Saturday, July 9, 2011

Oakridge Mountain Biking

Emily on a stream crossing near the start
This Saturday was one of those days in the summer that I hadn’t planned out very well in advance. Instead I woke up and was frantically trying to find a place to go biking that would be new and interesting. After some searching I decided we should go investigate Oakridge, OR, but we should do it with both vehicles to shuttle our lazy butts up the mountain first. We ended up getting a late start out of town and didn’t get to Oakridge until about 1pm. We first drove the Prius to the bottom of Larrison Creek trail near the Hills Creek Reservoir and then took the truck up the 10 mile fire service road to the drop in for the trail. This road was rugged and was overgrown with branches and large boulders in the road that on occasion we had to roll away to get the truck by. There were branches that hit the truck but I didn’t think much about it and certainly wasn’t thinking about how the Prius would fare… We hit the 6.5 mile descent at about 1:45 in the afternoon and it took us a couple hours to descend. Near the top the trail was super steep and technical with many switchbacks but near the bottom it leveled out a bit and became easier. It was a challenge for Emily in her new clipless pedals but she made it just fine. The bottom of the trail around the reservoir was particularly beautiful. Overall the trail was rated difficult in the guidebook and I could see why with all the rocks and roots we had to go over, certainly not for a hard tail.
We popped the bikes in the Prius and then headed up the road to get the truck. 5 minutes along the road at 15mph I hit a rock that almost lifted the Prius off the ground. From there on Emily and I had to get out about 10 times to roll small rocks off the road that the clearance on the Prius wouldn’t make. Unfortunately we couldn’t move all the branches and the side of the car got a bitch scratched up. Nothing too serious but we may need to take a buffer to it to get some of the bigger ones sometime soon. The last ¾ miles of the road that the truck got up were just too gnarly so I got out and ran it while Em turned around and headed back down the road. She actually was moving at good pace because I was hauling ass down the road once I got to my truck to catch up with her.
When we got back to the paved road it was decision time. Try to make it back for the Philomath Rodeo with Cassie and Garrett or take advantage of the two vehicles and shuttle one more descent down the intermediate Larrison Rock Trail. We opted for the latter and were totally happy with our choice as the drive to the top was all paved road and fast and the descent was super smooth without any rocks or roots to negotiate. The trail was literally cut into the side of a steep slope the whole 5 miles down with some descent exposure on the side but it was soooo clean. We only stopped 3 or 4 times because our arms hurt and hands hurt from gripping the brakes that we were practically melting on the way down. I think it only took us maybe 15 minutes of riding total! Definitely one of the best descents I’ve had in Oregon. The shuttle to the top, the ride, and the shuttle back only took about an extra hour and half. We didn’t make it back in time for the rodeo but man did we have good time biking in Oakridge… now to buff both our cars…

No comments: