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Eat, drink and ride the best of Portland

Posted by on August 25th, 2006 at 11:25 am

Jeff Smith is an avid cyclist and employee with the Transportation Options division at the City of Portland. His enthusiasm for touring and knowledge of great routes around the city has helped thousands of Portlanders find their way around (check out his great collection of Portland-to-coast rides).

At last April’s Bike Tourism Summit, Smith was chatting with event promoters Porter Childs and Ayleen Crotty and told them that Portland lacked a century ride that highlighted everything this city offers.

They loved the idea and decided to run with it.

The result is the first-ever Portland Century happening this Sunday. The ride was designed to feature everything Portland has to offer. According to Crotty it has a distinctly Portland flair:

“We’re not shy about our vices (biking, coffee, beer) and this ride highlights it all. This ride is all about Portland. Riders meet at Portland State University, enjoy a cup of Portland-roasted coffee and a continental breakfast before heading to the city’s outskirts. The finish line features a gourmet feast of local foods including wild Coho salmon, organic asparagus from the Portland Farmer’s Market, rice pilaf with Oregon hazelnuts, marionberry compote and more. “

All participants will also take home a goody bag that includes Portland-roasted coffee, Oregon-brewed beer, an event poster, and more. Crotty expects well over 1,000 riders for what should be a memorable day of riding.

Online registration is closed, but bring $50 to the start line and you too can join in the fun.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Matt P.
Guest

Note that though the website says in at least one location that they are riding around “Bull Run Lake”, they actually mean “Roslyn Lake”, which is near Bull Run. Bull Run lake is actually 20 miles further east and at least 1,000′ higher up, near Lolo Pass and Lost Lake.

Hope everyone has fun on that ride, sounds like it’ll be a good time.

Brett
Guest
Brett

I am SO glad to ride this century this weekend. I love city riding in and around Portland. I hope the fund raising goes well… they’re really spoiling us with the goodies on this one!

Tom Knipe (one of the organizers)
Guest

Matt is right. Rest stop #2 (century riders only) is on the shores of Rosyln Lake, afterwhich they head North to cross the Bull Run River, near a set of waterworks, part of Portland’s drinking water system. Beautiful area…

brock
Guest
brock

Sounds fun. 1000 riders on the Springwater at 8:15am on a Sunday? Yikes 🙂

Mikee
Guest
Mikee

“1000 riders on the Springwater at 8:15am on a Sunday? Yikes :)”

A bigger yikes is ging to be when everyone gets to the SE 37th access to the Springwater and finds it closed as it has been for 2 or 3 months (assuming the maps on their website are accurate).

Brett
Guest
Brett

Mikee

If that’s true you should email the peeps in charge of the century

Team Portland Century
Guest

YOU CAN REGISTER AT THE START LINE

Don’t worry, we’ve got bridge closures, I-84 bike path closures, Springwater closures and all that worked out. The course is well marked (unless tamering happens) and that in conjunction with the ride guide will put people on a GREAT route. We were hoping for 400 riders, but it’s looking like 1,200! YIKES! FUN! Even Roger Gellery, Mia Birk, Janis MacDonald and other notable awesome city and bike advocates will be out there. A Penske truck FULL of water will keep people hydrated and there’s plenty of beer for the finish line.

YOU CAN REGISTER AT THE START LINE.

Hope to see you!

~ Team Portland Century

watergirl
Guest
watergirl

They did a great job of spreading the crowd, dealing w/ Hawthorne Bridge closure and almost everything but the heat…considering they got more than double what they’d initially planned for.

Fun Fun Fun!!!

Brett
Guest
Brett

This ride was GREAT!
The signage could have been better, but hey- it was the first one for them. There were about 1200 riders but it never felt crowded. The post-ride food was incredible. I’m glad I was part of this inaugural event. A couple of beers in the goodie bag instead of another water bottle helped too 🙂

brock
Guest
brock

T’was indeed a good ride. For a first go, it was really well organized. The heat was the only real challange. Riding home from PSU with two beers and a pound of Nossa Familia in my jersey pockets was priceless.

hilsy
Guest

My wife and I particpated and enjoyed the challenge (for us) of the 40-mile ride. Our only complaint waas the really bad signage out on Marine Drive that allowed us to completely miss the second and badly needed rest stop. I’ve heard there were quite a few others who did the same thing. We ended up stopping at a tavern on Willamette Blvd where they graciously refilled our water bottles for free.

Otherwise the route was great. A little crowdedwith cars on Prescott when we got off of the I-205 bike path, but that was due to traffic being re-routed from Sandy due to a big accident earlier in the morning.

The heat on Broadway as we head toward the finish line about dropped me. The food at the finish line was wonderful.

I hope they do it again next year (but with better signage).

K
Guest
K

August 28, 2006

Portland Century:

My husband and I rode the 60 mile, toting our 18 month old in a Burley trailer. We read on the brochures that the rest-stops would be well-stocked, and they were not. The stop just before the Marine Drive stretch only had water, and one of the three pumps was broken, with long lines for bottle refills at the 2 remaining pumps. There were no Cliff Bars as promised at any of the stops. We saw empty boxes, but no bars to take with us were provided. We were promised at the water stop that there would be lots of food at the next stop (Roselyn), 15 miles down the road, so without food, I hauled my baby in the Burley for 18 miles in the beating hot sun on an empty stomach before collapsing from severe dehydration alongside Lombard somewhere. I felt completely abandoned & unsupported on this ride. At the point I stopped along the way, I realized I had lost my husband, who had had to stop miles back due to hypoglycemia unbeknownst to me, and ended up having to get water from a hose at a house along the way. Because of the lack of nourishment along the way, we were unable to complete the last 13 miles of the 60 mile stretch, which was devastating to me.

