Went to Oakridge this weekend. 3 Day bike riding festival. No racing. Having finally gotten my bike fixed by the mechanics at Sellwood I was looking forward to some riding which I hadn't done on the mtn bike in some time. The bike performed phenomenally for the first time since I moved out here. Finally no shifting problems or gear jumping. Just took $440 (slight ouch) in repairs for a new rear cassette, front chainrings and cranks, and all cables replaced. Cheaper than a whole new bike though.
There were about 250 people riding their mtn bikes in Oakridge this weekend. We all camped out next to the beginnings of the Willamette river. The water was cold but it was a nice way to be lulled to sleep at night since there were a bit of rapids.
Hanging out by the beer tent.
Friday I put in 40 off road miles. I was abit sore on Saturday, but still put in 25 miles. Sunday my butt was so sore I didn't ride and went home. Seemed like the beginnings of saddle sores right under each butt bone. I rode 8 miles Monday and it seemed better. Not sure if it was the increase in mileage or perhaps since I forgot the Assos chamois creme, and had to buy something else that I forget the name of, that caused it.
Friday I rode 3 different trails. First 12 miles along the Salmon Creek. This was to become my favorite trail. Technical riding amongst old growth forest while hearing the rush of water and rapids next to you. The North side of trail along the creek is fairly easy, fast, and not to technical. The south side is much more technical with some short steep climbs and decents.
Next I was shuttled to the Larison Rock trailhead, up 6 long miles of pavement. It's 4 miles downhill starting at 3200' and ending at 1200'. So you descend about 2100 feet and climb only 7 feet. I had to stop 1/2 down at shake out the cramps in my hands from grabbing alot of brake. So within 30 minutes, I was back at camp ready for the next ride.
Finally I rode the Alpine Top trail. We were shuttled again. This time up to 4500' feet. The views were spectacular up here. Major peaks were visible north and south - the 3 Sisters, Mt Bachelor, etc. From here the trail did a bit of climbing and we spent quite abit of time staying around 4000 feet going up and down and through some amazing switchbacks. It was a little easier on my hands this time - no cramping but alot of shaking out the pain when we would stop for breaks. Towards the end, is was a fast descent through difficult switchbacks and along steep sides of the mountain back down to the bottom and a 9 mile ride along pavement and gravel back to camp.
Saturday, I took it easy and rode 2 laps of the Salmon Creek trail. First clockwise and then counter-clockwise - counter being the better way. At the turn-around were you cross the creek there's a nice bridge over some rapids and people were hanging out enjoying the sun and drinking some suds. I dove in the water to cool off and jumped out pretty fast too because it had to be about 45 degrees - freezing snowmelt water.
Just after my dip in the water...
I'm signed up for the festival again in August. I'm looking forward to doing some of the longer rides. The 30 mile Mid-Fork ride and then I'll probably do another Alpine. Although I'd have to say my favorite is still the Salmon Creek.
Here's where my midwest comes out in me. I'm still not a fan of being shuttled up to the top of these mountains to bomb down them and get hand cramps grabbing brake so as to not go flying off the side of the mountain. Perhaps west coast riders are more speed freaks? Also, it's not much of a fitness workout getting shuttled and bombing down mountains. Sure, it's like a roller coaster ride, but singletrack is where the fun is. And in my opinion, of all their rides, the Salmon Creek trail is the King of their trails although they don't bill it as that.
I met a couple groups of guys and after taking them on the Salmon Creek ride I was able to convince them how much better it was. I also exchanged numbers and hopefully will be able to find and ride some good XC trails near Portland.
If you do head into Oakridge, don't forget to stop and eat at the Trailhead Cafe. Awesome food. The edible flowers were good.
Plate of pasta and mug of beer at Trailhead Cafe.
Eating a plate of huevos rancheros on the way out of town on Sunday