Ride This : Lyle Explorer 2.05

Lyle_Explore-11A bit of a late write up here. We rode this in the middle of November 2017. Ron (OMTM) had recommended a road called Fischer Hill, just above Lyle in Washington. A little bit familiar with the area, I wanted to connect this upward winding gravel to some other amazing roads in the area and also finish on a killer descent. That’s the way I like to finish rides. This route delivered. Continue reading “Ride This : Lyle Explorer 2.05”

Ride This : Lyle Explorer 2.05

Ride This : Windy Ridge NF25/99

Almost an institutional ride now, this being my 4th time. This ride has mind blowing landscape and killer mountain views of Mt. St Helens, WA. With the added bonus that its 100% traffic free delight (right now).

Mileage: 81 Miles
Elevation Gain 8,000ft
Elevation profile – Out and back. with large amounts of climbing.
Terrain: 100% road
Ride Route: here Ridewithgps
Services: Limited to none, recommendations in text below
Bicycle: Road or touring

NF25 and 99 are closed winters, gated and generally open up to motor vehicles in Early July. This translates into 81miles of car free enjoyment. NF 25 is a tree lined beautiful road that twists it’s way through the Gifford Pinchot National forest up to the first viewpoint of Mt. St Helen’s. The visual rewards come early at mile 15 with a great view of St Helens, from there a mix of descending and climbing the real fun comes when you break tree line on NF99 and are exposed to the dramatic rocky, wind-scoured landscape and fantastic views of St. Helens, Mt, Hood, Adams and Rainier sometimes. The top section of NF99 is rolling, twisty and a visual delight. The lower section is a bit of a climb from 2800ft to 4,000ft, a nice climb.

You can leave your car at the Pine Creek Information Center to start. Here are bathrooms but no other facilities. (An alternative route is to start in Randle Washington and head South on 25 (instead of North). The road from Randle will probably be open for traffic, but NF99 will still be gated and closed. Alt Route here, warning I have not ridden the miles from Randle to NF99)

TIPS
Since services are close to non-existent, and also depending on when you ride, the roads closed, you have to be prepared.

Road Status: Check NF99 status  Here . Check NF25 status here

Food – Take the food you need, see below for drop bag details.

Tools – During the times when the road is closed for traffic there can be debris on the road and light rock debris especially at the top of Windy Ridge. Some of these rocks can be sharp – worst case they can slice your tyre- make sure you take tyre boots and the rest of the puncture fix gear you need,

Hydration – In moderate temperatures, I have ridden this with 3 large water bottles, I would say I am an efficient person. In hotter conditions, I carry a musette bag or a small rucksack with 2-3 extra bottles in it and hide them under trees at the marked point on the gps map – about 25 miles in, where there is a parking lot. This is great to ensure 2 bottles to the top of Windy Ridge then upon return you have another 2 for the way back. If you leave food bars here, make sure they are sealed.

There are springs / rivers that run beneath the roads, most are not accessible, they are far down and on sharp rocky descents. If you go at a time when there has been a lot of snow, you will find quite a small water falls that you can filter from.

first_climb_view_01_webFrom the first viewpoint at mile 15

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A little bit of snow on NF25
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Cool Waterfallnf_99_view_08_webnf_99_view_09_webspirit_lake_10_web
Spirit Lakenf_99_view_11_webnf_99_view_12_web

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Mt. Hood in the background thereriders_13_web

 

Ride This : Windy Ridge NF25/99

Dalles Mountain 60 Ride

The Dalles mountain 60 route is a staple in cyclists books. Amazing views and a mixture of road and gravel. This year we decided to ride it the day after the March 11th organised / unorganised ride due to conflicts and the chance of a lot better weather the next day. Continue reading “Dalles Mountain 60 Ride”

Dalles Mountain 60 Ride

Rapha Festive 500

RAPHA FESTIVE 500

Epic, amazing or telling the world a “hard man” cycling story is not my take on Festive 500, for me it’s about perseverance and conquering while finding the reward in both mental and cycling fitness.  Needless to say my wife’s perspective is a bit different, but the Rapha Festive 500 is tough, always has been, and after having done it a few years I sorta knew what was in store – but in all honesty, I was not even sure I was even going to complete it. It’s a challenge that requires a lot of riding (500km to be precise), you have 8 days and I missed riding on the first 3 days. Remembering back to the 2015 Festive 500 gave me horror thoughts; 2015 was really hard, wet and cold, so I was not even fully committed. In a post-Christmas typical manner I have to work full time during that week; these all sound like excuses not to do it or to half arse it. Finally, I bucked up my ways but it took me until the 27th to mentally commit. 

