Ron Lewis of Our Mother the Mountain has been working on a series called 5 Questions which is focused on creatives who ride bikes. There is so much cool shit happening in Portland and it's rad that Ron has been uncovering it through this series. Head over to OMTM to read the full story!
It’s officially Fall in the Pacific Northwest. The rain is falling and soon the majority of our beloved trails will be covered in snow. Syncline is a trail system just 67 miles away from Downtown Portland and runs all year round. "If you aren’t familiar with the Burdoin Mountain - Coyote Wall - Catherine Creek areas, you’ve thus far missed out on experiencing one of the Gorge’s truly unique treasures. Situated just upstream from White Salmon on the Columbia River, these adjacent areas feature rugged cliffs, Oregon white oak woodlands, wide open meadows and sweeping views of the Gorge that rival any other around. The unique soils and climate have created some very special plant communities that include many endemic and rare wildflowers that deliver a spectacular succession of colorful displays. And with unique plant communities come unique species of animals that are equally as rare as the plants they rely upon for habitat.” - Washington Trails Association
Our latest adventure started with the long climb up Little Maui and Rim View Rd. The views are gorgeous and I could do hill repeats all day on that trail alone. We connected with Shoestring dropping us into a twisty canyon of tight single track covered in Fall leaves. As the group pulled away I found myself all over the trail. I back off realizing I need to ride at my much slower pace to not only enjoy the ride but to eventually become a better rider. Michael has a catastrophic flat which destroys his rear rim. It’s been an odd day of mechanicals. As Michael walks back to the car we get in one last loop climbing up the Jeep Trail and connecting it with Little Moab. Hugging the cliffside Little Moab is littered with challenging rock gardens and formations. Again as the group pulls off I find myself off the back and over the bars. I am relatively new to Mountain Biking so everyday on the trail is a learning experience and I am ready for more!
We warm up our legs in route to the Mavericks Hotel, the start of the Oregon Outback in Klamath Falls Oregon. We are greeted by a parking lot full of riders ready to take on the infamous 369 mile route created by Velo Dirt. It’s 7am and the group rolls out. Bikes are everywhere. It’s fucking chaos. The first 8 miles of the OC&E Woodsline State Trail is paved and here riders scramble to find their friends and get into position.
The pavement quickly gives way to the rugged rail bed that once carried timber and cattle through the Pacific NorthWest. It feels real now. We’re on the Outback. This is the fucking Oregon Outback. Our group of three forms into a group of seven; Dave, Don, John, Calvin, Bryan, Brad and myself. We’re a goofy bunch from Portland, Berkeley, Los Angeles and New York. I know Don; Don knows Dave, John, Calvin and Bryan. Calvin knows Brad and so on and so on. We’re an eclectic bunch and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of dudes to ride with.
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The gravel dances beneath our tires as we make our way through the vibrant green. We eventually catch up with the clouds as we make our way through Switchback Hill. With our rain jackets on we navigate our way through the muddy switchbacks in route to Sprague River.
We spit out onto the road and grab lunch at the Running Bear Deli. The place is packed with BikePackers. The line is out the door and my mouth is watering. Pulled Pork Sandwich or Burrito? I went with the locally smoked ham sandwich. Winning. After filling our bellies and our bottles we head back on the road. The trail follows the Sprague River and I recall this particular stretch being pretty muddy from the rain . At some point Dave hit the deck and I narrowly missed running over him. We had a good laugh and took a detour in Beaty to load up on Water and most likely some form of Junk Food.
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Back on the trail we pedal along Five Mile Creek in the Fremont National Forest; which is just fucking beautiful. I recall moments where the woods opened up and the creek twisted through a lush landscape of green. It was so cinematic. The long day on the saddle was taking a toll on me. My body was longing for food and I set my eyes on our 7pm reservation at the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Dave had legs and set off to make sure we could eat our 30oz Top Sirloin Steaks.
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The sun is setting fast and we realize we’ve missed the turn to the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Was Dave there waiting for us or did he miss it too? We take a moment to figure out our options. Do we ride back and look for the turn off? Do we push forward and hope Dave meets us at camp? My energy levels are at an all time low and we decide to push forward.
Dave is shivering in the Silverlake general store. The sun is nearly down and the temperature is quickly dropping. We all missed the turn for the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Bummed but it’ s a huge relief that we’re all back together again. Cold hot dogs and frozen burritos kinda taste good after a 120 mile day anyways.
I am pretty sure I met Brandon York like 10 years ago. I imagine we were both stoned and probably riding the Fun Spot (R.I.P.) in Santa Cruz.
During my 10 day stay I definitely jumped at the opportunity to shred old man bikes with an old friend.
Brandon took me on a alternate version of the ride I did with Dale.
There are so many options in the Bay Area and Brandon has his loop dialed.
It's hard to figure out what to wear in the Bay Area. Arm warmers? Vest? Maybe?
The Kinfolk kit is handsome as hell.
The All City can't corner for nothing.
Rolling down Spruce.
Celebratory Gordo's burrito!
Yesterday I set out to explore Nyack and Rockland. One discovery after the other ended up putting me in a position of either having to ride another 50 miles home or another 20 to the Metro North. The photo set blow takes you through my 70 mile journey from Brooklyn to Garrison New York. Here are a few quick highlights :
- No arm warmers, knee warmers and vests were used! - Climbing over 5370 ft - Still baffled that dudes can buy 7000 Red equipped bikes and can't make a corner without clipping out - Discovering some incredibly challenging climbs just out of Nyack. - Discovering the Hook Mountain Bike Path