Archive for the ‘Rides’ Category

Michele and Joel’s Excellent Adventure — Flying L Ranch

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Team Fartlek was splintered this week as several of us went off to do our own things. Of course, training still needs to happen.

Here is the route Michele and Joel took while getting ready for a star watching party near Mt. Adams. Something tells me this kind of star watching party was more meaningful and interesting than the type people have in Hollywood.

Some of the road on this out and back is closed to motor traffic and is in disrepair (the part that isn’t the Gleenwood Highway). They did it on road bikes, but suggest mountain bikes for the closed section.

Joel enjoying natural beauty of Washington

Joel enjoying natural beauty of Washington

Joel enjoying a natural beauty IN Washington

Joel enjoying a natural beauty IN Washington

End of the road (at least for cars)

End of the road (at least for cars)

There are gravel roads and then there are gravel roads.

There are gravel roads and then there are gravel roads.

Oregon isn't the only state with bucolic splendor

Oregon isn't the only state with bucolic splendor

Gig Harbor/ Port Orchard Loop

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
When you see this awesome view, you are nearly done, but there is one last hill to enjoy

When you see this awesome view, you are nearly done, but there is one last hill to enjoy

This is not a Portland bike route. In fact, it is a 3 hour drive from Portland. Regardless, it is an excellent route. It has several hills, but nothing severe (though there is one short 12% drag and if you vary off track there are some that look brutal).

Gig Harbor is beautiful and Port Orchard is quite nice too. There are great views of Navy ships, ferries and, from the boat ramp in Manchester, you can check out the Seattle skyline.

Starting in the early morning before the marine layer of fog burns off means you have a good chance of beating the heat. In addition, that area is normally much cooler in the summer than Portland.

If you haven’t seen Gig Harbor, it is definitely worth the trip from Portland. If you are feeling particularly frisky, the ride goes right by the Southworth Ferry, so one could shoot over to Vashon Island check that out to.

Bremerton Ferry on its way to Seattle

Bremerton Ferry on its way to Seattle

View from Manchester

View of Seattle from Manchester

 

Trouble in River City

Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Rocky Butte counts as training

Rocky Butte counts as training

Sometimes you just don’t feel like packing up your bike to go to the more rural training rides. Fortunately, you can easily flog yourself right here in River City.

Hill repeats on Mount Tabor followed by a climb up Rocky Butte then a quick out-and-back up Marine Drive to Blue Lake makes for a nice 30 – 40 mile ride.

If the wind is screaming up the Columbia, Marine Drive can feel like more climbing! There are a number of ways you can link these areas on your bike. One of them is below.

 


The Portland Night Ride

Thursday, July 9th, 2009
This man has a large and fuzzy seat

This man has a large and fuzzy seat

And the Night Ride is pretty fun. It is a fundraiser for the BTA, which is a good thing. It is more of a party on wheels than a proper bike ride. Lots of riders are in costume. If that is your bag, then show up early so you can be in the costume contest.

MLK Fashion Plaza Fashion

MLK Fashion Plaza Fashion

The ride starts at 9:00. To avoid congestion, riders are started off in groups. It is easy to get split up. If you are riding with other people, keep them close by at the starting area. For those who don’t ride at night much, it is a very pleasant switch from riding under the hot sun.

There are several stops along the way. One stop is a bike-in movie theater. Another is an outdoor disco (note the location of the disco — it is in the parking lot of MLK Fashion Plaza). If you haven’t been to MLK Fashion Plaza when it is open, it is worth the trip.

The route is a relatively flat 15 mile loop. The steepest climb is the run up to N. Mississippi. The only other uphill section comes toward the end on Vancouver.

There are only two negatives. First, a lot of participants don’t regularly ride in groups and are clueless about some of the dynamics involved. Ride defensively. The other is the doughnut feed at the end. The doughnuts that are served are not fit for human consumption (at least this was the case last year). It is a good idea to register in advance.

 

Larch Madness

Thursday, July 9th, 2009
The view from the lookout at the top of Larch Mountain is awesome

On a clear day, the view from the lookout at the top of Larch Mountain is awesome

Larch Mountain is the ride many use as one of the final training runs for Cycle Oregon. For all but the very fit and very light, this route is a challenge. From Lewis & Clark State Park, it is pretty much 23 miles uphill followed by 23 miles of downhill. Just past the 9th mile (where you would turn left to go to Crown Point) there is a sign that reads “Larch Mountain, 14 miles.” Don’t believe this sign. Both times I climbed this mountain I became fixated on the mile markers. And mile marker 14 is about a half-mile shy of the goal which is uncool. Someday I’m going to fix that damn sign.

The first 15 miles are pretty easy. The next few become more of a chore. The final 5 are the steepest (5-6% grade) and require some determination. If you start seeing spots or feel like your heart is about to explode, there is no foul in taking a quick rest (or several quick rests if needed). The good news is that, even if you struggle, if you can ride up Larch Mountain in Aug., chances are you’ll be able to tackle Cycle Oregon. Total elevation gain is more than 3,900 feet. Food and water are essential for this ride. Bring a lot of both.