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headed east – the warmth of the sunrise

I find it best to plan routes, it helps me stay on track and not just slack off and find a cafe mid ride! This year because I had slacked off in the first few days meant that I was looking at riding about 60-70 miles (97-115km) a day to complete the challenge. Now fitting that into a regular work / life schedule is pretty difficult, especially starting midweek. Another challenge this time of year is having routes which are safe, and when I say safe I mean routes that have good riding surfaces, no ice, no huge piles of grit / gravel in the road and on routes which are less travelled by cars but are efficient and safe.

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the northern lake – interlatchen

Most of my rides started at zero bloody dark thrity (or 6:30 am) in order to get to work on time, sometimes the temp dropped to 28degrees and freezing fog, but this year was pretty dry in general – thankfully meaning no ice and I would hasten to say even sometimes quite rewarding as you start in the dark and cold and you ride into the sunrise with the feeling of warmth hitting your many layers of cold-defeating gear.

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freezing fog near the portland docks

After 3 days of  70mile (115km) rides you can definitely feel your fitness start to come back. This feels great after a few slacker months of Sept, Oct and November where I did not do a ton of riding. I found logging miles on Strava and enrolling in the challenge also kept me engaged and tracking how much left I had to go and how I was comparing with everyone else.

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tagged boat chained to a gate, trash everywhere, every day find right?

This year with the lower temperatures and lack of timing I found it best to break rides into 35mile (56km) routes, which meant riding twice in a day. Once early morning and another in the evening. At about 2.5 hours each ride, this is quite a commitment, as my wife and family can tell you. Don’t forget to add in the preparation time and bike cleaning and maintenance, your gear needs to work if you are going to crank out 500km in 4 days.

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nr i5 bridge – marine drive
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Looking west the eastern light provides a nice glow

If I had to do something differently I would say ride with groups and friends, they make the miles go by a lot faster and you can pick up route tips. Freezing fingers are rubbish and distracting so I would also say make sure there was always a pack of hand warmers in my jersey or jack, just in case.

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marine drive sunrise

2017, you should do this! Plan your routes, wear good gear, make sure you have newer durable tyres because changing punctures in the cold or wet is not fun. Oh and maybe prepare your wife (here is my wife’s sunshine view of teh Rapha Festive 500)

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foggy mornings
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Most of my miles were solo not by choice, but my last 50k was spent with these guys, makes clocking the miles easier.
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And of course, it’s always good to take quality cafe breaks
Rapha Festive 500

Circumnavigate Mt.Hood

Mount Hood – 11,249ft, pretty, and you can cycle around the whole thing in a day. This is my 11th time riding this route around Mt. Hood, each time with minor variations but each as impressive and inspiring as the first.  Continue reading “Circumnavigate Mt.Hood”

Circumnavigate Mt.Hood

BlackSnow 2016

Wednesday night hammer, 5:15pm – Vera Katz on the Eastbank – Bring your Roadie skills and a spare set of legs.

Regular route is Springwater > Cemetery > Terwilliger > Chart House Climb > Fairview > Council Crest > Hewett >61st > Barnes >Skyline > Zoo > Hawthorne > Ladds


6/15 – The first climb (cemetery) is always a tough decision for me, crush it or save for later. Luckily tonight was chill(er) yet Joe setting the pace after some first turns then Seb (orange starburst) bringing the heat close to the end, punching it hard in his rocket ship steez.  He took it, I fell off the wheel right at the end. I blame jetlag.

Then the climb to Fairview, a few interesting construction elements to say the least! a sand pit a curb, luckily I was third through so I got to dig holes for the others:-) but again lost it at the end by a handful of wheels. Joe crushing it.

The battle between Josh (tropical blue starburst) and Joe began, chasing like nutters. I was chillin. Then the icing on the cake. My favourite 61st climb, i knew 10% into it I didn’t have it, my pop is normally proper mad at the bottom of 61st at the old hump. Then my legs fell off on Barnes rd so I had a chat with Tony. It was worth it. Tony is da humblest (yellow starburst)

5/25 – Some local superstars showed up. Joe’s red trek bike looks pretty saucy digging the finish on the paint. My cemetery climb was slow today, body wasn’t having it.  But after the climb to council crest, I woke up and smashed 61st ave climb, sorry to whoever I bumped across the yellow to my left – my head was buried in my bars for that first kicker. It’s gonna be three weeks till my next wed smash, so enjoy fellas. Ride safe.




