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Please note that there are several ride descriptions posted on the Yahoogroups' CycleOregon website.
The grade from the Portland side -- from NW Cornell Rd up Thompson Rd to Skyline is 6.2% in almost 1.6 miles. The last 1/4 mile is an 8.2% grade.
NW Thompson Rd on the Beaverton side is less steep. We ride up 119th to McDaniel, then Thompson. The McDaniel part is only 2.2%, Thompson is 5.5% with some parts over 6%.
Laural "slow bent, but getting faster" Engeman
My altimeter reads 1120 feet at the intersection of Thompson and Skyline.
Laural "slow bent but getting faster" Engeman
I ride Skyline often. When I bike commute I always hit some part of Skyline. My favorite route is from my house near 185th and Park View. I'll hit 173rd and stay on it as it turns to Laidlaw. The hill up Laidlaw to Thompson Road is my morning wake up call (this hill is cool going up or down). Then I turn left on Skyline and follow it all the way to Rocky Point Road. At this point you could turn around and take any number of roads down on the west side of the hill, but I prefer to scream down Rocky Point.
Now Rocky Point is not for the faint of heart. I feel better on this road on my Trek 7000 with gravel tires and front shock than I do on my Serotta. It has hair pin turns with pot holes that you can wash your face in on a rainy day. I love the rush as I dodge holes and try to keep an eye out for cars and stay on the road all at once. It is a nice contrast after the steady quite climb of Skyline to the Rocky Point down hill.
Once you’re at the bottom you have some choices to make. 1) Go to Scappose for a snack. 2) Go down HWY. 30 and stop at the Health food store on Thurman for a snack. 3) Go back up Rocky Point. Of course when I'm on my way to work I just make a bee line to the St. Johns Bridge and then to Marine Drive.
All roads that I ride from HWY. 30 up to Skyline I use all my gears at some point. I rate the hills according to difficulty like this, starting with the hardest. 1) Rocky Point, 2) Newberry, 3) Germantown. My favorite of these three is Newberry. I like it because it has few cars on it and spectacular views of Sauvie Island, the Columbia River, and Mt St Helens.
There are a few other roads that I want to try but have not had the chance. Logie Trail is one and another one that I can not recall. All in all Skyline offers many variations for riding, and it you live hill climbing then this is the candy shop.
[question about where to get good Washington County, Oregon maps…]
Getting decent maps is a constant frustration. The best map that I have found is on my web site, http://www.cse.ogi.edu/~black/Bikes/ , under "Map of Washington County.
I have a great Washington County map that I picked up for free at the AAA on Beaverton-Hillsdale. If you're not a member they'll probably charge you for it. I think Beth-Ann mentioned that she picked up a good Washington County map at the Beaverton City Hall, also.
I'd like to second the recommendation for Biketracker.com. I've been logging my Jan miles so far and really like it. If others find it as easy to use as I did, perhaps we could set up a team bag balm club and get really competitive (just kidding).
Larch Mountain - 1999
Even in years with less-than-record snowpack, there's been snow at the top of Larch Mountain into May. Haven't been up there this year, but I think it's a safe bet right now.
Also, even when it's downright hot in Portland and there's no snow on top, the descent can be incredibly chilling, especially after slogging at slow, sweaty speeds up to the top. Do yourself a favor and pocket a windbreaker for the cruise down.
A couple of years ago, I did that ride when it was 80+F in PDX, and was still shivering for a good long while when I stopped at Women's Forum Park on the way down. A jacket (and maybe even legwarmers) had never entered my mind when I left the house.
Other friends have had similar experiences.
It's a great, challenging ride. Go for it! But be prepared for it.
Scott Saulsbury (4/24/99)
I rode up to Larch on May 15 with the Vancouver Bike Club. We had to turn back about a mile from the top due to snow on the road - still, it was a significant climb. I'm guessing that the recent warm weather should have cleared most of the snow, especially in the un-shaded areas.
There is a gate across the road (about 3 miles from the top?). The forest service ranger gave us permission to go around the gate ("Just be careful when you come back down", he said :)
Larch Mountain, Oregon
As mountains go - not particularly high.
As Cycle Oregon trainer hills go - one of the better choices.
As bike rides go - my first experience with a popular hill in the Portland area. Why it took me 10 years to do it, I cannot answer.
I will do it again before COXII - at least once. I am reluctant to claim any uniqueness in riding this hill. Certainly, thousands have climbed it on a bike before I did. Certainly others have done it on a recumbent. It is unique for my purposes alone.
It is unique to me insofar as I climbed a sustained 21 mile, 4000 foot hill faster than I would have last year, and I did it on my recumbent.
It is unique to me insofar as I rode it without _THAT_ much effort ( as measured by my heart rate monitor. )
It is unique to me insofar as I rode it faster downhill than any time in my cycling background.
Now, I want to do it in less time. Not marginally less, but CLEARLY less. I am hooked.
All of that serious attitude stuff being dealt with, let me say one word about the downhill on the Gold Rush:
B O N Z A I
What a sled ride!
Riding that 'bent down a hill like that is an experience to savor!
There is no access in the top 4.5 miles. It is a clear shot. No access from the side, so you can LET 'ER RIP!
The 14 miles from the Crown Point Fork just east of Women's Forum State Park are relatively traffic free, so it is highly recommended as a good Cycle Oregon training ride.
I averaged about 30 mph in that stretch in the downhill direction, with a maximum of 41 mph. What took over seven hours to climb - with many stops, required one and a quarter hours to descend.
I acquired elevation for the ride, which I will attempt to post as a graph in a separate Cycle Oregon mail list entry.
When I showed the graphs of my heart rate, speed, and the associated elevation profile to my cardiologist today after my annual stress test physical, he was impressed (actually - "expletive deleted"). (He has done four past Cycle Oregons - and knows what CO demands.)
This is a good CO training ride. Not the only one, for sure, and it should not be considered a replacement for many repeated rides of a lesser climb. But for sure, if you have a chance to do it, Larch Mountain is a great unsupported ride.
Just be sure to prepare for big time wind chill and the complete lack of water in the last 14 miles. I carried about 90 ounces of water and still ran out. Be prepared.
