Get Lost

Well, here we are at the end of Summer.  Seeing as how I’m about 1000 miles behind pace to hit my year’s goal of 6500 miles, I guess I should be satisfied with my other goal.  And, I am!  My favorite goal this year was to HAVE FUN riding.  After last year’s drive to do all the double centuries, I’m 100% satisfied with my ride choices this year.   The fun bucket is nearly full and there’s still a little more than 3 months left.

 

Never one to turn down a ride when there’s a good meal at the end, I jumped at the opportunity when the Tuesday Night Ladies made their last ride of the season available to fellas too!  It was one of my favorite rides of the year.  Who doesn’t like a big ol’ pile of spaghetti after a hard ride?

 

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Those girls can ride!! Old Military Rd doesn’t scare them!

 

I was finally able to make it back out to Jacksonville for our Cycle Analysis Wednesday Night Ride for the first time in what seems like a month (maybe cause it was a month?).  While I wasn’t able to stick around for the whole ride, it was a much needed reminder that my diet needs to include more mountain biking.  Soon!

 

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Fall is nearly here. That means weekly night rides on the awesome John’s Peak trails aren’t far off.

 

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A much needed rest after tackling the partially washed out Halls of Manzanita Trail.

 

Knowing my final big race of the year was fast approaching (next weekend), I figured I should use Saturday to get my September century in before it’s too late.

 

With a relatively flat and easy century as my goal, I rolled out just after sunrise and headed to White City.

 

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The traffic on Upton Road hasn’t exactly been neighborly lately, but it isn’t bad at 7 in the morning.

 

With no real route in mind I zig-zagged my way toward Meadows Road via Table Rock Road.

 

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Thanks to the unexpected cloud cover holding the previous day’s heat, it wasn’t quite as cool as I thought it would be early on.

 

Making it up as I rode, I changed my mind about turning south and riding to Ashland in favor of climbing up Meadows Road.  Once over the hill, my choices were left through Wimer and on to Rogue River or, right to Antioch Road and back to Sam’s Valley.

 

Wait!!  I could always ride Evans Creek past the Antioch turn.  I hadn’t been up that way on a bike and it’s been a good 15 years since I even drove that road.  Sold!!!

 

Not remembering a single thing from so long ago, I kept spinning until the pavement ended 4 miles later.  Just as I was about to turn around, I saw a paved Forest Service Road to the left.

 

Hmm…Where does that go?  Up.  I could tell that much right away.  Another 4+ miles of climbing investment later and I reached the point where West Fork Evans Creek Road turns to gravel.  I mention investment because that’s what it felt like.  I wanted to know where this road went.  I had an idea, but with not a 4G signal to be found, I couldn’t check Google Maps to verify my assumption.  Turn around? Or, take the Masi and my 23 cm road tires on a gravel adventure?

 

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The point of no return. Gravel it up or be a sissy and turn around?

 

ONWARD!!!

 

The gravel wasn’t that bad.  There were plenty of signs of a recent (or maybe current) logging operation in the area and the road had been graded leaving some decent smooth spots to make things a little easier.

 

I haven’t mentioned how beautiful the area was.  The road followed the creek for quite some time.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good shots of the creek.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t lay the poor Masi down in the gravel several times as I attempted to!

 

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My poor road bike is getting used to such sacrifices.

 

After a good amount of climbing, I eventually reached a spot clear enough to receive a signal.  Yes!!! I was only 20 miles from Trail and 10 miles from pavement.  How much worse could the road get in that short of a stretch?

 

Edge of your seat???

 

Well, it actually never got horrible.  But, it wasn’t exactly pleasurable.   The road got steeper and rockier as I neared the top of the mountain.  I traded better traction for less chance of flatting and left my tires pumped up to near max psi as I attempted to avoid any boulders (ok, baseball sized rocks).

 

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While the road never got TOO bad, I did take an occasional forced break since my aired up slicks didn’t take to the chunky rocks too well.

 

Despite being excited to finally reach the summit, I knew the descent was gonna be sketchy on the narrow tires.

 

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Fortunately, the road back down was better than expected and I was able to hit 18-20 mph most of the way.

 

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And, finally!! Pavement. I was 10 miles north of Trail on Hwy 227. What a fun descent that was on fairly new pavement most of the way to Hwy 62.

 

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Shout out to all my USPS homies.

 

After a brief rest in Trail, it was nothing but a quick blast on Hwy 62 to Shady Cove, Rogue River Drive, Agate Road, and back through White City to the 5&9 HQ building.

 

I didn’t get my century.  But, I got an adventure and that’s always more fun.  I did manage 79 miles, so I’m alright with that.

 

Hang on.  The weekend isn’t over!  And, this week it wasn’t a hike on Sunday.  Nope.  Even better!

 

Thankfully, Ruth has some awesome friends, and even though she had to miss the ride, I got invited!!  So, it was up to the Greensprings for a fun day of gravel grinding along the canals.

 

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One of my favorite places to ride. So scenic!

 

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Kate and Julie framing Mount Shasta in the background.

 

I think only 2 of the 7 of us had ridden along the canals in the past.  It’s always so much fun sharing cool experiences with people for the first time.

 

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I wasn’t kidding. It’s a pretty sweet ride. If you haven’t done it, you should.

 

 

 

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Jen was killing it Sunday, and she seemed to take great pleasure in putting the hurt on the rest of us.

 

 

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Gaps between riders were important on the dusty portions of the road. Kate, Annie, Julie and Travis follow Nicole around the corner. Jen dusted all of us.

 

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If not for the canal (and carbon fiber bikes), I could almost imagine being on the set of a western at times.

 

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I took a lot of pictures!

 

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The last one. I promise.

 

 

So you see.  It would have been pretty difficult to pretend I didn’t have fun last week.  From the amazing scenery and dang good spaghetti to some truly awesome riding partners and excellent conversations I can’t think of a better week I’ve spent on a bike.  I hope the rest of the year is this good!

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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