After two aborted attempts earlier this year to get this ride up and running Brian Hart shot for a 3rd attempt scheduled for May 20th. The last two attempts were foiled by snowfall and impassable (on a bike) roads because of said snow.
Well Brian nailed it this weekend. The weather was darn near perfect and while the turnout was lower than when done earlier in the season (we all have cabin fever in March/April ) we still had a good sized group of riders role out this morning.
Brian very smartly changed the start location from a hiking trailhead to the local Washougal, WA school parking lot. This did several things, namely kept us from pissing off hikers by taking up their parking lot and most importantly knocked off several miles of paved road riding. This got us to the gravel that much quicker.
I headed out with Bogie and John from Beaverton to meet up with Trevor (and everyone else). The mutually agreed upon statement between the four of us was to ride casually and not hammer the thing. We mostly kept to that promise.
I’ve got some fond memories of this now yearly ride. I’ve met quite a few people on this ride that have become friends. I also believe Brian appears to have a similar belief in gravel routes as me. This loop is a fabulous mix of gravel with paved roads tossed in at appropriate and sometime fortunate times. It all ends up linking together a 43 mile loop with over 5,000 feet of elevation gain.
The whole Hart family really goes above and beyond taking care of all of us. They setup a fabulous spread at the 1/2 way point with fruit, cheese, PB&J, and so much more….plus homemade cookies! Though admittedly Mrs. Hart forgot them for the first stop but atop the last climb of the day Mr. Hart was graciously handing out cookies to us as we all arrived.
All in all it was a great day to be out on the bike with friends. No injuries to report though a couple of us may have caused some minor damage to our bikes while descending….myself included. I’ve got to check on the status of my rear wheel and a nice little “dent” in the carbon rim. It held air for the rest of the ride after pumping it back up and was still holding air this morning as I biked into work.
Thank to John, Mark, Trevor for riding companions and to Brian and the whole Hart family for the route, food and support. I look forward to this loop every year.
Thanks for reading,