Archive for the ‘Rides’ Category

Vibrant Ride

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Two options for this beautiful ride (start and finish at the top of Skyline at Germantown Road unless you happen to have a friend who lives on Germantown, then start/finish there).


Here’s one version:

Here’s a more different version:

A New Lease on Champoeg

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Team Fartlek’s #2 training ride of the season was Champoeg. Along with North Plains, this is another classic early season ride. It is pretty much flat and, admittedly, it can get a little boring at times. This year we changed it up a bit by adding an option to park at the boat ramp right by where I-5 goes over the Willamette. This adds another 13 miles to the loop and changes things up, which is nice. Team Fartlek also picked up a couple of new riders who seemed to enjoy themselves.

We entertained ourselves by competing in short sprints to various sign posts, etc., This meant some of us were more tired and sore at the end of the day than expected. Regardless, it was a glorious day and a good time was had by all.

How you doin’? Donna basking in the pre-ride glow

Ready, waiting, and wondering if anyone else is ever going to show

More happy Donna and a fellow named Jeff

Even more happy Donna

Morry explains the meaning of life to Joel while Dean speaks with agent

New guy, Dave, basking in the post-ride glow

Cycle Oregon 2009 — The Best Got Better

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
I think we climbed up all that

The reward -- nearing the top of the BIG climb

Cycle Oregon is a 7-day organized and fully-supported cycling event that allows participants to explore the most beautiful parts of Oregon by bicycle. The organization markets the adventure as “The Best Bike Ride in America,” which would be a bit over the top were it not almost certainly true. The Cycle Oregon Website explains why: 

Cycle Oregon delivers the best combination of scenery, challenge, amenities, camaraderie and philanthropy of any ride out there. A fun-loving mix of back-road riding and two-wheeled tent revival, our event moves from town to town with 2,000 or more riders enjoying generous hospitality and providing direct financial benefits to our host towns as well as cycling-related causes throughout Oregon. And it’s a new route, and a new experience, every year!

Team Vibrant Table in the house

Team Vibrant Table in the house

From a rider’s standpoint, it is a simple event. Wake up, eat, break camp, ride, eat, ride, set up camp, shower, eat, sleep. For an extra $350 you can even have a tent set up and broken down for you, simplifying things even further. Those with extra time and energy can drink in the beer garden or dance to the bands that play in camp every night. While you do have to sleep in a tent, it is a bit of a stretch to call it camping. Frankly, the whole thing is pretty cushy (except for the riding part). Did I mention a team of massage therapists is available every night in camp? Oh how I miss thee, Tye, my sweet, sweet man-handler.

Cycle Oregon staff always there for the riders -- even if all they need is a little water and encouragement

Cycle Oregon staff always there for the riders -- even if all they need is a shot of whiskey from the magic canteen and some encouragement

Virtually every rider need on and off the road is anticipated and met by the Cycle Oregon staff and its army of volunteers. The whole event runs like a well-oiled machine. Considering the substantial logistics involved, that is nothing short of incredible. What’s more, it seems that the Cycle Oregon team is constantly looking for ways to make the experience better.

This year there were two particularly noteworthy changes. First, the recycling program was upgraded to include composting, which means that all food scraps, disposable tableware and other biodegradable waste is sent to a commercial composting facility. By now, it is all well on its way to being converted to rich, dark soil.

They also upped the ante in terms of food. This is huge. Until this year, the food was something many of us more discriminating eaters could barely choke down. This year, it surpassed adequate and could reasonably be classified as pretty darn good. When you spend as many hours each day in the saddle as I do (this year up to 8 or 9 hours), good chow is pretty important.

Gettin' loved up by the locals

Gettin' some lovin' at Heaven on Earth

One of the nicest parts about Cycle Oregon is the warm reception we receive in the communities we pass through as well as those that host us each evening. The number of volunteers that show up from each town to lend a hand — including many who need to be there long before dawn to help with breakfast — is always impressive.

More impressive is how great all the local kids turn out to be. Players from the local sports teams are always on hand to help schlep riders’ gear between the 18-wheelers and camp sites. If you think that kids today are ill-mannered, lack respect for their elders or whatever, perhaps it is time to get out of the city and check out rural Oregon. Norman Rockwell himself would be charmed.


Look, it is an elite cyclist

I thought last year’s route around the Wallawa Mountains was going to be a tough act to follow (and it was). However, this year’s route planners rose to the challenge and succeeded admirably. Once again, the scenery was breathtaking. It is hard to capture its beauty with a camera and even tougher to do so with words, so I won’t even bother making the attempt. There is a good — and growing — collection of photos on flickr (all C.O. riders are encouraged to add their photos to the Cycle Oregon group pool).

Heaven on Earth is aptly named

Heaven on Earth is aptly named

The locals who earned the most notoriety on this particular trip were the owners and crew of Heaven on Earth restaurant and bakery in Azalea, Oregon (just off I-5). They hosted a rest stop for us that was unlike any other, treating riders to freshly baked cinnamon rolls, apple crisp, blueberry cobbler and coffee. It was awesome. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought so either. We stopped in on our way home to provision for the long drive. The owner said more than 700 other riders did the same thing.

I can't do that! Oh, wait, we just did.

No way I could do that ride! Oh, wait, I just did.

This year’s route was significantly harder than any other I’ve done (2004 and 2008). I recall standing in line behind a guy wearing a T-shirt that read “437 miles, 28,202 feet of elevation gain” and thinking what a bitch that ride must have been. It took me a minute to realize he was wearing a Cycle Oregon 2009 T-shirt.

