Doin’ It Right (Almost)!

It looks like the smoke has finally made it’s way to the Valley.  So far it hasn’t been bad, but this morning I was riding the motorbike down I-5 to work and thought it was raining.  I wasn’t getting wet though, and my highly perceptive mind finally realized (after about 10 minutes) that it was ash.  Bummer.


I haven’t had to deal with cycling in the thick smoke we’ve become accustomed to here in Southern Oregon over the past several Summers yet.  Unfortuntely, last week may have been the last smoke-free week for a while.  I hope not.


Anywho. Onward.


With the final race of the Oregon Triple Crown less than a month away, I figured I should probably start riding a little more if I want a fighting chance of actually finishing it.


Tuesday and Thursday I knocked out a couple 20 mile loops that took me up to Gold Hill and back.  They were so UNspecial, the rides didn’t even deserve a single photo.  But that’s ok.  I took plenty over the weekend.


Ruth and I headed down to Lake Siskiyou and Saturday, bright and early….


Wait.  No.  It was like 9:15.


So, Saturday, around 9:15, we started the climb from the lake up toward Gumboot Lake with the goal of doing a 50+ mile loop.  That loop would have taken us up a 4000′ climb, around Castle Crags, through Dunsmuir, and back to the lake.  We had every intention of completing the task.


1 Start
Ruth setting the pace from the get-go as we start the climb up toward Gumboot Lake.


Having ridden the first three Castle Crags Century rides, I knew the climb would be tough, but the scenery is amazing.


2 Sunburst
Castle Creek doesn’t have a lot of water in it, but the tight canyon and big rocks make the deep clear pools look very inviting once the day heats up.


3 Pool
There was definitely no shortage of things to photograph.



In the past, riding the centuries, I’d always tried for a good time while climbing the long ascent.  It was much more pleasurable this time around.  Nobody to race.  Nothing to prove.  Ahhhhh…..Zen…


4 A
It was all I could do to keep from talking myself into following the gravel road in the background. Next time.



Realizing that even though we had nothing to prove, we still wanted to get back to the lake before it was time for dinner, so we pushed on.  At just about 12 miles in, we made the decision to take the short detour from the main road in order to see Gumboot Lake since I’d never stopped to check it out in the past.


5 Gumboot
Gumboot Lake, small but scenic, made even prettier by a nice Masi parked near its shore!


While I don’t regret the decision to visit Gumboot, I do wish I hadn’t flatted.  But, I did.  And the decision to only bring one spare is one I DO regret.  With over 50 miles to go, some of that over very pot-hole ridden roads, we chose to drop back down the hill to base camp.


Feeling like 25 miles just wasn’t enough, I grabbed my other spare tube from the car, told Ruth I’d be back in a while, and headed out for the short but steep climb up to Castle Lake.  A mile later, sounding like a gunshot, I blew out another tube.  Turns out my tire had an issue along the bead that I hadn’t noticed.  That was my sign to give up and enjoy the day in a more relaxing way.  But, not before walking back to the car.


6 Shadow Walking
2 Flats = 1 Mile Carrying My Bike


7 Canoe
Riding the bike is pretty rad, but paddling a canoe with Mt Shasta in the background isn’t horrible.


Finishing the day with a campfire and some awesome new friends isn’t half bad either.


With the road bike catastrophe behind me, we hopped on the mtb’s Sunday morning for a lap around the Siskiyou Lake Trail.  Despite my appetite for a hard ride not being satiated the day before, my partner in crime and I were into another mellow ride to finish off the weekend.


8 Sign
The sign at the beginning of the trail seemed to say we were doing the right thing.


Going counter-clockwise, we came upon a pedestrian bridge just a few miles from camp.


9 Bridge
Wagon Creek Bridge


10 Long Bridge
What a cool bridge!


12Ruth Bridge
In fact, this bridge is SO cool, it made its way into 3 photos in this here blog.


The lake isn’t very big, and subsequently, the trail isn’t very long.  But, it does pack a good bit of sweet scenery into a relatively short ride.


I like having Ruth around to take pics so I’m not the only one. I guess she’s ok as far as company goes too.


I couldn’t just do the regular trail. No. I made sure we went on almost every little side trail too just to see where it went.   Come on!  You can’t live your life wondering!


At the upper end of the lake, the trail gets somewhat exciting as it takes you across the wide, rocky bed of one of the filler creeks. I’d say there was a million dragonflies buzzing around us at this point, but that’s just a guess since I stopped counting at 87 ’cause they wouldn’t be still. You can see a couple on the right side of the photo.


Like I said, the lake is small and the trail is short.  At mile 8, we were done.  I’m certainly not complaining.  It was a great little ride.  I just think we’ll have to do 3 laps next time.


So that’s it.  My big plans to kick it into high gear for the Triple Crown didn’t quite work out.  Instead, I had to have fun and enjoy life while riding my bike.  Geez.  When does the pain start?


Next week.  That sounds good to me.

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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