Monday, August 31, 2009

Crater Lake 2009

Another awesome ride. Just like in 2007, it was back-to-back weekends of long rides with tough climbs. Aug. 16 century, Aug. 23 70 miles with some ridiculous amount of climbing, and Aug. 29 Crater Lake, which is 61 miles roundtrip to & from Diamond Lake. I know it doesn't sound like much, but believe me, it's a challenging route.

On Saturday we woke up to VERY cold temps, after driving part of the way to Diamond Lake on Friday in pouring rain. The rain stopped fortunately when we arrived at the campground! Man, it was cold though. Got rolling about 9am, a bit late, and I think we were the last to leave camp. The climb is just relentless. With each turn you try to avoid looking up and when you do, thinking you are just about there, no, there is another turn and the road continues to point upward. It's just an endless grind. Then you arrive at the first viewpoint for some photo ops, quick rest, and continue to climb after that! Miles of climbs. Miles of fun screaming downhill on smooth pavement, then more climbs! Wow. Much more fun than when I rode it in 2007 because of my Tsunami! On the way down there were some brutal crosswinds, combined with a somewhat slick-newly chipsealed (but not loose gravel) road surface. We felt better hearing that everyone felt a bit uneasy on that stretch of road, but we all made it! EPIC. And the high temp of the day was probably 72. Perfect.

Sunday was MUCH hotter. Rode around Diamond Lake after packing up the campsite, but most people took off for other destinations. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. They really missed out! It's a flat ride through campgrounds on a bike path around the lake, but offers some gorgeous views. I was surprised not many people were there. This is really the ideal time to go camping there, as the crowds seem to be gone, and the weather is still good (though cold at night). I'd much rather go for a short, easy ride before sitting in the car for 4 hours to drive home than just packing up and leaving!
I'm so glad I went and did this ride again, and very glad that so many Portland people went along too! It was an awesome weekend with lots of laughs, great rides, and some great food!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

A summer of climbs

The Tour is over, but there is still plenty of perfect summer weather left which should last the next few months. While I haven't done all that I planned to do this summer, one thing I have done plenty of is climb. It never seems like I ride enough days or miles, and the more I ride, the more I want to ride, so that's a good thing. But there is always some climb I long to do, some obstacle to overcome. What a summer of climbing it's been so far, but there are still more climbs to do. I haven't even ridden home over the zoo (on a path I call the Zoobaix) once this summer. That seems so lame while the weather is dry and warm, and it stays light so late, to drive to & from work. But there is always some reason why it seems more convenient - some appointment, errand or whatever. Still, lame. But the Thursday night SE rides have been great, taking me on some roads I never would have known existed, bike paths, and other assorted "urban assault" type shortcuts.
But the climbs. Every other Saturday, the routes take us up some new climb I haven't done before, and we ride up Clapshaw, or Rocky Point, or Old Cornelius Pass, or Skyline. Even doing familiar routes in reverse brings a whole new feel to the ride. I figure any day on the bike is a good day, time well spent. Climbs are easier than they were in the past, and descents are not so intimidating. The Portland Century was a tough one, seeming more like 200 miles than 100, but I managed to get through it with plenty of rest stops for food, and good company.
This weekend: Crater Lake. One of my favorites! I will have photos of that to post soon.