I was so excited about this ride, and had been looking forward to it for weeks. As it turned out, I was hauled back to PSU in a SAG vehicle. By the time I arrived there, I was so sick from dehydration that I couldn’t physically get out of the van. Shortly after that I started vomiting & was unable to keep fluids down. My husband sought medical attention for me at the tents in the park blocks, but there was none to be found. One man with a first aid kit gave my husband a blank stare & was completely unhelpful, doing nothing to help us or point us in the right direction.

This was a century ride in 95 degree weather, and if there was medical support available, we were not pointed in the right direction. I ended up in an ambulance & transported up to OHSU where I was given IV fluids until 8:30pm at night. Needless to say, we did not get to enjoy the finish line dinner, pick up our gift bags of beer & coffee, or commemorative posters. We also paid extra for t-shirts, and do not have those. My husband left his helmet in the SAG vehicle. I feel like I was gypped on this ride, and that my health was compromised by poor planning & lack of food & medical support. I would appreciate a full refund.

As a side note, this was supposed to feature the best of Portland. We were taken along routes featuring the worst of Portland. I-205 & I-84 are an eyesore, and the neighborhoods along there are run-down with no gardens or trees. Aside from the beginning of the route, I was riding along busy interstates or roads. If you are going to market this ride as “the best of Portland,” perhaps there needs to be some planners that actually know what the best of Portland is–because this ride was not it! Also, the sign markings were good in some areas & poor in others. In fact, we rode past the Roeslyn rest-stop because there were no signs, and it was out of sight from where riders were riding. There were many riders who were lost & riding in the hot sun going in the wrong direction or that passed much-needed rest-stops due to poor markings. Other 40 milers accidently got onto the 60 mile route, unsure if they would be able to make it or not. There were some 60 milers gypped because they were on the 40 mile route. I don’t know if it was a lack of volunteers or poor planning, but it would have been nice to have volunteers directing & supporting riders or at the least, signs pointing us in the direction we were to go. There were some areas that were completely unmarked, which is where many riders got off track or bypassed rest-stops.

I am emotionally & physically recovering from what happened yesterday. I won’t let this deter me from future rides, and plan to learn from this. I would appreciate it if you take this e-mail and use it to improve future Portland Century rides. I would also appreciate compensation for what my family and I endured yesterday due to lack of food, water, & medical support on the ride.

Sincerely

K
Guest
K

Hi Brett,
That is one thing I’ve learned from this–always take your own food & water.

There was a woman along the way that saw me on the side of the road when I was waiting to be picked up that gave me her bagels, oranges, & banana from her own stash from the continental breakfast. Unfortunately, I was already too dehydrated to keep food & water down. But, she was so nice. Also, in the van, a woman was so nice & comforting to me when I was dehydrated & held my hair back when I was vomiting. I don’t know who she is, but I’ll always remember her. Thank-you! K

K
Guest
K

Scott, I wish I knew someone like you or had come across some forums about this before embarking on this ride. Even though I’m just starting out on long stretches, I know I could have done the 60-mile had services been provided that were promised. I was one of those riders that went planning to stock up with Cliff Bars & snacks along the way. I also was unfamiliar with the route, so had no idea the stretches would be so long & difficult between stops. Then, to miss a stop when it is so needed because of poor markings is what sent me to the hospital.

I second your comments about lack of sanitary facilities. We didn’t go all day, partly because we were so dehydrated, and secondly, because we did not come across any facilities.

Let me know who I should be directing my comments to regarding this ride. Brett, I’ll send Hands On Portland my letter. If there is any others, let me know.

Brett
Guest
Brett

Wow, what can you say to all that. I’m actually sorry that your experience was so traumatic. I honestly wish I would have seen you on the road. I’m very friendly and helpful on these rides, stopping to help fix flats and all, and I could’ve done… something.

I’m glad that you are recovering from your ordeal and that you haven’t lost your desire to go on future rides. I know that, for me, I always carry lots of energy bars and water regardless of what the promoters say. But then again, I sweat like a pig, and I’m partial to my own food.

I hope you send your thought to Hands On Portland. It is always VERY important to get feedback on these events. Especially like yours that seeks to emote and inform, instead of just name calling.

Thanks,

Scott Saulsbury
Guest
Scott Saulsbury

I’ll be sending along more details to the organizers of this ride, but this was most assuredly NOT the best of Portland.

For 100-mile riders, it was a potential disaster on a massive scale.

I’ve ridden multiple thousands of miles in organized events and don’t have to hesitate at all when saying that this was the worst-organized, worst-managed ride I’ve ever had to pay to participate in.

My riding partners and I are flexible and adaptable, and I know the city very well, so we survived and even managed to enjoy some of the riding. But for those people unfamiliar with the territory who were hoping to rely on the services they thought they were paying for, there was bad news all around.

To have to ride for more than 60 miles without any ride-provided food and more than 80 miles without any ride-provided sanitary facilities was inexcusable.

When I first looked into this ride, the rest-stop placement looked wrong… ill-considered and ignorant of the terrain between them… so I planned for that. I should have trusted my gut and simply avoided the ride, though, as my hunch about the abilities of the planners was far more than borne out by the actual events of the day.

