides. The hills though? Ouch!

      I borrowed a friend’s tiny camera for the ride. It was light weight and easy to use. I took a bunch of crappy photos that I deleted but I did manage to get a few good ones. πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply to Lisa Eirene Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge