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Ride Report Archive May 2011

Purchased some new WTB Dual Compound Grips from JensonUSA Oe (Oreginal Equipment) removed from a new bike

Monday 5/30/11

Growlers Gulch Memorial Day ride.

I met up with Guy Smith and Jessie Lopez to get in a few hours riding. I wanted to check out the work that had been done on Canoe and Ace of Spades.

Joel and Ken showed up to take off on a gate to gate ride on the Golden Spike, or maybe that was gate to gate to gate, I can't remember. Once across those 25 miles of rugged mountain biking is enough for me and would take me as long as two trips for those two.

They taunted me with friendly teasing about doing the ride with them. The reward was a stash of brew on the Stella side to be consumed after making the crossing.

I know my limits and how aggressively these guys ride. They would be over and half way back before I reached the top of the climb.

We headed up the gravel to the power line hill, opted for the new line on the hill, where Guy rode away from Jessie and me. I caught a glimpse of him as he dropped into Predator, and then didn't see him again until we were back on gravel.

We bombed through the road trails, Guy again just pushing us to the max. Guy has a big competition coming up on Saturday; he is riding in a 6 hour race in Camas. I think he is pushing himself hard in an attempt to improve his endurance. The only sign of Guy was the fresh print on the track.

We finally caught up to him on the gravel just before the blue gate.

We slogged our way up the gravel until we reached Hyde, where Rob Larson and Jack Barry caught us. They were headed to Legacy, than they were also going to catch Canoe and Ace of Spades.

It was just a couple hundred feet up Hyde when I came across Jack, his bike lying on the ground next to the trail, stooped forward with one hand grasping a tree and the other pressed up against the small of his back; in terrible pain. I asked if he was Ok, and he told me that his back had given out, I could empathize with the visible pain on his face. I offered some Tylenol but he said he just had to work it out and asked if I would let Rob know.

Rob was headed back down the trail as I headed up the trail.

The track was good, just a few mucky spots but the bite was solid and I was able to clear some of the more technical spots with relative ease. That is until I hit the first exit.

I could see Jessie and Guy on the road just up from the first exit and decided to take a stab at climbing out on the steep little incline. Bad move; when the bike was fully on the slope, the front end came up. I tried to hold it with the back break. Dropping both feet off the pedals and leaning forward in an effort to bring the front end back down, suspended in a precarious balance for just a fraction of a second when gravity won out and I fell. Dropping to the ground and losing my balance, I continued my downward descent until I felt my ribs smack against my elbow, like a boxer taking a body shot to the ribcage, I felt that nauseating feeling of having the wind knocked out of me. Crawling to my feet, I picked my bike up and pushed it out onto the gravel.(Video)

We headed up the road to the Double Down trail head.

The entrance to Double Down has a log drop just after rolling a large mound; the drop was my first indication of the stabbing pain I would feel off every log, root, or rock drop for the next couple of hours. Not bad enough to cause me to stop riding but enough.

I also noticed I was a bit shaky as I negotiated for the best line down Double Down, so I eased off a little through this run, until I reached the bottom and started feeling more in control.

We rode up the spur road to Ace of Spades.

We shot down through the woods, over some nice rollers and around a sweeping banked corner to quickly crank up through some twists and turns and level off to a nice cruising speed until we crossed an overgrown spur road.

We were presented with two options, up or down. We took the high line. A good midrange climb that rolled through the woods until we hit the spur line again and took a sharp right around a tree to scream down the incline. The line roamed around through the trees, across the hillside and back over a ridge line to climb up and find the track running next to a spur road.

The trail was a little sketchy here, where both Jessie and Guy had ridden out onto the road. I could see the narrow track that continued straight ahead so I pushed on.

Guy and Jessie, making exclamations of surprise at the line they had missed, followed my lead.

I tried to roll a large decaying log that grabbed my large ring gear, as we followed the line down and across the hillside until we reached the new bridge that Thomas Mueller and Jeff Muldoon had engineered.

A sweet cedar plank bridge that was very easy to roll. An unusual sight in these woods.

It looked like we had a couple of options here, to go straight up the hill or take a track that went off to the left. We chose to go straight up the hill. We found a stash of a few cedar planks and the trail petered out.

Guy spotted a line a few feet away through the underbrush and we bushwhacked it across to that line. Turning left on the line which we had intersected, took us down around and back up the hill to end back at the bridge.

Thinking it was a loop that took us back to the bridge and we had just gotten off the line, we headed back across the bridge and up the hill, retracing our line back. When we hit the abandoned spur road, Guy pointed out the trail on the other side and said it was the trail we had ridden down on.

Back on the gravel we headed toward the Railroad Grade.

We found another trail head just before we reached the Railroad Grande and turned off the road to sweep down through the small fir trees, into a stand of broad leaf trees on a carpet of bright green clover that was accented by large tufts of broad sword ferns.

The trail dropped down over a small canoe log that spanned the origins of a small creek, to mount another climb up the opposing hillside.

We climbed and descended through the woods until we hit an overgrown spur road. It looked like the trail took this spur as the out.

Riding up the spur road, we noticed that Ace of Spades was also paralleling it at one point so we continued back to the gravel.

We picked up the Railroad Grade and rode over to the new trail.

Jim had mentioned that he was hoping to get wheels on it. Since we had not done any work on the trail the least we could do was to ride it.

Lumpy Bumpy, Jessie's favorite trail name, and a good description for what we encountered. This is going to be a good alternate to Jekyll and Hyde when it gets a little more use and some work done in a couple of spots. But the trail made me painfully aware of my bruised rib as we bounced through the newly cut line.

The tread was exceptional; the trails Ace of Spades and Canoe were great, clean and smooth riding on a track that has not seen a lot of use over the last winter.

The new line was fun and will be great once it is pounded out.

Saturday 5/28/11

Stella 5/28/11

I was sitting and waiting for Barry at our usual meeting place. The rain streaming down the windshield with such volume that it looked like the frosted glass in the bathroom shower.

Barry and Lucy arrived. I offered to use my rig, I had set a place up in the back for Lucy, but Barry said no, Lucy was settled in.

I transferred my stuff into his SUV and we headed up the highway in the pouring rain. By the time we passed through Kelso, the rain had stopped and when we reached Longview, the sun was shining and the roads were dry.

We parked at the gravel parking area near the end of Harmony, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, we quickly changed and mounted up.

Guy Smith and Jessie Lopez were there, doing final prep work before the ride.

Heading up the gravel we hit the first trail and climbed up the wet muddy track. The trail had a lot of standing water and mud, the climb was still do-able with one exception, the trail passes between two trees and drops into a large puddle. The sharp incline just after the puddle was just too slick for Jessie or me to make it and we ended up walking for a few feet until we gained a location with better traction.

We hit the gravel at the top and coasted down the spur road. There were two options here, the Lakeside trail and the trail George had shown me, where we opted for Georges trail.

It starts with a nice descent and cruises through the timber. The trail creates a swath through the thick green clover.

We rode it out until we passed the small backwater next to the road and then headed through the woods to find the main trail. Once on the main trail, Guy and I distanced Barry and Jessie, I thought they were right behind us but after waiting, we backtracked to look for them.

After we reached the junction where we last saw them, we turned back around and cranked it out until we found a line that looked good for the descent and bombed it until we hit the gravel right before the bridge.

We picked up Jessie and Barry at the bridge then headed up the hill on the gravel to pick up the line that leads to the skeleton trail. We roamed around on some trails that I am not familiar with and finally, after about 30 minutes of riding in this really crappy sunshine, we ended up at 10 trails.

We took a break and started off on the Chicken trails. Guy went left instead of right and I knew we were headed for the battery.

As we rode through the woods, I recognized the log over just before the little washboard of logs across the marshy area. As I dropped off the log over, I cranked it hard to hit the slick before the logs and cleared the washboard.

I took the lead at the battery and we rode down to the entrance to Tire Bite and Fast and Furious.

We skipped Tire Bite and just hit it hard down the screamer that was Fast and Furious.

Another short break at 10 trails and we started our exit route.

We rode through the woods on familiar trails that I do not remember the names to.

The sky darkened and I could not hear birds singing. Within a few minutes I felt rain drops.

By the time we hit Gateway, the rain was increasing. It was starting to soak through my jersey. I broke out my rain coat and we headed for the line that descended down the hill through the woods. An intense section of track that was thick with exposed roots.

At the bottom, I skidded down the brown, greasy slope to bump over the final couple of roots and splash through the ditch out onto the road.

I caught up with everyone at the bridge and we decided to finish out the ride on the Haryu side.

The track was now muck, as we grunted our way up through the woods.

The further along we went, the wetter and sloppier the line became.

I could feel the wet mud hitting my back, even though I had fenders on my bike, the spray was dense enough that my fenders were just covered with mud, my legs were covered with mud, and my shoes were now soaked completely through.

We were soon spread out along the line, and where we would normally have regrouped at intersections, we just kept plodding until the gravel spur.

Guy had lead out and he was gone. I waited a few minutes until Jessie, Barry, and Lucy showed up.

Lucy's shiny black coat and bright white tail were wet and mud soaked.

We skidded our way down the final descent to the gravel and rode it back to the cars where we found Guy trying to dry and warm up his feet.

A few minutes later the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds.

It was a great three hours of riding.

Thursday 5/26/11

Deschutes River ride 5/26/11

My plan was to hit the trail around 9 o'clock this spring day in May. When I looked out the window that morning at the big thermometer on the cabins porch, it read 32 degrees. I changed my plan and decided to wait until early afternoon to do the ride.

By 11 o'clock the temperature had gone up some 7 degrees and I decided to head for the trail head, it was not going to get a lot warmer and I was bored with the wait.

We wandered through the maze that is Sunriver until we reached circle 7, the trail head is just a few hundred feet down the road.

I stepped out of the car into a pelting of snow bead. Small white pellets falling and swirling from the sky.

The trail runs away through the pine trees, a solid line with a slight uphill to level grade for the first half mile or so. There was evidence of trail work, where a number of trees had fallen and were cut out.

The day was overcast and the snow flurry which had pelted me passed quickly. The thin white layer that covered the ground disappeared as I cranked through the next mile or so to the river's edge.

The river wide, placid and flat along here where there is an undeveloped boat launch for kayaks and canoes.

The trail does not follow the edge of the river but runs back away in through the pines, approaching the river now and again to serve up a picturesque view with Benham Butte as the backdrop.

Good track with a few roots and a sprinkling of lava rock.

I have ridden this route a few times over the years and was anticipating the short technical descent into Benham Falls parking area. But was disappointed when I arrived to find that the rock and root stepped descent had be bulldozed out and replaced with a gravel path.

A new line ran across this outrage so I continued on in disappointment to the pavement.

It appears that the forest service has put in this new line to connect the upper Deschutes trail to the Blackrock trail, which heads up to Lava Lands visitor center about 4 miles away.

Crossing the road, I picked up the start of the Blackrock trail for a few feet until I could turn off on a rugged spur that connects back into the Deschutes trail.

From here to Benham falls the trail is a wide smooth double track with the still placid river below on the right.

There is berming along the edge of the double track as it nears the Benham falls area where the roar of the river as it starts into the narrow gorge is plainly heard.

You can drive into Benham falls from forest road 41 out of Bend and there were two cars parked here.

The trail here is a graveled path with four switchbacks. The descent is very slight and there was a visible line on each of the turnarounds where the bike track is forming a small lip.

