Friday, March 20, 2015

Dalles Mountain 60

Date:  March 14th, 2015
Distance: 59 miles
Song of the Day: Walking on a Wire - Lost Lander

A few weeks back my friend Fat Rob started talking about the Dalles Mountain 60. I guess he has done it the last few years. The year he convinced a bunch of us to head out there as well. So after work on Friday I picked up another friend and drove out to The Dalles. In all we had eight people from Point83 out there.

Saturday morning was wet, but clearing. I was shocked by how many people there were at the start. Not too bad for a ride that isn't being supported an any way.

People started heading down the road just after 10:00 AM. The wet ground and general lack of fenders meant it started out kinda gross. We crossed over the Columbia into Washington. Oddly, I think this may be the first time I have crossed a state border on a bike.

Things started to get really fun as we got off the paved road. The route lead up up a "mountain". It even started to get sunny. Looking down from the bluff I could see the valley and river below. I couldn't help but compare it to my time in Southern Uganda. Dirt roads and steep climbs. I loved it. I just cranked up that hill. I ended up at the top a good ten minutes before the rest of my crew.

I waited for a little bit there, but it was windy and started raining again. When Rob and Torrey showed I took off with them. Coming down the back side was fun, but it did get a bit sketchy. Most of the time I was pretty stable, but there were a few patches of loose gravel. It makes me a bit nervous when I can feel my tires gravel surfing.

At the bottom we got back onto the paved roads. The wind turbines were pointed our direction so I knew it was blowing my way. I was cruising at almost 30 without really working.

To get back down to the river we took the Maryhill Loops. This was a true joy. Well paved road. Lots of tight turns, but a gentle grade. It made it easy to just zoom down it. Super awesome. I thought about going back and doing it again.

We also stopped a the Stonehenge monument out there and had some food. Then crossed the river and stopped for more food. We did a lot of waiting to get the group back together.

Heading back to The Dalles we were now facing the wind though. We did some good fast lines down the highway though. The route takes a left to go to the top of the bluff on the Oregon side. Two miles of double digit grades back on dirt roads. I was able to bike the whole thing, despite spinning out a lot. It wasn't much faster than the other guys who just got off and walked though.

Doing the climb was well worth it though. We just cruised along the ridge overlooking the Columbia. Windy, sure, but great views.

The last bit of pavement into town was great. Sure, it was still into a headwind, but it was a bit downhill so it seemed to even itself out.

All in all I had a fantastic time. I love getting out to do new adventures, bike, and hang out with cool people. This was awesome.


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