According to "Bicycling the Backroads of Northwest Oregon" by Jones & Henderson,
if you start at the Portland Women's Forum State Park (1 mi west of Crown Point on the Columbia River Highway), it's 30.2 mi, 3220 feet of hill climb, and about 4 hours of riding.
Judging from the times given for other rides in this book, the 4 hours is fairly conservative; I'm sure a lot of the readers in this august mailing list have done it in less time.
OK, here's how it went. Don Bolton was kind enough to let me occasionally catch up with him on this ride today. 46 miles and just about 4000 ft in a bit under 4 hours. We took the Louden Rd route, which evidently is used by the Portland Wheelmen on their Gorge Century ride; we saw a number of their Dan Henry's on the way up.
I've done more altitude in a day, but not in such a short distance. The weather was pretty cool and cloudy in Troutdale. As we gained altitude the typical Western thing happened: we went through microclimate changes.
By the time we reached the gate (about 4 mi from the summit), there was some rain. (I was prepared! I had leg warmers and a jacket.) About a mile further, I lost Don in the mists as visibility closed down to about 100 yards.
The summit consequently took me by surprise, since I was almost on it before I could see it.
It was the ride _down_ that really impressed me. Flying at 25-35 mph, watching the milepost numbers descent: 14..10..5..we took the direct route back via Crown Point Highway. What took almost three hours to ascent took just about an hour to retrace.
I'm gonna hafta do this ride again; it was enough work that I felt that I got strength training _and_ endurance work. And Don really smoked me on the hill; it was a serious exercise in humility as well.
But the scenery was well worth it. This area is absolutely beautiful (of course, I'm partial to the Gorge to begin with). Just be prepared for a challenging ride.
Thanks for the kind words. You acquitted yourself very well mashing that double up to the top. I have always had to labor up the grind in my granny ring until this year. So from my perspective you’re doing on your first year what has taken me 4 years to achieve. Seriously, last year you might have beat me to the top.
That was my all time best climb up Larch. I ran up in my 39/23 all the way. Considered popping into the 26 a couple of times but was still holding in the high 6 low 7 mph range sooo.... I couldn't have used my front granny ring if I'd wanted to as it turned out. My front derailleur was twisted off line and the housing was hitting the frame preventing the chain from dropping down on to ol granny. (good thing we came straight back so I could get that corrected on the way home, (I might actually need it again someday)).
I thought your "face to face" subject line had to do with our close encounter with that waste orifice blocking unit who cared enough to cross over from his lane to ours thereby proving his manly prowess.
He flashed his lights then crossed into our lane aimed directly at us, returned to his own lane several hundred feet off in a smooth assured motion indicating the whole maneuver was planned and controlled.
Considering his line of trajectory I was preparing to head into the oncoming traffic lane if he hadn't altered his course. Scary moment that, as we had probably 2 or 3 incredibly drawn out seconds watching this fine example of a human being aim his car directly at us at around 40 mph.
Around that bend was a cyclist in his lane, poor motorist must have had to slow down for him and took out his well deserved frustration on us. Too bad we couldn't have thought to get his plate number at the time. Something about survival choices kind of got in the way of that.
Don "All rectumhead sarcasm aside, When we goin back?" Bolton
Last week I was planning on following up my Larch Mountain ride with a trip up to Government Camp, but I was reminded of the Summit-to-Surf event and didn't want to add to the crowd.
So, back up Larch I went this morning. Curt's chart was re-inspiring, plus I had recent experience to guide me.
The weather was pretty crummy to start with, and only got worse the closer I got to the top. Two side-benefits came out of this, though... I was only passed by two cars the whole way up, and, while I was wet with mist, I didn't feel completely cooked. (The auto traffic coming downhill while I climbed was almost entirely vintage sportscars... an interesting parade of MGs, Jags, Alfas and a Vette.)
The climb from Women's Forum Park (where I topped off my bottles) to the top took me 1:18 ("real" time... no stops). Total riding time for 70.2 miles was 4:13.
There were a number of other riders on the road, but none that I talked to were list participants. I took off what was left of my orange tape a couple of weeks ago (it was pretty shredded), and I didn't see any others out there.
I just got Jason's message... so I know there were two more out there! Was it the two of you I waved at on my way down? (I was on my orange LeMond, wearing a "screaming" yellow jacket and legwarmers.)
Doing Larch twice in seven days sure did boost my weekly mileage! Add those two rides to my commutes and I get 223 miles since last Sunday!
Since I waved at all the other crazies gong the other way, its likely we exchanged gestures. I was on a polished aluminum GT (looks like a chrome frame).
Jason picked up some glass and we stopped to fix a flat. It was just off from a checkpoint for the vintage car rally. (those old sportscars you described) I was curious as to just whom was putting it on. Cascade Sportscar Club have been busy with the vintage races at PIR. At any rate these cars had numbers in the passenger side of the windscreen and were definitely on an organized rally.
Don "I used to be an auto race official till I got healthy" Bolton
It took me until today to understand something else about my ride to Larch Mtn on Saturday.
When we got to the hill (i.e., at about milepost 5 where you turn from Louden onto Larch Mtn Rd), I realized that I was going to have to swallow my pride and let Don ride ahead of me--that I was going to have to set a pace that was sustainable (for me) to the top.
For me, this is always a matter of aerobic output. I can output just so many watts. The steeper the grade, the slower I ride. No news there.
What was surprising for me was that there were two slightly steeper sections past the gate where I felt a real _burn_ in my legs. The sort of discomfort I get doing resistance training at the gym. The feeling that my legs were running at near their limits.
What took me a day to realize was, this is real progress! It's _not_ that my legs are any _weaker_, it was that my aerobic output has finally reached the point where my _strength_ is the gating factor.
So, whereas I was initially discouraged with how difficult I found the ride, a bit of rest and insight and now I'm really happy; the training _does_ pay off. It may be hard to see a change from week to week, but it's there.
BTW, Don is absolutely right about the homicidal cager. This guy just didn't _care_ that we were in his oncoming lane, and with a mountainside looming above us on our right, there was certainly no place to go. My wife frets about my motorcycle riding, and I don't have the heart to tell her that I feel endangered _much_ more often on a bicycle than a motorcycle. At least with 65 horsepower I usually feel like I can run away....