The descent leads to a viewing area; a stone wall with log rails that is built on top of a lava rock outcropping. There is a lava formation, a narrow reach that protrudes out away from the viewing area and stands high above the water. A chipmunk appears from the rocks at the end of the reach on every visit. He stands atop the rocks, a precarious position that he is seemingly, completely, unaware of. He turns his attention to each visitor with an expectant stance, and just as quickly turns his back to each and returns to the task at hand.

The trail for the next mile or so is an excellent track. Swift; it starts with a big banked corner if you want to take advantage of it.

The line runs up and down through good sized timber, skirting the river that has turned to rapids for a bit until the trail moves away and hits a section of mounds. Well developed mounds that have a spacing which I found perfect for pumping.

Another snow flurry hit me along here, it is better than rain; the small pellets just bounce off.

The trail is a wide single track as it moves away from the river and goes around a couple of backwaters in an area known as the slough.

Before very long the trail crosses the flat area, Ryan Ranch meadows. It is a gravel course running on a raised bed next to the river and ending at the parking area for Dillon falls.

The Dillon falls area is spectacular for both the falls and the track running along here. Not real technical but just enough to make it fun.

Instead of the crystal blue falls that I have seen in the past, the water is a little higher with a gray brown color as it rushes through the falls.

The track takes the high line as the river has descended to a level far below. It is visible from the track that runs through an area of large boulders and some rock steps, small ups that are all easily attainable with just one spot where the spacing between two large boulders chokes the ride to a stop.

I got pelted with another attack of snow pellets as I left the boulder ridge line and entered some pine trees.

The trail turns down hill here, a moderately technical descent that has one large boulder at the bottom that I again don't even try to ride. I could see lots of marks on the rocks here from bikers attempting to clear this very technical feature.

The next section of trail is a nice bit of single track that can be ridden hard and fast down through the Aspin recreational site.

At the Big Eddy recreation site, the trail turns to gravel for a very short ways, but there is a great little cut off that presents a great little rock challenge. A good challenge that is done best in a mid range gear and a little speed right off the main trail.

Once the trail reaches the Lava Island Falls area, there are a few spots where it starts to get a little more technical. It becomes narrower and tends to run high on the bank of the river with some steep side hill.

Soon the trail enters areas where the lava rock is very abundant. Trail descents demand attention to the line and ascents that being in the right gear is the key to clearing the obstacles presented. I always find this area exciting and rewarding.

The trail passes by a cave that was used by ancient Indian fisherman long ago.

The trail passes under rock overhangs that will cause you to duck as you pass under them.

A lot of riders get off and walk their bike through a few of these sections because the penalty for a mistake could be pretty costly, but it can also be exciting and rewarding to test your skills.

The track has been running high above the river and as it approaches the Meadow Picnic area it descends to the river's edge. It gets a little sketchy along here and it is an easy place to ride the gravel out to the road and glide down Century drive into Bend.

But the trail continues on and passes through an area littered with large boulders, many of the stones are 6 to 8 feet high and wide. There is a large cliff formed from stones such as these, just to the west of the trail.

Finally the trail goes up, over and passes by these very large rocks with one passage that I have never been able to clear.

The Deschutes trail comes to a junction with a short loop trail and a trail that heads up and over the ridge to the road.

It is about a 15 mile trek to here with lots of great single track and a sprinkling of technical. A good beginner to intermediate ride, where it is easy to walk a few sections.

Saturday 5/21/11

Growlers 5K

I decided to not do the 5k but to go up and try to get some video. This was much harder than I expected.

I showed up at 9:00 and rode out to the aid station. Left my bike and walked down Bitter Bitch to the switchbacks. I found a good spot where I could hear people coming up the switchbacks and set up to shoot some video.

After what appeared to be the nine o'clock starting group had gone by, I left.

I walked back out to the rode and rode up the gravel with Vaughn Martin until we hit Hyde, then I hiked through the woods to the top of KMA to setup.

I put my helmet cam in a spot where a limb bent up next to a tree, a very convenient location, pulled out my hand held and stood there waiting.

After about 10 minutes I could hear someone approaching the trail, so pressed the on button and waited for the helmet cam to boot up. I turned on my hand held camera when the helmet cam gave the beep that it was ready to record. By the time everything was running, the rider was half way past me. I didn't know if I had gotten the shot or not. To be prepared I could see the helmet cam had to remain on, in a ready state, good thing I had brought a second battery.

Another few minutes passed as I stood there listening to the silence, then a little noise from up in the woods, so I slid the record button on the helmet cam and pressed the start button on the hand held. The rider appeared, hammered down the steep, and blew by me.

I turned everything back off and stood there, waiting for the next rider. Listening, waiting, shifting my weight back and forth as I stood on the incline.

It is deafeningly quite. Again I hear something from over the ridge and quickly turn on my hand held and slide the record button on the helmet cam on.

A rider appears at the top of the incline, and glides down the slope to pass by. I turn off the hand held, slid the record button on the helmet cam to off and wait.

I found a good size stick that I can stand on so that I am standing level, l reach out and lean against the tree and wait...

A noise, I'm ready but no one appears. As I went to close up my hand held I wiped off some small droplets. Looking up through the trees I notice a heavy mist falling and wait in the silence.

After about two hours and 25 riders, a couple of them twice, Vaughn appears on the trail. Since I had ridden up the road with Vaughn, I figured I had gotten everyone, except I could not figure out what happened to Paul and Melanie. I saw them down on Bitter Bitch but they had not come by.

I scrambled down through the woods to the road and picked up my bike, and headed up Hyde. I thought I would see if there was anyone still on the track.

About halfway up Legacy I was overtaken by Bob Stanton, Davy Sprocket, and a young guy ridding a single speed. They were on their third lap.

When I hit the top of Legacy I rode up the gravel past the alder spur road to the cat road through the clear cut where Legacy is. My hope was to get up there and maybe get a shot of them riding Legacy from the top.

Finally on top, I got up on a stump and was looking down over the broad open area when the young guy on the single speed rode up behind me. Crap, I could not believe how fast this kid was. He told me that Bob and Davy were a little behind him, that he had to ride a little faster because he didn't have any gears.

I road down the trail a ways and caught a shot of them through the corners at the top of Legacy.

I rode back to the top and again mounted the stump. I could see a single rider, it was Ken Pearson. I waited until he had ridden out of sight around the hill and since I could not see any one else I decided to head down.

After doing WTF, I decided to ride down Vortex and see if there was anyone else on the trail.

About half way down I ran into Paul and Melanie. Paul told me they had done Legacy twice since the weather was looking dicey and were on their second lap of the lower stuff. That explained why I had not gotten a shot of them on KMA.

I bombed down Vortex to the gravel and then took the Railroad grade to The Grassy Knoll. From there I rode the spur road to KMA and set myself back up to get a shot of Paul and Melanie. Then I waited until finally Ken, Paul and Melanie bombed past me.

I was disappointed in what I was able to do. I am not sure the best way to handle an event like this, one that is so spread out. I really only got a couple of shots, the KMA stuff, some stuff on Bitter Bitch and I know I missed a few riders.

Thursday 5/19/11

Siouxon ride May 19, 2011

I met up with Paul Norris and Brian Vance at the Chelatchie store, we drove to the trail head where we ran one of the cars down to the bottom parking area so we could shuttle back on the return ride.

We started our ride at 9:00, the first and only people in the area. I stepped on the pedal and kicked my leg up over the bike, then eased over to the edge of the road and following the lead of Paul and Brian, dropped down over the edge. In less than a hundred feet, a tight switchback turned the trail 180 degrees and sent me down the narrow track that runs along a steep side hill.

Root and rock drops were plentiful along the first part of the descent. I was back off the saddle and bombing down the hill, where I soon find myself clamping the breaks and skidding to slow down for a strong left turn that seems to appear out of nowhere.

Flying across a flat, I came up on Brian who is taking some pictures. Brian is from Arizona and I am sure the landscape, the flora, the seventy year old timber has got to be as magnificent for him as it still is for me.

Brian disappeared down the trail as we took off again. The track smooth through here as we crossed a flat to the next descent.

Ripping down the track, I could hear my chain slapping the stay as my bike bounced down the root and rock embedded trail to the marshy area that was once the location of Hickman Cabin.

The trail dropped almost 500 feet through the forest, a well defined and mostly smooth track with just a touch of root and rock on the traversing descents across the hill side from one plateau to the next.

We had been on the trail for just about a mile when the line takes a turn and drops over a ridge to cross the first of many streams.

Around another ridge and we crossed another stream that was a little sketcher then the last, causing me to hedge my bets and dismount to walk across the gap, the stream falling off the edge of angular stones into a small ravine.

We passed a trail junction with a trail that goes down to the Siouxon where it has to be forded and then a very steep climb up to Hickman Butte and advanced trail for mountain biking.

We cruised through the timber until we were stopped by a large snag that had fallen across the trail, it was so large that I could not see the trail on the other side.

Of the several creek crossings we did, there were a couple of that were a little dicey. My bike came in very handy as a balancing point as I maneuvered my way from stone to stone across each creek and in one instance down the creek.

At the lower parking lot, the trail changed from a narrow single track to a freeway, a wide track that weaved down through the woods to a steep descent across the hillside down to a bridge crossing.

The Siouxon creek was running high but the water was crystal clear with an aqua marine tint.

Horseshoe creek was running high, flowing through the large boulders and bedrock that form a deep and narrow crevice, clear and clean looking. The sheer volume of water was deceiving in the passage, as it cascaded away from the narrow ravine to spread out wide across the face of the rocky hillside.

We continued on up the trail, a good track that picks up a little speed along here.

The big pool on the Siouxon is a popular place to hike in and make camp. Normally the stony bottom is visible through the glass like surface. Today the tranquil, placid pool was not to be seen. The falls and pool were all but obscured by the torrent of water flooding over the rocks and roaring into the pool.

The trail narrows as we continued, climbing high above the creek and wandering now and again away into the woods, the narrow track flirts with the precipice at almost every creek encounter, challenging me with rock gardens and forcing my focus on the line.

Just as we arrive at the bridge crossing the Siouxon we are stopped by a flood of water cascading across a rock shelf that is the trail. Under normal conditions there is a very thin layer of water flowing across the rock shelf, a spot that in the best of conditions presents a moderate challenge.

The first few miles on the return line were fast and complimented by hammering rock gardens that forced me to grip my handle bars so tight that my hands would start to go numb. Seizing every break in the intensity to shake a hand free and revitalize my grip before the next power section was upon me.

When the track widened back out it became fast and fluid as the trail was more forgiving with opportunities for a smooth line and lots of potential for hitting small features, root drops and powering through turns.

Finally back at the creek crossing below the parking area, we spread out for the climb, giving everyone opportunity to complete the ascent. The final ascent is a climb that requires good weight distribution and solid power pumping up the intense portion of the grade. So that you can gain a bench where you can slack off and recover before repeating.

It was an outstanding sunshine filled day and the track was good with just a few boggy parts.

Tuesday 5/17/11

It was solo ride day. I rode the trails at Stella. When I arrived there were 7 vehicles parked at the gate and the parking area.

I hit the trails at 1:00 and started on the climb up the Haryu from the gravel to the Lakeside trail. Where is the Lake?

The day was silent, windless. The sound of the climb, my heart beat ringing in my ears as I pumped my way up the hill, stopping when the line broke to catch my breath and wait for the natural rhythm of my breathing to return. The only other sound, that of a lone fly circling, looking for prey, as I leaned back into the climb.

Instead of riding the Lakeside trail, I turned downhill and rode a trail that was right across the spur rode from the Lakeside trail. George had led me up this trail on a return trip and I thought I would try to find my way across.

I followed the track as it serpentined through the woods, through a thick patch of clover, over a large hump and through a swale to bump across some large boulders onto an abandoned road.

