Tandemanium, Mountain Bike Oregon, Fitness, and Exploring

Lots and lots of riding lately. As you can see from our last post Fiona and I have a tandem now so we’ve been trying to use it as much as possible. It’s a little bit challenging moving it about because the rack makes our car too tall to fit into the garage. Just this week we figures a way to work it so we just pull part of the rack off which makes it much more convenient for accessing. In spite of the fact that it’s a huge bike the tandem can be a blast to ride. We’ve been riding it in the evenings on the levee routes near our house. When I first started riding I rode on the levees quite a bit for fitness but now I don’t get on them very much. Lately I’ve been on a kick to drop a few pounds so I’ve talked Fiona into doing some evening rides out on the levees and it’s been great. Riding on the tandem means we stay together the whole time and no waiting for me. Strangely I think we both get more exercise on the tandem than we did previously. She gets more miles in and I ride harder for the same distance.

I also wanted to talk a little bit about Mountain Bike Oregon (MBO). This is an amazing event, this was our third year attending and we have yet to be disappointed. You can read my previous review and of MBO. My only comment is that the popular Middle Fork ride was dramatically altered this year and the results were a bit disappointing. So a huge thumbs up to the event… but next year I will likely skip the extra $$ for the Middle Fork ride and just enjoy the closer in rides.

After MBO we spent a day riding the North Umpqua Trail (NUT) which is south of Oakridge along the North Umpqua River. This is an amazing trail filled with some spectacular views, long flowing downhills, it’s simply an amazing trail. Pictures and a more detailed review here.

Finally, I’m on a big push to get my weight down and my fitness level up right now (some people call this training) for a big ride coming up in September. As part of this I’ve been trying to get some longer rides and doing a little exploration in the Pinecrest area. We’ve discovered some great routes, and explored some really interesting areas over the last few weeks. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to share some of that on the site shortly. Not a lot to share yet, but I should have some GPS mapped routes up soon. Here is a route we did (motion based) that took us up to Eagle Peak and Pinecrest Peak. Some absolutely amazing views from those trails. I pretty much blew up early on that ride and never recovered so it was a looong day for me. I didn’t bring a camera but here are some older pictures of Eagle Peak and Pinecrest Peak
Eagle Peak Panoramic

Tahoe Rim Trail on the 4th of July

Riding the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) is always a blast. It’s an amazing trail system, probably one of the best in the Nation, possibly in the world. The views are spectacular and the riding is awesome. Over the weekend of the 4th I managed to snag 2 great rides.

On the 4th I met up with rocket scientist and all around great guy Big Larry and another good friend Kathleen who coaches a high school mountain biking team in the Bay Area. We rode the section of the TRT from Mount Rose down to the Tunnel Creek trail. At that point we split up, Fiona rode the Flume Trail while Larry, Kathleen and I rode down to Red Flume Trail then around to the TRT over Marlett Peak. All in all a great ride. The TRT from Rose to Tunnel Creek is a great section of trail for beginning and intermediate riders to get a handle on the decomposed granite and rocky technical riding the characterizes the riding on the east and south shores of Lake Tahoe. Spooner to Red Flume Pictures and Ride Report here.

Saturday I had some slightly more ambitious plans. Last year some of the guys and I pioneered a new (to us) route going from Spooner Summit to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It’s brutal 40 mile ride starting on the east side of the lake and going all the way around to Meyers. It includes some brual climbs and a few amazing technical descents. Since this route was based on the classic “Punisher” route we dubbed it the Punsher Plus.

I’ve also rewritten my main Tahoe Rim Trail Guide to include information about more rides in the area, including these two.

Second Annual Party at Pinecrest Peak : Updated

Check the weather update at the bottom of the post

On September 22nd and 23rd the TROGS, the Ogre (from Ogrehut.com), and some Sonora area locals are inviting you to a get together at Pinecrest Peak. Prepare for 2 days of riding, camping, and general MTB mayhem. If you’ve never ridden at Pinecrest, this is a great chance to try out some awesome Sierra Nevada trails which are a bit off the beaten track. Anyone is welcome to show up and we have plans for any level of rider.

Location : We will be camping at Fraser Flat Campground near Strawberry on both Friday and Saturday Nights. All rides will meet at the Strawberry Store (Big Red Store on Right).

Times : Rides will meet at 10:00 AM on both the 22nd and the 23rd (Sunday’s Easy ride will start at 11AM)
The Rides: Exact rides and routes will depend on who shows up. Currently the following rides are planned.

Friday: We’re going to have a Friday night ride at 9PM along Fiona’s Favorite trail. The ride will be laid back and at a slow pace. Expect a mellow ride dodging trees through some fairly tame terrain. This is about a 9 mile loop and will be the only ride to start and finish at Fraser Flat campground. (Rain/ snow cancels)
Saturday: (none of the rides planned on Saturday are to be shuttled)
Easy Ride: Fiona’s Favorite Loop, down Ewok Trail from Strawberry, crossing the river at Spring Gap Road, then returning on the RR Grade to Strawberry. 10 miles, easy pace with very little climbing.
Challenging Ride: Climb up to Pinecrest Peak and alternately climbing up Willow Creek or Hammil Canyon then returning via Pinecrest Peak Trail.
Expert Route: This is a highly challenging ride for expert level mountain bikers, it’s a 35-40+ mile route with tons of climbing, technical cross country riding and finishes with the the killer Pinecrest Peak Downhill.