In this newbie’s humble, abject and always noncommittal opinion, anyone who attacks the Larch Mountain ride has already won. If you make it to the top, even better. I was very intimidated by the thought of attempting it. And to be honest, if I hadn't already agreed to ride with Curt that day, I doubt that I would have gone. Sometimes I need to be pushed into something I think is "too hard" for me. It is the highlight of my brief cycling history.
Phil (wishing I had a clever way to sign off like Don and Jason) Ford
Two of us rode up Larch yesterday.
Other than the profile, and the discussions on the list, I didn't know much about this ride. All the way up, I kept thinking, "Man, there had better be a VIEW up here to make it all worth it!". Well, as those of you who have been there before know - oh my goodness, what an amazing view!! Five mountain peaks (St. Helens, Mt Hood - so close you can almost touch it, Jefferson, Adams & Rainier) and a 360 degree view of the Gorge, Mt. Hood National forest, etc. Wow! For those of you who haven't been up there yet, the view makes it totally worth it - even if you didn't have that amazing descent waiting for you!
Took us a little longer than Scott's 1:18 hours from women's forum to the top, though. :-) Very impressive, Scott! We needed, oh, er, um, gosh, about double that time. :-)
Alternatively, you could do the ride on a day like Saturday and get a great view of the soft, moist underbelly of some choice Pacific Northwet clouds.
I knew the view was out there, somewhere... just didn't have my X-ray specs on.
You're right, though... when the conditions are good, it's tough to find a better viewpoint in all of northern Oregon. My first trip up (20 years ago, as an intern at the Gresham Outlook... looking for "filler shots") was on an extremely clear fall afternoon/evening. Hood was flushed pink, and it really did seem as though you could reach out and touch it, and St. Helens still looked like a miniature of Mt. Fuji in the distance. It was still a few months before she got her bad haircut.
This morning was just what the doctor ordered. Left the Troutdale bridge at 0635 and hit the parking lot at the top 2 hours and 13 minutes of riding time later - my first trip up there. A couple of stretches straight into the rising sun were ugly (couldn't hardly see where I was going). Had to shed the long sleeves about mile marker 10, and then decided to let it sun dry at the top - good thing, too - it was right coolish coming down - 54 minutes! (43.6 max!!) What a rush!
Saw orange streamers on a 'bent just downhill from the Women's Forum, so turned 'round and chased him down - chewed the fat for a couple then went on (and I did a memory wipe on the name! Arrrrrgh! Gomen,,,,) many more bikes were coming up on my way down - and a lot more cars.
Thanks for all the comments from the previous ascents, especially about the wind breaker for the downhill. YEEEE HAAAAA!
In reference to Igor's "orange ribbon" contact it was I Capt. Dink on a Bent.
A beautiful morning it was. Meeting other dinker's training (Steve and Sue) on the climb was a pleasant surprise. Igor was flying down the hill and suddenly pulled me over like a traffic cop, when he saw the Internationally known (by now) training colors of orange. It was pretty kool to put a face with the e-mail list.
I meet Dave "SLUGG" another e-mail list member, spinning happily away and enjoying the scenery. We talked briefly and introduced ourselves so we could recognize each other on CO.
I continued on up that gorgeous mountain knowing that "Big Foot" was out there watching all this going on. "HEY" - We're in his back yard. Let's give him a little respect !
After passing a couple other CO riders, l reach the top for lunch. Dave arrives and we talk and watch other riders arrive. Some head right back down without even getting off their bikes and others "stop and smell the Roses". I go take a look at the awesome view and Dave takes a short snooze. NOW - that's true Dinking, Dave.
Getting ready for the decent is something really special for me. I always do a "pre-flight" before any faster than normal speed. Checking the tires - glass, thorns, cuts, inflation, etc., adjust brake levers, check the brake pads, zip-up the bags, and point it down hill (with a BIG grin). I won't bore you what it's like descending on a Bent. I always wondered what the word WHOOOSHH felt like - - Now I know.
8 mph average up-hill (bent's aren't supposed to climb!)
WHOOSSHH - - Down-hill actual mph classified - - We don't need the cops out there.
Capt. Dink ~ of Team Dink
Well, three of us made the excursion Sunday - Andrew, Jason, and myself ascended Larch in about 2 hours 21 minutes as I recall. We did not go straight up the highway, but rather veered off on Hurlburt Rd, took the excruciating 3/4 to 1 mile leg buster climb on Louden which connects up with Larch Mtn road appx 3 miles past the Womans Forum park.
This patch of climb on Louden is remarkable, both times I have done it I have felt my heart pounding in my ears by the halfway point and have had to focus on relaxing off all non essential muscle activity in order to mash over the crest without requiring EMT assistance. ;-)
Andrew made this one look easy by shifting into a 30 front to 32 rear and visibly spun up and over. I held in my 39/26 combo (cause I had no lower options on my double). This piece of hill is far steeper than any of the grade on Larch.
Jason has made incredible progress over the week! He figures he made a 1 mph avg improvement on the climb. I can attest to the fact that he popped up on the horizon much sooner on the regroup sites than he did last week.
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY! We hiked up to the viewpoint at Larch and the view was majestic!
Along the way we met Marty, a lurker to our list (he'll be doing the tour, just the silent type on e-mail) :-), Andrew hooked up with another rider after the last regroup (Michael if I recall correctly).
On the way down I passed a couple who I have parked next to and camped next to at various bike events. They always remember my name whereas I am ashamed to confess that I have forgotten theirs. I shouted a greeting as I wooshed by.
Jason and I had to almost come to a complete stop for a fawn that was in our lane. Was indeed a splendid sight watching this animal bound over rocks and fallen trees seemingly effortlessly as it went up the hill.
Great day, great ride, great company.. Thanks guys!
Don "now if I could just remember my middle name" Bolton
We were in Portland over the weekend - not organized enough to do the Torture 10,000 on Sat. but had a nice 40 miler along the Springbrook trail. (Nice that is, other than seeing some specimens of humanity in the more populated areas not behaving in the most highly evolved manner.)
On Sunday, with some trepidation, we tackled Larch Mountain, leaving from the Sandy River parking area just beyond L&C Park. Being from drier S. Oregon, I had never seen a road-kill slug until then, then I saw them about every five feet.
Weather was better than for you folks who labored through it on Saturday; although my feet got quite cold on the way up. After talking with Igor about it the night before (hope your knees are recovered, Igor), we considered taking the Louden Road option, but then didn't have the time. Maybe next trip.
