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.
This 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.
Alas, due to budget cuts, the covered wagons are now uncovered
This is yet another sweet one. It starts in Oregon City where the giant uncovered covered wagons that signify the end of the Oregon Trail are located. A lot of these roads are the same as the beginnings of the Pygmy Goat Ride. These are actually the nicest bits of the Pygmy Goat Ride — the part that leaves off just before the epic sufferfest begins.
There is one short and very steep climb in the middle — you’ll know it when you get there. There is also a two-mile climb toward the end that is kind of a challenge. It seems like the top is always just around the next bend, but that isn’t how it works out (except, of course, for the final bend — then that’s exactly how it works out). Other than that, the ride is pretty sweet. The out-and-back portion is kind of random, but fun. It is a 1% grade for several miles. You can’t really tell you are climbing on the way out, but on the way back you can fly.
As many of you know from my previous posts about my custom titanium bicycles, I’m a big Titus fan. They recently posted a video of their 2010 mountain bike line on Facebook. Pretty sweet looking stuff if you ask me. BTW, if you dig the Peter Frampton Mashup they use for the soundtrack in the video, visit the ATOM Website. I thought I didn’t like it at first, but I was wrong. If you like you can right click on any of the hyperlinks and choose “save link as” and you can download MP3s of the songs.
If you are in Portland and want to see what Titus has to offer, check out Cyclepath. Cyclepath is one of my two favorite Portland bike shops. They have great customer service and only deal in high-end bikes, making it a top Bike Porn destination.
Many professional sports photographers and videographers know that some of the best ways to chronicle an event is to focus less on the action itself and try to capture what is going on in the mind of the athlete. I think Art successfully captured the elation I felt at the summit of Larch Mountain.
Putting these maps online -- particularly in GPX format -- is a majorly cool thing
This is really cool. VLMK Consulting Engineers, the company that does the really bitchin’ maps of the Cycle Oregon daily routes, has put maps from 2005 to present on its Website. Even cooler is that, starting in 2009, they also have made GPX files available.
These files are made with a surveyor’s GPS, which is more accurate than a recreational GPS. Great news for anyone who wants to load up their GPS bike computers in advance of the ride. This is so awesome, I’m categorizing this post under Bike Porn.
For non-GPS users, it is still worth checking out the route maps here instead of the C.O. site. They are PDFs and are in much, much better resolution.
Note: These maps are subject to slight tweaks and I have gotten word that they have, in fact, been tweaked just a tad. No big thing, but if the signs on the road conflict with your GPS, I’d recommend following the signs and the herd. You have to be a pretty big imbecile to get lost on C.O. You’d be an even bigger imbecile if you get lost because you are geeking out with a GPS.
It is hard to believe that Cycle Oregon is just around the corner. It is. You can — and probably should — check out “The Big List.” This list is the one the Cycle Oregon recommends. In my opinion, it is overkill. If you took all the stuff listed, you’d probably go over your allotted weight limit for baggage.
Keep in mind that this ride is really well supported. Mechanics can be found in camp and on the road. There is no need to carry a giant tool kit, chain lube, etc. Similarly, food and water are plentiful on the rides and in camp. Two water bottles *should* be enough for most days, but if you are a heavy drinker, you might want to have a hydration pack as well. There is also a medical tent so you don’t need to go overboard with first aid kits, etc.
It is highly recommended that you segment your things in multiple large Ziplock bags to help keep them organized and dry. I also put some things like my sleeping bag and a few other odds and ends inside a river-runner’s dry bag inside my duffel. I have a hard plastic “shoe box” that I keep breakable or small things in so they aren’t crushed in transit.
Plan for your duffel to be sitting in a puddle in the rain at some point even if it never happens. Your duffel should also be marked on the ends for easy identification. When you arrive in camp, they are in a huge pile and they all look similar. If you have riding clothes for each day, then cool. If not, you’ll need to hand wash. Fun, fun, fun. Bring stuff for hand washing if that is your bag.
Keep the clean clothes you plan to wear home in your car rather than drag them along with you all week. There will be showers at the parking lot.
Below is the checklist I use:
Bike + tools, repair stuff, pumps, etc. Include your front wheel.
Knee and arm warmers
Cold weather/rain gear (booties, jacket, long tights, etc.)
Water bottles (3). Hydration pack if you use one regularly (water on road is plentiful)
Gels or energy drink stuff (there is plenty to eat/drink on the road)
A few changes of warm weather/cool weather clothes (undies, pants, socks, shirts)
Jacket for rain and jacket for warmth
Synthetic long johns (at the very least for sleeping in the very cold)
Winter hat (also for sleeping in the very cold)
Shoes and sandals
Tent w rain fly
Sleeping bag (I also take a liner in case it is really hot or really cold)
Pillow (optional – you can also use jackets and stuff)
Big huge air mattress with battery-powered pump
Headlamp (or flashlight)
Hard plastic “shoe box” to keep things in that might be crushed when packed in a duffel bag
Pee bottle (Gatorade bottle – avoid midnight trips to the blue room)
Sponge (to clean out tent or soak up spills)
You should be clever enough to figure out the basics (toothbrush, etc.)
Benadryl (use as a sleep aid – very helpful)
Baby wipes (keeping your junk clean between showers is a very good idea)
Desitin Creamy Zinc Oxide or Bag Balm (for healing your ’tain’t)
Kris and Dean arguing about whose bike is cooler. It might be a tie, but don't tell him I said so.
We finally got a chance to see Kris’ super-sick new bike. He didn’t want to do a full reveal until he had the right wheels on there, but whatever. This bike is sick. The only downside is it makes him even harder to keep up with. This is the same bike Alberto, Lance and Levi rode in the Tour. It is the bike Chris Horner would have ridden if he had been in the Tour.
Actually, this bike is a little sweeter than the model Team Astana rides because it has the electric Dura-Ace shifters. The blacked out paint job also looks pretty slick — I would have probably gotten one in custom colors with flames and stuff (Trek does that you know) but this was most probably the better choice. Either one would have looked much nicer than than the paint job Lance’s bike was sporting at the Giro.
This electronic shifting is sweet. Almost enough to make me want to give up Campy hotness -- almost.
It would have been REALLY trick if Trek had made a special frame just for the electric shifter guys. Perhaps this hole can be used for smuggling the performance-enhancing drugs that Kris might have taken today. It sure was hard keeping up.
Joel checking out the rear end
Lance might have ridden better in the Giro had it not been for this nauseating paint job. Kris' rig is much cooler.
This was a good early-season ride. Fairly short and flat with the exception of one very steep hill. Going back later in the season to see if that hill is as steep as we remember. I’m guessing it is.
Update: Yep, it is as steep. In fact, I think it is a little steeper. The flattest spot is 13%. It hits 17% and 18% in a few spots with plenty of 15% and 16%. I ended up walking it (again) and Cole damn near passed out at the top (again). Thinking about trying the route in reverse or scratching it from the list of next year’s training rides. As an indication of this ride’s steepness, there are actually 4 riders on the slope. You can only see two.