S2R Coltus to Waldo

This post is part of a multi-post story about a 1 week trip we, started in Bend.

After another cold night I was just starting to figure out how to best deal with sub freezing temperatures and slept the entire night without having me feet go numb. I work up early again and was treated to another awesome sunrise, this time over Coltus Lake.

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Breakfast was French Toast again and we headed around the north shore of Coltus and caught the Metolious Windigo again as it wound it’s way towards Lake Waldo. The Metolious Windigo is a lot less volcanic here without the rocky road texture which made it so fun between Sparks Lakes and Lava Lake. This section has a lot of deadfall and we cleared a couple trees along the way.

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After curving around Lake Coltus, we passed Deer Lake and Coltus Mountain, eventually leaving the Metolious Windigo for good and climbing towards Charlton Lake and Lake Waldo. (Photo is Jerry shortly before Charlton Lake)

On the leg just before we turned off of Metolious Windigo, a branch snagged on my rear tire and snapped a spoke. I finished the ride with 27 spokes on one wheel.
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Kevin above Lake Charlton

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This leg of our trip had a lot of climbing and only a few really good downhill legs, but the section approaching Charlton Lake has some of the only really challenging technical terrain before we get to Fuji and Bunchgrass later on. (Pictured is Gabrielle just below a tight technical S-curve)
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Lake Waldo is always beautiful and Shadow Bay campground was quiet due this late in the season.

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We had propane bowl heaters to keep us warm and they were definitely appreciated as it was quite cold most of the time when we were at Waldo. (Pictured: Jerry, Dan, Scott, Davey, Al, Lee, and Gabrielle)
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There wasn’t a ton of partying on Tuesday night as we were all quite beat from a long day with a lot of climbing. Since it was Tuesday Dinner was of course Tacos! (Pictured: Ken, Kevin, Ogre, Andrea, Josh, Jerry, Dan, and Scott)

With 28 miles of riding which felt like mostly climbing, it’s hard to pick out a highlight. The section before Charlton Lake and a couple of the downhill sections along East Waldo were quite fun though.

We woke up to a light rain in the middle of the night which was a bit of a blessing. It knocked the dust on the trails down a bit and kept the temperature a bit warmer.

(Continued on next post)

S2R Sparks Lake to Coltus

This is a continuation of a multi-post story about a multi-day trip. Refer to the first story for context.

On Monday I work up early as I usually do when camping and was treated to some spectacular skies. Breakfast was French toast, bacon and sausage.

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After breaking camp, we got back onto the Metolius Windigo and headed for Lava lake. This section of the Metolius Windigo contours down slowly and has lots of little ups and downs with bits of lava rock poking out of the sandy soil. It was super fun riding this section on the single speed.

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Lava Lake is disappointingly not made of actual lava, but is pretty spectacular regardless.

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We cut between Lava Lake and little Lava Lake on a road and caught a short section of singletrack which cut over to the highway. From there we followed a power-line road and some forest roads to Coltus Lake.

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After setting up camp, some of us headed over to the resort for some ice cream and shenanigans. To celebrate his successful jump, Al bought us a gallon and a half of huckleberry ice cream for desert!
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Coltus Lake is isolated and quite beautiful, particularly with the cloudy sunset we were treated to.

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Monday’s riding was short and had a fair amount of transit along roads. The section of Metolius Windigo between Sparks Lake and Lava Lake was easily the best part of the ride, but camping at Coltus was an unexpected treat. The lake was idlic, there was almost nobody in the campground aside from us and aside from some winds in the evening it was a great place to camp.

(Continued on next post)

September to Remember (S2R) Wanoga to Sparks Lake

Since I’ve been so busy with the house build this summer I haven’t had the chance to get any really significant road trips in, so when the opportunity to go on a week long camping trip along the Oregon Timber Trail popped up, I jumped on it. It was appropriate that adding me to the trip made it a proper Baker’s dozen riders.

We were originally going to hit the first 130 miles of the Fremont Tier, but fires along the route caused a last minute re-route. Instead we rode from Bend to Oakridge, following much of the Timber Trail route, but adding a bit more single track where possible.

Breakfast
The first day we spent dealing with logistics and driving to Bend. We set up camp at the Wanoga snow park then did a short afternoon ride before dinner. Dan, Scott, and myself rode up to Dutchman to hit Flagline and the rest of the group rode Tyler’s Traverse. We got back just in time for a fantastic dinner served up by Charlie and Vic.

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On most mornings we woke up, broke camp, ate breakfast, then hit the trail. The first morning was a bit chaotic as we were just getting used to the rhythm of things, but we managed to get out of camp by 10 am.