It was cold on top except for the few seconds of sun now & again, but I did to hike up to the Sherrard Viewpoint, the one with the signs that said, "Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Jefferson" and gave elevations, etc; the signs were all that could be seen because of cloud cover. Maybe next trip.
It was a great ride, good workout, and I concur with someone who said earlier that it's a good sign if you can do it comfortably, but that there are some much tougher climbs and days on this year's CO. Probably Larch _with_ the Louden Road option is more typical.
Indeed, the slugs were out this weekend on Larch Mountain. At our slow pace up on Saturday I had time to study several as we fought to pass them (on the left, of course!). Our bell didn't work too well on Torture 10,000 because of the mist/rain/fog, so I had to take a deep breath and call out to the little slimy rascals verbally that we were coming by. My observations included a spotted slug and a black slug up in the middle elevations of Larch. The cold prevented any slugs up in the highest points of the peak, where we were going our very slowest. Visibility wasn't too good on Saturday, so there wasn't much other than that to see. Lot's of pretty flowers though, along the road.
Glad you tackled Larch - it's a great confidence builder!
Finally there was time to climb Larch Mountain--what with familial obligations and all. I have been quietly reading everyone else’s assault on the Mountain, especially those missiffs which claimed, "If you can do Larch Mountain, you're ready for Cycle Oregon." So I thought, "Am I up to the task? How steep is steep? Is there still snow on the top?" and any number of other barriers to a successful attack.
I am pleased to report that I did it today, in just over 4 hours. And if Cycle Oregon is like this, then I know that it will be a difficult ride at times, but I will be able to finish it. I wanted to write this as soon as I got home, because I met several others who are riding on CO. Quick, before I forget your names (their last names have already vanished in the vapours of my mind): Hello to Steve, Todd, Ray; and especially Edna and Tigger, who was suffering from a broken spoke, but who was still marching to the top of Larch.
I continue to be inspired by whoever wrote, "Remember, 3 mph is still a speed." And thanks also to Northwest Bicycles on NW 23rd, who installed a 26 tooth chain ring on my Campy Triple, making the last 2 miles do-able.
Are there really only 20 days left til CO?
Well, I DID IT ! ! ! !
I made it to the top of Larch today. What a climb. I left the school parking lot in Corbett at 9:30am. Top of Larch is about 15 - 18 miles from there. I reached the top at 1:48pm. Only took me 4-1/4 hours to ride 18 miles so I averaged just under 3.5mph. I will never say Larch is easy but it was easier than I had expected it to be. I felt good at the top. I was just slow getting there. I stopped counting my rest stops after 14. One of the stops I made was to check out the noise I heard. "Sproinggggg". A broken spoke on the rear tire. While I was checking it out, a nice young man stopped to see if I needed help. (and I didn't get his name, darn it.) He just happened to be a bike mechanic from RiverCity Bikes. He adjusted my brakes for me so the tire didn't rub and eased my fears about the ride down. He said to just take it slow and easy. So I didn't get to fly back down the hill. Oh well, maybe next time.
On the way up, I got to meet 2 more Cycle Oregon riders, Todd and Ken. Talked to them about a half hour apart. Then on the way down, (one of the times I stopped to check the rear brake because it was rubbing) I met Ron, also CO rider. I'm sorry I can't remember their last names but I hope to meet them all again. They gave me a lot of encouragement for the trip up.
Seems like all the C.O. riders I have met so far have been pretty nice people. I guess that says something about the type of people doing this ride. Makes me feel proud that I'm one of them........even though I not one of those fast racer types. Kind of like the story about the tortoise and the hare. I may not be fast, but I get there. And I enjoy the ride along the way.
See you all in 3 weeks. Is anyone else getting as excited about this as I am?
Edna Van Gundy
Larch Mountain Report on Comfort Conditions
Amy, Julie, Eric and I climbed Larch Mountain Friday afternoon. The ride down is cool. A windbreaker is a good idea. There are blue rooms at the top and also when we were there, skeeters, gnats and tiny little flying critters. If you'd like to catch your breath before the descent, you might consider carrying bug spray or a citronella candle in your empty Bag Balm tin.
See, there's more than one use for that delightful item patented in 1897.
We went up Larch last weekend and its closed past the 10 mile mark already!!!
Wendi Thornton (12/6/99)
What's the elevation at the top of Larch Mountain? Just watched the Channel 2 weather guy, Rob, mutter that the snow level might be down to 7000 feet some time on Saturday. And he's calling for showers, too. The T10K just got more interesting.....
The state maps sez 4058 at the top.
Drive time: I live in SW Portland near Jesuit hs. It takes me 1 1/4 hours without traffic and pushing the speed limit just a little ;-) .
March 11, 2000 ride (Castle Rock)
Next Saturday 03/11/00 Nanette of the north and I are gettin together at 10:00 AM for a ride in the Castle Rock-Longview area for a 33 mile warm up ride.
Ride start is at Lions Park which is along the Cowlips (Cowlitz) river south of Castle Rock.
Take exit 49 (SR 504, Castle Rock) from I5 and follow Huntington Avenue through Castle Rock (all three blocks) to the park.
This route was the aborted New Year’s Day selection. Its 32-33 miles appears to pass through Longview on side streets so a divert for food at around mile 20 is doable. There is a pretty good Pizza place right at the I5 exit as well for post ride gluttony.
I have printed maps for the first 6 riders (hurry supplies are limited) the ride is right out of Bicycling the Backroads of SW WA. # 137 Castle Rock-Longview (Yes Nanette page 178)
For those wishing to extend this somewhat short jaunt after ride return we can optionaly head out through CR and cross the river and ride parallel the river clear up to Vader if we choose. Or we can cross I5 and head up toward the town of Toutle either route has scenery worth digesting. Or we can choose to wander somewhere on the route as there appears to be some out and back type roads on the loop before we get into the Kelso area.
Nanette and I are committed (or should be) who else from this forum wants to join us? Weather only becomes issue if winds are high or rain is serious. Sunny we go, coudy we go, showers we go, scattered showers we go, monsoon we don't go.