I remembered George pointing this road option out, as I saw the trail head down through a small muddy ravine.

A hundred feet down the road and I pulled back into the woods to again follow the line we had ridden in the reverse direction and was immediately presented with an option.

I decided to head downhill some more on a discovery ride. Check out the lay of the track and if it started to drop in elevation too much I would ride back up and resume where I had left off.

The line went down a little, but turned and headed around the ridge, a good sign so I continued on this course. There were a couple of junctions with trails that headed downhill but I stayed on the uphill course. The trail was sketchy in places but was marked with red streamers hanging from the trees.

The line joined a more pronounced track that was more visible, wider and covered with a thick layer of fir needles. This track did not see a lot of use.

The trail ran out on to the edge of a ridge and climbed for a short ways, the sound of a creek down below was the only sound I could hear.

This track soon joined what looked like a main line, wide and well traveled, most of the needles ridden into the dirt. A firm strong track that soon crossed the old spur road and started to parallel it.

Passing a small pond that was formed by the road and a culvert, the trail turned and headed into the woods for a short ways, the forest floor covered with a dense carpet of bright green clover.

After being presented with a couple of trail options, I found myself off the track that George and I had followed, the firm well developed track had again become a softer fir needle covered line running through the woods.

Another trail choice and I chose to take the high line which took me past a wrecked truck, a very old wreck. The truck, its turquoise paint with splotches of red primer giving way to rust, looked like it had a very long hard life. It now sits in its final resting place atop a large mound, surrounded by the many hues of green with trees growing through its body.

The trail crosses the top of a small gully on a steep side hill and then turns to start a moderate descent down the ridge next to the gully.

It is a sketchy line that I lost and rediscovered a couple of times, the timber here has good spacing and very little underbrush which let me chose my own course in a couple of places.

In a short time I found myself at a junction where I could see the gas line off to my right through the woods.

I finish this run on the road trail which dumped me onto the gravel just before the bridge crossing.

I rode up the road to the gas line and then up on to Stella ridge. I wandered around until I was at Ten trails where I decided to follow the line I had taken with Ken and George last week, to ride up the Chicken trail to the battery and see if I could find my way back across to Tire Bite and Fast and Furious.

There was one spot on Chicken trail that crosses a decomposing log, then hits a very greasy short climb and onto a washboard of logs laid out on the path through a very wet section. The slippery slope and the approach it provided dumped me off the side of the logs, I tried three times to make clear damn thing and finally gave it up and walked out.

The Tire Bite was a sweet lollypop ride.

The Fast and Furious lived up to its name as I gave it everything I could muster.

As I rode back into Ten trails, Ken and Penny were there. We talked for a while then rode out. Ken taking me on at least one trail I had never seen before.

Then down Gateway to the bridge where we split up with Ken and Penny heading down the gravel and me back up to the Lakeside trail for my return run.

I followed the established line to the spur road, the end of the trail. There I turned right and back onto the trail I had started on and followed it to the first junction.

The trail ran down the ridge on a comfortable incline, I was back on the saddle and rolling a fairly straight line with very few features. It ended for me with a very steep descent that crossed another line.

I could see the gravel and knew that below me was the end of the road trail and on to the gravel, or I could backtrack a few feet and take the line I had just crossed.

The line was wet, very muddy with lots of sloppy slick spots. It would be a good line when it was dry, and I had to wonder where it came from. It was a short run that ended on the gravel climb up into the Haryu, I rode down onto the main road and back to my car.

Saturday 5/14/11

Met Barry at the usual time and place, we hit the trail just after 9:30

Barry has a couple of friends that he wants to guide through the easier stuff at Growlers, if there is such a thing. So we rode the lower trails in an effort to re-enforce Barry's knowledge of the lower trail system.

We started by doing Predator and Cousin Eddie. I was able to make the nasty little descent on the back side of Cousin Eddie like I had been doing it my whole life.

We followed this with Terminator and New Guy.

As we left New Guy, we ran into the GGG riders being guided by Juntu. Juntu and three other women riders are going to be competing in a 24 hr race in Bend, later this summer. I will be posting more on this later.

Barry and I rode up Belly and down Shooter. Great screaming ride that starts with a fast run through the woods over lots of swooping rollers, then turns and drops over the edge of a ridge down a controllable steep descent then across a natural table top to be followed by some washboard roots and on to the junction of Frosty and Trail of Tears.

We rode over to do the interval loop on the Trail of Tears, there are a couple of good stiff climbs on that run, although short enough that I can make the top before running out of wind. On the way back, right at the junction where the trail leaves the mini downhill, I spotted a horse lying in the spring down below. It was a mare and she had died recently. There were some flies but no smell or bloating. It looked like she had gone down to get water and gotten stuck, probably broke a leg.

We headed back to the junction of Shooter and Frosty. Did Frosty and headed back on the return line.

Back at the bottom of Beauty and Belly, we ran into Bruce, a new rider to Growlers, I had met a couple of months back at almost the same location; it looked like he was guiding some friends around the lower trails.

Shane Oberg and Ken Pearson also showed up. Shane and Juntu had just returned from a vacation that took in Moab, Cortez and the Phil's World trail system, and Fruita. Shane said it was some great riding but he didn't care for all the driving.

Ken had also been to Moab just recently, a couple of weeks ago. He told me that they drove straight through, and then hammered the Slick Rock trail before getting any sleep. Damn; I couldn't hammer the Slick Rock trail if there were aid stations every 2 miles and I had two days to do it. I was impressed.

Barry and I headed out to do the road trails

We flew down the first of the road trails, over the big rollers and through the banked corner. I blasted down past the trees, to the narrow right before the big climb back up to the road. I pulled over to let Barry take the lead on the climb, my plan was to hit the bottom hard, then just maintain balance as I ground out the next 25 to 30 feet.

Cranking away on the pedals, my view of the dirt gave way to the top of the climb and the sound of a greeting.

