As the days and mercury get short I have some time to reflect on the summers memorable rides. While I ride almost daily on local trails I am also lucky enough to make it out of town to some dreamy mountain bike destinations a few times each season.
This year I managed to ride three more IMBA Epics along with a bunch of other cool rides. Epics are the best of the best rides as defined by IMBA. I did Rock Lake before it was ever an Epic and if I could remember back that far maybe before there was an IMBA. Anyway, it was an easy since it was in the hood. The MaaDaaHay was another usual stop back in the day when I was heading west. Tahoe, Downievill, Park City, Sun Valley, Rossland, Umpqua, yep. I'd go back to any of them. Like any addict the rides need to keep getting more challenging get the same high. Longer, more elevation, questionable route finding... How far can I push myself and still make it back?
This years Epics started with Surveyors Ridge in Hood River. At this point just riding Surveyors is not enough though. First, I rode up Dog River to get to the south end of Surveyors. Before even starting the epic I did a Super Connector loop. Then, the main course and finished up going down Oak Ridge. Riding the ridge and the Super Conector were fun flowy and smooth. While Dog River up was a stiff climb with a couple uncleanable spots for me. Oak Ridge down was something else. It starts fast and in the back seat straight down steep. Then, gets into some exposed, loose, rocky, tight switchbacks with high of pucker factor. Before finishing flowy and smooth.
|Mt. Hood from Surveyor's Ridge|
In August I headed to the west side for some trails in Capitol State Forest along with a stop at Mount Saint Hellens on the way back. Where I did Ape to Plains. While I'd rather do a loop this is best as an out and back or a really long shuttle. While it wasn't a great weather day I didn't have to share the trail. Rain and 50mph winds on a landscape something like the moon tend to keep crowds away. The Ape Canyon climb is legitimately tough, but ridable. It wasn't raining hard enough to be raining under the trees or windy in the canyon. Above tree line and out of the canyon though, look out. The weather was like a kick in gut crossing The Plains Of Abraham. It could have been scenic if it wasn't so socked in. Also Capitol State Forest turned out to be its own great ride.
|My imagination of Mount Saint Hellen's through the cloud layer|
|Cap St For|
There were so many other memorable rides this season as well. Half a dozen +50mile singletrack days, The Midnight Century, Going to the Sun Road, every trail at local Spokane spot Beacon... Now on to snow season and planning the next years bike adventures. These will be a few new places, some familiar favorite ones and maybe more gravel or not.
|Going to the Sun Road|
|Graveling the John Wayne Trail|
|Fall colors on Misson Ridge|