RSVP 503-939-0410 I'll have the phone with me on the ride. If I know you are en route we'll wait for ya at the start
Don "not now, nor have I ever been, the other Amy" Bolton
Actually the ride profile professes to be a bit psychotic stating hilly, moderate, and flat. It looks like the climbing part happens in the first ten miles and only ascends 600 ft so I am wondering how the term "hilly" could be applied. There does appear to be a fair section of "rollers" that in the graphical picture look like "Rolls Canhardlys":-)
All in area newcomers to this forum are welcome to join us. (as well any of you old timers) Turns out I have nine maps ready to go. We will regroup at all directionals (assuming we scatter out in the first place). Some of us already committed to going haven't been on the bike at all this year, others very little.
Don "the cyclist formerly known as 'Aging Bull'" Bolton
This ride turned out to be a mixed bag of tricks. Initially the route was incredible, its middle portion thru Longview had far too many vehicles failing to yield room, and well,,, we got lost somehow....
Weather was never threatening, there was some wind but not enough to cause concern. Nanette, Diane, Linda (friend of Nanette) Lonnie, Steve and I moved out at around 10:30 to be greeted by a delightful spin out Delameter valley crossing the creek several times. Along the way. Three 6 to 9 year old children were bouncing in the front yard (on a trampoline) and shouting at us to "honk" as we went by.. I obliged :-)
Eventually we had to exit this valley and the climb became a constant pull till we crested the summit and descended down along Coal Creek. At mile 14.5 we hit the outskirts of Longview and the motorists with a mission. :-(
After some discussion on the available dining opportunities we descended on the Dairy Queen and proceeded to enjoy mass quantities of artery clogging cholesterol rich food substitutes. Peanut Buster what?
After sufficient gluttony we remounted and continued down the road looking for the next directional change at mile 19.5. It never came! The RR tracks that should have been there were removed some eight years ago and there was no trace. We soldiered on looking for signs for SR411 and made the turn there. When that looked like it was going away from our required direction I suggested we ask for directions.
That’s right ladies. I, a male since birth suggested we ask for directions :-) even more astounding was Steve immediately replied "I agree" and Lonnie endured the humiliation of going in the Quickee Mart to get the scoop :-) So much for the stereotype. What’s in that DQ ice cream anyway? :-)
Well we followed the directions sort of but zagged when we should have zigged going through the last vestiges of town and ended up on Holcomb Road. This is a nice little stretch of road that parallels the freeway for a bit and then meanders up onto the hillside. Well it sort of meanders. *UP* is the operative word here. It becomes a 5 mile loop that does indeed finally get us back on course but the first 2.5 miles became a "bike-n-hike" for some of the group.
Of all of us present *none* has ever ridden such steep grades. I was dopey enough to have brought my double and paid the price by almost falling over several times due to lack of momentum going up. I did a lot of standing going up these walls and I don't think I could have gotten off without falling over.
Fortunately the climbs were sectioned in several hundred yard pushes with some easing off connectors and occasional minor descents. We can't be sure but we suspect we did close to 1000 feet of climbing in that 2.5 mile up portion of the loop. When we got to the top we were rewarded with *awesome* views of the entire valley area.
*PAYCHECK*!!!! The descent was nothing short of incredible!!! There was one section where I felt like I had to hold myself from slipping off the front of the bike it was so steep! As I rolled to the bottom of the loop Steve had this wide ear to ear grin, Lonnie's was just short of that, and mine must have rivaled a jack-o-lantern! Nanette was war whooping like a crazed Indian. THIS SECTION IS A MUST RIDE AGAIN!!!!
The ride back on Pleasant Hill road was pretty mundane after that.
All told we got in just under 33 miles under cloudy to sunny skies and figure if we can tweak the Longview section to less traveled roadways will do this one again. It’s a halfway point between Nannette's and the rest of us.
Steve was late. I'm assuming it’s cause he had to find something to roll in to attract the dogs :-) There were free range puppies all over on this route and no matter where Steve was in the line up that’s where the running dogs ran to! None of the dogs were mean, just chasing and barking, but Steve bravely sacrificed his peace of mind by being our dog deflector this ride.. Thanks Steve!
Turns out there is a Lyons Park and a Lions Pride Park in Castle Rock some of us didn't fully read the directions did we? :-) We had some minor issues getting the herdlet together Sat AM.
Watch out for Nanette folks! The spinning classes are paying off! I was on a tear at about 23 mph on a minor upgrade and as I swept by her she stood up and grunted and groaned a bit and then shot by me to disappear into the mist.
Don "a good time was had by all even the dogs" Bolton
Don, sorry to have to break it to you like this but Ice Cream comes from ... yes, you got it: COWS, which are FEMALE. Those hormones just flow right through, don't you know.
Andrew "let me know when it's safe to ride with you again because Holcomb Rd sounds awesome" Black
Unreach the Beach – May, 2000
Susan, Diane, and Lisa especially,
Thanks for an excellent century. We averaged 14.6 mph. Pretty good for Lisa's (this is Lisa the lurker up til now) first ever century, Diane's second ever, and for Susan and me, the first of the year. We left Beaverton at 7:20 and arrived at 5:30. Sure enough, they screwed up the food again. They get to plan all year and fall flat at the gate. It's amazing. Anyway, the weather was great, not too hot nor too cold, scenery excellent, traffic not bad. Hills didn't seem as steep as last year, yea! Ran into Curt, Ted, Phil, Dave, to name a few. Spaghetti feed at the beach was better than food last year. Chris didn't come but sent food she'd prepared anyway. Thanks! I also met some folks who started in Amity and rode back the same day, making 110 miles and back to their own cars, less fuss. About ten of us stayed over and rode home the back way on Sunday.
We went North to Beaver, then East along the Nestucca River, then South over Bible Creek Road, a nice rural Cycle Oregon kind of hill. Then we went whizzing down to Willamina for lunch. Jay Darling provided excellent sag support and rode part way. We cycled until 5:30, then packed it in at Amity minutes before the rain started. Today I'm pooped. Not quite ready for seven days in a row...
Amy-got the dirt out of my nails and ready to go again-Ream
Addendum: The Sunday group was: Jay Darling, Andrew, Raul, Ted, Lisa, and yours truly. Road crew! We were excellent! Went to bed pretty early,Curt. Sorry we missed you.
