Last week started much the way the previous week ended. Hills to climb and smoke to fill lungs!
Tuesday, Shawn and I met in Jacksonville for an attack on the MoFo Trail. I’ll let you guys figure out what that stands for. It actually has a real name. Jackson Ridge Trail, I think. I first came to know it by MoFo and I have yet to find a reason it should be called anything else. As my legs were semi-fresh, I wanted to go for a personal best on the steep mofo-ing climb. I got the PR along with 2 or 3 cigarettes packs worth of smoke forced into my lungs all at once. Efficient!
Feeling like a teenager hiding out in the alley, I thought it would be cool to go smoke a few more packs. So, Wednesday, I was back in Jacksonville for some solo action. On my climb up to Boundary Trail, I had a siting of Unreal Cycles Master Mechanic, Derek Starr, as he rolled past me while shuttling a few guys, that were obviously smarter than me, up the hill. If I’d known there were free rides to the top of the hill, I would have waited. Nah. Probably not.
Thursday was more of the same. Only this time there were some nice winds to make things a little tougher. Needing more miles than I had been getting, I enjoyed a pleasant 40 mile road ride. It kinda reminded me of camping. You know, when the campfire smoke blows right in your face no matter where you sit? Yeah. That.
Alas, the weekend arrived. After a brief bit of rain Friday night, all the smoke was gone Saturday morning. I hopped on the C3 with no ride planned. I figured I’d make it up as I went.
I rolled through Jacksonville and couldn’t believe how blue the sky was. It seems like forever since there wasn’t at least some haze graying it up a little bit.
Cruising along Old Stage Road toward Gold Hill, I marveled at how crisp everything seemed.
I made my way up the South/West side of the Rogue on my way to the town of Rogue River.
Like I said, I was making it up as I went. Having never ridden up Sardine Creek Road, just outside Gold Hill, I thought I’d see what it was all about. It was great! It’s a fairly mellow climb of about 4 1/2 miles to the point where the pavement ends at the Oregon Vortex/House of Mystery. I definitely plan on putting Sardine Creek on my list of roads to ride again soon.
After that goodness, it was on to Gold Hill, Sam’s Valley, Dodge Road, and Reese Creek into Eagle Point.
With the day warming up and a bbq appointment quickly approaching, I ended the fun and headed home on the same boring Medford roads I ride all the time. It really was a great day and I ended up getting a bit over 85 miles to boot!
Sunday was supposed to be the 37th annual Mt Ashland Hillclimb Bike Race. I had been looking forward to this race for quite some time since I really wanted to improve on my times from the previous 2 years. Unfortunately, the promoter cancelled it due to smoke and low registration.
With plenty of people bummed that it had been cancelled, a bunch of local riders decided to go and ride the course Sunday morning anyway. About 20 of us were there for the smoke-free 4500’+ of climbing bliss (pain). It wasn’t nearly the same as an actual event but it was a great ride nonetheless.
Not sure who took this group pic, but I stole it from Ryan Gracey via FB. Thanks to Ryan and whoever snapped it!
With the countdown to my final double century at less than 2 weeks, I will be backing off on mileage as it nears. Lately, on my longer rides, I haven’t felt as good as I think I should when approaching the 80 – 90 mile mark. I’m hoping it is due to the smoke and the fact that I’ve been going pretty hard whenever I ride. We shall see!