Mountain Biking Northern California

Mt. Hood – East Side Tore Me Up

September 28th, 2014 by Ogre

I had an amazing day riding some of the great trails on the east side of Mt. Hood. My route started at 8 Mile Campground and took me upcreek to Knebal Springs Loop. I rode both Loops clockwise, but I suspect most people ride Knebal Spring Loop counter-clockwise. Knebal is a great loop either way, but I highly recommend riding riding 8 Mile Camp Loop in the clockwise direction.

My route was an 18 mile double loop with about 3,100′ of climbing, there are long sections with fairly challenging climbing with 2+ mile sections at 8% grade which really wears on you, but the payoff is well worth it. Views are amazing, the trails are primarily fast buffed single track with a few short sections of choppy rocks mixed in to keep you alert. If you’ve ridden the trails at Phil’s trailhead in Bend or Boggs Mountain, you have a good idea of what to terrain-wise. The big exception being the steeper climbing and elevation which take a disproportionate toll on a rider so expect to cover a bit less ground. The views and the ripping downhills make it all worthwhile though, I highly recommend both 8 mile camp and Knebal Springs Loop.

The trails are well signed and fairly easy to navigate, I used the directions on MBPost plus a bit of help from some folks I ran into at the trailhead to get me onto Knebal Springs Trail. Once you get to the intersection of Knebal Springs and 8 mile camp loop, it’s signed well enough that most anyone can follow it. If you are taking Knebal Springs counterclockwise, you will ignore the first sign for it and stay on 8 Mile Trail until you get to the second sign.

What you can expect if you ride these trails.

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Four Wheeling is strictly optional on this ride, but not discouraged.
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Some riders coming down from the top of Knebal Springs loop, the downhill is freshly cut and amazing.
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If long stretches of fast/ flowy single track are appealing, Knebal Springs loop delivers in spades.
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At the top of Knebal Springs, the view of Mt. Hood is mind boggling.
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Much of Knebal Springs is shaded by big pine trees.
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Knebal Spings Loop and 8 Mile Camp Loop are both squarely “Intermediate” trails in terms of terrain. If you are looking for gnarly drops you’ll have to get creative. There are plenty of fast/ flowy sections to make up for it though.
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Big skies on Knebal just above the intersection with 8 Mile Camp Loop.
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One of many long/ flowy descents on Knebal Springs Loop.
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Near the top of 8 Mile Camp Loop the views are spectacular, on a clear day it seems like you can see Idaho to the east…
8MileCamp7… and Mt. Hood to the West. Take the bonus climb up to 5 Mile Lookout for the best views.
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Well after the ride was over, in the shadow of Mt. Hood.

My day was done, I slammed a bunch of food and pulled out the mattress in the back of the car and took a good long nap before heading up to Seattle.

I got Bent

September 26th, 2014 by Ogre

When I arrived in Bend yesterday I’d planned a short evening ride but it turned into something a bit bigger and wound up clocking about 20 miles though surprisingly less than 1000 feet of climbing. The trails off of Phil’s trailhead have fairly gentle climbs and are super smooth so you can really make time up them and downhills are fast and super flowy with uncommonly good sight lines.

I love the trails off of Phil’s trailhead because they are fun for pretty much any level of rider. Downhills are flow-filled and mostly smooth so beginners can really get a kick out of them but expert riders can challenge themselves with ridiculous speeds. They had some problems with the faster riders coming head on into climbers so recently they switched two of the main in/ out trails to one-way which makes speeding down a bit safer (but limits ride options).

Higher up and further from the mail trailhead, trails get a bit more technical and challenging which is what I was after. My goal was a particular section of Voodoo trail and getting to it turned out to be a bit longer than I’d planned. My 5-10 mile quick ride turned into a 20 mile journey, but it was a blast. Unfortunately, I didn’t prepare quite well enough and made a bad turn near the end of my ride and wound up riding about 4 miles in the wrong direction after sunset. I got a bit of assistance from a fellow rider (I poached his light) and I finished the ride going down some rather tame forest roads. Bad Ogre…. great day.

Heres the better pictures from the ride, click for the full sized versions, this first panoramic is particularly awesome embiggened.

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Sacramento Ditch trail to Shasta Dam

September 25th, 2014 by Ogre

After yesterday’s sunset ride in Hornbeck trail I discovered I could just overnight in the parking lot so I crashed there for the evening and did a morning ride. My plan was to do a quickie 5-7 mile ride then head out. Instead I wound up riding almost all the way to Shasta dam along the upper Sacramento Ditch trail. It’s a very nice, low key trail of which hugs the contour of the hills. The climbing is gentle and while there are switchbacks, they are wide ones which I’m confident even beginning riders could handle.

I saw some rather large bear prints which followed the trail for a couple miles which was kind of cool. The gentle trail and great views, turned my quick ride into a 15 mile spin so by the time it was over I was starved and ready for my coffee.