Scott Saulsbury

WOBG
Guest
WOBG

I rode the 60-mile and can vouch for much of what Karli mentions. Maps often were inscrutable. route markings often were missing. Many, many riders were zonked under the trees along Lombard due to the MIA rest stop and general dearth of food and water. On-route support was hard to come by. Riders formed micro-economies, trading food for mechanical support and so forth. Much of the route was un-scenic. Goodie-bag contents did not live up to what was promised; for one thing, no posters. Maybe that’s just as well, because the posters ought to be amended to read (I survived the) Portland Century. Good dinner though.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Hi – I sent the following post to info@portlandcentury.com this morning. Karli, I encourage you to do the same. Sounds like we had a similar experience! I’m sorry for yours and hope you’re feeling better.
————————————

Hello – I feel compelled to write and provide feedback to you after my
experience on the century (100 mile) route yesterday. I am an experienced
tour rider/racer and have ridden hundreds of organized rides.

While I applaud your efforts to organize a ride of this magnitude, I can
say with no hesitancy this was the worst organized ride I’ve ever been on.
I can certainly appreciate the logistics that go into organizing such an
event and want to sincerely thank you for your efforts. However, I have
some specific feedback that may help future planning should you ever
attempt this again.

1. Registration — I pre-registered for the 100 mile route at REI about 2
weeks prior to the ride. While I felt very uncomfortable just leaving my
PIN number written on a piece of paper in the hopes that someone would
pick it up, I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. After standing in
line 20-25 minutes at the start on Sunday (and I understand I was one of
the lucky ones), I came up to the table to be told I was registered for
the 40 mile route. It was no big deal and they let me go off on the 100
mile route.

RECOMMENDATION: If you’re going to use ancillary organizations to let
people register, allow the store the authority to swipe our cards and
register us properly. I certainly would not register this way again, but
did it because there was a discount offered.

I heard talk of folks not being able to register on-line 2-3 days before
the ride but I have no firsthand knowledge of this. If you allow on-line
registration, make it clearer what will happen if you try and register
after the cut-off date and what options are still available.

Plan for people to register at the last minute. This is Portland (a
cycling city) and this was the first ride called “The Portland Century.”
It was bound to attract at least 1,000 people if not more. Plan for an
adequate registration area (i.e. more tables, more volunteers with
organized lists of names) and plan for enough food at the stops (more on
this later).

2. Course markings — As we were standing in line, a woman came by to
make announcements about the Hawthorne Bridge – thank you. That was
helpful. She also said “we decided to use yellow sigs to mark the course
because we think it’s friendlier and easier to read.” Were there any
riders consulted prior to marking the course? The signs were TINY, hard
to see with the sun in our eyes, and, in many cases, spaced so far apart
we didn’t know if we were still on course. I saw many many people
consulting maps, asking folks as they went by, “are we still on the
course?”

RECOMMENDATION: Stick with Dan Henry’s. They’re much easier to see if
you use bright colors. Go on any other organized ride and you’ll see the
ease of use these provide. Also – place markers closer together. On the
latter half of the ride (particularly Marine Dr.) many times I thought I
was lost because the markings were so far apart. I was not the only one.

3. Rest Stops — Except for the first one (which was too early in the
ride and not even set up when we arrived), they were VERY poorly stocked
and I couldn’t even find the last one.

RECOMMENDATION: Provide trash receptacles — the rest stops started to
look like garbage pits.

PROVIDE PORTA POTTIES!! I cannot emphasize this enough. I can’t imagine
being on a supported ride without them and yet… People were going in
the woods which, frankly, got kind of disgusting. Not to mention the harm
to the environment.

Consult with experienced riders/ride organizers about the type of
nutrition needed on such a ride. I felt the selection (or complete lack
thereof) totally inadequate for a ride of this magnitude. As a result of
this, I actually bonked around mile 65, which can be a very serious
situation. I certainly don’t hold the organizers responsible for this,
but had I known the food quality/quantity would be so poor and lacking, I
would’ve carried my own food.

Provide the rest stops at more logical and reasonable distances. By mile
75, I had run out of water and was growing increasingly concerned. I
completely missed the last rest stop (don’t know where it was) and,
luckily, found a park to fill up my bottles.

Staff the rest stops. I only saw staff at the first two stops. By the
third one, there was no one there, garbage all over the ground, and many
many people complaining.

As a result of many factors, overall, I did not experience a very good
ride yesterday. Between bonking and having a severe charlie horse behind
my right knee with about 20 miles to go, I just wanted to get home. As a
result, I skipped the meal. I heard it was good – thank you (though I
understand you ran out of food…)

I paid $35 for this experience. I understand it was a partial fund-raiser
and I was happy to support Hands On Portland. I did not feel, however, I
received $35 worth of service for the effort required.

Please take my feedback in the spirit in which it is offered; as helpful
suggestions/recommendations for future rides. I LOVE cycling and am an
avid cyclist. I was really looking forward to yesterday’s ride. It has,
however, left a bad taste in my mouth. I certainly would not do this ride
again if the conditions don’t change. While much of the route was very
pretty (and challenging in spots), the scenery couldn’t make up for how I
was physically feeling.

Thank you for listening —

Brett
Guest
Brett

haha… right on with the “I Survived” comment.

And, as my M.O., I hope we take our comments, complaints, and suggestions and present them in a positive way to the event organizers in an attempt to create a beneficial outcome for the ones that suffered during this ride.

Karli… I have a mens large t-shirt… you, or you husband can have it if you want it. You can get my email from Jonathan.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Overall the event was good. I did the 40 mile and as someone who lives in Beaverton this ride took me to a lot of places and neighborhood that I hadn’t been through before (other then the ones featured in the Bridge pedal and Worst Day ride). The I205 trail was surprise. The food was good and so was the goodie bag. May not have printed enought posters for everyone. Looking forward to it next year.

