A quick recap... I went exploring on the road bike, ended up on STEEP gravel hills. Clearly, the wrong bike.
I decided that what I needed to do was head out again, but this time armed with the 'cross bike.
It seems like a yearly ritual. Every summer, I get to shed the fenders from my 'cross bike, making it look like a lean machine, rather than a sedate commuter bike. This summer's de-fenderization coincided with this exploration, making a follow-up ride to last weeks road-bike-on-gravel-roads jaunt doubly sweet.
I started by heading back up the hill that caused me so much pain before. From the other side, the climb isn't nearly as bad. Before dropping down onto the closed road, I took a look at the hillside surrounding me. Some of it had been clear cut. While an eye-sore, this time it was just what I was looking for. You see, they had to get the logs out, which meant gravel roads... and lots of them.
Sure enough, after a brief stint on asphalt, I found my road.
As is typical around here, it went up.
And it was steep. often surpassing 20%. But, that was why I was on the 'cross bike, after all. So I climbed. Whenever the road branched, I chose to go up. All of my effort was not in vain. Once I reached the top of the ridge, I was rewarded with views of Mt. Hood, Mt Saint Helens, and Mt. Ranier at once. Pictures do not do the view justice. Especially pictures taken with my phone. But, since it was all I had at the time...
(Hood is to the far right, Ranier is to the far left and Saint Helens is a little in on the left.)
Now, I just need to find some local singletrack.