Call me what you will but spending over 7 hours in the saddle for a ride is a sure fire way to have a good day. I’m also going to have to say that I am grateful for a wife who understands that I need to, every once in a while, go out on a long day like this and beat myself into oblivion.
Saturday was the rescheduled Timber Logjam put together by the folks over at Our Mother the Mountain. The original date was snowed out after our nice little mid winter dumping a few weeks ago. The higher elevations of this route received 9+ inches of snow (still visible at points during the ride). The route itself is “only” 52 miles but the start is “only” 15 miles from my house, so of course the idea was to ride out, do the route and ride home. How else was I going to beat myself into oblivion? Also there would be enough people taking up the precious few parking spots in the tiny town of Banks.
Mark (Bogie) and I ended up riding the whole day together and swapping back and forth with some new and old friends. That is one of the nice things about these rides, it is basically ride at your own pace and stop whenever the heck you feel like it. Yeah there is a group that like to race/hammer the course but there are plenty of people also just looking for some camaraderie and a challenging route.
Only 9 miles into the ride we hit up Jay & Alison’s famous coffee and cookie stop (and tea, beer, blackberry vodka, bacon!, etc). It actually came at a good point for me since I was now about 24 miles into my day and the breakfast was starting to wear off.
After a quick snack stop it was a short distance into the back side of Stub Stewart and some of the first singletrack of the day. When I was riding my fat bike out here in the snow the Unfit Settlement area was closed due to logging so I was curious what it would look like. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as I feared and while it has been thinned out, it isn’t decimated.
Most of the downed trees above have nothing to do with the logging going on. It was damage from the storms in early 2017 that beat the heck out of this area.
After leaving Stub the next few miles were more or less the Hell of the North Plains in reverse.
This year’s connection from Stub to Timber and the Reheers Camp area was much improved over last year and I assume was made to avoid the potential conflict we had last year with a Stimson Lumber vs Weyerhauser land and a surprised individual to see so many cyclists out there on a random weekend OR it could just be that the OMTM guys had some time on their hands for route modification?
If the Salmonberry Trail ever gets completed in my lifetime I wonder how much of this route will see a heck of a lot more travelers? I was pretty surprised when we popped out of the woods at the sharp turn on the Timber Rd descent. Some fantastic route design allowed that one to happen.
We hit up a part of the Gales Creek trail near Reheers Camp. This is not so bad on a mountain bike but on the gravel bike it was definitely a bit more challenging. It wasn’t helping that earlier in the day I had a branch catch in my rear derailleur and while no major damage it screwed up my shifting a bit. My lowest gear was a bit compromised as in the chain didn’t want to stay in the largest rear cog. I did a little trailside maintenance (bend the hanger with my hand) and it kind of helped but wasn’t ideal.
Above is the last shot I took of the day. We still had about 20 miles to get back to Banks and then still another 15 to get home. I was starting to feel a bit fried at this point and just concentrated on pedaling the bike.
Thanks to Mark for keeping me company and riding home with me. Also thanks to Ryan and everyone/anyone else involved in the route design. Lastly, we totally scored with the weather sunshine and temps in the high 50’s low 60’s.
Thanks for reading,