Karli is right about a couple of things. The first rest stop was an absolute joke. PB&J sandwiches? What happen to all the Gatorade? I also wish that event organizers would take the number of porta potties they think they need then double or triple that number. They also make porta potties for only males that would then open the rest to the ladies to expedite the process. Can we also find away around the gravel sections in the 40 mile ride?

Signage was good but; they need to put people in key changes like the 40/60 split. Also signage that just tells your heading in the right direction would be helpful. Also I don’t remember a sign for the right turn from Marine Dr to Portland to get to the last rest stop, very key in my opinion.

Some of the heat complaints could be avoided by allowing all riders to start as early (maybe earlier then 8) as possible so as to avoid the midday heat. However people need to take responsibility to check the weather and plan accordingly. I’ve also learned from attending many events that one should carry back up as plans/items promised by event coordinators sometimes fall through.

lk
Guest
lk

Eric:

If you can’t count on organizers for food, mechanical, and medical support, then why do an organized ride at all?

watergirl
Guest
watergirl

Unfortunately, not every organized ride lives up to the “luxury” provided by CycleOregon or Summit2Surf, with fully loaded rests every 10 miles. Signage was off, and lots missed the Smith/Bybee lakes stop. Rest stops were poorly stocked. Not enough potties. Okay, ’nuff said.

I’ve helped run some similar events, and forecasting demand is a big deal. That’s what sponsors base their donations of rest stop food, goodie bags, etc on. If you read Ayleen’s post, they had hoped for 400 and got 1,200. I heard someone say that much of that came in the last week…very little time to hustle up more sponsors. Given that, these guys did a great job.

I’ve also learned that you do need to take care of yourself. Look at a Thomas guide, GoogleMaps or other source and know the route ahead of time. Maybe even print your own map.Bring your own water (camelbak anyone?), food, etc. Carry a few dollars; if you’re not trying to ride like a ProTour team, part of the fun is stopping into local small businesses. I met some interesting folk on and off the bike, and some guys in NoPo gave me an ice cold coke, just cuz I stopped and chatted with them.

You, and only you, can be the judge of how you will respond to the heat. I heard a lot of people at the start saying they’d signed up for 100 or 60 and were downsizing to 60 or 40. There’s no harm in that.

For folks just getting into longer distance rides, the CycleOregon forums page has some great info on how to avoid or at least minimize a lot of the problems that folks encountered yesterday.

lk
Guest
lk

Granted I don’t know much about event organization, but it seems to me that if you’ve only got enough food and water for 400 people then that’s the number of registrations you accept.

Karli
Guest
Karli

I agree with lk’s comments. I didn’t haul groceries with me because I paid to have that provided for me along the way. –Karli

trackback

[…] I know there was a ton of bike stuff going on—from the Zoobomb Birthday to a bike move—and I’m curious how everything went. I noticed a lot of discussion about the Portland Century. […]

Mark P
Guest
Mark P

Most of my concerns have already been addressed such as bathroom facilities and lack of signage for rest stops. The only thing that I have to add is the lack of registration organization at the start. The line for people to pick up their numbers was very long. I was riding the century and was anxious to get on the road as soon as possible. The 60 and 40 milers didn’t start until later but I have a feeling that there were many of those people in line around 7:30-8:30 (and I don’t really blame them). My fiance had a good idea, she suggested that they have separate lines for 100, 60 and 40 milers.

For a first time event there were definitely a few items that should have been corrected but I’m sure HOP will learn from their mistakes and make the event better next year.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I got in line at 7:45AM for the century and soon realized there was no way I was waiting that long for numbers and doing a century in 95 degree heat. I switched to the 40 miler.

Based on the experiences of those on this board and friends that did the 100 miles, I sure am glad I switched! I have done every century ride in the willamette valley area, and it sounded like the century route was downright DANGEROUS. A stage 5 bonk in 95 degree weather is certainly life threatening. Why on earth would organizers allow 3x the numbers to ride that they were capable of supporting?

I’ve read the orbike.com blog and the organizers knew last week they far exceeded their target participation. If you are short on supplies/toilets (1200 x $40 = $48000) days before the ride, you go out and secure them. Someone dropped the ball on this one, and I hope they understand they are lucky that no one had a stage 5 bonk resulting in severe injury.

Drake
Guest
Drake

I couldn’t ride because of an injury, but I saw riders all over town throughout the day that looked lost and unhappy. Now I guess I know why.

One thing that seemed disappointing to me were the vast numbers of people in the tour that seemed to completely disregard traffic laws. For example, at 26th and clinton nobody seemed to have any interest at stopping at the stop sign/flashing red light. I had to yell at the group so that they’d let me through the intersection– and I was on a bike! I suppose that kind of thing is unavoidable when you get so many people together. It seemed weird that there wasn’t better signage though.

If I were one of the motorists that couldn’t get through that intersection, Id’ve likely been pretty pretty confused and/or angry.

Anyway, I suppose they’ll get the kinks worked out in the coming years. I look forward to riding next fall, assuming I stay healthy.

Scott Saulsbury
Guest
Scott Saulsbury

Watergirl,
Forecasting was only a part of the problem. Where blue rooms were concerned, they were simply left out… never planned for, from the looks of things. The ride couldn’t have fully served 20 riders, much less 1000 or more, from that standpoint.

A lack of forecasting does not explain the missing trash recepticals or the botched signage, either.

