I’ll blame Dean for this one…..he brought up the idea of the St. Helens Epic and I was all over it! It’s going to be a LONG day, but it is going to be a lot of fun (I must remember that). The name of the game over the past few weekends has to get in some long days. Last weekend it was all about gravel and this weekend it was the gorgeous Nestucca River Road for a nice long day on the pavement. I rode the Nestucca last year with Dean and Nick on an oddly nice February day.
Our gravel ride gave me the chance to make a connection I thought was possible on paper but you never know until you actually do it. Mia and I ride Dairy Creek Rd several times a summer on our road bikes. We always turn around where the pavement ends though. I knew looking at the maps it should be possible to get to Scappoose, Banks or Vernonia. Dean had to be at a BBQ in Scappoose so I mapped out a route that would get us there. It was a nice 64 mile loop for me and 55 miles for Dean from his house to the end for him in Scappoose. The hardest part of this ride was definitely the “gravel” roads. It should go without saying that there are many types of gravel roads. We were greeted with logging roads that were made for big huge trucks and very little thought was put into comfort. The gravel was large and chunky. Even the downhills, which usually are a place to rest a bit, demanded your full attention due to large baby head rocks strewn about.
It was hot too. I think it topped out just shy of 90. Not a lot of shade on this loop either. We ended up getting some great views of Hood, St Helens and Adams. Saw one truck out there and 2 motorcyclists, otherwise no cars at all for several hours.
I was pretty cooked by the time I got home. Dean was reportedly very quiet at his BBQ.
This past weekend we opted for the smoother pavement option of Nestucca River Road. Mia said her and Codi would meet us on the other end and drive our butts back home. I mapped out a route that avoided route 47 between Gaston and Carlton. It was going to add about 5 miles over going straight down 47, but was way quieter for traffic. Well I messed up on a left/right combo (it should have been right/left) that added about 5 more miles and we were tickling 42 miles before the adventure really began.
It’s about 13 mile of steady climbing from Carlton to the summit and then almost 30 miles of very slight downhill all the way to Beaver. Toss in a flat tire only a couple hundred yards into the 3 mile gravel section, some heat, my extra 5 miles and a heck of a headwind the last 16 miles and we were running about 45 minutes behind schedule. Luckily Mia had just arrived at Pacific City with Codi when I called her and she backtracked to meet us at the Shell station in Beaver. From there it was back to Tierra Del Mar with some burrtios and sit on the beach for awhile while the surf came in. Another great day in the saddle!
Not that I need a excuse to ride my bikes, but having a goal like the St. Helens Epic helps my focus and set some goals. I’ve got to thank Dean for always jumping on these long days with me.
That is about it for now.