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Hornbeck Trail

September 24th, 2014 by Ogre

Fiona is out of town for a bit so I’m taking advantage and doing some traveling. Today I stopped in Redding and spent a bit of time riding the trails below Lake Shasta along the Sacramento River. Redding has a great trail system that goes from the middle of the city all the way up to Shasta dam and they continue to improve on the trails. Hornbeck is about halfway between Redding and Shasta along the trails and it’s simply great flowing single track with lots of switchbacks and great views. If you happen to be in Redding, well worth a stop.

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It’s Foothills Riding Time

April 16th, 2014 by Ogre

Hey, it’s that time of year, it’s the time when the Sierra Nevada foothills are at their peak awesomeness. This is the ideal time of year to head up to the trails in the foothills because they are all incredibly beautiful right now and soon it will be too warm to ride there comfortably. Lake Hogan, Red Hills, New Melones Reservoir, you name it, it’s the perfect time to experience the beauty of the lower Sierra.


Hogan in the springtime
Lake Hogan is only this nice for a few months each year.
Ogre's new springtime ride. Oh… what’s this now, does Ogre have a new ride?

Miles

March 9th, 2014 by Ogre

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Motivation has been a big problem for me over the past 2 years, but this December I decided I would push myself; I committed to riding every single day of December. The result was great, I didn’t do any huge rides, but I managed to clock at least a few miles every single day. At the turn of the year I decided to renew my commitment and pledged to myself to pedal 900 miles in the first 90 days of 2014.

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One Moment of Perfect Beauty

June 5th, 2013 by Ogre

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Sometimes riding is pure unadulterated joy. That perfect moment hits you and just don’t want it to stop. This weekend, it was when we were blazing down pinecrest peak trail, we were rolling down the trail as fast as conceivable, hitting all the little whoop tee dos and jumps, banking hard around the berms, and threading through technical sections at mach speed. even better, i had a couple buddies chasing me, we were all laughing, pouring on the speed. It’s an insane feeling and one I get doing few other things. The rush on adrenalin is intense and the endorphins kick in… I was grinning from ear to ear whooping hollering and laughing out loud. It doesn’t happen every ride, but when it does, it’s awesome.

I’ve been neglecting my riding so much lately that I’d forgotten about that moment… Or perhaps just set it aside for a bit. It’s going to be a busy summer as i try and get caught up.

Off the Hook: Sunrise, Pinecrest Peak

June 1st, 2013 by Ogre

After spending most of the last year doing a lot of fairly close riding or not riding much at all, I’ve been getting by but in gear again. A bunch-o-trogs made their way up to Pinecrest this weekend for some early season PCP.

Fiona dropped us off right at the top of Hamil Canyon and we tried to make it up to Eagle Peak. The route was clear for the most part, save some occasional drifts.

But eventually we were stymied by a big sheet of snow and the prospect of more ahead so we turned back.

After a bit of debate, we decided we’d try to climb up to a challenging trail called Sunrise. We ground our way up a steep 4WD road which most of us pushed up, but the views up top were spectacular and Sunrise trail is a real treat.

Unfortunately, we were blazing down Sunrise so I don’t have any shots of this great section of singletrack. Trust me on this one, it’s amazing.

After enjoying the descent, there was a brief climb up to the Pinecrest Peak “Bonus” trail, a section that was added to the beginning of PCP trail proper a few years ago.

The bonus section is short and I was really enjoying the flow so again no pictures, but after we were on Pinecrest Peak trail proper I took the time to stop and get some shots of the spectacular trail and views.

A huge part of upper PCP is giant granite slabs with thoughtfully arranged cairns spaced to maximize fun and keep riders from rolling off into oblivion.

Well actually, at one point you more or less do roll off into oblivion, or it seems like it. (Pinecrest Lake in the background)

The granite slab points down and it gets pretty steep, it feels like you are riding out of the sky. (File this under ‘steeper than it looks’)

(It was shortly after this that Joey did a nice endo almost going face first into a boulder.)

After boulder crawling and navigating slabs, we spent about 30 minutes picking our way through steep technical trails and rolling through high mountain meadows.

Then we hit the warp drives and blazed down some a fast bermed out section of serpentine trail. It was off the hook fast and my riding was on fire. The grin factor was maxed out, lots of whoops and hollering.

At the bottom, things get technical again and the speed comes down, but the grin factor doesn’t decrease as we bounced over boulders, slid down granite slabs, took chunky drops over tree roots, dodged stone outcroppings, ducked under branches, and threaded trees.

Then, all too soon, we were at the bottom, tired, sore, and feeling that melancholy we all feel when a spectacular day of riding is over. We crossed the creek, loaded up the bikes and headed back to Bruce’s trailer for some beer and some great grub.