I agree that folks need to be prepared for the worst, but they shouldn’t have to expect it.

Had this many problems and failures occurred on a more rural ride, with fewer commercial or municipal services available, many riders could have been seriously endangered.

I don’t hold anything personally against HOP or any other party involved in putting this event on. I hope that they learn a great deal from this if they decide to try it again, but I could never say I thought they did a “great job”.

I feel for the folks responsible for this… even a dispassionate accounting of the mistakes and failures, offered simply as constructive criticism is going to be a tough and depressing read, and I know that nobody would do this while actually trying to fail.

I don’t expect to be coddled on a century, but this ride’s promotional stuff made it sound like that would happen. The event didn’t live up to its billing, and through a series of blunders probably actually endangered a number of people. Blowing that off with “’nuff said” and then congratulating the promotors on a “great job” is beyond charitable.

The concept of the event has great potential, but it has a very long way to go to live up to it.

Karli
Guest
Karli

Drake, I also noticed bikers blowing through the stop signs at 26th & Clinton. Bikers–if we want the drivers to respect us, we have to show them respect as well. Roads were not closed for this ride, so all riders should have obeyed traffic laws. –Karli

Jim
Guest
Jim

At the Portland Century why were we promised a six pack of beer and a pound of coffee then given two beers and a half-pound of coffee? A quick estimate is that this saved $8 per person or over $9,000.

Perhaps this is trivial when it’s weighed against the danger of this ride, but it’s another sign that a little “disorganization” can save a lot of money for an organizer.Everything the organizers skimped on saved them money.

Jiwa Jiwa
Guest
Jiwa Jiwa

Yikes. I’m almost glad my bikes were ripped off and I couldn’t do this ride.

I did swing out for a 30-miler on my fixie toward the end of the century course and was amazed at how many unhappy map-reading folks I saw way off course…

I too had big expectations for this and was surprised to hear the feedback I did.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

More of the same but I have to vent!

Open “letter” to the organizers:

I want to be constructive in my comments and questions. I have done volunteer work and helped with a variety of rides while living out of state. Often times, organizers are put in thankless positions and I know that from experience. I’m sympathetic. I also know that one way we learn is through our mistakes.

Yesterday, I participated in the 60 mile ride. It was one of the more unpleasant organized rides I’ve completed. I spoke with many other riders and there was a great deal of unhappiness, discomfort and potential harm, caused by the lack of support.

I understand that the organizers have no control over the weather, but you do have control over rest and water stops. Water, toilets and ‘fuel’ were few and far between, especially the water. I was aware of only 2 stops towards the beginning of the route (no one I spoke with ever saw the third) and the last 20 miles or so was unsupported. There were at least 3 occasions where our group of riders had to stop to discuss the route due to lack of “arrows” or confusing directions on the map. I saw no sag wagon. I saw a number of riders taking cover under trees to avoid dehydration and I personally had to purchase a gallon of water at a convenience store along the route . There were a dozen or more cyclists that were in that store voicing their concern about the potential health concerns by not having sufficient water and food provided by the sponsors. I know that in your information/introduction, it was stated to carry as much water as possible. I had two large water bottles mounted on my bike and a 100 oz capacity Camelback. I drained the Camelback twice (once by the second water stop and once where I filled it up in a restaurant’s men’s room). Towards the 50 mile mark, I had to purchase that gallon of water so as not to become sick.

At the conclusion of the ride, I met my cycling partner (an experienced, fit cyclist) back at the park and he complained of having a serious bonking problem. I think it’s wonderful to provide a dinner, free beer and coffee, music and sponsored booths at the conclusion of the ride but, I suggest that more provisions during…and less after, would have made the tour more successful.

We all heard announcements prior to the beginning of the ride, that the number of riders far exceeded the number expected. The announcer seemed enthusiastic about the heavy turn out. I would think, at that realization, that some sort of “emergency” adjustments should have been made by the organizers. Either turn people away or immediately, go out and purchase sufficient supplies to accommodate the additional participants.

I’m reminded of the ferry boat in India that overbooks passage on the ship and it then sinks due to the weight of too many passengers. Your organization was overbooked and ill prepared for the additional number of riders. Adjustments should and could have been made. As organizers, you do bear some responsibly to provide the basics for the health and safety of the riders. If you decided to include so many more cyclists, extra rations should have been immediately purchased, knowing that your plan had changed.

I take no pleasure in writing this, but I feel strongly about what occurred yesterday. I think it was potentially dangerous for many of us. I hope you understand my concerns, weigh my comments knowing that I love to ride and appreciate folks, like you, who are willing to organize these events. But, unless the organization can adjust and adapt for the increase in riders, or the needs of those riders, they should not sponsor such events.

Karl Edwards
#763 (the guy on the trike)

watergirl
Guest
watergirl

Scott –
I used “’nuff said” because others had already recounted those shortcomings.

I respectfully disagree with you. For an oversubscribed first time event, I think the folks did a good job of providing a good event.

Compared to other organized long rides we’ve done, we noticed more under-prepared riders, especially on the Century route. Knowing that there were only 4 stops on a hot day, we saw people with one small bottle, no small toolkit, or emergency food. I overheard some folks on the Century route say that had never ridden more than 50 miles, and decided to do a Century on one of the hottest days of the summer. I saw more people endangering themselves than anything. Maybe a note in the brochure about preparedness, athletic nature of a Century, and what heat can do to you is needed.

I also saw a lot of folks being resourceful, stopping at parks or local businesses, while others rode past convenience stores while whining about being hungry/thirsty.