Tri-Island Tour - Aug., 2000
A few of us Cycle Oregonians just returned from a wonderful training trip in the San Juan Islands. The trip was planned by TBBer Ted Magnuson and he did an excellent job of planning the route. Ten riders participated including six who are signed up for Cycle Oregon.
I think many of us continued last year’s CO theme of "The Slowest One Wins." We also had ample opportunity to hone our sight seeing skills for our upcoming trek as well as our aptitude for decision making in preparation for the layover day in Bend by contemplating alternate forms of recreation such as biking or kayaking. It should go without saying that we also practiced our carbo loading and ice cream tasting.
We left Anacortes on Saturday morning by ferry, heading off to Sydney, British Columbia. (Note: you need reservations for the ferry from Anacortes and Sydney) Some of our group camped and some splurged on more luxurious accommodations. There was some time left on Saturday for a short ride, sight seeing, naps and/or eating. Most of the group then took public transportation to Buchart Gardens with some staying late for the fireworks display. Sunday some rode into Victoria, some across Vancouver Island to explore with some staying closer to Sydney. A late afternoon ferry took us to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Another travel note here: the ferry docked at 7:30 pm and we all opted to check into our accommodations. Some were camping at the Pedal Inn Bicycle Campgrounds and others at a B&B. That decision found us looking for dinner just slightly before 10 pm on a Sunday night in little Friday Harbor. We were turned away from at least 4 eating establishments with excuses ranging from "we’re closing now" to "we’re out of food." The ten of us dined curbside across the street from the mini mart where we greedily grabbed up our evening meal. Eat first. Check in later.
Monday, some of us rode our bikes around the island (well, at least part way - a two hour lunch at Roche Harbor and a 6 pm dinner rendezvous with others in the group curtailed our plans a bit). Two opted for a kayak tour and two visited the American Camp closer to the Pedal Inn. With an earlier start on dinner we enjoyed a wonderful meal as a group and returned to our sleeping accommodations.
Tuesday it was up early for an 8:40 ferry to Orcas Island where most of us rode around to Moran State Park and four of the group conquered Mt. Constitution. Then a race back to the ferry to Anacortes.
The trip was also facilitated by taking a van as a sag vehicle which carted everyone’s gear. This worked well and allowed everyone to choose their own accommodations and everyone was able to ride.
Thanks again to Ted for a great job and Andrew who tweaked the plan just a bit to make it perfect!
As Annie Morrow wrote, there were nine of us in the trip's company. We had a wonderful time biking the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island. Team Bag Balm was blessed with great good luck. For instance; our motel in Anacortes offered free parking to our cars for three days while we biked. Riding the ferries was amazing. None of them sank and no bikes went overboard. Even the timing of our trip worked out well. If we had delayed to the next weekend we'd run into the San Juan County Fair. While it may've been fun to enter the pie eating contest, the fair crams (and delays?) the ferries big time with horse trailers, etc. and doubtless the staff in area restaurants would also be swamped.
Ann and Jim Morrow were very gracious sag drivers. Their van was easy to spot; it was the only one officially endorsed and emblazoned by Supraman. As half our crowd camped, I don't know how everything fit in the Morrow's van but it did.
This is definitely an idea worth repeating. There is a whole world out there waiting to be explored on two wheels. Word of this journey must've traveled far, as we even had a young Englishwoman join us on the occasion of completing her undergraduate education and turning '21'. What a great way to celebrate the occasion.
There is still time to bike the San Juans this summer and if you go, be sure to hit Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island. What fun. A 2,407 feet climb in five miles. The view is phenomenal and the descent is decent. One can see the Olympics, Victoria, Mt Baker, Mt Ranier and forever from the heights of Mt Constitution.
Fantastic Seven: We Survived It!!
While everyone was challenging the Torture 10, my cycling partner, Linda, and I took off on a personal challenge of our own Saturday morning. We both knew we needed one more hard training ride before the Cycle Oregon, so we decided to cycle Mt Rainier. I don’t have an Altitude measurer (whatever those are called) but we know from many other experienced cyclists that have done this route, this route is 7,300+ feet elevation gain and a total of 84 miles.
We set out leaving Ashford at 9:45 AM enjoying six fairly flat warm-up miles before we entered the Mt Rainier park entrance where we then started to climb. We thought the summit was only 12 miles from the park entrance, wrong. At approximately mile 12, we stopped at a view-point. Did we see a view! On top of seeing this beautiful mountain scene we looked up and saw the cars still climbing this steep switchback on the other side of this canyon, our mouths dropped. We continued to climb up to Paradise ascending a total of 16 miles from the park entrance. The last two miles to Paradise was the steepest grade and the most difficult. It could have been an option before descending the other side but we were low on water and agreed our goal was to make it to Paradise, so we continued on. It was very cold up there! We could see our breath! Thank goodness we brought along our full-finger gloves but we weren’t prepared enough. We both experienced the Don Bolton term "the now standard "popsicle on a seatpost" descent" We both froze on the descent several miles into Box Canyon but the views were FANTASTIC!
The four-mile climb out of Box Canyon with the lower elevation warmed us up. With our legs fatigued from climbing up the other side of the mountain we found the four miles out of Box Canyon quite difficult and was quite glad when it was finally over. We hit highway 12 which lead us into Packwood for food and water and a nice break. About 5:15 PM reality set in that if we were going to beat the dark we better start cranking! Leaving Packwood we turned on Skate Creek Road and started to climb again, nine more miles on a winding road following this beautiful river. Rain passed by ahead of us but we only got a little mist. Whew.
Tired and still climbing we stopped to stretch and take some medication to ease the pain. While we were resting, a car made a point of stopping to talk with us. This very nice couple said they’ve toured the mountain all day and little did we know, they’ve been playing leap frog with us this whole entire day. Seeing us on our adventure they were fascinated by us and realized how tired we must be so they offer us a ride. We appreciated the offer but we felt the most challenging part of this route was over and we were darned determined to accomplish our goal, as tempting as it was so we turned their offer. Finally, after about an hour of climbing, the road started to descend and then flatten out to let us enjoy the last five miles to our car. We found hidden energy towards the end and sprinted the last two miles of the home stretch. I have to share that I about peed my pants when we didn’t see our car right away, the thought did occur to both of us that we turned the wrong direction off Skate Creek road and would have to back track. The car was only up ahead of us just a few more blocks. Double Whew.