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Our route took us up to Swampy Shelter, down South Fork and up North Fork to Tumalo Falls and to Happy Valley. From Happy Valley we jumped onto the Metolious Windigo Trail. At about 29 miles, this was one of the longer days.

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Tomalo is actually a bunch of linked falls, a fantastic ride and likely a great hike.

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Charlie (Our awesome Chef), and Albert rolling through Happy Valley.

Davey Sproket
Davey was one of the primary organizers of our trip…

Ken
… and Ken was the other.

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After Happy Valley, we caught the Metallica’s After about 29 miles we made it to Sparks Lake which had… fantastic views.

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At sunset and after the sun went down, things just got better, smoke from this summer’s fires has fled the Sparks Lake area and the stars were fantastic.

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Sunday nights dinner of lamburgers was almost as good as the Fish dinner we had on Saturday and company at the campfire was great.

The highlights of this leg were the fantastic views along the north fork climb past Tumalo Falls and the fun/ fast descents down South Fork and the Metolious Windigo. Camping at Sparks Lake was also fantastic.

It was damned cold though, I wasn’t quite prepared for sub-freezing camping. (Continued in next post)

Ape Canyon, Mt St Helens

One of my all time favorite rides. The views are fantastic and the riding is great. So far every time I’ve been ride here I haven’t scheduled enough time to ride the full loop but even as a 13-15 mile out-and-back this is an amazing trail. Make sure you get all the way to the top though, the Plains of Abraham are spectacular with unparalleled views of St Helens and views of Pikes, Mt Hood, And Mt Adams.

If there was any downside to this trail it’s the heavy traffic, even of a Friday afternoon I encountered about a dozen hikers and cyclists on the climb up and a few on the return trip. The other slight bummer is the descent isn’t very technical…. but you are so busy soaking in the views you hardly notice.

If you are planning a PNW trip, Ape Canyon and the Plains of Abraham should be on your short list.

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Over Old Highway 242 With Dan’ger

I’m pretty vocal about the fact that I don’t really care for road riding so it might come as a shock to some of my friends that I went on a long assed road ride and had an absolutely fantastic day. I attribute this to the fact that it was a pretty fantastic place and that there were almost no cars.

The place was highway 242 in Oregon, it goes from just a bit east of McKenzie Bridge all the way to Sisters Oregon. It winds its way up (a lot of up!) through lush west Cascades rain forest; through a huge lava field to Dee Wright Observatory; then down into the east Cascades and Sisters. If you are familiar with any of those places you know they are each pretty special and fantastic, getting to ride through them on a bike in one day is quite epic.

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This ride is normally good, but I wouldn’t do it because the roads are quite narrow and people in cars are dangerous to cyclists on the road. Fortunately, for a few weeks at the end of spring the road is closed to cars and accessible to bikes… which makes this ride worth doing.

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Originally I was going to meet up with Dan (aka Dan’ger), a mountain bike buddy I knew from long ago on (MTBR)[http://mtbr.com] and a few of his friends, but due to some confusion I missed him and I took off at a fairly aggressive pace all the way until I got to Dee Wright Observatory which is more or less the top of this ride. By the time I got to the top I’d kind of given up on catching them and just soloed it.

The Three Sisters

On the way down to Sisters, there was a veritable parade of riders coming at me, I must have zipped by a couple hundred people doing the climb up from Sisters as part of a big organized event. (Pictured above are the bottoms of the 3 Sisters viewed from Sisters.

Mount Washington

After the ride down to Sisters I did the 2,400 foot/ 18 mile grind back up to the Observatory. (Mount Washington in the above photo)

Mount Washington

The views on this route are amazing, the combination of elevation and lack of vegetation in the lava fields means you can see for miles. The lava fields themselves are so unusual they could easily be from another world. This ride reminds me a lot of climbing to the Plains of Abraham on the back side of Mount Saint Helens.

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When I got back to the Observatory I climbed to the top… and there was Dan and his friend Jeff! No, he wasn’t standing there like John Cusak from Say Anything with his bike over his head… he was actually hunkered down low trying to stay out of the stout breeze, it was COLD.

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Turns out they had started from their camp ground, not realizing they were about 7 miles and 1,200 feet below where we were supposed to meet. I had been so far ahead of them I’d caught them on the way back.

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After a bit of catch up and discussion I decided I would bomb down to Sisters again and ride with them for the rest of the day, adding another 30 miles and 2,400 feet of climbing to my already long day.

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We had a quick bite of pizza in Sisters and turned around for the grind back to the Observatory. I was feeling fantastic the whole climb up and it was even more fun with old and new friends along the way. (Dan is just rolling up to the Observatory in this photo and Jeff is in the foreground).

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Back at the Observatory, we goofed around for a bit then it started to rain a bit so we jumped on the bikes and blazed down to the bottom.