Sunday: Sunday’s plans are not set in stone yet. Here are the tentative plans for the day.
Easy Ride: 10-15 miles riding along the Flume trail above the Stanislaus River (may have a delayed start time due to shuttling Challenging riders)
Challenging Route: This will be a shuttled ride, the shuttle will drop riders off at the base of Eagle Peak and riders will climb up to Eagle Peak coming down some fresh new singletrack. At that point they can go directly to Pinecrest Peak via forest roads or drop down Willow Creek trail before climbing to Pinecrest Peak.
Expert Ride: A second day of high mileage, challenging cross country riding. The second day will likely not include Pinecrest Peak but will include 30-40 miles of challenging singletrack.

Cost: Zero $ (responsible for own campsite and food/ alcohol)
Registration: Just show up at Fraser Flat on Friday Night or meet us at the Strawberry Store on Saturday or Sunday Morning.

Weather Update:

Mostly cloudy with rain or snow likely. Highs 41 to 51 higher elevations…54 to 64 lower elevations. Snow level 7000 feet.

Weather seems to be deteriorating on Saturday. Still have a chance that it will blow over but I would suggest anyone day-tripping to come on Sunday rather than Saturday. The trails should be awesome post rain/ snow. I’ll be up there both days rain or shine and will likely ride on Saturday if it’s just limited to showers or a light drizzle. Friday nights ride is canceled if there is rain. Night rain rides are not fun (I’ve done it)

Also, note that Sunday’s Easy Ride will start at 11AM rather than 10AM as was listed originally.

Pinecrest Peak Guide

I’m working on updating my ride guides, one at a time like.  The first one to get a serious retinkering is my Pinecrest Peak Guide.  The format is slightly different and it’s very focused on getting you around the loop since there are so few other references out there for this trail.  I have also included some options for bonus mileage and even some simple shuttling instructions.  I’m going to try and add some maps soon as well.  Let me know how you like the layout.

The Ogre’s Guide to Pinecrest Peak

Mountain Bike Oregon

MTB Oregon PicI spend the last 5 days riding up in Oregon, 2 days on rides just with friends, and 3 days at Mountain Bike Oregon (MBO). Mountain Bike Oregon is a mountain bike get together held in Oakridge, Oregon, a no-name town in central Oregon with a trail system that is second to none. The ‘500 miles’ of trails listed on Mountain Bike Oregon’s web site is not an exaggeration, and the quality of the trails is phenomenal. Most of the trails are skinny, buffed single track, but there is a good selection of technical riding as well. Rivers and streams crisscross the unique rain forests of northwest Oregon. The technical challenges are as often made of roots and tree stumps rather than rocks and you are just as often riding on bark and pine needles as dirt on many trails. (My Pictures from MBO) Continue reading Mountain Bike Oregon

Snow Ride in the Sierra

Vince (Portola Vince on MTBR) had asked me to take him on a tour of some of the trails off of Highway 108. I had planned on showing him Pinball (Older Report) and a few other assorted trails but the week before Jeff Boatman was bragging about riding the lower half of Pinecrest Peak trail… hmmm, I had to get some of that action. Turns out we did ride Pinecrest but we sure payed for it (Skip to the Pictures). Continue reading Snow Ride in the Sierra

How to Steal a Ride in the Sierra Nevada

Well, I guess it’s not exactly stolen. This freakishly dry winter has left many of the lower elevations snow free. Even with the super cold temps the snow is fairly light at lower levels and over this weekend we were able to sneak in a January ride on Pinball, which should by all rights be under snow. Getting out on this trail this time of year was very cool. We were riding over giant frozen puddles, snow patches, and through occasional sections of mud. Definitely a unique ride. Check out the Pictures Here.

Tahoe Riding at it’s Best

Over the weekend I hooked up for a couple of Tahoe rides and I have to say that as great as Tahoe riding normally is it is even better right now.  The early snow we had followed by a dry weather since has made it sort of a mini spring up there.  Dust is at an all time low and even the ubiquitous sand and pulverized granite seemed much more tame than it usually is.  On Saturday hooked up with my brother from his time-share at Heavenly for a 13 mile out-and-back towards Star Lake along the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT).  TRT is as always great, this time it was better.  The trail was sticky and much less dusty.  There were some little patches of snow on North facing mountainsides and in a few places on the trail the snow crossed the trail. Generally where it crosses the trail it was thin and melted off but a few places it thawed then refroze into a slippery ice pack.

On Sunday I met up with Gary (Finch Platte) and Johnny (JFR) for a Toads run.  We my favorite Toads route up Oneidas to Armstrong Pass trail then Gary and I took a bit of a detour towards Star Lake and Johnny who’d been chasing us the whole time just kept cruising towards Toads. We hooked back up with Johnny just about in time for the DH. Then it was our turn to try and play keep up with him.

Toads was incredible. I can attest from my position in the rear of the Downhill that Toads was exceptionally dust free. The trail was also super tacky going down Toads. I’ve never bombed down those bermed out sections the way I did Sunday. Sweet!  On a personal note, I rode more of the technical sections that I even have, and I climbed better than ever as well. All in all a personal best performance all around on the climb and on Toads.

If you can get up to the Sierras before it snows… It doesn’t get any better than this.