We arrived at our car at 8:45 PM, just before dark. We were so proud of ourselves!!! Once we entered the parking lot we slapped hands cheering to ourselves in celebration! We looked up and saw that same couple pulling out to the parking lot. They said they had dinner in Ashford and since we haven’t arrived in Ashford yet, they were worried and were going to go looking for us. They were very happy to see us and very proud of us too. We really impressed them. They made our day!
No sag or support -- 7,300 feet, 84 miles in a total of 10 hours, Not Bad!!
We did have plenty of food and water but we did two things wrong. Left too late and didn’t bring warm enough clothes, won’t next time!!!
Nanette "Cycle Oregon here we come!!" Hoheisel
Laurelwood Hill to Bald Peak – Oct. 2000
Don and I did the Bald Peak Ride. According to my cyclometer, it was 55.9 miles, plus an extra 6.2 to and from my house. It was really a very good ride, and we met no rain. We had lunch at the RoadHouse afterwards. I'll let Don post one of his inimitable descriptions of the whole route. I think that Laurelwood hill impressed him :-)
Yes it was impressive. Posted 15% grades tend to do that when you haven't experienced them before. (Note to the Castle Rock rides survivors.. Holcomb Loop is a roller).
Weather was really quite good for our excursion except for those incessant
winds. Most of the ride involved either fighting winds, checking maps,
with occasional downwind romps until we hit the hill out of Laurelwood.
"From Laurelwood the road climbs abruptly to the 1629 ft summit of Bald Peak. Few roads in OR are as steep, but fortunately the route is well shaded. What little auto traffic there is also moves slowly, due to the steepness of the terrain".
I had a long "conversation" with granny for sure. I said "Ugh, ow, ohhh *&^%" Granny said "tisk tisk tisk" This is all she ever says but at least she's got all here teeth:-). Andrew overheard snippets of the chat and thought I was killing myself :-)
Pretty much how it went until I hit a mental "wall" and stopped in a switchback that turned out to be less than 50 yards from the crest of the longest nasty steep push. It wasn't my heart pounding, it wasn't the pain, it even wasn't the near fallover speed. I'd seen cars labor by me and then hear and see them waaaaay above be headed up after the switchback. I was psyched into believing it just wasn't going to end before I did.
My brain just told me stop here so I did. After letting my pulse normalize I had this dilemma.. How to start back up without faceplant.. Head back down a bit? NOWAY! I admit it, I walked the near 50 yards to the next switchback where the climb tapered off a bit and resumed my chat with granny from there. NOTE.. The on foot speed was less than 1 mph slower than the on bike speed!
I've gotta do this one again! the views were nothing short of spectacular and the downhill, despite the strong cross winds the descent yielded a 50.4 mph top speed! (I was in the aero bars, knees tucked into the paint (like my bike has paint) on the top tube, feet at 3:00 and 9:00 positions, and my back flattened YES!).
I'll be looking to try the ride from the book one of these days it would avoid the higher traffic areas we passed thru getting out from the Hillsboro area.
West Union just west of North Plains had a new featured "speedbump" section. Road Toads! These radial pressed specimens were pretty thick. EEEEW. I wonder if they would pop out in front of oncomming traffic expecting it to be the Budwiser ad guys:-) "Hey pick me! Uh oh" <*whump*>.
Don "Speak to me granny, tell me we're gonna clear this hill" Bolton
TBB Club ride 26th December: Pete & Parrett's Mountain
Well now that was some ride! 3300 ft elevation gain in an abridged 38.78 miles! We started with Andrew, Scott S, Rich & Gayle and myself (riding the black rock (when you need the truck scales to weigh your bike, a 25 gear inch low is not nice to have, its a requirement)).
Weather though cool was awesome! We were treated to excellent panoramic views from atop those nasty climbs. Rich and Gayle got called to lunch (literally) so they peeled out as we hit south Wilsonville while I learned those massive "bulletproof" cross tires go "ssssssss" when properly addressed by a mere staple :-(
Andrew, Scott, and I rode on for the Petes Mtn portion (well they rode on, I sort of slowly creeped along) They showed acres of patience at my lack of road speed. Normally I'm slower than them anyways but add a heavy bike with rack and bags and my progress was right up there with plant growth. Heavy sucker does roll down hills though!
Thanks all for a great day! This bike as equipped is a great leg press :-) I'll be using it for awhile (unless asked not to by the group) :-)
Don "the little receding speck in your rear view mirror" Bolton
That was indeed some ride. More hills than I've done in some time, and there wasn't too much gravel! I really liked the climbs, and some of those curves on the descents were really fun. I felt like I was really working on the bike for the first time in quite a while.
Muttley didn't leave any marks on my leg, but I still feel a little tingle there. I never thought tights would be very effective protection against a dog bite, but I think his teeth slipped over them and not into me. If he was looking to do any serious damage, he wasn't trying very hard, but I still don't appreciate being taste-tested by a domesticated animal, especially when the owner was right there and had every opportunity to control the situation.
'nuff of that. It was still a fine ride, and one that I'd like to do again!
Scott "unsuitable for canine consumption" Saulsbury
Castle Rockers Rule! – Jan. 3, 2001
New years day saw six stalwart souls take to wheel from the Lions Pride park south of Castle rock to celebrate the new year in true TBB fashion.
Nanette, Andrew, Lonnie W, Rich and Gayle AKA "Team Buttbuster" and myself rolled into the fog Monday to enjoy a somewhat leisurely ramble thru the area. Nature was operating under cloak so the normally splendid scenery was hidden in thick fog that just never lifted. As we hit the scenic vistas I would describe "what you would see if" :-)
Nonetheless the fog, football, and hangover recovery seemed to quell the motor vehicle traffic and we enjoyed an almost private access to the roadways thru the Delameter valley and Coal Creek areas.
We deviated a bit beyond the normal passing fast food alley to find such culinary establishments as "Barts Fine Food" and the bowling alley's "Resturant" MMM, mmmm.. Finally discovering a good Mexican food restaurant "Something Azeteca" and imbibed on far too much food (never saw an enchilada plate I couldn't conquer):-) This is on the route going forward.