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This was a truly fanstastic day, miles and miles of fantastic landscape, surreal terrain, and good company. The scheduling snafu at the beginning could have been a bummer, but turned out to be just a bit of spice to a really fun trip.

I’ll be heading up this way again next spring when the roads are opened up again because this was a fantastic trip.

By the end of the day I’d clocked 85 miles and about 6,400 feet of climbing. Easily my most ambitious and enjoyable road ride ever.

Creampuff 2017 Survival Story

I’m alive… I survived the Cream Puff.

I woke up feeling ok, I got a good night’s sleep, glad we slept here at home rather than camping or getting a room in Oakridge (Thanks Alan Bennet for that bit of wisdom).

The first lap went really well, my goal was to average better than 5 miles an hour and though I haven’t uploaded the stats yet, my first climb was much better than I’d hoped. My entire first lap was fast and I had a ton of fun. On the climb I wound up watching a lot of people roll away from me, but by the time we got onto Tire Mountain I started catching people who weren’t as strong as I am on single track. The first lap time was just about 6 hours and felt way shorter than it should have.

The second lap on the other hand was not fast. After a quick cool off at the Aid station and a rather pleasant roll along North Fork trail, we hit the road 1910 and the climb from hell. My legs were toast and I was crawling up the climb at about 2-3 miles an hour. By the time I started the climb it was just afternoon and the temperature had crept up over 90 degrees… I was slowly baking alive and ran out of water way before the water station halfway up the climb.

The Puff organizers have a couple of angels patrolling the road in a pick-up with a water sprayer dousing anyone who wants it. They met me about 3 miles in and I took a long, cool shower in the middle of the road… It was amazing and kept me cool until well after the water stop. The rest of the climb was less suffering from heat and more about just pushing my burnt out legs up and down until Aid 2 where Mic Coleman and some other awesome people gave me electrolytes, chocolate milk, and I refilled my bottle with Perpetuem. Then I made the final push up to Aid 3, where Olivia was waiting and teased me with the idea of giving up.

I didn’t stop at Aid 3 long and pushed on, then about 5 minutes up the trail on a hike-a-bike section I stopped and sat down and contemplated turning back for a long time. Three people rolled past me and finally I decided I would just take the rest of the race 1 Aid station at a time. If I could just make it back to Aid 3, then I’d take inventory and see if I could make it to the next Aid station, etc.

And so it went, I had a good time descending Chrome Toilet and since my legs were rested the climb back out was tolerable. The climb and descent on Sourgrass Meadow and Jedi were even better. By the time I was at Aid 2 again, there was no question I could press on and I had plenty of time even if I walked most of the climbs.

But I didn’t. I spun up most of the climb after Windy Pass, I slowly ground my way up Cloverpatch (and even passed someone!) and the descents down Tire Mountain and Cloverpatch were amazing. Road 130 was miserable as expected, but I pedaled the whole thing in spite of twinges from potential cramping. Then, near the top of the switchbacks above Road 130, the guy I passed on Cloverpatch nearly caught me which lit a competitive fire in me and it was full game-on.

When I hit the road that feeds back to Buckhead shelter I stood up and sprinted up that stupid little climb. But I was fighting cramps back and got some full on cramps and had to walk them off… but then after cramping I changed strategies. Knowing how close I was to the finish I just doubled down my efforts. I stood up on nearly every climb in the last 6 miles (Thank god I trained so much on the SS)… and I tore up the downhills. It was awesome. The final 6 miles were glorious and amazing with some epic views, blazing fast descents, and 100% pure fun. It was a fantastic way to end the day.

Getting that hat was onerous, having a huge smile on my face when I got it was epic.

Side Notes

  • I podiumed! 3rd place Men’s 45+!
  • A big part of the suffering up the climb on lap 2 was because I decided to do 1 water bottle… a strategy that worked very well for most of the day but really hurt for the 45 minutes or so after I ran out on the second climb. Next year I’ll bring a second bottle or pack just for that climb.

Appreciation

  • Thanks to all the awesome people who encouraged me and helped me out during the race. Mic was awesome at Aid 2, Chris B., Paul Timm, Olivia, Misha, Ellene, and many others. Also, my buddy Jason who is responsible for me doing this race and gave me encouragement when I was at my very worst.
  • Double thanks to those who helped me train, because it’s hard to get out and do 45 mile days solo. Especially: Jamie, Bridget, Greg, and the Wednesday Whypass regulars.
  • Huge thanks to Collin, Olivia, and Eugene from Paul’s on Alder and the Mechantile in Oakridge for helping me out with mechanical issues in the weeks leading up to the race.

Finally… thanks to my awesome wife who tolerates my adventures and is the best pit crew ever.