I guess it’s the Girl Scout in me, that says “be prepared.” Our group noticed a lack of key information in the brochure and website, and it gave us the idea that we weren’t going to get the royal treatment, except maybe at dinner and in the goodie bag.

We didn’t view the $35 as paying for a service…we viewed it as a donation to HOP. Weather forecasts and the 400>>1200 riders issue told us that we might need extra supplies. It didn’t take a grocery bag, just a mid-sized camel, a handful of our favorite bars/gel in the pocket.

Darrell
Guest
Darrell

I did the 60 yesterday with 2 buddies. We did have a good time, although there were a couple key spots that caused confusion –

1. The turnoff from the 205 path north on to Fremont in Maywood Park – the signs were around the corner and did not stand out.

2. The last rest stop was on the bike path. A group of us stopped at a light to decide whether or not to stay on Marine Dr. to Kelly Point Park, or cross the street to the bike path. We went on the path and reached the stop, which was better stocked than the 2 previous (I suppose because no one found it) with plenty of fruit AND free (mini) Clif bars.

We had plenty of water – learned my lesson from last year’s Bridge Pedal – and went at a fairly easy pace, but my friend bonked near the end because of lack of saddle time.

The map was confusing – but it did help us get back on track a couple times. I think in some places the organizers assumed riders would just follow (and know) the bike path. Unfortunately, the path fractured at 181st and also at Portland & Marine Dr., and unless you were familiar with the area, you wouldn’t have known where to pick it up again (ok, well I wouldn’t have).

Also, just because you are in a large group of cyclists, this does not mean traffic laws are to be ignored. There were a few traffic violations that made me cringe.

I would do again – to me this was no worse than the 2005 Bridge Pedal, and I did that again this year. Hopefully, the organizers use the comments constructively. My sympathies to those who had a rough day.

D

steph
Guest
steph

i will say one thing that i think can never be said enough:

T H A N K Y O U V O L U N T E E R S !!!

whenever i participate in an event that is primarily volunteer-fueled, i always try to thank volunteers when i see them (and sometimes i forget or say it too late to be heard, but the feeling of gratitude for your efforts is always present if not always heard). volunteering is particularly difficult when an event is the first of its kind and has high expectations.
volunteers yesterday seemed very, very weary. and hot. they seemed as though there had been some frustrations, umm, shall we say, visited upon them by those who were likewise hot and (oftentimes) dehydrated and exhausted. each volunteer i saw was working their keester (sp?) off so that the first century could go smoothly, and i just would like to take this opportunity to once again express my UNBRIDLED and UNCONDITIONAL affection for each and every one of you!
next year i vow to help with course markings and will be sure to tell my dad about it weeks ahead of time so that he doesn’t decide again to do a garage sale the day of course mark volunteering.

Lava Lee
Guest
Lava Lee

100 miles well worth the effort!!!

I must say that I have done other rides on the eastcoast that were much better organized and well marked, but this ride was monumental for this biking community. Yeah, I missed some rest stops but had faith that I would find some water sooner or later. Yeah, I didn’t get a poster or salmon, but I got enough beer AND chicken AND coffee. It was a tempting menu and I would like to thank all the 40 and 60 milers for eating all the salmon. BOOOO! You are forgiven. The adrenaline rush at the end and the self respect is why I ride centuries. Thank you, Portland Oregon, for being the venue for my 5th century. It was a blast.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

I did the 100, and I think I’d have to agree with the overall tone of the other comments made so far. The stops were clearly under-stocked and under-staffed, and I’m blown away that there were ZERO porto-johns at all but the last stop. I don’t think the organizers should be blamed for folks who fail to adequtely hydrate and nourish themselves on this kind of ride. As a former racer, my perspective is unique, but I think people need to plan ahead better, especially if they’re making an event a *stretch* ride.
The questions in my mind are:
* is this the first event this group has put on?
* is there any knowledge-base that can be shared for folks putting on a big cycling event? (logistics of roads, police, rest stops, route design, finish line, etc.)
I think the overall spirit of the event is good. I really like the idea. Like an earlier poster mentioned, the route did roll through some worst-of-portland roads and areas. Way more industrial area and train yards than I’d like to see.
The last question is, how can I help make this a great event next year? When does planning start? I’d really like to see this ride survive, because I think it’s an awesome premise. It just needs much improved execution.

Thom
Guest
Thom

I had a pretty good time on the century, but I understand the people who were frustrated.

To have the Marine Drive tent really understocked, and the next tent to be hidden was a bad series of events at the end of a hot ride.

But, on the upside, my wife read all these comments and thinks I’m an absolute rock-star for finishing.

Couple of shout-outs:

1: The lady who stopped to give me some advil after I got stung on the lip by a bee. I dunno if it helped my sting, but it made my knees feel better.

2: All the folks who gave me your extra tubes on Marine Drive. I brought two tubes, but had two flats and two torn valves. Who’d a thunk it? Anyway, I’ll pay it forward. And get a new pump… *grumble*grumble*

Karl
Guest
Karl

Man am I glad they screwed up my CC # and gave me an easy way to back out of doing this altogether. My gut was that this was a very bad idea, and it looks like in the most part this was.

Erin
Guest
Erin

This was my first full century ever. I’m happy that I completed the ride, but I’d be lying if I said that it was easy or delightful 100% of the way. There were some frustrations associated with the event, but there were also plenty of positive facets (depending on one’s outlook/experience).

