I’m Back

That’s right.  I’m back!

After spending the better part of the last two weeks moving, stressing about moving, and barely riding because of the seemingly interminable state of moving, I finally got to ride again!

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, I was so excited to be back on the bike, it could have been a flat, straight ride and I would have been happy.  Luckily, neither ride was.  One was a 25 mile road loop with lots of climbing.  The other was a good time on the Toa in Jacksonville.

The real fun started Friday.  With the day off in celebration of the 4th, I took off on the C3 at sunrise.  My plan was to climb a bunch of the local hills and hopefully log 10,000 feet. 

After climbing Cady Rd in Jacksonville, Woodrat on Sterling Creek Road, and Poorman’s Creek, it was time to tackle the biggest climb of my planned route, Anderson Butte.

Keeping a good pace that wasn’t slow, but not fast enough to wipe me out, I cruised up the approximately 2500′ climb without too much pain. 

 With some portions of the climb reaching gradient percentages in the mid to upper 20’s, I was happy when I topped out and didn’t feel too bad!

After screaming back down a lot faster than I should have, it was up and over Dark Hollow, up and down Coleman Creek, over Adams, and up one of my favorite climbs, Anderson Creek.  That’s the last place I’ve seen a bear while riding.  I’m happy to report that was a couple years ago!

From there, it was up Wagner Creek.  By the time I reached the gravel, I was at 4 hours in, almost out of water, and the temps were already pushing 90.  Stop me if you’ve heard this before….

Knowing I only had a few more hills to climb, I figured I’d push on.  I climbed Payne Rd (aptly named that day) and Terri Dr before heading up Coal Mine.

My final climb was Hillcrest.  Yes, the scene of both my failed Everest attempts.  Right now, I really hate that road.  No.  Really.  As I reached the point where Hillcrest meets McAndrews, I realized the lack of water and the heat were not helping.  I called it a day, crawled back home, and finished the day with 89 miles and 9500′ of climbing.  Good enough!

Independence Day found me up early again.  This time, it was a fast 35 miles that included Jacksonville, Ruch, Buncom and Woodrat.  I set a lot of PR’s on several stretches during the ride.  I felt really strong (for me)!!  Maybe I should move more often!

Finally, Sunday rolled around and it was time to get back on the Toa.  With my friend saying a 7:30 start time was too early for him, I headed out to Applegate Lake on my own.

I had never ridden my bike from Applegate Lake to Squaw Lake, so I parked at the French Gulch trailhead and did just that.  It’s a good ride that could be great if all the lush greenery wasn’t covered in a thick layer of dust.  Whenever a car passed  me, I would be riding in its dust for a good 10 minutes.  Fortunately, I only saw 3 or 4 cars.

Once at Squaw, I took the trail up to Little Squaw.  It’s open to bikes, but there’s so many downed trees on the trail it was hardly worth the ride.

Squaw Lake is kind of a cool place.  While not a big lake, you have to walk a little bit (or ride) to get to it from the road.  This tends to keep it uncrowded.  I even saw 4 or 5 empty campsites (on a holiday weekend no less!)

Before heading back down to Applegate, I decided to check out a trail that starts from the Squaw Lake parking lot.  I’ve often wondered where it goes.  I’ve heard it ties in to a bunch of other trails above the lakes.  After a half mile of riding and staring at a hefty climb, I decided I would come back when I have more time.  Summit Lake Trail definitely deserves another shot!

Trying to beat the heat,  I headed back to the car.  On the final climb, I came across a pipe wrench laying in the middle of the gravel road.  Deciding I hadn’t put in enough work for the weekend, I strapped it to my hydrapack and finished off the ride.  You can’t pass up a good pipe wrench!

I’m so excited to be getting back to a normal riding schedule and pretty stoked with how fast I was able to recover after both Friday’s and Saturday’s rides.

It’s almost time to start thinking about the final double century in September.  Alright, maybe I shouldn’t get ahead of myself…

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