Standing on the other side of the trail was a lone mountain biker.

His arms folded across his chest, with one hand holding a flask type object which he was sucking on as we approached. "Hi, videoing the Super D? Do the Super D, turn on the camera", He said as he put the object up to his mouth and made a sucking action.

"Super D"? I replied inquisitively as I gasped for air.

"That's the Super Downhill, starts from the top of there", as he points off over his left shoulder in an upward direction, "to the bottom of there" as he his hand swipes through the air and points down to the ground on his right side.

"No, I... I think I have video of almost every trail out here" I gasped as my panting from the climb starts to subside.

"Yea, that's good, that's a great idea, I want to get one with a GPS" he replied as he raised the flask back up to his mouth.

"Yea, I don't have any video of the bid stuff like Big Wow or Rush, that stuff is still a little beyond my skill level", I continued.

The guy went on to comment on keeping it real, that he was a three sport guy, skiing, wind kiting, and mountain biking so he didn't want to jeopardize the other two by taking unnecessary risks, mountain biking, as he continued to suck on the flask.

I smiled and told him I too liked to ski and mountain bike but had never tried wind surfing. He continued by explaining which was the more dangerous, wind surfing or wind kiting, where the best place to do each was, and then told us the short tail of "Victor the Inflictor" a legend in the gorge.

After about five minutes, Barry said "hey lets go".

I stuck out my hand toward the man and asked "what's your name"?

He stepped forward, moving the flask from one hand to the other and shaking my hand, replied "Randy".

As he stepped back, he put the flask in a small bag and said as he looked down at the bag "this is an aspirator. I have ah... it's like bronchitis..." looking up in the air and folding his arms across his chest he said "what's the other name for that" ?

"Asthma" I said?

"yea, yea that it" Randy replied.

With that Barry was bumping over the log that lay across the trail and we were soon screaming down over the series of rollers that was followed by a blast through the woods, and up the narrow trail crossing the slope to spill out on to the road.

Barry turns to me and said "Damn I think that is the fastest I have ever ridden that".

We crossed the road and picked up Carnage trail in the center where it comes up close to the road, with the intent of doing Piece and Pound but when we got to the head of the trail, Barry said that he could feel his energy waning and wanted to ride out and catch the middle KMA, on down through Secret Garden instead of doing Piece and Pound

Just as we hit gravel again, Randy came riding up. We all rode up the road toward the middle KMA.

Randy continued up the gravel and Barry and I prepared to head down the run.

I rode around in a circle to shift into a good midrange gear before dropping over the edge. I shot down the ridgeline with just enough break to keep it under control, swooped around the little banked corner then pumped my way to the end of the next ridge line and followed the track down through the woods.

A great run, I stayed in the mid range all the way to the final two big banked corners. These corners just perfectly placed for me. I eased up to the top of the hill, and rolled over the edge, gently applying the break as I picked up speed. I released the break and leaned the bike away from the bank while extending my outside leg, letting the bike lean while I tried to maintain my weight over the tire line.

Then a half pedal stroke as I pulled the bike through the upright position and leaned it again in the other direction while the speed carried me through the second corner.

I have a lot of practice to do before I get this technique down, this set of corners would be a great place to do some session work.

After waiting about 5 minutes and not seeing my riding partner, I pushed my bike back up into the woods and rode back up the trail.

I rode all the way back to the gravel but didn't find Barry.

A little concerned, I though he may have headed back, Lucy might have gotten so tired that she may have refused to continue or, I didn't know, just knew he wasn't here.

I dropped back down the ridge line, looking for signs where he might have crashed off the track. Back down to the gravel. No sign of Barry or Lucy.

I decided to head back to the car.

When I got back to the car, Barry wasn't there.

A few minutes later, he showed up and said he had bombed all the way to the junction with Bitter Bitch and had ridden it back up and out.

That, can't be! I never saw you go by me and I don't know of any other trails off of middle KMA.

The tread was very good, there was a little mud and muck but the grip for climbing was great.

Thursday 5/12/11

Cold creek trail is part of the Tarbell trail. The Cold Creek trail section of the Tarbell trail that I am describing here runs from the top of Larch Mountain to the Dole Valley Rd or L1000.

I met up with Paul Norris and Andy Plassmeyer to do the Cold Creek trail ride.

We parked our cars at the bridge where the Dole Valley Rd (L1000) crosses Cold Creek. The trail head is north of where we parked a thousand feet. There is a logging road on the right, heading off the main road and the trail head takes off at the same location.

The trail takes off right next to the logging road and could be easy to miss. It parallels the Dole Valley Rd for a short ways then makes a switch back up the hill into the woods.

The trail here is characteristic of trails in this area, loose rock and rubble.

The next 1-1/2 miles is an old double track. The slope is moderate and ride-able in a mid range gear. The track is rock, rubble and dirt compacted into a rough coarse line that travels through timber and patches of clear cut.

This route bypasses a portion of the main trail, a much more formidable ascent.

After the double track merges with the formal trail it takes a turn uphill and the slope literally doubles from about 3 degrees to between 6 and 7 degrees for the rest of the climb.

The trail becomes more of a challenge because of the added feature; roots. Each climbing section and switchback now has root steps and plenty of rocky rubble to negotiate.

The lower part of almost every switchback seems to be pretty smooth, ramp up the cadence and lean into the turn. But as soon as the turn is made, there is always a unique presentation of root steps and large rocks, with most of them topped off by a water bar.

My riding companions both had mechanical problems. Andy has a flat tire and Paul breaks another derailleur on the climb. The trail is steep enough that Paul is able to keep up with us even though he is walking his bike.

After the first three switchbacks the trail climbs at a steady rate until it crosses the creek again.

Then the climb continues with 4 more switchbacks and one very unique rock outcropping. One that requires a shift up and a hard driving thrust to clear it, or guide your bike through a narrow opening on the left side but to clear this without stepping down will take some advanced ratcheting action with your pedals.

