Forgotten…But, Not Gone?

Wow.  I’ve tried starting this entry probably 5 or 6 different ways, but none of them were working for me.  I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve written anything.  I know it’s been long enough for me to have forgotten my password to the team blog.  Ugh.  With that outta the way, I’m just gonna dive in and see where this goes.

 

It seems like life has been so busy since the year began.  Not that I’m complaining!  It’s a good busy.  Part of the reason I haven’t written anything for so long is because I’ve really focused on trying to get my riding back on track.  I’ve set some lofty goals for 2017.  I’ve decided to concentrate on an elevation goal rather than a mileage goal and I’ve been having a lot of fun climbing since about the 3rd week of January.

 

At the beginning of the year’s journey I (along with everyone else in the Rogue Valley) was battling a lot of snow at pretty low levels.  While that’s all fine and dandy for a while, it really puts a damper on the climbing options.  I spent a lot of time going up and down a lot of the same streets and roads around Jacksonville since they are close to home, but recently things have been um….looking up?

 

A few weeks ago, a bunch of us got together to celebrate Jared’s birthday by doing a good ol’ gravel ride.  We hit Griffin first, and after a couple of mechanicals (mine took a half hour), we took a new to all of us shortcut over to Sterling Creek Road and Woodrat Mountain.

 

This shortcut between Griffin and Sterling Creek was so much fun AND convenient.

 

Jared, Dave, and Destry look down upon the Applegate Valley from one of the paragliding launch sites on Woodrat Mountain.

 

After dropping down Bishop Creek, we headed up Forest Creek, and after being turned away from Timber Mountain by snow too deep to have fun carrying bikes through, we dropped down John’s Peak back to Jacksonville.  It was a great ride with great people and gave me a good day of elevation gain.  I think it was somewhere around 5500′.

 

While almost every ride, so far, over the last 4 weeks has included 2000′ of climbing or more, not ALL of them have.

 

The day after Jared’s ride, a big group of us got together for a ride out at Lost Creek Lake.  It was the second time in as many years we did so on Super Bowl Sunday.

 

Things started slow thanks to so many downed trees, but by the time we hit the better side of the lake, we had pretty clear trails in front of us.

 

Don’t let this photo fool you. Yes, it was kinda warm. However, Jared doesn’t even own a long pair of riding pants. I’ve personally witnessed his ankles collecting ice crystals on more than one ride. Long sleeves are only necessary below 40 degrees for him.

 

There’s a lot of bridges to be crossed as one rides around the lake. They get pretty slick in the Winter. Last year, we had a few crashes thanks to the conditions. This year, we had 2 good ones. Both riders finished the ride. Here, Ruth and Sage show us how it’s supposed to be done.

 

Even with the days slowly getting longer, it’s hard to get a good chunk of climbing in during the daylight hours when a guy (me) works 40 hours a week.  I’ve started the habit of taking a bike with me to work so I can park at the bottom of whichever hills I plan to conquer on a particular day.  Roxy Ann and the Hillcrest areas are my most popular destinations.  Often I’ve been joined by Jacob, Jared, and/or Shawn for some climbing fun.

 

We’ve been blessed with quite a few amazing sunsets over the past month.  You’d think I’d get tired of stopping to take pictures of them eventually.  It hasn’t happened yet.

 

I wan’t expecting a good sunset on this night, but the clouds fell into place at just the right time. I was just heading down from Roxy when I stopped for this shot.

 

But, really, the weekends are made for going up hills.  I’m so lucky to have friends willing to do a less fun ride in favor of hanging out on stupid elevation gainers!  Several times I’ve not invited anyone to ride with me because going up and down gravel roads when there are perfectly good trails just feet away doesn’t seem like it would be fun to anyone else.  For some reason, when these guys ask if I’m riding and I tell them my plans, they still come with me!

 

This particular Saturday, Jacob and Jared got wind of my boring ride in Jacksonville and came out to climb with me. This is the closest we got to a trail. MoFo is named that for a reason. It kinda goes up.

 

The day after the Jville ride, Ruth and I headed to Montague, CA to do some gravel grinding in some absolutely amazing country.  The camera on my phone had no chance of properly capturing the breathtaking views we enjoyed throughout the day.

 

Mount Shasta was rarely out of sight the whole day.

 

Not only were there great views, the gravel roads were fantastic!

 

Only an hour away, I’ve promised myself to make at least one more trip down to Montague this year. There’s still more to see!

 

Yes, the weekends have been awesome.  But, the weekdays haven’t been horrible.  This last week, both of my after work rides started and ended in Talent.  Tuesday, I climbed around on the Masi going up a bunch of backroads I had only ridden past before.  Wednesday.  That was a different story.

 

I took the gravel bike and headed up Anderson Creek Road with the intention of crossing over at the top to Wagner Creek.  From there, I would drop back down to my car.  It had been raining off and on all day, but it was in the off position when I started the ride.  I didn’t need a jacket.  Pshh.

 

Halfway up Anderson, I needed a jacket.

 

There’s a good bit of water in Anderson Creek right now.

 

 

I have yet to ride around on Anderson and not get a good view. Yep. It was cold.

 

So, I mentioned crossing over to Wagner.  Yeah.  I couldn’t.  After climbing another 800′ above the Anderson Creek saddle, I hit snow.  I started down the other side to Wagner Creek, but there was a good 6″ of snow and after a quarter mile of walking, I decided to turn around.  It was raining pretty good by that time (no jacket), and it was already after 5 and would be getting dark soon (no light).  I feel turning around was the right decision.  Did I mention it was cold and I had no jacket?

 

There you have it.  I’m still around.  I’m still riding.  I hope as life calms down a little and routine returns, I’ll find more time to write.  It’s so much fun for me to relive the rides, it’s almost like I’m doing them twice.  Ok.  Maybe not.  Definitely not.  But, at least I get to appreciate and thank all the good friends I get to ride with when I get it out of my head and on to the Cycle A Blog page.

 

So, um, thanks everyone!

 

 

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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