This is turning out to be another busy spring and early summer. I feel like either I am racing, Mia is racing or we have plans to go someplace between April and July. The “weekend at home” seems few and far between.
I’m not really complaining. I like exploring and visiting new places, but, sometimes just a ride from the house and chilling out at home afterwards are what’s called for. This weekend was one of those weekends.
With the High Cascades 100 less than 3 months away it is time to start getting in those long endurance rides. Saturday I did what is fast becoming one of my favorite Oregon loops. I leave from home (Forest Grove) head out to Banks, take the Banks-Vernonia trail up to Vernonia and then cut over Timber Rd, cross 26, Through Timber to Wilson River Highway and then drop down to Gales Creek and head back towards FG.
Other than the short 3 miles on the Wilson River Highway this route has very little car traffic for what it is. It does help that 22 miles of it is on the BV trail. Which at times is sketchier than the roads with errant children on bikes, runners with headphones in and slimy wet moss in some of the corners. The key is to hit the trail early when fewer people are using it. If you go past 10AM it’s a sure fire way to run into a lot of users between Banks and Stub Stewart. The section beyond Stub is generally a lot less busy in my experience.
It was cold and windy on Saturday. So the stop at Black Bear Coffee was greatly appreciated. A double shot of espresso and a little dessert were perfect before hitting the road again.
I feel like I timed it rather well. The winds were out of the northwest and they were starting to pick up by the time I was heading mostly south and east. The worst bit was when I got back to FG and turned left onto B Street. It was like a slap in the face how strong the winds were getting (easily 20+ mph). Good thing it’s only 2-3 miles home from there.
Temps where mid 40’s when I left, low 40’s in Vernonia and barely 50 by the time I got home. The wind just made it feel colder. I pretty much stay bundled up for the whole ride finally losing my jacket the last 10 miles or so.
As any cyclist (or runner) knows you can run into some pretty mean dogs out in the rural areas. Leash laws are hardly followed or enforced. This little guy was the complete opposite of dangerous. He came romping up into the street from his yard while climbing up out of Timber. his ass was wiggling a mile a minute and he had the huge dopey grin on his face. The first thing I tend to do for a dog like this is stop. He obliged but quite literally jumping up on me and smothering me with dog kisses. So yeah, not at all a mean dog. I tried to persuade him to go home as I started riding again. He kept following me up the climb and really wanted to continue to play. After a little bit of talking with him though he finally turned around and headed back home.
All in all I ended up with a bit over 4 hours of ride time and right around 73 miles. The goal is to now continue to build on this long ride and try to get one “good one” in every 2-3 weekends between now and July.
Sunday I headed over to Hagg lake to mountain bike the 13 mile trail around the lake. The conditions were by far the driest I have ever ridden there. Living in Hillsboro before I tended to only come here in the fall/winter months and it could get nasty to say the least. Now though, it’s a 9 mile pavement ride to the trail, 13 miles around the lake and 9 miles back home. Hard to not do it more often now.
When we lived in New Hampshire I used to be able to do 20+ mile mountain bike loops with only about 4-5 miles of pavement total. So this is about as good as I can get here and still remain a decent commuting time to work. Again, not complaining. Just pointing out the differences.
The temps today were much nicer. Wind was gusty but not anywhere near as strong as yesterday.
For as long as yesterday’s ride was I felt pretty decent today. Not killing it or anything but not lagging either. Perhaps some form is finally coming along?
Thanks for reading,