The ride starts at Lewis & Clark State Park. The route is easy — turn left out of the parking lot and continue up the Scenic Columbia River Highway. When you hit the turn-off to Crown Point, resist the urge to go downhill. Instead, keep right. You’ll see the sign that says Larch Mountain 14 miles. Keep going on Larch Mountain Rd. until you get to the top. Failure is not an option.

We used to start at McMenamins Edgefield, which adds a few more miles. Unfortunately, the food at the Edgefield is horrible even by McMenamins standards, which are very, very low to begin with. After a ride like this, you deserve better.

View from the top? Hardly. View from Women's Forum. Always pleasant -- except that there are 15 miles and several thousand feet of vertical to go.

View from the top? Hardly. View from Women's Forum. Always pleasant -- except that there are 14 miles and several thousand feet of vertical to go.

Don't believe it. 14.5 miles to the top

Don't believe it. 14.5 miles to the top.

Nothing special about this sign -- unles you just biked your way up to it.

Nothing special about this sign -- unless you just biked your way up to it.

Directions are easy -- from Troutdale, head east on the Scenic Highway. Whenever there is a fork in the road, go uphill

Directions are easy -- from Troutdale, head east on the Scenic Highway. Whenever there is a fork in the road, go uphill.

Newly-remodeled restaurant right outside Troutdale -- Tippy Canoe -- is a good place to replenish

Newly-remodeled restaurant right outside Troutdale -- Tippy Canoe -- is a good place to replenish.

 

If you’d like to see it on the map, here it is:

Logie Trail/Rocky Point Loop

Thursday, July 9th, 2009
When you get back to your car, you'll wish this place was still open

When you get back to your car, you'll wish this place was still open

This is a great ride to test your climbing prowess. The start is at the corner of Skyline and Germantown Road. Start by heading south on Skyline. Plunge down NW Thompson on your way out to North Plains. Enjoy the descent — it will be your last one for a long while. When you reach the corner of NW W Union and NW Glencoe Rd. take inventory of your water and food. If you are going to need to stop and replenish, turn left and go to the gas station before heading the other direction towards the hills.

The first real climb is Mason Hill Rd., followed by a nice stretch on Jackson Quarry Rd. Turn Left on Helvetia then Left again Logie Trail. Then climb some more. Once you reach Skyline, you can either turn left for a nice out-and-back to Rocky Point or just go right and head for your cars. You’ll go downhill a bit more, but, once you cross Cornelius Pass you get even more climbing.

Note: While Map My Ride seems to be pretty good, I’m only now just beginning to play with it. We have already discovered that the turn-by-turn directions aren’t always perfect. I recommend you take maps with you as a backup. You can print maps from Map My Ride for a small fee. You can also download the route onto a GPS device, which is very cool.

Pygmy Goat Ride

Thursday, July 9th, 2009
One of the nicest rides in the area AND Pygmy Goats

One of the nicest rides in the area AND Pygmy Goats

This is a beautiful ride with a lot of climbing (some gradual, some steep). The majority of the ride takes place on some very rural, very scenic roads with much bucolic splendor. There is a fun section on Springwater Rd. that looks like it is slightly downhill for several miles when, in fact, it is a touch uphill (1-2% grade). This will explain why something seems amiss.

It is about 70 miles, so plan accordingly. DEFINITELY stop in Estacada to refill your water bottles (and take lots of water bottles). After Estacada the ride gets really remote, really fast. And there is enough climbing that you go through water at a serious rate. Next time we do this ride, we are going to stage a car filled with ice and water (probably on Porter Road somewhere).

The ride starts in the parking lot of Bi-Mart at S.E. 174th and Powell. The area is sketchy looking and you might want to park near one of the restaurants where people are coming and going. Otherwise, drive the first quarter mile of the route and park by the side of the street.

Update: This ride is a LOT harder than it looks on the Map My Ride profile. If you look at the elevation chart, it makes it seem as if it is a nice steady climb to mile 35 then a nice gentle descent (more or less) to the finish. Bullshit. The climb at mile 28 has several sections that are between 10% and 15% grade. One spot was 17%. In fact, there are lots of 10%+ sections throughout.

After mile 35, there is some downhill, but there is still plenty of  climbing left to do.

Map My Ride also says total ascent is 3307 feet. According to my computer, I climbed nearly 4,000 feet before the 40th mile.

The ride IS beautiful but it is also a cruel, cruel bitch.

YMMV

Soaking up some shade on a mercilessly hot day

Soaking up some shade on a mercilessly hot day

Refills from a hose in some nice people's lawn saved lives this day

Refills from a hose in some nice people's lawn saved lives this day

Note: While Map My Ride seems to be pretty good, I’m only now just beginning to play with it. We have already discovered that the turn-by-turn directions aren’t always perfect. I recommend you take maps with you as a backup. You can print maps from Map My Ride for a small fee. You can also download the route onto a GPS device, which is very cool.