Smoke ’em if You Got ’em

Get comfortable everyone! 

This week, priority #1 was to escape the smoke from all the wildfires as best I could.

Tuesday, Shawn was our guide as we climbed up the right side from Lithia Park.  The smoke wasn’t bad in Ashland and it got a little thinner as we went up.  Jacob and I had never ridden the trails in that portion of the Ashland Watershed. Up Horn Gap, down No Candies, Moai, and Hitt Road.  I’m sure I’m missing something, but that’ll do.

With my rear tire on its last ride due to lack of tread, I was slipping and sliding on most of the descent.  Don’t even get me started on Hitt Road.  I need to go back now that I have a new tire.

Thursday, I was going to drive out to Ruch to get away from the smoke and give one of the shop’s Parus (Grammo’s sweet CX bike) a test ride with CX season coming.   I was nearly to Ruch when I realized I had forgotten my riding shoes.  Argh!  I said screw it, went back home and road up Anderson Butte.  Let me say, the Paru was dialed and awesome.  I thought I would have trouble with the gearing going up the steep grade of Anderson, but it was the opposite.  Without even trying I managed a new PR on the climb to the gravel.  Thanks Peter for the ride!!  I can’t wait for mine!

Saturday rolled around and Shawn and I were loaded up and driving to Crater Lake by 3:30 am.  Geez.  That’s early.  Even for me. 

Long story short, Travel Oregon had a promotion going on where 7 custom bikes were made for the 7 wonders of Oregon.  Over the last several weeks they had hidden one at a time at each wonder.  If you found it, it was yours.  This was the last one and Shawn wanted it bad.  I just wanted a good ride so I went along.

We were in place for the search and waiting an hour before sunrise.  If you were caught searching before 6:08 am you were disqualified.

As the sun peaked over the Eastern Rim, the search was on.

After driving all the way around the lake, we didn’t have a new bike and we were getting sleepy (freaking 3:30 am!).  Shawn accepted the fact the bike had already been found and gave up the search.

Our planned ride had been to ride once around the lake clockwise and once counterclockwise.  With all the road construction and gravel portions currently happening, we bailed.  I did however, with Shawn’s blessing, decide to ride home to Medford since he wanted a nap and a dip in the lake and I was itching to ride.  So I was off! 

I chose to ride East from the lake, through Fort Klamath and the North end of the Basin instead of taking Hwy 62 home.

By the time I hit Hwy 140, I had about 45 miles behind me and I started the climb up to the summit near Lake of the Woods.

From there, it was a 10 mile descent back to the Valley and back to home.  Despite the headwinds for most of the last 50 miles, it was relatively smoke free and pleasant.  A good 105 miles knocked out!

The next day, a group of 10 of us decided to meet at the South end of Applegate Lake for the LONG climb up to Cook and Green Pass and the trail of the same name.

But first, Tory, Jacob and I started early with a little climbing warm up while exploring a gravel road in the area none of us had ridden before.

By the way, thanks Jacob for always being willing to lend a helping hand.  This photo turned out better than the one I was trying for, so there ya go.

I’ve talked about the climb up to the C & G Trailhead before.  Go read my old entry if you care.  Just suffice to say it’s steep and we were all VERY glad to finally reach the top.

I think most of us decided the long climb was worth it once we enjoyed the 7 miles of shaded single track goodness all the way back down to the Applegate River.  It really is an eye-pleasing ride.

I’m happy to say I finally made it all the way down the trail without crashing after wiping out on both of my 2 previous attempts.

I’d like to keep that streak going!


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