Having taken an extra day of rest following the Gravel Epic, I was more than ready to get back in the swing of things when Tuesday rolled around.

I met Jacob on the East side of Medford and we started climbing.  I still feel a little icky when I ride Hillcrest.  After the two Everesting attempts, I have a hard time being motivated to climb that particular road but that’s what we did.  By the time we were done climbing every steep side road we could find, I had a good 3000′ and 30 miles.  There’s some steep roads up there!

Wednesday was a dirt day.  Once again, I met up with Jacob, this time in Jacksonville, and did some Beekman and Britt trails before heading up Reservoir Road for a little more climbing.  It’s just about time to start using lights on some of my rides.  I made it back to the car with the faintest hint of gray left in the sky.  I’m looking forward to the cold night rides we do throughout the Fall/Winter.

By the time I was ready to ride Thursday, I had already realized my legs still hadn’t fully recovered from the previous weekend.  I probably should have settled for a nice flat road ride.  Instead, I did the big loop above Lithia Park.  My legs weren’t really happy, but they dealt with it.

Oh yeah!  There was another fun reminder that Fall is definitely here as during the ride it got a little chilly up near the top of the climb and stayed that way all the way down.  I had to run my car’s heater on the drive home.

It seemed like it had been a long time since I had ridden with my good bud, Shawn, so I met up with him in JVille on Saturday morning.

After a little warm up pedaling around Britt, we headed up John’s Peak for some real riding.  Lower Canyon Vista Trail in the morning is pretty cool when the sun is out.  My photo doesn’t do it justice, but the light shining though all the branches and being caught in Shawn’s dust induced one of those moments where you realize what you’re doing at that very moment is exactly what you’re supposed to be doing.

Moving on, we climbed Twin Peaks and worked our way over to Chinese Ditch.

From there, we started down a road I had only been on once before and it was from the other direction.  I should have known that we were in for a little adventure when we came across this gate.  Apparently, those that wanted to lead us to freedom didn’t excel in their 1st Grade grammar class.

In case you can’t read it, it says, “THIS TO WAY FREEDOM”.

Down that road, I know there is a trail that drops down the side of the mountain and puts you on Forest Creek Road.  Somewhere along the way we missed the trail.
Unfortunately, the rock Shawn kicked up from his front tire as he blazed down the road didn’t miss his rear brake line.  He lost all the fluid from his brake and was forced to use only his front brake the rest of the ride. 

Eventually, after a lot of hike-a-bike and sketchiness that came with descending a long, steep dirtbike trail, we ended up on Forest Creek Road, just off Highway 238.  Shawn made a wise choice and rode the highway back to town.  I rode up Forest Creek, climbed back over John’s Peak, and cruised back down to the car.  Not a bad day of exploring!

Sunday, I figured it was finally time for a mellow ride.  I hopped on the C3 at 7:30 and did a mostly flat 40 miles that included many of the well ridden roads around the valley.  It was a nice change from all the climbing I’ve been doing recently.  

Despite dealing with a nasty sore throat and cough most of the week, I sorta feel refreshed after Sunday’s ride.  I guess it’s time to start working again!

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