Thursday, July 12, 2007

Epic, Part 1

Epic rides. They happen on the road, off the road, have a mix of both, have a long ride time, many miles, an obstacle to overcome, and more. What makes them all stand out is the memory they make. These are rides that stay with you for years. You look back on them with fondness... they are the rides you talk about. No one talks about riding the local loop for the hundredth time, but that time you ended up riding out in the dark after 10 hours in the saddle... that is the stuff of legends.

Four years ago, I rode the entire North Umpqua Trail in a day with T. and another friend. That was epic, no matter how you define it. It was long -- both in distance and time -- and it was almost entirely singletrack. 70 miles worth. I have never done a ride since, or before, that stands out in my mind as much as that ride does. It is a reference point. Ironically, we did a training ride for it that involved riding the nearly as good McKenzie River Trail as an out and back ride... that one ended up being 52 miles of singletrack and would have been epic, but it paled in comparison to the Umpqua a few weeks later.

I don't get to do enough epic rides.

One week ago, however, I did. I took the day off to ride from Corvallis, OR to the ocean at Newport, off road. There were four of us, C. D. (C's brother), R. and myself. This was C.'s route, and it differs from the route that is being put together officially in a few spots and, notably, it avoids Mary's Peak -- the tallest peak in the Coast Range. That isn't to say there wasn't any climbing, there was. There was 6100ft of climbing.

As you can see, there isn't really any flat areas. We were either going up, or going down. Also, there is very little net elevation loss, since we started at only 300ft above sea level.

The route is similar to the one below (click for jumbo size) but the starting point was at Bald Hill, not in town, as shown.

We met up at 6am and shortly thereafter, we were off! More in Part 2.

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