It’s fair to say that every now and again I get a little homesick for New Hampshire. There are the obvious things like……that is where most of our family is. There were some of the little things though that I was missing off and on the past couple years.
For example while living in both Portland and then Hillsboro when we first moved here the road riding was good but mountain biking required driving someplace and gravel rides took at least 10-12 miles of pavement to hit anything. Back in New Hampshire I could do mixed terrain rides and be off pavement in as little as 2-3 miles from my front door. Rides like the Jim Hill River Walk were great examples of mixing pavement, singletrack and dirt roads to get in a fantastic loop. This was before “gravel bikes” where a thing and I had the Salsa Fargo as my multi-surface machine.
Since moving to Forest Grove last year those types of rides have become a thing again. It may seem like a small thing but being able to leave my house and be able to hit pavement, singletrack and gravel roads all on the same loop has really made me happy. I knew I missed rides like this but I guess I didn’t know how much.
Today was just such a ride. After three straight days of rain, and well over 3″ in rainfall, all the creeks were swollen. The typical flood prone areas were high but no road closures that I could see. Instead just the fields along Fern Hill were now ponds and all the drainage ditches where fast moving streams.
I went out before the rain was due to return in the late afternoon. The goal was to make a connection with Lee Rd out of Cherry Grove and back to Hagg Lake. I was 98% certain where it would come out and that there wouldn’t be any issues. Until I actually got the chance to ride it though it was an unknown.
Turns out you pop out right where the Stimson Main Line heads out into the hinterlands, it was pretty much what and where I expected too.
One fun part was I popped out onto the pavement again right at one of the many access points to the singletrack loop around Hagg Lake. With an option of riding back on pavement or adding in some singletrack it really wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
I’ve got some Schwalbe G-One 2.8″ on the Salsa Timberjack right now. They are pretty fantastic multipurpose tires but do not handle mud all that well. Given the rain we’ve had the singletrack section I rode was a bit dicey with a layer of mud on top of hardpack dirt. Throw in some roots and fallen leaves and I took it more gingerly than I would in the summer months. Still fun as hell though and was a nice distraction from the pavement back to the Dam.
So yeah it was just a ride but it was a nice ride and it was a mixed surface “choose your own adventure” type ride. Once the weather improves there is quite literally the chance to turn this into a 50, 60 or even 70+ mile ride. For now though I’ll take these micro adventures when I can.
Thanks for reading,