After crossing through a clear cut the trail breaks out onto the ridge. There has been some very extensive trail work along the ridge through the clear cut; some very well developed banked corners that have you screaming on the way down.

We climbed until we hit snow. We did not make the very top, but Paul told us it was just a short ways further on. I have reviewed a few other GPS logs from other riders and we were within 50 feet in elevation.

The ride back down is a railer at first, hitting all the backed corners in the clear cuts along the top section; very fast, very swift. Then it drops off the ridge to cross back and forth through the switchbacks to hammer down through the hundreds of root and rock drops.

The main trail continues to be an exciting technical bone jarring experience after it passes the point where the double track splits off. There are a couple of spur trails heading off up the hill to the double track but we stayed on course to a point where the trail splits. The real trail, the Tarbell trail, heads up hill to join the double track.

Leading away downhill is a decommissioned section of trail that has been reworked into a feature rich biking trail.

After a very steep descent from the main trail, the bike trail passes through the toughest rock garden I have every tried to ride. Needless to say I was unable to clear the whole thing.

That sets you up for a long slatted bridge, a bridge that by design is intended for bikes. The slats spaced 4 to 6 inches apart, supported by three logs, then two logs, then the logs get very close together as the bridge narrows from the starting width of about 3 feet to the ending width that is half that.

If you are intent on riding the bridge, my one word of caution would be to inspect the bridge before riding. When we crossed it there was a slat missing about half way across. It could be a bit of a surprise to find you have to negotiate an opening by riding the support log or lifting the front end and cranking through.

After a short rocky climb on the other end of the bridge, the rest of the trail is filled with very large log over rides. Most are like table tops but they are built completely out of logs. They are generally 6 to 8 logs high (6 inch logs) and about 6 to eight feet long with a width between 3 and 4 feet.

Tuesday 5/10/11

I showed up at Stella the end of Hamony Rd.

I rode in the Stella trail system with George on Tuesday. We started our ride by doing the climb up the first trail on the Haryu side. A couple of weeks ago I was up there with Guy, Jessie, and Barry. We climbed the Haryu side on the road, it was so damn steep, the trail is a much better choice for doing the climb.

The trail is a moderately technical climb in the first section; it starts with a short burst climb up a rocky approach to a bench that has lots of exposed roots to negotiate. About half way up my pedals start turning slower, the front of my bike gets much lighter but I am still able to crank it out. George and I stopped a couple of times during the steep climbing to discuss politics and the weather.

We rode the line until it ran out, bypassing all of the junctions, staying the course to the end.

When we hit gravel there was a trail just a few feet up the road, a connector trail that lead over to the Lakeside trail, but Gorge told me there were a couple of more trails further up the road.

We continued on up the road, the timber on the left side had been clear cut, and the road was just as steep up here as it was down below, small ring gear, large sprocket gear, leaning forward and cranking hard as we trudged up the hill.

George pointed out a trail as we re-entered timber, telling me it had a very steep downhill section that was only ride-able in the summer.

We continued climbing until we hit the gas line, a wide strip of manicured lawn running through a clear cut.

We were now on top of the hill with a great view of the Columbia River and Longview, the industrial area clearly visible below us with a half dozen or more stacks pumping white plums of material into the air. Off to the, east the cascades hidden in the cloud deck, and laid out in front of us the Stella ridge.

We dropped over the edge of a ridge on the pipeline trail a steep double track of dirt that almost disappeared as we approached the bottom, continuing on through the grass until we reached the edge of the timber. George stopped and pointing into the brush told me there was a trail here. I could not see anything.

We bushwhacked our way for a very short distance until the track started to become visible along the edge of the forest.

We followed the track down into the woods, George has been up here working on this trail, he pointed out a number of rough lines that lead down through the timber to hook up with the Lakeside trail, but we continued along the main line until we hit the spur road that leads up to the Lakeside trail.

We crossed the spur road and bombed down a well defined section of downhill trail. Exiting onto the gravel just before the bridge.

We bypassed the gravel climb to the trail head and instead did the climb up the Gateway trail.

A heart pounding climb that consists of steep sections of trail covered with extensive root systems, roots that are growing on top of roots, with tendrils running in every direction. A real skills development course.

Once on top and making our way through the network of trails, George and I were discussing what trails to search for and ride. George says that every time he rides up here with Bob or Ken, they seem to have a complete trail plane already worked out. As those words sounded in my ears, I heard another sound, a shout and off through the woods we saw Penny dragging Ken up the trail as fast as she could go.

We hooked up with Ken, who had a route plane, and did the Pioneer loops followed by six pack. Ken insisted I lead so that I could get more familiar with the trail system, but I was still lost, just following the line until we reached a junction, where like a border collie guiding the pack I would look back to the master for direction.

Once we hit 10 trails, we had some discussion about what to ride next, I wanted to do Tire Bite and Fast and Furious. Ken had me take the Chicken trails, following the line that always went left until we reached the battery.

At the battery, we crossed the double track and kept right to pick up a connector trail that took us over to Tire Bite.

These are a couple of my favorite trails in this system. The Tire Bite loop has lots of rolling twisting action with all the climbing broken up into short bursts, but Fast and Furious lives up to the name. This is a trail that gives back just what you put into it. The line is a real pump line. It is almost all on a down ward slope where the only real turns are for short burst climbs to gain the next bit of pumping rolling action.

We left the Stella ridge by way of carpel tunnel and picked up Beemans Byway out to the gravel.

Ken rode the gravel to the bridge while George and I went down the ridge trail and back up the creek to the bridge where Ken was waiting.

We split up here, Ken took the gravel to head on home and George and I started to ride the road trails. We turned up hill at the first opportunity and sweated and grunted until we reached the Lakeside trail.

We finished by staying on the main line of the Lakeside trail, riding it out to the downhill, and blasted that to the road.

