Once again, I started off the week with a craving for dirt. With the Toa fresh out of the bike stand and running like new, I headed to Yreka Tuesday evening for the first of a 3 race short track XC series put on by the Yreka YMCA.
Having a choice of 6 miles for the “B” race (which is the class I normally would race locally) or 10 miles for the “A”, I went with the “A” for the miles and the challenge. I’m happy to say I finished with a respectable top 10, thanks in part to my buddy Andrew pushing me HARD for the entire second half of the race. He nearly caught me and finished just a bike length behind me. Lots of fun on the Humbug trails!
Wednesday, despite my need for some real rest, I did some climbing with the group in Jacksonville again. After the recent rains and a couple cooler days, it was a little chilly coming back down, but the trails were in good shape (along with the PO).
Sticking with the dirt theme, Shawn, Tory, and I met up Thursday for an “easy” ride on Roxy. Knowing Shawn and I had something big planned for Saturday, we started off mellow. But, after climbing up both the South and North side trails, it didn’t really end up all that mellow.
Saturday morning’s ride started at 5 am when I met up with Shawn who had started riding from Ashland at 4:30. The longer Summer (late Spring) days are awesome. No lights needed!
It was somewhere around 50 degrees at the time. However, we knew we should take it while we could get it since the forecast was for mid 90s later in the day.
After the long climb along Highway 140 up to Lake of the Woods, we were definitely nice and warm.
From there, it was a fast descent down the highway and eventually along the West shore of Klamath Lake. There’s a couple small bumps to climb and a decent hill from which you get a nice view of the farmland below, Klamath Lake, and in the hazy distance, the jagged rim of Crater Lake.
Cruising along, we were over halfway done with our adventure and stopped for a break in Keno.
After drinking a bunch of water and filling up our bottles, we started the climb back towards Ashland over Highway 66. The 50’s were long behind us and as we approached noon, the temperature approached 90 degrees. One might think there would be shade along the road with all the forest land we were about to ride through. Not true. For much of the way, the road travels East – West, right along with the sun. We were baking, but making good time with a slight tail wind.
Not too far out of Keno, my friend Alan road up on his motorbike with drinks and snacks. What a guy! He cruised along with us for a couple hours and shot some cool photos. Thanks, Alan!
At some point, we crossed whatever crest we had to cross to lose the tailwind and gain the headwind coming out of the West and we were pushing into it about 15 miles from The Greensprings Inn.
With one last big climb left, the heat was finally taking it’s toll as well. With nothing to drink but warm water in our bottles, Tub Springs was a very welcome sight! The clean cold water was so refreshing I wanted to stay there and drink it until I looked like a non violet Violet Beauregarde ready to be sent to Wonka’s Juicing Room. Instead, we just drank a little, filled our bottles, dunked our heads, and soaked our feet before finishing the climb to Greensprings.
After the long descent back into the valley and Shawn finishing his loop in Ashland, I was on my own for the last 12 miles. And, a rough 12 miles they were. I found myself, once again, drained by the heat. (Why do I put myself through this?) I was feeling so bad, I had to lay down in the cool shaded grass at Railroad Park before slow pedaling on home to finish with 152 miles for the day.
But, we did it! A couple years ago, my friend Eugene did this route. Ever since, I’ve wanted to tackle it. Last year, I had to cancel due to heavy smoke from a forest fire not far from Highway 66.
I can say I’ll likely never do this ride again. Riding 140 near and along Klamath Lake is harrowing to say the least. No bike lane with semis and other assorted heavy traffic really sucks! In addition to that, Shawn and I were harrassed by a group of idiots in a white Dodge Ram just outside of Keno for about an hour’s worth of riding. I believe if Alan hadn’t come along around that time, something bad may have happened. To them!! Other than that, the ride from Keno to Ashland is awesome!
I might actually do that part again. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably do the whole stupid thing again.