Good grief. Lately it seems like my life has been in overdrive. Or, more appropriately, like I’ve been driven over. I thought maybe I could kick off a good week of riding Tuesday by meeting up with my good buddies, Jacob and Shawn for a reverse Conde Creek loop right after work. Of course work didn’t cooperate and after an hour delay, the loop was scratched in favor of a simple climb up Dead Indian Memorial and back down. We were lucky enough to be joined by local legend, Ben Brainard, for the ascent. Thanks for the pain, Ben!
With temps hovering around 40 degrees at the top, let’s just say the descent was less than cozy. It was fast enough for a new PR though!
Wednesday was reserved for a quick little Cycle A shop ride before calling it a day early to celebrate Eugene’s birthday. I’m pretty sure he isn’t 29 anymore. He just rides like he is.
After a couple days rest, I was ready for Saturday’s semi-organized, completely unsupported ride, the Spring Fling.
I guess it was about a year ago, while on one of our exploratory adventures, that Jacob came up with the idea to do some rides that showed local riders all the great gravel they may have been missing. We wanted to make them challenging and the Spring Fling, with over 8000 feet of climbing over 60 miles seemed like it would fit the bill.
While my name is on the event’s FB page, don’t be fooled. Jacob does all the work. All I do is go pre-ride our routes to make sure they are passable. This one was and it was awesome.
A group of about 25 of us rolled out of Cycle A at 9 am and quickly split into 2 groups. One group chose to do the slightly shorter, yet still tough, course. Nine of us committed to the long route and immediately kicked off the fun with a climb up Cady Road. From there it was a couple of fast descents before starting the slog up Anderson Butte Road.
Being a gravel grinder, we took the first opportunity to leave the pavement that presented itself and started a 5 or 6 mile journey of ups and downs along the west side of Anderson. Beautiful vistas of the Siskiyou Mountain Range were plentiful until we started the fast and steep drop down past Sterling Mine Ditch and on to Buncom.
After a much needed brownie and water break provided by Dave, Sheri, and their superior stashing skills, it was time to roll up through the Little Applegate Valley on our way to the bottom of Anderson Creek Road. L.A.V. is one of the purtiest places around. Especially during the Spring. It has some fun gravel that lends itself to an easily achieved quick pace if one is so inclined as well.
After the 40 or so minute climb up Anderson Creek Road, all that was left was a short climb up Anderson Butte from the south to Sleppy Mine Road.
Needless to say, we were happy that most of the climbing was over! We had one more stop to make in order to get a great view of the Rogue Valley before heading down the pavement of Anderson Butte, back into Jacksonville, and straight into the cooler at Cycle Analysis for some much needed refreshments. Thanks Jana and Vern!
Judging by others’ comments regarding the views, route, and pain, I’d say it was a successful ride. Well, maybe it was delirium talking, but I think it went okay.
Whaddya follow up a day like that with? Not sure what I should have done, but what I DID do was meet up with a group of mostly Grants Pass riders in Rogue River for a mellow Evans Valley ride.
Soooo…..It was supposed to be mellow, but a few of us were feeling frisky. I won’t mention any names, but there were a few spirited sprints and extended hammering sessions <ahem> Mark and Lance <ahem>.
It ended up being a really fun time and I got to meet some cool new people which is one of my favorite things about riding bikes.
While I didn’t hit the big mileage number I was looking for this past week, I had a blast and managed a respectable 140 miles. If every week could be that fun, I’d have a hard time finding something to whine about. Probably.