This post is dedicated to BicycleKitty reader Holly, who is a bad ass biking babe and rode the Dalles Mt 60 on a single speed sparkle pony with her team, Dirty Fingers.
On the bridge, someone commented "your bike looks like a ferrari", triggering me to make a loud engine growling sound. I was delighted to sport a brand new steed, the Soma Wolverine. It has the same geometry as the Soma Smoothie ES (Extra Smooth!), but room for 45mm wide tires with fenders, and disc brakes. Aside from a few commutes, this was the Wolverine's maiden voyage.
My riding friend started to pedal off and called to me to catch up. I said no, I need to pace myself. Personal growth has opened my eyes to the idea that chasing leads to blowing up. Soon, I was all alone, and the climb hadn't even begun.
Up, up, up the hill I rode. I rode with Brock of the Sprocket Podcast and Eric of Grilled by Bike fame. Brock warned me that he was recording every conversation and asked for my permission to broadcast whatever I said. I told him in no uncertain terms he has lifelong permission to broadcast anything he'd like. After a while, they were ready for a rest stop. I continued on, occasionally passing a rider, but mostly alone. The views were gorgeous, the temperature a pleasant 50 degrees, with just a gentle little wisp of wind.
The road surface was like a dream. Like chocolate-flavored talcum powder pressed into a perfect riding surface. Or maybe that's the Panaracer Gravel King tires talking. I was surprised to see my odometer read 20mph on the gravel descent; this is unusual for the Bicycle Chicken Kitty.
I missed the Maryhill Loops, although I heard later that others enjoyed them. I kept remembering the year that two gentlemen, or at least men, sat in the back of their pick up truck brandishing shotguns and warning riders to stay away. I stayed away.
Soon enough I was in Biggs and enjoying french fries and a soda along with much of the Dirty Fingers team. I was excited to find my own teammates there as well, and we rode out together into what should've been seven miles of headwind. Instead, it was seven miles of tailwind. It felt like cheating.
We turned onto Old Moody. I have an emotional connection with this road, the first gravel road I ever rode. Or walked anyway. This year, I rode it in its entirety and never dismounted to walk. I ran into some cows, or at least rode near them, enjoyed the continuing tailwind, the sweet road surface and the sweeping views.
At the end of Old Moody, where it meets the pavement, the Dirty Fingers Team was regrouping. I said hello and one of them said "I have to ask you, our teammate wanted to know - are you Bicycle Kitty? She wants your autograph." Well, this made my day. My week, really. I said yes and introduced myself and shook hands with the nice lady who said she loves the BicycleKitty blog and reads religiously.
The Wolverine surprised me again. It was swift and reliable, and I railed the rest of the ride back to the Dalles. As a cherry on the cake of an amazing day, I slept in a snow cave on the side of Mt Hood at a slumber party called the Cave Rave. Cinnamon whiskey kept the chill away, the cold kept cramps at bay, and the miles helped sleep come easy.