Who Wants To Climb?

Whaddya know?  Two weeks in a row!  I told y’all last week I was re-committing myself to reporting on my adventures more faithfully.  I may not always have much to say, but I’m not afraid to say a lot about nothing!  Lucky for you guys, I had another somewhat adventurous week.  And, even if you don’t feel like reading about it, there’s lotsa pics to check out!

The weekday rides weren’t all that exciting but were notable for a couple reasons.  Tuesday, the 5&9 boys finally rode together as a group again!  After what seemed like a month of conflicting schedules and Shawn becoming a new dad, we got out for a short, fast (painful) blast out to Jville.  It felt good to be back with my besties.

1 Crazy Mofos
Jacob throwing gang signs though I’m not sure who he was throwing them at. Meanwhile, Shawn just seemed happy to be on a bike instead of hanging out in the hospital.

As usual, I was back on John’s Peak, Wednesday evening, for the Cycle Analysis shop ride at Action Sports where I got my electric bike past year.  There was a strong group that decided to do some climbing, and we didn’t mess around.  If my legs weren’t tired from Tuesday, they were ready for bed after Wednesday.

2 Michael
My nemesis from last year’s Gravel Epic, Mr. Michael Davis, showed up for the Wednesday ride. That guy’s so fast, he’s even a blur in pictures!!

A little ride here, a little ride there, and before I knew it, it was Saturday.  I was ready to show a bunch of my buddies one of my favorite gravel loops out of the Applegate Valley!!  It wasn’t to be.  Some were racing.  Jacob was volunteering at the race.  Others had to work.  Poor me.  I guess I’d have to spend the day alone.  Even though the majority of my rides used to be solo, it seems like a long time since I’ve been on a good backroad adventure by myself, and I have to admit I was a little hesitant.

But I went anyway.  Parking just past Applegate Lake (and just over the California border), I started out by pedaling back along the lake before taking Carberry Road. Until Applegate Lake you can ride on car or truck , I suggest using this carbon frame bikes racks to transport your bike in a propper way

3 Applegate
They say the lake is dropping 8″ per day, but it still has a good amount of water in it.

3 miles up Carberry was the landslide I had encountered a couple months ago.  It doesn’t appear anyone has done any work on it.  Ever.

4 No Go
The landslide has cut down on the already light traffic along Carberry Creek. A dream if you’re on a bike.
5 Steamboat
A mile later I was at the Steamboat Ranch and the left turn that started the climbing portion of the day’s ride.
6 Steep
“Narrow Steep Road” was accurate. From this point to the top of the climb was about 15 miles and 3700 feet of climbing.

There were very few glimpses of wide open vistas for about the first 10 miles of climbing.  I was good with that.  It was a warm day and the road was buried in deep forested shade for most of the climb.  Between the lush green, occasional clearings, and trickling mountain streams, I was satisfied with the close up views.

7 Huh
One of the few sunny spots along the climb.

Not only did the vistas open up as I neared the top of the mountain, but the higher altitude wildflowers were in full bloom and provided some eye candy of their own.

9 Daisies
I wish I could have shared this ride with someone. There were thousands of daisies, and lots of other flowers, along the last 5 miles of the climb.
8 Butterfly
Butterflies and bumblebees were everywhere as well.
10 Red Buttes
Alright, my last wildflower pic. But, this one has the Red Buttes in the background.

When I finally reached the summit, just below Whiskey Peak, the earlier lack of views was more than made up for when I could see the Red Buttes, Mt Shasta, Mt McLoughlin, Roxy Ann, and Greyback Mtn all from the same spot.  It was amazing.

11 Cock Rock
Of course, I’m not smart enough to take a pic of all those mountains I just mentioned, but I did take this one looking the other direction. I guess it’s kinda cool.

With literally 95% of the climbing behind me, it was time for 17 miles of nearly all downhill gravel road blasting.   But, not before a 1 mile stretch of sketchy old road that is now a rutted out doubletrack dose of mountain biking goodness.

12 Narrow
The first time I ever rode this loop, I did it on a cx bike. While doable, I don’t advise it. It took me what seemed like a week for the feeling to return to my wrists after the long rocky, washboard descent. You’ve been warned!

Like I mentioned, it’s a LONNNNG descent.  Fun, but wrist and back-rattling at the same time and I was happy to hop off the bike when I reached the car.  I know I say it all the time (I really do mean it), but this was a great ride.  Between the wildflowers all over the place and the clear blue skies, it was a refreshing reminder of why I enjoy riding in the middle of nowhere sometimes.

Wait!!  The weekend wasn’t over.

!!!!WARNING!!!!  I’M ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT HIKING AGAIN, SO GET OUTTA HERE IF YOU DON’T CARE!

Unlike Saturday’s lonely man ride, Ruth and I managed to convince a decent number of friends that a birthday (Ruth’s) hike was a good idea.  This week it was time to conquer Wagner Butte.

The 10 of us hit the trail just after 8 am.  Well, 9 of us hit the trail.  Ryder, not quite 2 years old, was living up to his name by hitching a ride up the mountain on his dad’s back!

13 Glare
Yeah. I take a lot of pictures. I find it much easier to stay upright while doing so when hiking vs. riding a bike…

Just like my ride the day before, we were in shaded forest for most of the climb up and surrounded by wildflowers.  Aside from people asking how far we’d gone (and not sounding too thrilled when the answer was something like, “2 miles of the 5 to the top”), everyone was in a good mood.

14 Karma
Ruth learned a valuable lesson on this hike. Never make fun of the person in front of you for tripping on a root. You may trip on the same root a second later and end up off the side of the trail. We tried not to laugh until we were sure she was ok. Tried.

Eventually, we reached the summit.  Unlike last weekend’s Thielsen near-debacle (I love that word), there were no soul-searching moments before climbing to the top.  The rocks were easy to scramble up and once that was done, we were rewarded with a view of the Rogue Valley and far beyond.

15a Valley
It was an awesome feeling being able to see Mt Thielsen in the distance after having climbed it just a week earlier.
15b Summit
Jared is signing the log book, or taking orders for lunch? Rob is trying to see his house. Some nerd in a sorta green shirt is attempting to rest his legs. And, Ruth is managing to not fall off the trail again while displaying her ever present smile. What a crew. Thanks for the photo Melissa!

After a mostly whine free 5 miles back to the car (I whined the most), we had another notch in our belt.  Wagner Butte – CHECK!

I’m digging this hiking thing and all, but I’m treating it more like cross-training.  It’s almost time to knock out a century on the bike again.  I think it’s been over a month!   Maybe this week…

Aaron Mock

Local cyclist, crazy mofo, and good-natured masochist, Aaron Mock, is a Team Cycle Analysis rider with a penchant for taking the road less traveled. Sometimes, that isn't the best choice. Follow his weekly blog series for the latest on his never-ending escapades and exploits!

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