Here are some good-humored musings to add to the collective feedback session:

Homage to Good Maps, Directions, and Signage

Signage was excellent for the first half of the 100-mile course, but it seemed to gradually deteriorate in the crucial middle portion. Many folks likely missed that turn-off to the final (vital) water/rest stop because it was very tough to find. It was marked by a small hand-written cardboard sign, which was resourcefully affixed to an orange cone (a major departure from the helpful yellow-and-black signage that was consistent for the first half of the route). Even stick-and-twig arrangement signage ala Blair Witch Project didn’t seem out of the question by that point. Luckily, we had no unfortunate run-ins along those lines.

It’s unfortunate that people missed that final rest stop. The volunteer gal working there was super nice, and there was even water that was semi-cool (versus hot or luke-warm), There were even two “Honey Buckets” at this rest stop (for more on “Honey Buckets”, please below-mentioned “Ode to the Honey Bucket”).

Ode to the Honey Bucket

Being a cyclist, I have no problem with visiting that Great Ladies’ Room in the Woods when necessary. Sometimes it is more accommodating than the confines of the strangely named “Honey Bucket”. But on a large-scale organized ride with hundreds of participants, the “Honey Bucket” is our friend. Especially to female riders. And especially for hikers in Roslyn Lake Park (or any rest stop location) who expect a clean environment on their stroll through the woods. I did visit the small brush-covered bluff at rest stop #1 (as I was instructed to do when I asked where the “facilities” were; there were no obscured woods by rest stop 1). I ended up with lots of dried straw and briars clinging to the interior and exterior of my shorts (as if wearing spandex and being in the saddle for hours isn’t bad enough). I know that wealthy aging women pay thousands for spa skin treatments, but this was one gratis organic exfoliation process that I could have done without.

The End Game

One thing no one has blogged about…. that final 15 miles or so of the full century had us winding throughout various Portland neighborhoods, perhaps to use up some remaining mileage. There were dozens of stop signs and stoplights during this portion. It is frustrating and exhausting to navigate constant stop-start terrain at the end of such a long, hot ride. We were practically stopping block-for-block at points. It is also somewhat dangerous, as one may be less alert towards the end of a very long ride out in the hot sun. I was more than ready to sprint my way to the home stretch, but this opportunity never came. Willamette Blvd. was but a teaser before we were sent meandering through dozens of NE intersections. Something more fluid would have been greatly appreciated at the end of the long ride.

Positive highlights:

– Good will! I made a new friend, Joel, who rode the entire way with me. Joel could have gone faster if he’d wanted to, but he stuck with me until the very end. Joel, if you happen upon this site, know that I am eternally grateful for your help and amazingly positive attitude! I’ll bet your family is very proud that you not only completed another full century, but you did it with the added challenge of multiple flats and a first-timer tagging along. I wish I had your email, as I took a good photo of you…maybe I’ll post it somehow so you can show your family and friends!

– WHAT extreme climbing? The warnings and pre-ride blogging about the “extreme climbing” had me a little suspicious. I was pleased to find that- in my opinion- none of the climbs were extremely steep or difficult. There were some longer, gradual climbs, but nothing that was extremely challenging (unlike the Barlow Trail Century course). Anyone with some basic hill conditioning under their belts felt that the hills were one of the lesser challenges of this event (those who did not get heat exhaustion, that is).

– Riders were extremely courteous and helpful with one another. As Joel was changing flats, he had the skills and supplies to do so quickly, but many passing riders were sure to ask if we needed help. Thanks, everyone!

– Motorists were also nice. Several cheered us on or just kindly expressed interest in what we were up to. They were all very polite and gave the right of way…even when they officially had the right of way at times. Thanks, nice drivers!

-People got resourceful under the harsh heat/survival conditions. Two nice guys who rode with Joel and me down Marine Drive etc. noted that they’d made a strategic stop at Dairy Queen. Good thinkings, guys!

– I was really looking forward to that “rice pilaf with Oregon hazelnuts”promised in pre-event marketing materials. Sure enough, there WAS pilaf at the finish! But I must say that the cold beer was even more desirable by that point.

Thanks to all who worked very hard on this event, and thanks to all of those friendly, courteous folks who made the tough time bearable and even humorous at times! See you at the next one!

I will certainly participate in the Portland Century again, predicting that the organizational/preparation mishaps will be corrected by next year. Thanks, folks!

Erin

P.S.- Bee Sting guy in previous posting…it was I who had the Advil packet, and it was my pleasure to pass it to someone in need! Glad to hear that you made the full 100 and that your wife gave you props!

Parker
Guest
Parker

On a hunch that morning, I grabbed a cliffbar and stuffed it in my shirt. I shared it with one of my friends after we missed the last rest stop on the 40 mile ride. I felt terrible passing all those people bonked on lombard. There did appear to be more people out there expecting a certain level of “hand holding” than on other rides. Crimeny, on the Vine Ride the other week, I never even saw an organizer! I think a large, bold font disclaimer about the nature of the ride as suggested earlier might do wonders.

The beginning and end were great (ok, there is the matter of missing goodie bag items). The actual ride needs work. It’s almost as if the organizers never paticipated in a ride themselves. There is lots of potential here and I hope HOP takes this feedback seriously.

Paul
Guest
Paul

Concept of Event–100 points (Show off the best of Portland)

Brochure–80 points (misleading because it made it look like a cake walk, but the design was very good. I seriously want a poster with the logo on it, but they ran out. Print some more and sell them at bike stores around town.)

Volunteers–100 points (just not enough of them at the right spots and seriously undersupplied to be able to help)

Mechanics–100 points (Man, they were working their butts off)

Helpfulness of Other Riders–100 points (I saw numerous examples of people helping others who were not as prepared as they should have been for a long, hot, somewhat hilly ride. Lots of sharing of food, water, tools, tubes, and pain-killing drugs going on.)