5/18  – the great Black Snow throwdown as usual, starts off with that nice flat springwater corridor that me and Dylan love so much, then turns into the regular uphill pukefest and as usual Sick Nick Gibson was crushing, holding my wheel like a monster. Watch out for the shimano logos and pink livery, it indicates a monster time.
A nice number of folks showed up,  making for a nice pack and chit chat, Joe on his new superlight 13lb Trek with a spicy matte red finish and Dylan on his fancy pants carbon and electric. Sebastian seemed to be healing up well from his your de tarmac last week. Till next time crushers.

BlackSnow 2016

Blacksnow June 29th

Today marked Ron’s inaugural ride, 82degrees and busy as hell on the Springwater, neutral roll to a full on LaCava cemetery climb, gapping all the way with a few in the chase group, I’m second trying to close 3 bike lengths, Bernie pulls by me, I egg him on. LaClava is 5bike lengths on Bernie now, Tom and Seb come whizzing by, they run out of juice before the gate. 12345…. Nice job.

Second – LaCava keeps form and crushes the second climb up to Fairview from Charthouse, I egg Bernie on and give him a shove “don’t let this happen again” in a joking manner. this time,  LaCava only gapping Bernie by a couple of bikes with me and Joe in tow. LaCava has the audacity to roll back down a little, punk.

Third. – LaCava keeps form and crushes the second climb up to Fairview from Charthouse, I egg Bernie on and give him a shove “don’t let this happen again” in a joking manner. this time,  LaCava only gapping Bernie by a couple of bikes with me and Joe in tow. LaCava has the audacity to roll back down a little, punk.

Forth – Joe takes the flyover to Council Crest rd, everyone seems to peter out for the Council Crest climb, well maybe not, but im at the back chatting shit with Josh, so whatever…

Council Crest has a free play piano. yeah that happens and its pretty cool. Ron of The Shins tickles the ivory. Then Seb gets on it for some swinging shenanigans. Not sure what the evening lawn dwellers thought, but I liked it, Bravo musical cyclists.

Fifth – Hewett comes fast. Im solid chilling chatting it up with LaClava about road racing and how cat3’s are fast nowadays, like endearing old men but LaCava is a young punk. Something happens at the front. I don’t know but I’m like yeah 61st climb is next. Oh shit.

Sixth – Dropping into 61st climb fast with Tom on the speed approach, I like it this way to kick the first bump, go in fast, top gear and just grind, summit then recover. Tempo up, push it.I keep a gap. I see LaCava, punk, he’s on it. Hold him off by a solid 15-20..Break the stop sign onto Barnes rd and hold it. Punk gains, I think it’s over, then he fades. I soft roll to the end. Propper buggered.

Crew kinda breaks up a bit, chaps roll off. I’m well out of it now, buggering around taking photos as normal. Then I think Bernie took the lads sprint from Joe but it’s a blur to me.

Till next time. Good crushing. Beers next time, apologies on bailing,

Blacksnow June 29th

Petal Pedal ride 2016

There’s something good to be said for a simple yet highly rewarding bike ride. If you have ever wanted a day on the bike,  a simple day with lots of camaraderie and beautiful views, but you don’t want to climb up steep mountain passes or to have to think about where to get water, food, or even too much about stressing over the route,  the Petal Pedal is for you.  Continue reading “Petal Pedal ride 2016”

Petal Pedal ride 2016

Mt Rainier – Sunrise ridge, Cayuse & Chinook Pass

Mt Rainier, the scale of the mountains and valleys can only be expressed by being experienced. I am familiar with Mount Hood which is a big mountain – 11,000ft, but the scale and the formation of rock and valleys of Mount Rainier – 14,000ft in comparison is simply breath taking and a must ride. Continue reading “Mt Rainier – Sunrise ridge, Cayuse & Chinook Pass”

Mt Rainier – Sunrise ridge, Cayuse & Chinook Pass

Portland Starburst Ride

Wed 6/15 – The first climb (cemetery) is always a tough decision for me, crush it or save for later. Luckily tonight was chill(er) yet Joe setting the pace after some first turns then Seb (orange starburst) bringing the heat close to the end, punching it hard in his rocket ship steez.  He took it, I fell off the wheel right at the end. I blame jetlag.

Then the climb to Fairview, a few interesting construction elements to say the least! a sand pit a curb, luckily I was third through so I got to dig holes for the others 🙂 but again lost it at the end by a handful of wheels. Joe crushing it.

The battle between Josh (tropical blue starburst) and Joe began, chasing like nutters. I was chillin. Then the icing on the cake. My favourite 61st climb, i knew 10% into it I didnt have it, my pop is normally proper mad at the bottom of 61st at the old hump. Then my legs fell off on Barnes rd so I had a chat with Tony. It was worth it. Tony is da humblest (yellow starburst)


Jetlag. Thats what im sticking to.

Portland Starburst Ride