Since our deviation took us about a mile off course it was a bit umm interesting getting back on course post gluttony. Lonnie was going on about some childhood memory of his father and streets being in alphabetical ordering and *bang*! revelation. We were saved! We turned around and sure enough we had been just one street away before turning the wrong direction:-) (something about lost and Longview (two for three))
The Bridge crossing the Cowlips river in Kelso had been widened and has a bike lane (unlike the narrow rock, glass, traffic fest we had in the summer) and the route deviation to get to Holcomb Loop is a merry chase crossing a busy street, diving into a bank parking lot to avoid oncomming traffic and a short drop back almost to where you exited the bridge in the first place. That one way street just goes the wrong way.
Holcomb was steep as usual. I found the black bike's low gearing to my liking despite it trying to wheelie me off the back on the first real pitch :-)
Nobody hiked, Nanette was riding an older hybrid that had the smallest front little ring I've ever seen but her largest rear cog looked to be maybe a 23 so she fought some gearing that’s likely higher than what’s on her light bike. Way to go Nan! That last pitch leaves a mark :-)
It's a good thing the dogs weren’t cranky (this section is rural and none of the animals are contained. We probably dealt with ten to twelve dogs on this 5 mile loop) we were definitely meals on wheels and so easy to steal at those slow speeds. I particularly liked that 3 mph section with the little Pug dog. I always worry I'm going to have to run over the little furball and it will stop me dead and I'll do the Arte Johnson fallover but he always gets out of the way at the last minute.
Our "paycheck", the brisk two mile descent was dampened by
the fog and the damp road topside. Still I broke 46 mph despite considerable
braking on the drop.
Don "Pug; its not just a dog. It's also a parking chock" Bolton
Loraine Loops *ROCK*!
Seriously folks, the Loraine Loops ride is a real thigh burner with 3,570 feet of elevation gain thru some of the most remote roadways I've been on anywhere. In my opinion, anyone, (let alone sixty years old) just restarting training after months off would have done good to complete this ride without sag. (Andrew, you would have loved this ride!)
That first climb was hard in my truck:-) (we drove the route Sun so Denise could see the majesty of the country out there).
Don "Will chronicle the ride in detail later" Bolton
OK, we did 65.2 miles, we averaged 12.0 MPH, we ascended 3570 feet, we saw two cars, it misted sometimes, we had several tire inflation clinics ("super trick frame pump bad", "Combo floor/frame pump good"). WHERE THE H*LL WERE ALL OF YOU?
Donald Lockridge and I were *it*! We had a great ride and you didn't. Thanks for coming out to play Don! We hafta try this one again in better weather!
This was absolutely hands down one of the finest routes I have had the sheer pleasure of riding to date. Within a two mile pedal from start we were in *the country* kids. Not none of this blank space between towns country. Real wide open no cellular service here spaces. Smooth roads, awesome scenery, only the sounds of nature and the noise we carried with us on the bikes.
Hills? OH YEAH. at mile 2.2 it turned up, by mile 3 my neck was sore from trying to peer up far enough to see the top:-) Talk to me granny! At the top of this short grind that ended at mile 4.3 was a view from heaven. To the left, countryside, rolling hills and valleys forever, to the right, the city.. The downhill was a straight drop with no intersecting roads... YEEEEE HAAAAAW!
The route at this point was along a gentle climb passing thru a low pass toward the community of Crow. Then we hit the point of decision... Long loop? or short? Long was the unanimous vote and we started the first of several looong "gee this is really a hill" climbs over several passes.
As we progressed the forestation changed from the valley scrub to the coastal flora with lots of ferns. The air resonated from the sounds of birds and frogs. As we climbed the exposed earth took on a reddish hue which made for a rich contrast against the lush green canopy.
The roadway narrowed and we emerged into a series of switchbacks surrounded by thick forest, In places we were totally enveloped by the trees. In other places you could see the clearcuts from logging, the hillsides still covered with debris looking like a natural disaster yet the flat stumps showed the truth. I saw several tall shortened hulks of old growth trees, they must have been giants before the pillaging.
At the crest we were somewhat fogged in reducing what had to have been a spectacular panoramic view, from what could be seen it was awesome.
The descent was a serpentine adventure thru tight switchbacks with tractive gravel spread for frosty mornings. It was a very "attentive" ride down.
We turned south along the Siuslaw river and managed to climb every small ridge in the area on the way to Lorane, some twice I think:-) Along the way passing a Vietnamese couple "harvesting". She had a wicked assault rifle strapped to her back but they were helpful in answering my questions and no shots were fired.:-)
The town of Lorane has a nice old store (rebuilt in 1938) on the site of the original store built in the late 1800s their deli was just what we needed! Oh and the wood stove wasn't a sad thing either. According to the woman who runs the store the town has 600 some mail addresses. "About 600 really nice people, and about 30 awful ones"
Finishing the ride from Lorane was mundane after the sheer raw beauty of the ride to it. In any other context this part of the ride would be very nice but after what we had seen it was "ho hum" :-) Several shorter pass climbs awaited us before returning to the park in Eugene...
Before the ride, I had my wife drop me off and Don was getting ready with several open sandwiches in his open passenger compartment. Cookie (my Sharpei/Springer mix) scavenger that she is, got one of them before anyone could respond.
After the ride, open car again, scavenger scored again :-) Her memory was a tad longer than ours it would seem.
Don: we owe you lunch next trip!
Don "ya shoulda been there I tell ya" Bolton
I have to agree with you. This is one of my all time favorite rides for all the reasons you mention. Except... I usually ride it in the other direction. I love the long final swoop down into Crow. It seems to go on forever.
FYI, for anyone interested in doing this ride with some support, I believe GEARS (the Greater Eugene Area Riders Club) does this as an organized ride called the Blackberry Bramble, sometime in August.
I need to see the most remote pass summit on a clear day. I suspect I won't want to leave that spot for awhile.
Funny, as I drove the route on Sunday I thought about a countercourse attempt on the route. I think it would be a faster ride as there were a lot of miles spent climbing real low level grades that would become "assisted" pedaling going the other way. A few of the climbs would be a tad more "grannyesque" too;-)
I rode my converted hybrid with front and rear packs so I was pushing in the neighborhood of 35 pounds of bike up the climbs. I need to try this on a light bike:-)
Don "and remember the damn camera too" Bolton
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