Seek, And Ye Shall Find

My pals and I went looking for adventure this week and we surely found it!
Feeling like my exploratory mission from last Sunday was incomplete, Jacob and I set out for John’s Peak once again Tuesday afternoon. Our goal was to finally find a connector between Forest Creek Road to the South and Foots Creek Road to the North.  After a couple double backs and questioning glances at our current position on a few mapping apps, we were successful!  A future gravel adventure was finally mapped.
Wednesday, I set out at 3:30 pm intending to hammer out a 50 mile ride.  With temps right at 100, I ran out of water at 40 miles and settled for just 48.5.  Close enough.
Thursday was all about spinning, so I rode the mtb up Roxy and did several laps before dropping back down with a total of 20 miles.  With all the time I spent on Roxy Ann through the “rainy” months (did we have any?), it felt strange to feel like I hadn’t been up there in a while.  It was nice to see an old friend.
Now, I said we found adventure this week.  Saturday was the day!
I hopped on the Toa and met Jacob at Coyote Trails at 6 am.
50 minutes of Greenway riding later, we were meeting Shawn at the Plaza in Ashland.
I think we were all carrying a good extra 10 lbs worth of water, food, and gear as we headed through Lithia Park, up past the White Rabbit Trailhead and on to Toothpick.  There, we enjoyed the fast singletrack goodness as we crossed over to Tolman Road.
By 10 o’clock we were just shy of the Mt Ashland access road at a point where Shawn had secretly stashed some water and goodies for us.  It was a welcome surprise and we topped off our water bottles and ate a candy bar.  We left one for the next hiker coming through on the PCT as we were right next to a road crossing of the trail.

Pushing on, we rolled through the Mt Ashland parking lot and continued around the back side on NF Road 20.  At another point where the PCT parallels the road, we stopped and chatted with a few through hikers.  One of the guys had started in Mexico 3 1/2 months earlier!  Needless to say, the group was pretty happy when we gave them an extra Payday bar and some baked potatoes which Jacob had brought with him.
While it was a pleasant change of pace when we started our first big descent, it was tempered a bit by the sight of a thick smoke bank and the knowledge we would have to ride through it eventually to get home despite Jacob’s best efforts to ward it away.
The descent ended at Wagner Gap Road and I was excited for the next section.  Wagner Gap to Dutchman Peak is one of my favorite places to ride, ever.  Despite the 1500 feet or so of climbing over the 5 or 6 mile stretch, I love it.  Remote, beautiful, and very peaceful.
After passing the road up to the Dutchman Lookout, it’s a LONG, FAST, 16 mile descent down to Upper Applegate Road.

The good thing is, you can bypass several miles of washboardy, wrist-rattling badness if you know about the “detour”.
I hesitate to mention Road 2010.  The fewer people that know about it, the more it feels like our secret treasure.  
The 12 mile road is in awesome condition since it sees little traffic.  While it adds an extra 1000 feet of climbing, it is so worth it.  Lots of greenery, smooth roads, and wide vistas.  It’s pretty amazing, and just writing about it right now makes me want to go back out and ride it asap!

This was only my second time on the road.  I didn’t notice the Squaw Peak Lookout last time.  I got a flat on my cx that ride at the exact place you can see the tower.  I was alone and too worried about boogeymen, rattlesnakes, and the approaching thunderstorm while I had no idea how much further I had to go.  But that was last time.
You can see the tower at the top of the peak in this pic.  Thanks for the photo Jacob!
Eventually all good things must end, and before long we were riding our mountain bikes on pavement and dealing with traffic for the final 20 miles of our 90 mile adventure.
If you ride a bike, or plan on starting, I strongly urge you to go do something like this.  It doesn’t have to take much planning and you don’t have to do a big epic ride.  Go see stuff hardly anyone else takes the effort to see. Just don’t ride Road 2010!
This was my second really long ride on the Toa.  I used to do these rides on my cyclocross bike, but my Toa is lighter, more comfortable, and has way more control than the cx.  The front shock and and wider tires had me flying down the mountain roads that I would have been grabbing brakes on the whole time in the past.  

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