Home Building Update: The UFO Landing Pad

Things are really starting to move now and we’re almost ready to pour the foundation. It’s hard to see from this image, but the inside surface is tight, the forms are butted right up against each other with tight grooves between them so when it’s poured it will be a smooth circle. We’re going to fill with dirt around the base near the doors so we don’t have to put stairs on each side. Next step, they put an inside ring of plywood then, pour concrete, then bend the rebar down so they can clamp the airform to the outside of the foundation. IMG_1305.jpeg
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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)

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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.

Struggling with weigh/ recovery + Oregon Trip

Two big trips over the last few weeks. I took Vivian back to Ohio where she wants to try and make a go at independence with some help from Fiona’s family… 3 days of solid driving through fog and snow then a couple days of rest and Christmas Day flying home. Didn’t get any riding in but I did meet some of Fiona’s family and got to spend a day playing on a 4 wheeler in the snow!

Second trip, right after Christmas was a bit of house shopping. We’re seriously looking at getting a place in Oregon. Haven’t quite knocked out all the details but we’re trying to get as much cash together as we can to make a go at it. For now it’s likely to be a summer home or maybe even just a summer campsite ;) I did manage to get a nice ride in with Fiona on the Eugene bike trails which are very nice, comparable to the ones in Redding or Sacramento. Eugene is apparently a very bike friendly town which is quite encouraging. Finally on the last day up there I managed to wing a ride with the Disciples of Dirt and Randy from MBO on Larrison Creek trail. The weather report said rain most of the day but we were almost completely rain free. Overall a great trip, hopefully we’ll be able to get a bid in on one of the properties shortly.

My struggle with post recovery weight gain continues, I’m still about 15 pounds heavier than prior to my injury in June. All the travel and Christmas sort of bumped me back a bit but I’ve been riding more since getting back and while far from perfect my eating has been better. Hopefully come spring things will pick up.

My winter ride tip for everyone: If you can’t go where you want to ride, ride where you are.

I haven’t been able to get out much to ride so I’ve been doing a lot of local riding from the house. My suggestion is simple, find local close in routes you can hit on a moments notice. When you get bored jump on the bike.