Signage–50 points (Could have been bigger and more frequent. I was one of the many who missed the Smith/Bybee Lake rest/water stop. If it hadn’t been for a friendly support van with a water jug, I would have completely run out of water without a store in the vicinity.)

PortaPotties–0 points ’cause I didn’t see any. With several hundred people peeing in the bushes along the shores of Roslyn Lake, I’d have to wonder about the purity of Portland’s unfiltered water supply in the next few days. Break out those Britas, Portland! And Roslyn Lake campers, don’t eat the low-lying blackberries or huckleberries until it rains!

My Self Concept for Finishing a Century in 95 Degree Weather With Almost No Support Along the Way–Through the ceiling

If you did the 100-mile ride and lived to tell about it, be it known that you are capable of just about any century ride short of the Torture 10,000,
http://www.felixwong.com/news/2005/08/torture-10000-or/
and
http://www.pwtc.com/
which this ride shared portions of. A fellow rider with a Garmin said Sunday’s ride had about 5,000 feet of total elevation gain. Anybody else get any numbers on it?

So, organizers, take note of people’s concerns listed in previous posts and start planning next year’s event today. Try to tap into other large-scale events planners and use their expertise to make 2007 better than this year’s. A century ride bearing Portland’s name should have very high standards.

One more thing from another former Boy Scout: Be Prepared–I took along enough gel packets and electrolytes to make it without any support just in case. One gel every 45-60 minutes and I was good to go. Plenty of carbs in my tank the whole way.

There’s no way you can carry enough water for a hot day like yesterday unless you strap on a 5-gallon carboy, but that’s why God made 7-11s and Mom and Pop stores. And SAG wagons.

Kronda
Guest

Wow, what an interesting conglomeration of responses! Despite the fact that we had a pretty great day on this ride, I’m not surprised to hear all these horror stories. I think the fact that we pretty much planned for little/no support and that this was a ride around the city (i.e. lots of businesses for bathrooms/water etc) is what allowed us to have such a good time, even with all the obvious snafus. Had this been a first time ride through rural areas, things probably would’ve gone a lot differently. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised that there was food left when we arrived at the finish.

My sympathies to all the folks who had it rough out there…and it sounds like there were a lot of you! I hope you’re sending your comments directly to the organizers in addition to your posts here.

And Thom, I highly recommend a Topeak Road Morph pump: http://www.topeak.com/2006/products/minipumps/roadmorphg.php

It’s small but it’s mini-floor-pump style allows even spaghetti arms like me to pump up to 120 psi with relative ease. Great for my girlfriend’s high maintenance, high pressure tires… 🙂

Good luck everyone, happy trails and don’t forget that extra Clif bar…

K
Guest
K

Scott, I would be interested in reading your detailed comments that you sent to the Portland Century Team. –

trackback

[…] Good thing. I heard it was a cluster-f. They had planned for 400, but let 1,200 people register. That’s a recipe for disaster. At bikeportland.org some folks documented their day. Sounds pretty bad for some. […]

Scott Saulsbury
Guest
Scott Saulsbury

RE Erin’s post on the “true” 100 mile route. I didn’t comment on it here because it seemed so few actually did it. After departing Willamette, we saw exactly two riders with numbers… probably because the signage was so poor.

I did send a detailed (probably over-detailed) set of comments to the Portland Century people yesterday.

Your comments regarding the cumulative effects of stopping and starting, especially at the end of a long, hot ride were right on the mark.

The header of the message I sent to friends comparing notes on the ride was “Tour de Stop Sign”.

Let’s not forget that that portion of the route included several blocks of riding against the flow on a one way street (NE 14th, I believe)… talk about sending mixed messages regarding safety and lawful riding!

Scott

Carlo Delumpa
Guest

Overall, I thought the organizers did a decent job for their first time; yes, there were plenty of things they could have anticipated (like the porta-potties, Marine Drive rest stop, etc) but most folks I rode with were able to manage a smile, even on the big climbs. All the feedback I’ve read here is definitely valid and I hope will be of use to the planners for next year’s event.

My suggestion is that you involve some of the local clubs that have experience in century logistics in your planning process. You have a wealth of experience as well as a big pool of potential volunteers to draw from. All you have to do is ask.

Cheers-
Carlo

Eric
Guest
Eric

Lk – I rode for the route, the food afterwards and the goodies. To rely on them for all else might not be good as so many found out.

Karli – “I didn’t haul groceries with me because…”. But you hauled a 30-40 pound trailer, a couple of extra water bottles and a clif bar would not have slowed you down.

Someone mentioned too many bad neighborhoods and industrial areas, I guess you get the bad PDX with the good PDX. The organizers have to get the 100 miles somehow…

It sounds like the last minutes registration threw chaos in getting enough supplies. Help event personal by registering early. Remember this was not their full time jobs and they did the best they could with the time and resources they had. It’s impossible to plan for 3x as many people then you planned for. Over planning only hurts the non-profit receiving the proceeds.

Another Rider
Guest
Another Rider

Uh, you did a 60 mile ride with your BABY and no back up food? What were you thinking? And if you were in serious medical condition, why did you not call 911? That’s like 101 basic info to know. when it is hot, bring extra stuff to keep yourself comfortable. when you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or ask someone to call 911.

*** I totally agree with Eric! This was a benefit ride, not a pamper riders Cycle Oregon ride!!!