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.

Moving on Up

Hopefully nobody noticed, but Ogrehut has moved to a new (virtual) server. I’ve also migrated the trail guides to a different architecture which affects the layout a bit and makes them easier to host and migrate. What this means is the Ogre’s Trail Guides are likely not going to be updated too much, but I can keep them around for a long time without much effort.

If you are interested in the finer details, I’ll be putting a post about it on my nerd blog soon.

2016 MBO Guide Day

Every year prior to MBO, Oregon Adventures puts on multiple guide training days where all the new guides can learn the ropes and learn the trails, radio use, and other techniques the MBO guides use to ensure everyone is as safe as possible during the event. The big one is called Guide Day and usually involves a big shuttled ride to one (or two!) of the premier trails in the Oakridge area. This year it was “Chrome Toilet” and the world renowned Alpine trail.

There are still Flowers at Red Hills (But it’s HOT!)

We did a morning ride at Red Hills this morning to avoid the heat, but it didn’t really work, we got to Red Hills around 9:30 and it was already 85 degrees out. Surprisingly, there were still a lot of flowers in bloom out there though and they were spectacular in a semi-desert sort of way.

The color and variety were striking, my favorite were the abundant purple flowers on the north side of the park, but there were plenty of indian paintbrush, a lot of small white flowers, poppies, and several other yellow varieties.

Our ride kept us on some of the skinnier trails on the very north end of the trail system and included the stretch of singletrack along the east end of Serpentine Loop which is my favorite downhill on the north side of Red Hills. Lots of flow with plenty of chunky technical sections mixed in. Since it was so hot, we used the road climb instead of the brutally steep Red Hills Trail. Considering how blown up Gary was I guess that’s a good thing.

Great time had by all!