Last September, having just finished my 3rd Oregon Coast Gravel Epic, I came up with a grand idea. Let’s go back to Waldport and ride the same gravel route in December or January. It’d be cold, or wet, and if we were lucky, both! If nothing else, it wold be SUPER epic.
I got a few of my good adventuring riding buddies on board with the idea and we waited for Winter. Okay, maybe 2 of them were on board and 1 of them was quite hesitant. But, for the sake of the story, pretend all 3 were in.
As December came and went, I realized my grand scheme was never going to happen. One guy decided going to Hawaii while it was nice and wet here sounded better. Another guy figured he would take off for a couple weeks to go to Panama. Really? What’s so exciting about tropical places? The third guy has pretty much stopped riding bikes in favor of hockey. Hockey? Is that still a sport? At least he has accepted the cold. Clearly he likes it more than I do!
Alright. I’m actually jealous. Not of the hockey guy, but the tropical guys? For sure!!
Anyway, all of that just to say this. Last weekend I went for a good soaking epic all by my lonesome. I didn’t go all the way to Waldport, but instead headed to Gold Beach to try out a new bit of gravel suggested by a former GB local.
After being woken up all night by howling wind and the pounding rain outside my hotel door, I finally got up and started rolling south on Hwy 101 at about 7:45 Saturday morning. The wind hadn’t stopped blowing and the rain hadn’t stopped falling.
I left the highway and its traffic for Hunter Creek Rd just a couple miles into the ride. Still fighting the wind, I finally reached gravel at mile 7 and started climbing into the coastal mountains.
I’ve never ridden in such a strong storm. As I neared the highest point on the whole ride, the wind was screaming and the rain was dumping in buckets. The best part of riding in the rain on the coast versus the Rogue Valley? It was nowhere near as cold as the wet stuff we’ve been dealing with!
Because of that rain, there were so many roaring creeks and cascading waterfalls it was hard not to stop and check them out but, I eventually had to start ignoring them or I would never get home.
While it seems like all I’ve done this Winter is freeze my arse off in snow, the only patch I saw was on a spur road that would have eventually lead me up to Signal Buttes if I had felt like hike-a-biking. I didn’t so I turned around after a mile when the trail got too iffy.
Shortly after backtracking, the rain finally stopped and I was finally heading downhill toward the road that would take me back into Gold Beach.
The descent was fast and fun and while it was nice to finally hit pavement I would have been happy with more gravel.
Now heading back toward the coast, it felt like I was standing still at times (okay, I was going 9 or 10 mph) thanks to the wind blasting up the Rogue River for the final 11 miles. Thankfully, there was no shortage of cool sights to help take my mind off the task of getting back to the hotel in one piece.
I didn’t need to finish the ride to know I had fulfilled my goal of finding an epic ride. I knew it was gonna work out the minute I got on the bike and started the rain marination. It was awesome. I can’t wait to go back when it’s a little drier and try out some of the other gravel options I saw while I was there.
Heres a link to the ride in case anybody wants to give it a go!