I’m living proof of that – with proper training – people of all ages, shapes and sizes can complete the ride. However, it does appear that the rail-thin fitness freaks enjoyed themselves the most – particularly this year. Was I a little jealous? Of course, but when the great famine comes, we’ll see who gets the last laugh.

Some are happiest when the ride is over and it is time to relax

Some are happiest when the riding is over and it is time to relax

 More consecutive days in the saddle, more climbing and more miles took their toll and I’d be lying if I said I loved every minute of it. In fact, there were many hours where words like suffering and punishment seemed more fitting than anything else. But all that made the sense of accomplishment when crossing the finish line that much sweeter. Sweet enough that I already know I’ll be doing it again next year. In fact, I’ve already started training.

Canby Ferry Ride

Friday, September 4th, 2009
Canby Ferry

Canby Ferry

This ride is NOT the one in the Rubber to the Road book. It is similar. It starts and ends in Lake Oswego for one simple reason — that’s where I happen to live. It is a good ride with a fair bit of climbing. The most important thing to know about this ride is that, if the bridge at Oregon City is closed, this ride won’t work.

Chehalem Mountain Loop

Friday, September 4th, 2009
Clovers on the way to the beginning of the first climb

Clovers on the way to the beginning of the first climb

This is another great mid-season ride when you are looking to add in more climbing. The first big climb is Chehalem Mtn. itself. It is steady but not steep. The drop down the backside is nice, but don’t overshoot Bell Rd. The climb up Bell Rd. is also steady but not steep. There is a short climb on Leander Rd. that IS steep. It seems fitting that there is a cemetery right at the top. The good news is that, when you finish that bit, you are done climbing.

This particular route is a variation of what is found in Rubber to the Road. This version uses SW Chapman instead of Kruger Rd. to descend back down to 99. I prefer this because Chapman is like a straight roller coaster. The other difference is the return back to the start at Tualatin Community Park. The route in the book uses Tonquin Rd. This is fine, but adds a few miles to the ride through an area that isn’t particularly scenic. I prefer to just motor back on Tualatin/Sherwood Rd. It is busy, but there is a bike lane and you can just get ‘er done.


Crown Point

Friday, September 4th, 2009
Crown Point from Womens' Forum. Nice.

Crown Point from Womens' Forum. Nice.

The ride from Troutdale past Crown Point to (or past) Multnomah falls is a classic. It is a great ride to do when you are ready to introduce climbing into your training regimen. Climbs are steady and fairly pleasant so they are good morale boosters. The descent after Crown Point makes it seem like the climb back up is going to be really tough. For some reason, this just isn’t the case.Obviously, the scenery can be outstanding. There are two things that can take away from this ride. The first is tourist traffic on this fairly narrow road. The second is the residents of Corbett, some of whom find it amusing to scatter tacks or broken glass on the road. Neither of these things should keep you from doing the ride, but go prepared. Start at Lewis & Clark Park in Troutdale. You can turn around at Crown Point, at the bottom of the big hill past Crown Point, at Multnomah Falls, or 10 miles past the falls where the road just ends. CP2 (Small)


Mt. Angel Loop

Friday, September 4th, 2009

070916_stock_mount_angelThis is a great ride for any time. You get some changes in elevation, but it is pretty flat overall. You can climb up to the monastery in Mt. Angel. That is a bit of a climb, but no big deal. In the spring, this ride is particularly pretty as you go past some flower farms.

Be aware — drivers in this area seem somewhat hostile toward bikers. I don’t really know why as the roads are wide and straight. The only place worse than I can think of is Corbett.



Friday, September 4th, 2009

Champoeg (Small)Champoeg State Park is located in the northern tip of the Willamette Valley. There is a ton of pretty and flat riding in the area. The ride mapped here is a good beginning of the season ride, or a good, solid ride for weekend warriors who don’t train every weekend.

If you are going to park by the visitor’s center, bring a few singles because you have to pay for parking.


North Plains

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Helvetia Tavern (Small)This is a classic first of the season ride. There are lots of variations you can do. I like this one because it puts a little climb at the end. This climb wouldn’t even be noteworthy if it was mid-season, but it can seem like Mt. Everest if you have been off the bike for a few months. It is a good way to see if you’ve maintained your fitness through the winter. If you haven’t, it will remind you that you’ve got some work ahead of you.

Park at the school on Helvetia. The Helvetia Tavern (which you will pass at the end) gets a lot of praise for its hamburgers. I don’t see what the big deal is — they are just regular old burgers. However, regular old burgers are sometimes fine.


John’s Hagg Lake Ride

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

hagg_lake_reflecting_cloudsThis isn’t just any Hagg Lake Ride — it is John’s Hagg Lake Ride. John is an excellent person, so you know any ride he recommends is going to be a good one. It starts in Forrest Grove then loops around Hagg Lake. After that, it winds its way through some lovely rollers to Yamhill. The route goes right past the front gate of Willakenzie Winery. I love Willakenzie. However, there’s no way in hell I’m riding up the hill that is their driveway to taste wines. That’s what cars are for.

There are a few good places for lunch in Yamhill. The pizza place is surprisingly good for a pizza place in the middle of nowhere. They will also let you park your bikes inside, which is very nice. The Mexican joint in town is also pretty good. There is also another passable cafe.

Don’t load up too much because there are still 20 miles of riding left. If the weather is good, this is a really nice ride. When it is really, really hot, it is torture (and, sometimes, it is really, really hot).

This is a very nice ride. A good one for mid-season when you are trying to add some distance while still going easy with the climbing.