Superb traction climbed some very steep stuff and hardly spun a wheel.

Thursday 5/05/11

COB at Growlers

12:00 Noon; riding circles in the parking area at Growlers. No sign of George and Von so I started the grid up power line hill.

Maybe I had gotten it wrong and they were waiting for me up at the junction or the blue gate.

I arrived at the junction just to find no one there.

I slammed down the next three road trails then rode on out to the blue gate, still no sign of the guys.

I cranked my way up the hill on gravel until I hit the entrance to Hyde and got my tires back on dirt. The track was very wet but my tires bit in.

When I exited Hyde, I stood, listening to the pounding of my heart as it quickly reduced in both tempo and volume and the roar of silence filled my ears.

Climbing Vortex, I spotted a very fresh print in the mud, a single canine like print in the track where it passed next to the creek.

The climb up Vortex was very sloppy, there have been a lot of wheels on this track and the soil is very saturated.

When I reached the alder spur road that leads up to Legacy, I again stopped and listened for a few minutes.

When I reached the Legacy trail head, I decided to ride it in the reverse directions, counter clockwise.

I pushed my bike half way through the new growth, past a couple of features that were challenging even on the descent.

The bottom of the climb presented a couple of challenges that I could not overcome.

I didn't even attempt to climb the big steep near the top; I didn't even attempt to walk up it, but instead cut across the ridge and just started riding in the general direction of the trail.

It did not take long to reach the top and once there I climbed up on a stump that had a great view of the clear cut and the surrounding forest. The visibility was good for such a cloudy day.

After throwing another layer on, I started the descent. Following the serpentine trail through the stumps and debris left from the logging operation that covers this hill, I made my way around to the back side of the clear cut where I came across Von and George coming the other way.

I headed on around the mountain to wait for them at the trail head.

We rode WTF and headed up the gravel to do the downhill run on creation.

Just as we got to Creation, we saw Jim, Paul, Rob, and Andy as they were about to climb the alder spur road up to Legacy. We exchanged a few pleasantries they headed off up the trail.

As we turned our attention to the descent on Creation, I was anticipating the work that Jim, Dave, and Keith had done on the trail. They did a superb job of cleaning up some very wet and nasty areas. They cleaned up the bridge access on the upper creek and really did an outstanding job of firming up the log crossing on the lower creek. They firmed up all the wet sections between the two creeks by hauling in rock and improved the drainage.

The lower log crossing has always been a bit sketchy, but now the damn thing is so ride able that I didn't even hesitate. It is firm, the approach is very clean and even the radical right hand turn is almost do-able for me.

We bombed down Double Down and all of the KMAs.

We finished our downhill screamer on the super features trail, Secrete Garden.

After doing the little loop across from the bottom of Secret Garden, we hit the spur road and followed it to the ridge trail to finish up. I have to say that the ridge trail is a much better climb out then Bitter Bitch.

As we were riding up the road, we ran into Dave LeMonds who was just entering one of the road trails. He was out for a couple of hours of riding.

Von looked at his watch and commented that it took us 4 hours to do one loop of the 5k. Von is looking at about 8 hours to complete the 5k, which was just about what it took him last year.

Tuesday 5/03/11

COB ride at Stella

The Crotchety Old Bastards; Ken, Bob, George and myself hit the trail system early in the afternoon on Tuesday.

We did the Skeleton trail(s), starting by doing, in the reverse direction, the trail Guy, Barry, Jesse and I had ridden Saturday before last. This trail is a sold ride in either direction. The trail makes a run down through a growth of small conifers on a wide bench. The terrain flattens out and the fir trees give way to alder until it regains the top of the hill. The small groves of alder trees turn the trail into a skills development course on how to negotiate a narrow path.

Someone told me that at one time a lot of the riders frequenting this area were taking their bikes to the shop and getting there handlebars cut down to 25 inches so that they could better maneuver the trails. I know that I have to slow my pace and do a lot of shuffling with my bars, leaning back and forth while turning and twisting to clear some of the tight spots

We followed a route that took us to the Ken, Bob, and George trails. Built by the very crew I was riding with, although that can be said for a large number of the trails up here. They ether built them or helped in the construction.

The Ken, Bob, and George trail is one of those trails that's comfortable for riding in either direction. Although both times I have been on it we have ridden out a double track on top of the ridge to make our return trip on the trail. The trail runs along the top edge of the ridge, dropping down at opportune spots to take advantage of rolling terrain.

Some of the trails took years before completion, which was the story of the Canadian trail. George pointed out a number of hard to see spur trails, which acted as connector trails that were used to access the trail construction. These led to other places or routes to exit the trail system back to civilization or at least to a more familiar route.

As we cruised along through the woods it was turning into a very nice day, the sun breaking through the overcast. The calm quiet of the forest where the only sound to be heard was the tread on the trail, the sound of the tack as the wheels from our bikes pressed the trail for traction.

The forest has bloomed with clover, everywhere there is a thick carpet of fat green clover leaves with our trail cutting a serpentine swath through it all.

We made our way over to the Ten trails area by way of the Canadian trail. Ken had to leave so that left the three of us to take on the Supply and Demand loops, followed by Pin Ball and then we made our way over to a trail that Bob and Ken have been developing.

The new trail is still under construction and was primitive, no track. The line marked by limbed trees and sparsely hung colored ribbons. The forest floor a soft carpet of detritus and bright green moss with a few ferns scattered randomly around.

The new line has a nice downhill that is taking advantage of swells and mounds that seem to be abundant throughout this area.

We had hardly gotten started when Bob's bike picked up a stick that snapped his derailleur off. Bob walked his bike up to the Main Line trail where we split up.

George and I headed over to the Haryu side and finished our ride on the trails over there. George took me through a section of trails that criss crossed through the woods mid way up the hill side. A net work of trails that had me baffled with a half a dozen intersections. Some good single track that will require at least one or two discovery rides to uncover the secrets held by the Haryu.