NEXT!!

Hmmm.  Where do I begin.  Oh.  Well, the 28,000 feet of climbing in 2 weeks thing.

That’s done.  Thank God!

Going into Saturday and needing just shy of 6000′ to reach my goal, I had no idea where I was going to ride.  With many offers and options for routes, I ended up choosing to tie two of my favorite rides together and hope to hit the 28k without having to think about it.

So, I rolled out around 7:30 am into more thick fog.

Fog sucks.

A huge reason I moved to the Rogue Valley years ago was because I hated the foggy days that are so often the norm when living in Humboldt County.  So much for that. Luckily,

I finally escaped the fog as I was climbing up to Woodrat and pedaled the rest of the day under blue sky.

The ride really got started when I hit the Woodrat loop.  The Buncom loop.  The Sterling Creek loop.

I don’t even know what it’s called, but its one of my favorite places to ride.  Normally, a 40 mile ride I like to knock out on a Summer afternoon, it has a great descent from Woodrat Mountain down into the ghost town of Buncom with some steep hills where you just tuck and pray for no deer collisions and some rollers where if you hammer for maybe 10 seconds you can keep your speed until the next descent.  It’s a fast and furious 10 or 11 minutes of roller-coaster fun!

From there, it was a quick 15 mile ride to the far end of Applegate Lake to begin the other part of the ride that I really dig.  Taking a right after you cross over Carberry Creek will take you to a 9 mile section of gravel.  It’s totally rideable on a road bike, but you never know what condition the gravel road will be in.  This time it was recently graded and relatively smooth with no washboard and only a few soft spots where fresh rock had recently been laid down.  I really couldn’t have asked for better conditions.  If you’ve never been on this road, I recommend it as a great ride or even a fun drive if you’re into remote places.  I believe Alex Hayes referred to it as being a bit “banjo”.  A fairly accurate description if you ask me.

From the end of the gravel section it was another hammerfest down Thompson Creek Road, back into the Applegate Valley and on home.  You can imagine my displeasure when I uploaded my ride into Strava and found I need 105 more feet of climbing to reach 28k.  Yeah.  I guess I could have said, “close enough”, or just gone and drove up a hill with my Garmin running.  Believe me,  after 83 miles and 5800+ feet of climbing those thoughts crossed my mind.  I’m only human.  But no.  “That’s cheating”, I told my wife as I pulled over to the side of the road on our way to lunch.  I got the mountain bike out of the back of the Element (What?  Doesn’t everyone drive around with a bike in their car?) and rode up and down Modoc Avenue until my Garmin read 130 feet of gain.  Hoping that was enough I went and devoured some wings.

It was.  And I’m glad.

Now, it’s time to get back on track with some distance and hours in the saddle.  With less than four weeks until Joshua tree, I’m feeling confident and ready to tackle the Double Century!

Aaron

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